Gin - to steep or not?

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Gin - to steep or not?

Postby Rolls912 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:44 pm

Ive read hundreds of posts both here and from makers websites.

I’m still unsure as to whether I should steep ingredients before running the carter head? From what I gather;
some ingredients are more suited to steeping.
How long?
And finally, at what temperature?

There appears to be a lot of conflicting commentary.

The pro’s appear to do it but perhaps their superior equipment has an influence on steeping (think 4p’s Carl still).

Should we create an ultimate steeping thread that specifically relates to gin?

I’m keen to to take my gin to the next level - :techie-studyingbrown:
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby MaKa » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:14 pm

There is no simple answer to your question. Broadly you can either macerate your botanicals or vapour infuse them. The answer mostly depends on your preferred style of gin and the botanicals that you are using.

Macerated Gins
In my opinion this generates a much more flavoursome gin that is packed with oils. In this technique there are again a couple of ways of making it. You can either macerate for 12-24 hour and then add the botanicals to your boiler and distill the macerated liquid or you can macerate for about 2 weeks, filter off the botanicals and distill the filtered spirit. Too many botanicals in your macerated alcohol and you end up with louching in your final product.

Vapour infusion
This sort of gin doesn't run the same risk of louching as you may risk with a macerated gin but also results in a lighter flavoured gin.

The answer is not as black and white as you may want and the only way to determine what suits you is to experiment. It really land somewhere in the middle where you can use a combination of the two techniques.

I personally macerate for about 23 hours and then add some of the more delicate botanicals to the vapour path. Things in the vapour path include florals, sometimes you can put your citrus there etc.

A final note is if you are adding botanicals to the boiler you need to be careful they do not touch your heat source and scorch. I hand my botanicals in a hop bag when they are in the boiler
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby Rolls912 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:55 pm

Interesting... I wonder if I would be better to steep the finer botanicals to bring them forward and vapour the juniper, coriander and Angelica. London style is getting a bit boring IMO and this method would hero the signature ingredients wouldn’t it?
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby MaKa » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:59 pm

I am not sure on that one. Something to try set up a side by side comparison and see what you think.
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby bluc » Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:45 pm

Depends what flavours you want bold. Dont meerly steep week ones to bring them forward steep the ones you want to dominate..Because some flavours work better week and some work better bold.. This may help you decide what flavours you want and what you want to be the stars of your gin...
Botanicals-Library-Flavour-Wheel-credit-to-Ioanna-Chatzi.png
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby Thelegion » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:51 am

MaKa wrote:There is no simple answer to your question. Broadly you can either macerate your botanicals or vapour infuse them. The answer mostly depends on your preferred style of gin and the botanicals that you are using.

Macerated Gins
In my opinion this generates a much more flavoursome gin that is packed with oils. In this technique there are again a couple of ways of making it. You can either macerate for 12-24 hour and then add the botanicals to your boiler and distill the macerated liquid or you can macerate for about 2 weeks, filter off the botanicals and distill the filtered spirit. Too many botanicals in your macerated alcohol and you end up with louching in your final product.

Vapour infusion
This sort of gin doesn't run the same risk of louching as you may risk with a macerated gin but also results in a lighter flavoured gin.

The answer is not as black and white as you may want and the only way to determine what suits you is to experiment. It really land somewhere in the middle where you can use a combination of the two techniques.

I personally macerate for about 23 hours and then add some of the more delicate botanicals to the vapour path. Things in the vapour path include florals, sometimes you can put your citrus there etc.

A final note is if you are adding botanicals to the boiler you need to be careful they do not touch your heat source and scorch. I hand my botanicals in a hop bag when they are in the boiler




Excellent advice,

I've made gin in many different ways, the last being botanicals in a cheesecloth in the boiler along with the gin basket in the vapour path. Fist bottling there was a very subtle juniper presence, now after two weeks there is a full blown juniper when you uncork the bottle. I guess it comes down to the way you like to make it and have the most fun in doing so, there are many ways to skin cats, but I would never do that, they keep your feet warm. :laughing-rolling:
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby coffe addict » Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:13 pm

If done right gin by any method will louche... Disclaimer I hate weak bland gin :laughing-rolling:
Mine usually louches around 48 to 49%
There's so many ways and combinations with gin! Just keep playing with it until you work out what your taste buds like!
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby peter01010101 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:38 pm

Last night I was reading John Stone's book "Making Gin & Vodka - A Professional Guide to Amateur Distillers" (1999). He describes a method of 'steam distillation' where he places the botainicals in 350ml of water in a small pot still and collects 2 jars at 75ml each. He mixes this distillate with an equal amount (75ml) of 96% neutral spirit to make a gin essence. This essence is mixed at 10ml per litre of 40% neutral for a final product. The recommended starting amounts were 35g juniper berries, 1g each of cardamon, orris root and coriander.

I seem to remember Zymurgy Bob having a recipe for 'gin essence' though I think his was made macerating the botanicals in spirit.

Haven't tried it myself, but it may be something worth considering.
Last edited by peter01010101 on Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby the Doctor » Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:00 pm

I recommend you just use the botanicals in a carter head without steeping if you want the freshest and most vibrant extraction... also change your botanicals regularly to keep the flavours fresh, we never run a basket for more than 26 minutes to keep the flavours fresh and fragrant.... also only use Hearts, we only use hearts and never re-process heads or tails....these are my secrets to the best gin.
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Re: Gin - to steep or not?

Postby Thelegion » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:05 pm

coffe addict wrote:If done right gin by any method will louche... Disclaimer I hate weak bland gin :laughing-rolling:
Mine usually louches around 48 to 49%
There's so many ways and combinations with gin! Just keep playing with it until you work out what your taste buds like!



I had to look up that word "louche" I thought it was referring to the free booze pilfering neighbours, ;-)

I have had gin louche a few times, but only when I added the water to alcohol, I strictly add alcohol to water at a slow rate now and have not had the problem since. When adding alcohol to water mine is usually between 90-94%, I've included a link below if anyone is interested.


https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/08/why ... -oils.html
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