Distilling 1.5: better product in less time!

Introduction

This Blog Post is about a distilling procedure that I have been using for years … and with great success. It combines the benefits of working with more alcohol for more control, without you loosing time and energy in the process. Effective and efficient? Smells like iStill spirit to me!

Distilling

So … distilling is about bringing a liquid with alcohol to a boil, harvesting the right gases, and then cooling these gases back to a liquid with a higher ABV or proof. One distillation cycle (in a potstill) will concentrate an 8% beer into a 25 to 30% low wines. Not enough, so you need to distill again … or use a still that gives you more redistillations in one go.

More redistillations in one go? Yes, like the iStill 250, that gives you like 1.5 to 2 redistsillations in potstill mode. That way you can take a boiler charge to 55 – 60% in one go. Especially if you rerun some hydroseparated tails, 62% Hearts cut is in the game (look for “hydroseparation” if you want to learn more).

But there is another way to give you a higher ABV, with more control, in the same time. I call it “Distilling 1.5”. Perfectly suited for pretty much any taste rich product you want to make in Potstill Mode. Here is how it works.

Distilling 1.5

Let’s take the iStill 250 for instance. What you do is charge the boiler with 250 liters of – say – an 8% distillers beer, rum wines or whatever. You now perform a quick stripping run. Only collect Fores, run till end temperature is 99C. Push the tempo to 12 KW during the production phase. You will collect something like 50 liters of 40% low wines.

Now, onwards with the next step! Clean out column and boiler. Then add the low wines (50 liters at 40%) to the boiler and top off with 200 liters of fresh wash. You now have (almost) twice as much total alcohol in the boiler. 250 liters at 15% instead of 250 liters at 8%.

Twice the amount of alcohol to play with, means you get more control over Heads and Tails fractions (more total alcohol equals broader transition phases equals easier cuts by taste).

You reset factory settings on the iStill 250 (or 50 or 500), dial in an end temperature of around 96C to 96.5C, and choose for “Fores and Heads Removal”. When the actual production phase starts, dial the power manually back to 6 KW.

What you now do is one stripping combined with one low wines. Half of your run gets distilled twice, the other one only once. That’s why I call it “Distilling 1.5”. Your Hearts cut will come over at around 70% or 140 proof.

Advantages

There are quite a few advantages to this approach:

  1. Since you get twice the amount of product in two runs … you actually did not loose any time or energy;
  2. The higher ABV boiler charge makes it easier to cut for Heads and Tails;
  3. Since you don’t dilute your low wines with water, but with fresh beer or wine instead, you get a more taste intense product.

This procedure is also applicable to the iStill One.

Regards, Odin.

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