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  1. 2 likes
    I bought five 1,000 gallon fermenters and a 1,000 gallon mash cooker from Corson Distilling. I've known them for the better part of 2 years now, since my first conversations with them, having equipment built, and using the equipment for about a year. I previously posted a review, which was taken down by the forum moderators at Corson's request. After my review, I received calls from several people who have had negative experiences with Corson, from receiving defective equipment late to putting down large payments and receiving nothing at all. Several of those people shared that they are filing lawsuits against Corson. Though Corson threatened me with legal action after my first review, there is nothing illegal about sharing my experience in a factual and dispassionate way. And I feel obligated to share my experience to help other distillers avoid the same difficulties. Thanks to ADI's changed forum rules, I hope that this review will remain available for people to see. 1. Delivery Delays Our equipment was delivered late, after much work on my part to encourage its completion. Well into the process I went to Boise in person because their communication made me worried they weren't making progress, to find they were essentially beginning work as I arrived. We ended up receiving the equipment several months after the delivery window, and only with an immense amount of followup on my part to ensure they got it done. 2. Design and Build Quality When we received the equipment, by and large the quality appeared to be good. There were a fair number of missing or incorrect parts, but they were very good about sending out replacements. Once we got the equipment on line, we found that there to be some design flaws on the mash/lauter tun. It was missing a sparge arm, the removable false bottom didn't fit in the tank, and actually broke during the first run, and the design of the rakes, motor and gearbox was inadequately powered to rake even a very small grain bed. The propellers for grain-in mashes also weren't able to keep the contents of the tank moving. Josh Corson and one of their technicians came out and fixed the false bottom, shored up the motor mounts, installed a sparge arm, and did some other minor fixes. After that, over numerous months, we worked with them to get a new gearbox, and to try and get a stronger motor. They did send some parts, but after a year of followup the lautering setup still doesn't work, and I ended up having to modify the propellers myself to get the agitator to work for grain-in mashes. There have been a few problems with the fermenters as well. First, though the design specifications were supposed to have 30% true headspace on top of a 1,000 gallon volume, they do not. Additionally, one of the fermenters developed a jacket leak. It turns out that when the tanks were originally built, Corson did not spot weld about 25% of the dimples on the cooling dimple jackets. So at the specified operating pressure of 15psi, the tanks have blown numerous spot welds, and developed a couple of leaks that we've identified so far. 3. Customer Service The biggest stress for me of this whole experience has been Corson's customer service. They respond to reasonable concerns and questions with anger, insults, and blaming the customer. The best way I can describe the experience is as gaslighting - they've made me feel crazy. We've gone through numerous account managers, who seem to leave as quickly as they come. But all along the way I've been blamed and belittled and made to feel insane for just asking them to build the equipment to specification and fulfill the warranty. When I presented the leaking jacket problem to them a couple months ago, they said I was free to send the tank back to them at my expense, and they would decide whether or not they would cover it under warranty. That of course would be much more expensive than just having it fixed on site. At that point I decided to post my review of them on the forum, after which they threatened me with a lawsuit and said they would no longer be honoring my warranty. I've subsequently fixed the leaking jacket and the propellers myself. In summary, I cannot recommend Corson Distilling. They did produce equipment for us, which we use every day, and I was initially pleased to be able to partner with a small American startup manufacturer. And they certainly made a good faith effort at the beginning to follow through and make things right. But the design issues, and most importantly the customer service, have made the experience overall a very negative one. I would welcome other people who have worked with them to share their experiences, positive or negative. Thanks, Joel Vikre Duluth Minnesota
  2. 2 likes
    not sure if this is relevant but we have a electric boiler that heats our hydronic water system have never ran it to produce steam but have used it to produce 200 degree water . at over a 1000 bucks a month to run it was shut off in no time , our power bills come in every 3 months so by time we got the power bill it was not good , almost a big brown splatter on the post office wall when i opened the bill , my opinion is dont use electricity do what you have to to avoid it burn the neighbours furniture to produce heat if you have to anything but electricity . lol tim
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    I applaud innovation and all this is potentially workable. At the same time, as I read through the posts, I am struck by the complexities and costs for a gallon of vodka a week, which probably will not be much better than a mid range shelf vodka (as already stated). If it's single malt then the complexity level increases quite a bit. It can take years to master a good grain recipe. So who is the market aimed at? Amateur home hobby distillers who do not care about time or costs seem to me to be only market; (and it well may be a valuable market). But I suspect that part of the home distillation hobby is not just for the liquor but for the "craft" value. Taking too much "craft" away diminishes the challenge and resulting satisfaction.Times are a changin', though; and this old bearded farmer knows better then to say never to any innovation. A younger, more tech hungry (and fast food trained) customer may be the niche. I don't know. I do know that your dialogue could be brought down to earth a little so we "simple" folk can better envision the product. Remember, some of your costumers are going to be looking their wives in the eye and listening to "YOU PAID HOW MUCH FOR IT??? To make WHAT??? You're going to put it WHERE??? WHY??? Science speak won't mean much then. Anyway, good luck.
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  5. 1 like
    It'll be the death of me Southernhighlander, but fun while it lasts! There's nothing better than a good cigar and spirit pairing IMHO. Cheers!
  6. 1 like
    Larry Sputnik, Man that cigar whiskey glass thing you got goin on, is cool as shit. It looks like you are a guy who enjoys the finer things.
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    Home distilling is legal in the state of MO. MO law plainly states that a person 21 years of age shall not be required to have a licence to distill spirits for his or her own personal consumption. An individual 21 years of age or older can make up to 100 gallons off distilled spirits per year in MO. Many people are home distilling here in MO. County Sheriffs here enforce state law and the Sheriff in my county does not have a problem with home distilling. Nor does the Prosecutor. I have spoken with the state ATC agent for our area and he and his agency have no problem with home distillers, as long as they fallow state law. The MO state Alcohol Tobacco Control (ATC) enforces state law. So John is distilling in his back yard and Nosy Nancy next door calls the Sheriff. The Sheriff checks it out and John is fallowing state law, so there's no problem as far as he is concerned. Nosy Nancy does not like that answer and so she calls the MO state Alcohol Tobacco Control. They have no problem with it, so Nancy calls the TTB. The TTB directs her to the MO state ATC who have no problem with it. So in effect, home distilling is legal here in MO. It's no different than the 29 states that have legalized cannabis. The feds are not busting pot shops and dispensaries in states where it is legal, so it is in effect legal in those states. The states Attorney General tried to stop the legalization of cannabis in AZ because it was illegal under federal law, and it went to court. Basically the judge said, precedent has been set by many other states and he denied the States Attorney general the ability to stop the legalization on the grounds that it was illegal under federal law. Since the founding, the states have assertied, at many different points in our history, that nullification was absolutely constitutional. Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed in the rights of states to nullify federal law. since the 1990s, states have in effect nullified federal Marijuana laws. As far as I know the feds have not charged anyone in MO who is fallowing state law concerning home distilling. MO has in effect nullified federal law concerning home distilling But really, WhiskeyTango what business is it of yours or DaveFlintstones what Turbo does? Nobody likes a Nosy Nancy Anyway, last I heard, a Bill may soon be passed that will legalize home distilling at the federal level. That same Bill will lower your liquor taxes. Sounds like a good thing to me. What do you think? https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/24598-with-marijuana-votes-tenth-amendment-wins-big
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    Turbo, I'm sorry if the comments made after me put mine into the wrong context. I simply wanted to know more about you. It's not my business to know any of those other questions regarding your licensure. With that said, I hope to engage in some insightful conversations with you throughout this forum. Thanks for joining. I look forward to your posts. Joe
  9. 1 like
    Contact Mark Gottsacker at Galloway. mgottsacker@gallowaycompany.com they do smaller batches through ultrapure - via Jennifer Pond jennifer@ultrapure-usa.com not sure about the smaller barrel size though...tote may be smallest.
  10. 1 like
    Around me, roughly: Natural Gas - $12.00 for 1 million btu Fuel Oil - $20.00 for 1 million btu Electric - $60.00 for 1 million btu
  11. 1 like
    Same here. I have one direct element still and one baine marie.
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    I fire with heating oil.
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    The only reason I can understand going electric fired boiler is that you don't have to buy each piece of equipment as electric, which in itself saves a ton of money. If I purchased 3 electric stills and an electric mash tun, I'd need 4 control panels (which are not cheap) to run them, plus the cost of electric heated stills is typically greater than a steam jacket, and your options for electric stills/tuns are pretty limited as well. I'm just confused as to why not go natural gas. If it's simply not available, or ridiculously expensive I can understand that totally.
  14. 1 like
    Yeah, I dont understand the thought process on getting an electric boiler to create steam to then heat your still. If your going to use electric as your energy input (instead of natural gas) why pay more for a steam heated still, and more for a steam boiler. Either go electric still (with element, or a bain marie) and have the cheaper/easier install/up front cost, or go natural gas with a boiler an pay more up-front for the lower operating cost. Getting a steam heated still with an electric fired boiler kinda seems like getting the worst of both (typically more expensive still, more to pipe and install, boiler to install, potentially needing a boiler room, high operating costs).
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    I don't know who is selling you the still (Corson?), but I believe that they are giving you incorrect info. From my experiance Silk City is correct "a boiler is a boiler". If you want to go electric without all of the hassle or aditional cost of a boiler and if you have not already made your down payment for the still, we can sell you a jacketed 250 gallon still with a built in electric heating system. Our built in electric heating system is a little more efficiant than an electrically fired boiler, becouse you do not have the heat loss that boiler plumbing has, however a natural gas boiler will save you around $5.00 to $8.00 per run on that size still, depending on how much your electric costs per kw. We also sell Rite propane and natural gas fired low pressure steam boilers, if you are interested. paul@distillery-equipment.com 417-778-6100
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    This is not the case, a boiler is a boiler.
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    I run a 250g still off a 16hp boiler, so that's roughly 150kw in electrical equivalent. I can heat up in about an hour if it's warmer temps, the equipment is still hot, etc. Or about an hour and a half from a cold start in a winter. The efficiency on the electric boiler should be somewhat higher, but I would imagine you are still looking at 3 hour heat up times with only 50kw.
  18. 1 like
    An electric fired steam boiler like a Sussman or Reimers will probably be as costly to install and plumb as a gas fired boiler. In the case you might find it to be somewhat cheaper on the install, it's going to be a wash when you factor the increased operating costs. Itll be similarly sized when installed, and the same rules apply to steam boilers regardless of how they fire.
  19. 1 like
    See Part 3 of the TTB video series https://www.ttb.gov/spirits/proofing.shtml
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    You should run it until you are sure you got all alcohol out i.e. the vapor temperature is reading 212F. Then maybe run a little longer in case your temp probe is not accurate. Also use some boiling stones, they can sometimes help with solids burning.
  21. 1 like
    Flex impeller pumps are nice because they self prime (so do AOD) but you can switch directions as well. The various brands of flex impeller pumps we have used can handle the solids to a pretty reasonable extent. Also compressed air is loud, expensive to operate (cost to power compressor vs direct electric cost), and you have the surging issues. The only real downside I see with flex impellers is high heat, both their resistance to it, but also the fact that they expand and can get stuck when trying to switch directions or start from a stop. We have a Jabsco RPD (lobe style, doesn't self prime) pump from TCW we use because we use it a lot in high heat applications. If I didn't need it for moving my cooking mash through the heat exchanger we would probably use a flex impeller. We use an AOD for spirit work.
  22. 1 like
    Any reason why you would want to go electric instead of gas fired? My 150g runs off 27kw and waiting two hours for it to heat up once or twice a day is a real bear. Electric was cheaper to start off, but these $500-700 monthly electric bills are starting to add up and will eventually cost more to run than switching everything over to steam.
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    I asked a similar question of Paul Hall, Affordable Distilling, his answer is below. Some background first though. We get our water from Lake Erie and it is reasonably expensive. The temperature of the lake in August is 75 degrees. Most of my customers use tap water to chill their fermenters. Exactly how much chilling your fermenters need depends on a number of different variables including, but not limited to the temp of the air in the room, what you are mashing. Even if you are mashing the same grain bill the mash will build up different amounts of heat depending on which yeast that you use. Also it depends on what max temp that you are holding your mash to. Some people don’t let their fermentations get over 80 F while others let them get up to 95F. So there is absolutely no way that I or anyone else will be able to tell you exactly how many btu’s that you are going to use. If you can pump and use lake water that is free or if your tap water is really cheap then I wouldn’t worry about a chiller as long as the water is 72F or lower. If your water is expensive then and over 60f then I might use a chiller. If you think that you will have air temps in the distilling area over 95 f in the summer then I would get a 1 ton chiller. Otherwise a ½ ton will do the job no problem at all. If your tap water is really cheap you will spend a lot more running a chiller than using 70F tap water. Please keep in mind that your fermenters will take very little cooling energy compared to your still condensers and crash cooling corn or rye mashes when using the cook method. If your tap water is cheap you can use 68F or colder tap water for you condenser cooling and it will come out of your condensers hot. If you are smart you will run that free hot condenser water into 2 hot water holding tanks. Use the water from 1 tank for your next mash cook and the hot water in the other tank for cleaning around your distillery. The cooling specs for the 300 gallon stripping still are 55° F water in 150° F out at 3.4 gpm Max. For the 100 gallon still the input condenser water at 55° F and 150 ° F out with a flow of 1.2 gpm max. Many people in the industry use close loop chillers. I would never do that. I think that it is crazy to return 150 F water back to the chiller to cool it down to 55F. That is a huge waste of free hot water and energy. If you just have to have a chiller, I would chill a tank full of water, run it through my condensers and then use the free hot condenser water that comes out of the condensers
  24. 1 like
    Duh, Of coarse they are there to protect. My point is there is no set standard set by the city or the states. There are code books but the ones who sign off on the permits are not the same. There is a reason I am where I am. Because across the street is a different town and they had a distillery classified one level above Nuclear Waste, and I am not joking. My city said something like "I have know idea what the heck they are thinking over there". On another note, We have a massive safety program our selves. "codes keep us safe" more like "We keep us safe". Like I want to blow my self up.......SIGN ME UP.....knock on wood.. Some cities are great to work with, some you will go broke tring to meet all the demands... Same goes for states, Iowa is awesome, Minnesota is an insane pain in the aspirin. Just saying. Take care, and good luck.
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    With over a dozen initial members that have pledged their support, we are in the final stages of forming the California Artisanal Distiller's Guild and officially launching our website www.cadsp.org. The primary purpose of the Guild will be to focus on important industry related issues like California distilled spirits tasting rooms. If you have not yet pledged your membership and support please contact me right away. Many of us have been working tirelessly on issues that will not only benefit our industry but also help California's struggling economy. We've been able to get some serious legislative support but we need all California craft-distillers' help and involvement to achieve our final goals! Join us... The California Artisanal Spirits Guild. Arthur Hartunian (napa valley distillery) info@cadsp.org
  26. 1 like
    So we have everything pretty much laid out for you already OP but I'll rehash a little bit and consolidate. Typically you are looking at a 3 step conversion process to turn grain starch into fermentable sugars. Gelatinization – Process of solubilizing starch granules in water. Typically accomplished by grinding grain and heating in the presence of water. Liquefaction – Initial breakdown of solubilized starch. Converts starch into dextrins (random sugars) Saccharification – Final breakdown of dextrins into fermentable sugars. These have to be done in order or, in some cases, simultaneously. It is not a good idea to try to saccharify liquefied starch, nor is it a good idea to try to liquefy un-gelatinized starch. Enzymes do not assist gelatinization typically. They are generally used for liquefaction and/or saccharification. Liquefaction we are talking alpha-amylases. Of which there are thee main temperature ranges (already listed in above posts). The ideal part about using a high temperature alpha-amylase is that simultaneous gelatinization and liquefaction can take place at 80-90 C. Saccharification we are talking beta-amylases or glucoamylases (every enzyme that has “amylase” in it will work on starch because starch = “amylose”). Beta-amylases are common in brewing (as it is found in malted barley) and will work to produce maltose, glucose, and other unfermentable sugars. Glucoamylases are frequently used by distilleries because it will convert all dextrins (random sugars) into glucose. Additionally glucoamylase has a side 1, 6 activity which will allow further degradation of some sugars that were previously unfermentable. Beta-Glucanases on the other hand are a hemicellulase that will work to break down a very specific compound found commonly in wheat, barley, rye, and oats called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans can cause viscosity issues and gum up a mash or an immersion heater. This enzyme has little to no effect on starch and sugar conversions/yields. TL: DR. Alpha-amylase is used for Liquefaction, Glucoamylase is good for Saccharification, and Beta-Glucanase is generally only applicable to rye, wheat, or barley mashes. Please consult your enzyme provider for specific pH and temperature ranges of individual enzymes. Cheers! CDE