Doing the Research

Well, vacation is officially underway. I’m way outta dodge, but my thoughts are still with my…still. Since the days of fast paced, jet set vacations are in my rearview (for now) I needed to pick up some reading material. I had my eye on How To Distill by Aaron Hyde for a while. It has a pretty good reputation as a beginner text. Good for me, because I’m more than rusty with the soup to nuts process. Sounded like a win-win…and I’m pleased to report that I was absolutely correct.

Sure, a lot of the material covered in the text is stuff that I already know (much of which is also discussed here), but I think that the volume is as good or better than the Guide to Urban Moonshining for beginners. For those who have read most of this blog, you’ll know that’s high praise. I would likely pick this text over the Kings County text because not only because of it’s exhaustive discussion on the processes and equipment required, but also because of the recipe collection contained within a rather slim and very approachable text.

Recipes? You ask. Indeed. What’s more is that there’s a tequila recipe that uses agave syrup. Now, you won’t be shocked to hear that I’ve been doing some research between now and the last time I posted. Sure, I have 7kg (~15.5 pounds) of agave coming, but what’s that actually going to do for me? I had big dreams of gallons and gallons of wash, but…why? There are obvious reasons, like my desire to observe fermentation in the Spike vs. the ol’ Chapman. But, at the end of the day more water is more waste. For christ sake, Jim, I’m a distiller not a brewer. More water means more nonsene to carry, mix, heat up (slowly), and throw away. Why on earth would I go through the extra effort. I changed my focus and want to go for efficiency rather than scale.

To this end, I found some pretty good material by BSG that seems to have been put together for ADI in 2020. I’m way too lazy to link it, but I’m sure you can google “BSG Agave Project” and come up with something. To my surprise, the quantity of Agave was much higher than seemed to be advised by the folks at I sort of had this broad strokes plan to mix agave and water until we hit 24ish bx and then pitch the yeast. Now, I think I’m going to dump 15 pounds of agave into a 5 gallon batch (water added) and pitch the yeast. I’ll still activate with ELO as described below. Because I’ll be in town I’ll also come up with some check points and make sure that the fermentation is proceeding as desired.

Honestly, I’m also interested in how the viscosity will change as the yeasties do their work. I worry about running that much syrup through the still (burnt sugar). I may end up adding water after fermentation to keep the still in ship shape. I guess more to come.

Yes, yes…I will be posting the recipe when I complete it. I am not going to post Aaron Hyde’s because if you’re that interested…buy the book and get in the game :). The fermentation should kick off (with posted recipe) around July 22-24.

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