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Nicola

How to make cuts in moonshine distillation

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Hi all,
I'm new to this forum and I'm new to distillation so, first of all I want to say thanks to every one for the help, and sorry for the (maybe) stupid questions.
I write from Italy (sorry for my bad english) and I have to say that it is very difficult for me to find some info on moonshine distillation seen that in my country grappa is the only traditional distillate.

Last week I prepared my first 5 gallons mash (20l) with 7.7 pounds corn (3.5Kg) and 2.2 pounds malted barley (1Kg) and I'm now waiting the end of the fermentation.
For the distillation I'll use a 2.5 gallons (10l) pot still so I'll have to distillate my wash in 2 rounds.

Searching on internet I found a lot of information on how to make cuts, but the topic is still not very clear to me.
Someone base his cuts on distillate ABV, some others on the temperature, some others on both so my question is:
Can I base my cuts only on temperatures of the vapours?
If yes, at which temperature should I make the cuts for foreshots, heads, heart and tails?
My idea is:
- discard everything below 181°F (83°C) as foreshots
- collect everything between 181°F and 190°F (88°C) as heads in different jars and then decide if discard everything or if mix something with the heart
- collect everything between 190°F and 203°F (95°C) as heart in different jars and then decide if keep everything or discard something
- collect everything between 203°F and 212°F (100°C) as tails

Can it be correct?

Another question is:
Is it mandatory to make a double distillation, or can I run only one distillation making the cuts and put my moonshine in the jars as final product?

Thanks again for your help!

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4 hours ago, Nicola said:

Hi all,
I'm new to this forum and I'm new to distillation so, first of all I want to say thanks to every one for the help, and sorry for the (maybe) stupid questions.

Searching on internet I found a lot of information on how to make cuts, but the topic is still not very clear to me.
Someone base his cuts on distillate ABV, some others on the temperature, some others on both so my question is:
Can I base my cuts only on temperatures of the vapours?

No  not without running the exact same spirit several times to have a baseline of when which cuts come off   Even then it will depend on the still type and how you run it.   For the way I run a column still, temperatures and abv have no relation to cuts.


If yes, at which temperature should I make the cuts for foreshots, heads, heart and tails?

See above   Also air pressure effects the relationship between abv and proof.   So the weather changes your temperature slightly and elevation changes them a lot.  Cuts are best done by taste.  Collect your run in a minimum of 10 jars, take small samples and dilute to less than 80 proof.   Then taste them.   For heads start 30% from the front and taste to the first jar.  It should be obvious when you reach heads.   Tails depends more on your still.  On mine it's right at the end.  Ymmv .

 


My idea is:
- discard everything below 181°F (83°C) as foreshots
- collect everything between 181°F and 190°F (88°C) as heads in different jars and then decide if discard everything or if mix something with the heart
- collect everything between 190°F and 203°F (95°C) as heart in different jars and then decide if keep everything or discard something
- collect everything between 203°F and 212°F (100°C) as tails

Can it be correct?

Another question is:
Is it mandatory to make a double distillation, or can I run only one distillation making the cuts and put my moonshine in the jars as final product?

Thanks again for your help!

 

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It's going to be very difficult to make cuts with that small of volume, as they will be happening so quickly, and nearly impossible to do it in one pass on a pot still, as the cuts will smear into each other a lot. You'll be able to get a lot more helpful information for a new distiller on a small scale on a home distilling sight like homedistiller.org than you will here.

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On 11/14/2018 at 3:43 AM, bluefish_dist said:

 

Hi bluefish_dist and thanks for your suggestions.
You said that I have to "collect my run in a minimum of 10 jars", but to be honest I have no idea of how much product will cum out from my distillation so I don't know when I have to switch from a jar to the other.
Considering that I have a 4 gallons wash (I lost 1 gallon with wort separation from the initial 5 gallons) how much distillate do you expect that I'll obtain?

Regarding instead my second question, what do you think:
is it mandatory to make a double distillation, or can I run only one distillation making the cuts and put my moonshine in the jars as final product? (and dilute it if necessary)

Thanks again for your help!

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Not to sound like as a$$, but you need to spend some time reading on home distiller.   I understand that English is not your native language, but these are some pretty basic questions.  A good start for how much you will make is compute how much alcohol you have in the wort, og vs fg.  Then say you have a 10% you would have .4 gallons of alcohol 4 gallons X 10%..  For ease of calculating we will assume your still will capture it all,  so take .4/10, thus .04 gallon jars or in metric terms 150ml.  

Personally I have never made anything I would want to drink after a single distillation on a pot still.  That would necessitate a 2nd run.  I really only run columns for spirit runs and there are way too many permutations to get into that here. 

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Hi Nicola,

Try these links:

https://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Beginner%27s_Guide

https://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Cuts

For the jars have 20-30% of the original volume on hand.

 

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