Categories Moonshine

Why Save The “tails” In Moonshine? (Question)

What do the cuts mean in moonshine making?

  • Cuts refer to the alcohol you keep and the alcohol you throw out or re-distill. There are three parts to making cuts. These are the Heads, Hearts, and Tails. The Heads are what comes out first. The Hearts are what comes out midway through the run. And the Tails are the last to come out. The Heart of the run is what you will want to keep.


What do you do with the tails from distilling?

The distillate at this point is called “tails” and it has increasingly lower amounts of alcohol. Additionally, higher amounts of bad aromas due to the growing amount of fusel alcohols come over in the still. Just like the heads, tails will either be disposed of or (most often) redistilled to collect more alcohol.

What do distilleries do with heads and tails?

Some distilleries discard the whiskey heads and tails but many municipalities require onsite remediation before dumping them down the drain. Many other distilleries recycle the whiskey heads and tails by adding them to the next batch of fermenting mash.

How much head should I 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 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.

What is the significance of tail ends in distillation?

The Tail. Finally, we come to the tail. Once the second cut to the distillate has been made, the still is stopped, but the pot takes a long time to cool down —so much so, that the wash stops evaporating. The liquid that continues to run off the still is called the “tail.”

Can you’re distill tails?

Tails. Tails are the last part of your distillate, constituting anything that comes out once your vapor temp reaches 203°F (95°C) – 207°F/208°F (97°C/98°C). However, you can always combine the tails with the heads that you’re not using and re-distill them as neutral spirits.

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.”

How do you proof down moonshine?

The solution is to proof down slowly, a few drops, or points at a time. 93% to 87% to 83% so on and so forth. If you are going to proof something down, you need to let it sit for at least 24 hours. That is called “marrying” This is especially important during bottling.

How do you increase moonshine proof?

Understanding the distillation process: the key to get higher proof moonshine

  1. The alcohol that is separated from water is ethanol.
  2. Ethanol boils at a lower temperature than water.
  3. Pure ethanol boils at 172 degrees Fahrenheit, while water does not boil until it hits 212 degrees.

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.

What temp do you run a moonshine still?

You will not make any cuts at the different temperatures like you would with a typical pot distillation. Collect until the temperature reaches about 207°F/208°F (97°C/98°C). Turn off your heat source, but continue to run the cooling water until there is no vapor left in the moonshine still.

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.

How do I make sure no methanol in moonshine?

Always use a collection pot made of glass, never of plastic and preferably of small mouth. And remember to place this vessel away from any fire or other form of heat. Always dispose of the first bit of moonshine, in order to avoid contamination with methanol (which has a lower boiling point than ethanol).

What do tails smell like?

Once the distiller determines that the hearts section of the run has been sufficiently collected, he or she will direct the distillate discharge toward the tails collection vessel. This is called the “tails cut.” The smell of tails is characterized by a wet dog smell.

How much moonshine will 5 gallons of mash make?

A 5 gallon run will yield 1-2 gallons of alcohol. A 8 gallon run will yield 1.5-3 gallons of alcohol. A 10 gallon run will yield 2-4 gallons of alcohol.

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

During the distillation process, the liquid in the still is heated to the point of becoming vapor. The vapor is then pumped through the system to the condenser, where it is cooled and transformed back into a liquid. The distillate that is produced is higher in ethanol and some taste compounds than the liquid that was left behind in the still after the distillation process. During the course of the distillation process, as more alcohol is extracted from the liquid being distilled, the temperature of the still continues to climb.

  • Neil, Head Brewer at Waterford Distillery, decides when to make the cut / Photo courtesy of Waterford Distillery We refer to these lower boiling point compounds as “heads” since they are the first compounds to be released from the still as it begins to heat up.
  • The general odour of these substances has a solvent-like quality to it, which is not particularly pleasant.
  • Furthermore, excessive quantities of certain of these substances (looking at you, methanol) are hazardous to humans, so getting rid of as much of them as we possibly can is a good practice in and of itself.
  • Briefly stated, distiller cuts are nothing more than a judgement made by the distiller on the quality of incoming spirits.

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.

  • 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.
  • The notion of distiller cuts is not difficult to grasp, but mastering the technique of making them correctly is likely more difficult.
  • You will always know what is in the bottle before spending a single dime thanks to Distiller.
  • Now is the time to visit Distiller or to download the app for iOS and Android devices.
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How are Commercial Spirits Made?

The number of heads and tails that are permitted to flow into the heart is one of the factors that a distiller considers while determining the distillery’s house style. This is a choice made by certain distillers depending on criteria like as time and alcohol content (ABV). Taste and fragrance are preferred by others while making decisions. The process is both an art and a science, depending on your perspective on the situation. Consistency in distilling method might take years for a distiller to master.

Tails are divided into two portions by cognac producers: one section is redistilled and the other does not, as an example.

Bourbon frequently keeps a significant amount of head, which might facilitate the development of specific tastes as the spirit matures over time.

Moreover, while there are several methods by which a distiller may impart their own touch to the flavor of their spirit, cutting is unquestionably one of the most effective.

You will always know what is in the bottle before spending a single penny thanks to Distiller. Discover new spirits by rating and reviewing them. Visit Distiller or download the Distiller app foriOS and Android now for more information!

How Does A Still Work?

Distillation is a method of separating compounds that takes use of variations in boiling temperatures. Commercial distillers produce high proof alcohol by distilling water and then separating the resulting alcohol from the water. It is important to note that distillation does not result in the production of alcohol; rather, it concentrates the alcohol that already exists. It is essentially the last step in the process of producing extremely high proof alcohol, and it is called distillation. Commercial distillers begin by creating a low-proof beer that will subsequently be distilled later in the procedure.

They go through the following procedures:

  1. Produce a mash by mashing grains (such as maize) or sugar together
  2. Yeast is added to the mash to cause fermentation. Make a distillation of the fermented wash.

How Does Distillation Work?

Ethyl alcohol is the exact sort of alcohol that commercial distillers are looking for in their products. Water and ethanol are separated by boiling at different temperatures, which allows ethanol to be removed more easily from the water (pure ethanol boils at 172 degrees Fahrenheit, while water does not boil until 212 degrees). In a nutshell, wash is heated in a still to a temperature more than 172 degrees Fahrenheit but less than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. After starting to boil, the ethanol converts into a vapor, which separates from the wash water.

  1. However, the fact that there are numerous distinct forms of alcohol (as well as a large number of other chemical components) that will be extracted throughout the distillation process makes the whole process a little more difficult than it has to be.
  2. These substances have varying boiling temperatures, much as ethanol and water do in different amounts.
  3. When manufacturing vodka, it is important to eliminate as many congers as possible because the spirit is meant to be extremely pure and flavorless.
  4. When manufacturing whiskey, congeners are desired since they enhance the flavor and complexity of the finished product.
  5. Whiskey, such as Jack Daniel’s, is aged for several years in order to smooth out the tasty, but rather harsh congeners that are present in the final product.

Phases of Distillation

Each distillation run is divided into four phases: the foreshots, the heads, the hearts, and the tails. This is due to the fact that the various alcohols and chemical compounds in a wash separate at different boiling temperatures. A professional distiller will observe that the flavor and fragrance of the finished product might fluctuate significantly depending on the phase of the run.

In most cases, just the “hearts” component of the image is used for commercial distribution. In order to distill the tails again in the future, they are separated.

1- Foreshots

During the distillation process, the foreshots are the first vapors to boil off. These include the most volatile alcohols and should not be consumed due to the presence of methanol and other undesirables in their composition. Commercial distillers never use or eat the foreshots since they are always discarded. This part of the liquid collected during the distillation process accounts for around 5 percent or less of the total liquid collected. More information about foreshots may be found in this page on methanol blindness.

2- Heads

Acetone, acetaldehyde, and acetate are among the “lighter” chemicals found in the heads’ composition. Those who work in the commercial distilling industry may remark that these chemicals have an unpleasant taste and smell like solvent. Furthermore, they are claimed to be the principal perpetrators in the development of hangovers. During this section of the run, there is little to no sweetness, and it is everything from smooth. The heads are not suitable for commercial distribution and should be removed from the collection.

3- Hearts

The hearts are mostly composed of ethanol, and they are the most attractive element of the distillation process. It is possible for a professional distiller to recognize when a still is starting to produce hearts because the harshness of the heads has subsided and the scent is no longer pungent. This is referred to as the “sweet spot,” which is not only a metaphor. When this step is completed, the whiskey produced is extremely flavorful, but it is also quite smooth and, depending on the recipe, may be slightly sweet.

The ability of the commercial distiller to determine the beginning and conclusion of the hearts section of the run comes into play since they must distinguish between the two parts of the run.

4- Tails

Once all of the alcohols with lower boiling points have evaporated, the tails begin to form. Propanol, butanol, and amyl alcohols are present in this region of the run, which is composed of fusel oils. The tails have a bad taste and are largely made up of water, proteins, carbohydrates, and less volatile alcohols with higher boiling points than the rest of the mixture. There are a variety of techniques to detect when the heads have ended and the tails have begun. In the first place, the taste profile of the distillate will be drastically altered.

The spirits collected during this step will have a “thin” flavor to them.

It will also feel somewhat slick to the touch when you rub your index finger and middle finger together between your index finger and middle finger. When a spirit run is completed, tails account for the remaining 20-30 percent of the liquid collected.

When the Distillation Process Ends

Commercial distillers who are well-versed in their craft will often operate their stills until the alcohol content of the wash has been lowered to around 10-20 proof. It is not worth the time and effort to distill the mixture further in order to separate the small amount of alcohol that remains from the water.

When Distillation Cuts Are Made

An skilled commercial distiller understands when to make a “cut” from the heads to the hearts and also when to make a “cut” from the hearts to the tails of the mash. The term “cut” refers to the process through which a commercial distiller transitions from collecting in one jar to collecting in another jar. This is a skill that is developed through time and takes a significant amount of practice. A small fraction of the heads and tails, as well as all of the hearts, are generally saved when the spirits are going to be matured and then put to the barrel.

Cuts have the potential to have a significant influence on the final result.

To continue in the same vein, it is preferable to have tails cut early and a little amount of hearts in the tails rather than vice versa.


Those who have worked in the commercial distilling industry know when to “cut” the heads from the hearts and when to cut the hearts from the tails. When a professional distiller stops collecting in one jar and begins collecting in another jar, this is referred to as a “cut.” This is a talent that must be developed over time and with a lot of repetition.. A small fraction of the heads and tails, as well as all of the hearts, are generally saved when the spirits are going to be matured and then placed in a barrel.

Slight modifications to the final product might have a significant impact.

Additionally, it is preferable to have tails cut early and a small amount of heart in the tails rather than vice versa.


No person or entity should rely on the information, data, and references provided above as a legal basis for taking any action or making any decision. The information, data, and references provided above are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon by any person or entity as a legal basis for any action or decision. There is no intent in any of the material presented here to provide particular scientific or legal advice to any individual or organisation.

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.

There is no difference between where you make your cuts and how you mix your completed product; it all comes down to the flavor and purity of your moonshine.


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.

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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

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). 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. Although it is possible to re-distill neutral spirits from the tails and heads that are not being used, this is not advised.

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

Foreshots to tails

When your vapor temperature exceeds 203°F (95°C), tails are formed, and they are everything that comes out after your vapor temperature reaches 207°F/208°F (97°C/98°C). Even though some individuals opt to mix some of their tails, Rick does not advocate utilizing tails “as-is” for drinking alcohol owing to the combination of lower alcohol level and higher congener contents. It is possible, however, to mix the tails with the heads that aren’t being used and re-distill them as 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 particular taste and scent preferences.

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.

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.

Everything You Need to Know about Moonshine

Moonshine has the reputation of being a backwoods drink that can also be used as an engine cleaner, which isn’t entirely accurate. Moonshine, on the other hand, may be a premium spirit that aficionados throughout the world will willingly put a pinky in the air for a taste if they know what they’re talking about.

Don’t Worry, Drinking Moonshine Will Not Make You Blind

When talking to the general public about moonshine, the most often heard question is, “Won’t that stuff make you blind?” The answer is no, drinking moonshine will not cause you to become visually impaired. We’ve all had those regrettable mornings after consuming alcohol, if not more so than with other sorts of drink. The source of this worry stems from the fact that a byproduct of distillation known as methanol has been shown to cause blindness in certain people. Combine that reality with the fact that moonshine has an uncontrolled past, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Making Heads or Tails of Hearts

Distilling, like so many other things, is both a science and an art form. When it comes to distilling, a great distiller has his craft down to a science, and his product stands out in every manner. This covers the mash, the temps, the timing, and whatever infusions he may have under his sleeve at the time of writing. The appropriate isolation of the hearts, on the other hand, is the first thing a great distiller will pay attention to.

This is most likely the most significant factor to consider while searching for excellent Moonshine. Perfect timing, as well as a pleasing nose and taste, are required for great hearts.


distillation is a science and an art form in the same way that so many things are. It is the art of the great distiller to have his craft down to a science, and he makes his product stand out in every manner. This covers the mash, the temps, the timing, and whatever infusions he may have under his sleeve at the time of writing this. The appropriate isolation of the hearts, on the other hand, is the first thing a great distiller will focus on. To obtain excellent Moonshine, this is most likely the most vital factor to consider.


Then there are the heads. Although the heads will not cause you to become blind, the volatile alcohols they contain will cause you to have a severe hangover. Aside from that, the product has a foul smell and taste due to the presence of acetone in it.


The hearts come next, following the heads. The hearts are, without a doubt, the most essential stage in the process of separating exquisite Moonshine from degreaser for engines. Consider this transition to be a gradient, and you’ll begin to see why it’s so tough to make the move. It can be tricky to timing the opening and closing of your first and final jars of hearts, and what smells and tastes fine to you may be scoffed at by a seasoned shiner.

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Finally, we get to the tails, which become greasy due to the presence of water and proteins in the meat. If you’re drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages, you’re probably drinking tails. Gross. In order to understand more about this issue, Mile can provide you with further information. Moonshine may be made in a variety of ways, according to the website Hi Distilling.

So Where Do I Find the Good Stuff?

If you look through internet spirits stores or visit a reputable spirits retailer in your area, the odds are strong that you’ll come across a fantastic brand of Moonshine. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine one brand is superior to another because they all compete for a little portion of the same market. Or perhaps the typical sweet-corn flavor that comes from a full-blown corn Whiskey mash appeals to you. If this is the case, Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine is a must-try. Alternatively, you can like flavored Moonshine prepared from a sugar mash that is constructed on a more neutral-tasting basis.

If you have distilleries in your area, go visit them and sample their products.

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

Many times, while distilling with a pot still, it is desirable to perform numerous stripping runs before performing a final product run. This saves time and makes mixing a lot more convenient. Interested in learning more about how to distill a stripping run? Check out Fundamentals of Distilling A Stripping Run for additional information.

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.

Distinguishing Heads and Tails.. – Distilling Questions / Technical support

scotty 3Posted :Wednesday, August 22, 2012 6:26:46 AM(UTC) Rank: Senior MemberGroups: Registered, Moderator Joined: 7/25/2009(UTC) Posts: 2,209 HERE IS SOMETHING ELSE I COPIED- I SAVE LOTS OF INSTRUCTIONSSo the time has come for your first distillation with a pot still you have made. Run your charge and then there are only a few steps that need to be followed:1. Add boiling chips to your wash – these will help the boiling be smoother.None if internal heat source1A-Add whiskey feints if compatable2. Heat up the wash to near its boiling temperature – from 78C to 100C depending on its alcohol content.3. If you have some means of cooling your condensor coil, turn it when the wash is about to boil.4. Once liquid starts to drip from the condenser, turn down the heat on the boiler.5. Throw out the first 50 milliliters of your wash. If there is methanol in your wash, it will come out in the first 50 milliliters.6. Collect your distillate in small containers.- Label each container so you know which is from what part of your run- Optimally, you’ll probably want 5-10 small containers per run. The more, the better.7. After you have collected as much alcohol as you see fit, turn off the heat to the boiler, and let your apparatus cool down for a little while.8. Judge the contents of those individual bottles. The first ones may still have a slight “flowery” smell to them – residual from the heads. The middle ones may be fairly neutral – just an “alcohol” smell to them. The last ones may be more harsh – getting into a “wet cardboard” smell. Take the middle ones, and incrementally add in the heads and the tails to suit your tastes. If you find the headstails containers (eg the firstlast few) too strong, do not use them, but rather add them to the next batch you brew.============================================================================================================================When doing a stripping run – i.e. ‘low-wines’ for a second run later at higher proof, at what proof read at the parrot do ya’ll call it off with that particular batch of wash? My batches started out pulling off 50-40%, but towards the end, were pulling off very weak 20%, with very little bad-taste.Would you go further than that? I don’t think I was into the ‘tails’ all that badly due to taste, but i was getting a little cloudiness in the jug.The second run came off starting at 80%, I stopped the second run at 50%, will rerun the leftovers in another stripping run.The way my pot is currently setup, there is no thermometer.=============================================================================================================9) How do I run a Pot Still?A pot still is fairly straight forward to use. Turn it on. Once the temperature is up to about 60 °C turn on the cooling water to the condensor. Make sure you throw away the first 1 00 mL per 20L wash, as this will contain any methanol that might be present. Segregate the distillate into 500 mL lots as it comes off. Only keep (for drinking) that which doesn’t contain fusels (smell off) – probably below about 92 ° C, however you should keep distilling past here, untill about 96 ° C, as this fraction, although high in tails and not good for drinking this time, can be added back to the next wash and cleaned up OK then

Soldered Copper Moonshine Alembic Still Premium @ Newton House Gin, Somerset, United Kingdom

For beginner distillers who are just learning how to make cuts, I’d advocate making the key cuts between heads and hearts, and hearts to tails as soon as possible. Prior to blending, you should become familiar with the process of mixing. If you’re confident in your ability to make these basic cuts, then check out the Blending Guide for Newbies for further information. First-time blenders will benefit from this guide, which will lead them through the process of mixing whiskeys and rum.

Moonshine Info

The Moonshine Distiller has partnered with the Craft Distilling Academy to create the Heads, Hearts, and Tails educational online series, which will air on the Craft Distilling Academy’s YouTube channel. Providing high-quality educational films on a variety of topics pertaining to distillation will be a continuing endeavor. We might even blow something up just for the sake of it every once in a while, just for fun! We have just finished recording many episodes (which has been a lot of fun! ), and all that remains is for us to trim them down a little bit.

However, because this will be a continuous series, and because we are constantly seeking for fresh ideas, we are counting on you to come up with some of the topics that we will be exploring.

Heads:The differences between stainless steel and copper There are several different forms of packaging.

Hearts:Grains 101 (Grains 101) When and how to make use of essences Infusions of gin and vodka How to make a gin and tonic Whiskey recipe with a twist Products for the elderly and their qualities Difference between maturation and the process of aging Definitions of alcoholic beverages Tails: How to operate an abubble plate still tower.

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