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The 10 Most Common Distilling Mistakes to Avoid

Making mistakes during the distilling process is going to happen. This is how you learn to make the perfect whiskey; however, there are a few common mistakes that would be helpful if you could just avoid altogether.

Top 10 Distilling Mistakes

1. Simple Math Mistakes

You don’t have to be a math professor to make it through the distilling process but it is important to double check your math otherwise, you could end up with too much sugar during the fermentation process or a host of other issues.

2. Not Testing Your Setup

If you are making your own still then you need to vigorously test it. There have been too many incidences of explosions and fires (when working with gas) because someone didn’t test out their homemade setup.

3. Leaving the Distiller Unattended

As you become more confident with your distilling skills, you may become careless. Leaving for a second or two while you are running your mash through the still may okay but this is typically when accidents happen. Be vigilant and always watch what you are doing.

4. Forgetting to Close the Tap

This is pretty common and not necessarily as deadly as a few of the other mistakes but it will make a mess. Always make sure your taps are closed before pouring your water and sugar into the fermenter.

5. Not Labeling Your Containers

If you keep more than one type of whiskey on hand then it is best to store them in color-coded bottles. It won’t kill you to mix a 100% wheat variety with a UJSM style but it may not turn out as well as you would like. This rule applies for all of your ingredients, always label your containers. 

6. Not Covering Your Outdoor Still

If you keep your still outside then make sure to cover it up. Wasps, hornets and other insects love making nests in your condenser or outtake line.

7. Using Too Much Flour Paste

Yes, flour paste makes for a great seal, however, more does not mean better in this case. If it is too thick, it may not cook completely before you reach your ideal temperature.

8. Using Plastic in Homemade Stills

It is the golden rule when building your own still. Never use plastic, period. It just can’t handle the heat and will usually give your final product a terrible plastic taste.

9. Rushing The Process

It really doesn’t pay to hurry so don’t try to crank the heat in an effort to speed the initial heat up. Take your time and enjoy your hobby. Accidents tend to happen when people are in a rush.

10. Not Cleaning After Every Run

ALWAYS clean your still after every run. The taste and smell of the tails will stay in your condenser and impact your next run.

We all make mistakes so if you have any you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

Posted by Jason Stone on

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