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  1. 6 likes
    Jeff, Under a given set of conditions, there is an optimum cooking temperature and time to obtain the best quality of distillate and the best alcohol yield. I believe the question you have is about cooking small grains at high temperatures. There are a lot of ways to prepare grains for fermentation, but the simple goal of cooking is to gelatinize the starch granules, to make them available for hydrolysis by enzymes to convert to fermentable sugars but the complicated goal is to efficiently obtain proper gelatinization of starch, properly free up amino acids the yeast require, convert to fermentable sugars, reduce contamination and obtain a flavor extraction from the grains. The infusion mashing process we use, (simply cooking small grains at lower & proper temperatures), here at Wilderness Trail is designed around maximizing flavor first, energy second and time third. You do not have to boil your grains up to 210F and you certainly do not want to cook any of your small grains (wheat, rye, barley, malted barley, etc) in that range, again you can but it will not be the highest quality distillate you can obtain in the end if you do that. You can cook corn to 210F and it doesn't do much more than waste energy cooking it that high, part of the high heat is to sterilize the grains of bacteria and you take care of that around 190F and you only need to cook corn around 190F-185F for proper gelatinization, we cook our corn at 190F, it saves energy from going higher, we convert all of the available sugars and sterilize our grains, that is why you do it. For wheat the actual gelatinization range is 136F-146F but we start adding our wheat around 155-160F. For Rye the actual range is 135F-158F and we add and cook our Rye no higher than 160F for good reasons. Our Malted barley never goes in higher than 145F to preserve the enzymatic activity and to keep the grains intact. Think of it this way, gelatinization is like popping popcorn under water, its a dramatic change in the grains composition.. and throw in some smaller ductile grains like wheat or rye and you blow them apart under the same conditions as well as a lot of protein you don't want to break down. The reasons you do not cook grains beyond their proper gelatinization range is more about flavor than yield because if it is too rigorous, thermal decomposition of grain components will cause objectionable popcorn phenolic odors, yield is more impacted by poor grains, under cooking, poor conversion and yeast conditions. By using the infusion mashing process for small grains, you keep the branched chain amino acids and proteins in place with the grains that the yeast will use to properly make a flavorful result. If you boil your small grains, you are creating unbranched chain amino acids, degrading proteins and frankly blowing apart the flavor you are trying to extract. Small grains also get scorched very easy and there are Maillard effects that create all kinds of new chemicals from the high heat of small grains you don't want, plus why would you, the process doesn't require it. The yeast take these unbranched chain and Maillard effect's and turns them into higher alcohols (fusels) and other chemicals that alter the flavor and result of the beer & distillate. In short summary for our whiskeys, we cook our corn to 190F and hold that for 40 minutes, we cool to 160F by adding some water additions of the overall mashbill and add our wheat or Rye and hold that for 30 minutes, we add more water additions to get to 145F which is when we add our Malted Barley which rest for 30 minutes. We add the rest of our water additions for our ferm set and the chiller takes it down to 90F. We send that to our fermenters, which are set to hold at 85F for three day beer and 78F for 4-5 day beer. By shortening the initial cook of the total water, your initial cook is thicker, for us that is around 18 beer gallons and that allows you to use less energy to heat up the initial cook and reserve the rest of the water for cooling capacity as well as when you add your grains you are also using that to help cool your mash down. For example I mentioned we add our wheat at 160F but after the grains are added the temperature drops to around 150F+ and rest out to a little above 145F. We primarily make a wheated Bourbon but we also make a Rye Whiskey, which again even though the Rye will be the majority of grains, we still cook our smaller amount of Corn up to 190F and then cool it down to 160F before adding the majority of the mashbill of Rye. Infusion mashing is scientifically proven to offer a more flavorful distillate and smoother distillate, mainly for the reasons listed above. Shane Baker Co-Founder, Master Distiller Wilderness Trail Distillery
  2. 6 likes
    "Most customers aren't easily deceived for long don't care in an open market place." There, fixed it for you.
  3. 5 likes
    I'l probably get blasted for this but... I get a never ending parade of people wanting to apprentice or work for free to "learn the craft". Basically you are asking to get for free what has taken me 25 years and a masters degree to acquire. So unless you offer some skill I happen to need or I'm short on bottling labor, I'm not super inclined to take your offer. In fact my standard response is to offer you training at $1000 per day; you pay me. Most small operations don't need any body, they need skilled bodies; we simply aren't big enough to afford the luxury in time or money. If you can't find a position in a distillery, try a brewery or winery to get a good feel for what we do. Which, by the way, is mostly cleaning. A science background is not absolutely required but it helps when problems arise. In a small operation, being able to handle any situation with creativity is key. Can you re-wire a pump or tweak a labeling machine? Mechanical aptitude often saves the day. Just having passion, or what you think is a good idea, does not make things happen; you must be able to follow through. I don't want to discourage you, but unless you bring some skill, most operations simply don't need you. End of rant.
  4. 4 likes
    I don't agree with this, and it's not because I have a biased or vested opinion as an owner (after all, where you sit is where you stand.) Yeah yeah, easy money is over. Everyone with a first mover advantage that didn't parlay that into growth and investment has lost that opportunity. Are we talking about a small craft producer turning into a national brand? Hell, that's always been a long shot. Are we talking about new business failures and failure to launch? I don't think that's new, I think it's just becoming more visible through places like ADI, etc. Remember, 80% of startups fail on average. This business is no different. Like I said, that first mover advantage that might have lowered this rate to 60% - that's gone, but all that means is it's no different from trying to open up a franchise sandwich shop. First, I don't understand how you define or easily identify brand saturation in a market. From my position, if the market sufficiently fragmented such that smaller players are able to gain or retain enough market share to be viable, what does it matter the aggregate number of brands? How is it that the wine market is not sufficiently brand overloaded? I personally think that the Scotch section is incredibly confusing and cryptic, but it continues to grow. In addition, the bulk of the craft brand growth has been local/regional, with very few being in national distribution. There is no single national "shelf", unless you are a major national player, everything else comes down to the local shelf. And not even all of the local shelves, but the local shelves that matter. A single strong specialty spirits retailer can move more product in a month than dozens of nondescript mom and pop corner liquor shops. Why would you even bother to waste your time with the latter (more on this later). Is it about the ability to respond to market changes? Craft distillers can very rapidly adjust their business models to account for short-term preferential changes in the marketplace. We have the advantage of agility. If tomorrow, anchovy vodka was the next hot thing, most of us could be in the artisan anchovy vodka business relatively quickly. A national producer would not have similar agility. We have the advantage of being significantly more agile in the marketplace, this should not be overlooked. Also, are new entrants able to grow the size of the overall market themselves? You might think the question is a little bit silly, how can new market entrants grow a market that major players have trouble doing whilst spending tens, if not hundreds of millions in aggregate, on advertising? But I I think the answer is that they can, by virtue of being local, and by virtue of being experiential. IMHO, that word, "experiental" is going to be the key, and it's not going away. I think the last piece is the key differentiation that craft brands have over nationals, the ability to be experiential. But what the nationals can't do, is appeal to the experiential buyer at mass-scale. They can only be experiential in so far as their marketing material takes them. I don't think that translates into local market dynamics. Awareness is not experience. How can you ignore the demographic change that is driving this longer-term market shift? A shift which clearly has legs. Every retailer is incredibly focused on this. Every consumer service business is incredibly focused on this. Even the financial services industry is spending millions on this. And hell, who wants to be caught dead in a bank branch? What kind of "experience" is that? There are dozens and dozens and dozens of studies and articles talking about this paradigm shift, there are probably just as many consultancies that state that they have the secret keys to be able to navigate this. But, the fact is, nobody has figured this out yet. It's fair game. I'll just leave a few keywords and concepts here, which I think are really important to think about. This is not your father's Oldsmobile. Experience, not Things Authenticity, Sincerity, No Bullshit. Social (as in Conspicuous) Consumption In Collaboration, actually Listening Environmental and Social Conscience Local and Artisanal Obvious Passion Respect, and Respected Unique and Limited, not Mass Market and Undifferentiated I firmly believe that a new craft distillery entrant in a crowded craft market can absolutely destroy the incumbent players if they master this experience component, and can scale it. Let that be a warning to anyone sitting on their ass. A millennial marketing to a millennial will absolutely beat the pants off you. Are you still hanging onto that trope about your great uncle Cletus' secret recipe? Sorry, they don't give a shit about that. Doing a private spirits pairing at the hot local restaurant, with a custom menu designed by it's hot local chef? Pretty food, pictures plastered all over Instagram, now we're talking. Personally? I don't think this demographic is interested in mass market anything. It's about creative differentiation, limited availability, having a brand image that a demographic wants to be associated with. It's not about being able to spend massive marketing budgets either. It should be the national brands who are shaking in their boots.
  5. 4 likes
    Mail merges are a dying art. Only the Nigerians seem to make the effort anymore.
  6. 3 likes
    It's very difficult to identify the specific bacterial strain from a pellicle photo, it could be a half dozen different bacteria. Can you describe the smell? Is it more acetic than usual? Do you smell any rancid, butter, body odor, or vomit? Any slime or ropiness if you stir closely below the surface? Just keep an eye on it and see if it begins to appear to be a mold, in which case remove it. I intentionally pitch specific strains of non-yeast bacteria in my rum fermentations to encourage specific ester formation, and I'm starting to work on mixed culture whiskey fermentations, with very good results. There are a handful of lactobacillus strains that I absolutely adore in whiskey and rum. Yes, I said that, and yes I intentionally "infect" fermentations. Every whiskey fermentation that doesn't boil after mashing is "infected" with numerous strains of bacteria. Grain is incredibly filthy from a microbiological perspective. Even some strains of Streptococcus can survive lower-temperature cereal mashes. Same for the rum distilleries, just a different set of bugs. In addition, you'll develop your own mix of strains that define your house/colonial bacteria profile. What I do is force a specific profile to match the outcome I am looking for. Let it ferment out, run it, it may be the most interesting rum you've made. Here are two of my favorite papers on the prevalence of specific bacterial strains in whiskey distilleries: http://www.microbiologyresearch.org/docserver/fulltext/micro/147/4/1471007a.pdf?expires=1483011394&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=3F2159A77F8BCEB870E570C224754586 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC126549/ And Rum: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1046/j.1365-2672.1998.00380.x/asset/j.1365-2672.1998.00380.x.pdf?v=1&t=ixabpopp&s=5841ec634998983c0b050add5b2dbeba52bd555c
  7. 3 likes
    and there we go, the first PM trying to sell me monthly cost software comes in promising a 'big discount'... when it is a $9.95 app (ok, a $99.95 app) with no recurring charges, let me know...
  8. 2 likes
    Masters in chemistry, while helpful, is far from necessary. What you really need is a process engineering consultant for about a year, a stellar marketing company, compliance officer, and CFO. Oh, and a shit-ton of money. Distilling is by far the easiest thing about running a distillery (and probably, after the first year, the most boring).
  9. 2 likes
    We "rest" our Gin for 20 days before bottling as many of the flavor characteristics come off at different boiling points. They need time to marry up and the best way is to vat everything and proof a little high. All the flavors will reach their peak after about 20 days and then you can take it to your final bottling proof and put it in the bottle. With Vodka you shouldn't have to follow this procedure. There shouldn't be any flavors to marry, so you should be good to go as soon as you proof and filter. We still take two or more days to do this as we creep up in the final proof to make sure we get it right.
  10. 2 likes
    It seems to me that we all need to batten down the hatches and pre-pair for the fallout. I feel that the distillery bubble is just about ready to burst. This year (2017) will be by far the biggest year on record of distilleries going out of business. There are many factors why I feel this way bust just to name a few. Two main reasons to always reflect on. The battle for Shelf Space, and Operating Capital. And a couple more. 1. To much bourbon. I believe that this is the year that the larger number of distilleries will for the first time be trying to sell there brown spirits. The problem is not there local area it would be everywhere else they are trying to sell the brown juice. The Distilleries will be battling in a marketing game, and that in it self requires MONEY and TIME, and time cost MONEY. To put up all that bourbon cost Money straight out of the operating capital. When product does not move as quickly thought. The R.O.I. Is much greater and the hit is much harder. 2. I Deal with people from every corner of the world, in every facet of this industry. I deal with people that have big budgets and small budgets. I am aways blown away when someone just wants to make a little booze and thinks they have got to have a $200,000 dollar still, or pay $75,000 for a 50 gallon pot. The reason for item #2 is the spending of MONEY in the most stupid ways possible. People don't stop and think that some of the biggest components of equipment are truly the least important. People think the need the biggest and baddest still but forget about the boiler, chiller, mash cooker, ferm tanks, bottles, labels, and all the small things that nickel and dime a start up. Stop and think "how many bottles do I have to make to pay this off". 3. Sell out, sell off. One of the biggest mistake someone could make is to sell off the larger part of stock in the company to get to the place they need to be or get the equipment they think they need. When you realize that you are not really the owner and your are more a employee that person cares a little less and gives up quicker. When you work the hours we all do at a distillery and think...."I could be making more money flipping burgers".....how much heart do you have really in it. People have medical problems but I am floored by how many distillers are selling out because of it. I get it no one on earth want to admit "I Failed". So don't sell your soul just to crush your dream. 4. This one will be easy. Operating Capital- how many times have you looked around your distillery and saw a piece of equipment that you bought a while back and thought "man, I wish I never bought that" Or "I would like to have the money I spent on that". #4 = Don't buy stupid Crap. THINK. It comes right out of your Operating Capital. 5. Distilleries trying to do something so so different that they Distill there way right out of a business. Think about what you do before you spend the money. I just checked yesterday and let me see, time, grain, water, labels, bottles, and corks still are not cheap. So is it a good idea to have 100 cases of something that won't sell. Please, impress the bank with your massive over stock of junk. 6. This one is kinda like #5. Not listening to your patrons. People that will go out of business are probably bull headed and think "If I make it they will come". Make products that is proven that people like. You don't have to copy, put your own spin. Know what is selling on the markets. 7. Getting out in front of the public. You may be making booze, but you are also selling your self / story. You spent all this money on a shiny piece of copper, where is your advertising money? Distilleries have to get out in front on the public doing tasting, and ect. I see a trend of people not doing that as much as is needed. 8. Part of #7. I was in a very top self liquor store today and there was 250 different types of brown spirits. Which one do I choose? 9. Battle for shelf space. With the gates opening on distilleries all over the us and more imports coming in, the battle for shelf space has begun. All the money you spent making that rum, whiskey, vodka, ect, will be for nothing if you can't get it on the shelf. Enough said. Summary-Rough seas ahead. Tighten your belts. I am all ready seeing lots of used NOS everywhere. It used to be when something was put online it was gone in hours. Now it just sits there... I wish everybody always thoughts. I wish everyone the very best. Let us all be in good SPIRITS in 2017 and the years to follow. Joseph Dehner
  11. 2 likes
    Hi Rachael, as Foreshot mentioned above, the pallet stackers are perfect solutions for those of us who don't have room to operate a fork lift. We build our own 3 level barrel racks and use the pallet stacker to load/unload from the top two rows. Here's a link to an Instagram video we recently posted that shows a barrel being offloaded onto our racks. These are 15 gallon barrels.
  12. 2 likes
    an inexpensive glass still and the required thermometer and hydrometer are what's needed. the procedure is in the gauging manual in 27cfr 30.32(c). in the process, distillation is used to remove the sugars (that are more dense than water and will push your hydrometer up making the amount of alcohol seem lower) with water. then you measure the proof in the usual way. let me say it again: replace the sugars with the amount of water the sugars displace. the trouble is that while you are making the batch, you actually can do the weights and arithmetic quite accurately, and your results will be spot-on, but when gauging for tax, you are required to use the prescribed method noted above. you might as well spring for the glass still now.
  13. 2 likes
    Ah! "but not the chemistry behind how they interact once mixed.".... Along similar lines to "What is the meaning of Life, The Universe, and Everything?" As the Japanese distillers have pursued (to their definite and large advantage), modern chemistry allows PRECISE discovery of "what is in it?" for any liquid. Down to parts-per-billion precision and with total knowledge of component identification. There are NO components in - for example - a Great malt whisky which cannot be acquired in pure form so that a duplicate "recipe" of ingredients can be made. The Great Mystery is how these form over time in the environment inside an ageing barrel. And even that is no longer much of a mystery to the Chemistry Detectives. Techniques have been available for DECADES to relatively mundane laboratories not only to identify and quantify ALL such components, and to also to TRACK whence they came. Time-spanned repeat studies even show up "intermediates" along the way. So, the scientifically inclined follow their path, sometimes with a quiet chuckle for the Traditionalists who insist that a good malt only develops if the right number of old bones are thrown into the air, at the right height and with the correct incantation....... And the Traditionalists laugh in (near) total disbelief at the complete analysis of the Big Picture suggested by their opponents. The big question is who, over time, makes the best product in terms of Customer acceptance AND preparedness to pay. And PROFIT of course! Which US Distilleries get $100 per 70cl bottle of single malt made on a COFFEY STILL (and know that even some in Scotland have done for many decades....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Nevis_distillery )? How many posters herein are actively and currently discussing and debating such progressive options to Process Improvement, compared to those promoting "same old" methodologies? Sure ALL distilleries have seen gradual incorporation of newer ideas and technologies over the centuries. What many seem to fail to grasp is the rate of ACCELERATION of such adoptions, and the rapid demise of those failing to see the "train" heading their way in their tunnel! Cast your minds back to how impregnable DEC seemed with their super-mini computers in 1985. Or Compaq did with their PC's in 1995. Both GONE. Extinct as the dinosaurs. And all they did was to fall behind "the Curve" SET BY THEIR CUSTOMERS' NEEDS. They both thought they owned their market. Both were seriously mistaken! Just my $0.02
  14. 2 likes
    First, he said he does not have the capital for that software, and I understand where he came from... I am not sure I agree with using the costly software for small folks starting out, a couple hundred dollars a month is great if it does everything and you have ten thousand a month coming in, but they don't do everything, they can't... You still have to do all the measuring, all the data entry, and you have to do it their way, they just do math and database recording... sure they fill out the reports, but in my opinion, you really need to do the reports yourself for at least a little bit, your name is still on them!... Oh, and from what I hear, don't try to go back and correct a mistake you found you made in one of those programs... worse than trying to correct something in your Retail POS system... I spend maybe an hour a week filling out basic daily log forms I created in excel for each kind of tracked activity: received fermentables, fermentations, transfers, stripping runs, whiskey runs, neutral runs, botanical runs, dilution, gauging and bottling runs, barreling and entry to storage, and removal from bond... In the beginning, it was well more than an hour, but you get good at it... those forms have no math, they are simple daily records that I print out a bunch of each type and keep in the distillery area, I do something on the list above, I fill it out by hand... (it is also a great thing to show people on tours to show the detail of records you keep to appease the government and why they should buy a bottle of something that is truly 'hand crafted!) Monthly, tonight, actually, I will take all those daily record sheets in my binder and last month's forms, and tally up totals.... I will go through my distillation records and total up any 'finished spirits' and open the 5110.40 "production", I will go through it and triple check everything.. I will go through my dilution, gauging, and bottling records and my 'removed from bond records and tally them up and I will fill out 5110.28 "processing".. I didn't fill any new barrels this month, so my 5110.10 'Storage' will have the same values that I ended with last month... I literally spent more time typing this than I probably will doing the reports tonight.... I have looked at putting my data into one of the lower cost systems like distillitrak. I probably will go with them eventually, but the startup is too time intensive at the moment, as the setup of vendors, every container, every ingredient, etc... are one thing, but every time you turn around to do something different, you have to go add this or that to your ingredients or vendors or items or whatever before proceeding, it really seems to hurt the artistic workflow of a small shop.... you should do it in excel sheets of your own making for a year or so, specifically so you know what the software you will likely eventually purchase is doing... The biggest reason I will eventually get a system is for more than 10 products and products at multiple proofs, that is where spreadsheets fail and a database shines... but even then, it will do things the operator does not understand, especially if the operator does not have an intimate understanding of how the daily records and monthly TTB forms relate to each other... OK, I spent an hour and a half writing this... time to do reports..
  15. 2 likes
    I make those 504 loans in CA, Nevada and Arizona. You are correct that it would be 10% or 15% down and it will also be lower interest than would a conventional bank loan if you could find one. One thing about the 504 though, is that it is not for startups... although startups are eligible. Generally for a startup to qualify you would need more down and possibly need to pledge assets like a home as collateral. The SBA 504 can also be used for equipment loans. The size of the total project financed can be $10 million or more. However, the most important thing is a really good plan with well done financial projections and assumptions. Look up "Certified Development Company" in your area and talk to a CDC loan officer to help you out. There is another SBA project called the 7a that banks participate in. These can provide real estate loans, equipment loans, working capital. Lastly, there is the Community Advantage loan. CDCs provide those and they can go as high as $250k. That product is a good one to consider for equipment financing. You would probably need to put down 20-25% if unsecured, but the terms would be much better than using 10-20 credit cards. The bottom line is that there is financial help out there if you have your act together.
  16. 2 likes
  17. 1 like
    What he said ^^^^ She was just being defensive. There are a lot of people interested in being a distiller so she probably hears that a lot. I will say that my personal experience is that you get about 50/50 with people being friendly about it and not. Luckily @Huffy2k is local to me and has been really open and friendly. I have stopped out at his place a couple times and he's always been welcoming. Other people in the area weren't as much. Do you need a master's degree in Chemistry? No. I know several distillers that make money that don't have the slightest clue as to chemistry. They pick a mash bill and repeat it. If they encounter a problem they dump whatever it is they are working on and start again. If you have a good bio/chem background you can adjust and probably save whatever it is you're working on and save money. It also helps with the repeatably of the process / consistency of the product. Distilling is a limited though complicated subject. Any reasonably intelligent person can pick up a couple books and learn. That knowledge is what allows distillers to make nuanced changes to make a flavor different, or to know when a step can be ignored to save money, or increase efficiency.
  18. 1 like
    Have you ever wanted to own your own brand of liquor but don't have $500k to invest in a dedicated facility? Have you ever looked at the brands in the store and thought "I have a better idea"? Are you planning to open your own distillery someday but want to test out the market before investing serious cash? We can help! We are a Durham based distilled spirits manufacturer with many years of experience and a fully permitted facility. We have extra blending and bottling capacity and we're excited to work with you to produce your brand. We have no minimum order requirements, and we charge reasonable fees for getting your unique product ready for market. We're ready to start the process with you today. Drop us an email and we'll help you get started.
  19. 1 like
    All you are trying to do when you re-distill your spirit is to separate the alcohol in the spirit from any solids. Your main goal is to distill ALL the ethanol from the spirit and leave only solids and water behind in the proofing still. Once you extract the ethanol then you add only pure water to your distillate to get back to your original volume that you distilled (before adding any extra water to rinse the flask). Then you can take the proof with hydrometers and that will tell you the proof of your original spirit. The extra water to rinse the flask will not change the amount of ethanol you will distill. Example: Start with 500ml of your sweetened spirit. Assume all volume and proof readings are taken at 60F! Make sure all 500ml gets into the still and use XXml of rinse water if needed. Distill until you have collected all ethanol, (until still temp is at 212F). Stop distillation and add XXml of water to get the distillate volume back to 500ml exactly. Now you've effectively replaced the solids in the spirit with just water but it has the same ethanol content and volume as your original sample. Proof distillate with hydrometers. The key is to make sure you get all the ethanol out so you must make sure all the spirit gets into the proofing still and you also don't lose any through evaporation while distilling or you'll be under proof.
  20. 1 like
    I don't see a way on the winery 5120.17 monthly report to do that transfer. Assuming the alcohol inventory has been kept track of in Part III on page 2 of that form, I would be tempted to record the transfer on line 7 and make a note in part X. A quick call to the TTB should clarify the issue.
  21. 1 like
    Thank you so much Ned! We talked about the putting the bricks back. I think we have a good idea how to do it. Mrjayce is my business partner. Thank you everyone for your input. This week has been stressing us pretty hard. We are moving forward with circulation and may add some heating elements and some other ideas suggested here. In hopes that other's will be helped by this post, I'll update it later with our changes. James Hye Rum
  22. 1 like
    Yeah, mixers can be useful to bring cooler liquid down to the bottom. Bigger the delta T, the better the heat transfer and efficiency. We used to run direct fire, without agitation and it was slow. At least in the brandy world, it is believed that the high heat and copper contact in a slow warm up contributes positively to flavor. Not sure if that is the same for rum or not. We switched to direct steam coils, still no agitation on that still and warm-up is faster, but still slow, agitation would help with that, but it is fast enough, and the flavor profile seems unaffected. We used to pre-heat our wine for the still to 120 to shorten warm-up. Might be an option for you if you have an insulated tank, drain the still through a coil in an insulated tank (or use another heat exchanger of your choice) to save the heat for the next day. My understanding is LP is typically much more expensive than NG, (although I'm sure that varies depending on location), so that could be another reason to try to save/reclaim heat.
  23. 1 like
    Ward has always been helpful with any issue we have had.....have you sent the photos over to them? I think they would want to sell you a burner with a lot more jets or re-jet with what you have.....how do you adjust the flame once you do get to temperature? Does the control have a safety that will stop gas flow if the pilot or flame fails? Is the flame color mostly blue which would indicate good air/gas mix....
  24. 1 like
    A few constants I've used, and confirmed: You yield 11% of your kettle volume in finished whiskey. This is double pot stilling with minimal reflux. A column with proper deph control will yield you about 16-17% kettle volume in finished whiskey in one run. Assuming 9-10% distillers beer. variability to the above comes from your actual ferment ABV. For every 100 G of still volume you can expect (roughly) around 500 bottles of white dog/unaged at 80 proof per week (5 days). This is assuming you're running a single run through column. I've found this to be spot on. To predict finished whiskey bottles at 80 proof take the above bottles-per-run and account for 10% loss the first year then 3% annually beyond that. This varies depending on climate. Those 500 bottles per 100 G kettle volume look like 410 bottles in 4 years. To change any of those numbers (like bottle proof) use the equation [concentration 1][volume 1] = [concentration 2][volume 2]. So those 410 aged bottles at 100 proof would be: [80p][410btls] = [100p][x] which is: 328btls of 4 year old whiskey at 100 proof per 100 G of still volume. If you have a 450G still, divide by 100 and multiply by the 328 btls we figured out above and you can produce 1476 bottles of 4 year old whiskey per week...which you can sell in 4 years. The equation i used does NOT account for volume loss when you blend water with ethanol. It is significant, and it will cause these numbers to be lower. Tons of variables to account for. ROUGH numbers we're working with here. As your example of a 450G still you're looking at ~72 proof gallons per run. You would produce around 2200 bottles at 80 proof per week on a 5 day single run schedule. We average about 58 proof gallons per 53G barrel so you're looking at 6.8 barrels per week if you batch 5 runs then barrel at 115. 120 puts you at 5.7 barrels per week (roughly). In terms of stripping runs, 20% of kettle volume is about what we yield pretty consistently. We kill it at a TP of below 15 at the parrot. Not worth my time beyond that.
  25. 1 like
    Someone recently described it as looking like the filler Darth Vader would use. Not sure if that's a downside?
  26. 1 like
    I am looking to source the plastic figure 8 shaped parts that are used to hang a 50ml bottle off of a 750ml bottle. Does anyone have a source for these (or any idea what they are called so I can search them)? Thanks! Mike
  27. 1 like
    I have a couple clients looking at chill filtration- is it one that has it's own refrigeration or to a separate glycol chiller?
  28. 1 like
    There is a new Enolmaster vacuum unit on eBay for $2800 - a couple hundred bucks off retail price - maybe the seller will even deal. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bottling-Machine-For-Wine-or-Olive-Oil-bottles-Four-nozzle-vacuum-filling-/272558433385?hash=item3f75bfa469:g:AK0AAOSwTuJYpQDt
  29. 1 like
    If you are not pasteurizing your mash, like most don't, then citric is less than ideal. Certain strains of lactobacilli will metabolize it into diacetyl. Instead, malic acid is ideal - it does not impact the performance of fermentation like some organic acids do, and is metabolized into the very ideal lactic acid by bacteria.
  30. 1 like
    I'm in the beginning stages of starting a distillery in California and I'm pretty confused over the steam boiler component of the system. I'm going to be getting a 200 gal 4 plate column still. Heat recommendations I've seen range between 400k-600k BTUs (I'm not running a mash tun or anything, just the still). I've heard that certain sized boilers require separate enclosures built out of fireproof materials with a certain amount of ventilation and certain amount of space around the unit. Some have told me it needs to be outside some have told me it needs to be inside. Some have told me you don't need a boiler room at all. I'm finishing up tenant improvements negotiations with my landlord and I need to tell him what I will need him to build into the building. Can anyone offer me some advice on this? Or direct me to the correct agency to contact or website to review?
  31. 1 like
    The owner of my company is looking to buy a "Figgins Reciprocator" still and I was wondering if anyone in here has used one before. Does the unique double pot design into a single column run well? I don't quite get the point of having two pots and am curious about any advantages/disadvantages anyone may be aware of. Attached is a link to some info on it. Thanks! https://www.stilldragon.org/discussion/673/the-figgins-reciprocator
  32. 1 like
    Got one off of morewinemaking.com , it was about $150 instead of $400 and the guys on the bottling line love it. Especially if you have few people on the line and do large quantities step by step, it is super helpful. Thanks for your feedback everyone!
  33. 1 like
    Assuming 75% efficiency you're looking at either 300 kbtu or 450 kbtu. His heating needs are: 200 gallons = 1668 lbs 200 gallons from 75F to 212F = (212-75)*1668 = 228,516 BTUs 200 gallons from 212 to vapor = 970 * 1668 = 1,617,960 BTUs In my experience he won't have enough load for the boiler to run efficiently -- it's going to be short cycling to beat the band, and although it's not hard on the boiler, it will kill efficiency ($$$$). He needs roughly 250kbtus to heat up the still to boiling and another 1.6mbtus to vaporize the entire contents of the still (clearly he won't be doing this). The question that's difficult to answer is how fast can the heat be transferred from the steam jacket to the contents of the kettle. Delta-T is a factor (operating the boiler at 9 psi rather than 2 psi has it's advantages) but so is the architecture of the kettles (a "tablet" shaped is better than a cylindrical shape). I'd bet he wont see appreciably faster heatup times with a 600k than a 275k boiler because of the heat transfer rate and the fact the boiler will have serious short-cycling problems -- a 600k boiler wont push heat in any quicker than a 400k boiler. That being said, when he upgrades to a larger still he'll be good to go.
  34. 1 like
    This is a complicated question. Here is how I understand it. Because the FDA was drowning in requests for GRAS determinations, it took refuge in a policy that allows a food manufacturer to self-certify that an ingredient is GRAS. However, to do so, the food manufacturer must possess evidence that would have convinced the FDA to issue a GRAS certification if the FDA had examined the evidence itself. Under those circumstances, it seems to me that self-certification is not something that most of the people engaged in craft businesses can pull off. The FDA struggled with the rules for more than 10 years, then issued guidelines. TTB reported on this in its newsletter. Here is what TTB said: . TTB NEWSLETTER | Weekly News August 19, 2016 FDA ISSUES FINAL RULE ON FOOD INGREDIENTS THAT MAY BE "GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE" Each producer and importer of alcohol beverages is responsible for ensuring that the ingredients in its products comply with the laws and regulations that FDA administers, including rules regarding criteria for concluding that a substance is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Industry members are reminded that TTB's approval of a COLA or formula does not imply or otherwise constitute a determination that the product complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Source: FDA Constituent Update dated August 12, 2016 In a step to strengthen its oversight of food ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a final rule detailing the criteria for concluding that the use of a substance in human or animal food is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Unlike food additives, GRAS substances are not subject to FDA pre-market approval; however, they must meet the same safety standards as approved food additives. The rule addresses the types of scientific evidence that can be used to demonstrate safety as well as the role of publications in evaluating whether the scientific evidence of safety is “generally available and accepted.” The GRAS criteria require that the safe use of ingredients in human and animal food be widely recognized by the appropriate qualified experts. The final rule also formalizes the voluntary GRAS notification procedure, which was originally established under an interim policy and pilot program for human food in 1997 and animal food in 2010. The FDA strongly encourages companies to inform the agency of GRAS conclusions through the notification procedure finalized with today’s rule. While the FDA can question the basis for an independent GRAS conclusion, whether notified or not, and take action as appropriate, the notification procedure yields important information that aids the agency’s food safety monitoring efforts. The GRAS final rule is the most recent step we are taking to strengthen the FDA’s oversight of substances added to human and animal food. Next steps include issuing additional guidances related to the GRAS regulations. As part of the Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program’s Strategic Plan, the FDA will develop and implement innovative regulatory and compliance strategies to improve premarket oversight and safety evaluation of human and animal food additives and GRAS substances. Now, TTB requires that you submit a formula when you add harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials to a spirits product that comes under TTB's labeling jurisdiction. However, in all instances, the FDA is the arbiter of what is and is not safe. TTB bows to the FDA's determinations. The question, then, is what TTB would do it you asserted, in a formula, that you cannot give a GRAS number because you have self-certified, to the FDA, the safety or "kukiboja" root (my invention) as a flavoring ingredient in your specialty item. I suspect it would not be well received. The burden is going to fall on you to show the sense of the community of experts applies in the case of spirits, and not just kukiboja jelly or chewing gum. Thomas Merton wrote in his journal, "Isn't life absurd enough already without our adding to it our own fantastic frustrations and stupidities?" I have a feeling attempts to use kukoboja extract might be piling frustrations onto the absurdities. I will add that the possibility that said extract could destroy kidney function is not an absurdity to be ignored. The requirement for proof that it is safe should not be decomposed along with the rest of the administrative state. I prefer to live free of concerns that food producers are poisoning me, even if it means that the food producer is not free to add any damned thing it wants. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum; freedom to and freedom from. Sometimes it is necessary for government to put a thumb on the scale to balance to and from on a reasonable way
  35. 1 like
    Yep, the days of putting junky equipment in junky buildings is coming to an end. Now we have gleaming equipment in gleaming buildings, where "distillers" re-bubble and squeak other companies alcohol. what seems to be happening is that most new distillers find it much easier to buy their product in bulk, do the minimum required to label it as their own, and dupe the market with craft price. as this goes away, the real craft market will continue to flourish. It just depends on what you want to be when you grow up.
  36. 1 like
    I agree with the previous analysis, but want to add something that I found in my own journey to getting my absinthe approved. If you're experimenting outside of the usual ingredients of traditional absinthe, it's possible to tip the scale of thujone in the absinthe. I tested with Cedar Leaf Tip, which contains more thujone than wormwood, though I wasn't able to find clear amounts before "hoping for the best" and sending it in for TTB testing. Came back 56ppm or so thujone in the absinthe. I swapped that ingredient out and passed no problem. As long as your only ingredient containing thujone is the wormwood, I doubt you'll have much a problem. Be mindful about other ingredients that contain thujone however (rosemary, cedar leaf tip, so on).
  37. 1 like
    I'm not on here to argue. Everybody needs to do their own thing. I'm just saying that if you keep redistilling a product that has already been taken to azeotrope, you can't make it into, Supertrope ? You can however change it back to a less than pure product with water, and the stuff that's stuck in the joints of your distillation equipment, and pull that off in the next round (or 50 rounds) of distillation, and extract some of those added impurities in the re-distillation process, that smells like a head. You can even add things in that water that you can't get out at 88% like lime that gives your redistilling spirit a different mouth feel, that makes you think it is "more pure" but it's really more of a mask. if you do however have a still that can make NGS better than NGS, I would love to see the specs. All of that said, when we make a vodka out of wine, vs for example wheat, we control our proofs to the minimum of the legal requirement to intentionally leave flavor and aroma nuance in the product. To me, NGS is just too ordinary. Prost
  38. 1 like
    Ya totally agree. I just wanted to point out to the OP that no matter how he was distilling: steam distillation with just water and essential oil (immiscible) or alcohol distillation with various solubles (miscible) that he was going to get thujone. Basically, as long as the liquid mixture boils (immiscible or miscible) he's going to get all the components to come over though in different amounts at different times. And that the "magic boiling point myth" does not exist even with mixtures that don't combine.
  39. 1 like
    Howdy Tallman! I definitely agree that you've got an interesting project ahead of you, but I would encourage you to continue to seek out opinions of folks in the industry around you to try to actually recreate the flavor profile of something that genuinely interests you. To think of yourself as "not in the distilling business" might be a great way to sell whisky but it's no way to contribute to an industry that's already bombarded with marketing noise. The end product is of the utmost importance. Best of luck!
  40. 1 like
    This article may help a bit. It's about peaches but probably similar to apricots.
  41. 1 like
    So I sent this same ramble to the TTB and a couple of other people I hoped could help me. One of which was Shawn Patrick of Hoochware, who responded extremely quickly, and was incredibly helpful to me, despite me not yet even being one of his clients. Can't speak highly enough of the guy. Other than a few numbers I typed incorrectly, which I corrected on the OP, #1-4 were correct. Here's a bit of what he had to say on #5 " Line 25 is correct, it's for the On-hand end of month total for Bulk Spirits sitting in vessels waiting to be Processed (mix, blend, bottle, etc). Line 46 is on-hand end of month of packaged (bottled) Finished Product. Again, these totals for both lines (25 & 46) carry over to the next month. Here is where I believe a misconception of losses can be reported incorrectly. If you have a tank with 100 proof gallons and you bottle all of it except .75 proof gallons then this is recorded on Line #24 on the processing report (Part I). Line 45 (Shortages) is for when you do your monthly inventory count of Finished Product (bottled) and you find a discrepancy. Line #30 is for gains during inventory count" Hopefully this will help someone, struggling as much as I was.
  42. 1 like
    So you're saying there should be some little used equipment coming to market soon
  43. 1 like
    With regards to Paul's and Steve's debate about CE components and whether they would pass inspection, there is a common misconception about what CE means which most people don't realize. There are TWO CE markings, and each one means something completely different. 1. CE = Conformitée Européenne, meaning European Conformity, which is found on products designed to be sold in Europe, and is the manufacturer's declaration that the product meets the requirements of the applicable European standards. This marking is mandatory for EU countries and EFTA countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. 2. CE = China Export, means just that. It has been made in China and exported out of China. It has no qualitative assurance, just meant to deceive and confuse the consumer. The symbols look almost identical, which adds to the confusion. Take a look at the picture below. The European Commission is aware of this issue, but nothing much has been done about it yet. Therefore, we agree with Paul (Southernhiglander) that CE markings coming out of China means absolutely nothing from an electrical safety/inspection perspective, unless they are the Conformitée Européenne markings. The difference in the markings is the distance of the "C" from the "E" and also the middle line inside the "E" is longer on the "China Export", otherwise, indistinguishable and only meant to deceive an unaware consumer. The above can be verified on the following Wikipedia link if someone thinks the above is too outrageous to be true: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking
  44. 1 like
    It is an excellent business model, but one I have chosen not to emulate. If those of us who are grain-to-glass really want to have an impact on the public awareness about the difference, we will need to band together to publicize and market the difference.
  45. 1 like
    Hey Guys...Starting to look into our water treatment systems and have put together the systems below. Based on the water criteria we have here...attached...what is everyone's thoughts on this system? Water Info: City water that originates from 4 wells within the county. Considered "Hard" water. Main water inlet to building is 3/4" There are 2 main systems. The first system will be our process water with the 2nd system being our finishing water. Process water system-Flow: Sediment Filter-Softener Finishing Water System Flow: Sediment Filter-Softener--Additional carbon filtration-RO System Initial Sediment filter http://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-big-blue-4-5-x-20-commercial-triple-filtration-system.html?fee=10&fep=5067&gclid=CPrP36PdpckCFdCPHwodsFQFyg Filters for sediment filter 20 micron, 5 micron, & Carbon Block for removing dirt, sediment, and chlorine Softener http://www.lowes.com/pd_416874-43353-WHES33_1z10xx4__?productId=3824563&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1 Additional carbon filtration http://www.amazon.com/Hydro-Logic-31027-Pre-Evolution-Pre-Filter-Evolution/dp/B004LO0HBS/ref=pd_bxgy_60_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1X6QQPSMBKB5NP3H9MTJ RO System http://www.amazon.com/Hydro-Logic-31023-1000-GPD-Evolution-RO1000/dp/B004LNUNKE Some major questions are: 1). if the additional carbon filtration prior to the RO system is necessary sense the water first passes through the carbon block within the sediment filter then the softener prior to even entering the RO system. 2). Should the softener be upgraded to output greater than 15gpm. Thanks for the advice guys...welcome any input or opinions. Best.
  46. 1 like
    You're a little behind on the news, Joe. ASD is now manufacturing in the U.S. Thanks for reminding me to mention that on the forum. I'll ask Steve to post an announcement.
  47. 1 like
    Are you kidding? Even ASD is made in China! Duh..... So much equipment pours out of a certain region in China that is set up for manufacturing this stuff. China takes all kinds of designs from all over. Chinese companies will make the Products as thick or as thin you want. It is not there fault. The factory were ASD has in China that builds all of there equipment also builds product for other people on the side with out telling ASD. Not a good move on ASD side for paying for a stand alone factory where it is not monitored very well.
  48. 1 like
    I believe you are mistaken about the legality of the ABV distillation of various whiskes and for that matter the flavor profiles. Most blended Whiskeys are x straight mixed with x light (high ABV) whiskey. Don't tell a Canadian or for that mater a Scott that they have to drink whiskey that's been distilled to below 160. Maybe 20% of any given blend would be that low! but that's about it.
  49. 1 like
    This thread continues to deliver. I do have a question about this: "...first let me say the holstein I have has 21 plates the day Odin was there we used only 4 plates and that was to make whiskey at 180 proof (the way whiskey is supposed to be distilled)." By definition, whiskey is produced at "no more than 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof)". To say that it's "supposed to be distilled" at 180 seems outright wrong on the one hand and completely unreasonable from an historical perspective, on the other. Different strokes and all, but I've never really understood the desire to produce "whiskey" at ridiculously high ABVs. There's no connection to the art.
  50. 1 like
    The reason for the seemingly long cook time at 190F is to overcome the hard to digest starches. The yield is improved by about 10 to 12% utilizing SEBStar HTL with the extended cooking time. The reason I don't go on up to boiling is to not denature the enzymes. It is a compromise of time vs energy. Generally, If I formulate a corn only mash for 17 BRIX I usually hit 17+. During the 190F steep there is no energy input to the system. It is simply a matter of getting the mash to 190 and allowing it to sit. Most of the time the mashes of 300+ gallons have no issue holding the heat. I do also have to add that most of the time with 100% corn and enzyme mashing I am using greater than 2 lbs per gallon of mash. The SEBStar HTL eliminates any viscosity issues. Fermenting a 9 to 10% mash is normal with this regimen. A 6% mash without enzymes is physically difficult and hard on most craft equipment. Sorry to go off subject but the questions lead to the answer.