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Haze, tails taste in hearts, and other issues


keriruri

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Hi everyone,

I have been distilling for a while on a 25-litre alembic pot still to make rum from molasses, and have scoured forums including this one for research, info and answers.

Recently I upgraded to a 230-litre copper alembic pot still to embark on a commercial (ad)venture and am encountering issues like never before.

I double distill and collect two or three stripping runs for a single spirit run. I charge the still <30%ABV by adding water. The fermentation works like clockwork having gone up from 25 litres >200 litres - ferments out naturally in our subtropical climate in under four days, and I leave it to settle for a couple of days after that. Around 7%ABV. The product is an unaged white rum (to start with for cashflow purposes, and later will be barrelling too).

Currently I am still at an experimental stage and have some QUESTIONS:

1. Cloudiness/haze when proofing to 40%ABV. Through experimentation I have found that most of the oils are NOT in the tails, but are in the HEADS. Of course, there is so much flavour in the heads so I'm annoyed to cut too much of it out. QUESTION: What micron filter for an Enolmatic might assist in removing this haze (non-soluble oils), does between micron 2 and micron 3 sound reasonable to remove some of these oils without stripping too much flavour?

2. To reduce the chances of carrying over too many oils in the spirit run, I have been running the still very slowly. Once at a boil, I run it at around 2000 watts - this gives me a flow rate of between 50ml per minute ro 70ml per minute of distillate. My last spirit run was 12+ hours. Q: Do you think this is reasonable?

3. I have been starting to collect the hearts at 80%ABV and by about 70%ABV I can start to taste/smell the beginnings of tails. 70%ABV seems very, very high to get into fusel oils. Q: Could this be a consequence of running the still so slowly?

I would be very appreciative of any advice or tips the brains trust here can offer. 

Cheers,
Keri

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@Thatch I'm not 100%, but I'm pretty sure that's not the issue. I use twice filtered water (not RO), and was using the same water for over a year to proof down spirit made in the 25-litre still without a hitch. I do believe the issue is with the speed with which I'm running the new still and so am looking for some guidance around that.

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18 hours ago, keriruri said:

@Thatch I'm not 100%, but I'm pretty sure that's not the issue. I use twice filtered water (not RO), and was using the same water for over a year to proof down spirit made in the 25-litre still without a hitch. I do believe the issue is with the speed with which I'm running the new still and so am looking for some guidance around that.

Use carbon to clean up the distillate. Don’t use a lot as it will strip flavor from your spirit.  
 

You can use a cheap house water filter housing and an off the shelf carbon filter. The housings have 3/4” female NPT inlet/outlet that you can use sanitary fittings with male 3/4” fittings. Connect your hose and pump the distillate through as slow as your pump can run. 
 

or you can hang a pipe vertically and place distiller’s carbon in the bottom end held in place with several coffee filters and clamp.  Fill the pipe and let gravity do the work. 
 

Only blending your water slowly will prevent the oils from “snapping off”. 
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/15/2020 at 11:56 PM, keriruri said:

QUESTION: What micron filter for an Enolmatic might assist in removing this haze (non-soluble oils), does between micron 2 and micron 3 sound reasonable to remove some of these oils without stripping too much flavour?

No, there is no standard particulate filtration micron rating that will remove haze.  What you see as haze will easily flow through a typical particulate filter, even something very tight, at 0.1 micron (I know, I've tried).

TCW sells a Code 7 cartridge by Graver - GFC that has an ionic charge capable of filtering out some haze, however, you likely need to chill for maximum impact:

https://www.tcwequipment.com/products/graver-gfc-haze-pre-filters?taxon_id=59

It's the only thing I've found that's available in a cost-effective enough package to use at small scale.

Some of the big plants use cellulose sheet filters in a filter press, along with diatomaceous earth (kieselguhr) and perlite, for chill filtration.

I have not found carbon to be a reasonable way to removing chill haze, the impact to flavor is massive before it even begins to make a difference.

I second the shift to move to RO water - we're talking about the Ions that can make an impact here, not anything that can be easily removed through mechanical filtration - water quality can have significant variability in many places.  For example, our water goes through the roof from TDS perspective in the late winter, when the salt water runoff from the winter roads reaches the aquifers.  Looks the same, and the impact to taste is gradual, so not something that is really noticeable, to the point of potentially arguing that nothing changed.

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