Homemade Absinthe Thread (cont again)

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru January 2002:Homemade Absinthe Thread (cont again)
By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 02:25 pm: Edit

And Vera, this is exactly why you can't talk about it on the Forum.

By Admin on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 02:25 pm: Edit

Don & Dr., do I have to come down off this porch and take a switch to yer butts?

Sharing is Caring, folks. And ... you're ruining this for everyone.

Can you two possibly join in a diy discussion without engaging in a pissing contest? And no pointing fingers, either.

We were doing very well for awhile, and this is a subject that is of interest to many.

Unless you are willing to constructively contribute to a diy discussion (which you both are very capable of and have lots of hard earned tidbits to share - or not) and settle your differences elsewhere, I will require you both to wear your panties on the outside.

love,

Yo Mama

p.s. will be closing thread because too long ... will re-open.

By Artemis on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 02:15 pm: Edit

I care, and my caring is demonstrated precisely by my absence from that into which this thread has turned.

I don't slow down to gawk at highway accidents, either.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:52 pm: Edit

Better read Wolfgang's post, Dr Damiana.

"Nobody cares." Wrong. They care, but they don't care to follow you.

Jade's the benchmark. You, sirrah, are a gouge in the linoleum.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:47 pm: Edit

The Dr's Best? HAHAHAHAHA!

Now who's the jerkoff, and now who's revealing his agenda?

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:41 pm: Edit

Hey, Ted: how many people on and off this forum have now tasted not one but 3-4-5 varieties of Jade -- commercialized, branded varieties -- at your gatherings in NOLA, Montreal, London, Paris, etc?

Dr Damiana hasn't tasted any of course, but let's just quit, because Dr D. says we're jerk-offs.

What d'ya think?

Nah. Let's just allow Dr Asshole to continue to alienate himself from everyone here. He really IS an asshole.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Wolfgang, Salieri did let jealousy consume him and drive him to blasphemy, madness and worse.

The analogy is apt enough, but Salieri had something that Dr Asshole never will.

Class.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Wouldn't it be nice if nobody had tasted the Drs' Best?

Forumites did.

They liked it.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:36 pm: Edit

Hey, Ted: how many people on and off this forum have now tasted not one but 3-4-5 varieties of Jade -- commercialized, branded varieties -- at your gatherings in NOLA, Montreal, London, Paris, etc?

Dr Damiana hasn't tasted any of course, but let's just quit, because Dr D. says we're jerk-offs.

What d'ya think?

Nah. Let's just allow Dr Asshole to continue to alienate himself from everyone here. He really IS an asshole.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:29 pm: Edit

"As far as 'haugesmachters becoming impatient', the subject of homemade absinthe is altogether different than what we do. "

Of course, Ted, there is an "altogether different" thing that you and Don do and we Hausgemachterts do: we make absinthe. You jerk off.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:22 pm: Edit

"Better look behind you. There's no legion os Hausgemachters backing you up, carrying torches and pitchforks, storming my castle.

There's just you, and you are overmatched, and all alone. "

You're right, Don.

But you shouldn't be happy. It shows that nobody cares...

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:09 pm: Edit

--- insert peacefull brake here ---

I cannot speak for other hausgematchers on the board but personaly I would not be able to know if my hausgematch is good or not if I had not tasted Jade's pre release before. Why ? because is't a model. As soon as you taste it, you know it. As soon as you smell it you say "that's it!". It's unmistakable.

I'm happy that they make us wait. If it was available right now, I would be too lazy to take the hausgematch path and that would be sad because I'm learning something now. Even if I eventually make an exceptional absinthe myself, I will buy their products and appreciate it even more now that I know how difficult it is to reach such a degree of perfection.

Did they translated the movie "Amadeus" ? You remember Saliery ? Soon Dr. Ordinaire will secretly taste Jade Edouard and will cry, alone in his dark room, contempling the beauty of it exactly as Saliery was listening to Mozart, hating him but admiring him at the same time.

From a dedicated absinteur to another Dr., I tell you, even if you'r too proud to admit it publicly, don't miss the chance to taste it.



Quote:

Amadeus: "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you ... my music is not."




--- end of peacefull brake ---

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 12:17 pm: Edit

Ted, there's no Hausgemachter uprising, there's just asshole Dr Ordinary puffing his chest and trying to pretend he's got a mandate to knock us.

He does not.

By Heiko on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 11:20 am: Edit

I only hope Jade is not going to suffer the destiny of Duke Nukem Forever (a 3D shooter the whole gaming world has been waiting for for about 4 years now).
Official release date: "When it's done!"

But it's a bad comparison because Jade doesn't rely on an up-to-date 3D-engine and has not to be reformulated every once in a while before it can be released.

Not to be taken as a critique, so please don't kill me for this comment, Don... :-)

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 11:00 am: Edit

We will soon commercialize precise reproductions of some of the finest labels of traditional absinthe, as they appeared a century ago, without compromise or adulteration. I cannot begin to describe what is involved in accomplishing this task to the degree of accuracy demanded, especially on the required scale.

As far as 'haugesmachters becoming impatient', the subject of homemade absinthe is altogether different than what we do.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:29 am: Edit

What projection! You greasy little dweeb.

Better look behind you. There's no legion os Hausgemachters backing you up, carrying torches and pitchforks, storming my castle.

There's just you, and you are overmatched, and all alone.

PUTO!

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:22 am: Edit

Last night I rented "12 monkeys" One line stayed with me: the father, telling the son "you are insane"

You are insane, Don.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:14 am: Edit

What, like my friend Artemis? Why don't you ask Artemis?

Haugemachters have the luxury of being able to 'produce' and I use the term loosely, at whatever pace they feel like.

I have to produce 100 liters a day, bottle it, label it, package it, get paid for it, and ship it.

Yjere are issues of taxation, and other complex financial matters, that you have no idea about, so kindly fuck off.

All you are is a jealous nonentity trying to bugger up your betters.

So, do you think ANYONE will thank you for it, oh Queen of Damiana?

I think not...PUTO!

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:13 am: Edit

"Puto! I spit in your open cocksucking mouth."

Talk about projection...

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:08 am: Edit

I'm off to bed. Dr Asshole, spread your lies while you can, but no one believes you, not even yourself.

Now that's shitty credibility...

PUTO!

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:08 am: Edit

Mon ami:

Pernod-Ricard is not the issue here. Jade is. Maybe I'm wrong, but I assume there are a lot of Hausgemachters who are running out of patience with people like you who keep lecturing us while producing shit. (Shit as in nothing)

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:04 am: Edit

I never said Pernod Fils did not know how to make absinthe.

I will say that Pernod Ricard shows no signs whatsoever of knowing how to do so, based on what they have brought to market so far. PITIFUL.

Of course Pernod Fils has nothing to do with Pernod Ricard.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 09:01 am: Edit

As usual you are a liar, and a bad liar at that, ORDINARY ASSHOLE.

Ted's post was Ted's.

You talk out of your well trodden asshole.

Puto! I spit in your open cocksucking mouth.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 08:59 am: Edit

Pernod Fils, the company, hasn't existed since 1915 or so. The successor company in Spain stopped producing absinthe in the mid 50s.

So they aren't around to call anyone's bluff, if it was a bluff, which it is not.

You do realize that it's damned near 50 years since Pernod stopped making absinthe in Spain.

If someone entered the company the year they stopped and somehow, was still an employee of the Pernod Ricard conglomerate after the merger in the 70s, they'd be long retired by now.

Maybe that's why Pernod-Ricard produce piss poor fake absinthe today?

There's no institutional memory.

They are pastis makers and not very good ones at that. They have dragged a great name through the mud.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 08:56 am: Edit

"But we do use wine alcohol, and most importantly, we use the correct wine alcohol."

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 05:53

Interesting. This was suppossed to be a post by Ted. But when I copied it, it showed as made by Don.

Does Ted even exist? Just kidding....

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 08:40 am: Edit

"Watch. Pretty soon now Jorge's going to start doing his Absintheur imitation and call us ahistorical as well as unauthentic"

Oh, no, buddies. Dr. O is nothing, a dog-turd, insignificant.

It's Pernod Fils who's calling your bluff. So please tell us again that Pernod Fils did not know how to make absinthe...

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 08:12 am: Edit

From my very limited experience with coloration I can say that it's comparable to making a perfect Gopaldara first flush tea. this tea is exceptional when well done but is extremely difficult to make. To make a good Gopaldara, one must taste it every 10 sec and be able to detect when it's "almost ready". If it's "ready" it's too late because by the time you pour it through a filter into another empty tea pot (pre-heated of course), it's too late, over done and harsh.

If you don't use enaugh tea leaves, it will be overdone before your tea is strong enaugh. Too much and it will be too strong before you can get the subtle little special taste of this great tea.

I've learned much from a little chin-bearded-round glass wearing hippy working at the Camellia Sinensis tea shop in Montreal but (in the rare occasion where I have the chance to get my hand on a bag of such a great tea), I still make it good only half of the time.

Is it related to absinthe coloration ? My intuition tells me yes. The trick is with tea, it's relatively simple because there's only one kind of herb to care for...

What I personaly do now (and I don't say it's authentic) is I color with one herb at a time, doing the coloration in several steps. That way if I make a mistake, I know what plant is responsible. I've been very carefull with #2 and 3, making only a very light coloration. #4 will be greener.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:46 am: Edit

Aion, true, the Haugemachters tend to over-rely at first on published recipes. These either omit coloration instructions entirely or, give them all wrong.

As to color, yes, you state it well, So did I about 6 months ago when I posted the same thing.

The 19th century bad hats who used toxic dyes and the 20th/21st century schlockmeisters who use EU food coloring, miss the point that we both made. The color is a side effect. The goal is finishing flavours in exquisite balance with the main flavour notes.

If they miss that they miss real absinthe.

(At this point Absintheur would say that the schlock was the real absinthe and the rest of us are just jerking off. Sigh. Ordinaire really is starting to sound like him, in his final Icarus death fall.)

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:39 am: Edit

Let me put it this way. I doubt that 1 Hausgemachter out of 20 will master the coloration step on his own.

The other 19 are better off with uncolored products, striving for balance.

When balanced, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The color step is a lot like Indiana Jones at the final sequence in Lost Crusade. Several deadly puzzles in a row. Unless you have Daddy Jones back there coaching you, well, one of these traps is likely to get you.

Even when you know the steps it requires some skill to carry them out. Daddy could tell Indiana to take the Leap of Faith, but couldn't tell him how to stay balanced on that moving bridge. One dicky inner ear and...down he goes...

By Aion on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:34 am: Edit

Don,
I was not talking about the colour, everybody
can make a nice coloured spirit (that tastes
like s...).
As everybody should know in the meantime
the colour is only a nice side-effect, the influence on scent and taste is the only thing that counts.
To find the correct mix and WEIGHT of colouring herbs (fitting to the macerating recipie), the correct temperature and the correct TIME, that
is where most homebrewers fail.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:19 am: Edit

Aion, I posted before I saw your second comment.

You perceive correctly.

Again, we are dealing in a multiplicity of subtleties.

Nuances.

They do have a cumulative and synergistic effect.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:15 am: Edit

Aion, that's true but irrelevant. Ted mastered the coloration step a LONG time ago, and we have discussed its significance (but not how to do it) in detail here in the past.

We have multiple coloration steps for different products and each one is first and foremost totally integrated into the full balanced flavor matrix.

Those who think color first and flavor next (or not at all) will never get to the end of the tunnel.

Artemis speaks well of you. So I won't patronize you.

Perhaps you haven't seen or tasted Jade yet? Otherwise this (coloration) would not be an issue.

By Aion on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:11 am: Edit

The base alcohol is a problem for those
who want to offer an 100% authentic product,
and I´m sure Ted and Don solved this problem.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:09 am: Edit

Watch. Pretty soon now Jorge's going to start doing his Absintheur imitation and call us ahistorical as well as unauthentic.

Pitiful.

By Aion on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:08 am: Edit

Any homebrewer, who says that the base alcohol
is his biggest problem, is not telling the truth.

Any homebrewer, who says that recipie, maceration time, are his biggest problems, is not telling the truth.

Any homebrewer who says the destilling step is
his biggest problem, is not telling the truth.

All peanut problems compared to the final
"colouring" step.

If you haven´t solved the problems buried here,
forget worrying about the rest.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 06:05 am: Edit

ANYONE who knows Ted, and that includes most of the hard core of this Forum, but not you, knows that Ted would NEVER countenance the smallest detail of our products that would be unauthentic. HE not you is the arbiter of authenticity around here, and you haven't even tasted our products.

You haven't even had a sniff of them.

You haven't so much as seen them.

So, tell us all, you self righteous lying dogturd, what you think you 'know'.

YOU KNOW NOTHING. Go ahead, take your best shot, and make my day.

Want to redact old posts about sugar? Waste your time and the forum's. Yeah I fermented the better part of a ton of various sugars. This was useful when I was evaluating yeasts and stills and columns. So what? The alcohol is out back in 55 gallon drums. Does that mean I will use it to make absinthe.

Nope.

Am I going to tell you how I make the wine spirits we use?

Nope.

By Tabreaux on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 05:55 am: Edit

"This has been the Forum's "Aunt in the attic" for a long time. You don't use wine alcohol, you're not making traditional absinthe. Period."


But we do use wine alcohol, and most importantly, we use the correct wine alcohol.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 05:53 am: Edit

In your colossal arrogance you seem to think that the world will regard what Ted and I do as untraditional just because Dr Very Ordinary Asshole says so.

Not on your finest day could you ever match wits with either of us, much less the two of us together.

Just who the fuck do you think you are?

Very Very Ordinary. That's who you are.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 05:46 am: Edit

And by the way -- go suck some Damiana.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 05:45 am: Edit

By the way, I haven't made any 'death threats'. If I wanted you dead you'd be feeding the worms. But you aren't worth the penny's worth of powder it would take to blow you away. You are a cunt, and all you are doing is demonstrating to the board that you are a cunt. I hope you enjoy your new status as a public hole, Whore-Gay.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 05:42 am: Edit

Well, we do use wine alcohol, it matters not what you say because you are in no position to KNOW. All you are doing is revealing yourself as the petty jealous vindictive asshole that you are.

A coward, a spineless crawling slug pretendint to be a man. Grow some balls and walk upright for a change, I doubt that you can manage it.

You don't KNOW what Pernod used, because you are just a wannabe pedant peruser of old brochures.

WE KNOW. And we have duplicated it. The term 'wine spirits' was and is a catchall phrase that defies precise description. You talk as if you can saunter down to the liquor store and buy wine spirits. You can't.

And neither can we, that's why we make what we need.

So again -- fuck you! Ignorant Iberian piece of shite!

By Dr_Ordinaire on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 04:42 am: Edit

Don, I do not deny my email to you, like you won't deny your death threats to me.

You can paint this any color you want (even Scot blue) and the fact won't change: what you are doing is NOT traditional absinthe.

This has been the Forum's "Aunt in the attic" for a long time. You don't use wine alcohol, you're not making traditional absinthe. Period.

You may make EXCELLENT absinthe. Traditional, NO.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 03:48 am: Edit

In short the grape-alcohol based liquor makers played upon Gallic prejudices. Grapes good, anything else foreign and bad.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 03:46 am: Edit

But again this begs the question: if distillers knew how to distill grape-feedstock musts properly, why was a smothering cloud of ignorance supposed to automatically descend on anyone seeking to rectify mashes from cereals, beets, molasses etc?

That's nonsense.

Some of those may produce more fusels (you cited amyl alcohols) but grape alcohols invariably produce more methanol (which is a pectin product). No pectins, no methanol. Fusels may give you a headache, but methanol will do a lot worse.

Anyway, the argument that distillers did not know how to properly rectify alcohol from these feedstocks, flies in the face of centuries of whiskey making and rum making and vodka distilling.

Was alcohol from these feedstocks excluded by law from being used in liquor? No.

This was a battle between commercial interests. The same Big Lie techniques used by the vintners against absinthe was used by the wine spirits-based liquor industry against the 'upstart' distillers of these 'industrial' -- yet 100% agricultural -- alcohols.

All that being said, Pernod was correct about grape alcohols, at least in the sense that if you want to taste like old Pernod, nothing but the right alcohol will do.

Getting from that understanding to knowledge of what Pernod actually used, and duplicating it -- because it can't be bought for love or money today -- is an arduous process.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 03:27 am: Edit

Bedel refers to industrial alcohols as those produced from grains, molasses, beet, Jerusalem artichoke and potatoes. The problems he lists with each (such as 'floury' taste or too much amyl alcohol) are all due to inefficient rectification and this would have been a major issue at the time when methods were less reliable and standards less rigorously enforced. Testing the quality and strength of the raw alcohol seems to have been a major preoccupation for 19th century distillers but ought not to worry modern ones.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 03:09 am: Edit

Not that simple. The German for acetic acid, for example, is "essigsaure" Weinsaure = 'wine acid' literally, and if logic had anything to do with it, would be acetic acid, but instead it is...tartaric acid.

I'm with Artemis. The French would never have called alcohol fermented from sugar beets "wine spirits" or eaux-du-vin.
Unusual for the French to me more precise than the German. But there we are.

By Petermarc on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 02:32 am: Edit

>if one goes to a pharmacy here in Austria and wants to buy ethanol 96% he asks for "WEINGEIST" (= 100% translation of WINESPIRIT) , my grandparents called it Weingeist, and the word is still used today.
It was *always* made from beets, never from grapes. Could be the same story in France.

very interesting, aion...could be an early case of french 'weasel words'...

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:17 am: Edit

Which came first? The chickenshit, or the egg?

By Aion on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:16 am: Edit

Do not want to come between the lines of fire,
but please guys, keep private things private!
A.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 01:14 am: Edit

"From :
DrOrdinaire@aol.com

To :
dwalsh@surayoke.co.th

Subject :
You fuck with me?

Date :
Tue, 15 Jan 2002 18:08:48 EST

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tI will destroy you in the Forum...

Think about it..."


DR ASSHOLE: YOU DENY SENDING THIS? You are a ball-less, motherless dog of a Spaniard, without honor, without courage and without a whole lot of brains.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 - 12:55 am: Edit

Yes, I sent you that email, after you sent one to me:

"I can destroy you on the forum. Think about it."

Want me to reprint the email with header?

Don't tell me the troll is busy faking emails again?

Do you deny sending that email? If not, my reply speaks for itself.

By Aion on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Just to add a few words to the alcohol discussion,
if one goes to a pharmacy here in Austria and wants to buy ethanol 96% he asks for "WEINGEIST" (= 100% translation of WINESPIRIT) , my grandparents called it Weingeist, and the word is still used today.
It was always made from beets, never from grapes. Could be the same story in France.
A.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 07:38 pm: Edit

Copy of an e-mail I've received:

Tou couldn't destroy a pimple on my ass. I'm smarter, I'm tougher, and I
have more information.

I have forgotten more about this subject than you will ever know.

I'll fuck with you anytime I feel like, any way I feel like, and there is
nothing you can do about it. So back off, you little asshole, or take the
consequences.

_________________________________________________________________

By Artemis on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 06:40 pm: Edit

Descriptions of the Pernod factory mention vast storage tanks and railroad lines devoted just to bringing in alcohol. Perhaps they had enough on hand to ride out the crisis? Maybe some others did too? Those who didn't made do with what they could get?

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Probably importing from Spain, and paying more than they wanted to in duty.

See the thread I just opened on Phylloxera

By Grimm on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 05:41 pm: Edit

Wolfgang,

Woah, talk about an influx of messages on this thread!

As an answer to your mention of trying the herb press technique. I am sure we can find what we're looking for :)

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 05:38 pm: Edit

Well, it was an idea anyhow...

So- that still leaves the question then. Where did they get the grape spirits? Were they paying a lot, lying about it, er what?

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:58 pm: Edit

LUGER: I have the charts you want, pls email me and I will send them to you. I don't have your email address.

dwalsh@surayoke.co.th

I already resampled them, adjusted the mode from RGB to grayscale to save filesize (24 bit to 8 bit), tuned the gamma a bit, and changed resolution from 72 dpi to 300 dpi for printing out hard copy. They will be very readable.

Files sizes not too bad, 200 Kb and 231 Kb jpg format.

See what a sweetheart I am!!

WOLFGANG send me your email address and you can have these as well.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:44 pm: Edit

Right on, Artemis.

In the end we are really only concerned with taste and authenticity, as only a moron or a criminal today would use non-potable alcohol to make liquor.

The only commercial absinthe at present (not counting Jade) that even uses part wine spirits (brandy in this case) in its base alcohol is Segarra, as far as I know. He mixes his own brandy and his own aguadente (rum), I do not know what proportions. If La Fee is using wine spirits it is news to me. Maybe some La Bleu are using wine spirits, I do not know.

The most important thing to understand is, there are wine spirits, and there are wine spirits, and there are wine spirits. They run from very highly refined stuff for making hypoallergenic cosmetics to really filthy stuff intended for making wine vinegar. NONE are similar to what Pernod used, much less identical.

By Luger on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:31 pm: Edit

" yes luger, there are still a few un-touched parcels of vineyards that survived the phylloxera"

Then *why* An act of God that punish the evil farmers or,,,,the soil? Any idea?

( Gotta sleep now )


Luger

By Artemis on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:26 pm: Edit

"Knowing the French, I am thinking when they said 'grape spirits' they used this in the same colloquial sense. That is, they meant 'clean and drinkable' and were not referring to the plants used in fermentation at all."

When they said "grape spirits", they meant grape spirits. When they said "industrial alcohol", they meant alcohol other than grape spirits. It could have been anything from perfectly good grain alcohol to, in the cases of the most disreputable vendors, real industrial (i.e., not meant for human consumption) alcohol.

"Any fluent Frog speakers out there care to comment?"

I'm not fluent, but I'm confident of the accuracy of what I wrote above. Don has explained it well, and I like to think I had some little part in steering him to his current opinion based upon discussions he and I had a long time back, after I first read what Delahaye's "Histoire" says about it.

The considerations with alcohol, are first, will it kill you or make you sick? When we eliminate those possibilities we are left with, will it make you drunk (all ETOH will serve) and what does it taste like. There are any number of ways to make it taste a certain way. Enough said.

By Petermarc on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:23 pm: Edit

yes luger, there are still a few un-touched parcels of vineyards that survived the phylloxera
(there's one in the loire valley) but as famous as they should be, they remain obscure...the rioja area of spain was made famous by bordeaux makers crossing the border (the pyrenees made a good bug-stopper)i imagine a good deal of grape spirits were shipped from spain or italy in that time of need (spain makes far more wine than france)...and of course, there are beets, which is what both françois guy and emile pernot use for alcohol now...the price of good(or expensive)
absinthe at the time probably had as much to do with the base alcohol (grape or beet or whatever)
as it did the production and aging methods...

By Petermarc on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:08 pm: Edit

i have a bottle of 'eau-de-vie de marc'(banyuls) in my hands...it is made from distilling the pressed grape skins left over after making the wine...grape spirits is alcohol distilled from grapes... eau-de-vie is alcohol distilled from fruit, grapes are a fruit, etc.

By Luger on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:02 pm: Edit

Wolfgang:

I already have the density for ETOH at a certain temperature and a certain %.
What I'm after is a chart where I can use my digital density meter to easily check the density and temperature, and read in a chart the exact percent of ETOH. Not as convenient as the regular tool bought in wineshops maybe, but maybe a little more accurate.

Don: I look forward to it. Please be stubborn on this one :-)

>And there is still the question: while wine was >gone, brandy was gone, marc was gone, grape and >wine alcohol were gone. So where did Pernod find >wine alcohol all though the decades of the blight? >THERE WAS NONE IN EUROPE.

The wine lovers may be better suited than me, but I'll try to answer anyway. When that little bug came, the Europeans started to grow american Vines, and grafted the tops from European ones onto the roots of the american ones. ( The bug ate the roots ). Later they started to use other bug resistant vines as well. HOWEVER, this meant that until the plants had grown up, there was no grapes, and during the first years there was grapes, but it was expensive. So yes, there was always European grapes, but you had to pay for it. I seem to recall that there are still some valleys in France that have not been affected by that little Ungoliant, for some reason. Any wine enthusiast that can confirm this, or tear me apart???

Cheers: Luger

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:53 pm: Edit

Wolfgang and Luger:

http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_manual/manual4-5.html

You can copy Figs 5.3 and 5.4 via usual Windows functions.

Then go to Photoshop or something similar and resample them to a size you can read. Resample not resize! You need to stuff a lot of extra pixels in there. Adjust the resolution to 300 dpi.

Then print them out. Use a 300 dpi resolution

They will be a little fuzzy but readable.

Let me know if you are klutzes with graphics and I will do for you.

Enjoy!

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:48 pm: Edit

Rabid, I think that 'eaux du vin' (grape spirits) was and is never used to mean anything other than alcohol fermented from grape must, although it probably also includes marc which is made from pressed skins of grapes a la grappa, and also wine spirits recovered from lees (the precipitated fine particulate matter in wine plus the clarifying agent and always a considerable amount of wine is trapped in this gelatinous matter.) Marc and wine spirits being by products of wine making, they are in a raw materials sense almost free.

By Mr_Rabid on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:38 pm: Edit

As far as the use of 'industrial' goes, this may have been used in a colloquial, descriptive sense.

For instance, you can buy olive oil classed as 'industrial' not because it was made by a machine, but because it is intended for use by a machine.

AFAIK, industrial alcohol is usually used to refer to stuff you clean engines with, but wouldn't ever drink because it was too chemically dirty, too many cogeners etc.

Knowing the French, I am thinking when they said 'grape spirits' they used this in the same colloquial sense. That is, they meant 'clean and drinkable' and were not referring to the plants used in fermentation at all.

Any fluent Frog speakers out there care to comment? Do you find similar examples of word usage much in French, especially 1800's era?

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:16 pm: Edit

Wolfgang, that's the liquid-vapor equilibrium chart all right but I am digging round for the NBS specific gravity vs % v/v chart and the temp correction chart, and they aren't on Tony's site, I think they are in the Matthewson book.

And in a form not very amenable to copying.

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:14 pm: Edit

More complete infos...

http://homedistiller.org/calc.htm

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:13 pm: Edit

It was a struggle to keep non-grape-feedstock alcohols from acquiring market share in the French liquor business, period.

If you rectify alcohol from any agricultural feedstock today, to the extent required to meet the government and commercial standards for potability, what you have is 'alcohol of argicultural origin'.

But a century ago, as you say, cereals, sugar beets, etc could only be 'industrial' alcoholss.

If a grape must is rectified poorly it will produce a truly unpotable arguably industrial alcohol.

If those other feedstocks are rectified well, they will produce a highly purified potable alcohol that does not and never did deserve to be called industrial. And of course today they are not so called in Europe. They are correctly called 'alcohols of agricultural origin' and alcohols from feedstocks never dreamed of a century ago are used in liquor. Whey for example. Tapioca.

Pernod did not invent the conflict between the vintners and grape alcohol distillers versus the distillers of grains, beets etc.

But they did participate in it.

And there is still the question: while wine was gone, brandy was gone, marc was gone, grape and wine alcohol were gone. So where did Pernod find wine alcohol all though the decades of the blight? THERE WAS NONE IN EUROPE. So, did they always adhere to the use of wine spirits? Importing the stuff seems like it would have been costly, and probably highly taxed unless the origins were overseas French Departments (colonies.) But I can't think of any great brandy producing French colonies in 1850-1900.

Wine and brandy were making a comeback by the time Pernod was publishing those pamplets Ordinaire is so impressed by. So, doubtless Pernod wanted to distance themselves from the lesser hoi polloi absinthe makers who always took the cheapest route.

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:10 pm: Edit

Here`s a chart down the page:

http://homedistiller.org/theory.htm

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 02:54 pm: Edit

Luger, I am having trouble locating the web source of the ethanol charts I have. Also from examining the printouts I have it is clear that these were imbedded graphs in some document I printed out.

They were too small for me to read conveniently, so I scanned them, enlarged them, and printed them out. The results are a little fuzzy and will not go through another round of scanning and printing.

I will continue to look for the source, and if I can't find it I will key these in for you as a Word .doc and send to you.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 02:53 pm: Edit

"Industrial Alcohols", in the context of the times, referred to alcohols derived from potatoes, beets, and grains. The term "industrial" was used to describe the content of the material, not the source.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 02:50 pm: Edit

Well, they were, and you are.

Agricultural alcohols are not industrial, never were industrial, and never can be industrial, the entire phrase was constructed to DECEIVE and CONFUSE, and that's why you like it.

Tell us, oh great and powerful Senor Oz, how it is that all whiskey, all rum, all vodka, and all gin, all liquor not made from grapes is INDUSTRIAL alcohol.

Well, we use what Pernod used, but that doesn't mean that we think other alcohols are garbage.

Neither do you, actually, you are just twisting the truth to suite your purpose, that being to villify us.

Shove it up your ass.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 02:39 pm: Edit

"MY POINT IS THAT THE TERM "INDUSTRIAL ALCOHOLS" as used by Pernod Fils in their marketing material (propaganda) is a CANARD, it is a LIE. 'Industrial' alcohols were AGRICULTURAL alcohols"

Of course, Don. Pernod was lying. I'm lying. The whole world is lying.

Except you, of course.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 01:43 pm: Edit

Dear Luger

Yes. Again, this is available on or through Tony Ackland's site. I will dig up the URL or the files and email it /them to you.

There are three pages:

1. US National Bureau of Standards specific gravity chart for ethanol/water from 0 to 100% to 4 decimal places (g/ml) at 60 F (15.52 C)

2. Temperature correction chart and instructions for calculating offset for any temperature above or below 60 F.

3. Conversion for % sugar (degrees Brix) vs s.g.

I recommend GOOD hydrometers in small ranges, a set of 4-5 of these is enough for a wide range from low degree ferments to high proof alcohol.

The wide range hydrometers are physically long and clumsy, while the 'alcohol meters' are not precise. The German oschalemeters are precise but of course are not directly calibrated in s.g.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 01:34 pm: Edit

In the last quarter of the 19th century in Europe, the hegemony of the liquor makers over potable alcohol from viniferous sources (grape alcohol, wine alcohol, marc, grappa, brandy etc.) was challenged by alcohol from other ENTIRELY AGRICULTURAL feedstocks, such as grains, sugar beets, etc.

In order to defend their vested interests the grape-based alcohol producers (who were of course devastated by the phylloxera blight, just as all the vintners were) started a smear campaign against these other AGRICULTURAL alcohols, describing them as unfit for human consumption and labelling them as "industrial alcohols".

Now how can something of agricultural origin be "industrial"?

BTW, by the logic of their propaganda, all whiskey, rum, vodka and gin is rotgut because of course, grains, cane/molasses, etc only produce "industrial" alcohol.

A century later this argument is transparently specious, just as the anti-absinthe propaganda by the vintners was transparently specious, and so was the anti-gin campaign by the brewery industry in the UK, etc.

ASK YOURSELF THIS: absinthe beame popular during the blight that rendered the grapevines of Europe to nothing. SO WHERE DID THE ABSINTHE MAKERS OBTAIN WINE ALCOHOL WHEN THERE WS NO WINE, NO BRANDY?

That is an open question. Maybe they imported it, from regions unaffected by the blight. Maybe they made do with the (hah!) industrial alcohols, because of course the blight did not kill off grains, beets, jerusalem artichokes, etc. Maybe they mixed the two. Unquestionably the less than premium makers had little compunction about "industrial" alcohols any more than they did about toxic adulterants.

MY POINT IS THAT THE TERM "INDUSTRIAL ALCOHOLS" as used by Pernod Fils in their marketing material (propaganda) is a CANARD, it is a LIE. 'Industrial' alcohols were AGRICULTURAL alcohols.

Today, in the EU, the term of art is 'alcohols of agricultural origin. I can show you bottles of "French Napoleon" UnBrandy that is 2% cheap brandy, 38% agricultural alcohol plus water and caramel, looks like brandy even smells like brandy but tastes like shit. This is a FRENCH product and retails in a supermarket here for $6 or so, that's after a LOT of tax, duty, middlemen and shipping. The ex factory for this MUST be well under $1 for a 750 ml bottle.

NOW, I can assure you that Ted and I are perfectionists and we do what Pernod did. We use the AUTHENTIC alcohol.

Dr Asshole will want to obfuscate and deceive, he accused us in a private email of using "industrial" alcohol. His 'proof' laughably was a misreading of an OLD post of mine here.

And of course he resorts to the SAME OLD LIE about "industrial" alcohol.

Well, up your ass, Dr A. We don't use "industrial" alcohol. You are a pathetic whining dweeb corroded by jealousy over the obvious fact that Ted has achieved what you CAN NEVER achieve.

So go cook and eat your own liver and serve it up in minted spleen sauce to yourself. With bile on the side.

By Luger on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 01:33 pm: Edit

Don't know if it fits this colorfull thread, but have any of you a table of the density of ETOH/Water at the different concentrations and temperatures?


Best regards: Luger

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 01:20 pm: Edit

I think Dr. O and Don should start a Vaudeville act...

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 01:06 pm: Edit

Thank's Don.

I had some suspicions about the thin (3/8") copper neck going too high (6-7") over my pot... I will try to lower it down and to insulate it before I run #4. Hopefully it will also produce a tastier absinthe.

About the dirty alcohol, I'm sure it's not too bad for human consuption as it comes directly from SAQ but maybe it's still too dirty for my maniacal standards. That's why I was asking about carbon...

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:59 pm: Edit

Dear Dr Asshole

Fuck you! you jealous, perfidious jackanapes.

(Strong message follows.)

Nowhere did I say better than Pernod in 1898.

I did say better than Pernod-Ricard in 2001.

And I do say AS GOOD AS Pernod in 1898.

So, kiss my Royal Irish Ass.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:55 pm: Edit

Wolfgang:

If your foreshots come over so low, then temperature and collection go through a sharp transition, then climb to 78-79 C, your still is not a pot still and is WRONG for absinthe. It is too selective. Also, your starting alcohol is too dirty.

"At 78 C water is liquid". Wrong. At 78 C an alcohol/water mixture, of ANY concentration, is an equilibrium of both liquids and both vapors. This is easily demonstarted and proven. A liquid-vapor equilibrium graph is available on Tony Ackland's site under Distillation Theory.

For ANY conc of ethanol/water this graph will accurately predict the conc (proof) of the condensate at start of a simple distillation. For example, if you distill 40% vodka you will always get 80% ethanol out at the beginning. If you start with 15% fermented mash, the degree of alcohol at start of a simple distillation will be 67-68%. Since you are removing alcohol fater than water, of course, the proof will drop over the course of the distillation. HOWEVER since you KNOW how much alcohol you started with and you KNOW what the proof is when you start collecting, you can collect by volume to whatever final proof you want. With good accuracy.

This is an INVALUABLE tool, and along with that hydrometer you don't have yet, will take all the guesswork out insofar as the alcohol is concerned.

Anyway, even 'pure' alcohol is an azeotrope, which means that the highest % you can EVER get (without resorting to trickery) is 95-96%, the rest being water, so, even for 'pure' alcohol, your statement is wrong, because some water is always coming over -- at least 4% v/v.

(There are ways to bust the azeotrope but NONE of them are relevant to absinthe making.)

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:41 pm: Edit

I'm so sorry, Don.

For a moment I forgot that you and Ted know how to make "traditional Pernod absinthe" much better than Pernod did in 1898.

Silly me...

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:37 pm: Edit

That's easy to answer, Dr Asshole.

I make it and I purify it by a combination of known and proprietary processes till it contains only what Ted and I want it to contain, nothing more and nothing else.

The details are of course none of your fucking business. The end result is as perfect a match to Pernod's starting alcohol as the Jade absinthes are to the Pernod finished product.

Authenticity. At any cost. That's what we are about, and always will be.

You wouldn't expect anything less from us, would you, people?

Why do we go to all this trouble and expense and TIME?

Because the correct alcohol can't be found on the face of the earth today at any price. So we have no choice. We MUST make our own.

I'm sure you can figure out how Ted knows exactly what congeners are in original Pernod alcohol. Sane way he knows what herbal oils are in there. HARD WORK, $$$ and PERSEVERENCE. And skills you don't have.

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:24 pm: Edit

When I said "theoricaly" I meant at 78C water is liquid so it can't go up the still. I know that in fact it's not true and the alc% at the output depend also on the still design and other factors. Some water will pass through (and hopefully some oil).

When I heat up the still, the foreshot are easyly discernable. It comes out, it stops, temperature go up and settle at around 78-79C and then the good stuff begins to drip.

It smells a bit like the alcohol smell of Starop...It may be drinkable but I dont want any of it in my absinthe, whatever it is, even if it's worth 1$.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:11 pm: Edit

Thanks, Artemis, for a reality check.

Let's extend it.

Hey, Don, where do you get your wine alcohol, that according to Pernod Fils circa 1898, was the ONLY alcohol that would make good absinthe?

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 12:01 pm: Edit

Thank you, Artemis.

The dramatics was strictly for emphasis.

I doubt that anyone would paint themselves blue and dance naked round their still.

Certainly not.

Heavens forbid!

A peridot shade of vivid light green greasepaint is the thing, to honor the Fairy.

The music of course is "Ritual Dance of Fire"

Whoops! Another secret out in the clear...

By Artemis on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 11:45 am: Edit

"Another possibility: are you cleaning your still properly between runs?"

It could be that, all right. If not, your good clean alcohol is doing the cleaning for you and what you're throwing away at the start is the equivalent of your bucket of mop water after the mop has been dipped into it a few times.

By Artemis on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 11:40 am: Edit

Wow, did this evolve into old fashioned rock throwing since I decided to stay out of it following Don's original answer to Wolfgang.

Don's answer was correct and has remained correct in his subsequent expanded explanations. If you use Everclear (or any alcohol of that quality), there is ZERO reason to throw away anything except what remains in the pot at the end, and that's mostly water. I also assumed (logically I think) that Wolf, going by the seat of his pants as he seems to be, had inserted into his protocol something he borrowed from moonshining lore. When you make alcohol from a fermented wash, there is a reason to throw away what comes off first - it's not potable. When you redistill already clean alcohol, all the alcohol is clean - what you're discarding with absinthe (at the end, when you're cleaning out the pot) is more due to the water in the recipe than the alcohol.

Wolf, if you can smell any difference in those first few milliliters, your nose must be better than that of your namesake, because as Don has said there can't possibly be any difference.

When Aion suggested the gin head arrangement, I thought he was merely suggesting an alternative to the winepress, I saw no sarcasm whatsoever. I think Dr. O attributed Don's sarcasm to Aion.

I took Aion's zero water comment to mean a hypothetical situation of herbs in a basket over a pot of alcohol for extraction purposes. As Don pointed out and Aion agreed, you don't have just alcohol with an absinthe still, you have alcohol and water, and it never gets to the point of zero when done correctly. But is it not true that with a gin head arrangement, the "rules" as to the alcohol/water ratio in the charge would be out the window? I don't know, but I wonder.

Now Wolf, when you said "Theoricaly, water should not get out of the pot", that's wrong. It's wrong in theory and it's wrong in fact. It's a mixture of alcohol and water coming out of the pot at all times, with the ratio changing as the process goes along.

Lastly, I can assure all that Aion needs very little advice, because what he's doing might as well be magic, the result is that good.

Dr. O, I haven't tasted your wares, but I respect your endeavor. Don't be so touchy.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 10:45 am: Edit

Wolfgang, no insult was intended -- to you.

My advice would be, find better alcohol. I can't see how any Canadian potable spirits ought to need what you are doing, but, there we are.

Another possibility: are you cleaning your still properly between runs?

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 07:00 am: Edit

Aion:

Theoricaly, water should not get out of the pot. If you have enaugh water in the pot to keep the herb wet, it should not be a problem if you use a water bath and if you heat and distill very slowly.

My problem is I don't have any idea of the effectiveness of my apparatus so it's difficult to know how much water i should add. I will improve that scientifically as soon as I get the proper instruments. Until then, I can always dance naked around my magic absinthe machine ;-).

Dr O.:

If I can find a proper press, I will try this method but I would heat up everything to around 55 degree for some times before doing so. I would try half of the batch that way and the other half the traditional way to be able to compare the results. (Grimm, I'm sure you can find such a press don't you ? maybe we could test this process one day...)

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 06:44 am: Edit

I'm not doing any magic bullshit. It smell bad = i dont keep it. That's all.

Maybe I was wrong when adding this step in my safety list but it doesn't mean I have no intelligent reason to do it.

Wolf-insulted.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:22 am: Edit

Aion, I think he meant my sarcasm not yours (I didn't see any from you.)

Anyway, he had to run, and just when we were starting to have fun, too.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:22 am: Edit

Aion, the Dr. apologizes. You did not use sarcasm. The Doc was still smarting. He wants to leave clean.

By Aion on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:20 am: Edit

Can anyone please tell me, where
the sarcasm in my post is hidden!!
I can´t find it, but I´m only a very
stupid individual with German as mother
tongue!
Please help me! Thanks.

For the records:
I DID NOT WANT TO INSULT ANYONE!!

A.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:20 am: Edit

Bye, O. Don't let the swinging door on the punk rock stripper bar Kallisti runs hit you on your ass on the way out.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:15 am: Edit

OK, Dr O, I will take it as one.

However, to return to the issue, I still say that for N.American potable spirits, like Everclear, and 'Diesel', which meet or exceed ATF and Canadian and USP/BP criteria, e.g., negligible methanol, esters, aldehydes, fusels, and furfural, no removal of foreshots will be advisable when these are used in the steep and subsequent absinthe distillation. The commercial standards of the distillers often are far stricter than the government allowances.

You could carbon filter that N.American potable spirits and achieve a slight further reduction, but that would not make it 'better' for the purpose at hand. And that really can't be achieved by tossing the first 30 ml out of a pot still of absinthe steep, either. That's very different that putting the spirits through a well insulated and equilibrated reflux still being run at a high reflux ration very very slowly and with a dozen or so theoretical plates. That has already been done several times to the spirits Wolfgang is using, and one more tedious energy intensive run isn't going to help. Like the carbon, it isn't going to make the alcohol 'better' for absinthe making, so why do it?

Distilling is science, not ceremonial magic. Things are done for explicable reasons -- not to appease the gods or demons or John Nixon or Tony Ackland. Even if you want to argue that distilling is also an art, that changes nothing. The reasons just become aesthetic ones, but they still have to be present, and understood.

If Wolfgang really believes that culling those foreshots makes his overall collected batch taste better, then he is acting for a reason. I would dispute his reason, but, not his motives. However, my suspicion is still that he thinks this needs to be done because he is 'supposed' to do it, he read it somewhere or someone told him to. That's neither art nor science, that's cookbook.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 04:00 am: Edit

Dear Forumites:

The Doc is over an out. I'll leave the Forum to those who know everything. I'm fed up. Live long and prosper.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:54 am: Edit

No problem, Aion.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:54 am: Edit

Aion, thanks for the information. Was it really necessary to wrap it in sarcasm?

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:52 am: Edit

Don, please excuse me for saying that you are using "the-best-possible-alcohol-to-make-absinthe".

In THIS universe, that's a compliment.

By Aion on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:32 am: Edit

Don,
you are absolute right,
liquid level almost zero
was a totally wrong statement.
A.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:14 am: Edit

"Liquid level close to zero"

hahahahahahahaha!

The blind leading the blind...

Aion, THINK about what you are doing. STUDY a dozen or so of the better protocols, and you will see, with a little thought and calculation, that the situation you describe is impossible, unless you ignore all instructions and cautions about the proper endpoint, not to mention having no sense of taste or smell. UGH!

I don't mean to sound harsh, but, you really need to rethink what you are talking about.

By Aion on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:02 am: Edit

Dr. O

What about the idea of placing a
"basket" made if fine metal mesh in
the still that contains the merbal mass.

This would give you the benefits of
hot maceration when there is enough
liquid in the still.
And it would prevent the herbs from being
burnt, as there would be an isolating
air gap to the heated surfaces, once the
liquid level is close to zero.

Just an idea.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 03:02 am: Edit

Dr O, you have not a clue as to what sort of alcohol I use, as has been made obvious by your past posts and private messages. You make unwarranted assumptions, for no good reason, and later you use them as premises to draw conclusions that can only be wrong, wrong, wrong.

Potable spirits in the US and Canada fit the description that you apply wrongly to MY alcohol: highly purified, indeed. The various commercial and government and USP/BP standards are published on the Net. So I can say with a very high degree of confidence that Wolfgang's starting spirits are unlikely to be in need of the insignificant improvement to be afforded by the exclusion of 30ml or so of foreshots from a 2 liter absinthe run. For one thing, that's a pot still Wolfgang is using -- HAS to be for absinthe -- and so if there WERE any foreshots to remove they'd be smeared over several hundred ml's. However, there aren't any, unless he is using bootleg alcohol.

Mexico's standards are also published and are considerably more lax than those of the US or Canada, but I doubt that Dr O's friend Dr O exists, nor is anywhere near Mexico, so this is irrelevant.

I am not going to be drawn in to a comparison of techniques, but I see NO justification for excluding foreshots in an absinthe run, assuming that good clean potable alcohol was used in the steep. And if I wasn't, then exclusing the qty Wolfgang is talking about won't help much. In short you can't get there from there.

I suspect that Wolfgang is ceremonially, and superstitiously, kowtowing to the usual practice of home distillers of alcohol from fermented washes -- a procedure totally unnecessary in an absinthe run if quality alcohol is employed in the first place.

When carrying out a technical procedure it is wise to know WHY one is doing any particular step, this is especially true of anyone wishing to lay claim to artisan status.

I have made absinthe, quite a lot of absinthe, from a great variety of high quality starting alcohols. NEVER have I had the slightest reason to cull out any foreshots, and ALWAYS herbal oils were obvious in the condensate from the very start.

If Wolfgang wants to throw away part of his product, I don't care. When I tell him he's be just being wasteful, and ask him for his rationale, though, I am met with denial, and so, I respond with scorn and derision.

And that's the way it ought to be.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 02:37 am: Edit

Don, I don't think you, on one hand, and Wolfie and Dr. O, on the other, are right or wrong.

You have to remember that the alcohol you use has been rectified, purified, activated-charcoalized, stroked and chemically-masturbated to utter perfection. Commercially available potable alcohol is a different animal.

For those who cannot achieve that kind of alcohol, the discarding MAY make sense. (I agree with you it's painful, though.)

On the other hand, if you look at the price of fondue fuel (6 bucks for a tiny can) there are alternative uses for the discards.

Wolfie, the Doc does not place the herbs in the still. He uses an extremely long maceration and then a very effective herbal press to extract virtually all the alcohol and good stuff from the herbs.

Putting the herbs in the still sounds good if you have a professional steam-heated one, but the Dr. thinks that in a regular (hot-plated) one, once the volume of liquid is low, there may be herbal material in contact with the bottom of the still, giving off that "burnt" flavor.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 07:43 pm: Edit

Oh, enjoy your rituals and secret handshakes, I don't care if you want to paint yourselves blue and dance naked round your stills or stand on your heads and recite the Book of Mormon backwards in a silly voice.

It's all mummery, what you are doing.

However, I still say: clean alcohol in, clean alcohol and herbal oils out. If the alcohol was worthy of being used to make absinthe, there are no foreshots to remove.

But, hey, knock yourselves out.

By Wolfgang on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 05:12 pm: Edit

Dr O. : and at the end of the batch... "Wouhahaoiuha! here's come the fairy!"

By Wolfgang on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 05:10 pm: Edit

That`s what the "Wolf Absinthe co." is doing. (ok, maybe just about an oz, wich is about 30ml)

They also discard lot's of tail but re-use it later. Their problem is it's difficult to collect a clean smelling product at the end of the batch when there's so much herb in the pot. Maybe they would need to add more water before distillation... That will be ajusted when they will finally get this damn alcoometer that take forever to arrive by snail mail...

It would be usefull to know if other parties have tryed to distill without or with only a part of the herb mass...

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 03:33 pm: Edit

This a contribution from my crazy Mexican friend, Dr. O.

He also starts with "high proof potable spirits" and also throws away the beginning. Maybe not 50 mL (maybe his nose is not as sharp as Wolfie's) but at least 20-30 mL. Why? It just tastes too sharp, too "alcoholic".

Actually he says that is a fascinating exercise to taste the distillate every 100 mL or so: "Whoa, here comes the anise..."

By Don_Walsh on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 01:16 pm: Edit

Huh?

Again, are we talking about you throwing away the first 50 ml of an ABSINTHE distillation in which you started with that overpriced highly taxed Canadian high proof potable spirits?

By Wolfgang on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 01:02 pm: Edit

Maybe not that dangerous but it smells and taste bad anyway. I usualy throw away about the first 50ml.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 11:33 am: Edit

Yes, Wolfgang. If you are starting with store bought potable alcohol, why are you concerning yourself with foreshots?

That's a moonshiner's problem, not yours.

By Perruche_Verte on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 11:25 am: Edit

"Temp <78C = poison"

Huh? I don't understand that part.

By Wolfgang on Monday, January 14, 2002 - 09:21 am: Edit

I raise my glass to Grimm who did the effort to read through the archive.

There`s some good info to be found around here but honestly, nothing beats the do it yourself approach when you want to get some practical skills.

You will make mistakes from witch you will learn and eventually you will get some interesting results. The only info that should not be hidden to apprentices are the safety notes. Those safety notes are simples :


*High proof alcohol (liquid or fumes...) + flame = BOOM! (test your setup with water before using it with alcohol).

*Clogged output + heat source = increased pressure and potential BOOM! (Don't overload the still, heat SLOWLY, a safety filter can't be a bad idea also)

*Clogged output(input) + cooling down = pressure down and potential crushed pot.

*Temp. <78C = poison

*You have to be there all the time to monitor the process for safety reasons (as well as to be sure you do not mix the tail with the good stuf). This IS boring and there's no safe way around it.

*drinking while operating your apparatus (because it's sooo boring) = potential BOOM! (test with your nose, not your thirsty mouth)


Did I forgot something ?

For the "how to make something good" : carefull and slow process + high quality good ingredients = "It can't be that bad".

By Artemis on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 08:37 pm: Edit

The original French documents I translated for Phil the Frenchman were, I assume, in his possession. He posted them on his website and I worked from that. They are now up on his website in both the original French and my English.

I have seen very few original French documents in person - as you might imagine, those are rare and I'm not really an antique collecter.

Some of the stuff I have worked from is photocopies, PDF files, etc. The only actual Pernod document I have seen (if you mean a document put out by Pernod) is the one on Phil's site.

By Grimm on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 07:53 pm: Edit

Greets Artemis,

"Grimm, I didn't mean to slight you. I have an idea for something that would be even more useful than what you're proposing, but there are some sticky details to work out, and I'm doing that one step at a time. Stick around."

I haven't taken offence in any way! But now you have peaked my curiosity!

I also have a question for you. I have seen many references in posts of french documents by Pernod et Fils. Are the original french versions available online? or were the translations done from hardcopies?

I can't believe I spent the entire day reading archived threads and cut/pasting tidbits! I tell you, I definately learned quite a bit!

I am going to have the chance to visit several countries around the world in the next 6 months (I was in Sao Paulo before the holidays and didn't even know they had Absinthe!). I will post a list of the cities I will be in once I get confirmation, who knows what green trails await!

By Artemis on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 05:27 pm: Edit

Grimm, I didn't mean to slight you. I have an idea for something that would be even more useful than what you're proposing, but there are some sticky details to work out, and I'm doing that one step at a time. Stick around.

By Grimm on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 05:21 pm: Edit

Greetings Artemis,

"As Wolfgang has pointed out, unless you actually know how to make absinthe yourself, you wouldn't know whether the "available information" was worth repeating, much less using."

I wasn't proposing writing an essay on how to make Absinthe, merely collecting the information which is already available within the archived posts in the forum, and simply putting it all in one categorized document. A kind of forum FAQ on homebrewing.

What I thought would be a lot of fun is whoever was interested would read it and maybe offer corrections, spark new discussions on the topics etc..

"I wouldn't want to see anybody promulgating anything with my name attached (or even without my name attached, if I wrote it) without my permission, that's for sure."

What I was thinking of doing is e-mailing the articles to the author and asking if I could include them in the FAQ.

I know I could do all this for myself and not worry about any of these details. I guess the reason I am asking for everyone's input is because I feel it could be something that could be useful to the forum readers.

"I think you should drop the idea of doing anything but collecting the information for yourself."

I have read many of your posts and I take your advice seriously. I will continue to compile my own notes and ask for permission once I have something to show for my efforts.

I will not do anything publicly without the consent of the authors, nor would I do anything to alienate myself from the forumites I have learned so much from.

with respect

__
grimm

By Artemis on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 04:18 pm: Edit

"I find it amazing to see how the opinion of homebrewed absinth has grown in popularity and acceptance."

It went hand in hand with the number of people growing, who could make something that could be consumed without puking, much less be considered good.

"Has it ever been proposed by anyone, to compile the available information into an actual Absinth making FAQ?"

As Wolfgang has pointed out, unless you actually know how to make absinthe yourself, you wouldn't know whether the "available information" was worth repeating, much less using.

"there is a good deal of information available. Maybe too much for some people to feel comfortable about it being brought to the surface with their names attached."

I wouldn't want to see anybody promulgating anything with my name attached (or even without my name attached, if I wrote it) without my permission, that's for sure.

"I would like to compile what I have found and create an organized document of it. (like a wash) then post it for everyone to read, comment and improve upon the texts found within (distill) until we have a publicly available result that almost tastes like a genuine absinthe making faq."

What you do with information you collect for your own personal use is your business. I don't want to see anything I've written posted for commentary or "improvement" unless I post it. Genuine absinthe cannot be made by consensus, and trust me when I say that the people who know enough to accurately critique the information about which you're talking will not do it here. We've been there, done that.

"no matter what anyones opinion is, I will be creating my own personnal copy, just so I can organize what I have found."

As I said before, that's your prerogative.

"What I want to know is how do you think I should proceed if enough people agree to the idea that it be public and how do I avoid pissing people off in the process?"

I think you should drop the idea of doing anything but collecting the information for yourself.

By Grimm on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 03:39 pm: Edit

Hi Wolfgang,

Actually, that is why I find this information gathering so important. I am not saying I'd work on this FAQ forever. It is just that its a great deal of information for me to keep track of, so today I was merely organizing the info I have been tracking down into logical sections.

This is helping me understand what is involved in the process. The hands on is a legal hassle I will avoid by staying in the theoretical circle. I am sure other strangers will come forth to share, but I cannot afford to do so.

By Wolfgang on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 02:45 pm: Edit

May I suggest that you try at least to make one batch before starting this project ?

By Grimm on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 02:08 pm: Edit

I wish I had a head prosthesis.

I have been reading through hundreds of archived posts. I have found incredibly useful information, intermingled with flame wars and ego-trips that just made me wanna puke.

even the absinthe forum has a secondary effect.
how interesting.

I find it amazing to see how the opinion of homebrewed absinth has grown in popularity and acceptance.

Has it ever been proposed by anyone, to compile the available information into an actual Absinth making FAQ?

I am sorry I had not taken the time (which I didn't have until this day of rest) to read through the archives to answer my own questions about homebrewing.

there is a good deal of information available. Maybe oo much for some people to feel comfortable about it being brought to the surface with their names attached.

I would like to compile what I have found and create an organized document of it. (like a wash) then post it for everyone to read, comment and improve upon the texts found within (distill) until we have a publicly available result that almost tastes like a genuine absinthe making faq.

?

no matter what anyones opinion is, I will be creating my own personnal copy, just so I can organize what I have found. What I want to know is how do you think I should proceed if enough people agree to the idea that it be public and how do I avoid pissing people off in the process?

By Artemis on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 05:33 pm: Edit

"Anybody have a list of herbs vs escential oil yield?"

Yes.

Let's assign a factor of 1 to the plant with the lowest essential oil content:

Roman wormwood = 1

Grand wormwood would be 7
Anise 51
Star anise 71
Fennel 86

These numbers come form L. Duparc, who came up with them in 1908 according to Madam Delahaye's "Histoire". These numbers represent best possible oil yield, not averages. Obviously, these are the most common absinthe plants. Tansy yields well less than Roman Wormwood. As you can see, Fennel is the oiliest of them all. Obviously, everything depends upon the harvest, the drying, etc. but I think we can still rely upon the approximate ratios to guide us.

"are there any unwritten rules regarding the % of alcohol used in the initial maceration incontext to which herb you are using?"

A non-issue as far as I know, written or otherwise.

"There is an assumption that all the herbs (aside from the colourants) go into the initial mash"

This is a fact, not an assumption, but it's not a mash; mash is not the right word. Let's call it a charge.

"need this be so?"

That I can't say, but it's reasonable to assume Uncle Pernod et. al. used the most efficient methods.

"Might you have two separate mascerations going before the distillation step when they are combined?"

I've never seen that written or heard of such, but only experimentation would tell us. I think you're reading too much into that table. Macerations for absinthe were done with 85% ethanol.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 03:58 pm: Edit

label

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 03:37 pm: Edit

Damn it!
wolf # 2 label

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 03:34 pm: Edit

Lucky bastard! ;-) (said in a friendly manner) What are you waiting for! Do you realyse I pay the equivalent of 32us$/L for my ethanol ! ... But do you realise how much fun I have right now, drinking a glass of Wolf#3 ! One glass I tell you and it makes you understand the poets praises of la belle epoque.

You know what, I'm gonna pour myself a glass of #2, fuck that archiving thing (Artemis, I ear you laughing even through that raging winter wind outside!). Wouhahaha!

"Live"...

Drop by drop I pour my water over that #2... The louche is not that bad after all, I just have to pour very slowly...there it is, I take some pictures that I will post when the film is over. For now, imagine a blanche with just a green tint.

I'm not sure if I prefer #2 or #3 anymore, the latest having greatly improved with time.

Dreams come true !

wolf number 2 label

By Mr_Carfax on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 03:18 pm: Edit

Question

- are there any unwritten rules regarding the % of alcohol used in the initial maceration incontext to which herb you are using? There is an assumption that all the herbs (aside from the colourants) go into the initial mash - need this be so? Might you have two separate mascerations going before the distillation step when they are combined?

I ask because higher ethanol does not necessarily = higher yield (not just of essential oils but of other components), and in some instances in the area of herbal medicine the components required are better extracted at a lower concentration than a higher.

A basic table I came across which illustrates this...

25% ethanol - water soluble constituents such as mucilage, tanins and some glycosides (including some flavanoids and saponins)

45%-60% - essential oils, alkaloids, most saponins and some glycosides

90% - resins and oleoresins.

I can see how there could be variables in methodology here based on what raw ingredients you were using, and possibly even taking into consideration quality issues of the herbs- and that it would be pointless "writing" some of this down in a recipe as it would be experience that guided you.

Am I chasing rabbits down holes here?

By Mr_Carfax on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 02:15 pm: Edit

Hi Wolfgang

My tongue was definitely in my cheek- Australian law allows anyone to own a 5L still as long as they don't use it for anything other than essential oils and water....and considering I am starting a degree in herbal medicine and need access to ethanol for extraction purposes, well, what is there left to say :-)

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 12:25 pm: Edit

Anybody have a list of herbs vs escential oil yield ? (ideally from dried herb extracted in alcohol of course...)

We have those numbers from the Pernod catalogue :

In one L of absinthe : 0.15g of A.A. extract and 3.5g of other herbs extract (mainly anis and fennel).

Let`s use it to compare with the recipe provided in the Bedel treatise.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 11:38 am: Edit

Yes but let`s not forget those process are about 200 years old. It`s not rocket science. Just well kept secrets (that may require rocket science to uncover). It`s also possible that E.Pernod improved his own process over the time. Those 100 years old bottles tasted by some lucky absintheurs were probably better than the original Dr Ordinaire`s elixir.

It`s basicaly escential oils precipitated in the watered down solution. More oil leads to more herbs... I guess the standard recipes we can find are good for the average absinthe, not for the finest so, well, let`s just use more herbs (and do some math and research on the oil extract numbers provided in the Pernod catalogue...). It leads to another technical problem doo, hummmm...Ok enaugh said.

By Artemis on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 10:55 am: Edit

"About the louche, all I know is that the Jade's I tasted had an incredibly thick creamy louche and the taste was perfectly balanced."

I agree with that. There are products out there (none for sale of course) as good as Ted's, depending on your definiton of good, but none as balanced. Ted is also the champ at obtaining thick opal louche without overwhelming anise flavor.

"Ted is a magician or a druid or something"

Ted has access to chemistry laboratories and the knowledge and skill to use them. The lab is the magick wand that makes the invisible writing between the lines become as clear as day.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 07:52 am: Edit

Ted is a wizard, and I'm the sorcerer's apprentice. No, scratch that. Make it journeyman.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 06:51 am: Edit

Louche:

About the louche, all I know is that the Jade's I tasted had an incredibly thick creamy louche and the taste was perfectly balanced. That's a marvel. Ted is a magician or a druid or something ;-).

I'm still scratching my head in disbelef trying to figure out how he could end up with such a concentration of balanced flavors...

Aging estimate just for fun:

Judging by the Pernod catalogue of 1896, I tryed to estimate the aging time. They talk about 230 "foudres" in the basement. Problem is, a wine foudre can contain from 50 to 300 Hl... With an average output of 30000 L a day that would suggest an aging time between 38 and 230 days. My visual estimate, judging from the provided drawing is that one foudre measure 3M. Diam. by 5M long, wich means about 35000 L.

It is then safe to estimate the aging time to be about 6 month. Note that the foudres looks like made of wood but that such a large barrel, used over and over will only add a small contribution to the taste (less than for Segarra).

I assume a lot and this is not a reliable estimate, don't take it for granted, I just did it for fun and to illustrate the kind of reading between the lines one must do.

By Wolfgang on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 06:04 am: Edit

Aion: Tansy is easy to find on the web. I got it at my local herb shop.

Carfax: Let the world of men rule you and soon you will be put in a cage, bored, waiting behind a computer for retirement and death .

I seriously don't think it's a big risk as long as you keep it on a very small scale and do not sell it.

Star anis....

I will probably carefully go for around 25g. Thank's guys for the insight.

By Aion on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 12:05 am: Edit

IMO you do not need star anise for an absinthe
verte, it is better to use more green anise, if you want a very dense louche. The slightly added
bitterness or dryness of the colouring herbs masks the sweetness of the green anise.
But IMO a verte does not need to have a dense louch, a slight transparency with an almost bioluminiscent shine is more attractive for me.

For an absinthe blanche I think a reasonable amount of star anise is necessary, mostly because of the look, a watery white transparent product just doesn´t look good.

Would be very interesting to know, if for the vintage blanche absinthes the same macerate was used as for the verte, or if the protocol was modified.
Anyone knows??

A.

By Artemis on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 10:47 pm: Edit

"How can Star anis contribute to the smoothness and "perfume" (In the french text he wrote "parfum") and ALSO have an unpleasant odor ?"

Well, what Bedel wrote was that it had a slightly disagreeable odor. It's difficult to determine what those old boys meant a lot of times, but I interpret that passage like this:

Star anise boosts the overall perfume and smoothness of the product, but it has *not as good a scent as real (green) anise*. In other words, it's disagreeable compared to green anise, not actually disagreeable in its own right. Experience bears this out. I have a bag of star anise pods, and they smell just fine, but not as fine as my bag of green anise. Reading between the lines (as I mentioned previously, that's why none of these old texts is "The Bible"), he's saying that if you're going to use star anise, you should use enough green anise to cover the rough edges of the star anise.

"My understanding is that Star anis can be used as long as there's much more green anis in the brew."

And there you go - you're a good in between the lines reader. Star anise is a wonderful booster of louche, but at the expense of lending that Mari Mayans flavor. You have to achieve a balance to get good louche and flavor. I defer to Aion as to proportions. Trust me, he knows what he's talking about.

By Mr_Carfax on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 09:48 pm: Edit

Wolfgang- I think I am becoming truly inspired by your exploits - if it wasn't illegal I'm sure I would hypothetically want to explore the path of the hausgemacht.

It has got me wondering, hypothetically again, the scope for experimentation with some native Australian flavours - aniseed myrtle, lemon myrtle, native mints- I know some bright spark has already used eucalytpus back in the late 1800's.

By Aion on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 09:10 pm: Edit

Wolfgang:

You will not be able to find only traces
of the taste of of star anise when you
only use 5 gr in total almost 660 gr of herbal
mass (< 0,8%).
If you use 300 gr. green anis + 50-60 gr. star anise this may be good balance, not overpowering
and gorgeous louche.

Did I understand right you already used tansy?
Where did you buy that herb, never saw it, picked
mine last autumn, but the stock is gone.

A.

By Grimm on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 07:39 pm: Edit

What is the most efficient homebrewing still design that could be used to make absinth.

Out of curiosity I have been browsing many sites and unfortunately I can't seem to find a straight answer on which still design would be best.

__
grimm

By Wolfgang on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 07:34 pm: Edit

From Le traîté des liqueurs by A.Bedel 1899


Quote:

Star anise contributes, along with fennel, the
smoothness, the scent of the liqueur; but it has a slightly
unpleasant odor which anise corrects efficiently.




What is this non-sense ? How can Star anis contribute to the smoothness and "perfume" (In the french text he wrote "parfum") and ALSO have an unpleasant odor ?

My understanding is that Star anis can be used as long as there's much more green anis in the brew.

Now your opinion. Would it be that bad to use about 5g of star anis in a recipe like that :

2.28 L 94% + 650ml of tail from previous batch

green anis : 350g
star anis : 5g
other herbs :302.5g

By Admin on Wednesday, January 09, 2002 - 09:04 am: Edit

go to it

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