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I don’t think adding sugar will reduce the proof- I’m more curious why you would add sugar?
I usually let my mash ferment for 8-10 days and then usually another week to settle. I usually have a few going and I’m never in a rush. If you get a pipeline going there is no need to wait 😉
I’m just curious where you live?
You can pickup molasses at most walmarts or have it shipped for free.
What is the reading with the hydrometer currently? Is it a brewing hydrometer?
It is possible it is done fermenting.
Did you take a starting gravity reading when you made the mash?
Regardless I would let it sit a week- that gives the yeast time to settle to the bottom of the fermenter.
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A lot of folks run mason jar thumpers with great results. I would fill the still and thumper with water and do a water run- make sure you have no leaks. Did it come with a worm to cool the vapor?
Keep us posted –
I am not sure on the state laws of Oklahoma- do you know if you can distill fuel legally there?
Did you buy your still from a company that reports still sales to the TTB? If so then your name is already registered with the TTB and I personally would get a fuel permit if that is the case.
You can get a Federal Fuel permit- you will want to check to see what the State laws are first. (some States don’t allow it- some states don’t even allow stills at all)
I personally have a fuel permit, keep my logs up to date, and run all my lawn equipment on the fuel I make- I don’t live in Oklahoma so I can’t comment on that. I have yet to have a visit from anyone at the TTB- I send my logs in at the end of the year and that is the only interaction I have had with them.
I think the majority of folks fly under the radar
The still will be pretty full at the end of the run.
could I let the still cool back down then start again or would there not be any alcohol left to take out
It will be mostly water left- If you have a proofing hydrometer – once you make your tails cut keep collecting the tails until you are down to about 20% and save the tails and add them to the next batch you run.
This way you are pulling all of the alcohol you can out of the wash- saving the tails and adding them to the next run will up the starting abv of that wash.
120 is pretty warm- you might have killed the yeast.
You can either let it sit another 12 hours or so and if you don’t see any activity in the airlock (are you using an airlock?) add more yeast- or you can add more yeast now-
what temp is the mash at now?
What kind of copper still are you using? That sounds about right for a pot still or a pot still with a column.
in order to increase the proof you can always do a few stripping runs-(a hot fast run in which you save everything- hot and quick which is a quick way to separter the alcohol from the water) Once you have 5 gallons of the low wines (everything collected from the stripping run) do a spirit run with the low wines. That will clean up the product and give you a much higher proof.
I am the guy who enjoys hearts between 110-120 and then I usually proofs them down to 90-100.
Like Zymurgy Bob said- stainless works great- if you are using stainless it is best to to incorporate copper in someplace- normally in the column. A lot of the new startup distilleries are using stainless pots and copper columns (it is less expensive to get started in this fashion) and I’ve had product from quite a few of these distilleries and it is quite good. If money is no issues then I would suggest going with 100% copper, but that is not the case for most of us.
Aluminum is fine for mashing. Clean and dry the pot after each use.
I always use flaked maize because lately my time is worth more than the money I spend on it. I’d boil the corn for an hour or two- then cool it to about 152 or so- add the malted barley and let it rest for an hour or so. (try and keep the temp between 148-152) this should give you a pretty good conversion. Let us know how this works- I’ve been interested and will most likely try it this spring when I have more time- for now I’ll be using the flaked as you can just mash with it without having to add the extra step of boiling it to break it down.
Let us know how it works- I’m sure it will be fine.