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fa20driver

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About fa20driver

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  1. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Since I'm just pushing the hearts through the vodka still, I've already made conservative cuts before the spirit ever hits the vodka column, so what little "tails" I get from the Vodka column doesn't amount to much volume. As soon as I start to get any hint of tail taste coming off the vodka still I just stop the run and flush the still.
  2. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Yea, the tails that come off the Vodka still are pretty nasty and bitter, with some burn, especially once the proof drops below 190. I would be suspect of anyone using them for anything... although if I had thousands of gallons of them I would be inclined to probably try...
  3. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Vodka yields are south of 50% total yeild, and since I'm doing three distillations for the Vodka, the tails aren't coming off the vodka still, they are being cut from the second distillation (3 plates) resulting in quite a bit of tails between 150 and 40 proof. I just stop the "pre Vodka hearts" when there is the slightest hint of tails coming through. Truth is I could probably continue processing the tails into vodka, but if I can get good tasting whiskey out of it them - why not. I did a run using all of the combined tails and it came out pretty nice. I guess time will tell...
  4. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Thanks for the suggestion - As a brewer by trade, my ferments are pretty clean - I even "pasteurize" the wort before pitching since it is mashed at a temp where lots of stuff can survive. Since my Vodka process involves three different distillations, I make very conservative cuts on the second run so that very little of the tail smell or burn gets to the final distillation. The resulting Vodka is really clean and probably not cost effective on a larger scale, but that is the beauty of craft distilling and self distribution. Perhaps charcoal would clean up anything that happened to get through from going deeper into the tails but I don't like risking it. If the tails make good whiskey, I would rather age that since the Vodka already pays for itself and it is expensive to put malt whiskey up in a barrel for 2+ years...
  5. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Mheisz - Good luck with that. I'm curious to know how that product would be designated, since you are combining the different products after they are distilled.
  6. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Actually, It should still qualify as whiskey produced under 160, When I make the Vodka, I first strip it and then take the main heads/tails cut via the second run through 3 plates - which results in a product below 160. It is these heads/tails that I am using for the Whiskey. It is on the third run that I actually produce the neutral through about 19 plates - which has very little heads/tails left since 90% of them were cut via the previous run. The Vodka is produced on a much smaller still with reduced flow rates, so stripping the heads/tails on the larger still saves a boat load of time on the smaller. Probably seems strange, but it works.
  7. Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    As a byproduct of making a malt vodka, I get a lot of tails. I mean a lot. So, I figured that I could make a significant amount of malt tail whiskey to age. I have heard that it makes a very rich, tasty product. I will be aging in 30 gallon barrels. From the taste of the new make (just running it today) it is definitely different than a mostly hearts cut and has a lot of flavor. I will probably collect it in fractions so that I don't accidentally go too deep into the ultra tail parts of the tails. Any advice from those who have made whiskey from an all tails product? I'm running it through 3 plates, collecting at about 160 proof down to 140 proof. This would essentially be the third distillation for them IE, I expect it to have to age longer, so what char would be preferable in a 30 gallon barrel? How long would one expect it to age in a Northeast Climate ranging from about 45 to 90? I also added in a small portion of the very late malt heads into the still - IE, great rich flavor, but still a slight little burn that I don't want in my Vodka. Was also thinking of doing a quick run through charcoal before barreling if that might help clean it up, although the main run seems pretty clean so far. Not really sure how deep to go into the tails since it is already mostly tails... This is pretty experimental for me so any thoughts welcome....
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  9. Heads composition question - part II

    Thx guys - all good suggestions. JustAndy - The 4 inch 20 plate is a modular stainless 'still dragon' design with copper pro-caps. Probably not the best out there, but I think that they have a proven concept. I'm still pretty new to the distilling game so I will try re-running my heads a bit slower with a lower ABV charge next time to see if I can clean them up. I am getting decent alcohol without any objectionable odors/flavors, but it just isn't the same as what I am getting from the hearts. That, and it leaves a little bit of burn on the pallet. Perhaps that is the best that I am going to get from the heads. You mentioned that you were able to recover a decent amount of alcohol from your wheat heads, but it wasn't the same as what you would put in your main product. I think that is what I needed to hear. I had assumed that any product run through enough plates should taste the same - but I think that I am finding that is not the case. I also need to just take a sample of my re-run heads and let some other experienced distillers taste them to see what they think. Regarding the economics of running that size still - I can appreciate that concern and that is good advice for anyone investing in this business. I am able to run it at the same time as my stripping still and still brew 600 gallons of beer all at the same time - so time-wise it works. I sell most of the vodka over the counter both in drinks and in bottles to go and locally self distributed - so the numbers work. I certainly wouldn't be sending any to a distributor any time soon though, although even then it is more profitable than sending out tap handles and kegs that might not ever come back... Silk - when you mention cutting down esters for Vodka by dropping the yeast - would you say that those same esters (from yeast) would be beneficial in a malt whiskey? Under pitching yeast usually enhances esters - I have heard (at least in beers like hefeweizen) so I am wondering if my over pitching yeast for whiskey is counter-productive... I am aging the malt whiskey in 30 gallon medium char barrels for probably 2 years..
  10. Heads composition question - part II

    Thx silk - My current license limits me to using locally produced ingredients. That combined with the existing brewery equipment currently in use is why I am using barley. I was never much of a Vodka drinker, but this vodka is pretty tasty all by itself. It is also pretty time consuming and expensive to make. I will take Tom's suggestion on a lower ferm temp and see if I can't get a bit less congeners in the mix. Regarding doing more runs on the 20 plate with a wider heads cut - I get what you are saying regarding yield vs time. The 4 inch column is slow, so I like to do as quick and small of a heads cut as possible so I don't have to babysit it as diligently. I can run the 20 plate while stripping with my larger still and still make beer in the brewery, so as cumbersome and inefficient as it seems, it actually works. I was hoping I could get more use out of the heads other than as sanitizer in the brewery or fire starter. I'm thinking that the tails might make an interesting malt whiskey, otherwise I will just carbon filter them and re-distill for a gin base -
  11. Heads composition question - part II

    Quote from my yeast supplier when asked what flavors/aromas I should expect in the beer from fermenting American Ale II at 85F and over-pitching: "I've never tried fermenting that yeast at such a high temp so I couldn't even guess, Generally, in beer wort, dramatic over pitching can lead to decreased flocculation, rapid fermentations, and a higher proportion of mother cells to daughter cells." So, no real insights there... lol.
  12. Heads composition question - part II

    I'm pitching live yeast slurry from Beer conical fermenters from our brewery. I'm not counting cells but I can tell you that I am overpitching. On my last batch of 14 bbls of wash at 16 plato (434 gallons) I pitched about 20+ gallons of live yeast slurry. I'm guessing that is 2x or 3x what I pitch for beer. I did a quick search on over pitching yeast, and the one thing it may lead to is off flavors from an over abundance of dead yeast cells (autolysis). I sent an email to my yeast supplier to see what flavors they think would result from over pitching this yeast strain and fermenting at a higher than optimal beer fermenting temp. From my limited study, higher than recommended beer fermentation temps = more esters (not so good for beer, but good for whiskey, questionable for vodka), possibly more fusels? Not sure about autolysis, but it's not sitting around long enough for that to happen (5 days ferment, 3-4 days to distill) I taste the resulting wash, and it just tastes like I would expect an unfiltered, unhopped 7% ABV beer would taste - no observable off-flavors.
  13. Heads composition question - part II

    Thanks Odin, that is an interesting hypothesis - and thx for the posting the diacetyl reference. I suppose it could be diacetyl... I'm pretty much using beer fermentation techniques to produce my wash, including a short pasteurization (boil) prior to chilling/oxygenation, followed by a very healthy pitch of clean house yeast from a beer conical (Americal Ale II). I plate my beer yeast regularly on LMDA to test for acid producing bacteria, so I don't think I am getting diacetyl from spoilers, but I do use an open fermenter for my distillation washes. The only other thing I do differently from my beer making is a higher ferm temp (up to 85 F,) and I also add some gluco-amylase after a few days of fermentation to get the last few points of otherwise un-fermentable sugars from the wash. Usually higher ferm temps with my house yeast result in apple estery aromas/flavors rather than butterscotch. Perhaps what I am separating out as heads may be perfectly drinkable ethanol, but I certainly don't think I want it in my Vodka, especially since it also has something that results in some numbing on the pallet. Perhaps I need to just send a mid to late heads sample to the lab and see what is actually in there...
  14. Heads composition question - part II

    Thanks guys for the feedback. To be more specific - My basic process is as follows: "Stripping run" through a 200 gallon, 8 inch column with 3 plates - using minimal reflux - no cuts Second run through 3 plates at about 30% ABV charge, cutting heads and tails using a good amount of reflux to end up with about 160 proof "hearts" - Saving heads and tails to process later. (Tossing anything that smells like acetone, and saving as heads anything that has the butterscotch, numbing feel that comes before the hearts cut) Third, I'm taking a small portion of these hearts and running through my 15 gallon, 4 inch, 20 plate column still to achieve 190 proof for Vodka - My process on the 20 plate is to go full reflux for about 30 mins, then slowly adjust dephleg to achieve 190 proof (measured with calibrated instruments.) I then collect and taste to separate. Yes, you are correct Andy, it is still necessary to make a heads and tails cut on this third run. I didn't think I would need to, but after doing this several times, it appears that they are still present in small quantities. They only make up about .05% of charge yield, but they are present. Here is where my confusion arises... When re-processing the second run heads cuts (that are amounting to about 20% of the total collection), I am running them through the 20 plate still at about a 50% ABV charge and not getting much of anything that I would want to include in my vodka. Without much official background in chemistry and distilling, (other than some basic organic chemistry in college,) I had always assumed that anything that the "heads" were comprised of would easily be separated out with 20 plates, and that almost all of the ethanol would be recoverable from these heads as "pure, usable" alcohol. When people speak of tossing out heads, are they really tossing out 15%-20% of their theoretical wash yield combined with a few non-desireable chemicals, or am I being over-selective/doing something wrong...
  15. Heads composition question - part II

    Just Andy, I'm re-running the heads thru the 20 plate pretty concentrated - around 50%. And most of the original 20% cut comes out unusable - IE, it all has the sweet, butterscotchy, numbing mouthfeel. I suspect that it is mostly ethanol, but essentially unusable I suspect... Seems like a lot of heads to throw out! Perhaps running it at a lower concentration would help?
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