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Filtering color out of a compound gin

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We are trying to create a traditional style of gin, in a compound style. We are very happy with our flavors and aromas but we have a whiskey-like color from the juniper/botanical extraction that we are having trouble removing. We have no louching occurring and our spirit is very clear after polishing. Carbon filtering is removing too much flavor, while still leaving some residual yellow color.

My question is is there any way of removing the color from our spirit without completely removing all of the flavors? Is there a specific type of carbon that we should be using or another technique that works better? Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

 

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Have you tried re-distilling? If you run it through again you will still bring over the oils and compounds and it might leave the color behind. Do you have a small test still to try it out on?

I dont know if this would work - or if it would effect the flavor too much - but I have re-run through my 5l test still and have seen things clear.

Just a though

-Scott

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You'll need a carbon with very high surface area and a very high micropore ratio, it will likely have a very high molasses number.  The more effective it is, the harder it will be to use, you'll understand this when you try to do it.  Granulated carbon does not have sufficient surface area to quickly remove color without significantly impacting flavor.  Likewise, most carbons sold for decolorization are not appropriate, as they will impact flavor significantly.

It is significantly easier to redistill to remove color than it is to decolorize with carbon, but there are plenty of reasons why carbon is more effective at preserving flavors (decolorizing aged spirits for example).

 

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Thank you both for the info. I will try re-distilling and see what we end up with as well as a different carbon.

6 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

You'll need a carbon with very high surface area and a very high micropore ratio, it will likely have a very high molasses number.  The more effective it is, the harder it will be to use, you'll understand this when you try to do it.  Granulated carbon does not have sufficient surface area to quickly remove color without significantly impacting flavor.  Likewise, most carbons sold for decolorization are not appropriate, as they will impact flavor significantly.

It is significantly easier to redistill to remove color than it is to decolorize with carbon, but there are plenty of reasons why carbon is more effective at preserving flavors (decolorizing aged spirits for example).

 

Do you have an example of the carbon we should try or a place/vendor to buy from? 

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SCD - Would you mind ot elaborate on the comment "carbon is more effective at preserving flavors"?  Is that saying that carbon is more effective at removing color than flavor, or more effective at removing flavor vs color, or..?

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I mean a carbon that's ideal for decolorization will provide an end result with a flavor more "true" to the starting point than redistilling, especially if we're talking about non-volatile flavor components that will be lost in distillation, or destroyed by the heat of distillation.

This was based on some work I did to make a white/clear barrel aged corn whiskey.  The thought was to decolorize barrel aged corn whiskey to make a more palatable white spirit.

Redistilling the aged whiskey turned it in to something that was closer to new make whiskey.  At that point, what's the point of aging it?  But a good decolorization protocol, it worked like magic.  I even tried it on a bottle of bourbon.  You want to talk about screwing with someone's head, give them a glass of clear spirit that tastes like bourbon.

I think the same would apply to redistillation of a maceration of fruit or botanicals.  If there are non-volatile flavor components that you like in the spirit, you are going to lose them in distillation.  Did some work with a blackberry maceration a year or so ago, tasted great.  I hated the color.  Redistilling it gave me a spirit that tasted very vegetal and green, and nothing at all like blackberry (lacking the distinctive acids, flavonoids, tannins, etc).

I'm not talking about a heavy handed approach of using a large amount of some random activated carbon, use enough and the end result approaches vodka.

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That’s interesting. I’ve only had limited experience with carbon filtering. It sounds like I should give it another go. 

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