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I can’t find that old guide to running a pot still. Can you help me?

I seem to remember a guide written by a website owner on something like HD or AD. It WASN'T kiwi guy's thing on cuts.

Basically I’m kinda looking for a well informed guide to the intricacies of running a pot still for other than stripping purposes. So any guides or experiences of a higher level operations would be welcomed.

Cheers!

Comments

  • edited September 10

    You want ZBob's guide. If it was a dog it would have bit you.

    InTheStickiesSonPunkin

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  • @punkin said: You want ZBob's guide. If it was a dog it would have bit you.

    Not sure which guide this is referring to, the only relevant discussion here started by @zymurgybob is the following one:

    Read Me First - The Very Basics of Liquor Distillation

    There are a lot of links in his post and quite a few of them are about pot stills and pot distilling.

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  • Yes that one, in the stickies.

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  • AH YISSSSSS. That’s the goods baby!! Thanks so much

    Now I have to see if @zymurgybob has the book in pdf form. As much as I would prefer a paper book, between the US mail, the Pacific Ocean and the Fiji Post either I spend $200-400 to ship it or literally put it on a pallet and stick it in a container to freight is over.

  • From memory it was like this. Chuck everything you can in the still. Run the still as fast as possible. Put in barrel then drink. Works for me.

  • You have a lot to learn about pot stilling then.

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  • edited September 13

    I don't know. I have read @zymurgybob's stuff both the guide and many of his other posts. It gets back to basic stuff.

  • Has anyone read his book? Does it go into more detail than the guides linked above?

  • edited September 14

    I lent my copy to someone and never got it back worse luck. Anyone who thinks potstilling is simple probably thinks painting canvasses is just picking up a brush and dipping it in some paint.

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  • I hear top chefs just stick any old garbage in a saucepan and boil it as hard as they can then serve it to you to eat.

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  • Dead simple as golf. Simply wack the ball into the hole....

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  • Yup. Math is simply writing numbers on paper.

  • I think you are missing the point. @DonMateo is suggesting the methodology is one of minimal intervention which allows for greater expression of the ingredients and terrior, etc.

    This is a well regarded principle in wine making now; however, it was not always the case with winemakers who pioneered this approach shunned by their peers. Wild yeast fermentation is now a well regarded approach...

    I honestly thought this was supposed to be a supportive forum for people to learn and share ideas, rather than grabbing the torches and pitchforks and crying heresy why not engage in a constructive discussion?

  • @Sam said: I honestly thought this was supposed to be a supportive forum for people to learn and share ideas, rather than grabbing the torches and pitchforks and crying heresy why not engage in a constructive discussion?

    +1 but in fairness I think that there's sarcasm, humour etc. all being tossed in so I don't think it ought be taken literally.

  • edited September 16

    Definitely sarcasm for the sake of light hearted humor. Not at all pitch forks or the like.

    The basis being that superficially speaking, pot stilling (particularly) is seemingly the easiest, least mechanically complicated. But in reality requires the most amount of skill (and time) to make a top shelf product. The same can be said for any type of spirits distillation really.

    In short, not as easy as it looks.

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  • edited September 17

    Pitchforks?

    Certainly not.

    Insulted by these comments as an ex pot stiller ?

    @DonMateo said: From memory it was like this. Chuck everything you can in the still. Run the still as fast as possible. Put in barrel then drink. Works for me.


    @DonMateo said: I don't know. I have read @zymurgybob's stuff both the guide and many of his other posts. It gets back to basic stuff.

    Most certainly am, as i would think others are.

    Supportive forum? Yes.

    Supportive of that? Not me. The Don is an aussie, a good bloke and a good customer of mine so i kept the riposte's light while still making my point i thought.

    I've operated both plated and packed as well as pot stills and i know which one's require the most attention.

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  • edited September 17

    Hey I have worked in Construction for the last 25 years. @punkin has to work a lot harder to offend me. But on a more serious note, I have been doing pot stilling for the last 2 years and done about 250 runs. So I am not a beginner.

    I think its reasonably simple but my day job is analysing critical path networks of 15,000 activities that have 60 million man hours in them or looking at estimates of 20,000 lines and reviewing projects anywhere from US$100MM to US$12 billion. That's with a B. Some people have a different concept of what is complex. ( no sarcasm). I love this forum.. I hope I am contributing so that I can in someway pay back the knowledge that I have gotten over the last couple of years.

    On a lighter note I put a very decent straight wheat on the heavy toast lenga barrel last night. In 4 months I will know more about Lenga wood.

  • You certainly are contributing mate.

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  • So... turn it on then fiddle with it in cessantly until it shits out a world class rum?

    Is that basically where we are now?

  • Enter contestant number 2.

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  • @Fiji_Spirits if its a pot stilled rum you are after see if you can get hold of 'The Distillers Guide to Rum' it covers everything to do with rum including a suggested pot still method.

    Its quite a small book and I went from making shit to reasonable rum over night so am sure it would see you right.

    Whatever you make it has to be better the the Rum Co. of Fiji as their 5 year Ratu has a weird taste to it which has to come from a syrup they add.

    Given sugar cane is such a big crop over there I would look into an Agricole style as you could get the fresh juice no problem... of all the rums I've tasted the best one was an agricole (husk distillers in NSW). Just a thought

  • @Fiji_Spirits said: AH YISSSSSS. That’s the goods baby!! Thanks so much

    Now I have to see if zymurgybob has the book in pdf form. As much as I would prefer a paper book, between the US mail, the Pacific Ocean and the Fiji Post either I spend $200-400 to ship it or literally put it on a pallet and stick it in a container to freight is over.

    Hi- did you find if it is possible to get in PDF

  • Where are getting the info on Ratu?
    I know the manager there and know a bit about their processes.

  • @jacksonbrown Well the Ratu Dark has a very strong burnt caramel flavour to it (amongst others) and smells pretty funky, to the extent my wife won't let me drink it near her.

    When I put an alcometer in there it sits just under the 40% ABV listed on the bottle which is a pretty good indicator something has been added. Now I will admit the variance was small and my alcometer is not calibrated and certified but given the difference and the taste I assumed (rightly or wrongly) that some sort of caramel syrup has been added.

    I may well be wrong and if you know what they actually do I would love to know. Either way, its a strange flavour...

  • @fijispirits. Thats funny. My father sent a book to my kids. Express mail, from Townsville in North Queenland to Mendoza Argentina it took 6 months, yep exactly 180 days. This place is turning into Venezuela.

  • @Donmateo, the US postal service is all kinds of messed up right now so not much moving this direction these days by normal means.

    @Sam and @jacksonbrown, Ratu has a whole host of issues. It is not pure. The makers and distiller are well capable of making a fine rum (and actually do) but someone is making a decision to add color and/or artificial flavors to many of the products. Their aged and unadulterated product is quite nice but not really sold.

    @Westy, no I have not been able to source it and I am wondering if it even has material not already on the website in it.

  • Haha, I knew it tasted funny.

    @Fiji_Spirits I look forwards to drinking your spirits around the pool at the Sofitel just as soon as we can travel again. Would be great if you add a good sipping rum to the range!

  • edited September 20

    @Fiji_Spirits said: Their aged and unadulterated product is quite nice but not really sold.

    That reminds me of the group at St. Michael's Winery. All the wine snobs pontificate about the robustness of the bold red etc. But in the meantime it is the sweet whites that actually pay the bills.

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  • @Smaug said: That reminds me of the group at St. Michael's Winery. All the wine snobs pontificate about the robustness of the bold red etc. But in the meantime it is the sweet whites that actually pay the bills.

    Lol. True. Let just say that most folks don’t have much of a palate for spirits. I still cringe a bit when I watch a person get handed a fine spirit and asked their impressions of it, then they proceed to “shoot” it and tell me it’s “good”

    I can count on one hand the number of people I know in Fiji who are capable of expressing what they are tasting. One of them I trained.

  • Jeez, this is fun! Kinda like being alive at your own funeral.

    As far as getting the book in .pdf or Kindle (.mobi?), know ye that I wrote it and I sell some of it, but the publisher (Amphora Society, Mikes McCaw and Nixon) gets to say how it's available, and they say "no e-books". Sorry.

    Also, the book was published in 2011 as a beginner's guide to truly understanding the controlling principles of distillation, mostly about potstills, and how to distill, mostly without f*cking up. It was meant as a safe path through all the bullshit that was bandies about 10 years ago.

    We've all come a long way.

    All the really serious stuff I've learned about whiskies, mostly malt whiskys, has come since the book was written, and I'm truly proud of much of it, but most of it would not have been possible without doing in-distillery tastings where you can watch the expression on taster's face, and ask questions of her/him. For example: Is there anyone here who would give a sample of a 135-140 (cask strength) proof 6-month-old single malt with enough peat smoke to cure a ham, to a little old lady and expect to be told she loved the flavor, but wasn't it smoother_ than the 125 proof cask strength? I'd say that was absolutely nuts, if I hadn't been previously told by many tasters (helping us experiment with new products) that the ~140 proof was indeed smoother, and that they wanted to buy it. I also found that, strictly for information value, that most tasters found the un-aged un-proofed raw still output (all fractions mixed, of course) to be acceptable smooth and rich in malt flavor for sipping. Admittedly, this was the ~135-140 proof stuff, which had been, as is normal for that product, 4 times distilled.

    Sorry to say, though, there will probably never be another book with this stuff in it.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

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