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Thread: Distillation

  1. #1


    I'm toying with the idea to pickup an alembic or T500 still for the GF. I don't drink hard tack though and am not sure if it's worth the effort. Going the alembic route, would mean a 7 hour distillation day after a brew / fermentation effort. The yield is low 3 or 6 litres, which would then need to sit in a wood barrel for at least a year for all grain whiskey. The t500 strips off any flavor profiles, so a sugar wash is sufficient, but you then flavor the spirit with essences, which is a bit of a cheat in my view, except for gin perhaps? T500 is a 5hour distillation day.

    On the odd occasion when I drink hard tack I prefer to drink it neat and not a lot of it, like Marca Negra Mezcal or single malt peaty whisky anything from Islay. I abhor any sweet tasting spirit. My missus enjoys her craft gin which is in abundance in Cape Town.

    Has anyone here had a go at it? Recommendations or advice appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Hartbeespoort/De Wildt
    I've done hundreds of sessions using either a small pot still or the T500.

    My opinion:
    If you don't often drink hard tack, and prefer good stuff, I'd say save your money for high quality stuff from the shop. You'll be much happier and save some money.

  3. #3
    A friend of mine played around with a potstill to make some whiskey. It's not as easy as one might like it to be. If I were to seriously consider something like this, I'd go for the T500 rather than a Potstill.

    Not sure what you would want to make but the ultimate is always a good whiskey. Many whiskeys are distilled to a very high abv and most of the flavour then comes from the oak. From what I've gathered, Bains for example is a 100% corn mash, distilled in a massive reflux column. Most likely distilled to over 90% abv.

  4. #4
    @TheFlyingBrew Would using the alembic copper still not impart more grain flavor? I'd be keen to attempt a rye, a smoked malt and a "vienna single malt" whisky and barrel age for at least a year. I do get the impression it's quite an art, I need to do more research.

    @jakeslouw That's exactly my worry too. A couple of decent 'grogs' can easily fund the cost of an alembic / t500 still and accessories. Having said that, I struggle to finish a bottle of the strong stuff, takes me quite a while !

  5. #5
    Senior Member JIGSAW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Cape Town
    ^ You're doing it wrong

    many a time I find myself "double fisted" ... whisky on the rocks in on hand and a beer in the other
    The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!

  6. #6
    I can't mix different kinds of alcohol, if I do then bedtime is accelerated by a good few hours. Sometimes when I pour a dram of whisky, I'd splash a few drops of water in to change the flavor profile. Those frozen metal cubes instead of ice if I feel the need to cool it.

    I don't like the feeling of overdoing it nor the headache the next morning

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  7. #7
    I have a copper T500 for my Grainfather - gotta admit, a lot of work for a little out. Prefer the brewing but hey, every now and again I can do away with a bad batch of beer or some old wine that doesn't taste nearly as good at home as on the farm...

  8. #8
    I was wondering, using an urn in lieu of the GF with and stc or similar controlling the temperature putting a probe on the neck, would it not alleviate a lot of dialing up and down? Catch the methanol first, run 2l head, hearts and tails (approximately 1 hour each)

    I'm still (lol) researching this, but surely there must be a way to make it less hands on?

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  9. #9
    You could link some sort of PID to a solenoid valve on the water inlet, but.... a still that isn't watched can explode if something goes wrong unchecked.

  10. #10

    I saw some of those theoretical automation mentioned in online. Thinking about not constantly turning temp or flow up / down.

    If all goes according to plan, my alembic will arrive soon. Pressure is on to get knowledgeable... Planning to kick a few double brew days to keep the kegs filled, then attempt a single grain whiskey, perhaps Vienna or Marris Otter.

    Do you need recipes or just seat of the pants? Thinking to do a reiterated mash to hit high as possible OG. Voss kveik and perhaps enzymes to turn the mash into wash in double time

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