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Alaskan Spirits LLC

Potato Vodka - HELP

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I have decided to take on the project of distilling potatoes with no prior experience (crazy and blonde).  The distiller I hired has distilled everything but potatoes and nothing at this grand scale we have.  We have had a couple hick ups and I am hoping for some help.  

1.  My consultant said I can not add sugar to the mash, or it would need to be put on my label.  However, we are only getting 8-10% alcohol with potatoes and no sugar.  When we had sugar, we were at 13-14%.  We have decided to buy Hightempase and Amylo 300 for use with the potatoes.
2.  The last ferment (first ferment without sugar) got over 90 degrees one night and stopped bubbling.  The distillery "revived" it, but when it started bubbling and working again - a smell came to it.  The smell almost smelled rancid/ slight smell of puke.  We still did a stripping run to see what happened and it only came out 50 proof..... Should we have gotten it as high as 100 proof on the stripping run?

Has anyone messed the ferment up to make it "sour" and still been able to do a spirit run without it ruining the flavor?  I dont want to do the full run if we have all indications that it is not good..... Smells bad, tastes off, and only came out at 50 proof (25%).

With all the options with enzymes, nutrients, yeast - how does one go to pick which to use?  

 

Thanks so much for all your help!

 

~ Hilary 
Alaskan Spirits

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Actually, getting 8 - 10 % isn't terrible. Better than we've gotten with our experimentation. You would need a pretty high starch potato to do better. That is in the same region as the average grain mash I would think.

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On 10/5/2018 at 7:52 PM, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:

My consultant said I can not add sugar to the mash, or it would need to be put on my label. 

I don't believe that is accurate.  Anyway, 8 - 10% is pretty good.  It'll be a real slog waiting for 13% ABV to ferment dry. Where 7% may go dry in a week 13% might take two weeks.  1060 - 1070 is your friend for a sweet spot between yield and ferment time.

 

On 10/5/2018 at 7:52 PM, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:

The last ferment (first ferment without sugar) got over 90 degrees one night and stopped bubbling.  The distillery "revived" it, but when it started bubbling and working again - a smell came to it.  The smell almost smelled rancid/ slight smell of puke.  We still did a stripping run to see what happened and it only came out 50 proof..... Should we have gotten it as high as 100 proof on the stripping run?

Google "rhino farts".  Are you adding any nutrients?  Check the temp range of your yeast.  Many distillers yeasts do fine at 90F but you're at or near the top end of the temp range.  Do you have the ability to actively cool?  

Re: 25% -- again, that's in the normal range -- a bit low perhaps but we've had worse. At what ABV are you stopping collection?

All in all, a reasonable effort. Well don't and congrats on having the cojones for making potato vodka!

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42 minutes ago, indyspirits said:

Google "rhino farts". 

Im not falling for that old trick.  At least not while im at work!  

 

 

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15 minutes ago, whiskeytango said:

 

Ahh common!!  In all seriousness, it's a term coined (I believe) by the folks at homebrewdigest.com describing the smell from cider fermentation with less that optimum amounts of nutrients. It smells, uhhh, unpleasant.

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We used "startup" from BSG but the consultant said to stay away from the "Superfood" that someone else told us to buy.  We stopped collecting at 10 proof, and started at keeping after we threw the first gallon to the side.  The average of everything together was 50 proof.   Let me tell you that if Rhino's fart like this, stay away.  Smelled and tasted terrible during the stripping run, but were told this will clean out during the spirit run.  Hope this is true.....

Also, we were told we didnt need formula approval for the vodka. TTB has no mention of putting sugar into the mash but our consultant said it would need to read "Distilled from Potatoes AND Cane" if we were to use it. I understand the sugar allows us to yield more alcohol but dont want to do it if it is not allowed.

Im still looking for my cojones...... Lol Right now, this is a big idea that has not 100% fruition YET.
 

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11 minutes ago, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:

We used "startup" from BSG but the consultant said to stay away from the "Superfood" that someone else told us to buy. 

After much experimentation, we've started using DAP,  MgSO4, and Vitamin B complex. There are a number of commercial products out there that have effectively this -- take a look at their patent filings.

13 minutes ago, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:

Also, we were told we didnt need formula approval for the vodka

You were told correctly!

13 minutes ago, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:

I understand the sugar allows us to yield more alcohol but dont want to do it if it is not allowed.

Certainly that's true. I've found 100% cane sugar to have something of a "twangy" flavor. Shrug. Maybe that's just me. Regardless, I don't think "Distilled from Potatoes and Cane Sugar" is the worst thing.

 

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7 hours ago, indyspirits said:

After much experimentation, we've started using DAP,  MgSO4, and Vitamin B complex. There are a number of commercial products out there that have effectively this -- take a look at their patent filings.

You were told correctly!

Certainly that's true. I've found 100% cane sugar to have something of a "twangy" flavor. Shrug. Maybe that's just me. Regardless, I don't think "Distilled from Potatoes and Cane Sugar" is the worst thing.

 

Not the worst thing but our labels are on our bottles so we cant mislead anyone.  If we put cane sugar in the mash and it has to be on the bottle, then this wont work for these bottles anyway.  Thanks for the tip on the DAP, MgS04, and Vitamin B complex.  I will look into that.  My last order of Amylase cost me $366 to ship to Alaska.  Gotta love being on this island......that is not really an island. LOL
~ Hilary

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6 hours ago, Alaskan Spirits LLC said:

My last order of Amylase cost me $366 to ship to Alaska

Who'd you buy through?  That seems excessive.  I know there are places online that buy enzymes and break them down into reasonable sizes (let's face it, you only need a few tenths of a ml / gram of starch) and ship USPS.

 

 

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It depends on the specific product you are using, but for the alpha and gluco amylases (Seb-Star HTL and Seb Amyl GL from Specialty enzyme) the usage rate is closer to 1-2 oz per 200 lb of starch (so 200 lb of potatoes has maybe 40 lb of starch)  

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