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Multiple Distills in a Pot Still

edited November 2016 in General

I have a couple of question re: distilling in a potstill.

If i was to marry multiple low wines (with no cuts) and do a spirit run with them, do i need to cut more for foreshots, i.e. if marrying 3 low wines do i remove 3x 100ml?
My initial runs are 40litres.

Also if I wanted to distill 3 times in a pot still, would i need to add water to each run?
Presumably if doing more than 2 runs in a pot still it would be easier to use a reflux, however could you do one pot still run and then run that through a reflux still?

Thanks

Comments

  • edited November 2016

    Are you recycling heads? If you aren't recycling heads, there really is no reason to take a fores cut. In the grand scheme of things, you are still making a cut on the spirit run, so it maybe gains you a tiny bump in total yield as your still charge is more usable. Realistically, likely makes no difference either way, so up to you.

    But, if you take a generous fores cut, and don't go deep into tails, you might find that your spirit run is more like 4-5 strips, than 3, but your mileage may vary.

    Running the same spirit 3x in a pot still? I would rather bang my head on a wall. You'll need to dilute if your still charge risks exposing your elements.

  • No i wouldn't cut any more fores, it concentrates fairly well. I'm with Grim though and i would only get rid of fores after i had already done a double run on the potstill and the heads from that had been added to the reflux pot. Then when firing the VM i would tip the first litre of skanky heads before recycling the rest of the heads, but i am still positive that even that step is unnecessary. I just did it cause i could.

    As far as triple pot stilled, yep you sure can. Water your charge back down to 40% or lower each time, if you are running electric start with enough water to cover the elements well before adding spirit and you will always be ok to know they will not become exposed.

    Reflux stills work much better with low wines, which is what we call that first strip with no cuts from a potstill. Once again, water that charge back down to 40% or less for safety sake and make sure your elements are covered. If you read the big vodka thread (i assume thats what you are trying to make) you'll find a stack of info on treating your low wines with a base to make the heads compression clearer.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Thanks guys good advice, I am putting all low wines into the spirit run (making now cuts), and will make the cuts after the spirit run.

    The reason I ask about doing multiple potstill runs was I have heard some places distill up to 6 times and they only appear to have a potstill. I do agree, it would seem like a lot of work compared to a reflux setup.

    I am looking to make a more neutral spirit, so i will take a look at that thread, thanks!

  • You should be actively smelling/tasting and making cuts during any run imo, that change over comes in quick. Ain't no time for that funk.

    You shouldn't be looking at Tito's bottles for advice on distillation technique. Ain't no time for that either haha.

  • Thanks @Kill_Devil_Spirit_Co will look to become more fluid in my process as do more :)

    I am not looking at anyone in particular, it is just about me understanding the difference at the mo, and in doing so making sure i make sure not to waste my time and make sure I can create something I enjoy.

    Appreciate the advice.

  • @zizther said: ...I have heard some places distill up to 6 times and they only appear to have a potstill...

    IMHO everything above 2 or 3 is a marketing gag. I don't think anyone is making a flavored spirit (whiskey, brandy, rum etc.) with re-distilling 6 times through a pot as you'll be losing flavor like nothing else. If you want to do vodka or do 6x then you'll be looking at a plated cloumn

  • @Unsensibel That is what i thought, in this case I think they were looking for a more neutral base and blending it with flavours. I did think doing a potstill 6 times would be a headache :)

  • I've stayed out of this so far, but I just can't accept that you'll necessarily be losing flavor. If you do it correctly, you'll gain a bit of flavor with multiple still passes, and I've been doing it for years. Admittedly, if you restrict yourself to only re-distilling low wines, you'll lose flavors quickly, but if every run includes the low wines from previous runs topped up to a full still with fresh wash, each successive run will be higher in both alcohol and flavoring compounds in about the same ratios as hearts in any spirit run. Additionally, for reasons I can't explain, the hearts cut is _**way **_wider.

    I've done a lot of 4-run bourbon, and Cultus Bay Distillery is doing a triple-potstilled poitin that's very smooth and has very good malt flavor. Admittedly, creating a poitin market in the US is taking some effort, but when people taste it, they love it.

    Has anyone ever wondered why, when commercial distillation is done with a set of progressive stills (like, say, Woodford's best bourbon, all Irish, and most scotch) those still are very nearly the same size? If they were just distilling low wines, the 2nd still should be 4 or 5 times the size of the third, and the first should be 16-25 times the size.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @zymurgybob said: I've stayed out of this so far, but I just can't accept that you'll necessarily be losing flavor. If you do it correctly, you'll gain a bit of flavor with multiple still passes, and I've been doing it for years. Admittedly, if you restrict yourself to only re-distilling low wines, you'll lose flavors quickly, but if every run includes the low wines from previous runs topped up to a full still with fresh wash, each successive run will be higher in both alcohol and flavoring compounds in about the same ratios as hearts in any spirit run. Additionally, for reasons I can't explain, the hearts cut is _**way **_wider.

    I've done a lot of 4-run bourbon, and Cultus Bay Distillery is doing a triple-potstilled poitin that's very smooth and has very good malt flavor. Admittedly, creating a poitin market in the US is taking some effort, but when people taste it, they love it.

    Has anyone ever wondered why, when commercial distillation is done with a set of progressive stills (like, say, Woodford's best bourbon, all Irish, and most scotch) those still are very nearly the same size? If they were just distilling low wines, the 2nd still should be 4 or 5 times the size of the third, and the first should be 16-25 times the size.

    Great feedback Bob.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

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