View Full Version : What do distillers do with the heads & tails?

06-10-2005, 00:33
Anyone have any idea what the various bourbon distillers do with the heads and tails? Sell the heads to chemical processing companies and use the tails in their lower end bottlings? Throw them all out? Something else?

06-10-2005, 07:21
As I understand it, they generally get recycled, included with subsequent runs. Initially I assumed that they would produce a really noxious distillate, but a book on distilling I read (I don't remember which one right now) said that they make MORE flavorful whiskey. In fact, at some point there are enough saved up to do a still run of just old foreshots and feints, and those are supposed to be superlative runs.

I don't know any of this myself; just passing on something I read.

06-10-2005, 10:15
the heads and tails?

Noob question: What are heads and tails?

06-10-2005, 10:23
...What are heads and tails?

'Heads' is simply the earliest product of distillation, which contains volatile compounds unsuitable for whiskey. 'Tails' is the last bit of distillate off the still, and generally is low-alcohol.
As noted above, they are sometimes also referred to as 'foreshots and feints'.

06-14-2005, 15:54
The heads are recycled/redistilled, the tails are discarded.