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Phase separation of low wines


MaltMonster

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So it's my understanding that the distillers in Scotland will cut their low wines to below 30% ABV prior to the spirit distillation. This causes a phase separation of heavier oils and fatty acid esters. The spirit still is then charged with the low wines, drawing from the bottom of the tank leaving the oil slick of fatty acids etc. behind. For more on this see Whiskey: Technology, Production, and Marketing under the Batch Distillation section.

So my question is, who out there is doing this? Are there any bourbon and rye distillers using this technique? Is it just the malt whiskey makers doing it? Have you noticed a difference on batches that utilized this technique versus batches that didn't employ the phase separation?

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We cut to 35%-40% ABV, so we don't generally see the phase separation. Also, we often cut the very end of "tails" from the strip, which has most of the heavy (oily) products. I suspect they are going deeper into low end of the distillation to get maximum alcohol yield.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

We do this for all our whiskies, but haven't found being diligent in keeping the oils out of the spirit run to make a quality difference.

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For safety reasons, the lows should be diluted to less than 40% anyway, but that isn't the question. I read the chapter in the book, but it didn't go a whole lot into detail. Why risk the negative flavor impact of going too far into the tails just to increase alcohol yield? If the focus is on yield only, wouldn't it be easier to change or add reflux and a plated column to increase yield? Or chill filter the low wines? Assuming, you are drawing from the bottom to remove the oils/fatty acids, your focus is to remove the flavor they impart more so than increase yield I would assume? In my opinion, it is a much to delicate process to be consistent with. How slowly do they draw from the bottom to ensure agitation does not cause the fatty acids to be suspended in the solution? How long do you let it sit before drawing off? What if there is temperature fluctuation? Etc.

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