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What to do with the tails?

edited January 2018 in General


Have got my 5" Dash with 200L boiler & gin basket up an running. Many thanks to @punkin for his good counsel & guidance. Have been working on Gin blends from a 8% Sugar Wash. My low wines is coming in at 40% & I then am putting 50L of low wines + 50L H2O to charge the boiler (i.e. 20 LAL) & adding botanicals into basket. Discarding the first litre to heads & then collecting in 1L increments. I am finding the tails come in at 65% ABV / 90°C when I have collected 10LAL of hearts.

My question is how can I reclaim any of the 9LAL I am discarding to tails? Should I keep it and stockpile until I can put through for a neutral run? Can you add back to your low wines?

It seems an awful waste. Just would like some tips to use it if possible.

Have included a photo of my setup. Thanks again



600 x 800 - 89K


  • I still have training wheels on my still but my tails are lucking to have about 3% abv after a spirit run. You should be able to collect about 90+% of your alchol. If you have low wines at 65% dilute to 40 and run it again.

  • edited January 2018

    Nice setup but I personally would not do it that way. I would make really good neutral doing the cuts during that process. Then reconfigure still without the plates and water down the neutral ( me to 20% ) and then do a gin run and collect all except maybe the first 300 ml. I don't think your GB 4 is big enough to hold the botanicals you would require in your process. I keep going till my average is 46% so I don't have to add any water to dilute. All this is in the Big Gin Thread..

    I have a 5" also 4 ss dash and 8 crystal but you boiler is something to dream about. I actually put my neutral thru 12 plates twice and my gin run is about 10 l of pure alc resulting in around 14 l gin. I put a little extra juniper in my column as can't quite fit it all in GB4

    Also if you can control your fermentation temperature at this time of year there is a brilliant dual yeast recipe by Mickiboi that I have posted that does a great tasting sugar wash at 14 % abv finish. I like it heaps more than TPW but you can't beat TPW for quick and forgiving.

    What's the cube for ? Condenser water? How does that go. Got any cooling on it?

  • I don't have much advice about the tails except that I only keep them and rerun them for whiskey. Really nice setup! We need to start a club called "The 5" Club".

    Actually, that doesn't sound too great.......

  • Many thanks for all your comments. Looks like I need to run a neutral run then do a botanical run. Have read through the Big Gin thread, but will revisit with your comments in mind. Condenser cooling on my unit is via a cheap submersible in a 1000lts H2O in an ibc .Works well for the shorter runs, but I can get water up to 50c in longer strip runs. Getting a fridgie mate to hook up a second hand water chiller unit in line in coming weeks. Thanks Gorst

  • Your SD 4" gin basket will allow you to do a 50l charge at 20% abv and it will make about 20 l of gin at 40%. After that your about the limit of the botanicals. There are a couple of other posts on Gin on how to get more out of a rig like you have by, for example, putting a 4" x 300mm extension piece on top of the GB4.

  • There is another way to consider.

    Make space in your gin basket as follows;

    The evening prior, dilute your kettle charge to 60% and add juniper berries direct into the kettle and leave overnight. You can do same with coriander as well. Both float so no problem of element scorching. (no crushing of berries).

    Next morning dilute to 30%, add balance of botanicals to your now empty basket, and start your gin run.

    Plenty space now in your basket.

  • @richard Also good advise. Have considered that process and have no problems with it. In fact i have done a number of vapor infusions and am feeling a little limited by it as to juniper zing so i think that will be my next trial. If you only dilute to 30% will you have to dilute to your final abv ? Thats why i dilute to around 18% and end up spot on. I do like the concept of vapor infusion but in the end it all comes to final taste..

    Also as @Gorst has a big boiler the other consideration is it becomes quite big batches and quantities of botanicals and at my stage of distilling i would prefer many trials of smaller lots for experimentation. There is only so much you can give away. The GB4 is a perfect match for a 50l still.

  • You can also just turn the power off for 30 secs and change baskets to a spare preloaded.

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  • Everything that I have read indicate an optimal kettle alcohol % of around 30% for ideal release of botanical oils. (When you want to find the source of info, you never can).

    All of my runs are at 31.5%. Yes it will ultimately need to be diluted at time of bottling.

    The bottom line here is that everyone has their own way of doing it be it right or wrong or whatever.

    Something else for others that do not know it. Post bottling, one need to ideally let the product stand for approx. 5 weeks prior to sale. This helps marry the alcohol and water together and lends itself to a more pleasant product.

  • Just running a neutral run this afternoon from 140lts of 27% low wines. Already at 60%/90c and not seeing the fusel oils that ihave seen in similar runs with botanicals.... However, how far can you push this neutral run & still have a clean product to use for the botanical run? Thanks Gorst

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