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Sediment in finished bottles

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On 11/7/2018 at 5:46 AM, PeteB said:

It is not necessarily from barrel only, I get the flocc in 2 of my unaged spirits, in one it forms at 50%abv.

I would like to know more about what you are describing, because you should not get flocculation from unaged spirit. You can get louching if you have a source of fusel oils in the distillate, when you drop the proof. Flocc can occur even at higher proofs, louching will not. If you are making whiskey, you should not get louching either, unless you are going deep into the tails.

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7 hours ago, bluestar said:

I would like to know more about what you are describing, because you should not get flocculation from unaged spirit. You can get louching if you have a source of fusel oils in the distillate, when you drop the proof. Flocc can occur even at higher proofs, louching will not. If you are making whiskey, you should not get louching either, unless you are going deep into the tails.

I describe Flocc as clumps of cloudiness that very gradually settle to the bottom of the container. I describe Louching as looking like a small amount of milk tipped into water. It does not clump or settle out but will vanish when adding high strength alcohol.

Are we talking about the same thing?

I make an unaged rye spirit. I dilute with rain water to 40%abv then leave in a settling tank for about 6 weeks. A white substance precipitates to the bottom of the container then I filter the clear top into bottles.  For aged whiskies I do the same procedure and a very similar substance settles on the bottom of the tank, usually, but not always, when below 45%abv. I also distil a product made with ginger root. I dilute that to 50%abv and it also forms what I call Flocc. By shining a torch into the settling vat I see little "clouds " forming that very gradually sink to the bottom.

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14 hours ago, PeteB said:

I describe Flocc as clumps of cloudiness that very gradually settle to the bottom of the container. I describe Louching as looking like a small amount of milk tipped into water. It does not clump or settle out but will vanish when adding high strength alcohol.

Are we talking about the same thing?

I make an unaged rye spirit. I dilute with rain water to 40%abv then leave in a settling tank for about 6 weeks. A white substance precipitates to the bottom of the container then I filter the clear top into bottles.  For aged whiskies I do the same procedure and a very similar substance settles on the bottom of the tank, usually, but not always, when below 45%abv. I also distil a product made with ginger root. I dilute that to 50%abv and it also forms what I call Flocc. By shining a torch into the settling vat I see little "clouds " forming that very gradually sink to the bottom.

Thanks, I appreciate the additional information. I am very into the science of this, since I am a Ph.D. physicist that in my science career actually studied the flocculation both theoretically and experimentally (although that was for simpler polymeric materials, not whiskey per se).

Yes, phenomenologically, it is as you described, although fundamentally the mechanism matters to meet the definition of either, not just the appearance. Flocculation (also agglomeration, depending on appearance) is the coming together in solution of (usually) oligomers or polymers so that they form concentrated masses that effectively drop out of solution. In fact, they may still be solvated, but the agglomerations (flocculate) become visible: the clouds or flakes we observe. Since generally the flocc is formed from oligomers or larger molecules, a clean fresh distillate will not produce these since larger molecules don't come across in the distillate, except maybe deep into the tails. I don't see it in my white spirits, and why I expressed my surprise at your seeing it.

Can I ask another question: when you proof down, are you using distilled or RO water? White precipitate is also formed in spirits if mineral salts are in the water added for proofing, and these will precipitate organic-salt complexes in fresh distillate after some time. This is not the same as flocc, since it is creation of an insoluble organic salt by the addition of the minerals to the solution containing the trace organics. This is what @Jedd Haas was alluding to earlier in the thread.

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Thanks Bluestar. Sorry about slow reply I have been travelling. (visiting distilleries and marketing in Japan)

I dilute with carbon filtered rain water that has been stored in an old large concrete tank.

I have a simple pot still and do run feints quite late when compared with some. Especially for rye, peated and the ginger. 

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On 11/9/2018 at 11:07 AM, bluestar said:

I am a Ph.D. physicist

yeah, that's probably why I had to google every third word in your reply. Keep that coming! We need more science to help us make better products.

 

4 hours ago, PeteB said:

I dilute with carbon filtered rain water that has been stored in an old large concrete tank.

You're probably picking up contaminants from both the water and the concrete (including salts). Carbon won't fix all of it.  

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7 hours ago, Foreshot said:

yeah, that's probably why I had to google every third word in your reply. Keep that coming! We need more science to help us make better products.

 

You're probably picking up contaminants from both the water and the concrete (including salts). Carbon won't fix all of it.  

Yup, that could be it, the concrete will provide calcium and some magnesium salts, and may be alkaline (check the pH). Generally, those salts will cause precipitation of organic salts or general cloudiness. If you are going to use that water, you need to do reverse osmosis.

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Firstly I am not concerned about the Flocc or whatever it is. Jim Murray's Whisky Bible has scored 7 of my whiskies Liquid Gold in the last 4 years including best whisky in Southern Hemisphere this year. I don't plan to change my production methods. That is not quite right because I am continually developing new products.

I was intrigued when Bluestar said the flocc was caused by barrels only, but from what he said since, I think the reason I get Flocc in white spirits is because I cut further into tails than most people.

I have not tested the pH of my rainwater, but whatever it is I doubt that I will attempt to correct it because if it "aint broke dont fix it"

Thanks for the discussion, we should never stop learning.

Pete

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