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Gin Collection Efficiency


meosa

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I have searched around for some info on this but haven't really come across the right thread. Please point me in the direction if one already exists.

Anyhow, I seem to be getting a low efficiency on my gin aggregate. 40-50% of starting PG. I do realize some of this is due to making a heads cut  (too much louching and really dont even love the beginning flavors), but I believe I should still hit higher numbers. Heads cut is about 8% of original PG. Gin is macerated for 24 hours and then distilled with gin basket. The gin basket seems relatively small size for the still, as we have trouble reaching the flavor profiles desired with a full still load. The macerated gin is passed through 4 plates and then into a gin basket down the line (our only still is currently the 4 plate column). Astringent, plastic, bitter flavors tend to fade fairly heavy starting at 45% of original PG...gin quality diminishes heavily when trying to extend passed 50%. This is an wheat NGS based gin.

 

I guess what I'm wondering the most is...does anyone have an idea on what affects the overall efficiency in NGS based gin? I am guessing it must be a balance between the proof of the load and the botanical load?

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The reason you may be struggling with the desired flavor could be the plates! Ideally you'll run gin pot-still style, as every plate used will strip it of that much more flavor, not to mention just make the whole distillation and flavor extraction process act much differently. I'm sure there are exceptions and people are passing their gin through plates successfully, but I'm speaking in general. There are tons of gin mad scientists out there after all. That may or may not also be connected to your collection efficiency issues as well. 

There are lots of other variables that people take into consideration to achieve a gin: maceration proof, maceration time, individual botanicals vs doing them all at once, collection percentage, fresh vs. dried botanicals, the list goes on. But my gut here would be to start by bypassing those plates if you can.

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4 minutes ago, kleclerc77 said:

The reason you may be struggling with the desired flavor could be the plates! Ideally you'll run gin pot-still style, as every plate used will strip it of that much more flavor, not to mention just make the whole distillation and flavor extraction process act much differently. I'm sure there are exceptions and people are passing their gin through plates successfully, but I'm speaking in general. There are tons of gin mad scientists out there after all. That may or may not also be connected to your collection efficiency issues as well. 

There are lots of other variables that people take into consideration to achieve a gin: maceration proof, maceration time, individual botanicals vs doing them all at once, collection percentage, fresh vs. dried botanicals, the list goes on. But my gut here would be to start by bypassing those plates if you can.

Sorry, the end flavor is actually very good. I realize the plates are reducing from the maceration, but I have bypassed the botanical basket while running through 4 plates and it retains more flavor than you would imagine. Anyhow, we cant really bypass too easily at the moment. It could be the problem with efficiency, I just would like to understand more before making large changes to our still.

 

Thank you for your input

 

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Haha good, I didn't mean to imply you were making a bad gin there!!! It may just be the case that the plates being in the way effect the oil / flavor extraction in a negative way for a larger part of the run than if they weren't there at all. For example, an 8% heads cut seems like a lot when it comes to gin. It could have something to do with being at too high a proof for too long? People distill individual botanicals at different maceration proofs (therefore final run proofs) when they really get into it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, kleclerc77 said:

Haha good, I didn't mean to imply you were making a bad gin there!!! It may just be the case that the plates being in the way effect the oil / flavor extraction in a negative way for a larger part of the run than if they weren't there at all. For example, an 8% heads cut seems like a lot when it comes to gin. It could have something to do with being at too high a proof for too long? People distill individual botanicals at different maceration proofs (therefore final run proofs) when they really get into it.

 

 

I have often feared that as well...like some of the good flavors are just being sent back into the kettle and eventually being obliterated? I like the idea of maybe too high a proof for too long...it's hard to get fine control with our still being run on a digital Brewery Control System....🙄. I have messed with different proofing post maceration and pre-distillation in the past to positive effect, I suppose that is a route i should continue expanding.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'll also add that your gin basket volume may be a limiting factor.  We do not fill our pot to the same volume of liquid as we would for a whiskey or vodka run.  This is because the botanicals in the basket would go dead well before the end of the run and we do not have an easy or safe way to replenish them mid run.  So, instead we fill our pot to 40% of its normal full volume.  This gives us acceptable yield while also getting full utilization of our botanicals.  

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What is the abv of the charge? This can have significant impact on the recovery percentage, gin charges can be quite high since many don't use plates/rectification. I also know of several gin producers who collected the tails and redistill them separately and blend that at certain ratio into the first distillate.   

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100 proof, 50 ABV

2 minutes ago, JustAndy said:

What is the abv of the charge? This can have significant impact on the recovery percentage, gin charges can be quite high since many don't use plates/rectification. I also know of several gin producers who collected the tails and redistill them separately and blend that at certain ratio into the first distillate.   

100 proof . 50ABV

 

From my understanding, mich higher becomes unsafe? Flashpoint. I trained somewhere successful and that's how they did it. I rolled with that.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/23/2021 at 10:37 PM, meosa said:

100 proof, 50 ABV

100 proof . 50ABV

 

From my understanding, mich higher becomes unsafe? Flashpoint. I trained somewhere successful and that's how they did it. I rolled with that.

We make a lot of gin we charge at fifty and have never had a problem, but that works for our maceration goals. Sometimes some compounds are better InDifferent ranges, if you’re not hitting maceration flavor goals it could be concentration. You can always start high and proof down or start low proof up if you’re working with some wonky shit. 100 proof in my opinion is safe for a jacketed vessel. Other running elements may have other reccomendations. All equipment has unique input needs. 
 

cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

I macerated at 100 then proofed down to 60 for the most recent batch. I also jacked the temp up a little at the very end when she started getting nasty and noticed that I brought out some new and positive flavors. I think its just a little bit of everything sometimes. I do believe the lower proof allowed me much more control of the spirit and that helped in a lot of ways.

I ended up increasing my collection into the 60% range, about where I was hoping to get to

 

thanks for the input everybody

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