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Georgeous

Collecting Hearts

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At what proof do you stop collecting your heads to insure no tails are collected. We have always collected down to 80 proof. However, when we trained at a commercial distillery in VA the head distiller recommended we stop all heads collection once we hit 100 proof to avoid collecting tails. For specs 600 gallon mash 8% wash initial running's coming off at 170 proof. Everything i read says to collect till you get down to 80 proof. What do you seasoned guru's recommend?

thanks

 

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The answer to this question is likely heavily dependant on the type of still you are running, and therefore very subjective. (perhaps adding pictures of yours, or listing the make/manufacturer might help?)

We dont run anything lower than 130 proof on our still, which is when fatty acids (turquoise floaties) start to appear (obviously depending on type of base material we're distilling)

However, we have the only still like ours in the US, so i doubt anyone uses the same settings we do.

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I assume you mean hearts and not heads. My wash is about 8% ABV and I collect hearts starting around 160-170 proof and stop around 100 proof. Hearts to tails cut, I think, is much more subjective than heads to hearts cut. So go with what you think seems right...or ideally try both and see what works out best.

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I do my cuts by nose and taste only, with a little guidance from volume to know when to start nosing.

I don't allow hydrometers to be used to tell us what a spirit will taste like, those things don't have taste buds. 

I am trying to make products that taste and smell good, hydrometers measure ethanol which I consider a tasteless by-product.

I occasionally measure the cut point from heart to feints for interest and it is occasionally low as 90 proof. Great rye flavours come towards the end.

I am running a simple alembic pot still, no plates.

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For us, doing whiskey, on the final spirit run, we cut hearts (not heads) from tails at much higher proof than many others, as high as 140 in some cases, down to 120. Depends too on the whiskey. We prefer a less "taily" spirit. We also tend to recycle most of those tails into the next spirit run.

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On 7/16/2019 at 4:07 PM, glisade said:

I assume you mean hearts and not heads. My wash is about 8% ABV and I collect hearts starting around 160-170 proof and stop around 100 proof. Hearts to tails cut, I think, is much more subjective than heads to hearts cut. So go with what you think seems right...or ideally try both and see what works out best.

correct, i meant collecting hearts not heads i will see if i can change the topic. 

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On 7/16/2019 at 3:44 PM, Classick said:

The answer to this question is likely heavily dependant on the type of still you are running, and therefore very subjective. (perhaps adding pictures of yours, or listing the make/manufacturer might help?)

We dont run anything lower than 130 proof on our still, which is when fatty acids (turquoise floaties) start to appear (obviously depending on type of base material we're distilling)

However, we have the only still like ours in the US, so i doubt anyone uses the same settings we do.

i have a 600 gallon still made in china with a whiskey helmet and 5 plate column. it is steam fired

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On 7/16/2019 at 4:19 PM, Julius said:

What type of spirit are you making?

making a bourbon

 

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There are many factors that will drive the decision of when to make your cuts. Type of spirit, type of yeast used, temp of ferment, type of fermentable, end product are all important factors that will determine when your cuts are made.

When we make whiskey we intend to bottle as an unaged (white) spirit, our tails cut is made rather early to produce a cleaner easy drinking white whiskey, but when making bourbon whiskey and malt whiskey we intend to barrel age for 4 years the tails cut is made much later. Aging of a heavier spirit will create a more complex whiskey.

@Georgeous I offer affordable one on one distilling training at my distillery, if you need some training on how to distill award winning spirits. feel free to

drop me a line at Distillerynow@gmail.com

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I was under the impression that bourbon can’t come off the still over 160 proof. Is it only the final proof in the tank at the end of the run that matters for regulations?

 

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On 7/16/2019 at 4:44 PM, Classick said:

We don't run anything lower than 130 proof on our still, which is when fatty acids (turquoise floaties) start to appear (obviously depending on type of base material we're distilling)

However, we have the only still like ours in the US, so i doubt anyone uses the same settings we do.

1. "turquoise floaties" - isn't that a sign of you getting copper sulfate in your distillate? 

2. What kind of still is it? 

On 7/16/2019 at 6:23 PM, PeteB said:

I don't allow hydrometers to be used to tell us what a spirit will taste like, those things don't have taste buds. 

I love that statement. 

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On 7/19/2019 at 1:45 AM, Julius said:

I was under the impression that bourbon can’t come off the still over 160 proof. Is it only the final proof in the tank at the end of the run that matters for regulations?

 

This was discussed on this forum several years ago and if I remember correctly the opinion was the proof in the tank at the end of the hearts. EDIT please ignore "which is the proof that goes into the barrel."

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19 hours ago, PeteB said:

This was discussed on this forum several years ago and if I remember correctly the opinion was the proof in the tank at the end of the hearts, which is the proof that goes into the barrel.

The proof in the tank at the end of hearts is not necessarily what gets barreled. In fact if your hearts tank is 145 at the end of hearts, that isn’t what gets barreled.... Not sure about Australian law, but in America we can’t barrel over 125proof for bourbon.

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TTB definition of Bourbon Whisky:

Whisky produced in the U.S. at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn and stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers

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The key is the word "produced" in the definition.  TTB defines it to mean: " Produced at. As used in 5.22 and 5.52 in conjunction with specific degrees of proof to describe the standards of identity, means the composite proof of the spirits after completion of distillation and before reduction in proof. "

 

So you could start collecting as high as you want as long as the total distillate is no more than 160.

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5 hours ago, Julius said:

The proof in the tank at the end of hearts is not necessarily what gets barreled. In fact if your hearts tank is 145 at the end of hearts, that isn’t what gets barreled.... Not sure about Australian law, but in America we can’t barrel over 125proof for bourbon.

I have edited my comment, wrote it in a rush without thinking through. Was sitting on a plane being told to switch to flight mode.

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Being able to adjust your reflux condenser temps on the fly makes exploring whiskey heads technique fairly interesting, especially if you have a few plates to play with.

For example, running high reflux to stack heads, slow take off >190pf, then flipping off the reflux condenser entirely and shifting to quasi-pot mode.  You can get the product yield efficiency of a column, and the flavor profile of a pot.

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On 7/20/2019 at 8:43 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

Being able to adjust your reflux condenser temps on the fly makes exploring whiskey heads technique fairly interesting, especially if you have a few plates to play with.

For example, running high reflux to stack heads, slow take off >190pf, then flipping off the reflux condenser entirely and shifting to quasi-pot mode.  You can get the product yield efficiency of a column, and the flavor profile of a pot.

Silk City

so what you are saying is run the dephlag all plates then shut off deflag and bypass the plates for pot still whiskey helmet only? Curious how long do you run the refluxing for when you go this route? i mean how do you know when it is time to switch over to pot? i been experimenting with my still to see what she's got. i ran batch bypassing column, ran one with 1 , 2, 4 and today will do five plates. i am not good at the dephlag refluxing part. not a lot of information out there. i trained on one but did not get as much out of the training as i would have liked. 

 

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So my findings, we charged the still with 600 gallons of low wines from our fermenter and heated still to about 202° F and our copper column which is 18" in diameter and 5 plates. We used all 5 and it was slower than hell. We did not use the deplagemator. Our initial runnings started to come out around 180 proof after about 6 gallons it dropped to about 160 proof and over about 6 hours we stopped collecting at 110 proof. This was a very long distillation but product came out with desired taste but not volume. 

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