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Why run NGS through 4 plates before a Gin Basket?

I see a few micro distilleries running NGS through 4 or 6 plates to a gin basket.. Why? Surely the ABV off a 30% charge into a gin basket would be just fine.

Help me understand why as I am just planning on running a pot still to make gin. Have i got my head in the wrong place with this thinking?

Comments

  • It was explained to me by a customer who has been winning international medals for decades that the GNS has improved leap years over those twenty years but still needs a heads cut to reach his standards.

    No reason you can't do that heads cut with a potstill, it just won't be as compressed.

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

  • I have been taking a heads cut when I have been doing a gin run to take out the heavy juniper oil components of the run. When you think about it, its normally 2-3 % of the final volume which is an equivalent of the first parts of a head cut. The process works both ways. But I what would I know and I havent won any international medals, yet.

  • ok, makes sense.. compression of "heads" cut, I am hoping that running with 2kw on a 40l charge will be slow enough to allow the heavy juniper oil cut to incorporate the heads also..

  • I make gin from GNS using a potstill, and yes I do make a heads cut. Primarily to get rid of the juniper oil, any imperfections in the GNS caught are a bonus - not that I've found many in mine. I do take that heads cut very slowly.

  • edited September 30

    And of course the white elephant in the room is that it also allows for the distillery to utilize certain descriptors for the finished product that might otherwise be somewhat misleading to purists.

    Of course that tact may also be also somewhat misleading to a purist.

    Not judging at all BTW. The GNS model makes a lot of sense on several levels.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @Smaug in fact historically there might not be anything wrong with using GNS: genever production in the Netherlands was split into two separate businesses, strictly kept separate by the tax authorities. One made the alcohol from grain, the other was called a "fine distillery" which bought the alcohol and added botanicals to make a quality product. The UK has "redistilling" licenses nowadays. "Grain to glass" seems to be an American thing, especially when talking about gin production. Rum and whisky are a different matter of course.

  • by using plates in a vapor infusion setup, it seems that you get higher alcohol concentration through the botanicals.. good or bad, the water soluble components would seem to be lower..

  • edited October 1

    I believe the effervescence that happens when dilutiing distilate down to drinking strength drives off desirable volatiles extracted from the botanicals. So, I dilute my botanical run still charge to an alcohol percentage that produces the disired drinking strength right off of the still. Adding four plates upstream from the gin basket would make the proof of the product more difficult to control.

    It is two different processes. Separate them. Do a cuts run. Then circle back and do a botanicals run with no cuts needed.

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

  • @Kapea said: I believe the effervescence that happens when dilutiing distilate down to drinking strength drives off desirable volatiles extracted from the botanicals. So, I dilute my botanical run still charge to an alcohol percentage that produces the disired drinking strength right off of the still. Adding four plates upstream from the gin basket would make the proof of the product more difficult to control.

    It is two different processes. Separate them. Do a cuts run. Then circle back and do a botanicals run with no cuts needed.

    Thats what I do

  • edited October 8

    Very different approach from the UK crew who seems that multi-shot is the way to go (first make a gin-flavor concentrate and then dilute with ngs and water).

    I suspect the methodology developed not because it's better, but because those guys are running undersized stills and were looking for a way to speed up production.

  • There are certainly different priorities between hobbyists and professional distillers.
    As a hobbyist, quality of product is the prime consideration for me. Cost and time are given low priority. In fact time spent on production is a big part of the enjoyment of the hobby.

    Pros must find a way to make the best product possible while balancing the cost to do so. A very different driver.

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

  • @grim said: Very different approach from the UK crew who seems that multi-shot is the way to go (first make a gin-flavor concentrate and then dilute with ngs and water).

    I suspect the methodology developed not because it's better, but because those guys are running undersized stills and were looking for a way to speed up production.

    Not necessarily. This is how big alcohol (Diageo, Pernod Ricard) do it with their leading brands (Gordon's, Beefeater, etc). They create a concentrate and stretch with NGS up to 30 times. They'll put a spin on it along the lines of "it makes it more consistent across batches." It's like comparing orange juice from concentrate to that of fresh squashed oranges. Some small gin companies in the UK contract out their distilling. The contract distiller will make a gin concentrate that will be enough for the small companies output for an entire year.

  • For slightly different reasons, I started using the "make the concentrate and the dilute and proof" process maybe 15 years ago, and because I could predict the outcome, that's how we started, and we get great reaction from customers to the gin. We are very juniper forward, so I'd saw my knobs off wit a butter knife before I's spend time trying reduce those "heavy juniper oils".

    We commonly get people at the tastings who don't like gin, but after a smelling, and then a tasting, they buy a bottle. There may be lots of "improvements" we cold make, bt I don't want to risk what ever bot.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • if you have been selling it with success for 15 years we could all learn a lesson from you my friend!

  • @zymurgybob said: We commonly get people at the tastings who don't like gin, but after a smelling, and then a tasting, they buy a bottle. >

    That is one of the best parts of working the gift shop as a distiller!

    and one existing customer telling a first time visitor 'I don't like Gin, but I like their Gin!'

  • Does the ABV of the vapor matter as it goes through the gin basket? If you use a reflux still, there should be a fairly consistent 96% throughout the whole run. But if you use a pot still, the ABV will be lower, and vary throughout the run. What effect will this have on the end result (flavor)? And is what I'v assumed even correct?

    @Kapea, can you expand on "the effervescence that happens when dilutiing distilate down to drinking strength drives off desirable volatiles extracted from the botanicals" please - i'm not sure I understand. What causes the effervescence?

    As an aside, thanks for a great forum - I'm new here and to distilling in general - lots to learn.

  • I do not know the details of physical/chemical reaction that takes place when you dilute a high percent ethanol solution to a lower percent with water. I do know from observation that it happens. It is exothermic (gives off heat), and causes effervescence in the diluted solution.

    Maybe someone can post a link here to an explanation of the phenomenon?

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

  • A guess - At higher temperatures, gasses are less soluble in liquids - the exothermic reaction causes the dissolved gasses to bubble out.

  • Thanks - that makes sense. Any thoughts around the optimal ABV that should pass through the gin basket? I'm starting with NGS and trying to decide if I need a full Dash 1, or if I can piece together a pot still. I was thinking of replacing the 4 plate column with a pipe extension.

  • I've also read here that it might be worth while keeping the Dephag, so I can swap out the gin basket half way through the run. If i'm in all Hearts when I make the swap - do I loose anything on the second basket? I guess it won't be exposed to any of the heads from the NGS?

  • @needmorstuff said: if you have been selling it with success for 15 years we could all learn a lesson from you my friend!

    Only been selling it for 3 years

    @grim said: A guess - At higher temperatures, gasses are less soluble in liquids - the exothermic reaction causes the dissolved gasses to bubble out.

    I like that explanation. The question came up last week while proofing for bottling, and I was demonstrating the use of a powerful little LED flashlight to show the bubbles and the apparent density creep as they outgassed. I used @Kapea's explanation, but damned if I could figure out what reaction produced the gas.

    Thanks Grim. Now I can look smart.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • edited November 11

    I would like to read an explanation about whether the bubbles are caused by a chemical reaction, or caused by decreased gas solubility due to temperature increase, or boiling, or perhaps all of the above?

    I do know there is a decrease in volume associated with dilution, e.g. 100mL of 96% ethanol + 100mL of water does not produce 200mL of 48% ethanol as would be expected. It is less than 200mL when cooled to the original temperature.

    Seems like I remember this issue being addressed somewhere in the reams and reams of US TTB data. Somewhere...

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

  • Damn!! I hafta go back to looking dumb again?

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • You're an engineer. Surely you're used to it?

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

  • edited November 13

    I became an engineer cause I wanted to drive trains.
    (wish dey woulda tolt me I dint need to take all dem heinous maths!)

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

  • But you got the stripey cap, right? (and I'm ignoring @punkin, probably because he's right)

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

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