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Effect of Stripping Run & Number of Bubble Sections on Flavour

Hi - I'm going to introduce stripping runs in my rum because my elements scorch the wash if I try to do this in one run. I was planning to make rum with 4 x bubble sections in one run. Now I'll be doing a stripping run first followed by a spirit run. As I'm wanting to play around with reflux on my 4 inch Dash 2 column, I'm wondering if I should be reducing the number of bubble sections to 3 or even possibly 2 on the spirit run?

I know you might be thinking I should just "try it" and I will - but as I've already thrown 2 x 100L washes due to burning, I'd be grateful of any opinions that would lead me to a decent flavour baseline, from which I can continue to experiment. Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • edited January 15

    @JayTee, to avoid the scorching problem I've gone to direct steam. My setup is pressure cooker that I modified to attach a line to a copper pipe where the element would normally be attached to the milk can. See my pictures.

    Please use caution when using direct steam. It's very efficient however can be very dangerous. I feel confident about my set up because the PSV is redundant on the pressure cooker, I keep the open flames far away from the parrot (fire hazard), distill outdoors where it's well ventilated, and attend the runs at all times. If I have to leave I shut it down.

    See my pics for my direct steam injection setup and testing.

    Note I do not go over 10 gallons in a 12 gallon milk can. You will gain volume during a run by using direct steam. This can be calculated exactly depending on how long you want to run. Also use boiling stones (regular ole driveway rocks are fine) in the pressure cooker b/c you may run the risk of creating sections of superheated water in the pressure cooker. This will make the steam delivery pulse. You want a smooth delivery.

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  • Thanks @Ryan. I'll tuck steam away as a plan B if I need it. Cheers for the photos.

    I've been trawling the internet and it seems to me that I should perhaps trial 2 bubble sections for the spirit run first (following a strip run). Any more may take out too much flavour. As per my original request, if anyone has any practical experience I'd be very grateful - thanks

  • edited January 18

    If you want a cleaner rum, strip on plates, reflux towards the end of the run, don't go deep into the tails.

    If you want a heavy rum, strip without plates, go deep into the tails. Or run single pass with plates.

    Carboxylic acids will not come over until late in the strip, and they only come over because they form azeotropes with water. Plates with reflux action keep the water back, so they keep the carboxylics back.

    This will impact ester formation in the spirit run, less acids, less esters. Use this effect to your own advantage.

    You'll be surprised how difficult it is to take flavor out of rum, you could easily run 4 plates after a strip, and still have a very full flavored rum for aging.

    White rums intended for direct bottling, you can probably distill on the bleeding edge of neutral and it will still be obvious rum.

    We distill our dark rums around 180 proof (final aggregate proof), single pass (no strip). The early part of the run comes off at 190 and is unmistakably rum.

    I absolutely hate sugar-based vodka, at their very best they are still light white rums.

  • edited January 18

    Thanks @grim. Really helpful :-)

  • Totally agree with grim. Rum notes are bullfrog tough. 8 plates isn't going to scrub those rummy characteristics.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Just another thought in your process, try a half / half run. Do a strip run(s) without plates, not sure how deep exactly with tails but I go to 25-20% depending on smell/time/guesswork? (honestly each run is a bit different) Then chuck your plates back in 3 or 4, add half from your strip the other half as normal wash and I think you may be surprised, a less burnable rum but heaps of alc volume so may take a little longer with good flavor. I do this with whisky and have very good results. As a bonus stripping is quick and you free up the fermenters, but then the actual real run will take a lot longer but the yield will be far better than a single run.

    Fadge

  • edited January 19

    @fadge said: Just another thought in your process, try a half / half run. Do a strip run(s) without plates, not sure how deep exactly with tails but I go to 25-20% depending on smell/time/guesswork? (honestly each run is a bit different) Then chuck your plates back in 3 or 4, add half from your strip the other half as normal wash and I think you may be surprised, a less burnable rum but heaps of alc volume so may take a little longer with good flavor. I do this with whisky and have very good results. As a bonus stripping is quick and you free up the fermenters, but then the actual real run will take a lot longer but the yield will be far better than a single run.

    Fadge

    What you describe is more or less the part of the inspiration for the DoubleDragon™ systems.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Welcome back @fadge , long time no see.

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

  • Thanks @fadge - will give the "half and half" a go, but I'm going back to first principles with the current wash first - strip then spirit rum - just to satisfy myself that I won't burn that one. (I've wrecked my first two attempts!)

    @Smaug - good news that the rum taste will prevail through the strip and spirit runs - thanks :-)

  • Half-half is an awesome approach.

  • @fadge said: Just another thought in your process, try a half / half run. Do a strip run(s) without plates, not sure how deep exactly with tails but I go to 25-20% depending on smell/time/guesswork? (honestly each run is a bit different) Then chuck your plates back in 3 or 4, add half from your strip the other half as normal wash and I think you may be surprised, a less burnable rum but heaps of alc volume so may take a little longer with good flavor. I do this with whisky and have very good results. As a bonus stripping is quick and you free up the fermenters, but then the actual real run will take a lot longer but the yield will be far better than a single run.

    Fadge

    We do something similar with most of out products, but with straight potstills, and it gives us flavor and quality I wouldn't do without.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @zymurgybob would you go lower than 25% on a strip

  • @GD50, I reckon an off wine does nicely if stripped down so that the low wines have been diluted enough (rather than diluting with water after) to amount to barrel strength for the spirit run. Lots of florals carry over.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • What I find missing is 'reflux ratio'...

    With a pot still you can do just as high of a reflux ratio(infinite) or 'full-reflux' by lowering the heat or having a larger helmet.. My 380L pot still with a helmet had a L (in the R=L/D reflux formula) of 100ml/min, and a single element generated 200ml/min of vapor... so with one element I got 100ml/min out, with 2 elements I got 300ml/min out... very, very different product with no plates, but RR of 1 vs 3 made all the difference...

    also, I can get lots of great flavor at a much faster rate with 30 ProCap plates running with minimum reflux to keep plates operating, and running at 170-180 proof... but just like a pot still, in that mode of operation, the tails come through very early...

  • @GD50 said: zymurgybob would you go lower than 25% on a strip

    (Sorry, I missed this) On whiskey stripping runs and the first 2 brandy/grappa stripping runs, we strip to a head temperature of 98C (I know - idiots using thermometers)- gotta check the cigar curve for actual %. OK, that puts my output at ~20%.

    I guess my answer is yes.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • edited January 25

    There may be some benefit to stripping very deep into tails if your end result is a heavy/funky rum. This would also show there is a detriment to going deep into the tails if your goal is more neutral. Both of the wicked carboxylics (propionic and butyric) come over in their acid forms late in tails.

    Appears that the carboxylic acids necessary to form the requisite esters only come over as azeotropes with water.

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    Thus, if you cut your heavy rum early on the strip, you'll never have a chance of creating more esters in the final distillation.

    This is a great pictorial view of why a high ester Jamaican double thumper still would be filled with early tails (high wines) and late tails (low wines).

    I don't have alcodens handy to convert those g/l ethanol measures into proof or ABV.

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  • We can't do rum (no Washington State certified cane products to my knowledge), but we don't see tails in the classic funk flavors sense on our barley malt stripping runs. Instead, we get a steadily-increasing big round richness of grain flavor in the distillate, until we stop collecting at 98C.

    Even on the spirit run, with product pulled at 91C to ensure cask strength, we continue a second collection to 98C to get a super flavor rich distillate that we use to proof our aged product with. What's left after proofing goes back into the still for the first stripping run.

    In dollar terms, out "Irishish" is our best seller; in volume. it's gin. Customers love them both for their flavor.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

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