Discussion in 'Introduction' started by GrapeApe, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. GrapeApe

    GrapeApe New Member

    Good day to all
    this is my first forum and I hope to gain a lot of much needed info from you all, I was a home brewer for awhile then got fat off of too much beer so here I am, I have an 8 Gallon SS pot still with a Whiskey head, I do enjoy my whiskey, so far I have done 2 whiskey runs and a couple first(playing with it) making brandy out of cheap wine, it actually turned out pretty drinkable and so far so good. I have been reading daily and think I am getting the jist of distilling but do have questions on my cuts, everything I have been reading says you can notice the tails coming out because of a wet dog/cardboard smell and I do know what they are talking about as that was an Off in brewing as well, BUT the last run I did with a 5 gallon wash and some leftover tails from the first run, I ended up with 10 4-5 oz jars and I am even smelling the last one and do not smell anything like that? it smells sweet but there is for sure a strong chemical smell and a little nose burn, can someone explain what I am doing right or wrong, the first run I did I ran slow and got 160 proof distillate out, this time I ran it a little faster figuring it would be just as good to get some of the wash flavors in the distillate instead of plain water to lower the ABV to 40 percent, I ran the still for about 4 hours and don't know if I actually got to the tails, my wash was 10 percent and I have read that that would basically mean that I would get 10 percent of my 5 gallons out in distillate, is this wrong? so after my fores were tossed out I started collecting my spirit at 135 proof then finished up at 112 proof, it seems to me that I am stopping too soon but with the output I collected it seemed like I should be done? I am seeing people collect down to 40 proof??
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  2. meatheadinc

    meatheadinc Super Moderator

    Hi and welcome to the forum
    Feel free to post some pics of you setup.

    Cuts are best left to air out for 24-48 hours before blending. This makes for easier cuts.

    If your wash is 10% this would mean that there is half a gallon (1.89 litres ) 0f pure alcohol in your 5 gallon (18.9 litres)wash at 100% abv. As you won't remove the alcohol at 100%abv you can expect a larger amount of lower proof distillate.
    As you state you retrieved approx 50oz (1.49L) of 136-112 proof you probably didn't retrieve all the available alcohol.
    This is probably why you didn't smell tails.
    It's good to collect more even if it's not blended into your product as it can be added to your next run which can added flavour and complexity.
    Personally I wouldn't run to 20 proof. I would pull the plug after a couple of jars of tails.

    Guessing you are running a pot still from your output proof ? Eg no forced reflux.

    Slowing your output will aid in higher proof and help prevent smearing of fractions. Doing stripping runs before a spirit run will also help.

    If you are running to fast you may be smearing fractions, which may account for your "chemical smell" (I'm guessing smeared Heads or not airing cuts)
    How does the last jars feel ? Tails will feel oily between your fingers when compared to hearts.

    Hope this helps.
    And sorry I think in metric. Hence alcohol by volume (abv)and litres
  3. GrapeApe

    GrapeApe New Member

    Hello Mr. Meathead
    so I have read about leaving your jars out for24-48 hours and I did for about 38 hours, I thought it was odd that I did not smell the tails at all and I figured I ran it short so I will run the still longer next time until I do smell the tails, that will make things easier I think and I will collect more. so guessing I didn't get any tails at all just heads and hearts, when I referred to the chemical smell the last jar which was actually a couple poured into the tail jar was about 24 OZ and I did Not let that one breathe but I will now and see what it smells like later, as far as the feel of the distillate I checked this morning and #1-#5 & #10 all feel about the same a little oily but I am not sure how oily or not they should feel like to be good? metric is fine with me!!
    Again I do Thank you Sir
  4. meatheadinc

    meatheadinc Super Moderator

    A good way of detecting tails is to put you hand under the output or pour some from the jar, then rub your hand together and smell the residue.
    That's a great way of detecting early tails.
    As for the oily feeling I put a small amount between my thumb and forefinger, at first I had no idea, but over time it becomes really obvious.
    On you next run let it run longer and compare a sample from the start one from the middle and one near the end. This will help you learn as there will be a greater difference than jars close together.
    Good luck and keep me posted