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  1. 2 points
    Well fellas, I figured out the problem and wanted to run a batch successfully before posting on here. After checking everything suggested... I rechecked my enzymes and have apparently been using beta-glucanase as my beta-amylase since the last order (when the problem started). I usually order a high-temp alpha, beta, and beta glucanase. I apparently ordered 2 beta glucanase containers and never second guessed it. I put them in the usual places in the cooler and have been grabbing them like usual, not looking at the actual containers. I was even placing the beta glucanase in the cup labeled betaamylase...a small oversight, but an incredibly frustrating and expense learning lesson. I'm glad that the problem is easily solved...but incredibly disappointed in my oversight. I've successfully fermented 2 batches since realizing the issue, all ferment fully and taste great. I appreciate everyone's suggestions and help along the way. Best.
  2. 1 point
    I was wondering if any of you have had any positive interactions with the USDA regarding utilizing the value added grants and the wets grant for energy efficiency upgrades, etc. I'm going to contact them and try and find out what can be done in regard to estate grown items like bourbon inputs, etc. I'm curious what your mileage with them has yielded. I've found some good google search results. It would be fantastic to get real world feedback from one of the champions of the bureaucracy.
  3. 1 point
    And that folks, is why you buy Alcodens.
  4. 1 point
    We only use ro water for cutting. us water systems.
  5. 1 point
    Bluestar - I asked TTB some similar questions about a month ago and below are their responses. I didn't ask you final question directly but from part of my phone conversation with them we can have a designated space that serves as an alternating premise. For example you could have a bottling room that serves both the DSP as well as the winery. So as I interpreted it, part of the DSP could be an alternating premise in which the winery products could pass. Hope that helps a little. What kind of separation is required between the winery and distillery? The separation must be floor to ceiling with no passable access between the two operations Does it need to be a wall and completely separated space with separate entrances? Yes, unless the main entrance is into a common general area with separate access from that area into each operations that is lockable from the operations side. If we were to ferment wine and later distill it, would that have to be transferred to the DSP with the appropriate forms similar to wine transfers between separate entities? Wine can be transferred from the winery to the distillery, wineries for not have to submit transfer in bond paperwork, but both the winery and the distillery will need to notate their daily records of these transfers. Are we able to operate under the same entity? Yes, a single entity can hold multiple permits (both type and location). Is there anything else unusual beyond the regular winery permit requirements? There is nothing unusual about this type of winery application, unless both the DSP and the winery will be sharing the same space and the same equipment. In that case the original winery application would show that they are an alternating proprietor with the DSP as the host and them as the tenant. If this is the case the DSP will also need to amend their permit for the change to an alternating proprietor with the winery.
  6. 1 point
    Thank you for your thoughtful inquiries and takeaways here. Really, truly, very much appreciated. We’re strong believers in questioning everything (hence the question mark in the tail of the squirrel in our logo). It’s a bit ironic actually, the Squarrel business was built on the essence of questioning everything about traditional barrels. What’s the purpose of a barrel? To age and mature a spirit, to add tasty oak-y flavors, both? How much wood is actually needed to do that? Is all of it really needed, or as research has shown us- is only about 1/4 inch from each 2 inch stave (on average) creating flavor? (It’s the latter, obviously.) Can we make a beneficial impact on a natural resource by raising awareness for inefficiencies in the process? How can we help a beautiful industry become even greater? So thank you for your input and please keep checking in on us. Though Squarrel is a new addition to the industry the people behind it have been involved in different facets- from distillation of course to malting to farming to equipment design to cooperage-ing- just one of the reasons we’re so excited to bring this product to market. We want to make the process better because we’ve been there too- we’ve dealt with barrel issues, with the nuances of recipe formulation, with equipment that isn’t as perfect as it looks. We are designing this in order to make your life a slight bit easier because we understand how difficult it can be but also how rewarding it can be when it works. Squarrel is a new product that will be released soon so we do indeed plan to bring loads more information to the public as it comes together. We will have more analytical information, more sensory evaluations, more details from our focus groups and initial customers. I’ll post some of it here and will have samples at the conferences too, so stay tuned!
  7. 1 point
    I've used brokers in all control states to various but mainly unimpressive results. Getting menus and features printed is more complicated w brokers over distributors and you're better off doing it yourself in most cases. On top of that, their coverage is limited in those states, they don't hit full markets, they try to group you with their other brands in promotions etc. to the detriment of your own brand (its never about whats good for your single brand, but their portfolio as a whole- where as distrib. will have profit in the success of your brand individually). In most states brokers cannot even take or fulfill orders, and my main issue with them is the lack of reporting. In states where brokers would be valuable, reporting is limited and usually unavailable, so their reporting to you will be incomplete. Fuck brokers. Do the leg work yourself and save the margin for yourself, its just another leech trying to pull value from sales you and your brand likely generated for yourself.
  8. 1 point
    If this is covered elsewhere please point the way. For those of you who sell outside your main geographical area: are you using a broker to market your products? What is their compensation? This question is about brokers not distributors. The broker will take your unknown and non-distributed product to a new market and find distribution and push sales. They will not actually distribute the products.
  9. 1 point
    3-basin sink AND a separate utility sink (mop sink) are required. The latter can be a floor sink. It appears you have no plans to barrel age any product, at least you have no room in that layout. You aren't expecting to condition the air in that production room using a window AC in the summer, are you? If you are not going to use chilled fermenters, you need to control the room temperature well.
  10. 1 point
    Are you going to use a chiller for cooling stills or well water? Up to 10 HP you can get chillers in 208-230/1/60, outdoor you'll need glycol mix for the chiller if you have any freeze issues. I do carry a "dry" glycol cooler to satisfy cooling in winter, popular up Northern US. Usually farm distillers don't have 3 phase power and water wells that don't satisfy the usage for distillery cooling.
  11. 1 point
    Concur - stay flexible your layout will change. Extend that floor drain as much as possible to give you flexibility down the road. That storeroom behind the fermenters is going to be a disaster to work with.
  12. 1 point
    Lose all the walls you can! Mass space will be more important than segregating things. Start with a three bay sink, so you won't have to change it. I see molasses, so rum? Good would be turning a molasses ferment in three days. Your fermentation tanks should be at least six times your still capacity. How often do you want to distill and how fast can you turn a ferment?
  13. 1 point
    Bathrooms clearly aren't ADA compliant. Plan on a 7x7 box with nothing fancy -- forget about a urinal and stool. Google "Standard ADA bathroom" and you'll get a million hits. We have two identical. Both unisex. Both dull and utilitarian. Seems to work OK. You'll want to have forklift access to your storage, i.e. approach from the widest dimension. You'll forever be fighting yourself entering from the "end" of the room. Heaping on to what others have said, I think you need twice the amount of fermenters. Be caution of the on demand heater -- consider what happens to flow rate if both bathrooms and your kitchen area are using hot water at once. Think about having your RO close to where you intend to proof/gauge You'll want a rolling lockable tool chest. Harbor freight is your friend. You'll want a I dont see a furnace / mechanical room. We cheaped out the first winter and used only a fireplace (hey, lean times!) and still heat to heat our entire building. Got dinged twice by inspectors when temp fell below 68. You'll need a water softener in front of your RO system. Think about process hose storage; hose bib locations, 220 outlets for pumps, electrical drops from the ceiling, need for 3-phase power, location of NEMA approved enclosure for VFDs, etc, Fridge for yeast storage (you dont want to store your gogurt with your EC-1118) Where does your electrical drop come in? Just stating the obvious but that dictates where your electrical room will/should be.
  14. 1 point
    Download a scanner app from the app store and use your smartphone.
  15. 1 point
    In most jurisdictions you will need a minimum of 2 ADA Compliant restrooms.
  16. 1 point
    At a quick glance definitely not enough fermenters unless you are planning to be part time.
  17. 1 point
    A few things, I'm not sure where you are located, but do you need to send your plans to the city/county/state for approval? If so you do not look ADA compliant in particular with regards to your bathrooms, also it seems like a lot of toilets/urinals for the space. Secondly, most state health inspectors are going to require a 3-bay sink, not just a two bay. Fire code wise, your electrical panel probably doesn't have proper access. You also probably don't have enough space set aside for mechanical. Two fermentors to feed two stills doesn't seem to be a good match. With 20 foot ceilings, I would try to use space over the retail room for storage, and perhaps an office. TTB will most likely want a separate door to your production space, not to mention just for fire escapes.
  18. 1 point
    Our 66 to 122 gal. stills range in price from USD $10,120 to $18,150. Our stills have the following advantages: - Automated distillation runs through touchscreen computer display and ability to save up to 6 distillation runs for future production - Full manual control with ability to observe temperature, pressure, power consumption, etc. during the entire process Two principal distillation options: Pot still mode (70 to 150 proof) for flavor rich spirits such as whiskey, brandy, rum, gin, etc. Reflux still mode (190 to 193 proof) for vodka or neutral spirits for subsequent gin production Additional options: Jacketed tank for on the grain distillations Agitator 66 gallon GENIO Still 250 GENIO Still column with copper basket and touchscreen color display computer To see full list of options and capabilities, please visit our website at: https://g-still.com/shop/ We have showrooms in USA, Canada, England, Poland and Australia for anyone wishing to see our equipment in action. Our contacts can be found at the link below: https://g-still.com/contact/ Cheers, GENIO
  19. 1 point
    Excellent post here, Odin. I just wanted to second this point and also add that all spirits require some "aging" time (yep, even Vodka) and for precisely the reasons you recount here. The process of distillation is one of separation and segregation (or fractioning) of molecules followed by a very rapid and abrupt reassembly. It does not end at the cut. Which is why a rest period should be built into your production model for all spirits. 5 weeks is nothing if you've planned for it and, if you're willing to really pay attention to the spirit, the change will be dramatic. Thanks for making this point.
  20. 1 point
    Given the size and scope of your budget in comparison with big boys, and likely even mid cap suppliers, you are absolutely barking up the wrong tree here. Why would you devalue your brand and at the same time cut out your own margin (which you probably haven't protected enough as is)? Your distributor is taking advantage of your inexperience with programming if they are over pushing pay to play.... Set yourself up for success with distributors who believe in your brand and the value it holds. If the team believes, the team succeeds. If you devalue your brand by supporting it in the market when you shouldn't have to (because your product is not a commodity) why would anyone else respect what you're peddling?
  21. 1 point
    We considered a small (3 GPM) DI column for post RO but have never had any issue with visible crap in our bottles. If it aint broke don't fix it.
  22. 1 point
    Where are you located? We operate in a large ag centered midwest state and we have absolutely zero waste streams that we do not make money on other then packaging we substandard recycling and absolute trash..... Organic farmers and chem industry can use everything you produce (heads tails stillage etc) you just need to get creative in finding the right people
  23. 1 point
    Very interesting find here. Some good points and I would have to agree with the side that says there is plenty of room for growth. The way I see it, is this is a changing industry as growth continues. No offense, but if you are sing an end near, then you have already given up. I get it, people are afraid of change, but change is constant and an opportunity to do things different with added knowledge. Time for people to embrace change and evolve with the business. The same thing happened in the craft beer segment and that is exactly why I am here. Rather than opening another brewery and trying to adapt with the saturation I saw a chance to get into and industry that is years behind craft beer. Most distilleries before me have focused on the mass production and distribution model. I have decided to follow the craft beer model (as mentioned before) and go with a tasting room forward and innovative model. Were are slated to open by the end of the year and have a 2500 sqft tasting room with another 3000sqft outdoor "drink garden". Our production will be based on laughter with clean/closed fermentation and 1 stripping still and 2 spirits stills, one for botanical and one for flavor positive starches. We will produce about 30 different labels a year, some seasonal and one-offs. All small bath on a 10bbl brewhouse yielding about 60 gallons per batch. Intentions are to sell as much in-house and whatever is left over to liquor stores. Rather than trying to flood all liquor stores we will have a product that will only be on certain liquor store shelf's who are brand loyal ensuring that our product has proper pull-through. One comment I found interesting was the 1000g for beer at $8 a glass. In my area its more like $7 a glass, but non the less that is about $56,000 on a 1000g batch. On the same 1000g system with a 10% yield you get $170 $68,000 assuming you sell a 1.5 oz shot for $8. Now get your yields up to 20% and sell your drink for $10 (comps in my area) you get $170k. Sounds pretty good, right. I might be a little ambitious, but I've been in the beer industry long enough to know that if you work hard and produce a quality product for a local market building a loyal brand all while being innovative, then you will be successful. I am not afraid one bit at all and I am excited to be a part of the upswing of a budding industry.
  24. 1 point
    Perhaps what we actually need are more small distilleries. If people have a local distillery they are stoked on, and a connection will the people who run it, then they will seek out new distilleries when they they travel or as they open. Especially if they can go there and try a flight of there products without dropping 20-80$ just to try it. Think we have a lot to learn from the craft beer model, and cooperation between distilleries. It doesn't work if everyone is trying to take away business from everyone else.
  25. 1 point
    We have not had to deal with a distibutor yet, but I would expect that they want 20-30% margin. Retailers want 20-30% as well. So if you are selling in a 3 tier state, you will sell to the wholesaler for about 50% of the retail price. Margin is a % of selling price, different than markup which is a % increase from cost or purchase price. A 30% margin is 43% markup. Imho this is an industry where retail prices are set more by the market, than by what it costs to make. This is not your normal 4 or 5 times cost business. The only way to break out of that seems to be to make a premium whisky and have good name recognition to command a premium price.
  26. 1 point
    Start here, he explains it well: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCatCieEI4cPNteKXzBomVMQ
  27. 1 point
    "Most customers aren't easily deceived for long don't care in an open market place." There, fixed it for you.
  28. 1 point
    1 lb/hr steam flow per gallon of capacity. this will get you a heat up time of about an hour from cold to pushing vapor. this translates out to a bit better than 1000btus per gallon, gas input so typically for a 300 gallon still and 300 gallon mash cooker, you want at minimum a 600,000btu boiler
  29. 0 points
    Every time I see one of his posts pop up a vision comes to mind of a big puff of white smoke blasting out of the window of a high rise followed by a skinny little dweeb, arms and legs flailing as he plummets to the earth below.
  30. 0 points
    I have supplied chiller systems for several of Paul's projects, of which there no problems, and I continue to supply chillers to his customers.
  31. 0 points
    We use a TIS model just like Southernhighlander is offering. The short answer is: they work great. They work even better and faster if you have very cold water to work with. I would not pick a different path to cool my grain-in mash.
  32. 0 points
    Bank vs. investor - is one of those nasty: 'It depends'... You need to ask yourself at the very, very beginning - am I creating this business to enrich myself and my lifestyle - or - am I building this business to make money for other people? If you are wanting to enrich yourself - you are establishing a 'founder's based business'. Otherwise, you are creating an 'investment grade business'. So, here is the 'depends'... If you are creating a founder's based business, a bank loan, although difficult to get - is the better way to go. For one reason - they are predicable. You know the payment schedule, the interest rate and the time frame. As long as you operate within these constraints, you're gold. Your goal as the business operator is to make money. The more money, the richer the happy business owner and paying the loan is no problem. Even if you have a challenging cash flow projection. A clever bank will recognize this and will structure the loan accordingly. How do you find a bank that will listen to you? Don't bother - look for a credit union instead. You will have a lot more luck with less paperwork. That being said, you better present a killer business plan and as much collateral as possible. I won't get into the complexities of an investment grade business but, I will say in the long run it will be vastly more expensive to operate with investors and their attendant opinions and associated problems. Investors are for bigger companies with a management team that can handle them. Don't forget, starting a distillery will suck up cash faster than you can possibly imagine. For example, your choice of window frame color can affect the window invoice by over 30%. Handicapped bathrooms? Who knew? And that's just a few examples. No one thinks of these kinds of things when they are creating the business plan. Banks or investors not withstanding, you need to have your own money one the table and you are going to need a lot. My pico distillery is closing in on $300K and I'm month's away from opening and by the time I do, I'll probably be out $400K+. With that kind of a budget, you can fly around the world and amass one hell of an alcohol collection and still have $100k in your pocket. So, consider the dream carefully and double down on the business plan! Make those numbers sing! I also should add - I operate in BC Canada - where our regulatory system is vastly superior to most American jurisdictions, featuring fewer rules, a better tax system and a clearer road to profitability. Easier for the banks to understand - something else to keep in mind. I guess.
  33. 0 points
    A distributor distributes what sells. You make, market and sell spirits. If you don't think you should be the one marketing and selling, your distributor won't be distributing very much.
  34. 0 points
    We've been recycling in the ferment with good results so far. The cuts grew over a few batches by a total of 20%, but stabilized there. We're actually more likely to see fewer heads out than we put in and have been slowly working through the barrels of heads we put away before trying this. Yields are up, with some losses vs 100% conversion of heads to good spirit.
  35. 0 points
    I am now burning my heads under my still. I have a dual nozzle waste oil burner running on waste fryer oil. There is a 2 way valve on one of the nozzles. When there are heads to burn I switch one of the nozzles to the heads tank. Heads are from an alembic pot still and are in mid 70%abv. The flame can be a little erratic if burning heads only but with the other nozzle on waste oil it runs very well.
  36. 0 points
    Your image is not coming up. I will say before you do your final design watch this video. I know I beat the Lean/Six Sigma drum a lot, but it's worth it. Learn it, live it. When you're designing where things go in your shop think about what you're going to be doing, how often you'll be doing it. I know as a small company you might not think it applies that much, but it really does. It's about reducing time not doing things that make you money so you can spend more time working on those things that do.
  37. 0 points
  38. 0 points
    We are outgrowing our original potstill. This is a 120 gallon capacity potstill with thumper. It was custom manufactured for us in 2014 using a Groen steam kettle as the foundation. In the top of the still head is a basket where copper mesh can be placed if desired, or potentially gin botanicals. The thumper can be bypassed for straight potstill runs. Two efficient stainless condensers knock down vapors using well water. Kettle is rated for high pressure steam, but we ran it with 15 psi low pressure steam. Two 300L receiver tanks collect heads, hearts or tails as desired. 1.5" TC connections. Skid mounted, measures 4'w x 8' l x 11' h. Asking $6500 FOB. Still is located in Pittsboro NC 27312.
  39. 0 points
    A few things raise red flags here. One, you're not adding beta amylase? Do I have that right? If you're not, there's your culprit. You're forming a ton of dextrins with your alpha amylase enzyme, and those aren't fermentable. HiTempase does the same thing----makes a bunch of dextrins. You could add dextrinase to counter this. And even if you are adding the beta amylase, your temperature rests are too high. You're looking for 144, 145f max to make the most fermentable wort possible. That 155f is going to denature some beta enzymes. 158F, and all your beta amylase will be denatured. So again, you are favoring the production of unfermentable dextrins, without getting the maltose you're looking for. Further, that 150f recommended temperature for beta glucanase is just odd. I mash naturally with malt, so perhaps this is something that's foreign to me, but beta glucanase works best from 113-122 degrees F. In every paper I've ever read, beta glucanse, like most enzymes, is quite temperature sensitive. I can't imagine it working optimally at 150f. Lastly, starch content and beta glucan loading can be all over the place, particularly if you're not working with a farmer that has years of experience with farming grains for beverage production for large plants. In other words: do you know what your starch content is for these specific grains? The fact that harvest just ended sends up another red flag....in other words, this could be an entirely new crop year you're dealing with here.......with completely different moisture content, starch content, beta glucan levels, etc. Have you had this specific batch of grain analyzed? Last time I helped a distiller with this very problem here at ADI forums, the issue was, as I suggested, that the grain he was using didn't have the starch levels he assumed it had. He simply assumed that all grain is the same. As a post script, if I were you, I'd walk a case of booze down the road to the crew at Bell's, and ask if they can help with a mash issue. You've got John Mallet running the show there, as I'd imagine you know, and that man LOVES solving puzzles like this one. He, or one of his brewhouse crew, is likely to spot something in person that you aren't sharing here on the internet. You'd be hard pressed to find more knowledge down the road at Bell's than just about any other brewery/distillery in the world. Mallet is as good as they come.
  40. 0 points
    Distilling citrus separately is very interesting if you've never done it before. I think it gives you much more flexibility to be creative, the flavor profiles you can get with cuts are really interesting. The many terpenes in citrus are very different, and these can be fractionally distilled. For fresh botanicals, vacuum distillation is vastly superior, especially if you are blending these in separately. Cucumber and Jalepeno distilled at low temps is amazing. Although to vacuum distill some vegetables, there is an additional important step required, critical, which I'll not say. You'll know what you need to do when you try it. Don't try Kale, it's an awful sulfur bomb.
  41. 0 points
    Herbs Bill for Gin Recipe Development Kudo's to the Yahoo group of old and to Tony Ackland, who came up with this. I just tested it, changed a few things for the better, and will publish it over here. It is for a bold style boiler infused gin. I use it time and again and if I don't, it usually puts me in trouble. Procedure: X is the amount of juniper berries. You need half of that in coriander/cilantro, a 10th of the juniper amount if you want to use angelica, etc. Orris root, etc. only 1/100th of the amount of juniper. Peel, be careful, only a total of x/100. So if you use lime and orange, devide both in half. Liquorice is difficult to work with. Use a powder or do it in a seperate distillation run. Bigger chunks will vary too much in the heat they give off: too hot or not there. Herbs per liter of 30% boiler charge. Run prep procedure: Fill the boiler with (example) 100 liters of 60% the evening before the run. Throw in the juniper so it can soak. Next morning dilute to 30% by adding more water. Then throw in the rest of the herbs, peels, roots, etc. Now start the run. I hope you find this information useful. If you have any Q's, please let me know. Regards, Odin.
  42. 0 points
    All right, more on gin! First I want to dive into barrel aged gin. Then, in another post, more on the gin herbs bill, where I will use a modification to an existing model. The existing model was very good, safe two ingredients, where I learned the hard way ... that they need different quantities. Okay, barrel aged gin first. Just to start ... I am sure there are benefits to it as well as downsides. Here are a few benefits: 1. Brown likker usually sells at a higher price point / margin than white spirits do; 2. It's great for marketing; 3. Via the barrel you introduce a few interesting new flavors. As for the downsides: 1. Gin is basically a white spirit, right? Barrel aging is not part of its history and for some (London Dry Style) it is not even allowed; 2. Even though water and alcohol need to marry when a gin is diluted to bottling strength, and this takes around 5 weeks, gin is made from neutral ethanol. There is no heads smearing that needs mellowing out via oxidation (like in a fruit brandy). There is no early Tails smearing, where these complex high boiling point molecules need time in the barrel to recombine into something interesting (like in Scottish single malt whisky). So to me, apart from the higher resale value, the marketing ... barreling gin feels a little bit like cheating. No history and no real aging takes place, but we sell it with that notion in our customers mind, right? Now, please take no offense of it. If it is tasty, if you sell it, there is a market. Let's not go gin nazi at all, instead make your barreled aged gin a success so that you and your company and employees and their families, and your customers may benefit. But I'd like to propose a new route. More work, but way more interesting. And not that much work if you already make whisk(e)y. Please know that gin finds its roots in the Dutch drink called "genever". Genever is originally more like a white, young whiskey, redistilled with herbs. Only after the English got a taste for it and only after some major new distillation technologies became available did it turn int a something like a neutral / vodka redistilled with herbs. If you make a whiskey, it makes sense to age it in a barrel. There's heads smearing (especially in Bourbon/bubble cap distilled) and there is Tails smearing (especially in single malt/pot distilled styles). And often there is quite a bit of both. The barrel now not only imparts new flavors (vanillins, tanins, etc.), but via breathing and the angels share introducing oxygen, it now also offers oxidation of especially the headsy components. And over time tailsy molecules recombine and make the drink more mellow and more interesting. Traditionally Dutch genever is made with (at least) 51% "malt wine", meaning new make whiskey. Usually corn, malted barley and wheat or rye as an adjunct (50/30/20 or there abouts). If you have aged a whiskey, why don't you try to add some of your gin to it and give it 5 weeks of rest? If you want to make barrel aged gin, why don't you work with a lower amount of berries (half) and a slightly tuned down herbs bill, and redistill your new make whiskey with these herbs and then barrel it? You may find that the grain and herbs working together create a very interesting taste. And also, if you now barrel age, you actually have some Heads and Tails molecules there, so your gin or genever actually does get better over time, much like your whiskey does. Something else. Not sure it belongs in this thread, but I want to ask it anyways. We gain more and more knowledge and experience on how to use our new extractor technology. Would it be worth it to start a new thread on that? To share what we learned and see if/how it can help out the craft distilling industry? Also, we have been doing loads of research on accelerated aging. More of a rum/whiskey topic. Would you guys find it interesting if I started a thread on that and share info on that as well? Just let me know! As for now, it's Odin out for a few days. Preparing for another 4-day workshop here at the iStill University near Amsterdam. Looking forward to that. I'll probably chime in with new posts on gin only after that, so around Tuesday or Wednesday. Regards, Odin.
  43. 0 points
    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
  44. 0 points
    Aging White Gin I think there are two topics here. First, the making, diluting, and bottling of gin, does that require any aging? Secondly, there is a big move towards barrel aged gin. I will start with the first question first ... and I will leave "barrel aged gin" for another post. White gin requires aging. Not much, but you can't just dilute it and bottle it and sell it. Well, you can, but you won't create the best tasting gin that way. A gin that's bottled right after it's been diluted to bottling strength has two issues: 1. It tickles on the tongue; 2. Taste is not integrated. The tickling of the tongue is a very good indication that a gin is not yet aged out. The tickling is caused by alcohol sucking water up water. Since alcohol is highly hydrofile or hygroscopic, that makes sense ... if you didn't give your gin enough time after diluting it to bottling strength. If you add water to your gin to bring it down from (for example) 70% to 45%, a process starts that I call "the marriage between water and alcohol". It is not an instant process. It is not a gentle process either. It is a process where some of the water gets dissolved into the alcohol. A process that creates heat (some), slightly lowers the total volume (total volume is lower than the volume of the original alcohol and water), and raises the proof a bit. All because water dissolves - over time - in alcohol. So here's the first trick in letting your gin age out: dilute it, then give it like five weeks for the marriage to take place. After this period, when you taste the gin, the tickle on your tongue is gone. The five week period also helps the different oils and tastes settle out. Please try it. Make your gin, dilute it, fill one bottle, open the cap on that bottle like every day, and taste is: - On day one (not coherent, tickly, is this the gin I wanted to make?); - After three days (nice, its moving in a good direction, wow, this is different shit!); - After five weeks (when you'll have reached your final taste profile). This test will teach you that you will achieve around 2/3rds of the final taste profile already after the first three days. It will also teach you that giving it more time really pays of. I know that waiting for five weeks can be a pain. You need more time to market, and you need more storage space. But in the end, if you want to make the best product, there is no escaping it. There are, however, a few tricks you can use to speed up the process. Here they are: 1. Use an ultrasonic cleaner (50 Watt per liter minimum and at 40 kHz) and give your gin like three ten minute treatments. It won't skip the five week rest period completely, but it will get you closer sooner. The process of especially water marrying to alcohol is sped up. And if you look in your ultrasonic cleaner, while doing it, you'll see for yourself that this process is not a gentle one: the liquids turn grey during the first part of the ultrasonification. 2. Use corks instead of caps on your bottles. A cork may allow for slight air movements in and out. If you allow for that, the process of water dissolving into alcohol can take place in the bottle. But if you have a hard capped bottle, the process of water dissolving in alcohol cannot take place, because its a process that shrinks total volume. A relative vacuum developing in the air pocket would prevent the water to dissolve properly. So ... with hard capped gin bottles, you may want to skip the white gin aging process a bit with ultrasonic treatments, or not and you wait five weeks before you bottle. The good news is: it will improve your drink hugely. And the fun thing is that if you did the tests I proposed, you'll recognize other gins as having had the appropriate amount of aging or not. Aging white gin is not completely straight forward in the sense that five weeks will do it. Time and again, I learn that the vapor speeds and how deep we go towards tails / the end part of the run influence the aging curve. See the first post on that please. The concise? If you run your rig harder (higher vapor speeds) more aging is needed. If you run longer, more aging is needed. If you run your rig slower and cut a bit earlier, for a more floral gin, the marriage may just take as much as only three weeks to take place. Next post in this thread will be about barrel aging gin. After that? Lets dive into herbs bills! Regards, Odin.
  45. 0 points
    To Louch or not to Louch, that's the question! Thanks tbagnulo! Onwards with louched gins! I visited a distillery once that had a wide array of products. Most of them bottled at 40%. Only their gin was bottled at higher strength. I asked the master distiller why? He said - and taking a look I could see it - that even at the higher ABV of 45%, his gin was on the verge of becoming cloudy (or "louchy" as the word seems to be). Would he go any lower in ABV, the gin would turn almost white. I asked him what he thought the solution was. He told me that he had talked to two gin experts. One advised him to cut his herbs bill in half. Use like only 50% of the total herbs bill he had used before. The second one told him to buy a chill filter and filter the haze out. The second solution I really don't like, because it takes away essential oils AKA taste. And anyone who tells you that chill filtering doesn't ... well, let them chill filter their whiskey for 10 times only to find out it starts to taste pretty much like a vodka! The first solution of using less herbs, isn't good either. It relies on the assumption that a louched gin is bad. I feel it isn't. A louched gin is a great indication you got over huge amounts of tasty oils. And that was the goal right? To create a big tasting gin. So how do we solve the louch? Easy, dilute some neutral / gns to the same percentage as the louched gin, and add a portion. There will be a moment (75:25, 66:34, 50:50, etc.) when all of a sudden the louch lifts. In a second, maybe two. You now have the gin with the most taste possible. And if you think it is too big in taste? Dilute it. Bottom line? A louched gin gives you a balpark. A starting point that makes it easy to create great tasting gin with the same flavor profile over and over again. And you can always dilute a big taste gin to a lighter one, but not the other way around. Next post: on boiler vs. vapor infused gins. Regards, Odin. PS: Here's a movie on me making gin. With lots of info on how to do it! Here it is:
  46. 0 points
    Taste Development during the Run So, let's follow up on the first post. Taste, in a gin, pretty much follows in the footsteps of making brandy, whiskey or rum. Fruity notes at the beginning, body in the middle, root-like, nutty tastes at the end of the run. Weird, because we normally work with GNS, when making gin, so there shouldn't be "real" heads and tails, right? Right, but the molecules, associated with certain tastes, still follow the same rules. Fruity at the beginning, root-like at the end. Lime, lemon, orange peel come over early. Rooty and nutty herbs come over near the end. And if you want multi-dimensionality, a complex gin, you need both. It even gets more funny. Or interesting. Not only does the gin develop in taste as a whiskey or rum or brandy would ... even though you may use GNS to make your gin, you still need cuts. Cuts on a gin? Yes! A sorta Fores/Heads cut and a sorta Tails cut. Tails cut is easy. It is when you stop the run, because the later parts of the run just bring too much root-like tastes over (and they easily overpower the fruitiness of the beginning of the run). But a "Fores/Heads cut"? Yes, you need it. A small one. Only like 0.5 liters on a 250 liter charge. Maybe a liter in a 500 liter boiler charge of gin. The first (half a) liter. Why? This contains the very oily, excessive and harsh first juniper oils. You want to cut them out. I'll try to find a picture and add it to this thread. So you can see how these first juniper oils, that you want to cut out, look like. Really remarkable. A bubble of haze in a pint of alcohol. Not nice. Toss it. I can't find pics right now, but I'll dive in later. Important that you see it, so you can recognize it. All right, so how can we use cuts to perfect our gin? Well, if you are not satisfied with the amount of back of throat taste / root-like tastes ... you could cut a bit later, allowing for more nutty flavors to come over. Or if you feel you need a little less fruity notes ... well, you can dial the amount of fruit peel back ... or you can take a slightly larger "Fores/Heads cut". I am not saying one solution is better than the other, I am just informing you that by "gin cutting" you have an additional tool to perfect your gin runs. Something else you can use. If you make rum or brandy or whiskey, you can do a swift stripping run. Fast, low alcohol purity, lots of tastes blending in all over the place. Just so you get the picture: faster strips make for dirtier smearing of heads and tails into hearts. Same technique you can use with gin making. You don't strip, but you can vary power inputs on your distilling machine. If you go for higher energy inputs and higher output figures per liter, you will increase vapor speeds inside your column. High vapor speeds translate to more of the Tails oriented tastes to come over earlier. And they may be overpowering. The solution? Just throttle down and you will find the outcome less root-like, less nutty oriented. More florals coming over. Play with it: power settings. If you go too fast, taste becomes flat, one dimensional. Tune it down (by power management) and within just a few seconds, you may find the taste appealing again. Multi-faceted, interesting, complex. Playing with energy input, speed of run, and vapor speeds does not only allow you to make better tasting gin (lower speeds for better gin), it also allows you to go deeper into the Tails oriented department without the associated tastes becoming too overpowering. In other words: you can use more of the GNS to actually make more great tasting gin. End temperature based on gas temperature entering the column? Between 94.5 and 96 degrees C. The slower you go, on the last part of the run, the deeper you can go, without compromising on overal taste. Next? Lets dive into louched gins in the next post. Are they a failure ... or maybe a sign of actual distilling success? I'll try to find some time and dive in tomorrow or the day after. For after the weekend? A take on boiler vs. vapor infused gins! I know there's lots of opinions. I won't try to take sides, I will try to explain the pro's and con's. Regards, Odin
  47. 0 points
    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.
  48. 0 points
    We run our 1.5" and 2" hoses directly into our trench drain (with the grate removed) when we're emptying liquid stillage or whatever else -- that slot drain would not allow for that. It looks cool though.
  49. 0 points
    Licenses, permits, registrations. Okay - we need to review the ABC's of distilled spirits plants. First, you do not need to have a still to be a distilled spirits plant. There are three kinds of DSP operations. They are production (distilling), warehousing (storing bulk spirits) and processing ("making adjustments, " as you put it, or bottling). Any of these operations must be conducted on distilled spirits plant bonded premises. You can qualify in a number of ways. Basically, you can qualify for any combination of the three, but you cannot qualify to process only (to process you must be either a distiller and processor, or warehouse man and processor, or distiller, warehouse man and processor). Now, if you get product bottled for you, and that is all you do, then you are not going to qualify as a DSP, because (1) bottled spirits cannot be transferred in bond and (2) you therefore are not engaged in any distilled spirits plant operations (distilling, warehousing, or bottling spirits on which tax has not been paid or determined). If you buy bottled spirits for resale at wholesale, you have to get a basic permit as a wholesaler, not as a DSP. If you buy bulk spirits to bottle yourself, then you would need to qualify as distilled spirits plant that warehouses and processes. Bottling is a processing operation, but remember the rule, you may not be just a processor. A basic permit and registration for warehousing operations only allows you to store bulk spirits, as in a storage area for barrels, and nothing else. What are bulk spirits? They are spirits in containers of one gallon or more. It is illegal for a DSP to ship bulk spirits, other than industrial alcohol, to anyone who is not qualified as a distilled spirits plant. You can trace through all of this by looking at the definitions in part 19 and the basic permit requirements of part 1. It is important that you understand these basics. And yes, mucking about with the spirits makes you a "rectifier," a term that now appears only in part 1. Strip it from your language when you talk about distilled spirits plants. Substitute processor. Forgive me, but to advertise shamelessly - which I don't often do on these forums, where I offer advice for free - these are the kinds of issues I spend a day discussing at SIPS training. Check it out if you are interested. .
  50. 0 points
    We are currently providing contract distilling services for Bulk Whiskey. We are well set up for whiskey production within our facility. Paul Werni 612-790-1603 45th Parallel Spirits