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Lees - in or out?

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On 9/8/2016 at 2:10 PM, ThomasM said:

Obviously any fermentation will have some amount of diacetyl, but I can't imagine what effect carrying the lees into the still would have on diacetyl perception specifically.  In my experience, the time to minimize diacetyl is during fermentation.  Clean it up prior to distillation and you won't have to worry about it.  Curious to hear how your experience goes when/if you decide to add the lees back to distillation.

Best of luck!

Distillate

The spent yeast was loaded with diacetyl on those early fermentations and it carried over into the distillate.  A lot has changed since then and I don't really get that much if any diacetyl in the current fermentations.  I don't have as much volume of lees either once I stopped aerating the wash prior to pitching.  Hot backset and a small qty of fermaid have really helped keep the yeast happy.  I run less heat on the still which has improved quality.  Also using a wild strain similar to FLA Cracker, it has increased ester production & yield by reducing the size of both the heads & the tails cuts.  I have recently ran some batches with lees in the pot, I'll comment back after I compare results. 

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On 9/19/2016 at 5:54 AM, Beach Time said:

 Also using a wild strain similar to FLA Cracker, it has increased ester production & yield by reducing the size of both the heads & the tails cuts.  I have recently ran some batches with lees in the pot, I'll comment back after I compare results. 

I have been doing a long reflux, ala Arroyo, which greatly increases esterfication as well as greatly compressing heads. Also, tails are VERY evident when they come on and I don't save any of them. I run on 4 plates of ProCaps and once the tails come on there isn't anything I have found worth keeping. For some reason the mysterious "rum oils" found late in the tails just don't come across with my distillation process. Also to reiterate, I do a stripping run first. The reflux is done on the spirit run. If done on the first run, the outcome would be way different and that is probably where the good tails show up.

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Following up on the lees runs, I didn't like them as much as there were meaty / autolyzed flavors in my stripping runs.  I started refluxing the stripping runs and so-far really like the results.  I'm not taking a heads cut on the stripping runs and putting lees in the muck barrel to feed the wild culture.

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On 9/11/2016 at 4:16 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

Volatile Fatty Acids in Some Brands of Whisky, Cognac and Rum by Nykanen, Puputi, and Suomalainen (Journal of Food Science, 1968)

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Has anyone tried acidifying their wash with propionic acid to try and capture some of that Caribean magic? It's a powerfully smelly acid, but the pKa is only 4.87.

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On 9/19/2016 at 5:15 AM, Florida Cracker said:

I have been doing a long reflux, ala Arroyo, which greatly increases esterfication as well as greatly compressing heads. Also, tails are VERY evident when they come on and I don't save any of them. I run on 4 plates of ProCaps and once the tails come on there isn't anything I have found worth keeping. For some reason the mysterious "rum oils" found late in the tails just don't come across with my distillation process. Also to reiterate, I do a stripping run first. The reflux is done on the spirit run. If done on the first run, the outcome would be way different and that is probably where the good tails show up.

Have you tried running a full reflux first run? Curious how the flavor loss in the trails would be. 

 

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13 hours ago, Al_The_Chemist said:

Have you tried running a full reflux first run? Curious how the flavor loss in the trails would be. 

 

Yes. The result was a little more funky than I like. It might calm down after time in a barrel but since I really like my results with the strip/spirit process I haven't ever put any down for aging.

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So, I've prepared my first wash with  added backset (roughly 1/4) . I still calculated my SG based on all water and ended up with a ridiculous 38.3 Brix. The backset is much thicker, though I'm not sure its viscosity accurately represents the sugar content.  My calculations put me closer to 26.

 

Any ideas? Should I dilute to a lower Brix or let it roll and see if fermentation kicks off?

 

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13 hours ago, Al_The_Chemist said:

So, I've prepared my first wash with  added backset (roughly 1/4) . I still calculated my SG based on all water and ended up with a ridiculous 38.3 Brix. The backset is much thicker, though I'm not sure its viscosity accurately represents the sugar content.  My calculations put me closer to 26.

 

Any ideas? Should I dilute to a lower Brix or let it roll and see if fermentation kicks off?

 

Diluting it won't hurt. I use 20% backset and haven't had a problem yet. Keep the wash relatively warm. If the ferment isn't raging after a few hours you might want to add more warm water (80-85F). I try to keep my brix under 20 but I admit I haven't checked it in years now that I have my system. 

 

Let us know how it does.

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Thanks FC, Foreshot, 

 

Surprisingly enough, fermentation took off like a house on fire. Far more aggressive than my standard fermentation. I think the lower PH of the backset is doing wonders. 

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