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When to Distil?

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CanadianJesus

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My friend tells me to distil my mash as soon as it's done fermenting (to him, this means as soon as the airlock stops bubbling, he doesn't use a hydrometer). Is this correct? Or should I let my wine clear before running it? I know I should wait a couple of weeks for the yeast to clean up after itself, but does the wine need to be cleared out before I can run it? I have already been given an answer, but I realised my friend who introduced me to the hobby knows far less about the actual fermentation process than I do. I started out making mead so I'm always using my hydrometer and using nutrients as well as proper wine yeast. My buddy just uses bread yeast from the grocery store (which works, but is not ideal to my understanding coming from a wine making background).

He thinks I screwed up his 'perfected' recipe by using double the amount of juice and adding table grapes for more flavour as well as using wine yeast because he thinks that all yeast is the same. (I had to stop him from buying turbo yeast one time)

Also, apparently I'm wasting money by making my future apple pie brandy by making the mash entirely out of apple juice with a bit of brown sugar rather than only a few bottles of juice and the rest being all white table sugar and water. (I'm going to be following the Apfelwein recipe for the 'mash' for that one and steeping spices in the finished liquor as well as flavouring it with freshly baked apples).

Am I correct in my thinking that by using more fruit, more fruit flavour will be in the finished product? (better tasting mash equals better tasting liquor right?) Also what about the clearing thing, does the wine need to clear or not before I run it?
 
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CanadianJesus

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Thanks for the reply. I haven't found the artisan-distiller forum yet. I'll start reading there and do some searches to see if I can find my questions answered there.
 

TGFV

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The more you use the material you want the taste from the more it will taste like it.

Wine -> Brandy
Apple wine -> Apple Brandy
Beer wort -> whiskey
Molasses sugar wash -> rum

That being said, you are right and your friend is quite wrong in many ways. What he is making is a slightly flavoured sugar shine as opposed to the Brandy you want to make.
 

Homercidal

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You will still get spirits by distilling immediately, but you might also get more yeast flavors. I'd be inclined to remove the trub before processing.

And there is NOTHING wrong with adding more flavor before running! I would think that would be obvious. Different still designs will lead to different amounts of flavored spirits. A simple pot still will leave more flavors from the ingredients. Turbo yeast might be just fine for a traditional Corn Likker recipe, but you might prefer to use a brewers yeast instead.

That said, the type of yeast used is likely to not add or remove much flavor in the end product.
 

TGFV

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I can actually attest that different yeasts can leave slightly different tastes to aged products. The flavours are very minor and barely a consideration compared to grain bills.

One if the benefits of growing up in Greater Vancouver was having Surrey nearby when I was a teenager as well as knowing a craft distillery owner.
 
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CanadianJesus

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Well the recipe I 'screwed up' is a simple Welch's Concord Grape Grappa. He uses two 1 litre bottles and 5kg sugar for 6 gallons of mash. I used 5 bottles of juice, 5kg sugar and about 1 kilo of table grapes crushed with the juice mixed into the must and the crushed grapes suspended in the wine for 2 weeks. My OG was 1.093, which is normal for wine. I'm assuming his, since he never uses a hydrometer, is a bit lower than that. I used EC-1118 yeast for my version so it ferments completely dry. The last time I tasted it was about a week and a half ago when I removed my grapes, and it already tasted like a decent table wine. I'm thinking it will be done fermenting in the next few days if it isn't already. (The airlock is still bubbling, but that may just be the wine off gassing built up CO2). I added half my nutrients up front, and the other half, halfway through fermentation. That's another thing he doesn't do is use nutrients of any kind. For fruit wines, they may not be necessary, but I like to keep my yeast healthy and happy. I also stirred to aerate and degas CO2 for the first half of fermentation. I stopped after half way because I didn't want to risk oxidation.

I'm going to take a hydrometer reading sometime in the next few days to see if it's done fermenting, then wait a week and run it. I'll be doing a stripping run, then dilute that down to 40% using my stripped mash and do a spirit run and then make my cuts. That's another thing I noticed he does not do. He just throws away the foreshots and then just collects everything into one jug and calls it done. Sure, I'll have less liquor overall, but I'm sure my finished product will taste better. I'll just save my feints for future runs of the same recipe and add them to the wine before my first run through the still.

I'll be saving up my foreshots to use as starter fuel for my charcoal barbecue this summer :p

Also, would it be a good idea to sweeten my finished dry wine with a little grape juice? Would that add any extra grape flavor to my end product?
 

Stake

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I'll be saving up my foreshots to use as starter fuel for my charcoal barbecue this summer :p
Another use for foreshots is similar to a product called Dry Gas, it helps prevent fuel line freeze ups. :rock: Use caution: There is no lubrication properties of alcohol, and can prematurely damage your engine, and will eat away at any rubber seals.:eek:
 

TGFV

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Ugh I've had whole run drinks before and I don't know why someone would subject themselves let alone others to it.

Of you are taking the time out to do something like this, take the extra 20 min to do proper cuts, or at least to cut out the heads (adding tails (and a tiny bit of heads for certain whiskey) can be beneficial to some likker)
 
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