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Typical yield from low wines during vodka spirit run


rtshfd

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  • 1 month later...

I always assume 25% heads, 70% hearts, and 5% tails if your getting proper stratification and separation in your columns. So if your charging 300 gallons of 100 proof you should have 150 gallons of ethanol, equating to 37.5 gallons heads, 112.5 gallons of hearts, and 7.5 gallons of tails. Obviously this is assuming a good fermentation and stripping run practices.

Cheers!

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  • 3 months later...

We run about 45 mins of full reflux initially and rarely get more than 5 gallons (on a 150 gallon charge) of heads after we slowly pull them off. FWIW, I always find the heads cut the most difficult as there are some nice flavor in there.

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You guys are definitely right on 37.5 gallons being high, those numbers where based on a very wheat heavy grain bill and an inefficient still design. Lately Ive been working with potatoes and ive seen that heads number hover around 10% so I would probably be cutting after 15 gallons. This is for a packed still without plates so If you guys are working on the european style stills Im sure your getting much better efficiency.

Im not saying these numbers are absolutely perfect this is just what Ive been experiencing lately.

Cheers!

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One additional note on heads:

Pot vs Continuous Column styles of fractionation will yield differing ratios of "Heads". In a pot, the ratios discussed above are correct, due to the pot's inability to fully fractionate heads. Better said, a pot still does get rid of all of the heads, but that "heads" stream is also high in ethanol.

However if correctly designed, continuous column systems are capable of much higher degrees of separation of heads and greater ethanol recovery. Moreover, continuous column systems are also capable of fractionating the heads themselves, allowing the distiller to capitalize on "good" heads and their contribution to flavor chemistry (especially in barrel aging) and still be able to remove the "bad" heads (think methanol) from the final spirit.

We use a column system, distill 1000g batches per 8 hours, and if we have more than 3-4 gallons of heads (or less that 1/2 of 1%), something went very wrong in the fermentation process.

Not slagging technique or anything else above, but the "heads" cut on a pot still will always have a high ratio of good ethanol. Noting the agreed upon numbers above at ~3% of the run is considered "heads", you can be assured that a high portion of that is good ethanol that you system couldn't fully fractionate. On small systems this may not present you an issue, but on larger systems, 500g pots and up, you may want to consider other techniques to recapture the remaining ethanol from the heads.

Cheers,

McKee

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