- 1 What percent of a run is heads
- 2 What temp does alcohol distill at Celsius
What percent of a run is heads
The Heads – As the temperature continues to increase, ethanol will boil, and you will be distilling real spirits. But, while the temperature in the still’s pot is climbing through the range of about 175 degrees Fahrenheit to about 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the distillate will still contain many traces of non-ethanol chemicals that can make your final product have a bit more “bite” and flavor if they are added to it.
- For a product like whiskey or Scotch, this might be ideal, because the complexity of those alcohols comes from the combination of trace chemicals.
- However, for a product like moonshine or vodka, which are ideally flavorless, trace chemicals alter and affect the taste of your product negatively.
- The second cut you will make in your run will be around the 185 – 190 degree temperature range.
The distillate collected after the foreshots and before the second cut is called the “heads” of the run. Set the heads aside for further distillation, or to combine the right amount with your final distillate to flavor the alcohol the way you like. The heads should total about 20-30%% of the final amount of your run.
What temperature do you cut distilling at?
Foreshots – The first stuff that comes out of the still is the bad stuff. The foreshots contain methanol and other poisons that you don’t want in your product. Not only do foreshots contain very little ethanol, but they’re also the reason why you get that headache when you’re hungover.
- So this is what you want to collect—and then discard.
- You’ll collect the foreshots until your vapor temperature reaches about 175°F (80°C), and Rick recommends collecting at least 4 ounces per 5 gallons that you’re distilling.
- This would be at least 5.2 ounces for a 6.5 gallon batch, or 10.4 ounces for a 13 gallon run.
Again, this is what we recommend as a minimum to collect and discard. Someone else might say you can get away with collecting less, but we just don’t think it’s worth it.
What temp does alcohol distill at Celsius
Different stills run at different temperatures, and if in doubt you should check with the manufacturer/supplier of your particular brand of still. However majority of stills are designed to run similarly. The temperature that ethyl alcohol boils off at is 78C-82C and therefore if your still has a temperature gauge in the top of the condenser (usually in a rubber bung situated at the top) it should run between 78C-82C (with 78C being ideal).
Why do you not distill until dryness?
NEVER distill the distillation flask to dryness as there is a risk of explosion and fire. The most common methods of distillation are simple distillation and fractional distillation. Simple distillation can be used when the liquids to be separated have boiling points that are quite different.
How do you know if distillation worked?
Temperature vs Volume Distillate Plot Interpretation – Labster Theory One method you can use to visualize how well a distillation worked is to record the volume of distillate and the temperature that it is collected. With this data, you can plot a temperature vs volume distillation curve.
- On this graph, the volume of distillate is plotted on the x-axis and temperature on the y-axis.
- A flat or horizontal stretch on the curve represents a large number of drops or volume being collected with little change in temperature.
- This signifies a compound being distilled; in other words, a compound’s boiling point.
A vertical area on the curve represents a large change in temperature with no drops being collected. This signifies the transition between the boiling points of two compounds. One thing that you should notice is that sometimes, right before the transition between the two boiling points, the temperature actually decreases.
This occurs because the lower boiling point compound has been totally removed from the distillation flask and it sometimes takes a few minutes for the higher boiling point compound’s vapor to reach the thermometer bulb. During this period where no vapor is hitting the thermometer, the temperature actually starts to decrease.
Once the vapor of the higher boiling point compound hits the thermometer, the temperature will shoot up to that boiling point. This decrease in temperature before the boiling point transition is useful because it gives you an indication of when to change distillation collection flasks.
If you understand the concepts discussed above, then you should understand that an ideal distillation curve for a two-component mixture should look like the plot shown below. It should have two flat stretches representing the boiling points of the two compounds in the mixture and one vertical stretch that represents the transition between the two boiling points.
How do we separate foreshots, heads, hearts and tails?
When you make a temperature vs volume distillation curve, what you are looking for is how closely the plot resembles this ideal separation. If you see very defined boiling points (flat stretches) and a steep vertical transition between the boiling points, you know that your distillation was successful. Figure 1: Chart relating temperature and volume of distillate collected. : Temperature vs Volume Distillate Plot Interpretation – Labster Theory
How can you tell the head from the heart in moonshine?
Heads, Hearts, and Tails | Distilling Blog As mentioned in a previous blog post, Heads, Hearts & Tails can be generally defined as the following:
Heads: Spirits from the beginning of the run that contain a high percentage of low boiling point alcohols and other compounds such as aldehydes and ethyl acetate. Hearts: The desirable middle alcohols from your run. Tails: A distillate containing a high percentage of fusel oil and little alcohol at the end of the run.
Let’s take this blog in another direction to further add to the often conflicting advice given to newbie distillers, shall we? You’re welcome. So often the new distiller views their skill level based upon his or her ability to know where to make the exact cut between each (heads, hearts, or tails) part of the run.
- To the fledgling distiller, pinpointing the exact transition between each segment of the run can be interpreted as finding the good alcohol vs the bad alcohol.
- However, collecting distillate based on the most insipid sensory awareness profiles is what actually happens to many newly minted distillers that read and perhaps misinterpret how making cuts should benefit finished spirits? This strategy of exactitude works really well for those who make alcohol with table sugar only.
But soon wears thin with those making an all-grain whiskey or a full-bodied rum/rhum. And so, as the distiller gains more and more experience making cuts, the distiller ends up being quite good at finding the dead center Hearts cut. In doing so he/she becomes quite skilled at making a very “smooth” spirit.
Yes, very “smooth”. So “smooth”. The “smoothest”. Nobody makes it “smoother”. Oy, that sounds suitably forgettable. The problem here with this quest for “smooth” is that unless the distiller is trying to render textbook neutral, the finished spirit very much lacks complexity. Further downstream, barrel aging then produces a finished spirit that is ever so one-dimensional.
Now if you are the type of consumer that enjoys or prefers a whiskey and coke, or a rum and coke then perhaps this tact suits you just fine? And that’s fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking what you like. Heck, I like ketchup on my eggs, liver & onions and even more, secretly don’t really mind pineapple & Canadian bacon on my pizza.
The evolution of the distiller’s sensory awareness skills eventually progresses to the point where he/she will start to question why his (or her) spirit seems to be lacking. Indeed, nowhere near the tasting notes of whiskey or rums coming out of some of the more well-established distilleries. One even starts to realize that some of the lesser established distilleries are making better spirits as well.
That can be a kick in the pills aye? There are a lot of variables to making a good spirit. Mash bill, yeast strain, fermentation temps, distillation technique, barrel aging, and blending. Each of those steps mentioned also has a subset list of variables, but the distillation technique is definitely a major part of the equation.
- The progression continues along, and the distiller slowly starts to gain confidence that dipping his toe into either end of the center cut is ok.
- An incremental move toward the dark side! As with many things, less can be more.
- This is true in cooking, right? Too much sugar.
- Too much salt, too much pepper can be off-putting.
And yet food tastes better when correctly seasoned. The goal here is to install just enough flavor components to not overwhelm. But rather enhance. The same analogy is true for proper cocktails and therefore also true for spirits. Naturally, the above comment is indeed wide open for interpretation since not everyone has the same tolerance for moving too far North or South of insipid.
- Start slowly by adding back small volumes of distillate that typically wouldn’t make the center cut on your old strict way of identifying your keeper, smooth spirit.
- As always, utilize your sensory awareness team for feedback.
- And most importantly it is critical to remember that cut points are not a fixed metric.
Not every distiller determines where cuts are made in the same way. Especially when each is running different types of stills and processing different types of beer or wine. Whether you are making moonshine, vodka, or Armagnac, each process will surely have different cut points according to the interpretation of the distiller.
- And finally, you have to be willing to admit to yourself when pushing just a bit too far.
- Don’t get trapped into sunk cost fallacy thinking because you’ve put in so much work, have grown impatient, and just want to get it in the bottle.
- Now I know what you all are thinking.
- In the first blog about making cuts “you told me to cut clean”.
And in this blog “you’re telling me to loosen up and cut a little dirty”. Yes, I know. It can be confusing. But look at it this way, Picasso first learned to draw and paint more anatomically accurate pieces of artwork. As time passed, however, his artwork became less symmetrical, more complex, and more open to interpretation.
What percentage of distillate is heads?
Distilling Hearts & Tails – Foreshots NOTE: You should only use this alcohol as fuel or cleaner. Do not consume this part of your run! The first 5% or so of your run will consist of the fore shots. This 5% contains methanol. Generally, as a standard practice, you would throw out the first 250 ml per 20 liters as this part of your run will consist of these fore shots.
- However, since we’ll be using this alcohol as a sanitizer/disinfectant product instead of a consumable spirit, you should keep them.
- Good rule of thumb is between 5ml/l wash to 10ml/l of you wash.
- The alcohols found in the fore shots and heads work great as strong cleaning agents, fire starters, de-greasers, and solvents.
Again, DO NOT consume these because they are toxic and will poison you and/or make you blind. Heads Next, comes the part of the distillate known as the heads. The heads make up 30% percent of your alcohol run. As mentioned above, you will find lots of different volatile alcohols in the heads of your run.
One of the particularly volatile staples of the heads is known as Acetone. Acetone has a very distinct and solvent-like smell, making its identification easy to recognize. Just like the fore shots, you’ll want to isolate these and use them as strong household cleaning agents and solvents. These are NOT for using on your skin.
NOTE: A great way of isolating both the fore shots and heads in your run is to bring your still to around 75 °C and keep it there for around 10 minutes. The alcohol produced during this duration will consist of only fore shots and heads. Once the condenser stops producing at 75 °C, you’ll know that you’ve collected all of the more volatile alcohols that make up the fore shots and heads of the run.
- Hearts The next 30% of your run will be the sweet spot of your alcohol run, known as the hearts.
- You’ll want to raise the temperature of your still to 80 °C to 82 °C range to start collecting this portion of your distillate.
- As you get into the hearts portion of your run, you should notice that the solvent smell of acetone tapers off and is replaced with a sweet-smelling ethanol alcohol.
This is where practice makes perfect. In order to maximize high-quality hearts, you’ll need to focus. You should be able to recognize the hearts by their sweet and neutral flavor. Taste just a bit of the distillate on your finger. The main giveaway is the sweet/smooth taste of ethanol.
If you can identify where the acetone stops and the ethanol alcohols begin, you will be able to maximize the total amount of viable alcohol that you can use as sanitizer or disinfectant. Tails The last 35% of your alcohol run is made up of the tails. You can recognize the tails by sight, smell, and taste.
You’ll see an oily film start to collect on the top of the distillate and be able to smell/taste a burnt type of flavor. The tails contain protein and carbohydrates from the wash that you don’t want in your final product. Be sure to keep your tails because you can run them again as their own wash in the future to pull out a bit more useful product.