How to Monitor Temperature – The temperature of your still varies in different spots. There are three key places on your still where you should monitor the temperature – the pot boiler, the top of the column, and the condenser coil. The temperature inside the pot boiler will tell you about the boiling liquid in the mash.
Keep it increasing, maintaining a range of 175 – 195 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as possible. Turn off the heat when it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature at the top of the column will tell you about your alcohol vapor as it begins to condense. Monitor this temperature, watching for an excess of 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
If it becomes overheated, turn down your heat. It is especially important to use a built-in thermometer at the top of the column in a large column still Keep an eye on the touch-temperature of your condenser coil. The coil should be kept cool to the touch, with cold running water or ice packs. If it reaches room temperature, decrease the heat on your still and pack more ice on the coil.
What temperature do you cook mashed moonshine?
How to Make Moonshine Mash – How you craft your moonshine mash recipe will have a major impact on the final result in both flavor and quality. Here’s how to make moonshine mash:
- Measure and weigh all ingredients.
- Place the mash pot on the burner and heat.
- Pour 5 gallons of water into the pot and boil it to 165°F.
- Turn off heat and stir in flaked corn maize or chosen sugary grain.
- Stir for about 7 minutes.
- Stir for 30 seconds every 5 minutes until mash cools to 152°F.
- Stir in crushed malted barley.
- Stir for 30 seconds every 20 minutes until mash cools to 70°F.
- Add yeast.
- Aerate mash by transferring between containers for 5 minutes.
- Pour into a fermentation bucket.
How do you know when moonshine is done?
HOW TO USE YOUR HYDROMETER – To use your hydrometer is not a difficult task, Simply fill the hydrometer ⅔ of the way full. Gently add your hydrometer and roll the hydrometer slowly in your hands to remove any bubbles. When the hydrometer falls take the reading.
What happens if mash pH is too high?
| DISCUSSION | – It’s commonly accepted that a high mash pH can result in less efficient conversion of starches into fermentable sugars while also leading to the extraction of astringent compounds from malt and hops. However, the non-significant results from the original Brülosophy xBmt on high mash pH called this idea into question, which made me wonder if perhaps the starting water might play a role.
- The fact tasters in this xBmt were able to tell apart a beer made with naturally high pH water, leading to a higher mash pH, from one where the mash pH was adjusted down with phosphoric acid suggests it may very well have an impact.
- In addition to the apparent perceptual differences, mash pH was observed to have other effects as well, mostly notably in regards to appearance– the high mash pH beer made with non-adjusted water was noticeably clearer than the standard mash pH beer.
I can’t be certain what the cause of this is, but in Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewer’s, Palmer and Kaminski note that phosphoric acid has the potential to cause calcium to drop out of solution under certain conditions, which may have been the case here.
Furthermore, the high mash pH beer started with a slightly lower OG and ended with a slightly higher FG, leading to a 0.6% difference in ABV and providing some support for the conventional wisdom regarding conversion efficiency. To this day, I use my relatively high alkalinity tap water for brewing and adjust it down using phosphoric acid such that my mashes are around 5.5 pH.
Based on the results of this xBmt and my own personal experience, I will definitely continue this practice in my own brewing, as it seems to have enough of an impact to affect the character of the beer I brew. Special thanks goes out to Adam Hervert from the Elkhorn Valley Society of Brewers for letting me borrow his kettle, burner, and pH meter so I could do this side-by-side brew. Matt Skillstad is a happy husband to a wonderful wife (who likes his beer!) and proud father of 5 children under 7 years old from Pierce, Nebraska. He has been brewing since 2011 and, in addition to The Brü Club, is a member of the Elkhorn Valley Society of Brewers,
What happens if you run moonshine too fast?
Skip to content Distillation and Condensing Temperature It’s a notion most have heard multiple times – “hot run, hot liquor” or “cold run, smooth liquor.” Is that really the case? Or is this, like some other things in the moonshine world, just an old wives’ tale passed down from generation to generation? If you’ve been running liquor for very long you inherently have a sense of the temperatures at which the azeotropic blend you created in your mash/wash will evaporate alcohols; these will re-condense to create the spirit we all know and love.
Science tells us the boiling point of pure ethanol is 174° F at sea level. (Yeah, elevation changes things slightly – and we can cover that in the future.) Remember though, our mashes and washes are not 100% pure ethanol. Why does that matter? Let’s cover azeotropic blends real quick Azeotropic blends are best described as “a consistent boiling blend.” To be an azeotrope the mixture must consist of at least two different substances; better put, at least two different elements or compounds.
Oil and water mixed for instance, are not azeotropic because the two separates from one another easily and rapidly.1 Every azeotropic blend has a defined boiling point, either less than the boiling point temperature of the highest concentration individual ingredient (positive azeotrope), or greater (negative azeotrope).
The most well-known example of an azeotrope is – you guessed it, ethanol and water.2 Our mashes and washes are a “positive azeotrope” with over 50% water, so that 174° F boiling point of pure ethanol increases. For example, a mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% water has a boiling point of about 197° F.3 Less than pure water, more than pure ethanol.
Combine that information along with the fact that each still will run and produce differently based on your individual run style, and the fact that our washes contain other components such as acetone, methanol, etc the waters really begin to get “cloudy” on proper temperature – distilling pun intended.
- The key thing to take away from the above is that each mash and wash will react differently based on the inherent blend you achieved.
- Therefore, I despise those diagrams indicating temperatures at which “foreshots, heads, hearts and tails” will distill and appear.
- They are nothing more than pointless references (if they can even be classified as references).
Don’t get me started on thermometers either while helpful, only use them purely as a reference to maintain a steady run and monitor your heat up, NOT as a hard and fast rule. Speaking of those heads, hearts and tails, temperature can absolutely have an impact on these.
- Running your still too fast or too hot will guarantee that the temperature of your azeotropic blend increases to the point that more “other” vapor is being released faster than or equal to ethanol vapor.
- This results in low proof, smeared cuts, and early tails.
- Yes, some smearing happens regardless, but you will exacerbate that effect with a hot and fast run.) As many of you may know from my social media presence, I like to follow the “slow and steady wins the race” approach.
Heat up slow, run slow, at least until you fully learn what your equipment is capable of. Nothing good ever happens fast in this hobby and I believe that also applies to running your still. With that out of the way, lets touch a little bit on the condensing side of things.
Once we use the previous information to get a handle on what temperature our mash/wash will boil, we then get an idea of what temperature our condenser realistically needs to be to condense that vapor. In a perfect world, anything lower than the boiling point of our mash/wash will begin to condense the vapor into good ol’ shine.
There’s a problem though it isn’t that simple. With so many different types of condensers on the market today with differences of volume, surface area etc., there is again much more to consider. Most home distillers I know are always shooting for a super cold worm/condenser.
I am guilty of it myself – just check out my first TikTok videos.) In my opinion some of us have it in our head that colder condensers will produce better liquor, and we will burn through enough ice to cool a mid-west elk kill in an attempt to achieve that standard. With my runs this summer, I didn’t achieve that standard.
My average worm bath temperature was more than 90° F. Full disclosure – I didn’t have a choice. I draft from a farm pond, and in doing so mother nature has full control over my cooling water temperature. Did the run taste “hot?” Nope. “Fiery?” Not a bit.
The only thing noticed was some early tails, which were directly related to running during such a hot day at my “normal” speed and power settings; purely my mistake and not at all related to the temperature of my condensing water. I should have taken into consideration the entire distilling environment I was in that day.
This prompted me to research more into these topics and ultimately inspired this article. As long as your worm is not producing vapor from the spout, I am under the belief that your condensing water is fine, no matter the temperature. I recommend taking a mirror and holding it in front of your worm spout; if it steams up, you’re pushing vapors and should change something or stop the run immediately.
- We all know what can happen if that continues.
- Insert Fire Dept.
- Sirens here.) I have found no evidence during research, runs, or otherwise to make me think that the temperature of my worm in any way impacts the smoothness or quality of my distillate.
- As long as you have enough temperature differential to completely condense that vapor to liquid.
Now with that said, you can absolutely have an undersized condenser. A condenser not long enough or with not enough cooling volume or surface area will significantly impact the speed and amount at which you are able to produce/condense, if you are able to condense at all.
Again, the mirror check will answer that question for you. The fix may be as simple as slowing down the run or decreasing your cooling water temperature, depending on the equipment you’re working with. Maybe your condenser is smaller, but with colder water it fully condenses as expected? Maybe your condenser is oversized, and allows you to push that cooling water temperature upwards of 100° F? As long as you are safely condensing ALL vapor, run what you have at whatever temperature works for you and achieves the stream you’re looking for.
If you go through your run faster than your equipment can handle, your temperature will inevitably increase, so I can somewhat understand the old adage “hot run, hot liquor.” While if you slow down and your temperature remains rather consistent and proper for your equipment, “cold run, smooth liquor” could very well make sense.
But Hooch how fast is too fast? Let your still answer that question. I don’t understand how will my still tell me that? Through temperature. But I thought temperature didn’t matter? It doesn’t. What matters is how your still is handling and how your run is reacting to that temperature. How will I know if my still can “handle” it? By learning your still and being in-tune with your run.
It may take some trial and error, and that’s OK. Are you dizzy from all the circles? I am. What I do know is that distilling is more of an art than any of us can ever fathom. One can pound science, chemistry, and numbers until they are “blue in the face.” In the end the most important part of the process comes down to the “touch” of the individual distiller and how well that distiller knows and runs his or her equipment.
- There’s so much more that could be said on what I mention.
- From azeotropic blends, temperatures, cuts, proper condenser sizing and how it all can have an impact on your product – feel free to do your own research on those topics.
- This is one hobby that if you stop learning, it is time to move on.
- In the meantime, I recommend using temperature during distillation for what it’s worth, a good reference point.
Learn and listen to your still and follow its guidance and I guarantee that you’ll be ignoring that thermometer in no time. Practice your “touch,” learn your equipment, and sharpen your senses – because that’s the only thing that sets you as a distiller and the spirits you produce apart.
Why does my moonshine taste like rubbing alcohol?
How to Remove Methanol from Moonshine – One way a commercial distiller would determine the presence of methanol is to monitor still temperature, If anything is produced by the still before wash temperature reaches 174 degrees, it’s methanol. A commercial distiller will discard it.
- Again, methanol boils at a lower temperature than ethanol and will concentrate at the beginning of distillation runs.
- Additionally, commercial distillers have determined that simply discarding a standard amount per batch, based on batch size, is enough to keep things safe.
- The rule of thumb is to discard 1/3 of a pint jar for every 5 gallons of wash being distilled.
How much initial product to discard:
1 gallon batch – discard the first 2/3 of a shot glass 5 gallon batch – discard the first 1/3 of a pint jar 10 gallon batch – discard the first 3/4 of a pint jar
Regardless of still temp, it’s a good idea to always follow this rule of thumb. Methanol or not, the first stuff to come off the still tastes and smells like rubbing alcohol. It’s by far the worst stuff in the entire production run and it isn’t going to impress anyone. Kyle Brown is the owner of Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company which he founded in 2009. His passion is teaching people about the many uses of distillation equipment as well as how to make beer at home. When he isn’t brewing beer or writing about it, you can find him at his local gym or on the running trail.
Can you get sick from homemade moonshine?
Other Side Effects Of Moonshine – Methanol vaporizes faster and can become concentrated in toxic amounts. With the right equipment, it can easily be separated and tossed out. But, without it, the methanol is difficult to discard. The dangerous part happens when the body converts methanol to formaldehyde, which is an ingredient in embalming fluid.