Blending Guide For Newbie’s – Controlling flavor of rum and whiskey using cuts
Any Distiller will tell you if you want to make a really great tasting rum, whiskey or other spirit blending is a skill you must master. There is no right or wrong way to blend your cuts personal preference goes a long way here. Below I’ve outlined a common way to blending cuts made during the pot still distillation process.Step 1 – Get 20 – 500 ml canning jars and number them 1 – 20 on the lids
Step 2 – Load your pot still with high wines and fire it up. Using the mason jars collect your run. Be sure to mark the fractions including Forshots, Heads, Hearts and Tails separately.
Step 3 – Place a coffee filter over each jar with an elastic keeping it in place and let jars stand for two days. This will allow volatile compounds in your moonshine to evaporate and will make blending easier.
Step 4 – Take small samples of each jar keeping track of where each sample came from and dilute it with water to 40% abv. We do this because the spirit will smell and taste different when diluted so we want to smell and taste it at it’s final abv.
Step 5 – Sniff each sample several times, then try each sample. I’ve made the mistake of drinking the testers in the past. Ended up with a bad hangover and a shitty final product. So I’d recommend splitting the sample out and rinsing your mouth with water to cleanse your palate.
Step 6 – Make your cuts for Heads to Hearts and Hearts to Tails, using taste and smell. We discussed what flavors you should be looking for in The Guide To Cuts And Fractions so I won’t go over that again.
If you were to divide the pot run up into 20 separate jars the below picture show’s you the amount of Heads, Hearts and Tails that would be contained in each jar.Step 7 – To start blending choose the cleanest section of hearts and poor these jars into a large pot. Then add small amount of heads and tails into your base. Diluting samples and tasting as you go.
Step 8 – Once you are satisfied with the flavor it’s time to bottle your moonshine. You can generally expect to keep 40 – 50% of the total volume collected the rest is feints. The feints can be added back into your next run.
Keep in mind if you mess up the blending just toss everything back into the still, add some water and run your pot still again. Practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not happy with the flavor after the first time blending cuts. It will take a while for you to pick up the subtle but very important tastes and smells of various cuts. This skill is probably the most important for any home stiller to develop.
Here’s a video that show’s the basic Idea of making cuts and blending.
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