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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

  • @zymurgybob I was just reading through some posts and came across this one.

    I thinking about giving it a go for some vodka from grapes. Am I right in thinking that say you have a 200L still, you would start with stripping 200L of wash to low wines which yields say 50L. You would then add 150L of wash to the low wines and redistill, and so on and so forth?

    Or would you just top up the 50L with a bit of wash?

    Also you make cuts as you go on each run (except the first stripping run)?

    I’m curious about this method as ultimately I would like to make a spirit which maintains some characteristics of the original grapes, not an eau de vie, I guess something between Vodka and Eau de Vie. I had thought about just running it through plates but was thinking the method you outlined might keep some more of the varietal characteristics.

  • Reading just your past and not the thread, it won't work with a pot still.

    I passed wine through a 5 plate + 500mm packed section. Equivalent to roughly 13 plates with every pass. Each distillation was diluted back to hydroseparation abv of 27 to 30.

    1. Stripped.
    2. Spirit run
    3. Spirit run of hearts cut
    4. Spirit run of hearts cut
    5. Ran all the collected fores and feints for another hearts cut. I may have done that twice as well. It was a while back now.

    Only then did I get close to the neutral I was looking for and it always carries some of the original grape variety.

    During the first spirit run the hearts cut makes for a great brandy in my opinion. Lots of yummy flavours.

    There's a distillery that does pretty much as you described but they have 6 columns with a total of over 100 plates. They produce a 96% abv spirit from the grapes and you can still taste the grapes.

  • edited October 26

    If you want to make your neutral more neutral, filter it through activated carbon after a stripping run.

    Then do a column run through plates with reflux.

    When I recycle ethanol I never put it directly into a column still. I ALWAYS carbon filter it first.

    A column still will still retain the flavour as others have said.

  • @Sam your first paragraph is pretty close to correct, although I'd get closer to 40 l from a 200 l run.

    @TheMechWarrior, I couldn't understand at first why you would say it doesn't work with a potstill, when my multiple-potstilling actually ONLY works with a potstill. Finally I realized you were only making neutral, while I'm making richly-flavored whisk(e)y, brandy, grappa and so on. I'm trying to optimize flavor, and you're trying to remove it all.

    You and I just have different goals, that's all.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Sam
    edited October 26

    Thanks @zymurgybob I will give it a go and see what happens. The way I see it, if it’s not what I’m after, I can just put it through a column with plates etc.

    I used 50L as an example as it kept the maths easier... would it be possible to make cuts on the earlier runs or not until the low wines to new wash ratio increases?

  • Ah yes, basically after my first pass it was the sort of yummy you may have in mind. But disappointing for someone chasing neutral. I focused on the term vodka used by Sam. I've happily made brandy, grappa and whisky in my pot still.

  • Thought the title of this thread was:

    Marsupials in a Pot Still

    Long day...

  • Wombat stew is another recipe...

  • @Sam said: Wombat stew is another recipe...

    "Oohy, gooey, yummy, chewy, wombat stew"

    "Wombat stew, wombat stew, gooey, brewey, yummy, chewy, Wombat stew!"

    Love it.

  • Jeez. Another high-minded academic discussion gone to the Philistines. What the hell ever happened to civil discourse? What the hell, I ask?

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @grim said: Thought the title of this thread was:

    Marsupials in a Pot Still

    Long day...

    Hahaha.

    Time to reevaluate your (optical) prescription?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • sorry @zymurgybob, Wombat Stew is a classic

  • One of my daughters favourite books...

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