Categories Moonshine

How Much Head Is On A Run Of Moonshine? (Perfect answer)

Heads usually clock in at around 80% abv (160 proof) and above. They’re high in proof but aren’t quite as smooth as the hearts, which will come next.

  • The heads should total about 20-30%% of the final amount of your run. It’s always best to make this cut a little later, rather than earlier, and collect some of the hearts with your heads, instead of the other way around.


How much head do you throw away when distilling?

Always discard the foreshots — they make up around 5% or less of the product collected during a run. Throw out the first 30 ml on a 1 gallon run, the first 150 ml on a 5 gallon run, or the first 300 ml on a 10 gallon run. Heads come off of the still directly after the foreshots. Simply put, they taste and smell bad.

How do you measure a moonshine head?

There are several ways that one can tell when heads end and tails begin. First, the flavor profile of the distillate will change significantly. The rich flavors present during the hearts will start to fade, as will the sweetness.

How do you tell moonshine from heads and tails?

Making Heads or Tails of Hearts

  1. Foreshots. When doing a run of Moonshine, you heat your mash to a desired temperature.
  2. Heads. Next, comes the heads.
  3. Hearts. After the heads come the hearts.
  4. Tails. Finally we get to the tails, which get oily from water and proteins that are present.

How much moonshine will a 20 gallon still make?

This still is capable of producing over 4 gallons of shine per run.

Can you drink the heads of moonshine?

These contain the most volatile alcohols and should not be ingested, as they contain methanol and other undesirables. Commercial distillers always discard the foreshots and never consume them.

How much do you pour off when making moonshine?

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.

How can you tell if moonshine is poisonous?

How to Test for Purity. Folklore tells us one way to test the purity of moonshine is to pour some in a metal spoon and set it on fire. 6 If it burns with a blue flame it is safe, but if it burns with a yellow or red flame, it contains lead, prompting the old saying, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.”

What temp should I run my still?

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.

What temperature do you run moonshine?

The alcohol that makes fine, high-quality moonshine, is ethanol, which boils at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Other chemicals and types of alcohols, such as methanol, boil at lower temperatures and will be collected in your cup or jar after being condensed in the coil. These chemicals are poisonous.

How fast should moonshine drip?

Slowly bring your temperature up to 150 °F. Once you reach 150 °F, if your setup has a condenser turn on the condensing water. Next, dial up your heat source to high until your still starts producing. Time your drips as they speed up until you reach 3 to 5 drips per second.

Why does my moonshine taste like water?

The first bit of alcohol to come out of the distillation process is going to smell and taste like solvent because it’s full of methanol and contaminants.

How much methanol do you use in distilling?

It takes about 140 milliliters of methanol to be fatal and this could only be produced by distilling 149 liters of liquid, something that would be far out of the capacity of home distillers.

What kind of corn is used for moonshine?

1) SWEET CORN (Zea mays convar. Sweet Corn could be used to make bourbon but it’s typically the type that you’d buy at a grocery store to eat as corn on the cob, frozen corn or canned corn. It comes in white, yellow and coloured varieties but regardless of type is usually just labelled as “corn” in grocery stores.

What happens if you get caught making moonshine?

Offenses under this section are felonies that are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each offense. 5601(a)(1) – Possession of an unregistered still.

How much is a gallon of moonshine worth?

It costs around $8 per gallon for the sugar and wheat to make the moonshine. The selling price is around $25 a gallon if sold in bulk, or $40 for retail price.

Using a Pot Still: Where To Make Your Cuts

Because there is a Quick and Dirty Cheat Sheet at the bottom of this blog, if you need to get anything done quickly, just scroll down until you reach the bottom of this page. Just keep in mind that manufacturing moonshine with a pot still is a skill that will only improve with time and experience. The temperatures listed here are excellent guides, but the more you distill, the better you’ll be able to determine when to make your cuts depending on your own personal preferences in flavor and scent.

A cut is essentially the point at which you begin and end the process of collecting your distillate.

It is also beneficial to name and number each jar because this will assist you at the end of the procedure when you are combining the ingredients together.


The first substance to emerge from the still is the undesirable substance. Foreshots include methanol and other toxins that you do not want to be present in your finished goods. Not only do foreshots contain relatively little ethanol, but they’re also the source of the headache you experience when you’re hungover, as previously stated. In other words, this is what you want to collect—and then toss away. To collect the foreshots, you’ll need to wait until your vapor temperature hits around 175°F (80°C), and Rick suggests collecting at least 4oz each 5 gallon of distillate that you’re distilling.

Once again, this is the bare minimum that we propose for collection and disposal.


The heads are the next step, which you may keep for mixing or re-distilling at a later time. When the heads begin to appear, the vapor temperature will be more than 175°F (80°C), and this will continue until the vapor temperature is around 196°F (91°C). Heads are normally approximately 80 percent abv (160 proof) or higher in alcohol concentration. They contain a lot of evidence, but they’re not nearly as smooth as the hearts, which will be served next.


This is where the action is at its most effective. Hearts, also known as your Middle Run, start off at roughly 80 percent alcohol by volume (160 proof) before dropping to 60-65 percent alcohol by volume, or even 40 percent alcohol by volume if you want it stronger.

Hearts provide you with the fresh flavor you’re seeking for. You’ll begin collecting hearts when the vapor temperature is around 196°F (91°C) and end when the vapor temperature is approximately 203°F (95°C).


In distillation, tails are the last component of the distillate, consisting of everything that comes out after the temperature of the vapor rises to 203 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius) – 207 degrees Fahrenheit (98 degrees Celsius) The use of tails for blending is popular, although Rick does not suggest it for palatable alcohol owing to the combination of lower alcohol level and increased congener content in tails used “as-is.” It is possible, however, to combine the tails with the heads that aren’t being used and re-distill the mixture to produce neutral spirits.

Again, the temperatures indicated here are excellent guides for beginners, but the more you distill, the more you’ll be able to choose when to make your cuts depending on your own personal preferences in flavor and scent.

More Distilling Info For Beginners

More articles containing tried-and-true advice may be found here. Take a peek if you have the luxury of leisure to go into the rabbit hole. Alternatively, you may view our full blog by clicking here.

How to “Cut” your Alcohol Distilling Run

Alcohol distillation is a centuries-old process that is both an art and a science, according to some scholars. It’s simple, but not as simple as simply turning on the computer and sitting back to watch it work. In order to produce the safest and finest tasting spirit possible, conscientious distillers understand that they must monitor temperature control when distilling, as well as the finished product – the distillate. When it comes to creating a high-quality result, one of the professionals’ secrets is their meticulous and accurate “cutting” during the still’s run.

It is necessary to “cut” the alcohol stream flowing from the condenser coil when moving between jars that contain distillate and those that are empty.

The Four Stages of Your Moonshine Run

Some old wives’ tales claim that moonshine would “make you go blind.” You may have heard something similar. Despite the fact that this is an exaggeration, it is true that moonshine that has not been properly prepared might make you sick. Read our guide on how to distill whiskey and moonshine to acquire a better understanding of the safety precautions you should take at every stage of the process. Keep an eye out for the different types of alcohols that are created during the various phases of your moonshine production so that you can avoid establishing a bad reputation for your moonshine by selling it to those who think it’s harmful.

Even if you need to use numerous containers for each stage of the run, this is OK.

The Foreshots

At each stage of the race, different types of alcohol are vaporized and sucked into a collection cup at the finish line. Fine, high-quality moonshine is made from ethanol, which boils at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit when heated to a boiling point. The boiling point of other chemicals and alcohols, such as methanol, is much lower, and the resulting condensed liquid will gather in your cup or jar after being condensed in the coil. These compounds are extremely toxic. The presence of these contaminants in your moonshine (or whatever alcohol you’re distilling) will not only degrade the flavor of your product, but they may also make people very unwell.

If you reach this temperature, the ethanol in the wash will begin to evaporate, and you may be confident that the distillate collected before this point includes the majority of the methanol and other hazardous chemicals.

In this initial container, you will find all of the distillate that has been gathered before your run reaches this certain temperature.

These are referred to as the “foreshots.” The foreshots should be around 10% of the total volume of your distillation run at the end of the process. Making the incision a bit later rather than early ensures that all of the potentially harmful substances are removed from the process.

The Heads

You will be distilling actual spirits as the temperature continues to rise. Even though the temperature in the still’s pot is rising to between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the distillate will still contain significant amounts of non-ethanol chemicals that can be used to give your final product a bit more “bite” and flavor if used in conjunction with other ingredients such as spices. This may be great for a product such as whiskey or Scotch, because the complexity of those alcoholic beverages is derived from the mixing of several trace compounds.

The temperature range for the second cut you will make in your run will be between 185 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make a note of the heads and save them away for future distillation, or blend the appropriate quantity with the final distillate to flavor the alcohol to your liking.

The optimal strategy is to make this cut a bit later rather than earlier, and to gather some of the hearts with your heads rather than the other way around.

The Hearts

The distillate with the highest concentration of ethanol is the most desirable section of the run. This phase of your run is referred to as the “hearts” section. Many professionals and long-time distillers agree that this is the section of the run that takes place between around 190 degrees Fahrenheit and approximately 200 or 205 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Without a doubt, it is dependent on the still. Despite the fact that ethanol has a boiling point of 175 degrees Fahrenheit, the mash in your still does not contain pure ethanol.

The hearts will most likely account for about 30 percent or so of the overall amount of your booze run’s ultimate tally.

In this case, it is preferable to combine some hearts with your tails rather than some tails with your hearts.

The Tails

When the temperature of the run hits around 205 degrees Fahrenheit, it is possible that more steam will enter your distillate. There may also be other compounds present in the distillate that burn at a higher temperature than ethanol, which might impart a flavor to this component of the distillate that isn’t precisely what you were looking for. This section of the run is referred to as the “tails,” and it can account for as much as 20-30 percent of your entire distance. Remove the tails and set them aside for further distillation.

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It is safe to cut off the heat source for your still after the temperature in the pot of your still hits 212 degrees.

Continue to collect whatever distillate comes out of the condenser coil, but it is not worth it to boil the water in order to extract every drop of alcohol from the alcohol wash, since this would waste time and energy.

Allow your still to cool completely before disassembling, cleaning, and storing it in preparation for your next use. Mason jars have long been the preferred containers for moonshine distillation.

The “Feints”

Fients are the containers containing heads and tails that you have set aside for later use in the process. In this case, you may either add them to the wash with your next run or distill them separately from the rest of the brew. It is possible to distill the feints in a smaller-size still after each alcohol run if you do not want to combine different recipes or tastes from separate mashes. After collecting feints for several runs, some people perform an all-feints run in a bigger still; this is known as the “queen’s share” of feint collection.

  • When it comes to learning the particular qualities of your still that will inform you when to cut your alcohol run, it may take some time and trial and error.
  • This will help you repeat successful runs and figure out where you went wrong in a batch that wasn’t up to your standards the next time around.
  • Follow the rules, practice safe distillation, and learn how to get the most hearts out of each batch, and you’ll be able to sip your moonshine with a grin on your face.
  • Luann Snider Photography provided the image for this post.

Alcohol Yields

Firstly, a quick reminder that distilling alcohol is unlawful unless you have an approved federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant authorization in addition to the appropriate state permissions. Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information contained in this paper is intended solely for educational purposes. We encourage you to read our comprehensive legal statement for further information on the legality of distillation. The amount of alcohol generated by a still is determined by the amount of beginning alcohol and the amount of final proof used.

For those who are looking for immediate satisfaction, here’s the brief answer:

  • Depending on the size of the run, it will produce 3-6 cups of alcohol
  • A 5 gallon run will produce 1-2 gallons of alcohol
  • An 8 gallon run will produce 1.5-3 gallons of alcohol
  • And a 10 gallon run will produce 2-4 gallons of alcohol.

Here’s why this is important for scholars, scientific geeks, alchemists, and truth seekers:

Starting Alcohol

It is possible for starting alcohol to differ greatly from batch to batch, with considerable implications for end yield. The amount of starting alcohol is often represented as “alcohol by volume,” abbreviated as ABV. In a nutshell, it is the amount of alcohol present in a solution of alcohol wash. Example: A 10 gallon wash containing 1 gallon of pure alcohol will have a 10% alcohol by volume (ABV).

The potential yield increases in direct proportion to the beginning alcohol concentration. The amount of fermentable sugar generated by the mash, or the amount of sugar used in place of creating a mash, and the kind of yeast employed determine the beginning alcohol of a wash.

Fermentable sugar

Fermentable sugar is exactly what it sounds like – the quantity of sugar that is accessible for consumption by yeast, which may then be converted to alcohol. The absence of significant amounts of sugar means that there will be little alcohol present. Too much sugar, on the other hand, is a waste of resources. The amount of sugar needed depends on the recipe, the size of the batch, and the potential alcohol generation by the yeast. Although, in general, the greater the amount of fermentable sugar present in the mash, the higher the potential starting alcohol and the greater the yield will be.


Fermentable sugar is exactly what it sounds like – the quantity of sugar that is available for consumption by yeast and can be converted to alcohol later on. In the absence of considerable sugar, there will be little alcohol present in the beverage. Too much sugar, on the other hand, is a waste of time and resources.. In most cases, the amount of sugar required is determined by several factors, including the recipe, batch size, and possible alcohol generation by the yeast. Although, in general, the greater the amount of fermentable sugar present in the mash, the higher the potential starting alcohol and the greater the yield are both.

Final Proof

The final proof might have a considerable influence on the yield as well. It is estimated that the amount of pure alcohol obtained from 10 gallons (beginning with 10 percent alcohol) will be somewhere in the vicinity of 1 gallon when the distillation process is completed. However, the spirit that is captured will not be 100 percent pure (200 proof). It is normally proofed down to somewhere about 100 proof, which is equal to 50 percent pure alcohol by volume. While the total quantity of alcohol collected stays the same, there is now twice as much “product” and the “yield” has been increased by a factor of 2.

Collection efficiency

It is also possible that the final proof will have a substantial influence on the final output. It is estimated that the amount of pure alcohol obtained from 10 gallons (beginning with 10 percent alcohol) will be somewhere in the vicinity of 1 gallon when the distillation process is complete. It is possible that the gathered spirit will not be completely free of impurities (200 proof). In most cases, it is proofed down to roughly 100 proof, which is equal to around 50% pure alcohol by volume.

Despite this, the total amount of alcohol collected has increased by a factor of 2. When the final proof is higher, it means that the final yield is lower; when it is lower, the final yield is greater, it means that it is lower than it should be.

  • With a starting alcohol concentration of 10 percent, a final proof of 100, and a collection efficiency of 85 percent, a 1 gallon run will generate 2.72 cups of product. With a beginning alcohol content of 20 percent, a final proof of 100 percent, and an efficiency of 85 percent, a 1 gallon run will give 5.44 cups. If you run a 5 gallon batch with a beginning alcohol content of 10%, a final proof of 100 percent, and an efficiency of 85 percent, you will get 1.85 gallons. If you run a 5 gallon run with a beginning alcohol of 20%, a final proof of 100, and an 85 percent collection efficiency, you’ll get 1.7 gallons. If you do an 8 gallon run with a starting alcohol of 10%, a final proof of 100, and an 85 percent collection efficiency, you’ll get 0.89 gallons. A run of 8 gallons with a starting alcohol concentration of 20%, a final proof of 100, and a collection efficiency of 85% will yield 1.79 gallons. For example, a 10 gallon run with an alcohol content of 10%, a final proof of 100, and a collection efficiency of 85% will provide just 1.7 gallons
  • A 10 gallon run with an alcohol content of 20% and a final proof of 100, and an efficiency of 85% will yield 3.4 gallons
  • And so on.

It’s important to remember that distilling alcohol without the right permissions is against the law.

A How To Guide To Cuts and Fractions – Pot Still Run – Learn to Moonshine

This book will educate you about the many fractions that occur throughout the distillation process in a pot still, as well as how and when to make cuts, which will allow you to manage the final flavor and quality of your spirit.

What are cuts?

During a distillation run, cuts are planned moments at which a stiller will split the product flowing from the still into different containers. The ultimate result is a number of various jars of finished goods. Each with its own distinct flavor and alcohol content.

How to know where to make cuts during distillation run?

The different fractions of a run must be understood and recognized throughout the distillation process in order to know where to make cuts during the distillation process.

What are fractions?

In phase transition, fractions are the individual components of a mixture of compounds that may be split into smaller groups of compounds. It is possible in our instance to separate fractions throughout the distillation procedure. If you have a lot of expertise, you can recognize fractions by utilizing still head temperature, abv percent, or by tasting to differentiate them. However, if you understand how your still works, detecting fractions becomes a lot more predictable. Also bear in mind that when the temperature of the still increases and the alcohol content decreases, the two are intimately connected to one another and provide an indicator of what is coming out of your still.

This will give you an indication of the temperature at which specific alcohols begin to evaporate from the wash water.

  • Acetone is 56.5 degrees Celsius (134 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Methanol (wood alcohol) is 64 degrees Celsius (147 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Ethyl acetate is 77.1 degrees Celsius (171 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Ethanol is 78 degrees Celsius (172 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2-Propanol (rubbing alcohol) is 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1-Propanol is 97 degrees Celsius (207 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Water is 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahr

The temperatures of the following substances are: Acetone 56.5 degrees Celsius (134 degrees Fahrenheit); Methanol (wood alcohol) 64 degrees Celsius (147 degrees Fahrenheit); Ethyl acetate 77.1 degrees Celsius (171 degrees Fahrenheit); Ethanol 78 degrees Celsius (172 degrees Fahrenheit); 2-Propanol (rubbing alcohol) 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit); 1-Propanol 97 degrees Celsius (207 degrees Fahrenheit); Water 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees

What are the main Fractions that occur during the distillation of moonshine?

There are four primary fractions that must be granted, and these are as follows:

  • First shots– The first shots fraction is collected during the distillation process and includes a high concentration of acetone. It is the first fraction to be collected during the distillation process. Don’t even consider of consuming this noxious substance. Generally speaking, we’ll allow 150 mL per 25L of wash for our Foreshot Fraction during a pot still run to be used. This is disposed of in the garbage disposal. At 50 degrees Celsius, foreshots can begin to emerge from the still. It is composed of acetone, methanol, ethyl-acétate, and ethanol in varying proportions. You should expect the heads portion to have a somewhat pleasant scent with a sting similar to that of a solvent. Because they contain a significant amount of ethanol, it is normal practice to remove the heads and incorporate them into the following distillation process. A general rule of thumb is to take 750 mL for Heads Fraction after Foreshots to ensure enough concentration. Personal preference plays an important role in this selection
  • Nevertheless, you can take more or less personal preference. Hearts– The hearts fraction has the maximum concentration of ethanol and will have a very clean taste, without the sting that may be found in the heads fraction. It can be collected between 78 and 82 degrees Celsius, or if you like a higher alcohol content, between 80 and 50 percent, with low wines of 40 percent. When combining fractions to create the ultimate outcome, keep in mind that Your product’s foundation is comprised of Hearts
  • Tails– The Tails fraction includes high concentrations of fusel oils, which can impart undesirable tastes to the finished product. The unique scent of wet dog distinguishes the tails from the rest of the pack. Aside from the fusel oils, there is a significant quantity of ethanol and rich tastes in the tails, which are frequently desired for creating rum or whiskey. A feints run can be used to extract the tastes from the mixture. The feints run will result in a very flavored product that may be used in the mixing of the Hearts portion when it is finished. When still temperatures hit 94–95°C, or when the alcohol content of low-alcohol wines reaches 20 percent, the collection of tails can be stopped.

For beginner distillers who are just learning how to make cuts, I’d recommend doing the primary cuts between heads and hearts and hearts and tails first. Before you begin mixing, you need get familiar with the process of blending. If you’re confident in your ability to make these basic cuts, then check out the Blending Guide for Newbies for further information. It will guide you through the process of mixing whiskeys and rums for those who are new to the technique.

Foreshots to tails

Are you intending to perform stripping runs as well as spirit runs, or will you solely do spirit runs? Run for Stripping A stripping run is the most effective method of removing water from within the wash system. Simply fill the still with wash and operate the still at a high temperature and speed. Everything should be gathered into one huge collecting container. Once numerous stripping runs have been stored, they can be combined into a single spirit run and conducted as a single operation. Consider the stripping run to be nothing more than an alcohol concentration step: if you conduct a stripping run, you will obtain a bigger, more refined spirit as a result of it.

  • Running a pot still as rapidly as feasible will extract the most amount of alcohol from your wash as it can be extracted.
  • Following that, the low wines from multiple stripping runs are gathered, and a spirit run is performed.
  • Spirit runs are used to separate the heads, hearts, and tails in preparation for the ultimate spirit, which is referred to as the spirit run.
  • Foreshots are the first vapors that boil out during the distillation process, and they are the most volatile.
  • Always discard the foreshots, which account for only around 5 percent or less of the total output gathered during a production run.
  • HeadsHeads are removed from the still immediately following the foreshots.
  • Paint thinner or solvent can be detected in the scent of the heads.
  • HeartsHearts are removed from the still after the heads have been removed.
  • The most straightforward technique to determine when you’ve achieved the hearts is as follows: As opposed to the roughness of the heads, this taste is gentle and pleasant in flavor.
  • The heart cut is very crucial, and it is here that the distiller’s talent comes into play, because he or she must be able to distinguish between the end of the heads and the beginning of the tails in order to produce a good product.
  • As soon as all of the lower boiling point alcohols have evaporated, the tails begin to form.

The tails contain largely water, proteins, and carbs, and they do not have a very pleasant flavor. The tails begin when the rich, deep tastes of the hearts begin to fade and the meat begins to taste thin. The tails account for about 20 and 30 percent of the whole run.

Foreshots-Heads-Hearts-Tails – Distilling Questions / Technical support

heeler 1Posted :Wednesday, August 03, 2011 7:18:08 AM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) “Just passing on some general knowledge for the newbie or whomever may use this info. There are places to find definitions of these terms but I cant remember where and since we are here well here ya go, but first,REMEMBER.a still is just a device to seperate the etoh from the water in the boiler and some work better than others, the length of the tower or plates in the tower or just a bend in the tower, these all function differently.Foreshots-Heads-Hearts and Tails.thats how it comes out no matter what still or tower you use, the quantities of each may differ from mash to mash and form still to still but thats how its delivered. Remember these compounds are delivered as the heat of the wash goes up, different alcohols are vaporized at different temps.Foreshots .the first drippins that come over once you start cooking. The amount will differ from still to still and mash to mash. If useing a 5 gallon mash, 100-250 MLS. is pretty usual. Collect and toss out. You will know this by the smell and taste. Sometimes sweet-but dont be fooled, toss it out. Foreshots actually consists of Acetone, Methanols and Ethyl Acetates, do you really wanna drink that?Heads .as you continue to run your still this is coming next and this too is something you dont want to drink. Again your nose and taste buds will alert you to these compounds. Toss it out.Hearts . This is what we are all after. Now, you will not know exactly how much this is gonna be until you’ve made plenty of runs and have the knowledge of your mash and still. As you make your run and collect your drippings,(control your heat so it’s dripping out not streaming out, low heat drips high heat stream)you should be collecting in small jars so you can make sure you get the best of the hearts. Try collecting in 1/2 pint mason jars, this works for me and may for you too. Then tomorrow once your still is cleaned and put away for the next time, go back to the jars and give them a good sniff, you’ll be able to pick out EXACTLY which ones smell harsh or bitter. The best of the hearts will smell fresh and clean not bitter or harsh.”Edited by userWednesday, July 24, 2019 12:35:15 PM(UTC)|Reason: Not specified
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heeler 2Posted :Wednesday, August 03, 2011 7:37:47 AM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) “Were almost done just keep reading. With my setup I find that a full pint jar takes care of my collection of foreshots and most of the heads. Thats right your throwing away a full pint jar of what you just worked so hard to get. (somewhere there’s a newbie saying no way I’m not throwing that out, (JUST DO IT!) Then as you collect those jars and line them up on your table, dont mix em up yet, wait till you can sniff em, thats how your gonnaMAKE YOUR CUTS, by sniffin, you’ll see! (Theres another term you just learned.) And you’ll find that you may throw some of them out also. Most of us do. There’s lots of yuckies in there that you just dont want to drink, so learn to make proper cuts and get rid of the nasties.Tails . this is the end of the run for most of us. You know where you stop collecting. Again this is determined with your nose and experience. Some collect down into the tails (or should I say up into the tails -its temp related -high temp and low proof is tails)(if you take hydrometer readings throughout the run you’ll seethe proof go down)(and add that to the next run).and you may too as you learn. This compound will smell like wet dog or damp carboard,(to me it smells like soured citrus) (I know right, go figger). Tomorrow when you go to sniffin those jars, start in the middle and work your way out, left and right, the middle will be the best and the rest can be tossed or added to the next run of the still. For a 5 gallon mash 2 quarts of hearts is the best you can keep (for me) Your nose and knowledge will get you there with practice and patience.Good luck and happy stillin. “Edited by userWednesday, July 24, 2019 12:41:22 PM(UTC)|Reason: Not specified
heeler 3Posted :Wednesday, August 03, 2011 7:49:35 AM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) Those two posts describe a standard pot still run, you can also do a stripping run (really pour the heat to it) where you collect everything that comes over,combine all your liquid, do that for a couple of mashes, mix them all together in the boiler and then do your slow and steady run and they say that is really good too. Neither is wrong or better so try them both and see which is best for you. Again you will still have forshots – heads – hearts – and tails but by then you will know how to decserne where to make your cuts and keep only the good stuff.
heeler 4Posted :Wednesday, August 03, 2011 8:07:46 AM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) “With all of that said you can now understand that heat is what makes likker happen. All alcohols vaporize at certain temps, thats why we cook our mash.If you poured a case of beer in your boiler and distilled it what you would collect in your jugs is the etoh out of the beer and the waterwould beleft behind.If we look at these temps we see whats MOSTLY coming off at these temp ranges.all of the following compounds are in the wash. The only way to seperate them is to heat the wash to above the exact temp of each because of the water thats involved. Acetone 56C134F Methanol 64C147FEthyl Acetate 77.1C172FEthanol (hooch) 78C177FPropanol 82C180F Water 100C212FAs you remove the good stuff from the boiler the temp will continue to rise and that has to happen to continue to collect cause the ratio of hooch to water will change.Now if you hold your temp at 78C/177F and that works for you then great but to continue to collect the temp will continue to rise. Sure hope all this helps – happy stillin.”
Novice18 5Posted :Saturday, December 24, 2011 2:06:10 AM(UTC)
Rank: Junior MemberReputation:Groups: RegisteredJoined: 7/14/2011(UTC) Posts: 29 “In learning to make your cuts on a 5 gallon batch is it better to do this with 8 ounce or 4 ounce samples.I’ve been playing with my EasyStill for 6 months I’m ready to use my PSII with a corn based mash’s (have 3 sample 5 gallon mashes to try out).I have a spare 5 gallon container that I’m going to take the heads and tails and combine them all into to use again later from all three batches (why waste I say).Any advice?”
heeler 6Posted :Saturday, December 24, 2011 7:13:54 AM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) “You can go with either, I use half pint jars and fill them about 1/2-3/4 the way full. Depends on when I catch em.You prolly wont need something as big as a five gallon bucket for what you want to keep but if it works for you thats all that matters. I bet your gonna like that PS11 a whole lot better than an easy still, 15 gallons through a easystill would take an eternity I would bet.”
heeler 7Posted :Tuesday, December 27, 2011 8:54:46 AM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) Just another note on the – off gas – and evaporation thing. Its true hooch will indeed evaporate if left uncovered for an exteneded period of time, like in your garage where its 110F every day. The overnight thing is to off gas some of what we dont want to keep. Just use a piece of paper towel to keep the bugs out, that will let it offgas and keep it clean. In the morn I just remove the paper and BEFORE I sniff I just gave a puff of air to remove any lingering smells in the jar. You can really pick out the yuckies if there are there.
TX.mud 8Posted :Saturday, January 25, 2020 8:26:06 PM(UTC)
Rank: NewbieReputation:Groups: RegisteredJoined: 1/25/2020(UTC) Posts: 1 “like in your garage where its 110F every day. The overnight thing is to off gas some of what we dont want to keep. Just use a piece of paper towel to keep the bugs out, that will let it offgas and keep it clean. In the morn I just remove the paper and BEFORE I sniff I just gave a puff of air to remove any lingering smells in the jar. You can really pick out the yuckies if there are there.”Heeler,is it possible to use a controlled evaporative process to possibly negate some of the stuff that we don’t want while being able to collect the things that we do want?By this I mean that if I can provide significant surface area, and a controlled temperature (or series of temperatures), can I guide the evaporation process to get what we want?Not looking for fast, just a possible off-grid process that doesn’t take much energy or resources input.I am not looking to distill per se, but using instead an evaporative process to draw off the alcohol.Thanks in advance for any thoughts that you might have.Edited by userSunday, January 26, 2020 10:05:55 AM(UTC)|Reason: Clarification of the initial question
heeler 9Posted :Tuesday, January 28, 2020 6:49:11 PM(UTC)
Rank: Senior MemberReputation:Groups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 4/14/2010(UTC) Posts: 1,666Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 13 post(s) I’m sure you can but you are making this process waaaaaayyyyy more difficult than it needs to be. But if that idea works for you then go for it brother!

What do you intend to accomplish with your time? Are you going to conduct stripping runs or merely spirit runs? Roughing It Out (Striking) A stripping run is the most effective method of removing water from the wash. Simple as filling the still with wash and running it hot and quickly. Collect everything into a single big container for safekeeping and disposal. Once a number of stripping runs have been stored, they may be combined into a single spirit run and run. As an alcohol concentration step, think of the stripping run as little more than that: if you conduct a stripping run, you will receive a bigger, more refined spirit.

  • Running a pot still as rapidly as feasible will extract the most amount of alcohol from your wash.
  • After that, the low wines from numerous stripping runs are gathered, and a spirit run is performed on the mixtures.
  • A spirit run is performed to separate the heads, hearts, and tails in preparation for the final spirit, which is referred to as the spirit.
  • Foreshots are the first vapors that evaporate during the distillation process.
  • The foreshots should always be discarded because they account for just around 5 percent or less of the total product gathered throughout a run.
  • Directly following the foreshots, heads begin to fall off of the still.
  • A paint thinner or solvent scent permeates the air.
  • hearts are released from within the still after they have been removed from the heads During the run, the heart rate is at its highest point: this is where the action is.
  • You know you’ve reached the hearts when the hardness of the heads has faded away.
  • This is where the distiller’s talent comes into play, as they must distinguish between the ends of the heads and the beginning of tails.
  • Once all of the lower boiling point alcohols have evaporated, the tails begin to form on the surface.

Water, proteins, and carbs comprise the majority of the tails, which do not taste particularly appetizing. When the rich, full flavors of the hearts begin to fade and become thin, the tails begin to appear. Tails account for between 20 and 30% of the whole run.

Distiller Cuts: Separating the Heads, the Heart, and the Tails

When compared to the mind-numbing craziness of our everyday micro-verse, the ancient skill of distillation is rather straightforward. It acts as our modern-day alchemy, and it is far more delectable than the process of converting lead into gold would be. Even yet, the practice of distilling remains a mystery to the majority of the population. A tour of your local distillery will almost certainly include explanations for a variety of obscure words. You could find yourself feeling a little disoriented towards the conclusion of the trip.

This phrase is sometimes used in conjunction with other terms such as “heads,” “hearts,” and “tails” in order to further obfuscate the situation.

They aren’t difficult to understand, but they do need some explanation.

A Distillation Refresher

While the everyday chaos of our micro-verse is mind-boggling, the ancient skill of distillation is refreshingly straightforward when compared to that. We may think of it as the current equivalent of alchemy, and it is far more delightful than the process of converting lead into gold. Even yet, the practice of distilling remains a mystery to the majority of the public. A tour of your local distillery will almost certainly include explanations for a variety of enigmatic words. You may find yourself feeling a little disoriented by the time the trip is through.

It is sometimes used in conjunction with other terms such as “heads,” “hearts,” and “tails” in order to further obfuscate the situation.

They aren’t difficult to understand, but they do need a little discussion.

Collecting the Heart

Once the first cut is made by the distiller, the heads are either discarded or redistilled in order to extract even more alcohol from the still. They will then cut to “hearts” if they have determined that the quality of the incoming distillate is sufficient for drinking purposes. In the end, it is the hearts that form the final outcome of a project. They contain the majority of the ethanol we desire, as well as tastes and fragrances that distinguish our spirit from the competition. Springbank Distillery’s spirit is poured out of the still / Photo courtesy of Springbank Distillery All wonderful things, however, must eventually come to an end.

This is the point at which the distiller will make another cut and divert the distillate flow to another container for the remainder of the distillation process.

Additionally, because to the increasing number of fusel alcohols in the still, increased levels of unpleasant odors are released into the atmosphere. Tails will be disposed of in the same manner as heads, or (in the majority of cases) redistilled to recover additional alcohol.

The Art

The number of heads and tails that are permitted to flow into the heart is one of the ways in which a distiller determines the house character of the distillery. Some distillers base their judgments on characteristics such as time and alcohol by volume (ABV). Others prefer to make decisions based on their sense of taste and smell. The process is both an art and a science in its own right. It might take years for a distiller to perfect their method and become consistent. Furthermore, while we’ve covered the fundamental concept of distiller cuts here, various distilling traditions employ a somewhat different approach to the craft.

  1. Several mezcal and scotch whiskey distilleries gather a significant number of tails because they believe it helps to enhance the smoky scents in their finished product.
  2. The notion of distiller cuts is not difficult to grasp, but mastering the technique of making them correctly is likely more difficult.
  3. You will always know what is in the bottle before spending a single dime thanks to Distiller.
  4. Now is the time to visit Distiller or to download the app for iOS and Android devices.
You might be interested:  What Ph Should My Moonshine Mash Be? (TOP 5 Tips)

Heads, Hearts, and Tails

Distillers refer to the distillate generated during a spiritdistillation run as the “heads, hearts, and tails,” which are three typical phrases for the distillate. These three components constitute, in effect, the beginning (heads), the middle (hearts), and the end (tails) of batch distillation operations. These three stages of the run are defined as follows by a well-known distillation website:

  • A large percentage of low boiling point alcohols and other chemicals, such as aldehydes and ethyl acetate, are present in the spirits at the beginning of the run. Hearts: The most sought-after middle alcohols from your workout
  • Tails: A distillate with a high concentration of fusel oil and a low concentration of alcohol at the conclusion of the run

The distiller’s ultimate purpose is to render and collect as many hearts as possible throughout the distillation process. Ethanol is found at the greatest concentration in the hearts. Furthermore, ethanol is the most desirable sort of alcohol in the distillation kettle at the end of the day. A fermentable wash or wort, which is mostly composed of sugar and certain other nutrients, is used to make spirits alcohol at the start of the fermentation process. Yeast is added to this wash solution in order for it to consume the sugar.

yeast consumes the sugar and excretes the alcoholic beverage

Yep. Alcohol Is Yeast Poop

Furthermore, there are several different types of alcohol created inside this yeast faeces. Each of these alcohols has a somewhat different boiling point than the others. However, all of the alcohols that are created are completely miscible with water. Consequently, the distiller cannot simply heat the majority of the fermented wort (now known as beer) until it reaches the boiling point of ethanol. By the way, the boiling point of water is 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that because ethanol is 100 percent endlessly miscible with water, the actual boiling temperature of a kettle filled with beer will be somewhere between 173.1°F and 212°F (the boiling point of water) in order to produce ethanol in the process.

As a result, the boiling point at which ethyl acetate may be extracted will be anywhere between 170.8°F and 212°F.

In the case of alcohol, 10 percent total alcohol will have a lower boiling point than 7 percent total alcohol, for example.

This occurs as a result of the fact that the alcohol concentration decreases incrementally with each measure of alcohol rendered.

As a result, the ethanol level fluctuates throughout the distillation process, making the distiller’s job somewhat difficult.

Separating the Heads, Hearts, and Tails

Once operating temperatures have been reached, the distiller will normally provide a minimal to moderate amount of heat to the kettle in order to guarantee optimal separation between heads, hearts, and tails of the product. The heads compounds will be vaporized first, and the pressure within the distilling apparatus will force the vaporized heads compounds toward the distillation outlet, where they will be collected. No overstatement can be made about how important it is to perform this early portion of the distillation run with calm and methodical patience in order to limit any amount of hearts incursion into the heads portion of the run.

  1. It is possible to describe the fragrance of heads as smelling like rubbing alcohol, with a hint of a rotten sweet scent.
  2. Once the distiller has established that the heads portion of the run has been collected, he or she will divert the collecting stream into a separate collection vessel designated to the hearts portion of the flow.
  3. Hearts are distinguished by having the most neutral odor when compared to heads or tails, according to tradition.
  4. This is referred to as the “tails cut.”” Tails have a distinct fragrance that is similar to that of a wet dog.
  5. Alternatively, moist cardboard.
  6. Therefore, the distiller will need to pay great attention during the whole distillation process in order to identify whether the “heads cut” or the “tails cut” should be done, and when neither need be made.
  7. We may be reached at 561-845-8009 if you have any inquiries about distillation equipment or services.

What is cutting of the Head, Heart & Tail?

But what do these words actually signify in practice? What are they, and what role do they play in the distillation process are still up in the air. Let’s start at the very top and work our way down from there.

The Head

The first section of the distillate is referred to as the “head,” and the first part of the head is referred to as the “foreshot.” The foreshot includes the vast majority of the harmful methanol generated as a byproduct of fermentation. Pot stills produce a substantial number of foreshots, which are used by the majority of traditional distilleries. The remainder of the head is the portion of the distillate up to the point at which the distiller decides to begin collecting the ethanol from the mixture.

While the heads carry faint, ethereal scents, a large part of the methanol being distilled is contained inside them.

Traditional practices vary from distillery to distillery in terms of what happens to the heads once they are distilled.

Several other distilleries just discard them or recycle them in another manner. Because of the precision of our distillation, we only get a small quantity of heads. We store them in one of the tanks beneath the still and redistill them during subsequent distillations. ‍

The Heart

The “heart” of the distillate is the primary body of the distillate that is kept by the distiller. It is the stage of the process during which the majority of the ethanol passes through the still and also contains flavoring chemicals that are pleasing to the palate. Making a creative judgment about how much of the distillate should be kept as the heart before the “second cut” that begins the tail is important. The presence of heavier, richer flavors is evident as the distillation progresses, as is the presence of disagreeable, water-soluble flavors that are clearly undesirable.

The Tail

Finally, we’ve reached the end of the road. In order to make a second cut in to the distilled alcohol, the still must be stopped. However, the pot must be allowed to cool down for an extended period of time, during which time the wash stops evaporating. A term used to describe the liquid that continues to flow out of the still is the “tail.” For us, the tail is simply the distillate that has made it into the condenser, while the remainder of the distillate in the column and basket’s chamber is routed back to the wash through pipes in the column and basket chamber.

The volume of the heads, hearts, and tails does not equal the volume of the other three.

Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

How to Cut and Fraction using the Lazy Stiller’s Novice Guide to Cuts and Fractions (pot still) This article is intended to educate a pot still newbie about the different fractions in a distillation, as well as to assist them in learning how to make cuts between the different fractions. 1 – What are cuts and fractions, and how do they work? 2 – A sketch of the fractional system 3 – Cuts and blends in a straightforward manner 1 – What are cuts and fractions, and how do they work? Distillery cuts are those instances during a distillation run where the stiller divides the distillate into several parts (divisions between sections of the run).

2 – A sketch of the fractional system Fractions are typically predictable once you have a good understanding of your equipment and mash.

Temperature and percent ABV, on the other hand, are not advised as guidelines for cutting.

If you know the temperature, you can forecast the percent abv with reasonable accuracy, and vice versa.

For example, 20 percent abv output is 98 degrees Celsius.

An issue is that the temperature is not being read correctly; that is, it is not being read at the proper location, which is at the very top of the vapour path, precisely when it turns down into the product condenser lyne arm.

When it comes to selecting where to make the cuts, temperature is no worse than percent abv, although both are only approximate suggestions at best.

I’ll share some ESTIMATES of where the fractions can be predicted based on the data I have.

Fractions are often organized along the lines of the following general outline: 1: Foreshots – This fraction is the first component of the distillate to be recovered, and it is the most concentrated.

However, there are several additional chemicals present as well.

However – and this is my experience – you don’t want to be drinking this stuff!

Foreshots should be allotted 150ml every 25l of wash on a pot still, which is the bare minimum that should be allocated.

Even while this percentage should never be recycled or utilized in any form for drinks, it does have a number of applications.

It’s also excellent for beginning charcoal BBQs on the barbecue grill.

This percentage registers around 82 percent on the alcoholmeter / alcometer in my still that is charged with 40% low wines.

Heads- The primary components of heads are methanol, acetone, ethyl-acetate, and ethanol, which are a mixture of these substances.

While not as bad as the foreshots, heads is commonly associated with hangovers and a strong, biting aftertaste, among other things.

Many seasoned shiners may begin to see heads in store-bought booze, particularly vodkas, as the season progresses.

Because there is a significant amount of useable ethanol in the heads fraction, it is customary to preserve the heads in a separate ‘feints’ container (see below) for further processing.

According to the alcoholmeter/alcometer, this fraction ranges from approximately 82 to 80 percent in my still charged with 40 percent low wines.

Individual tolerances for different fractions will vary from person to person, therefore you will need to experiment with different fractions to establish your own preferences.

Apple brandy, for example, is well-known for having a high proportion of heads, yet a full-bodied, sweet rum may actually benefit from a little amount of heads in the end product (at the cost of the headache that follows the next day, probably).

Hearts has a very clean taste and scent, and it does not have the chemical bite of heads, while yet having a pleasant flavor.

Hearts will often start at approximately 80 percent abv in a run of 40 percent low wines, although this may vary according on the winery.

When it comes to a full-bodied spirit like rum, you can get away with going fairly deep into the tails, even as low as 50%.

The hearts you acquire will most likely be the largest proportion of what you collect during your run, but this will depend on what you are constructing.

In addition to the change in fragrance and flavor, as well as the decrease in ABV, the collection rate for a given power input lowers as well with the commencement of tails, as seen in the chart below (and continues to fall through the tails).

On top of the gathered tails, you may see an oily layer that appears from time to time.

All of this is extremely undesirable in your product’s design.

When it comes to late tails, they often taste like filthy water to me.

Even yet, the tails still contain a significant amount of ethanol, and the tails fraction can include some of the most complex flavors found elsewhere in the winemaking process (see Pugirum for a discussion of this).

Alternatively, if you don’t have a problem with storage, you may store them up and execute an all-feints run, which will result in a product that is both unique and intensely flavorful in its own right.

Other flavored spirits may have a different flavor profile.

NOTE: If you are running an all-feints spirit charge, it may be preferable to complete these runs a little slower than you would normally do for a spirit run to conserve energy.

Personally, I reduce it to 10 percent, however many individuals appear to utilize 20 percent instead of 10.

For added flavor, some people choose to combine small quantities of various fractions from the heads and/or tails back into the hearts to create a more complex flavor.

Personal preference governs here.

in order to cut the fractions is a big accomplishment for any distiller to complete.

There is, however, a simpler solution.

Collection jars for your run; let them to air out for a day or two with a coffee filter or something similar over them to keep out the pests and dust while you’re about it.

When it comes time to make cuts or conduct any more mixing, you must keep in mind that the alcohol will smell and taste different when it has been watered down.

Alternatively, when tasting for blending, dilute a little sample with very clean water in a clean glass and swirl it around to thoroughly combine.

After then, take a mild smell of each and repeat the process 2-3 times with all of the fractions.

Spit the stuff out rather than swallowing it.

Making cuts or mixes when intoxicated almost always results in a mediocre product and a lot of remorse.

First, create the primary cuts between the heads-hearts and the hearts-tails combinations.

In order to incorporate some of the other fractions, begin with the cleanest section of hearts and work your way up and down the line, adding heads and tails one at a time to your blending pot.

If in doubt, be conservative and mix a tiny quantity first in a trial glass, then you haven’t made a huge mistake if it doesn’t taste nice.

If you make a mistake with the cuts or blending for whatever reason, you can just pour everything back into the still (except from the foreshots), dilute it with some water (or the backset from the run), and start the process over.

After you have finished your blend, everything left may be considered as feints and reused or kept for an all feints run.

But don’t be disheartened; with practice, this talent will become much more refined, and in many respects, it is the most crucial ability for a stiller to master.

Versions that have been updated.

nding+tips” onclick=”;return false;” rel=”nofollow” onclick=”;return false;” rel=”nofollow” onclick=”;return false;” rel=”nofollow” onclick=”;return false;” rel=”nofollow” onclick Thank you to all of the moderators and mentors who have worked tirelessly to proofread and polish this guide.

A special thank you to all of the geniuses who were responsible for putting this knowledge online in the first place. I’m not sure who these people are, but I know Usge has been posting some excellent information lately. Cheers, Kiwi

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