Spirit Filtering & Filters

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Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby audistiller » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:32 am

I know some of you don't filter your spirit for different reasons, I do and obviously there are many people that prefer to filter their spirits. For those of you that do filter your spirit, I thought it would be good for everyone to hear what you use, and how well you think it works, whether it be carbon cartridge filtering units or whatever.

I am currently using an EZ Filter Carbon Filter unit from Still Spirits (pictured below), but since I have only used it once, I cant really comment except to say it seems to work fine, and the final product tastes pretty good to me. The price of this filter varies a bit, but they mostly retail for $119.00, and replacement carbon cartridges are usually around $8.95ea. Check them out here - http://stillspirits.com/au/filters/filt ... ilter.html
ez filter.jpg


I have just found another carbon cartridge type unit (pictured below), but its larger than the EZ Filter and its made from Stainless Steel. I'm sure some of you would have seen these from Pure Distilling in Geelong Victoria. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has one of these, and how well it works. I have only seen these for sale in two places in Perth, in both places the price was $200.00, however the replacement carbon cartridges are a bit more expensive at $9.95ea. Check them out here - http://puredistilling.com/the-ultimate-spirit-filter/
ultimate_spirit_filter.gif
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby R-sole » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:15 am

What do you believe the filter does for your spirit?

What improvements does it make?
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby dogbreath vodka » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:32 am

Hey Audistiller
What are the advantages of filtering?
I only ask because I gave up filtering when I stopped using turbos some years ago.
Now only use a pot still and double distilling does a great job of producing a clean vodka.

DBV
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Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby BackyardBrewer » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:17 am

I have the Pure Distilling Reflux still and couldn't be happier with it but I just don't see the need for spending $200 on a filter.

I'm about 9 runs in now, the first two were turbo yeasts and the last 6 have been tomato paste washes. I have a TPW to run this weekend and honestly other than the yield being better with the Turbo Yeast I can't really taste any difference in the refluxed final product - its just pretty much pure ~96% alc that's getting watered down and flavoured.

I leave my split my run as i collect it and let it breathe for 48 hours with a paper towel over it and it comes up just fine, no filtering.

So what would filtering give me? I'm really sceptical of these sellers and HBS guys now.

Why would I buy Turbo yeast again at $10 a pack when I can get my 6kgs of sugar, yeast and tomato paste for that?

Why would I spend Another $10 on turbo "clear" ? My washes are fine without that so far.

So again....not sure why I'd hand over $200 for filtering?
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby SBB » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:45 am

When I first kicked off with my T500 I mucked around with one of those filters....(the one in the top photo). Ive done a fair bit of reading on this kind of filtering since I started out and am aware that most people think its a complete waste of time. It did seem to work to some degree for me ,removing some of the smell and taste. The biggest problem I found with it was getting the carbon filters to seal properly on the washers supplied. Also getting the flow rate right was a pain in the arse....it either poured through or was so slow it took forever to filter.
I also tried running hearts through it once I was better set up, stripping TPW first and doing cuts, I still think it made some difference to the final product.
Now that I have access to a 3 inch Boka I probably wouldnt bother, as the hearts cut seems much cleaner and due to the amount you get from 40L of low wines at 40% you can afford to be much more fussy with cuts.
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Frank » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:49 am

Hi AUD
I always used to use activated carbon (dont buy at LHBS) in a funnel stuffed with cotton wool to remove some of the 'smell' associated with Turbos and Airstilling.
Since using TPW/DWWG etc washes and letting them ferment completely and slowly, I have found very little need for such filtering. Double distilling is a great idea (stripping and final runs) as well as letting the 'neutral' air for a day or two. That's what I do now anyway (and I'm Airstilling to this day 8-) )
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Goldie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:55 am

I too had one of the SS filters and yes it did seem to remove some smell from the turbos but never completely got rid of it. I found double distilling turbos got rid of more smell then the filter.
Like SBB said I found getting the flow rate right was annoying. After speaking with Mcstill and starting to use his bourbon knock off recipe and about to start TPW I have gotten rid of the filter. It now resides at my brothers place in the kitchen as a water filter. Thanks Mcstill
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Panda » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:14 am

I used to use z filters and the cartridge filters. Since I found these forums Ive had much better product from double distilling. Havent used carbon since.
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby audistiller » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:15 am

Thanks for the replies, I wanted to discuss this subject for the benefit of everyone mainly beginners like myself, not just for my own benefit.

5Star wrote:What do you believe the filter does for your spirit?
What improvements does it make?


dogbreathe vodka wrote:Hey Audistiller
What are the advantages of filtering? I only ask because I gave up filtering when I stopped using turbos some years ago.
Now only use a pot still and double distilling does a great job of producing a clean vodka.


Well as far as I can tell, from what I have read, and my understanding of carbon filtering, it removes most of the smell associated with fermenting and distilling, and filters out any nasties that end up in your product. I suppose like everything else, there are good and bad points with filtering, and I guess it comes down mostly to personal preference. I am leading to believe that carbon filtering could possibly removed some of the finer things of distilling, and I think that's possibly what your getting at 5Star.

I'm quite sure at some stage in the near future, I will venture into making cuts, and probably as time goes on, I will also look at purchasing or making a pot still, but until then, I will probably continue using the carbon filter until such time I no longer think I need too.

Regards
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Panda » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:27 am

Its basically trying to fix shit distilling and yuk left behind from turbo yeast.
Remove the causes and there is no need for the fix.
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby R-sole » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:27 am

A still is the best method you can have to seperate the smell associated with fermenting and distilling.

Thats what a still is, a seperation device.

If you use it to it's potential (ie seperate the output into fractions and keep the non smelling factions) there is no need to do a further process.
It's not good advice to other people getting into the game to ignore the benefits of what your equipment is giving you. You don't buy a v8 and drive round with the handbrake on.


You can do things anyway you want, you can walk everywhere backwards if you like, i don't care. It's when you tell others who don't know better that walking backwards is just as good as walking forwards i have a concern. ;-)


As far as nasties go, i'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean snakes and spiders or dirt or chemicals or what?
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby stubbydrainer » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:59 am

I don't use anything out of a HBS, well except 5l demijohns :? ,
I believe that the system they support is a money driven "rip-off the poor mug before he gets wise" enterprise, and you end up with inferior product any how !
I have never used and I never will need to use carbon filters, because I dont use the shit they flog off :snooty:
Do yourself and your wallet a huge favour and get onto TPW and see for yourself, its cheaper and it is a far superior neutral, and it doesn't need filtering at any stage
IMHO If it needs filtering there is something wrong , fix the cause and not the symptom !!

:twocents-mytwocents:
cheers
Stubs
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Sam. » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:32 pm

I have used carbon filtering a lot before. I used to have a "Z Filter" but like it has been said could never get the fucking thing to seal properly :angry-banghead:

I then bought one of these http://www.clarencewaterfilters.com.au/ ... r-kit.html and it works a lot better and is a lot cheaper option than some of the things out there. The outlet flow is a bit tricky to get right but its not impossible.

I am not going to be using this any more (anyone want to buy it :laughing-rolling: ) but I still will use Contact Reactive carbon straight into a 5L demi to polish nuetrel in search of the cleanest possible spirit.

I agree you need to run your equipment properly to get a great product. I also think that a still will never be perfect as you are always going to have that 4% thats got who knows what in it.

Carbon filtering does remove impurities from the spirit and will make it better that is a scientific fact.

At the end of the day it all depends on what quality of spirit you are happy to drink. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby audistiller » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:26 pm

Thanks to all for your comments so far.
I am in no way experienced when it comes to anything relating to spirits or distilling, I apologize if it comes across that I am, and I am not trying to talk people into using carbon filtering. The reason for this topic, is to gather information from those using carbon filtering, what type of filter you use, and if you think it helps your final product. As we all know in most cases you cant polish shit and make it shine, however from what I have read here, and other places on the internet, there are benefits of filtering your spirit, again it comes down to personal preference.

I have uploaded a PDF file to Mediafire for anyone to download, this is what gave me the idea of this thread. I have read it, and find the information to be quite interesting. As some of you probably already know, there are many different types of carbon, some of them don't work for spirits, and they can have a reverse effect tainting your final product. http://www.mediafire.com/?xb2lgwqog6g7gtc


5Star, what I meant by nasties was impurities, I killed all the spiders with fly spray before I fired up the still. ;-)
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby wynnum1 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:35 am

I put a cup full of carbon, aquarium carbon put through a coffee grinder when wash is finished it drops to the bottom and it does take flavor out of wash and gives a better result.
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Al Qaemist » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:25 am

Carbon filtering works fine.
When I used to run a T500, I started as directed running straight from the wash, pulling 92-93% so there was still 7-8% of "other". The mid hearts were neutral enough for me, but it was a very small portion, filtering meant the okay stuff either side of that that had a hint of something, would taste neutral too. I'd chuck these in with the hearts and filter the lot.

Then I started stripping the wash, and 2-3 strips went in the boiler - the hearts section was much bigger, but I continued filtering the bits either side of that cut - but did this separately as filtering was slow and it meant more neutral spirit.

Then I upgraded to a still that pulled azeotrope - now if you take care doing a clean ferment, strip, and take care on the spirit run, then that "other" is compressed tightly at the start and end of the runs - you get so much clean neutral, its not worth thinking about filtering the small sections that are left. So now I no longer filter, the heads and heads feints get stored to run again later, and I don't bother collecting tails.

The biggest improvement I noticed was in using a more efficient still and going bigger, so 40 ltrs of 35% on the spirit run you'll collect so much good stuff you don't sweat the small bits - and if you store your heads/heads feints away, you get a "free" bonus run when you have enough saved to charge the still.
Going bigger is fine if you have storage for spirit, and the space to do it in, if running in an apartment and don't have the space, then filtering can work out well for minor flaws- it just an unnecessary expense if you have the space and the means.
I'm actually trying to make mine less neutral these days, by adding a hint of grain flavour - no success as yet.

I did use my essencia filter recently - I wound a wort chiller round it. :D

Al Q - owner of the worlds most expensive coil jig.
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Brendan » Mon May 21, 2012 6:15 pm

Okay I agree with what 5Star said here earlier. Carbon filtering should in no way be used to cover up poor distilling.

I have used carbon filtering before, but now I am much better with my distilling and find that it is absolutely not needed in your hearts, as they should come out of a reflux without a smell at all..

I do however still use this sometimes, so will share what I use. I have done a few runs where the couple of bottles either side of the hearts are pretty good, just a very slight smell to them, but as I make the cleanest vodka I can, they don't make my cut. So I keep those late heads/hearts mixes and carbon filter them, which then gets used for fruit infusions for liqueurs and the like.

Pretty much all of the filters that people seem to use are plastic or have plastic parts. Even that SS one shown at the top of this thread has a plastic tap does it not? It may just be my jumping on the bandwagon with all the old timers, but no matter the extent to which it has been proven, I don't want my drink touching anything apart from copper, stainless or glass...and that even includes 5 seconds through a plastic funnel as some people don't seem to count as "touching"...

The filter that I use, is the Fuselex spirit filter. It is available in Aus for around $180 mark which is a lot when as most people say, you shouldn't really need it. But if you decide to purchase one like I did earlier on, and aren't worried about the cost of good materials, this is completely stainless all the way through including valves and internal mesh screen.

filter1.jpg


filter2.jpg


The actual column is a bit over a metre long. I buy my Granular Activated Carbon from Clarence water filters, however their spirit filter is basically entirely made of plastic...
I wash it in a big saucepan about 5 or 6 times, until there is no longer any carbon dust.
Then I half fill the saucepan up with water and leave it to soak for 48hrs (24hrs is usually what is recommended).
After this, I drain the water and prepare the filter for the carbon. The small piece at the bottom which contains the valve has a ss mesh screen at the bottom, but I fill this part with the white filter wool stuff, and then on top of that I take about 3 or 4 coffee filter papers and lay over the top.
This part then gets screwed onto the bottom of the column. Holding upright, I pour the wet carbon down the tube until it is filled to the top. It is caught at the bottom by the series of filter papers.
The 3.5L reservoir then screws on top of this, and I usually pour any leftover wet carbon into the top of this reservoir just for that slightly longer contact time, and beats throwing the leftover stuff away...
I position this in the shed onto a hook to hold the weight, and a series of cable ties in different directions to keep it perfectly upright and aligned in all directions (stop channelling down the wall I guess?).
The bottom valve is closed at this point, and the 4 or so litres I leave in there for a few hours or sometimes overnight, where that spirit in the tube is sitting in contact with a tube full of carbon.
The next morning, I crack the tap slightly and pull it out at a slow speed (like 1 or 2 drips per second...into a GLASS container). Each drop from the tube is obviously replaced by one from the top reservoir, so even the stuff that hasn't been sitting in contact overnight, will still probably take 6 - 8 hours to reach it's way to the bottom.
This does take a while (hours, usually overnight or through the day), and I usually put the batch through 3 times, but that's just me and I choose to do it.

I will say that if you have those "close to head cuts" that arent completely perfect and you want to clean them a little, this method is very effective. Although it does reduce the smell and taste of these impurities significantly through the process of adsorbtion, I am fairly sure that any hangover/headache effect will not be removed, so you still want it to be very clean...

Again the stuff I put through like this is still fairly clean, I hold my nose over the jar for a minute working out if I want it or not in my hearts cut....if you can't hold your nose/face over the jar you're thinking of carbon filtering because it burns all the senses in your face...it's a jar full of liquid shit, so throw it out, or keep it aside to throw in with low wines in the next run, and don't make people drink your fire water. :puke-huge:

All of this aside, nothing beats my hearts cut from the reflux still for a clean vodka. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby bt1 » Mon May 21, 2012 6:24 pm

I've got to ask..with what we get of good quality at such a cheap end cost why bother?

Invest what say $10 for mtls per wash to recover what exactly? I'd seriously like to know cos i can't see a cost or taste benefit here...have I missed something?

seems kinda wrong to me...First rule OD taught me was never be greedy and throw it if your not 100% happy...

cheers
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby SBB » Mon May 21, 2012 6:32 pm

Ok im going to play the part of Devil's advocate here ...........anyone interested in this topic please read the following thread.
http://www.artisan-distiller.net/phpBB3 ... f=4&t=2262
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Re: Spirit Filtering & Filters

Postby Brendan » Tue May 22, 2012 1:57 am

bt1 wrote:I've got to ask..with what we get of good quality at such a cheap end cost why bother?


Exactly bt1, you haven't missed anything. There is no need at all, as you'll see all the experienced guys will tell everyone.

I just bought one early on when I didn't know better, and seeing the amount of questions, would rather see people not using plastic crap if they are going to do it.

And if OD says anything, it's right! :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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