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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Loss in low-wines run

Hi fellow distillers,

We made a low-wines run.

We have a vodka still with a 5 plate column and a 21 plates column. Both columns have defleghmentor.

We did the low-wines run using only the 5 plates column, and we did'nt used the dephlegmentor.

We distilled 1200 liter of mash which was about 10% abv.

The run started, the distillate was about 85% ABV and we distilled until the ABV of the distillate was around 20%.

The final yield was at 50% ABV. We were hoping to yield about 200 liters. 

The total volume of the distillate at 50% is about 125 liters.

Anyone have an idea where the missing 75 liters went?


Thank you :-)




I'm converting to Freedom Units and rounding.

You had 317 gallons (1200 liters) at 10% ABV, which should yield 31.7 gallons of absolute alcohol, or 63.4 proof gallons.

Your actual yield was 33 gallons (125 liters) at 50%, which is 33 proof gallons, or about half the expected yield.

While you should have run until you were at 10% or less on the output, that doesn't account for half the yield.

The most obvious answer is that your mash was not at 10%, but more like 5% or 6%.

How did you determine it was at 10%?


It was at 22 plato at the beginnning, was 0 plato after fermentation.


If your mash had the correct percentage of alcohol and you did not leave much alcohol in the pot, the next thing that I would do is check the still for vapor leaks.  I would close the system at the product condenser and put 5psi of air in the still and let it sit overnight to see if you lose pressure..  If there are no leaks then the next time you run, check your condenser to see if it is knocking down all of the vapor. 


thats a huge vapour leak to loose half ur product threw but is entirely possible . did you smell alcohol during your run , on a stripping run the vapour should be pretty easy to smell , i would hope your alcohol sensor on your ventilation system would be going nuts before you loose half your run tho . i would defiantly pressure test your system and test your ventilation system if you are convinced you had 10 % in your wash , that much vapour into the air could could be quite the hazard .    


You should also check your outgoing coolant for ethanol.


Did you have any juice in the plates when the run was complete?  Also how many gallons did you put in the pot and how many gallons did you have in the pot when the run was complete?  The answer to this last question will really help to solve your mystery.



15 gallons of raw ethanol leaking would be quite a serious and obvious leak. Your building would probably be on fire if that much was leaking out during one run.


Reply:53 minutes ago, MGL said:
Reply:10 hours ago, Southernhighlander said:

Need more information, the starting plato/gravity seems awfully high if we are talking about grain (you said mash and not wash).

Grain-in the mash or grain-out?

What was the total grist weight?

Where am I going with this?  22 Plato (1.092sg) - This seems very high for a grain mash.  We're talking about roughly, 750-800 pounds of grain in 250-265 gallons of water, to hit a 1.092sg in a total volume of ~315 gallons. We'd be talking about closer to 12% potential alcohol on the 265 gallons, or ~63pg (I tend to exclude the grain mass from the calculation, as you are only measuring the gravity of the liquid).

Reply:9 hours ago, MGL said:

good post mjduheme there is no place for that arrogant shit on a forum thats jus trying to help people . shrug it off paul jealousy is a ugly thing . 


Reply:12 hours ago, MGL said:

Silk city distillers,

We use 660 pounds of grain in about 215 gallons of water. Then we sparge and add some dextrose.

We mash at 62-64 for an hour.

Grain out.

Another question, when you make your vodka run, at what abv (+/-) do you make your tails cut?


Thank you.


My proof is still over 190 when I hit tails for vodka.  The way I run the still, the still head temp only changes .1 to .2 deg at tails.  A small jump in proof.   It's more about smell and taste than proof.  



Thank you Bluefish.

We filtered our vodka with activated carbon.

This carbon:

We throwed carbon directly into our 40% abv vodka. We throwed about 1/4 cup in 300L of vodka and waited for two hours.

Then we filtered through a .2 micron paper filter.

The filtering didnt changed much the taste, maybe the texture of the spirit a bit.

Are we doing things right?


Reply:39 minutes ago, DistillateurQc said:
Reply:37 minutes ago, MGL said:

Hi Merci,


I can help you with a carbon filter housing and small ethanol pump that you can use to filter your spirits.  Email [email protected]  Also I will need to know how many gallons you want to filter in an 8 hour day?


Also carbon should be wet with water prior to introduction of the alcohol, so leave some room for proof changes.   I use a simple gravity filter.   About 3 ft of 2" pipe filled with 8-32 carbon.  Then let gravity flow through.   For larger quantities a pump system is needed. 


Just an Addendum to what blue fish said.  The carbon housing must be sized according to how many gallons per hour of ethanol will be filtered.  Also different types of spirits will require different amounts of filtering.

Reply:On 2/20/2018 at 12:22 AM, Jedd Haas said:

Around 2% loss on stripping run.


A small carbon absorber would look like this (attached) good for about 1 GPM flow of product.

Your time exposure is the key.

Probably a lot cheaper methods out there, this absorber is around $2,500 plus the AC.

SRID Filter or Absorber Housing.pdf