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Hi everyone. Just introducing myself and taking the opportunity to thank everyone for their contributions to this great forum. I've been lurking around for a few months and have already learnt so much.
I've got lots of questions to ask, but I'll try to keep up with the researching first so I don't waste everyone's with basic questions.
I'm currently focusing on neutral spirits and recipes for sugar washes etc. However.... I'm lucky enough to have access to 'tonnes' of high quality Shiraz grapes, which will be ready for harvest in about four months (If we ever get any warm weather this summer!), so one of my first questions will be how to best make use of this harvest.
Anyway, back to the research!
Welcome mate. Brandy springs to mind of course, but Pisco might be a very good product.
There is a top recipe for Arak/Ouzo in the recipe section, neutral made from grape wine would a good base for it, although i was using white wine in mine.
StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand
Gday Simmo Mate. Howzithanging cobber. Aussie here who lives in wine country (Mendoza) in Argentina. I actually lived in Adelaide for about 4 months. I had a great time. Anyway for really good pisco you need Quebranta grapes for good pisco. I lived in Peru for 8 years and there is such a huge difference between good white brandy that is called pisco and Pisco made with Quebranta grapes. There is a pisco thread somewhere on this board.
Your best bet is Brandy, For Cognac you need Umni Blanco grapes or another light white grape as the base and for that they use about 80% Umni Blanco grapes and 20 % of some other grapes. Brandy can be whatever the grape is from. I investigated making brandy here and I have been asked if I can do it. I have avoided it because once the grapes are harvested you have a very small window of time to run them. Unless you have a very large still it doesnt make a lot of sense. As well too if you dont have either a bain marie or steam injected or external heat source the tannins get burnt on your heating elements. Once a mate of mine convinced me to try and make grappa. He turns up at my house with 150kg of malbec skins and leftovers. So we put them in 200l fermeters and add hot water at 60 degrees then add a bit of sugar and cool it down. Then pumped this nasty red wine looking goop into my still and ran it. My still is bain marie. Anwyay I to did two stripping runs and barely got 20l out of either and the final spirit was about 15l. It tasted terrible and my mate didnt help spray out the layers of red goop and skins on the inside of my still. It took me a couple of hours to clean everything up. I must say I am curious on doing a Malbec brandy but the problem that I have, at least right now, is the still I have is only 300l so a winery has called me up and said hey can you process 5000l in a couple of days. The answer has been no. I am still going to do it but my copper stills main run whiskey. And thats the way I am keeping it. Good luck mate. I take back everything I ever said about croweaters.
One more thing if you read about brandy and cognac stills in France and Italy and how they run them. Once they start the run them 24 hours a day for 3 to 4 weeks a year and that is it. Anything after that and they have to put sulphur in the wine and that passes over and is very bad in distillation. ( think smelling and tasting like rotten eggs). Which is why the Charantrias stills have the preheater in the middle. It is both to preheat and save energy but also to save a lot of time by the preheating. The process is continuous for 3 to 4 weeks.
@DonMateo Consider grape concentrate. It's stable and you can ferment as you please. I am sure that you must have such suppliers in Argentina.
@richard. Thanks for the comment. One of the reasons why I dont make brandy is that there is a limited market and low saleprice per bottle, so why would I bother. It takes me a little more time to make whiskey but I can sell a bottle of whisky for $100 a bottle and a bottle of brandy for $20. As for grape concentrate, they also put sulphates in that as well.
@DonMateo Unfortunately sulphites is correct. One just needs to look at the fermentation and stripping with copper so as to minimise this.
@richard, we never seem to agree do we. As for taking sulphites, or sulfatos in Spanish out of wine your talking about something that obviously you have never done. There are a couple threads on this board about attempting to take sulphites out of wine and the universal opinion is its not worth it. I was persuaded to attempt it with a commercial beer that had a very small amount of sulphites in it, and it smelled and tasted like shit even going through my copper still with additional copper mesh in the vapor path. I am never going to attempt to do it again either with Beer or wine.
So next time try it before you write about something you have no experience with.
@DonMateo Put a sock in it. I have distilled in excess of 20,000L of product high with sulphites. A Scottish distiller came and tried the final product (Gin) and reckoned it was one of the best they've ever tried.
What is it with you. There was nothing confrontational but yet you chose a conflict route.
Your experience comment is out of line as I have a shit load. Fuck me sideways enough is enough with your kak. Stop it.
See what you started Simmo. :-O
Hey. Aussies and South Africans are like water and oil. We never mix well.
Firstly, my apologies for taking so long to reply, I'm feeling quite embarrassed! Unfortunately, just after starting this thread, life got in the way big time and everything got shelved, literally. Only yesterday did I start unpacking the crate on my new still. It was definitely worth the wait though - looks so bloody cool!
Unfortunately I missed our grape harvest opportunity, but that will come around again next year - which gives me plenty of time to be more organised and to know what the heck I'm doing.
Thanks @punkin for all your generous advice and expertise - I'm a very happy newbie distiller!
G'day @DonMateo mate... I stumbled across your post yesterday about your shed conversion project - very impressive, that will be an amazing site when done. You'll appreciate this - I'm setting up my still in the corner of our good 'ol Aussie Shearing Shed - the shearer's are gonna love it! Lamb chops on the barbie, plenty of booze, bloody perfect mate
Thanks all for the welcome. Happy distilling
Welcome back @Simmo.
StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America
Gday mate. I hope your shearing shed isn't one of the old timber ones like i have been to in Queensland. Wouldn't want it to catch fire mate. Glad to see your back. Since you've been gone me and @richard are great mates. Miracles do happen.