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Cincinnati Distiller

Condensation Inside Spirit Bottles

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I've seen this topic pop up a few times, but I would like to address it again.

I am noticing condensation in our spirit bottles, specifically Gin, that are cut to 80 proof.  I don't notice it in commercial bottles on the shelf, although my last trip to the liquor store, it seemed that a lot of smaller local distilleries also had the same condensation issue.

Looking for any help on solving this.

Cincinnati Distiller

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I've been told this is because of insufficient rinsing of bottles and they should be rinsed with a portion of what they are being bottled with.

I've never seen a chemical description of what is happening, like what exactly is condensing.

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On 5/25/2018 at 7:45 AM, Cincinnati Distiller said:

I've seen this topic pop up a few times, but I would like to address it again.

I am noticing condensation in our spirit bottles, specifically Gin, that are cut to 80 proof.  I don't notice it in commercial bottles on the shelf, although my last trip to the liquor store, it seemed that a lot of smaller local distilleries also had the same condensation issue.

Looking for any help on solving this.

Cincinnati Distiller

This is one of those 'defects' that distillers notice but the market doesn't give a flying f about, so nobody figures out what is going on. If I were to guess I would bet that it's higher weight oils that have significant enough partial pressure to get into vapor phase but upon condensing stick to the interior of the neck until disturbed due to their viscosity. Just a guess.

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Also consider, now that it's summer, someone with a bottle in a hot car, bringing it inside, will see reverse-condensation on the bottle neck due to the glass cooling before the liquid.  Or, a warm delivery truck, and a cool store, where a bottle might be sitting undisturbed on a shelf.

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I had one of my customers contact me today concerning condensation in our bottles. He pointed out that they have fifty different bottles on the bar and ours is the only one with condensation. I have noticed that it is happening on a number of our bottles in the tasting room as well as with product in the boxes. Is it the consensus that additional rinsing would resolve this issue.

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See if you can have him send a picture. It will help with understanding the issue. Is it spots or is it more like this:

 

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Or is it more like this: http://adiforums.com/topic/9481-sediment-in-finished-bottles/?tab=comments#comment-56524

 

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7 hours ago, Porkchop said:

Are your bottles and product normalized to the same temperature at bottling time ? 

The entire distillery is conditioned space and the spirits rested for several days before bottling. Bottles are stored in the same environment.

 

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If you spend some time searching for this you will find its a common occurrence in many mass produced spirits as well..

Countless discussions of this both with consumers and producers.  The only recommendation I have found to actually address the issue is to "Pour the whiskey into the water. Not the water into the whiskey."  Not my recommendation, but the only actual suggestion I have found.  Perhaps bottling under a slight vacuum (or pressure) might help address the issue?

 

 

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I can only wildly speculate because I do not have enough experience here. From what I've heard, bottles must be rinsed with whatever they are to be filled with. These bottles may have something leftover from their manufacturer. In some of the birectifier analysis I've done of aromatized spirits, stuff with lots of very volatile terpenes appears in the first fraction and I've encountered strange condensation quickly developing in the tasting glass with a watch glass cover. These fraction are dilluted to about 35% ABV. So my theory would be that the manufacturer may have used some kind of citrus based degreaser/cleaning agent on the bottles that contains odd very volatile terpenes.

Because this is so common, what I'd like to see is a trade group approach glass manufacturers and convince them to publish a bulletin on the topic for the benefit of the entire industry. Trade groups and the industry used to do tons of stuff like that and it was also often organized by the IRS labs.

It doesn't seem too hard to improvise a study to rule out things. I'd hand bottle an array of products at differing proofs with rinsed and unrinsed bottles. Possibly start with neutral spirits and then do your various products. These can live on a shelf with dates on them. Whatever rinses out could also be fractionally distilled to concentrate/isolate it and see if that yielded any quick insights.

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Not sure how legit this is but I've heard that proofing too quickly can "bruise" the product effecting flavor and causing condensation. Proofing incrementally over a few days is supposed to prevent it. Again, haven't had to do it so can't confirm but that's what I've heard from a very reputable source.

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