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What is your favorite method of proofing your spirits?

I use reverse osmosis when I proof, I still need to run end product through carbon filter, just to make sure it is crystal clear. What is your favorite water to use?


  • RO + Deionization

  • What is your process of proofing.

  • Tap water!!! Lol. Seriously though, my tap water is really low mineral.

    Really clean tasting.

    Filtered through Welsh mountains and such...

    I hear it's better to measure out your water then add the alcohol to the water but I find it harder to hit the mark that way (and I'm a bit anal about it being as close to 40% as possible if that's what I write on the bottle)

  • edited June 2016

    Process? The Uncle Sam way. Although I do like Alcodens.

    Hobby side? Trial and error, patience. If you are going to do it mathematically, do it all by weight, do not waste your time trying to use volume.

  • What's the Uncle Sam way @grim? I agree with your comment on weight and therefore density and temperature...unfortunately the ATO insist on reporting in terms of LALs, so volumes always come back into the calculations.

  • I read about slow proofing a while back, so gave it a go. had some rum, 88%. Made up 250ml at 40% and put in one jar. Put 100ml of 88% in another jar and added 20ml water. Added 20ml per week for 6 weeks till it hit 40%. The slow blended jar is alot smoother, smell is very slight compared to other jar. It is very similar to a aged aired white rum, pretty surprised with th results. Want to try it on a bigger scale to see if results are the same. Oh, and the slow blended one was 20ml less total volume at the end, must have been evaporation

  • I really didn't expect slow proofing to make a long term difference. I assume that both jars were left open for equal times, to control for air exposure?

  • edited June 2016

    @grim said: Process? The Uncle Sam way. Although I do like Alcodens.

    Hobby side? Trial and error, patience. If you are going to do it mathematically, do it all by weight, do not waste your time trying to use volume.

    Just a hobbiest at distilling, me. I use mass and volume (density).
    Class A volumetric flask and a lab balance.

    Diluted to drinking proof with carbon filtered rainwater.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • I use bottled spring water to dilute and I use volume method.
    To work out correct volumes I made up an excel spreadsheet that accounts for collapse (or whatever you call it).
    I should probably get a decent set of scales. Some of my food recipes are converted to grains as my powder scales are the only accurate ones I have =))

  • Another handloader, eh? I've still got some recipes in grains.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Add distilled water to spirit until it is what I want. I now proof to 45% instead of 40%. That 5% difference can keep it from getting cloudy in my experience

  • edited June 2016

    When I run gin through my gin basket I let the still do the proofing. Into the boiler at 18-20%. Off the still at drinking strength of 50-52%. No post run dilution for my gin.

    In fact I've begun playing with dilution in the boiler to target drinking strength off the still on most of my spirits. Post-run dilution seems to mute the desirable subtle flavors. I suspect it is related to the exothermic reaction and off-gassing that occurs when water is added to the spirit.

    @Smaug is the one who started me thinking about this.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited July 2019

    Up until now I've been using tap water for all my rum ferments. I haven't bothered doing anything else because the water tastes so good to drink unfiltered. I have been using carbon filtered water to proof down.

    I'm in the process of setting up my distillery so I'm giving this proper thought now. I've been considering the following RO product: PENTAIR ON DEMAND RO SYSTEM @ Aqua Cure

    My understanding is that RO removes calcium & magnesium so would I need to use a re-ioniser (I'm not sure what the right term / product is called). Can anyone shed any light as to whether I should be looking at additional products please? My rum ferments have been very reliable, so I'm a little nervous of changing the water as I imagine the nutritional requirements might be different?

  • temp correction chart helps me

  • I use bottled water to dilute then I ultrasound before bottling. But thats just me. The Ultrasound makes a difference. Like @kapea for my Gins I am to get as close to 40% abv on my gin runs. And normally its pretty close. Kudos goes to @smaug for the technique. And everything Odin has written about gin. I can use my tap water for diversion as 95% of the time is very good as it comes from snow melt off the Andes, but once every now and again the put some chlorine in the system to clean it out. Which is not such an issue while distilling but I dont risk it for bottling. When I get my distillery working I will have my own RO system.

  • @Scottystraub - Please can you explain what you mean? I'm not sure how temp charts are connected to reverse osmosis water treatment. Thanks

    @DonMateo - I think you're right. I need to go RO for my new distillery shortly. I don't know if RO's removal of Ca and Mg (for example) will be a problem for optimal performance of rum fermentation? The guys at AquaCure (link to the RO system is on my previous post) said that I can re-introduce certain ions following removal by RO with an additional "re-ionizer".

    Does anyone know if re-ionizers are necessary following RO treatment please? It doubles the prices to go for both, so I want to make sure re-ionizing is worthwhile if I invest the money. Many thanks

  • edited July 2019

    Don't use RO for mashing unless you are re-mineralizing. The new brewers next door do this, but they hit very specific water profiles for each beer. So they are building their water from scratch for every batch. This is very expensive. Remember, for spirits, unlike beer, you aren't drinking the water added at that point, what comes through the still is "still" distilled water.

    We're looking at using higher efficiency UF (Ultrafiltration) as our mineral/ion levels are pretty good where they are.

  • Thanks @grim appreciate the advice

  • @grim. What I should have said is that I am going to go to high filtration. Where I am the potable water is very good. IT comes straight off the Andes from snow melt and its so good that the municipalities closest to the mountains almost never put in any chemicals. Except on a Sunday morning. Where my distillery is is only 4 kms from the main water distribution point and the water is good enough that they dont treat it, except for filtration of solids.

  • In reality, if your water is half decent, good carbon exposure alone will get you 99% of the way there. Honestly, sediment and silt isn’t even really an issue unless you have some concern over pumps and whatnot.

  • hey @grim Thanks for all the advice you give on Whiskey mate. Your a winner.

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