Friday, February 20, 2009

The Proof ... Is In the Whiskey

We distilled about 15 gallons of spirit yesterday, with a proof level right in our target range of 110 and up. Dave P. gauged the first batch of distillate after we put it in the spirit still, and it tested right at 40 proof -- just as expected. After cutting off the head from the spirit run, it tested at about 140 proof -- declining from there to below 100 before we cut off the run. We will continue to run both the beer still and the spirit still today. Operating both stills at once has the added benefit of allowing us to put the heads and tails (both with too low proof and too many impurities) from the spirit run into the beer still. This is a more efficient method of increasing the alcohol level than putting it right back into the spirit still.

Before we started mashing Dave had estimated that if everything worked perfectly, we might get a return of up to four gallons of spirit per bushel of grain. We wound up using 37 bushels, so that would mean as much as 148 gallons of finished product. At this point, he thinks that the return might be closer to three gallons per bushel, or about 110 gallons.

We plan on distilling all day Friday and Saturday, some on Sunday, and then again on Monday, and hope to be finished by the end of that day.

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