I've tried making gin on a whisky still and the resulting product has a whisky still taint/flavour/characteristic undertone.
The same gin made on a still that's never made whisky, results in a lovely clean gin profile.
My question to everyone is:
Is it possible to clean sufficiently following a whisky run to remove the whisky flavour characteristics?
The reason I'm asking is I'm trying to decide if I'll risk making whisky in my gin still. If I'm not 100% confident I can return the still to a clean state I won't risk it.
I don't know anyone with a copper pot still with any experience in making both gin and whisky on the same still.
All assistance greatly appreciated.
Can you provide more details on your whiskey still. We experienced that in reverse -- made gin in our column still and had a tinge of flavor carryover into a neutral spirit. After our standard CIP protocol we backflushed with PBW followed Acid #5 (both from Five Star) through the parrot triclamp connection through the lyne arm, etc. That did the trick. So the answer is yes, you can do it, but it's a bit of a balls ache.
I run Gin and Whiskey through the same still frequently. Depends on your still though. Since our whiskey doesn't travel through our rectification columns, a sufficient cleaning of the pot is all that is necessary.
I like to clean thoroughly and then to be safe, do a couple stripping runs between finishing runs (gin or whiskey) to help 'push' any residual flavours through. since it is a stripping run, and residual flavours (if there are any) will be long gone once those low wines are distilled again.
Also depends if you are directly macerating your botanicals prior to distillation vs. vapour infusion. Having botanicals directly in the pot will leave more oils behind once run is complete
I built my own four plate hybrid still and have been pretty happy with the results. Having never really distilled commercially prior to building it I did not really realize how beneficial a good CIP system would be. As a result, the still is a massive pain in the ass to clean, particularly if you are trying to switch between products. I just never felt like we could get it clean enough to run vodka without tasting a bit of whiskey flavor. In the end we just got a smaller second still (that we can brake down and clean) that we use for the gin/vodka and the big still is dedicated solely to whiskey. This worked out better for us anyways as we needed the extra capacity.
As others have said, it certainly is possible to clean well enough to switch products, but if possible you might want to consider a smaller finishing still that can be used for second distillations, spirit runs, gin botanicals, small test batches, etc. and keep your big still just for whiskey/vodka stripping runs.
I'm with Greenfield. No plates, head goes straight to condenser. Botanicals in a basket in the still head. Scrub the pot before/after a gin run and use the still for stripping before doing the next finishing run. Never noticed a problem and never did a special boil just to clean.
Thanks everyone for your feedback.
In my copper pot still, I use a combination of maceration and vapour infusion depending on the type of gin I'm making.
To date my still has only been used for gin. My gin trials have been performed on a whisky still and that's how I picked up on this whisky taste carryover. I'm hoping a cleaning regime can eliminate that, thus allowing me to make both gin and whisky on the same rig comfortably.
This is the type of still I'm talking about:
You can run vinegar and some heads and continually reuse them to clean the still. Shouldn't need more than that to remove oils from the column or swan neck.
No offense, but I don't recommend acetic acid (vinegar) as a cleaner. Sure, it will work, but there are issues with removing it.
I'd contact Loeffler and get some Lerapur 283 with a copper inhibitor additive. Use that, then rinse with hot water, then hit with a mild acid cleaner.
AFTER your gin run, hit it with a detergent, such as Tide or Simple Green, before doing a CIP with L283, rinse, and acid. Some oils from botanicals are particularly sticky on metals.
DanEdited by Natrat