Pot Still Boiler Charge Methods

edited August 2013 in General

My methods have changed over time. There are lots of different ways to do things - too many really. I had to try and cut it down a bit so I have arbitrarily chosen 2 distinct methods. One for fruit and one for everything else.

Please feel free to add other methods, use of backset etc, but what follows is how I do it.

Fruit: Real simple this and not new. I divide the fermented wash into 2 parts. I strip one half, then take those low wines and add them to the other half of the wash. Then I do a spirit run. Feints are collected and end up feeding a reflux column for neutral.

Everything else:I picked a very old technique - Cognac - it has worked for long enough and it works for me. It uses blended boiler charges.

Wash Run - The boiler is charged with a mix of 90% fermented wash and 10% accumulated feints.
The feints are cut from both wash and spirit runs and collected in bulk. (At the moment I just do rum and fruit, so the fruit feints and rum feints just get combined.)

Spirit Run - The boiler is charged with 75% Low Wines from the wash run and 25% Late Hearts from previous spirit runs. I am fairly picky with the cuts, once the product reaches 65% ABV I collect those in a separate container as Late Hearts. Heads and tails are collected in small quantities just like normal.

I do sometimes blend the product with parts of the heads and tails if I want, but most of the time I just keep the first part of the Hearts as it came off the still, to be diluted to drinking proof. This is equivalent to the 1/3rd and 1/5th cuts that are used with whisky.

Late Hearts are specifically reserved for the next spirit run. Feints get collected to use in the wash runs, or to feed the reflux column for neutral.

If I fermented grain though I would keep those feints separate, and use them when distilling grain. I wouldn't mix them into a rum wash run.

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