Beginner still?

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Bubbles2

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Good to know, the OP was asking about one of these counter top deals (I had one on the way and this is how I kinda Hijacked the thread albeit on point) and I think he can make a decision after this discourse. I'd recommend for using if you are a wine maker and want to fortify to make a Port/Sherry and or a Brandy. Reserving 1 gallon of your wine to run for about 600ml to fortify a few bottles for Sherry or to make 750ml Brandy.
To make a decent grain out of a cheap mash, I agree the cuts would be so much to get to, even if you EVER could get to them due to the smearing. Definitely want something at least 5 gallon, not for the volume vs work but to have a decent amount to measure and to cut.
 

golfindia

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I
FWIW we're talking about different products. Clawhammer has a 5 gallon copper still kit for $250 (https://www.clawhammersupply.com/collections/all-products/products/5-gallon-kit) that is a kit that requires assembly. The kit is not compatible for an electric heating element as originally provided. Clawhammer also has an 8 gallon stainless steel kettle and copper still (https://www.clawhammersupply.com/co.../products/8-gallon-stainless-copper-distiller) that is 100% pre-built for $474. It is compatible for an electric heating element, with the provided and installed TC port.
I put a 1500w electric element in a buddy's 5 gallon claw hammer copper still. It works just fine.
 

Bubbles2

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Soulshine2

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1. Do strips. Use all the wash, in as many strips as you need to fill the boiler for a spirit run. Combine everything you already took except the fores and call it a strip, yeah. Hard to do but it's not looking good how it is.
2. Get more jars. You need more, probably twice the amount. At least 10-12 or so. Take smaller amounts in each.
3. Take all the jars and let them air for 48hrs with a coffee filter or paper towel on the top and point a fan at them to air out.
4. Make cuts by nose from the middle, where you think it smells good...where the hearts are. Work to the tails and make a preliminary cut of where you can first smell stinky tails. Then work to the heads and do the same. Stop when it smells worse than the hearts.
5. Then starting for the tails side take a few drops of the jars in your hearts from the jars at end of the good cut and water them down and re-evaluate by smell and taste to make sure that they aren't nasty and cut out anything nasty. Then try some of the jars that were cut out in the same way to be certain nothing good is cut. Then go the heads side and do the same.
6. Then you can combine the known to be good hearts and test for proof/abv %.
7. After you do this several times and get better at it and the process you can adjust to your own preferences.

Small amounts are really hard to work with, and yours are teeny tiny amounts in not enough jars at a too low proof. The more jars, the better the cuts can be. Get it? And your abv % should be higher, a low abv means that not enough separation was happening. It could be because of the overall small amounts of wash run, or that it run too fast and everything smeared into itself. The still itself and the small volume of wash was probably the biggest problem. If you can run the spirit run slower somehow, it will help big time.



You already have that one, I know you want to make it work, but the real step 1 would be to buy/make a bigger still or boiler. Your amounts are too small to realistically work with. With your still I would only put about a tablespoon in each jar. A 3-5 gallon still will allow you to use more wash so that you'll have more product to separate into jars and evaluate for making proper cuts. The bigger the better, just like with aquariums. Just one drop of bad stuff can ruin a whole batch, and the smaller the batch the harder it gets to keep it clean.

A flame test... I have no idea what that shows or doesn't. Go by senses! Something may burn yellow or blue or both depending on abv, type of product, size of spoon etc. Same with measurements. Use your nose first, then your tongue to make cuts.

Ageing at 80 proof will be...interesting. Next time age it on wood between 100-130 proof, different proofs pull different flavors from wood. I have no idea what that will end up tasting like since I and every distillery in the world has never done it.
I havent done a batch since summer and I probably wont do another one for a while.
But, I do use all the wash ,but I have done sour mash batches that turned out really well.
Last batch I made I used my regular recipe and instead of running it on my usual 6th day I let it ride in the bucket for 3 months. After making my usual cuts ,smelling it (it'll burn my nose if its not ready )and taste (it'll take my breath away)and yes the flame test I do believe in . I put a few drops on a steel table top or jar lid and light it in the dark, if it burns yellow longer than a second or two I keep cutting. GENERALLY,my first cuts are 1 oz/starting gallons of wash. so, if I had 5 gallons of wash ,I take the first 5 oz of distillate and then start flame testing. I'll smell/taste it then and if i dont get an instant headache , i'll start jarring it in 1 pint batches, number each jar and test the proof of each one to blend later to proof down or add flavor (tails).
I've aged mine on toasted and charred oak chips anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months and 80-130 proof and i've found the sweet spot (In my own opinion based on my still) is at 98 proof charred oak chip aged for 1 month then bottle aged to mellow for 2 years. Some people cant wait that long ,but quality takes time.
Tastes just like Jack Daniel's Sinatra single barrel select if you like it , I do.
Caramel and light vanilla notes with a slight sweetness and a nice char without being overly smoky.
Very smooth .
 
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Bubbles2

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I havent done a batch since summer and I probably wont do another one for a while.
But, I do use all the wash ,but I have done sour mash batches that turned out really well.
Last batch I made I used my regular recipe and instead of running it on my usual 6th day I let it ride in the bucket for 3 months. After making my usual cuts ,smelling it (it'll burn my nose if its not ready )and taste (it'll take my breath away)and yes the flame test I do believe in . I put a few drops on a steel table top or jar lid and light it in the dark, if it burns yellow longer than a second or two I keep cutting. GENERALLY,my first cuts are 1 oz/starting gallons of wash. so, if I had 5 gallons of wash ,I take the first 5 oz of distillate and then start flame testing. I'll smell/taste it then and if i dont get an instant headache , i'll start jarring it in 1 pint batches, number each jar and test the proof of each one to blend later to proof down or add flavor (tails).
I've aged mine on toasted and charred oak chips anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months and 80-130 proof and i've found the sweet spot (In my own opinion based on my still) is at 98 proof charred oak chip aged for 1 month then bottle aged to mellow for 2 years. Some people cant wait that long ,but quality takes time.
Tastes just like Jack Daniel's Sinatra single barrel select if you like it , I do.
Caramel and light vanilla notes with a slight sweetness and a nice char without being overly smoky.
Very smooth .
I think that was great input, I will take it under advisement. Right now I am pulling at 101 proof, which equates to about 117 start and at about 92 I cut for tails. Giving me about 101. The first 2oz I toss for Forshots per gallon. I care not if I toss an oz...You should have seen what I tossed when I grew for a dispensary...LOL Anyhow I then capture about 4 oz for Heads the next 600ml pending on whether or not it was fortified with tails when IT went in. I'd guess 550 for a virgin and 600 with heads and tails from a prev run in that gallon.
The aging (unknown thus far) I have it on 3/4x3/4 Charred White Oak, same stuff JD uses but no bag. I also added about an 1.5" of real Vanilla Bean in the Jar. I had no idea that diff proofs pulled diff congers out of the wood. Good Tip.
I have 3.5 of a Rye Wash, I will let sit for 2 weeks before checking gravity, it was 1100 Start and with a SAF05 being a Large starter should pull down to 0.999 Anyhow I wish I had a larger Still so I could apply Beerswimmer's advice and get some concise cuts, but again my wash is quality. Like Anchor Steam Clone, and reserve 1 gallon off a 5.5g batch The whole wort / batch taste great, so smeared Tails is not so Wet Dog in a Cardboard Box.
 

Bubbles2

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2 weeks later the Guave Brandy is spot on. The Pear Fig is so smooth it tastes like it needs some 101 proof for some heat/bite, as of now it is 80 proof and smooth as a 40 proof! The end of the month bottle and leave it for 6 months. Love this little counter top to run a gallon for fortifying wine.
 
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