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Hello from Eastern VA

edited August 2017 in Introduction

I go by Shine0n, I found this forum searching dunder pit uses... Go figure right!

AG, Rum and pure fruit brandies are what I make 90% of the time as I run a 15.5 gal 2" pot still and same thumper into a 40' 5/8" ID worm.

I will be making a 36" 1"over 1/2" liebig in the near future.

I'm currently in the middle of a rum experiment using infected dunder at 25% in low wines at 35% in a spirit run. I'll post in the appropriate thread about my experience.

I'll do my research and ask limited questions but as I'm new to this forum I may have a couple so "old timers" be patient with me. Lol

Looking forward to giving what I know to others and lookin to get advice where I need as well.




  • Welcome.

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

  • hi shineon. welcome. a good crowd here.

    please share some details on how you make your fruit brandies.

  • Welcome.

    Thanks for stopping in.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited August 2017

    My fruit brandies are all fruit NO SUGAR, the list of my brandies are.

    • plum (sliv)
    • peach
    • strawberry
    • apple

    On everything except the apple I crush the fruit, take as many stones (pits) out as possible, I use a stainless steel mortar mixer with sharpened blades to thoroughly chop through the fruit. I ferment on the pulp as I think I get a fuller flavor with them in.

    I like ec1118 yeast for fruit as it ferments very dry (.995 usually) and makes cuts easy because it doesn't add additional esters.

    Once fermentation is complete and the cap falls I get as much cleared liquid off the top to load my primary boiler and put pulp and the thicker wash in the thumper as it acts like a steam srtipper and I don't have to worry about burning crap to the bottom of my boiler.I heat with propane.

    I run once with the thumper as I get 160-170 proof in one run, I'll take a pint of fores and early heads then switch to small jars because in my experience alot of the fruit flavors comes in the heads. Small jars are key because I may not want to miss on the cuts by going on memory alone (for me that's pretty dangerous lol) plus that's the way I learned from a very well known brandy maker.

    I'll air for 24-36 hours with coffee filters on the jars, I'll start my blending from the middle jars as I know they are the hearts and work my way twards the tails until I smell or taste something I don't care for, I don't want any tails in my brandies, then work twards the heads and go into the fruity part of them but not to deep.

    Remember you're chasing the ghost of your base fruit which may not show itself immediately but over time will start to show its face. Time is your friend, I have a plum sliv I made June 2016 and now it's almost too smooth, 90p is like drinking plum water. lol

    The strawberry took the longest to develop a nice flavor.

    The peach is my pride and joy, sweet, smooth, very nice on a night on the dock watching the Chesapeake bay.

    Oh I didn't mention, I only oak age or wood age my apple everything else is white as it's too damn good to even think of adding wood and ruining the flavors I worked so hard to get.

    Man! one more thing, I freeze the fruit then thaw. they seem more given of their juicesd.

    If you're brave and have enough fruit, do a starter in a bag with some crushed fruit and see if the wild yeast are strong enough to handle a 55 gal ferment. If it starts to slow before fermenting dry always go back to ec1118 to keep it going.

    Well I hope I covered a few things without being too scattered. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask here or in a pm.

    I'm sure I missed something or another but it's been a hot, long day and I'm ready for some of this infected dunder rum I fell in love with.


  • Excellent post mate. Moonshine will stop by to give it some punctuation and tag it i'm sure.

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

  • That's funny, the way I wrote it out showed up nothing like it posted. I knew I seen your name before, I was on another forum earlier and seen your recipe in the tried and true. If in fact that is you, if not my apologies.

  • edited August 2017

    The formatting is a bit funny here, you have to double space to make a line break and double enter to make a paragraph break. They're the only ones i know but there are lots of other little tricks that @Moonshine knows.

    Yes mate, my recipes are in the tried and true in many forums. There's even one out there that took my recipe posts in their tried and true and changed the name to make it look like their cronies there posted my recipes :D


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

  • It was called Thai Terror, I'll keep the tricks of the trade in mind.

    Things are definitely a bit different from the other forum I'm in but hey... Maybe I'll learn something new here along the way and pass some stuff as well.


  • Yes the Thai Terror is a little beauty. Funny watching someone slug it down and the afterburn kick in. They go all green and then 20 mins later they're pushing the shot glass back saying, 'I believe i'll have another'. :))

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

  • edited August 2017

    You must have a cast iron guts punkin. I made ginger beer and followed your advice and chucked in a handful of hot chillies. Actually used less than you were suggesting and it still COMES ON. And I really like hot stuff. Must be getting weak in my old age.

    Sorts out the wooses anyway

  • good stuff, idk if I'll try it though.

    I'm stuck in rum atm

  • Hi @ShineOn,

    Once you get used to the various formatting differences,,,,its pretty easy to scoot around in here.

    If you get stuck trying to figure out how to drive,,Moonshine is very good at roadside assistance.

    You'll likely notice that its a lot easier to post pics here once you get yourself up to speed .

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Thanks Smaug, it's a bit different from what I'm used to.

    It seems that most of what I'm looking for is either old posts that's inactive, Maybe I should start a thread and gather some bits and pieces while I scroll through tons of old posts. lol

    While I wait for fall apple season to start I've been on a rum kick. Trying to make a more "dunder funk" style of rum. I have a great recipe for my rum and it's sweet, buttery and full of flavors BUT I wanted something more funky!!!

    I've been doing different dunder infections then adding them to my low wines in a spirit run. The first one I took the dunder and added 3- 1/4 cut dirty potatoes and it stunk to high hell .lol BUT when added to the low wines it smells of pineapple and on the spirit run it carried over quite well. HAPPY HAPPY

    Now I've added 1 cup of malted barley to the dunder and started a lacto infection, after 18 hours it was nice and sour of lactic acid.

    I monitor the pH regularly and adjust accordingly trying to hold a 6.0 on the meter. I should have enough low wines in the next 2 weeks to do a spirit run then I'm off to the Swiss cheese culture infection.


  • edited August 2017

    What I've found is that Ethyl Propionate is more pineapple on the nose, and Ethyl Lactate is more pineapple on the tongue. But largely both of these are really strongly "fruity", which overpowers the pineapple in either case. But, both together really cement the pineapple as a major component. However, this clusters strongly in the late heads, which makes it a slippery slope (as you increase "fruitiness", you also increase "solventy"), unless...

    I also found that I like lacto in most everything, as it really contributes to the buttery, creamy flavor. Which is good for me, because lactobacillus might be a critical part of unlocking the dunder puzzle.

    Read this oldie, but goodie:

    The Propionic Acid Fermentation Of Lactose (PDF)

    And this more recent PhD thesis:

    Improved production of propionic acid by strains of Propionibacterium (PDF)

    Co-fermentation with lactobacillus and propionibacterium might be key to keeping lactate levels high, thus favoring propionic acid over acetic. This is important, see above.

    Perhaps I share too much sometimes...

  • I'm doing all my infections in separate buckets inorder to not muck a whole wash, plus I can control what goes into it and monitor it better.

    These are all just experimenting with different infections to see what the difference in the esters produced will be.

    After my spirit run I let the pit lay dormant for future use and age.

    After I run all 4 experiments I will have 4 pits to mix and match and blend if I choose.

    The potatoes pit and a funky meaty, puke smell until added to the low wines before the spirit run, that's when the pineapple and fruity esters came about and carried over well into the final spirit.

    With the lacto I'll find out shortly as I need to do 2 strips to get my low wines to fill boiler and thumper.

    Next is a Swiss cheese culture then a soil pit.

    So much to think about!!!!


  • Thanks for another project, @grim, I now have to split my Dunder and try one with lacto added...


    600 x 800 - 67K
  • Don't waste your time attempting to use random fruits or vegetables to inoculate your cultures. You won't ever be able to replicate it, worse, you'll end up inoculating with something you don't want, ruining your cultures. Or, if you use a large single culture, you'll end up destroying your whole program.

  • edited August 2017

    @CothermanDistilling - Lacto first or co-pitch, but don't pitch lacto into existing dunder sitting at a very low pH. You'll likely get no lacto growth, lacto byproducts are important for the propio.

  • I really believe that while dunder worked previously, it was not because of how they did it, it was in spite of how they did it, if you follow what I'm saying.

  • Welcome @Shine0n and don't be alarmed if postings get post-processed for readability or picture optimizations, it's all done for the greater good. ;)

    Your Place to be >>> <<< Home of the StillDragon® Community Forum

  • No doubt moonshine, I'll get a handle on it before long... Thanks

    I pitched a cup of malted barley in my dunder to promote the lacto and put a window screen on the top to stop the critters from having their way with it

    I believe that the open air and hot temps help move things along ALOT faster, if it's closed and it's a "live" pit the blanket of c02 will retard the growth of anything I would believe rendering it inactive.


  • @grim said: Don't waste your time attempting to use random fruits or vegetables to inoculate your cultures. You won't ever be able to replicate it, worse, you'll end up inoculating with something you don't want, ruining your cultures. Or, if you use a large single culture, you'll end up destroying your whole program.

    Was thinking to dose a smaller container of the original with a bit of culture from my neighbors at 7venth Sun:


    600 x 720 - 58K
  • edited August 2017

    no brett No Brett NO BRETT!

    Don't do it. Brett is the devil. Your entire run of distillate will smell and taste like the worst box of phenolic bandaids you ever encountered. People will ask you why you are selling heavily peated rum.

  • Grim, to me a pure hearts cut can be pretty bland. Smooth as glass but a bit bland.

    That's one of the reasons I collect in small jars is so I can take some late heads and have them small enough to be able to smell the changes.

    Even on the tails, early is good then I collect in quarts until I pass the cloudy stuff then it goes clear again. I'll use the 10-25% sweet water to dilute my final blend so that I use less water. Although it's very low in alcohol it's still packed with flavor that water is lacking.

  • edited August 2017

    Here was Darek Bell's post on Brett:

    Re: Alt Whiskey's @ HD

    I don't necessarily agree with all of it, I suspect that it was largely a sacc. fermentation they saw, and less brett overall. In a lower starch/lower long chain wash like a distillers wash, with active enzyme through fermentation, I suspect that the brett contribution was pretty small. The lambic brewers are realizing that brett needs very special care and feeding (increasing turbitity, etc).

    1. sadly much of the sourness is lost in distillation. It is a very odd distillate, with lots of very strange of flavors.

    Sourness was never going to carry through as acid, but as ester. I know he knows this, it would result in sweetness, if anything.

    Agree with the strange flavor comment, but in my experience, the vinyl/phenols overpower everything. I know there are Brett strains lower in 4VG (bandaids/medicinal) - so maybe this is the trick, along with long, long, long term fermentation. I used Brux.

    Even got into a discussion that this couldn't happen with sugar based fermentation, because they lack the necessary malt precursors, which isn't the case because molasses contains enough p-Coumaric Acid (converts to 4-VP) and Ferulic Acid (converts to 4-VG). Not to mention sugar-based stillage is full of phenolic precursors:

    Sugar Cane Stillage: A Potential Source of Natural Antioxidants

    Which is probably why the rum trial I did was so bad.

  • I'm in love with phenylethyl acetate (and 2-) these days, she's the new elusive mistress.

    Honey ... but also cocoa. Big honey on the nose, but also this weird cocoa contribution. You wouldn't think they are related, but both are common esters in chocolate, and common byproducts of cacao fermentation. There are probably other compounds involved, but damn, when you get the honey coming through, it's always paired with the cocoa.

    Larry - I think you might have ran into her once or twice before.

  • May be as a result of Pichia kluyveri, which CHR Hanson now sells as FROOTZEN yeast.

  • I think you guys are about 3 steps ahead of me on alot of this stuff. LOL

    After a bunch of years of making swill that I thought was good stuff I joined a forum that taught me more than I ever thought was out there.

    Low abv washes/mashes

    proper yeast

    ph control



    Hell the list goes on and on and now I'm better than an average stiller, I make a fine bourbon, brandy and rum.

    What else can a man ask for???

  • Yah, all crazy talk and conjecture mostly.

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