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Which Would You Choose To Legalize?

Which Would You Choose To Legalize in the US?  

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A short thesis would be welcomed.

 

My very uneducated guess would be that it is better suited for producing pure distillates and simple spirits rather than the maceration/distillation process required for producing absinthe. Loosely surmised, is it that stills designed for this purpose will strip too much of the oils from a macerate more so than a pot still?

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My very uneducated guess would be that it is better suited for producing pure distillates and simple spirits rather than the maceration/distillation process required for producing absinthe.
That is exactly what it is designed to do.

 

Loosely surmised, is it that stills designed for this purpose will strip too much of the oils from a macerate more so than a pot still?

That depends solely on how it is run; a column like this can be operated in different ways. It's all about packing and reflux. With higher effect input and its packing taken out, it can be operated like any pot still (no reflux inside the column) and will work well so. Running it in reflux mode (with Amphora's copper mesh which is a very good packing material) it can produce really pure spirits, but is definitely not good for making anything where you'd want the essential oils and other aromatic stuff.

So, using an elaborate thing like this just as a pot still is overkill. (And a waste of money.)

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To quote the manufacturer's site:

 

Fully tunable over a wide range of production.  For those interested in beverages (and residing where it is legal to produce them), this tunability allows the production of any desired product from ultra-pure 96% alcohol to very high quality whiskey, brandy or rums (see below)

 

Proving my ignorance, is the production of absinthe so different from whiskey/brandy/rum that the device wouldn't be suitable? I got the impression that you simply "opened her up" (flow, not packing) to let more of the essential oils and other volatiles through. If this unit is truly overkill and a simple pot still would suffice, why bother suggesting the use in the other applications? Yeah, $$$ is probably the reason, but if this is that versatile, perhaps it is worth the money?

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I'm sure you could remove the packing and with a little tweaking produce a fairly respectable absinthe.

 

Probably like most things nowdays, the super-sleek, slimmed-down, hi-tech anything, costs more and does a little of everything fairly well. This is my guess at the market they want to hit.

 

I think if I was going to spend that kind of dough, I might be more inclined to go a little more artisan and have some pocket change leftover. :P

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I guess my question about this device is mostly driven by some of the "rectification" comments from earlier threads/topics. If a simple pot still is likely to let the less desirable volatile substances through (requiring rectification or re-distillation), then why not go with this sort of design from the get-go? Looks like it might be "tuned" to yield the appropriate product without the extra distillation runs. Then again, maybe I just don't understand the "art" of getting quality product from a simple pot still. There's a lot I don't understand...

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If this gizmo is as precisely tunable as they claim, then someone who wanted to produce pot-still liquors like whiskey, gin, absinthe etc. as well as making super-clean neutral spirits could probably benefit from it a great deal.

 

My issue with it is that with every internal corner and obstacle you place in the vapor path, you increase reflux, i.e. something for vapor to condense on and drop back into the pot.

 

This column thing is too geometrical. The alembics elfnmajik posted the link to would be far more appropriate, being all round and smooth, as well as providing for a good, donut-shaped convection current in both the cucurbite (the bottom pot) as well as the alembic (the onion dome) which provides for a gentler type of reflux.

 

Or so I hear.

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Thanks for the comments, Hiram. Makes sense to me.

 

I must say the historical copper stills are aesthetic wonders (I wouldn't mind having a small one just for display). I'm also a sucker for technological gadgetry and solutions. Just check out the junk in my garage.

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Saw this today on the MSNBC website:

 

Moonshine returns as ethanol gas additive

Company doing brisk business selling stills for thrifty motorists

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12801825/

 

Goes on to say that a there are a lot of stills being sold to folks wanting to make ethanol in order to burn as a gas replacement. They say that the feds just stipulate you have to add poison to it... hey! Don't the feds claim that wormwood is a poison? :devil:

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Not to an internal combustion engine. Next big marketing scheme: Absinthohol. Or would it be Absintholine? Gotta be better for the environment.

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I decided to vote for legalization of home distillation. Like someone said, I can get CO albeit for a price.

 

Let a hundred distillers operate, let a hundred absinthes flow. I think there'd be a lot more cross-fertilization of ideas between those in the field perhaps if it was legal. Knowledge could be shared and made available openly. A newbie could apprentice with a pro, and avoid producing crap or something dangerous.

 

By the way, the online USDA plant database is pretty neat. Our tax dollars at work for us!

 

USDA Plants Database Artemesia absinthium

 

USDA Plants Database Artemesia pontica

 

What is the scientific name of the fennel used in absinthe? They list about a dozen "fennels". Looks like Florence fennel is readily available as a garden herb.

 

What about anise?

 

It's mentioned that the star anise tree can be cultivated here. Though my guess is that our friends in the Southern part of the US and well as the SW might have better luck than in the NE.

 

In the herb garden at the farm there's a very tall (6+ ft) A. pontica.

 

post-685-1152559302_thumb.jpg

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I was thinking about this the other day, and mentally trying to compare legalizing of home distilling to legalizing of home-brewing and wine-making.

 

As I recall, it was 1978 when Jimmy Carter legalized home-brewing (was home winemaking legalized then, or was it legal before then?)

 

What sort of impact did this have? I was in a used book-store yesterday and saw a home-brewing book that was published I believe in 1971, and it didn't list anything about home-brewing being "illegal".

 

My own quick mental picture of what happened to beer starting around 1978'ish, was that the microbrew industry really started to catch fire. With more people now able to experiement at home, we end up getting more and more people making better and better beers. Home-brew beers were made for the "craft" of it, not for the "home alcohol" of it. Conceptually I'd say that we are better off these days from a beer perspective then we were back then, not only with better beers, but with people drinking beer not just "to get drunk", but for the cuisine of it.

 

Same with wine.

 

If limited home-distillation was legalized, would we see an increase in people considering the "quality" of the spirit over the "quantity"?

 

Would (some) people who today might simply be using spirits as a source of alcohol start looking at it in a new light? Would they learn a better appreciation of it?

 

-Robert

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That would seem logical. The commercial industry could learn a thing or two from DYIers, which I'm sure it has in the case of beer.

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What is the scientific name of the fennel used in absinthe?
That would be Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum.

 

What about anise?
Pimpinella anisum.

 

In the herb garden at the farm there's a very tall (6+ ft) A. pontica.
Regarding those leaves in your picture, they must have misplaced the sign if they call it A. pontica. Its leaves don't look like that, and it never grows as high as six feet, rather up to two feet. That plant in the picture looks more like common wormwood, which indeed can grow to such heights (under optimal conditions).

 

Here's Roman wormwood:

post-354-1152578048_thumb.jpg

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Thanks for the correction Mindshifter. I am the one who misidentified it. The label only said "Artemisia [wormwood]" and didn't have a species identification. It's the only Artemisia in their little garden. I don't really know how to look at those drawings of a plant and really identify it, obviously.

 

But I really now know what A. pontica really looks like. They probably don't have any down at the local plant nursery. For a moment thought it'd be neat, that instead of the stupid weeds growing in my yard, I could have some interesting weeds. Perhaps another time...

 

Oh, Thanks for the sci names on the other plants.

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