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What seem to be the best how to out there?
I learned from @minime but what's the proper method or technique? Share yours if you can...
Happy New Year
I just run till I can no longer smell or taste the sweet pear
Rough ballpark by math, specific cut point by jars.
What I mean by that is, if I expect 5 liters of heads, I'm not going to bother checking for the transition until I've collected 4 liters in the heads receiver. Once I get to the 4 liter mark, I'll go to jars to find the specific transition point I want, then switch to hearts collection. Same with the hearts to tails transition, although I'll be more careful with this one, since if you miss the cut point with heads, it's usually not as big a problem.
I generally will not bother smelling every drop of fores or heads coming off the still, because it's a great way to burn out your sense of smell. If the 17th time you smell a jar, it's starting to smell good, it's not the jar, it's your nose burning out.
I also think it's much easier to run out a string of jars that spans the transition from heads to hearts, and worry about the specific cut when you are already starting to collect hearts. In the above example, I'd run out a string of 300ml jars that span the cut point, when I get to the last jar, just start collecting hearts. Don't worry about it, it's hearts. Once the still is running where I want it to be running, I'll focus attention back on the cut, especially now that they've had a couple minutes to breath. I find this to be significantly less hectic than trying to make the cut in real time.
Unless you are recycling both heads and tails, I see no reason to bother with a fores cut. If you are recycling, the specific fores cut point is not critical and will be incredibly subjective, so do whatever you want here. Flip a coin, collect X mL per L of wash. It doesn't matter if you are recycling, because you are making another fores cut, and another heads cut anyway.
nearly everything in distilling can be 'mastered' by a simplistic process... break it down to a single measurable variable, examine with an open mind and clean senses, document your results, and repeat until you can predict the outcome with confidence...
do the string of jars, wait a bit like @grim said, or even until the next day so your senses are clear... if you do it regularly, you will be able to pick it out on the fly... but if you don't do it regularly, no big deal, it takes just a bit more time...
Like @grim, I don't differentiate between fores and heads anymore. On any particular run I know pretty close where my heads/hearts should be and then I start smelling what's coming out of the parrot. Since I am making a shitload more than I need, I always err into the hearts on both sides ie I wait until I smell nothing on the heads side then empty the parrot, then collect hearts. On the tails side I stop completely when the temp drops approximately 2-3 degrees. This is of course on neutrals.
I use the same process on the heads side for rum and whiskey as I want zero heads. I know it costs me flavors but if I want to drink more than I should, I don't want to pay the price. From my understanding the hangover effect of heads doesn't diminish much with aging. Once its there, its there. For tails, well, that 's a different thread.
When tasting off the still ill use a teaspoon 2 drops spirit 3 drops distilled water saves frying taste buds but smell is more prevalent with nose to surge breaker holes or parrot
I use glass syringe I got off ebay, a coupel ml of distillate, 5ml of water... easy-peasy..
To repeat what the other guys said. If its a product you are used to making then you kind of know when it changes in smell and taste. I just have multiple vessels to switch from. Fore's are easy. I just do a percentage off the beginning, heads I collect till the temp stabilizes around 185f. At that point I use my biggest vessel to Collect hearts then around 200f I start switching to smaller vessels and wait for the dirty sock smell. Collect heads and tails then use them for something else.
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