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Packersfan1964

Corn Whiskey Occasionally Cloudy After Dilution

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Our white whiskey has been occasionally slightly cloudy after proofing - the first 4 runs did not have this issue. The last two, we've been forced to do a second distillation to get a more clear spirit.

We've tried distilled water and DE-mineralized water for proofing, neither have solved our cloudiness problem.

We've also done full runs making a cut every 1/2 gallon to ensure we're not getting tails cloudiness in our bottle.

Lastly, we've dissembled and cleaned the columns...

Even when the 80% distillate is crystal clear, it's cloudy when diluted.

I will note it's not SUPER cloudy, in fact we have been arguing what constitutes 'cloudy' but it is definitely not crystal clear like the 'big boys' on the shelves.

I just learned about saponification, and our next project is diluting over the course of a few days to see if that helps....

Thoughts?

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dear C.D. ,,,,,,,,,have seen this problem before many moons ago and we fixed it by running the FORESHOTS longer ,,,try taking a FORESHOTS sample every now and

again , add a little water to this small sample and when the solution ceases to turn cloudy do your cut from FORESHOTS to HIGH WINES

also in conjunction with the above test smell the FORESHOTS on a regular basis and you will soon notice the difference between pre-cut and post-cut

many regards ,,brian 73

 

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We had similar problems when we proofed our white rye whiskey down to 80 proof. I found some older threads in this forum that talked about fatty acids that are soluble at high proof start to come out of solution as you proof down below 92. We ended up running our 80 proof whiskey through a 1 micron filter to remove the haze. We ended up with a perfectly clear spirit in the bottle. 

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If it is saponification that causes the cloudiness then stepped dilution could fix the problem. Saponification has a distinct soapy nose and an odd mouth feel, sorry I can't be more descriptive as I have none in front of me.

I think your problem is more likely formation of minute crystals of surplus oils and proteins +++. If it is crystals (and not saponification) that are forming it will settle to the bottom of the bottle in a couple of months. I have seen what looks like fluffy clouds forming in the mixing drum after a week or so. They sometimes have a blue tinge from the copper still.

I get it always in both un-aged and aged spirits when they are diluted. All the whisky producers I know get it, we call it flocculation. It can be removed quickly by chill filtration, but that can remove some of the flavor as well. If you have the time you get a far better result by letting the diluted product sit in vat for at least 6 weeks and allow crystals to grow and slowly sink to the bottom.

Bottle the clear spirit via a 1 micron filter off the top. Don't disturb the flock until finished bottling.

The flock can then be put into a smaller diameter drum and allow to settle again.

I do know of one local distillery that gently stirs the flocc back into suspension after 6 weeks then filters through 0.5 micron

 

 

 

 

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3 different phenomena: saponification, louching, and flocculation. They are all different. Generally, only see flocculation in aged whiskey, because it is due to either proteins or oligosaccharides agglomerating, which come from barrel, other flavor sources, not the distillate. It does not produce an even clouding, it results in compact clouds that will settle to the bottom of the bottle. Louching is due to fusel oils (or other water insolubles) coming out of solution into suspension at low enough proof. Definitely shows up in the tails of corn-based spirits. It may not fully cloud, just give more of a slightly bluish cast due to scattering in the liquid. Saponification is actually rare in any new-make spirit, though it can occur, but again, must start from the materials that can louche, like oils found in tails, plus esters and residual salts. Saponification is usually a process that takes time, it may not even cloud the spirit, but produce a soapy taste and mouthfeel. Something noted in very old bottles of whiskey or brandy. When it occurs while diluting, it would be due to the presence of mineral salts in the water, inducing the saponification reaction. Some, including very knowledgable people in the industry, have started taking to calling everything that causes clouding saponification, but it is a very specific reaction. I doubt the original poster is seeing saponification, since diluting with water that is RO or distilled lacks the minerals needed. That redistilling gets rid of it does suggest that it is tails muddled with hearts, although why that would be, I can't speculate without specifics of the still and its operation.

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7 hours ago, bluestar said:

3 different phenomena: saponification, louching, and flocculation. They are all different. Generally, only see flocculation in aged whiskey, because it is due to either proteins or oligosaccharides agglomerating, which come from barrel, other flavor sources, not the distillate. It does not produce an even clouding, it results in compact clouds that will settle to the bottom of the bottle..............

I get flocculation in white spirits as well as barrel aged.

My White Rye always flocculates on dilution. It is 100% rye, yeast and water only, double pot distilled. I do late cuts at both start and end of hearts. Cutting close to tails gives more rye character but may be causing the flocculation, but that is the flavor I want so I allow time for the flocc to settle.

I distilled an IPA beer and it produced a lot of flocc, I suspect it was from the oils in the hops.

8 hours ago, bluestar said:

. That redistilling gets rid of it does suggest that it is tails muddled with hearts, although why that would be, I can't speculate without specifics of the still and its operation.

You could be correct.

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18 hours ago, PeteB said:

I distilled an IPA beer and it produced a lot of flocc, I suspect it was from the oils in the hops

Oils don't flocculate. Only polyionic polymers will flocculate. Examples are proteins, starches, oligosaccharides, colloids, etc. Usually, these can not get into a distilled spirit, they are too big. We do 100% malted rye, yeast, water. We see no flocculation, even in the tails themselves. We do see clouding. That can come from oils.

For your rye, you are starting clear after distillation, and then after some time sitting, you are getting little clustered clouds? Or are you getting a cloudy continuous layer that is stratifying at top or bottom?

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Thanks for all the information here folks. Very informative. I've read this thread like 4 times over the past year and find myself keep coming back for those big words ;)

 

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