Specialist Questions - Spirits, Essential Oils, Vinegar

Would you like to ask us about spirits, essential oils and vinegar? Please observe our forum rules (see Helpful tips for use).

June 2018:

It has now been an unbelievable 16 years (!) since the last major change to the website and forums. When you think that two to three years are an eternity for the Internet sector, that is really something. In any case, there has been so much going on in terms of technology that it has become urgently necessary to completely redesign not only the forums, but also the entire website, from scratch and bring the programming up to date. Naturally, along with this we also introduced various new features; for example it was high time we allowed pictures to be uploaded with a forum post too or enabled users to subscribe to the forums via RSS feeds. And of course we have subsequently included pictures that are saved on external websites and were then integrated here using an img tag, so that no valuable information is lost. In any case, we hope you continue to have fun swapping experiences and trying things out.

Juni 2002:

At this point, we would first like to extend a big thank-you to all the users of our specialist questions for their lively involvement. Without you, we could never have developed such an informative and high-quality reference guide in such a short time (the first post dates from April 8, 1999). The large number of posts and high numbers of visitors made it necessary for us to develop the specialist questions ourselves using PHP and MySQL (at last no more annoying advertising banners!). During the course of this, we have hopefully introduced several improvements.


The latest entries in all the forums can be conveniently received via RSS feeds. You have the option of subscribing to RSS feeds in your browser, accessing a special feed reader, or displaying the feed on a website. By subscribing to or integrating an RSS feed,you receive short information blocks with the last 10 entries of the forum you have subscribed to. To find an RSS reader, simply google “RSS reader”. Here are two examples of add-ons to the Chrome browser: Feedbro, offered by Nodetics https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/feedbro/mefgmmbdailogpfhfblcnnjfmnpnmdfa?hl=de This reader does not require registration. Or RSS Feed Reader, offered by feeder.co https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/rss-feed-reader/pnjaodmkngahhkoihejjehlcdlnohgmp?hl=de Available for Chrome, Safari, iOS and Android, registration required. To receive the feed, click on the RSS icon on the right, above the forum, under “Enter search term...”.

Helpful tips on use:

Below are a few rules so we can maintain the high quality in the future as well.
  • This is a moderated forum. This means that anyone can write whatever they want, and the post will also be saved, but the content will only be published once it has been reviewed by our editorial staff, or deleted if necessary. Therefore, there is no point in posting the same contribution multiple times simply because it doesn’t appear immediately.
  • If you would like to see the most recent posts (irrespective of the topic), click Show the latest posts.
  • The forum is very comprehensive, and many topics have already been dealt with extensively. Therefore we recommend using the search function or alternatively the advanced search function before you add a new post in order to avoid having posts with the same content.
  • After you add or answer a post, you then have a chance to change the text you have written. So read through your text again carefully after saving it and click on “Change post” if necessary.
  • If you ask a question, then also expect an answer. Think about this as well when you are wording your question. Hardly anyone will answer vague questions such as “How do I distil schnapps?”, “No oil comes out; what am I doing wrong?” or “The vinegar isn’t fermenting, why?”.
  • The three topic areas, i.e. distilling spirits, distilling essential oils/hydrosols and making vinegar, are divided into three different websites. Each website contains the two forums “Recipes” for all the topics concerning fruit and recipes, and “Discussion” for all the other topics related to distilling spirits, essential oils/hydrosols or making vinegar. If we find posts that are unintentionally in the wrong forum, we will move them to the right forum. These posts have not been deleted, just moved.
  • ANY TYPE OF ADVERTISING WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT EXCEPTION! This also means seemingly “innocent” posts such as “I have a question about...” or alternatively “Does anyone have experience with...” followed by links or pictures to any external shops.
  • The same applies to bizarre posts which most likely come from drunks or don’t have the remotest thing to do with the topic area, e.g. football or “Where can you burn CDs here?” They will be deleted without exception.
  • All forums are STRICTLY ANONYMOUS; so never give any real names or addresses.
  • Any attempt to make personal contact will be deleted immediately.  There are now numerous social networks for this purpose.
  • The authors’ IP addresses are NOT saved!
  • E-mail addresses are not passed on to third parties or used by us in any other way.  You enter your email completely voluntarily and it functions more or less as your ID. In contrast to most other forums, we don’t require any registration or any type of login to be able to participate. Therefore it might happen that a pseudonym is unintentionally used by two people, so there has not been a mix-up in the entries.
So, that’s it. We hope you have a lot of fun swapping experiences, reading, posting and naturally also trying things out afterwards. Dr Malle & Dr Schmickl Dr. Malle & Dr. Schmickl
  • Question 12

    Jos | LA, 28.06.2020 08:32:32

    how can i bring the distil to 96% instead of 92%? because i can not put the 92% right back because of vacuum. 

    Since 96 %vol is the azeotrope of ethanol and water, it’s very difficult, not to say impossible, to reach 96 %vol with the gear of home distillers. If you distill under vacuum conditions, it’s even worse.
  • Question 7

    Usertype | Houston , 04.06.2020 16:55:56

    how do i estimate the amount of ingredients needed for oil distilling?

    I guess florals depending on how light or heavy

    I think


    As a role of thumb make the still as full as possible. The weight depends on the type of plant, how fine the material was chopped, and if dried or fresh. Whereas the volume is always the same: the filling volume of the still.

  • Question 4

    Brian | Europe, 23.05.2020 14:56:44

    Hi, Ive started making vinegar. I have an apple cider unfiltered vinegar as starter. And i added red wine to it. I checked it yesterday and there is a perfumey smell from the mixture. What caused this and can it be saved?

    Thanks Brian


    This could be a sign of the fermentation start. "Glue-like smell" is difficult to describe, it's quite pleasant, yes, it's a kind of perfumey smell. Anyway, wait for another 2 or 3 days, thereafter a thin layer of mother-of-vinegar (or the lack of it) will show for sure if fermentation has started or not.

  • Question 11

    Charles | Bangkok Thailand, 06.05.2020 12:06:31

    Sorry for my bad english in advance.

    I'm planning to get into home distilling so I think i should start practicing fermentation first so I tried to make pineapple wine. I've fermented 5L pineapple pulp with sugar add at SG=1.100 using Lalvin 71B yeast in air lock bucket and the fermentation is stopped and finished after 3.5 days with Final SG= 0.992 which is about 14% abv. Is this normal? why the fermentation period is so short? now I've filtered out all the pulp and let it sit for the dead yeast to settle and will bottle it. Is this action reasonable?

    Thank you


    Within a normal ambient temperature range (common room temperature or a bit cooler), it's not possible to reach 14 %vol. within 3.5 days. I don't know how long it takes at temperatures above, for example 27 °C, I've never tried. But even then, 3 days seems to be quite short.

    Filter only if you want to keep the wine and want to enjoy it without distillation.

  • Question 3

    Senthil | India, 30.04.2020 18:06:14

    I started 2 liter mash  with 3.5 PH and 15 brix ( added sugar as per your tables in book)Fermentation completely stopped 13th day,On 15 th day I checked brix was at 4 but no more sign of further fermentation.Now I am ready for second stage of

    fermentation,Can you Please help me out for the nutrients to be added in this stage.
    Is your mash an apple mash? If yes, it’s not necessary to add any nutrients, apples have enough of them. You have to add nutrients if you want to ferment pure, distilled (and diluted) alcohol.
    The easiest way to add nutrients is to add apple juice. Not a fresh one, but from the supermarket, pay attention that the juice doesn’t contain any preservatives. I don’t know which brand mark of apple juice is available in India, but a “common” apple juice from supermarket is perfect. We add 1 liter of juice to approx. 10 liters of fermentation medium.
  • Question 6

    Saisho | Singapore, 30.04.2020 17:45:07
    I run the still 5 times so far with Mint first time, rosemary 4 times. and 2nd time, I burnt Rosemary in the kettle and since then I cannot get rid of the smell from the distillates even though I clean the still with isopropyl alcohol 99%.
    Could you tell me what to do?

    This happened quite often during our seminars (rosemary, dried camomile blossoms, crushed cinnamon). First we had to mill

    out the residual charcoal in the kettle with a drilling machine and an attached metal brush. After that we cleaned the kettle with washing soda or "Cif", a cream cleaner. Not to forget to clean the inside of the condenser dome with dishwashing
    detergent and a dishwashing sponge, the distillate outlet with dishwashing detergent and a tube brush.
  • Question 10

    Simon | UK, 28.04.2020 18:38:05

    I have used your online alcohol calculator but i need to know the following.

    I want to make a bottle of flavoured gin with the finished ABV of 40% in a 700ml bottle I add 140ml of flavoring. soi need to add 560 ml of alcohol to make up the 700ml here is the question, what ABV % does the spirit need to be to give me a full bottle of flavoured alcohol at 40%?

    The answer is quite simple:
    In total you need 700 ml with 40 % ABV. This means you need 700 / 100 * 40 = 280 ml pure Alcohol (100 %). So you have to add 560 ml with an ABV of 280 / 560 * 100 = 50 % ABV.
  • Question 2

    brian | USA, 27.02.2020 11:26:03
    Our concentrated juice is depectinated. The pectin improove the sugar-alcohol content or the taste ?
    Pectins are the "walls" of the fruitcells. These walls prevent the extraktion of sugar and aromatic substances. Yeast destroys these wall with pectinase otherwise the yeast has nothing to eat. But sometimes the amount of pectinase is to low to survive, so it makes sence to add pectinase, this is the "Verflüssiger".

    Another advantage: if more fruitcells are liquified, more sugar is set free and simultaneosly more aromatic substances are set free and soluted now. Finally only the liquid is used, so it's important to get as much as possible aromatic substances in solution.

  • Question 5

    Monica | Singapore, 25.02.2020 10:19:42

    We put in 1.5L water for distillation. Can we not use this water as hydrosol?

    You mean the leftover in the kettle after distillation? You can use it, but this is quite the opposite of a hydrosol: - hydrosol contains the volatile, water-soluble components of the plant material. - the leftover contains all NON-volatile, water-soluble component So the latter you can compare with a very strong tea of herbs (or of any other plant material).
  • Question 9

    Peter | USA, 24.02.2020 11:04:50

    Do you believe that 91 C is the start of tails regardless of the type of still used (e.g., pot still, reflux still, etc.)?

    Start of tails at 91 °C is a good approach for almost all fruit mashes, if they are not too pulpy. But if distilling for example beer, the hops taste won’t come out before about 91,5 to 92 °C. Cereal mashes are a different story too. So in fact you’re right, the right moment to start with the tails indeed depends on the kind of material you are distilling. To be save and to prevent wasting too much of the last part of the heart fraction (this mistake is done very often in practice!) you should know the smell / taste of the tails already and perform an olfactory separation (with your nose). To do this, collect the distillate in several small glasses, not a big one, at this stage of distillation.
    Note: often it’s easier to recognize the tails in an empty (!) shot
    glass, a few minutes after you’ve emptied (depending on quality, enjoyed or
    poured away) the content of the glass.
There are currently 43 entries in the forum.

Link kopieren

Zum kopieren alles markieren und CMD+C (Strg+C) drücken.