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Louching...

Hi there,

We've just run a batch of gin off a 100L milk can boiler with a dash column and gin basket.

Once distilled the gin taste great and was crystal clear. However when we added the water to reduce the ABV the gin became cloudy.

The water used was de-ionised and from what we have read it could be called louching caused by oil content from the botanicals in the liquid reacting with the water.

In order to clear this we did some reading and had to add more base spirit at the same strength and the gin and then filter it. Questions are...

What's the best way to stop this happening? Use less botanicals? Different water? I read somewhere that adding gin to the water is better than adding water to gin?

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!

Stockport Gin www.stockport-gin.com t/i - @stockportgin F - /stockportginltd

Comments

  • Use less botanicals. What % botanicals to ethanol did you use?

  • edited March 23

    What he said. How many grams of botanicals per finished bottle of gin? Take your total botanical weight, divide it by the number of expected bottles at your target proof.

    This is usually pretty telling.

    What proof were you trying to dilute to?

  • edited March 24

    @TheMechWarrior said: Use less botanicals....

    Or more ethanol ;)

  • Had the same problem . Looked like gatoraide ice . Lol Let it sit for a few weeks and it was clear ! But ...... The culprit was oil from the botanicals . The clear spirit had small oil beads floating on the top . Back off the botanicals should help

  • It works out about 35g per bottle. Think by the sounds of it we need to scale it back. Any info on what is a more suitable amount?

    Stockport Gin www.stockport-gin.com t/i - @stockportgin F - /stockportginltd

  • Wow start at 20 for a nicely balanced gin. It really depends on your Juniper and the level of oil in your Juniper. Read the thread developing gin recipe. Depending on your Juniper, for a medium Juniper gin, start at 15 gram juniper 7 for Coriander, and the rest should be about another 4 to 5. Sounds like your starting at 25 grams juniper which is a heavy load with heavy oils.

  • Since bottling strength can vary greatly I always use mass of botanicals divided by volume of pure ethanol in the still.

    Put simply, there's a physical limit to the concentration of essential oils a given percentage of ethanol can suspend.

    While the essential oil content of certain botanicals can vary greatly, don't concern yourself for this exercise.

    Your upper limit is going to be well under 20%, there is no lower limit.

    That is, you must be well under 20g of botanicals for every 100mL of pure ethanol in your pot still. You will find you specific limit based on the botanical profile of your gin. Obviously, the higher the ABV of your final gin, the higher the % botanical concentration you can use.

    Be aware though, if you're running at the upper concentration of botanicals, so much so that you have to have greater than 40% abv (80 proof) to keep it in solution...your gin will louche when diluted to drinking strength.

    Exceed the botanical concentration for a 40% abv (80 proof) gin and will louche in the bottle. The only fix for this is to drop the botanical concentration to below the louche threshold, remembering to test the final product at "winter" storage temperatures to ensure it doesn't louche at these lower temps. Put it in the fridge for a while, that will tell you.

    If it still louches, drop the botanical conc further, or accept it and make it part of your story.

  • edited March 27

    I have I think from @CothermanDistilling at the bottom of my spreadsheet the following EXTRA as a check

    (Just cut and pasted some past data)

    Total calculated final EtOH @ 100% ABV (Absolute alcohol) 13.19 Litres
    Total mass ingredients / Botanicals ......               645.10 Grammes
    Actual % m/v ..(mass ingredient to final volume neutral)   4.9%
    
    ............ > 8% gives louching in G&T glass   
    ............ >11% gives louching in 43% bottle gin
    
  • True for a given botanical at a given time of year for a given season.

    You will find you can exceed 15% based on my previous sentence.

    11% is most certainly, a safe bet.

  • I agree with what everyone's said, except for the absolute desirability of appearance over flavor.

    We see louching in the bottle under some conditions, and all through the proofing process. Customers ask us why our gin is so much more flavorful that their normal preferences. About 4 out of 10 people who claim to hate gin, buy it after they smell it. By volume, gin is our best seller. We explain that the cloudiness (when seen) is flavor, for exactly the same reason as the absinthe they (presumabl) hate because it louches when typically served, is flavor.

    My questions: What should I do to my gin? ...and... Why?

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • Are you talking 1L/70cl/50cl bottles @StockportGin ? Did you take necessary heads cuts to remove the juniper oils?

  • We have samples from three different manufactors, all have been great quality. Last delivery (96+% ABV) from choosen manufactor louches at first quality test straight from IBC with deonized water. All bottles and pumps used are totally sterilized on our part. We are convinced that something has to be wrong with the delivered batch. Any ideas what could be wrong with it?

  • Every time I've had that problem, I have bumped up the ABV from 40% to 45 or 50 and problem solved.

    FC

  • N_D
    edited April 25

    @FloridaCracker said: Every time I've had that problem, I have bumped up the ABV from 40% to 45 or 50 and problem solved.

    Interesting, problem is still there though. Louching tells us that there is something in the GNS that reacts with water. That is not on any circumstances something we want to build our end-product on.

  • I use distilled water for proofing so there's that.

    FC

  • @FloridaCracker I accept the comment re. distilled water but my take on it is that ditilled water really has no taste i.e. it is completely stripped. Something like sterile filtered spring water still has its taste to it and I would have said it is more adventageous to use.

  • Not likely to be sterility based issue. If you are getting some type of precipitate in your NGS with dilution using water then it is likely to be contaminating fatty acid (oil) from the grain or maybe even the yeast cell wall used to make the NGS. Minerals from the water may be causing the fatty acid(s) to form an insoluble compound. If this is happening , it is most likely a calcium or magnesium based salt of the fatty acid, i.e., soap scum. DI water is still going to have some of these Ca++ or Mg++ ions in it, just a low concentration than what is in tap or spring water.

    Take a small sample of your NGS add water to form precipitate. Acidify the sample to lower the pH to see if it goes away. If so, then you have soap scum. Not pretty sounding but should be able to filter out easily.

  • @richard said: FloridaCracker I accept the comment re. distilled water but my take on it is that ditilled water really has no taste i.e. it is completely stripped. Something like sterile filtered spring water still has its taste to it and I would have said it is more adventageous to use.

    Come visit us here in Florida and it will become "crystal clear" as to why I use distilled. The water in most of the state is a combination of swamp gas flavor and off-cabbage. Now if I lived in a state like Kentucky or Tennessee I damn sure would use the local water.

    I'll take no taste over swamp gas flavor every day, lol.

    FC

  • Would love to come but I think it will only be next year.

  • @richard said: Would love to come but I think it will only be next year.

    :)>-

    FC

  • I would be talking to the supplier if it was me. This should not be your problem to deal with and i'm sure they are aware of it.

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

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