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Compound gin prototype

This is for the "What in the world is that?" category. You have something different, something odd or just putting things together in a different way?. Tell us about it and let us comment, laugh, or puke....

Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby sasquatch » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:05 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:I'm probably about to step into some crap, but here goes. First, what is meant by neutral? I believe it means absent of flavor. You can either strip flavor from a wash using a reflux still, or with a pot still using multiple runs. Or, you can get ahead of that by starting with a wash with little to no flavor. I've used rice converted with Pinto's liquid enzymes for a wash that's near flavorless. A stripping run with a thumper attached and a spirit run with a thumper attached will get a good result. Some plain sugar washes might also work - Wineo's Plain Old Sugar Wash, or Googe's Kale Wash. Washes made with grains like corn, barley, or wheat would probably take a lot of work to clean up in a pot still.

Yes, a reflux still is the best rig for the job of making neutral spirits. But, if a pot still is all you have, don't let it stop you from making a neutral gin base. It's doable. Gin has been around for longer than there have been reflux stills.


Good advice.
As you mentioned any grain and forget about getting close to a neutral with a pot.
What is the rice recipe you use?



Maybe having the herbals and spices in the ferment with a rice wash so the taste carry over will be the herbs you are targeting.

Meaning,
Instead of stripping favours clean which is near impossible with a pot make the flavour carry over the flavours you want in the spirits by using a near perfect neutral ferment.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Alchemist75 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:33 pm

Yeah, that multivitamin experiment I did could probably pull a pretty flavorless spirit if doubled or tripled and then left to air out. Even after only doing a strip and letting it stand it ended up tasting just like vodka.
I've been running glass stills for over 20 years now and have no shame in saying so.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby punkin » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:14 am

Vodka/neutral in the US has to be 95+. Not that the US dictates the definition to the world.

You can do vodka on a pot still (especially flavoured vodka), you cannot do neutral.

True neutral (~96%) from a flavourless wash stripped and then refluxed after soaking the base with carbonate is nothing like anything you'll ever get from a pot still, so lets just leave all that behind. If you don't think i know what i'm talking about then ask the Russian or Swedish forums.

In saying that the statement that gin has been round longer than neutral just may be true? The fact is if you haven't got a reflux still then work with what you do have, strip then run with cuts then run again. No problem, just don't try to compare it to neutral.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Alchemist75 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:59 am

+1 punkin. Before I ever attempted my first gin I read up on it's history and it certainly predates the first column set ups. I think I stated before that my spirit has a light grain note but it disappears behind the stronger botanical flavors. After sampling out my finalized gin recipe a to number of others including one gin connoisseur it got high marks even with a grainy back note. It's a recipe that I officially added to my books and honestly, I'm kinda proud that I made something good. I don't run neutrals, I don't pretend to and I'm good with it.
Gin, like traditional vodka is ill defined, it is dominated by juniper but the rest is up to the creativity of the still man. If grain is an aspect of the flavor in your gin then who's to say you did it wrong? If it tastes good that's what we care about.....right?
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Saltbush Bill » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:39 am

punkin wrote:True neutral (~96%) from a flavourless wash stripped and then refluxed after soaking the base with carbonate is nothing like anything you'll ever get from a pot still, so lets just leave all that behind. If you don't think i know what i'm talking about then ask the Russian or Swedish forums.

Thanks for your input Punkin, I been trying to get that through to a couple of folk on other forums for a while, might as well bang ya head against a brick wall in some cases. You do a better job of getting the point across than I can. :8)
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:30 am

Alchemist75 wrote:+1 punkin. Before I ever attempted my first gin I read up on it's history and it certainly predates the first column set ups. I think I stated before that my spirit has a light grain note but it disappears behind the stronger botanical flavors. After sampling out my finalized gin recipe a to number of others including one gin connoisseur it got high marks even with a grainy back note. It's a recipe that I officially added to my books and honestly, I'm kinda proud that I made something good. I don't run neutrals, I don't pretend to and I'm good with it.
Gin, like traditional vodka is ill defined, it is dominated by juniper but the rest is up to the creativity of the still man. If grain is an aspect of the flavor in your gin then who's to say you did it wrong? If it tastes good that's what we care about.....right?

I completely agree. Our vodka was judged in the "residual flavor" class by ADI (and it won a bronze), but you'd play hell trying to taste that malt note behind our gin botanicals, and our gin is very well received. If your vodka is so bad that it's noticeable in a gin, you have serious problems (or a limp-wristed gin).
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You can make whisky in a reflux still, you can make vodka in a potstill,
and you can eat chicken noodle soup with a crescent wrench. But...
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Saltbush Bill » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:16 am

Alchemist75 wrote:I would never say that I could run a neutral on my pot even with passive reflux because there will be some degree of flavor and error on the final run. Neutral? No. High proof vodka, doubled or tripled yes.

I like the way you think. :D
My intention was only ever to clarify the two different terminologies.
I think the use of the wrong word for the wrong product is an insult to those who have worked so hard over the years to produce washes, stills and methods that will make true high proof neutral.
Or maybe I'm just old n grumpy and stuck in my ways.
Or maybe Ive read to many of ZB's posts
"You can make whisky in a reflux still, you can make vodka in a potstill,
and you can eat chicken noodle soup with a crescent wrench. But..."
Getting off my :soapbox: now
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby S-Cackalacky » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:05 am

As much as we disobey the federal laws defined by the TTB related to distilling, it seems that we cling to them with a tight fist to make a point. According to the TTB, there are two types of neutral spirits - "vodka" and "grain spirits". It would seem that vodka can go directly from the still to whatever storage container you please, but if you store it in an oak container, the resulting spirit is then called "grain spirits". At least that's how I interpret the definitions. The TTB document defining the different types of spirits can be found here - https://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter4.pdf .

Because my flavorless spirits (made in a pot still) don't come out at 95% as defined by the TTB as a requirement for calling it a "neutral spirit", I suppose I should stop calling it "neutral". I suppose I was improperly applying the definition of neutral to mean "an absence of flavor", or "flavorless". I concede that we should all use the meaning set forth by the TTB and NOT the generally accepted definition of the word. According to the TTB, it doesn't necessarily have to have a neutral aroma, character, taste, or color unless you call it "vodka", but it does need to be at least 95% ABV - go figure.

Anyway, I will cease and desist calling my pot stilled "flavorless gin base" a neutral. Didn't mean to offend the TTB and get everybody's drawers in a bunch. Of course, you folks who don't live in the US can go on calling it anything you like.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby S-Cackalacky » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:16 am

BTW, I never really had a problem with the whole nonsense about the definition of neutral. My point is, that yes, you can make a good gin base using a pot still. Some folks seem to be saying that, no you can't. I'm not sure I care for the idea of discouraging a novice to use the equipment they have at hand just because someone says, it can't be done because you can't make TTB neutral in a pot still. As long as someone here sees a need to discourage, I will encourage - simple as that.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Alchemist75 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:33 am

What they call vodka from the eastern block to Mongolia is not always the same as what is called vodka in the u.s. for sure. In the old world vodka is nothing more or less than a Slavic term for moonshine or at least that's how it began. Grain, potatoes, beets, cows milk, horses milk, grapes (yes grapes!) or whatever was locally abundant is what you used to make it. Usually you'd triple distill it on a pot but in some regiogns it might only get a single pass on the still and in some pretty crude rigs at that. Some major Russian vodka manufacturers still do it this way and it's a far cry from the column produced neutrals many associate with vodka. It was, and continues to be an ill defined spirit. It all depends on where you are and what's in vogue.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby sasquatch » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:48 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote: According to the TTB, it doesn't necessarily have to have a neutral aroma, character, taste, or color unless you call it "vodka", but it does need to be at least 95% ABV - go figure.


At a small organic distillery that makes potato base spirits they have a vodka that is made from 95%.
It is so smelly and the flavour is so strong that I can't drink it. You can smell it on someones breath after they drink it and it hangs on them like a fart.
They use the same vodka for their gin base.
The gin is a little more bearable for me but only can have a few before the flavour overwhelms me.
The still master told me that if he wanted to rid the flavour he would have to do a 95.6% pull.

So .6% was all that was needed to favour the vodka enough for me and others to not be able to drink it. But they win awards with it and I can't see how.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby punkin » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:13 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:BTW, I never really had a problem with the whole nonsense about the definition of neutral. My point is, that yes, you can make a good gin base using a pot still. Some folks seem to be saying that, no you can't. I'm not sure I care for the idea of discouraging a novice to use the equipment they have at hand just because someone says, it can't be done because you can't make TTB neutral in a pot still. As long as someone here sees a need to discourage, I will encourage - simple as that.


I didn't notice anyone being discouraging, merely trying to keep descriptors tight is all.

sasquatch wrote:
S-Cackalacky wrote: According to the TTB, it doesn't necessarily have to have a neutral aroma, character, taste, or color unless you call it "vodka", but it does need to be at least 95% ABV - go figure.


At a small organic distillery that makes potato base spirits they have a vodka that is made from 95%.
It is so smelly and the flavour is so strong that I can't drink it. You can smell it on someones breath after they drink it and it hangs on them like a fart.
They use the same vodka for their gin base.
The gin is a little more bearable for me but only can have a few before the flavour overwhelms me.
The still master told me that if he wanted to rid the flavour he would have to do a 95.6% pull.

So .6% was all that was needed to favour the vodka enough for me and others to not be able to drink it. But they win awards with it and I can't see how.


Even at 95.6% you'll pull flavour from strong flavoured washes.

My favourite 'neutral' back when i ran a serious column was a mollases wash with no backset or dunder, stripped in the pot, dosed with carbonate and then pulled through an 1800mm copper mesh packed VM column at 95.6% to make a fantastic silver rum. Tiny touch of late heads and cut right on the tails was a fantastic base for fruit punch with lemonade.
But it wasn't neutral, i had to do a plain sugar wash to get 'neutral' tasting spirit. And i know that my best neutral would not please the Scandinavians or the Russians. They may have made vodka on potstills back in the day, they won't even use copper in their columns nowadays because it taints the vodka. They are deadly serious about 'neutral'.


But back to the pot stilled gin..................
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby sasquatch » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:22 pm

So has anyone tried to make a gin by putting the herbs/spices in the wash/mash then distilling?
Instead of making a neutral first then adding the herbs/spice?
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:23 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:Anyway, I will cease and desist calling my pot stilled "flavorless gin base" a neutral. Didn't mean to offend the TTB and get everybody's drawers in a bunch. Of course, you folks who don't live in the US can go on calling it anything you like.


I used to make a bit of some of that "plain" spirit with a potstill, and I also never knew what to call it. I ended up calling it "sortavodka". Works for me.
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Re: Compound gin prototype

Postby Alchemist75 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:14 pm

sasquatch wrote:So has anyone tried to make a gin by putting the herbs/spices in the wash/mash then distilling?
Instead of making a neutral first then adding the herbs/spice?

Yes, or at least I've done botanical spirits in both pot still and thumpers.
Direct boiling can really change the flavors and aromas due to oxidization and other heat induced reactions in the boiler. Actually it's fun to play around with the different methods including direct maceration post distillation. You can use combinations of these methods to get a lot of complexity going on with your product. Layers of flavor and mouth feel for days. I made a botanical liquor that I just came up with on the fly a week ago that incorporated some nice aromatics steam distilled in my thumper but then I prepared a boiled aqueous extract of ginger root and sugar that I added back to the final spirit before I cut it down. Tasty! So much room there to play in....
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