Tag: yeast

Liquid Activated Carbon – Distilling the Wash


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Drunk bird

The bird put about 2 gallons of the wash that had the activated liquid carbon and yeast dropped out , in the still and went to work distilling the wash . Running it very slow to get out as much alcohol as possible with as little of the sweet flavor as possible. Ran it until it was about 80 proof.
Ended up with about a pint of hooch that had a lot of corn flavor and was not overly sweet. It actually was not too bad considering it had about 1/4 of it being tails.

The bird then decided since the flavor was pretty good for what it was that he would try and ferment it out. He poured the rest into a bucket and added water to double the volume.

To this he added a little 24 hour turbo yeast. The yeast took a lot longer than 24 hours to do its job as it had to deal with whatever stopped the fermentation the first time. I say that was the molasses. They do not list any preservatives in it but you know it has them.

Fermentation started about 12 hours later. A small heater was put by it to raise the temp up. It never really kicked in hard as you normally would get from a turbo but then the sugar content had been cut in half also. Just a thin white foam swirling around on top.

After a few days he distilled it off. I snapped this rare photo of the bird at his still. He is wearing a disguise so as to not be identified.

Hooch Bird had let this sit in the fridge for a day to drop down most of the yeast and crap. Then ran off about 2 gallons or so as a test. It was ran fairly quickly as a strip run. It produced about 1 3/4 quarts of drinkable but not real tasty hooch. This also had the tails in it down to about 30 proof.

He then ran the rest at a fast flow down to 50 proof. This was all mixed together to make almost 1 gallon and allowed to sit another day.

The gallon was mixed with 1 gallon of water and put back in the still for a second distillation. He ran this very slow to make sure all the bad flavor stayed out .

Fusels were small. Only had to toss out a  hundred milliliters. The resulting spirits were basically neutral as you would expect and were about 3/4 gallon. Just enough flavor to make it have a taste. This he put in the aging jar and added in some charred white oak.

Another batch of shine saved from the drain by the infamous Hooch bird.



One Last Word on Charcoal

I see little use for liquid carbon or clearing agent. In my opinion it is just money spent on something you do not need. This I see as just another product brought out by the brew industry to make money after convincing people they really need it.
Unless you are using some special type of yeast that might require it due to all the extra added whatever in it , I would not use it. How ever some people swear by it and it may very well do a good job.

So to end this , I say don’t use it. You do not need it. Just let your beer settle in the cold and rack. Then distill it if your making whiskey.
If after distillation you think it has any off flavors simply pour it through a tube filled with activated charcoal. A cheap one can be made easy out of a fluorescent bulb cover and some granular activated charcoal. See Charcoal Filter for instructions.

As a side note on the charcoal, add in some crushed up sugar maple charcoal. Sugar Maple buy it by the pound. There is a link at bottom of page. Adds in a nice flavor and is what is used to make fine rye whiskey and others.  I will be writing about this later. Also about turbo yeast.

The off flavors in your beer are most likely from :

  • Fermenting at too high of a temp for the yeast used
  • Using turbo yeast
  • Mashing or sparging at too high of a temp
  • Perhaps going too far with the mash efficiency could pull out some tannins. ( I have a extremely efficient home made mash tun design False Bottom filter and it will do this if not done properly) at least that is what I think it does.



Liquid Activated Carbon The Cold Theory

Using Liquid Activated Carbon – continued


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Testing the Cold Theory

So I am back to update with a little more info on the dreaded liquid carbon in the beer fermentation. The bird had a theory that the liquid activated carbon would drop out of the beer if it got cold. So he went on to testing the cold theory.

Before adding in the clearing / fining agent the bird said he took out a gallon of the beer and put it in the freezer until frozen. He then put it in ice box until thawed.  He was hoping that this would drop out yeast and carbon so his beer could be distilled into fine whiskey.

Actually the Hooch Bird distills moonshine since he does his thing in the woods at night . The Hooch Bird says the best shine is made under the light of the moon in a pure copper still. He uses a thumper sometimes. Here is a good article on building one and some information Thumper in case you think you need one

This dropped a thick layer of carbon and yeast , generally called “trub” along with yeast nutrients to the bottom about half inch thick but the wash was still a gray color. So he poured it back in the fermenting bucket.


The Decision to Add the Fining Agent

Then part A of the clearing agent was added into the beer fermentation. It was allowed to sit over night so it would get warm enough for part B to do it’s job. Then he added in part B and waited to see if the yeast and the activated carbon would drop out of the beer.

The next day the beer looked a little cleaner how ever the fermentation had started back up. It had been hindered by either the charcoal, the molasses or perhaps just some bad yeast. Hard to say but the beer was low alcohol and very sweet. This sugar content may have contributed to the charcoal not dropping out when set out in the cold.

The bird had decided to allow the beer to sit for another week or so and see if the small fermentation would finish up . This would allow for more alcohol and perhaps a better flavor.

Hooch Bird’s sweet hydrometer

Hooch Bird will check his hydrometer for this I think just to make sure it is as low as possible.


Wow a week has almost went by already


Anyway the bird told me that fermentation had continued albeit quite small. The alcohol content was rising but he was not sure if it would ever make it to the almost zero sugar content he likes.

The bird likes to take his fermentations all the way down. This he says gives him maximum alcohol volume. Then he back sweetens the whiskey after distillation. This works out well and makes for some very tasty moonshine.

The bird also runs his distillation slowly for high proof but keeps a good quantity of the tails for flavor. He has his own ideas of how to make cuts and the “norm” is not his idea of how things should be done.

The bird said he ran out of hooch and had to fly on over to the local liquor store for some swill and after he drinks a bottle of that he will get back to work on his batch of whiskey. Oh, he said ” Don’t call it corn whiskey. It is “sweet feed whiskey” . You can get his recipe Sweet Feed Shine

Says he ain’t no damn corn shine slurpin hillbilly. 

The bird gets a tude when he has to drink from the liquor store.

Anyway to move ahead a little, he decided it was time to rack that wash. It looked pretty good but never did ferment down much. It was only at 1.050. He does not know what it started at but was about 18 Lbs sugar and 6 1/2 gallons water. He said he did not measure just poured a bunch in.

So now he has what would amount to a weak sweet beer . He said he would go ahead and run it as it was not going to be a recoverable operation as far as fermentation goes.
The bird has cheap electricity from solar panels so he can afford to run a batch that does not yield much alcohol. He also has well and thus a cheap source of ice cold water.
He also has a sweet bird house. Some birds just have it made in the shade.

Hooch Bird's Sweet House

Well off to take care of my other projects again. Will tell  you how this turned out next time.

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