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Hayduke

Pot Distillation

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So I am interested in doing some traditional Irish Style pot distillation with whiskey. Obviously there will be some major differences between this and hybrid still production, so the question is, is anybody out there done this before? Any advice on what to look for or look out for? Any advice would be greatly welcomed. Cheers!

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It looks as if this might be your first post, welcome to this forum.

You might like to tell us a bit about yourself.

Your question is a bit open ended. We could be here for weeks explaining the whole process.

One step at a time.

Irish whiskey is produced from a clear wert. Do you have a lauter tun?

 

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PeteB, Long time reader, first time poster. Guess the easiest way to explain my question is this. Was under the impression that the traditional Irish pot still distillation was distilled, generally, three times without the use of a reflux column, only using a traditional pot still and condenser to get the mash up to proof. With our hybrid still we are able to set it as a pot still for stripping runs but have always used the reflux set up for spirit runs. Since we have access to both set ups I was curious about trying to run whiskey via (what I imagine) were the old Irish style of doing it without reflux. There is more to doing a traditional style Irish whiskey then just the distillation style but was curious if anyone had experience doing it that way. Are heads, hearts and tails much harder to make cuts on? Is there a greater or lesser volume of spirits captured then passing through a column? What could someone expect for final capture proof if distilling in this style? We do have a lauter tun. Still in a very conceptual phase so if that helps, even better! Thanks for checking in on this.

Foreshot, videos are very good and helpful, thanks for posting those!

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Are heads, hearts and tails much harder to make cuts on?

I would say no? We generally only reflux towards the end of the run to keep our final proof up but run the heads and most of the hearts without it. This week we experimented with distilling to 160 instead of near barrel strength, and if anything the heads were harder to pick out. That's probably just the overall profile being different from what I'm used to, though.

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Is there a greater or lesser volume of spirits captured then passing through a column?

Same? I did yield estimates for the last few batches and found that reflux didn't change how much alcohol we got out of our mash. Extraction, conversion, and attenuation are going to be bigger factors than what style of distillation you run on it, as far as I know.

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What could someone expect for final capture proof if distilling in this style?

We generally range around 115 without reflux and running hearts way down. Which is why we usually reflux to keep it up around 125.

 

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Robert, Thanks for reading though my poorly worded questions and getting back to me on that. Was very curious if perhaps if heads/hearts/tails were harder to cut if that would mean a greater loss of capture. Looks like you managed to read though my poor wording though, and sounds like its relatively straight forward though. I did do one very small run on an experimental still and found proof for a double pot distill to come out at around 130 proof, guessing that may vary a bit once we bounce it up to the production still or where cuts are made. Are you using any unmalted barley in your grain bill at all in keeping with more traditional Irish pot recipes or sticking to a malted only?  

Thanks for the info!

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No worries. Where you make your cuts absolutely has a huge impact on final proof. We do American styles and almost never use unmalted barley, just passing along what I know from using pot stills.

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On ‎10‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 0:42 PM, Hayduke said:

 

Foreshot, videos are very good and helpful, thanks for posting those!

I think the video on pot distilling was very poor. My experience with pot stills is very different and I am sure it very different from the way Irish Pot distillation is done.

There are 5 major points that make a traditional  Irish Pot Still Whiskey

1. They use some un-malted grain plus malted

2. Not peated

3. Stills are simple alembic copper pots (no plates)

4.Triple distilled.

5. Aged for at least 3 years

It must be distilled to no more than 94.8%abv

Much modern Irish Whiskey is made in continuous column stills. Some newer whiskies are peat smoked

 

Traditionally 3 pots were used.

First is stripping still, second distillation cuts are taken, third distillation has water added before distillation. More cuts taken.

There are many options for re-cycling the heads and tails, they could go back to same pot on next run or even back to the previous pot in the series. There is probably a common recycling method but I don't know what it is, but I recall reading it somewhere, maybe on this forum.

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I had posted a diagram in this thread:

But it appears the image I posted was lost in one of the forum upgrades.

After some searching, I think I have found it once more, although it appears this is actually for a triple-distilled Scotch.

 

 

 

Irish whiskey flow chart.jpg

  • reaction_title_1 2

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I am in Mendoza Argentina and I have been just using my pot still.  I have a hybrid still with a fractioning column but I am a huge fan of the flavor produced just using a pot still.  So that is what I have been doing.  I think I am making my cuts OK.  The hardest part for me is resisting the tempation to go too deep into the tails for the sake of volume.  But its a personal thing when it comes to what taste you want. I read about that before I started distilling and its very true.  

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