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Stripping run speed


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Hello all,

Last year I started chasing my dream of distilling eau de vie on a commercial scale - currently I am operating out of a friends distillery - he makes vodka from grain and whiskey, primarily. The whole fruit distillate thing is new to him, (he gets a chuckle out of my "efficiency", and the fermentation times for spontaneous yeasts... you might get the picture).

Every bit of knowledge I glean from eau de vie distillers I admire includes something along the lines of "the mash but be heated as slowly and evenly as possible". All the whiskey distillers I have rubbed shoulders with have a different take on things. Perhaps there is something cultural here.

This distiller tells me there is no difference in running a fast versus slow stripping run - that there are no chemical changes taking place. The little science knowledge I have tells me that heat+time+alcohol+copper might very well be the basis for some chemical changes, and that changing any of those factors - including time - might have a different outcome. Just to be sure, we are talking about duration of heating being here - not speed being a factor in making cuts. It is also worth noting that I pay this friend by the gallon, not by the hour.

Hoping some experienced voices can chime in and give some validation to this second and third hand knowledge. Thanks for your time.

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One thing I learned for rum that I would assume applies to brandy is esterfication and reflux. During Fischer esterfication, acids and alcohols will react to form a variety of esters. Given how much importance brandy puts on being on the acid side for harvest, one would want to ensure the most is done with those acids and can be. Going slowly would allow time and energy for those reactions to happen, as would 100% reflux followed by a fast strip - each would give a different profile. Still second hand, but hopefully coming from another direction helps.

Edit: Found the chart!

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  • 2 weeks later...

How much reaction can take place in the few hours of heat applied during distillation? In my observation and understanding most esterfication takes place in the barrel. My understanding is that these reaction take a long duration of heat, and your organic acids are coming from whats in the wood.

If you can't find the answer, run multiple trials with the variable being heat. Would be interesting.

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All I know at this point is the recommendation for rum to be fully refluxed for an hour before pulling any liquid off. Your suggestion sounds like an interesting trial to run, although I think my current equipment is too big to run it economically. A tiny lab still may give results, but a small production still would probably be best.

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