hist-brewing: Commocn use of a still

Julie & Derek Craig hylander at ihug.co.nz
Wed Jul 30 15:59:47 PDT 2003

Greetings Brewers,
I regularly use both a 25 l pot still (see http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~hylander/brewing.html) and 50 l reflux stills. As I live in New Zealand this is legal, though not common. 
The use of the pot still is exceptionly easy, I have just completed a whisky distilation with out the use of any temperature monitoring  save my watching for steam escaping the still and turning the element down! 
I always throw out the first 50ml of distillate to avoid any methyl alcohol.
The most important part of the process was monitoring the alcohol percentage with an alcohol hydrometer, as the alcohol percentage drops below 25% (from initial 60%) the flow is diverted to be redistilled later.  This has hopefully allowed enough flavour to come through without the stronger bitter principles being boiled off.  Most people are surprised to find that distilled products are clear!  Commercial whisky and the like achieve their colour from the oak barrels used for storage and/or the addition of caramel colouring.

I also "age" my distillates by forcing air through the spirit with a fish bubbler.  This helps oxidise any sharp tasting principles that have come through and gives my one week old whisky five years of aging in 24 hrs.

The reflux still is only used to produce pure spirit (90%) for liqueur making and it would be a waste to put anything with flavour into it.

Other than the water hose snaking across my kitchen there is no real difference in distilling and mash brewing in terms of smell -boiling malt smells the same.

In service
Jardine Mac an leigh
Baronny of Ildhafn, Lochac

"If you can't get drunk in it,
can't make love in it,
can't dream in it,
there's no point in having it"
-Tim Smit, Heligan Gardens.

Beannachd nas Soilleir ort, agus air gach duine.
(Brightest of Blessings to you and all you hold dear.)

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