IN THIS BEGINNER'S Gems for Home Distillers, we explore a few hints and tips to help you in your distilling processes.
Our previous Beginners’ Gems posts containing helpful hints, tips and techniques for home distillers, include the following:
- Beginners’ Gems #1: Basic Knowledge to Help Home Distiller Beginners
- Beginners’ Gems #2: More Basics to Help Home Distiller Beginners
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #3: The Finer Points of Fermentation Temperature
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #4: Solutions for Fermentation Problems
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #5: Even More Solutions for Fermentation Problems
Why would my alcohol yield from the still be down?
If for any reason the wash has not fermented completely, (i.e. above 990 SG all the sugar has not been converted to alcohol), then you will not collect the full amount of distillate through your still.
If you have not collected the full amount of alcohol, check you have used the correct amount of sugar/dextrose in the wash; and the specific gravity is below 990 before distilling.
Also check there is no steam leak during distillation.
If the wash is not fully fermented out, then the unfermented sugars can foam, causing the wash to come through the condenser with the distillate.
In this instance a distilling conditioner can be used to increase yield or avoid problems.
How long does it take to distill a batch of alcohol?
This will vary between stills. A typical 25 litre wash will take around 4½ hours to run through a typical reflux still like a T500.
It will take about 1 hour and 35 minutes to heat up before any condensate will run out of the condenser.
It will then take about 5 minutes to collect the heads, and nearly 3 hours to collect 3 litres (6.3 pints) of alcohol at 80%.
This is a rough guide only.
Why does my wash foam through the condenser? How do I fix it?
If the wash is not fully fermented out, then the unfermented sugars can foam causing the wash to come through the condenser with the distillate.
In this instance a distilling conditioner may be used to increase yield or avoid problems.
Can I recycle cooling water through my still using a pump?
Distillation Water Savers are available on the web and in eBay. These pump systems recycle cooling water through your still to completely eliminate water wastage.
You can save well over 150 litres (40 US Gallons) every time. The water saver is used in conjunction with a water drum or tank (60 litres/16 US gallons) or larger) and frozen ice blocks can be used to keep the water at a constant temperature below 50°C (122°F).
Until next time... Happy Distilling!