New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Talk about methods, equipment and recipes for making brewed and distilled spirits at home.

New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Citris » Wednesday Jun 20, 2012 5:29 pm

Hello all

First of all, I am new to Spirit brewing, or homebrew altogether. I usully steam my mates homebrew beer, but I think its about time I started to pitch in. I am more of a spirits drinker however, and I thought since we are both have never made a batch of spirits, I would come on here and ask a few questions. Before I do, ill give you a little bit of an idea what I'm looking for, I am a Bourbon drinker, nothing fancy, I usually stick with Jim Beam just because its cheap, but I do like to try the more expensive bottles for something a little different. I will also like to make a bottle of 2 of vodka, for mixes for the girls.

Equipment:
* 30lt Urn or Pot from HBS
* POT top (Ima say thingie haha)
* Fermenter
* Glass Decanter (Jug)
Its actually a kit from the HBS so I't should have everything if I'm missing anything important here.

Now onto the questions. First up, I am looking at a POT Distil, I know a lot of people thing (And are probably right) that the reflux is better all round, But as far as I can understand, POT is better for Bourbon style spirits, and you can double distil for vodka style spirits. I will be getting a POT Distil, mainly because its cheaper, but I would like to know what people think;
1. Do you loose a lot more alcohol compared to reflux?
2. Is the % a lot lower even after a second distil?

The last set of questions I would like to ask is related to recipes, I am aware of 2 main types of wart, mash? probably said that wrong, but I believe one is just straight Dextrose, water, and some yeast... the other is a Mash mad from grains, and a mate suggested a sort of half half, 5kg Dextrose and 2kg malt extract (believe that's what he said). Now I will probably try one of each of these, and of each try to make a bourbon and vodka from each also. So questions;
1. Does anyone have any suggestions of what ingredients to use for each mixes? How much of each ect?
2. What Wood Chips and/or Essence do you you guys like for bourbon (I realise this is personal choice usually)?
3. What am I missing, I know I am, do you need more then Dextrose, Water, Yeast and flavouring?
4. What do you need for the first time, eg I hear carbon? filter?

Thanks guys in advance
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Sonny » Wednesday Jun 20, 2012 6:51 pm

............anyone?
http://forums.bikeme.tv/
the copper said that he'd 'been waiting all day for me to come along', I replied I got here as faaaast as I could!
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby hyjak » Wednesday Jun 20, 2012 9:12 pm

Wish I could help but never made spirits and very rarely drink it (twice a year, Scotch on my Bday and Rum @ Xmas)
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Citris » Wednesday Jun 20, 2012 10:16 pm

I wont be going in completely blink, have a mate who is into Homebrew Beer, and I can ask my local HBS, but from what I have heard, they don't really know what they are talking about. But I wont be getting the kit for a couple of weeks so I hope I collect some ideas :D
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby rotten » Thursday Jun 21, 2012 12:29 am

http://www.aussiedistiller.com.au/portal.php

I won't try to explain things here unless you have searched already, most things are illegal of this nature for most forums. You can try the above link though. No promises from me, I have simply been curious.
Beer numbs all zombies !!!
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Citris » Thursday Jun 21, 2012 7:42 am

I have done a lot of searching, read through just about every thread on this forum, and a lot of information at homedistiller.org, but the information seems to be very conflicting. Sometimes its better just to ask the questions.

Also I understand it may be less then legal in Australia, but I couldn't find any sticky in the spirits section explaining what we could and could not talk about, so I wasn't aware I could ask the questions...
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Tipsy » Thursday Jun 21, 2012 12:51 pm

Citris wrote:2. What Wood Chips and/or Essence do you you guys like for bourbon (I realise this is personal choice usually)?


If you are going to flavour your spirit with essences, you should be looking at a reflux still.
A pot still carries some flavour over from the wash and you don't use the essence.

Have a good read of the site in Rottens link.

Also building your own still will give you something better than what's in the shops.
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Citris » Thursday Jun 21, 2012 3:05 pm

I am slowly getting through the forum in that link. To be honest, I don't want to use Essence if I can get a better flavour without them. I have been getting a few conflicting reports, on one hand the Reflux is everything you need, on the other I get told you want pot for bourbons and rum... hmm. I think the fact that POT is so much simpler, and cheaper is making me lean that way also, I mean I don't really see myself making much Vodka, and I was under the impression you could just double if not triple distil with a POT to get a better end result if you did want to make vodka style drinks...

I don't see me building my own still however, as much as I would love to, and would have no issues doing so, it would end up being butane powered, and I have already been told (By the boss) that is not an option. Besides, from what I have seen the T400 Still Base is pretty decent? Am I wrong?
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Tipsy » Thursday Jun 21, 2012 4:12 pm

Citris wrote:I get told you want pot for bourbons and rum... hmm. I think the fact that POT is so much simpler, and cheaper is making me lean that way also, I mean I don't really see myself making much Vodka, and I was under the impression you could just double if not triple distil with a POT to get a better end result if you did want to make vodka style drinks...


A pot will make real whiskeys and rums, but be aware that you have to mash grain which compares making AG beer to making kit beer. Also triple distilling may be a lot of work. Never done it myself.

I'm not trying to put you off going down the pot route, just letting you know the learning curve may be steeper.

BTW I've seen a few descent stills on ebay.
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Citris » Friday Jun 22, 2012 7:48 am

OK well, well I wonder, I think I will probably get the POT still, mainly cos it only cost about $20-$50, nothing really, but maybe ill get the Reflux one also, could you tell me this, will I be able to switch between the 2, the boiler I'm getting is very similar (If not the same) to http://www.hbrews.com/enlarge.php?shopping_cart_id=641449&menu_id=41&image_url=201104211055000.3in1+007.JPG, and the lid just has a hole to slide the still in.

Also If I do go for reflux, for a first timer, would you conciser the T400 a good one, it seems to be a sort of self sustained one, something I might be able to turn on and forget in a way. I don't want to be sitting there adjusting the speed of water all day I have beer to drink haha.
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Re: New to Spirits - Recopies? - General tips?

Postby Tipsy » Friday Jun 22, 2012 12:19 pm

Citris wrote: I don't want to be sitting there adjusting the speed of water all day I have beer to drink haha.


You may want to do a bit of reading on CM coolant management, LM liquid management and VM vapour management.

Most (if not all) reflux stills that are sold in shops are CM and are regarded as the worst as you use a lot of water and are constantly adjusting the flow.

You can definitely use your boiler for both stills, depending on the connection.
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