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mvierth    0

Good afternoon, everyone! Quick question when it comes to clarifying potable bitters (amaros). We have a bitters that we're getting ready to release here in the next few weeks. We have the formula approved, labels and bottles in hand, and some excellent early reviews that we can use to promote it. However, we're still struggling to get the bitters a pleasant clear look. 

How we produce it: 

  • House-produced wheat NGS. Distilled to 192 Proof. 
  • Proof down to 80. 
  • Fill stainless steel mesh bag with the botanicals and place in the NGS. 
  • Macerate 24 hours. 
  • Filter large chunks out via paper filter. 
  • Proof down to 70 Proof. 

The end result has the flavor we want, but ends up being cloudy with some sediment that settles. 

We tried running it through some one micron filters and while that cleared the bitters up, it did reduce the intensity of flavor, which is what I was afraid of. 

Any suggestions on ways to clarify a potable bitters without sacrificing flavor? 

Thanks in advance!

Mark A. Vierthaler

Boot Hill Distillery

Dodge City, KS

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Sudzie    3

How fast are you proofing it down? Hours, Days, Weeks or months.  It all makes a difference, I find.  But there will be a point of no return as you reduce the ABV.  Slower the better for sure.  We have had spirit louch (sp) going to 40% over a couple of days adding our proofing water. And not a problem reducing the next batch over a month and everything else is the same. 

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nabtastic    12

After maceration, rack and filter with a coarse (10, 20, 50 micron depending on solid load), allow the spirit to rest for several days (highly dependent on your recipe).  I'd suggest starting at 2 weeks and work your way down bc re-filtering a finished product is a PITA .  If you have the ability to cold crash (drop the temperature of the liquid but not necessarily chill filtering which tends to be even lower temp), do so.  Rack the liquid and filter through pads (some need to be soaked in citric acid before use).  I'm assuming this is a smaller batch so you could try using a buon vino super jet ($300) before graduating to a bigger plate n frame ($3000).  Let it rest, do your final proof reduction and filter again.  Use an inline (cartridge) filter on your way to bottling.  If you aren't filtering to at least 5 micron you'll have issues.  There's a difference between nominal and absolute rated filters as well - look out for that.  Another option is to frost your bottle and explain that sedimentation exists because your product wasn't born in a lab... unfortunately though, customers are still scared by this - thanks corporate America.

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mvierth    0
16 hours ago, Sudzie said:

How fast are you proofing it down? Hours, Days, Weeks or months.  It all makes a difference, I find.  But there will be a point of no return as you reduce the ABV.  Slower the better for sure.  We have had spirit louch (sp) going to 40% over a couple of days adding our proofing water. And not a problem reducing the next batch over a month and everything else is the same. 

Right now we're proofing down over hours. The fogginess is present even before proofing down however (mostly chunks of the botanicals it seems). It doesn't look so much like louching as it does just bigger chunks of sediment. Thank you! 

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mvierth    0
10 hours ago, nabtastic said:

After maceration, rack and filter with a coarse (10, 20, 50 micron depending on solid load), allow the spirit to rest for several days (highly dependent on your recipe).  I'd suggest starting at 2 weeks and work your way down bc re-filtering a finished product is a PITA .  If you have the ability to cold crash (drop the temperature of the liquid but not necessarily chill filtering which tends to be even lower temp), do so.  Rack the liquid and filter through pads (some need to be soaked in citric acid before use).  I'm assuming this is a smaller batch so you could try using a buon vino super jet ($300) before graduating to a bigger plate n frame ($3000).  Let it rest, do your final proof reduction and filter again.  Use an inline (cartridge) filter on your way to bottling.  If you aren't filtering to at least 5 micron you'll have issues.  There's a difference between nominal and absolute rated filters as well - look out for that.  Another option is to frost your bottle and explain that sedimentation exists because your product wasn't born in a lab... unfortunately though, customers are still scared by this - thanks corporate America.

Thanks, nabtastic! I'm hoping we can avoid a massive upgrade to our filtration system, but definitely worth a look at. We kind of hoped to be able to just bottle as is (being a classic 1800s, Old West recipe), but you're absolutely right that for many clear = quality. 

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nabtastic    12

try the superjet first.  it's available on amazon and you can get small qty of pads to see if it solves the issues. TCW is a great place for inline filters too - maybe MichaelTCW (I think that's his tag) should be able to help too.

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Another thought - why not some additional caramel color to darken the bitters?  It might make the clouding less apparent, letting you preserve the flavor profile you worked hard to get.

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