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Using Caustic to Clean Feints


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Anyone read this?: https://istillblog.com/2021/07/15/we-invented-a-way-to-purify-your-heads-and-tails/

I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this?

I've followed that process with some gin and whisky feints, and I guess I just got nervous about it.  Nervous about the safety of the distillate.  Also, I am using Sodium Hydroxide in solution (50%) does that do the same thing?

Thanks for any help.

John

 

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This technique goes back a long time in the hobby distilling community - using an alkaline substance (usually baking soda) to increase pH to the point at which you cause ester hydrolysis (breaking volatile esters into their acid and alcohol constiuents) followed by re-distillation to separate those volatile acids.  It's an effective way to remove esters from heads.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't the first to suggest using sodium hydroxide instead of sodium bicarbonate - and I made that suggestion in 2015:

https://www.stilldragon.org/discussion/1440/the-big-ester-hydrolysis-thread

"We invented"?  Come on now, this was "invented" by chemists a long time ago, even if they made this claim in the context of beverage distilling, it's not new.

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On 9/9/2022 at 4:20 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

"We invented"?  Come on now, this was "invented" by chemists a long time ago, even if they made this claim in the context of beverage distilling, it's not new.

Well, I didn't want to open a can of worms with that line of comment :)

I had read your article, which was just great, but didn't answer my question about using a solution of caustic (we have 50% solution). Does it have to be in crystal or dry form, or can I use what we have and just double that recommended dose of 0.4g/litre of charge @ 30%?

Also, thanks for answering me so soon!

Yours

John

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