Brewing Dreams, Crafting Perfection: The Alchemist Brew, Your Home Brew Specialist

Brewing Dreams, Crafting Perfection: The Alchemist Brew, Your Home Brew Specialist

Unveiling the Art of Distillation: Stripping Runs vs. Spirit Runs

Unveiling the Art of Distillation: Stripping Runs vs. Spirit Runs


In the captivating world of alcohol distillation, the processes involved are as diverse and nuanced as the flavours they yield. Two crucial steps in this alchemical journey are the Stripping Run and the Spirit Run, each playing a unique role in the creation of that perfect, well-balanced spirit. Let us embark on a journey to demystify these terms, explore their methods, and understand the subtle yet significant differences between them.

The Stripping Run:

The Stripping Run is the initial phase in alcohol distillation, akin to laying the foundation for a masterpiece. Its primary objective is to separate alcohol from the wash, also known as the fermented liquid containing the desired beverage’s raw ingredients. The emphasis here is on efficiency and speed rather than refining flavours.


Wash Preparation:

Before delving into the Stripping Run, a wash is carefully prepared by fermenting a mixture of grains, fruits, or any other chosen raw material. This fermentation process converts sugars into alcohol, laying the groundwork for distillation.

Loading the Still:

The wash is then loaded into the still, a specialized apparatus designed for distillation. Heat is applied to the wash, causing the alcohol to vaporize, rise through the still, and condense back into liquid form.

Collecting the Stripping Run:

During this process, the distiller collects the initial distillate, also known as the “stripping run.” This run contains a higher percentage of alcohol, but it may also retain impurities and flavours from the wash.

The Essence of Stripping:

The Stripping Run is often compared to a rough sketch in the art world. It lays the groundwork, extracting the alcohol efficiently while sacrificing some nuances of flavour. The resulting distillate, while potent, is not the final product. It serves as a concentrated base for the subsequent Spirit Run.

The Spirit Run:

After the Stripping Run sets the stage, the Spirit Run takes centre stage, transforming the concentrated distillate into a refined, flavourful spirit. This phase is where the art of distillation truly comes to life, as the distiller carefully crafts and shapes the character of the final product.


Heads, Hearts, and Tails:

The distillate from the Stripping Run is divided into three parts: the “heads,” containing undesirable compounds; the “hearts,” comprising the desired spirit; and the “tails,” with heavier compounds that add depth but must be carefully managed.

Refining the Hearts:

The distiller focuses on the hearts, discarding the heads and tails. This careful selection process is what distinguishes the Spirit Run. The distillate is once again subjected to heat, and only the purest, most flavourful portion is collected.

Balancing Flavours:

Throughout the Spirit Run, the distiller pays meticulous attention to the temperature and flow rate, adjusting variables to balance the flavours. This is where the true artistry lies, as the distiller crafts a spirit with the desired aroma, taste, and character.

The Alchemy of Spirit Runs:

The Spirit Run is comparable to an artist’s detailed brushstrokes, refining the initial sketch into a masterpiece. It is a labour-intensive process that requires skill and patience. The result is a spirit that not only boasts a higher alcohol content but also carries the distinctive flavours and characteristics that make it unique.

Stripping Run vs. Spirit Run: Unveiling the Differences


Stripping Run: Primarily focused on efficiently separating alcohol from the wash.

Spirit Run: Emphasizes flavour refinement, balancing the different components to create a well-rounded spirit.

Efficiency vs. Complexity:

Stripping Run: A swift and efficient process, sacrificing some flavour complexity.

Spirit Run: A meticulous and time-consuming endeavour, prioritizing flavour refinement and complexity.

Alcohol Content:

Stripping Run: Yields a higher alcohol content but may contain impurities.

Spirit Run: Produces a spirit with a balanced and refined alcohol content, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

Artistic Element:

Stripping Run: Comparable to laying the groundwork, akin to an artist’s initial sketch.

Spirit Run: Reflects the artistry of distillation, where the distiller refines and shapes the spirit’s final character.

Benefits of Each Approach:

Benefits of the Stripping Run:

Efficiency: Ideal for large-scale production where speed is essential.

Volume: Yields a higher volume of distillate with a concentrated alcohol content.

Benefits of the Spirit Run:

Flavour Complexity: Allows for meticulous flavour control and refinement.

Craftsmanship: Showcases the skill and artistry of the distiller, resulting in a unique and high-quality spirit.


Balancing Efficiency and Artistry

In the world of alcohol distillation, both the Stripping Run and the Spirit Run play indispensable roles. The Stripping Run efficiently extracts alcohol from the wash, providing a concentrated base for the subsequent masterpiece. On the other hand, the Spirit Run elevates the process to an art form, refining flavours and crafting a spirit with depth and complexity.

The choice between a Stripping Run and a Spirit Run ultimately depends on the distiller’s goals and the desired end product. For those aiming at large-scale production and efficiency, the Stripping Run offers a practical solution. However, for those seeking to create a unique, artisanal spirit with carefully balanced flavours, the Spirit Run is the path to excellence.

In the end, the magic of distillation lies in finding the delicate balance between efficiency and artistry, where science meets craftsmanship to produce spirits that captivate the senses and leave a lasting impression on the palate.

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