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Old 02-22-2009, 03:24 PM   #1
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Default Freeze concentration

Actually a misnomer, should be "freeze concentration."

I've searched the forums and noticed everyone seems to think that taking a wine or a beer and freezing it to pour off the concentrated alcohol is illegal. I'm not sure where that info came from, but our friends at Basic Brewing Radio went directly to the TTB and got a quoted statement from them saying that, for home use without the intent to sell, freezing is not a form of distillation and is therefore not illegal.

That being said, I've got some strawberry wine made from last spring that, admittedly, isn't up to par as a wine. We made this when we barely knew anything, so chalk it up to experience. However this year I'd like to make a base wine that I can freeze to make a cordial out of. Anyone have any thoughts on how to alter recipes with freeze distillation in mind? Or do you not alter them at all, simply make the wine as if it were going to be wine and freeze it?

So it's okay to respond to this thread, the feds aren't going to come after you

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Old 02-22-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
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OK I'll admit it, I made some "apple jack" out of some hard cider / applewine. Froze a couple of 2 liter soda bottles full of a/w. After a few days in the freezer, invert them over a pitcher, depending on how frozen they are the spirits will drip out into a pitcher or waiting funnel. It was tasty, kind of like an apple brandy, I would guess it was about 20% or 40 proof.

As I understand it the downside to freeze distilling is that all of the alcohol is captured. W/ a regular still the "first" and "last" runnings or lighter / heavier alcohols are usually discarded due to high methyl/other objectionable content. Liquor distillers have a jargon that refers to this as the heads, hearts, and tails. Ideally one would like to only capture the hearts, but w/ freezing you get it all.

Probably not a problem having a belt or two, but I would not over indulge homemade spirits of this type??? YMMV

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Old 02-22-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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The Proulx book on Cider has an extensive section on this topic, as has Watson's cider book

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Old 02-22-2009, 06:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
As I understand it the downside to freeze distilling is that all of the alcohol is captured. W/ a regular still the "first" and "last" runnings or lighter / heavier alcohols are usually discarded due to high methyl/other objectionable content. Liquor distillers have a jargon that refers to this as the heads, hearts, and tails. Ideally one would like to only capture the hearts, but w/ freezing you get it all.
If you're doing this to a beer (making an ice beer), this shouldn't be a problem as long as you did a good job with your main fermentation. My understanding (limited to reading - I swear!) with regular distillation is that you aren't taking as much care with your wash; if you're making moonshine, you're probably not doing much temperature control, and you're probably using one of the nasty, alcohol-tolerant yeasts that tend to produce a lot of the hot alcohols. You might be making basically a sugar wash and distilling that.

If you're doing something like a German icebier, though, you should be taking a lof of care with your base beer - using a good yeast, using temperature control, etc. - and making as good a beer as you can before doing your freeze-concentration. So, you aren't worried about having to remove the bad alcohols, since you didn't create many of them.

Even starting with a hard cider to make applejack; if you make a good cider (one that you'd drink without hesitation) to begin with, freeze concentrating it isn't going to be a problem.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:57 PM   #5
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When distilling the mash is the one of the most important things. I distill and I've been to a few distilleries in Scotland to taste the fine single malts they have. I've talked to the distillers and the mash doesn't go over 12% so it doesn't produce fusels, The ph must be correct, temperature must be correct et cetera et cetera
You should read a bit more There is nothing called a regular distillation. Is there a "regular" beer?

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Old 10-03-2010, 09:03 PM   #6
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When distilling the mash is the one of the most important things. I distill and I've been to a few distilleries in Scotland to taste the fine single malts they have. I've talked to the distillers and the mash doesn't go over 12% so it doesn't produce fusels, The ph must be correct, temperature must be correct et cetera et cetera
You should read a bit more There is nothing called a regular distillation. Is there a "regular" beer?
Well, home distillation is illegal in many places and we don't discuss it here. I'm sure that using the term "regular distillation" used in this instance is to refer to the commercial distillation, and not freeze distillation or freeze concentration.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:46 PM   #7
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the apple jack method is actually illegal to,but still done

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Old 10-04-2010, 10:29 AM   #8
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In Niagara-on-the-Lake of Ontario, Canada, you can buy the very best ice wines that I know of in the world. Ice wine is different because the grapes are naturally freeze-concentrated on the vine, however, ice BRANDY, which is also available in that area, is made from normal wine that has been freeze-concentrated.

Ice brandy can have the complexity and deliciousness of ice wine, however it is also so alcoholic that you can choke on the hot booze unless you are mentally ready to basically be taking a shot of liquor.

So, freeze concentrating wine would make a delicious cordial, IMO, but it doesn't make ice wine... believe me, I've tried and will continue to try.

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Old 04-15-2012, 03:16 AM   #9
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica_ginger

I just got of the phone with an oooooollllllllldd friend of mine that works in a small craft distillery and he says the feds will tag you for anything distilled in any way over about 25% due to the fact that they dont know how you made itand all commercial have some dye in them that is seen under a black light.

Least thats what i was a told.

webby

edit: sorry wrong thread
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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No distillation is legal.

Maybe the feds will get grumpy for any booze over 25%, but burden of proof is actually pretty strong. Unless they can demonstrate that you DID distill it, and that you DIDN'T freeze concentrate or fortify it (with legally distilled alcohol), then you will not have much difficulty defending yourself in court.

They don't generally mess with homebrewers... too little benefit for too much effort. It's the guys brewing 800 gallons of mash in a batch that they care about.

P.S. - If it has hops in it, it doesn't taste good concentrated. If you included hops in the boil then I would bet there would be no doubt whatsoever in anyone's mind that you were making beer and not liquor.

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