how to cut brandy?

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Kero

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Hi.
Last year I ended upwith some of my wine stuck. And couldn't move it whatever I tried. The gravity is around 998-1004 in different kegs.
So I bought a still to learn to make brandy. Soon as I recycle this wine I will try with apples which I have available very cheap, all year round.
So, my still has a parrot so I can monitor the % alcohol all through the process. I discard the first acetone smelling heads. Then I collect the hearts. And when the % drops below 96, I consider it tails. According to what I've read, distillers allos some tailsto bleed in. And it is kind of a personal choice. Should I let it get down to 90% or 85 till I cut? Or 95 is as far as you would go or is that already too much bleeding? Because even if I go very pure, around 97-98, that still has quite an aroma. And I guess these aromas are gonna interact with the oak chips to give the final taste. It would be a long experiment till the oak chips give out their taste, so I thought I'd ask around before trying.

Anybody experimented on it that can shed some light?
 

doug293cz

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Hi.
Last year I ended upwith some of my wine stuck. And couldn't move it whatever I tried. The gravity is around 998-1004 in different kegs.
So I bought a still to learn to make brandy. Soon as I recycle this wine I will try with apples which I have available very cheap, all year round.
So, my still has a parrot so I can monitor the % alcohol all through the process. I discard the first acetone smelling heads. Then I collect the hearts. And when the % drops below 96, I consider it tails. According to what I've read, distillers allos some tailsto bleed in. And it is kind of a personal choice. Should I let it get down to 90% or 85 till I cut? Or 95 is as far as you would go or is that already too much bleeding? Because even if I go very pure, around 97-98, that still has quite an aroma. And I guess these aromas are gonna interact with the oak chips to give the final taste. It would be a long experiment till the oak chips give out their taste, so I thought I'd ask around before trying.

Anybody experimented on it that can shed some light?
Are your numbers proof rather than % alcohol? Alcohol/water mixtures have an azeotrope at 95.5 wt % alcohol (~97% ABV), which means you cannot distill to a higher % alcohol - it is physically impossible. A really good column still will let you get to the azeotrope ABV, but your peak alcohol will be significantly less with a pot still.

Normal practice with a pot still is to do a "stripping" run where you collect everything (after discarding the "foreshots") down to about 15 - 20% ABV. Your wash at that point should be down to about 1% ABV. Then you re-distill everything that you collected in the stripping run in what's known as a "spirit" run. During the spirit run you want to collect in multiple small jars as the run progresses. Again, you want to distill down to about 15 - 20%, numbering the jars as you go. Measure the ABV (or proof) of each jar, and then take a small sample for tasting. Before tasting you should dilute the sample to ~40% ABV (~80 proof.) Taste each diluted sample, and decide which of the samples you want to keep for the final blending. Save the samples you don't want to blend with, and add them to a future stripping or spirit run.

Brew on :mug:
 

mashpaddled

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Yeah I'm confused too whether you mean proof or ABV. If you're pulling a lot of 97% ABV spirit either your hydrometer is way off (are you using one designed for distilling?) or you mean proof. If you mean proof you should collect further down than 85 proof but follow what @doug293cz says about running a stripping and spirit run.
 

kmmuellr

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I'll also assume you're "stripping" or running fast with a very inefficient pot still and collecting at ~95 proof, or less than 50% ABV.

As a data point for you, I strip fast and hard, and collect enough from 2 or 3 strips for a spirit run. The spirit run I get the flow so that its dripping pretty quickly, almost a stream. I collect everything in small jars and collect my hearts around 85% down to 70% or maybe 65% depending on how its smelling and tasting.

K
 
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