the next step for a bit of newbie

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the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby Mossimo » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:08 am

Hi Guys and Gals,
first time posting but have found this forum INVALUABLE for information for someone starting out, so firstly, thank you

so I'm looking for advice for 'the next step'

so far my distilling history,

made my own forced reflux still that works amazingly well for neutral spirits, used turbo mashes and essences to make something that resembled scotch (my drink of choice)

moved on from turbo's to TPW and have continued success with these, moved on to a whiskey profile kit and now make something nice and drinkable.
moved on from there and added oak chips and the quality has improved, but compared to say, johny black.... not even close.

Ive now invested in a 10L oak Barrel,

the question is... what's the next step, im thinking about pulling the packing out of the forced reflux still and making something along the lines of a cornflakes wash, putting that on the new oak barrel, looking for any an d all advise please.
BTW, I live in QLD Australia and my ideal drink of choice, is Johny blue
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby Fatguts » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:54 am

By using a neutral and essences / whiskey profile kit we are producing a drink "in the style" of our favorite spirit. At our hobby level its hard to get identical copies of our favorite. Most distilleries have far superior equipment and most of the whiskeys have been aged for long periods.
Im a fan of American bourbon whiskeys and for the last 12 months have been experimenting with all grain mashes (the cooking and steeping of corn, rye and barley) to try and get a more authentic flavor. These take time as they are sitting on oak and im trying to give them 2 years to mature.
To produce something along the lines of Johnny blue the next step could possibly involve a still upgrade and playing with all grain mashes. If you are making something from a neutral and flavoring that you are happy with there is nothing wrong with that either and its a lot quicker. I've found this hobby is full of success and failures and it just keeps you experimenting but you need to put in the time.
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby db1979 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:28 am

Welcome mate :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Sounds like you've been bitten by the stilling bug!

Got any photos of your still? We might be able to give better advice if we can see how your still works. But by the sounds of it, pulling the packing out is likely going to turn it into a pot still which will give you better flavoured product than running TPW through a reflux (where you get no flavour). If you're after a scotch, try macwhiskey in the tried and proven section, or as fatguts is doing, go down the all grain path. I'd recommend you have a go at the cereal washes and or macwhiskey first though as all grain is far more involved. And make sure you're taking cuts.

You'll need to get quite a lot of product made before you start using your barrel as you'll need to have it full or it will leak. On top of this, you'll also need some drinking stock for while you're waiting for your barrel to do its thing. All grain doesn't produce as much product as a sugar wash, so you'll also need to factor this in too.
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby Professor Green » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:15 pm

Welcome Mossimo.

I would say the next step for you is to ditch the flavourings, grab yourself a pot still and a have a go at a couple of the cereal based washes as db suggested. I would also recommend not trying to chase the flavour profile of a commercial spirit. With the right wash, cuts and oaking you'll be able to make something a whole lot better anyway.

Prof. Green.
Professor Green
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby RC Al » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:43 pm

Welcome mate
:text-+1: on what the prof said
No AG for me yet, but pot stilled grain/sugar washes are proving to be quite tasty, there's all sorts you can do to change the flavor profile, on top of the actual recipe adjustments, just by how you distil it - warmup times, how much clearing, take off speed, wash in with strip, there is a good variety of flavours to be had.

I had to buy some bourbon the other week, been a while, the price was rather disconcerting even at a Dan M's, It is interesting to critique commercial stuff now that I know what some of the flavours are, I generally find heads n tails in the stuff I used to buy and is what you may have to include a small amount of to get the perfect clone, with barrel aging you can include a slightly wider cuts than if having it white :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby bluc » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:50 pm

I say dont include heads or tails or try clone anything you will be amazed how fast you get used to the different flavour, and how much better you feel the day after :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby Mossimo » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:40 pm

Thanks for the input guys,

I've definitely been bitten by the bug, its an interesting science indeed, with great rewards.

so touching on a few comments, its looking like the next step for me is going to be a cereal wash, I LOVE the idea of doing an all grain mash but think it might be a bit beyond my level ATM,

my question is this, 'I've attached a picture of my still, well hopefully' can I get away with just pulling the packing out and running that, or is it really that much of a difference between a pot still and column still?

second question, I mentioned this new barrel that I have purchased, I'm assuming its kind of a waste putting neutral spirit in it? my thoughts are to save it and do a few cereal runs and age that in the barrel,
do you/ can you age neutral spirit in a barrel?
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby Doubleuj » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:08 pm

Gday mate, I moved your post to the welcome centre as it is your first and may as well be your welcome message :handgestures-thumbupleft:
As far as I can see in that picture the still looks like a hybrid pot/ reflux still, and would probably behave a bit like a t500.
I can’t quite see what the black part is up the top but the zip ties have me worried.
Did you build the still?

As for the barrel, oaked neutral is very one dimensional and you’ll probably be disappointed. I’d save the barrel for something like a Mac whisky or AG.
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby Mossimo » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:38 pm

yes built the still myself,

the zip ties etc where just a temporary measure to hold a temp sensor into place, iv e since soldered a thermometer into the top for more accurate temperature readings,

thanks for the input on the barrel, confirmed what I was thinking (have learnt soooo much from this forum).

I'm thinking I'm going to do the cornflakes whiskey, mac whisky looks very interesting but I cant seem to find caramalt extract locally (national home brew) so I may have to mail order that...
to be honest im torn between
and fine scotch whiskey

ill eventuallt try all of them I think ;-)
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Re: the next step for a bit of newbie

Postby EziTasting » Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:40 pm

G'Day Mossimo,

the learning is steep at the start, just take one piece of advice (other than the above), choose a recipe and work on it until you have mastered it!

I have jumped form recipe to recipe and confused myself for at least a year...

So far Have managed TPW (haha easy as pie), I have tried the Kale wash (can't say that I have managed to conquer that one yet, done Teddy Sads FFV (love it, great for fast turn around, but less yield than TPW),
Have played with CFW, which is OK (to me) but too much work - prefer TPW/FFV - personal choice.
Have tried AG whisky and have bitten off more than I can chew ... but now that I am set up that way, that's what I am slowly (incredibly slowly) moving forwards with. As mentioned above, the difference in and volume is quite astounding! Mind you, I am not that good at it yet, tastes OK but closer to a neutral than a flavourful Whisky...

All I can say is read, read again and read some more! Then stick with one recipe and perfect it; then, and only then would I recommend you move onto the next. Otherwise you kerfufle you brain and make lots of basic mistakes.... Of corse, I could just be a special kind of stoopid! :teasing-tease:

Enjoy the journey!
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