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GNS/NGS question


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This is my first post so I hope it hasn't been covered before. If so please point me in the right direction. I have a question regarding 192 and 200 proof NGS. I realize a majority of Vodkas now days comes from NGS. I've noticed in sampling different brands of Vodka in a Head to head taste test they are distinctly different as far as burn and taste and I know for a fact the ones I'm comparing start out as NGS. If 200 proof is considered 100% and 192 proof is 96% which I'm assuming a majority of these distilleries use. Where are the major differences in burn, taste, etc. figured into the equation. Is it still necessary to polish 200 proof or 192 proof with activated carbon to further eliminate burn or is it related to oxygenation or something else? I'm just trying to understand what is done differently in some of these vodkas to take a little more of the bite out of them when they appear to come from the same NGS suppliers. Thanks for the help.

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I'll take a crack at this.

200 proof NGS is ethanol from a fuel refinery, where they have dehydrated the ethanol past the azeotrope achieved via distillation. 192 is the standard for non-fuel ethanol, basically they're saving money bypassing that part of their refining process. The difference in those two is probably non-detectible organoleptically.

The variations that I tend to see in vodka created from an NGS base are multi-fold:

  1. Some people are re-distilling NGS for any number of reasons. That re-distillation effort will change the resultant flavor of the final product in all the ways that you mention.
  2. Some people do not use RO water for proofing. The differences in final flavor between RO and non-RO product is pretty large.
  3. As you mentioned, some people are filtering the NGS via carbon or activated charcoal. This will also have an adverse effect on flavor if the filter media is not clean or has not been maintained properly. I would suggest that this is unnecessary if your NGS is coming from a reputable dealer.
  4. Bottling lines and equipment, especially those not regularly cleaned or maintained, can adversely impact flavor.
  5. Bottles should be washed with a mild citric acid solution if possible. Some of the residual oils (vegetable oils) from the mold process can still be present, which will impact both flavor and product quality.

If you're bringing in NGS and proofing down for bottling, use RO proofing water, be very persnickety on cleanliness, wash the bottles and you'll probably be fine.

Just a few thoughts.


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Thanks for the response. I had read that once 200 proof was exposed to air long enough it would gab water molecules out of the air and return to 192 so I assumed the only difference between the two was 192 still contained 4% water from the get go and wasn't dried any further. I guess it's just a matter of experimentation with filtering, etc to associate your own taste with NGS. Thanks again.

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