StillDragon® Community Forum

Welcome!

Be part of our community & join our international next generation forum now!

In this Discussion

Demisting Phenomenon, Booze Styles, History and Stuff

This discussion was created from comments split from: {M} Big ProCaps.

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

«1

Comments

  • I don't want to derail the thread, but I think the demisting phenomenon is real, but the reasons attributed to it (at least in what I've read) are incomplete. It would be interesting to discuss it off the record.

  • edited February 10

    @jbierling said: Demisting phenomenon

    Can you explain please?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited February 10

    Super simple, don't read too much into it.

    Carryover of tails into the heads/early hearts cut of the next run, primarily the long-chain fatty acids and esters that will result in clouding when proof is reduced.

    If you are cleaning, or at least rinsing your still between runs, the "demisting test" is not applicable. It can't be, there won't be any of these longer-chain compounds in the distillate to cloud the heads.

    Keep in mind that it was not commonplace to clean a spirit still, for fear of disrupting the patina. I'm talking about doing back to back runs, no cleaning, no rinsing. Dump and restart.

  • Ah sure. That's always been a point of concern with this type of modular approach.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Can you not do a "steam blow" with water to clean the still without disturbing the patina between runs?

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @Kapea said: Can you not do a "steam blow" with water to clean the still without disturbing the patina between runs?

    Sure. No problem to work around.

    I think grim's observation is more about literal back to back runs in the least amount of time.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • More I read about old whiskey, the more I realize old whiskey was most likely garbage.

    I understand the big desire to romanticize the past, but honestly, good whiskey was probably very rare in those times, and shitty adulterated whiskey was likely the norm.

  • @grim said: More I read about old whiskey, the more I realize old whiskey was most likely garbage.

    I understand the big desire to romanticize the past, but honestly, good whiskey was probably very rare in those times, and shitty adulterated whiskey was likely the norm.

    Social norms (Or the like) prolly play a hand too. My feeling is that a clean spirit would be not as desirable as a "nice" Baiju at any male dominated social event in China. Maybe not so much with the younger generation. But the codgers like @punkin for instance I feel would prefer the more harsh qualities.

    Ya gotta smell it. It's like straight up heads. And sold in every little convenient store establishment it seems.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I spent 3 weeks in China on a work related trip with the special banquet every night. I have never drunk so much booze in my life and if I never drink Baiju ever again it will not be too soon.

  • At the risk of going further off topic, it's in a lot of cultures, from baiju to grappa and raki. I see the appeal in a spirit with some coarse qualities, i guess that's why i drink tequilla so often.

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

  • Same feeling about Plum brandy in Austria, Germany, Slovakia.

    “The best”

    I cringe when I hear that, all heads.

  • Though to be fair,,ya gotta kinda keep a measure of those low boiling point alcohols to keep the fruit notes in play, no?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @Smaug said: Though to be fair,,ya gotta kinda keep a measure of those low boiling point alcohols to keep the fruit notes in play, no?

    No, but hey, they look good on you! :D

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited February 12

    @Smaug said: I think grim's observation is more about literal back to back runs in the least amount of time.

    Runs->continuous
    as
    interim time->0

    plug flow reactor vs batch reactor

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • baiju is an acquired taste. The standard stuff is terrible. You can get very expensive stuff and you can appreciate the spirit.

    I do business in China and have had the privilege of drunken business nights. The Chinese like the fact you give it a go. They like watching the faces we pull, the worse the better.

    China has really good wine so get cut on wine before so you can handle baiju.

    I found good baiju is not heads. In fact i have been carried back to the hotel and had no headache the next day.

    Its funny how the Russians shoot spirit with no taste and Chinese shoot a clear spirit that most westerners gag on. Both are cultural with very long histories.

  • @grim I completely agree about old whisky, but you will have to taste some recent fine Edelbrand made of plum, pear and such from Austria, it has nothing to do with the German stuff or even Slovakia. Thankfully we have a very good and affordable education for distillers here, which has proved to be very fruitful taste wise.

    I don't mean the Schnapps sold on a ski hut, that is a different story ;)

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • edited February 12

    Ok ok, enough playing around, might upset someone for real.

    I've had good Baiju, and I've had shit Baiju. Just like I've had great moonshine, and I've had moonshine that tasted worse than the low wines out of a stripping run, in fact, I think it was the low wines out of a stripping run, no, even worse. The distiller kept the hearts for himself and sold off the heads and tails. The world of tequila has changed, big time, in the past 5-10 years. The new breed of high-end tequilas are nothing like the old commercial tequila a decade past. Like Sunshine says, even in the old distilling cultures across Europe, even what would be considered crudely produced before, is getting pretty good. Heck, even grappa seems to be giving up on it's distinctive harsh edge.

    Back to demisting and crappy old whiskey. You need to keep in mind, distillers were distilling BLIND. Spirit safes were locked, you couldn't smell or taste the distillate to make your cut. Some safes had a water supply so you could do an impromptu demisting test on the distillate running from the still to make your cut. If you've ever wondered why there was such a dramatic focus on cutting by temperature or cutting by distillate proof, realize that this didn't evolve because it was the best way, it evolved because it was the only way. I mean, sure, they probably made some great whiskey, and if there wasn't such a ridiculous focus on "protecting the revenue", they would have probably made a lot of it. Instead, we have a legacy of odd and obscure workaround techniques, like demisting and hydroseparation.

  • @DonMateo said: I spent 3 weeks in China on a work related trip with the special banquet every night. I have never drunk so much booze in my life and if I never drink Baiju ever again it will not be too soon.

    My son taught English in China, right after that fuss in Tien An Min Square, with horror stories about baiju. Evidently you never really know how far you can spit, until you get a mouthful of that stuff.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • I think the only one tolerable came in a lovely bottle design that has to be basically broken open. Evidently it was a good one. Had to politely choke it down. I think punkin and Jeff kind of enjoyed it...

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited February 13

    I would imagine if the US never prohibited moonshining, and we never really had much of a liquor industry, something kind of like Baiju would have eventually happened here, with regional distinctions based on the fermentables. Down near the sugar cane, it would be rum-like, up in the north grain based, maybe some potato and starch based in the northwest, regional fruits, etc. It's almost unclassifiable as a class/type in the traditional sense.

  • I likie it myself. Certain brands at certain price points for sure, there was some stuff we bought that both Jeff and I tipped without tasting, but generally if you spent the dosh you'd get what you paid for.

    We also some some plum spirits made by the Laoban of DYE that was excellent. He said it was a wine, but they don't really make the distinction between fermented and distilled.

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

  • I was there in a business trip with a Chinese mining company. Every night was hard core. After about 15 nights I started counting. We were doing 20 shots of Baiju a night, every night. They would gang up on us and take it in turn to do the personal toasts. But there were always only 7 of us guoialos and 30 chinese so we were always outnumbered. After coming home from that 21 day trip I didnt drink a drop of alcohol for a month.

  • @punkin On that note, I have a history question that's been bugging me that you might have an answer to. Earliest known eastern distillation. I got tangled up in a history debate about how long people have been condensing alcohol, and the sources on eastern distillation get murky because the same word is used for wine and distilled spirits. Has a proud Chinese distiller ranted to you about their history?

  • edited February 15

    There is some evidence the process of distillation, or at least the crude beginnings, were known as early as 2000-800 B.C., but this was focused more on botanicals, perfume, etc. The most crude examples were hanging cloth or fur over boiling kettles and condensing/absorbing the distillate in the material. A number of historians has said that it was highly likely that distillation was likely independently discovered by various cultures over various times. You can see how this is plausible. Take something that smells nice, put it in a kettle with some water, boil it, the vapor smells really nice. Hang a garment near the vapor, now it smells really nice, you've made perfume. It could have been discovered completely serendipitously, with only basic techniques, and no understanding of the chemical process. Stand too close to the pot of soup, when you are making soup, and you smell like soup. Imagine doing the same with lavender or jasmine. By the time of Aristotle (350bc) distillation of water was well known.

    I believe though, that most experts trace the history of modern alcohol distilling to the middle east, and that it likely expanded to the east through trade and communication. By the 9th, 10th centuries, this would have been somewhat widely known through the middle east and trading partners, and I believe this predates China.

  • Sorry, i knew nothing of the history of distillation till i read Grim's post.

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

  • edited February 16

    How did ancient Chinese distill spirits?

    This report has Ming Dynasty ceramic stills which was from the 1300 which is about when Distilling technology started to spread throughout Europe. Which makes sense. The silk road was a two way transfer of goods and information and technology. Western civilisation got Gunpowder and noodles. And the Chinese got the technology to make Baiju. I still hate that stuff. But gunpowder is cool

  • edited February 15

    That author clearly had one too many when they wrote that.

    Tequila was first distilled in China? Some kind of bad translator perhaps.

  • edited February 16

    @grim, that tracks with what I know. Mary the Jewess was no later than the 1st century and is one of the oldest records of distillation, but even she references it as something that was known rather than her own idea. Distillation USING alcohol as a medium dates somewhere a few hundred years before drinking liquor was first recorded, an true distilled spirits for drinking happened in the 12th century. I think the historians putting China earlier are using fuzzy translation and wishful thinking.

  • The anecdotes around amphora or jars of wine heated in fires, where it was observed that the vapor at the mouth would catch fire, I think are hugely interesting. This would have been a very curious thing.

Sign In or Register to comment.