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  1. 7 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
    Thanks for the kind words, guys. What AC-DC and 3d0g refer to is that we've known each other for years on multiple hobbyist distillation forums. Starting with the old Yahoo Distiller and New Distiller forums (where I may still be a moderator) grown out of New Zealand home-distilling legalization, international hobby distilling forums have been a huge factor in developing and disseminating the theoretical and applied information that all of us now take for granted. Shortly after the turn of the century, there was so much awful, dangerous, and superstitious distillation misinformation running rampant, that it was seriously difficult to get good facts about our science/art. The situation was so bad that I wrote "Making Fine Spirits" (Amphora Society) just to give the beginner some trusted facts and procedures he could build on. While I can't prove it, I'm betting that most of the artisan distillers here started with information, first-, second-, or third-hand, that we hammered the BS out of in the hobby forums. Truth be known, I'm kinda proud of all of our efforts.
  3. 6 likes
    "Most customers aren't easily deceived for long don't care in an open market place." There, fixed it for you.
  4. 5 likes
    Hi folks, I recently discovered that the ADI forum has a "no badmouthing" policy. This doesn't sound bad, but in practice it allows sponsors of the forum to have any content they don't like removed, even objective reviews. After recently posting a negative experience with one of the forum sponsors, my post was removed and I was threatened by the sponsor with a lawsuit. But in the meantime I was contacted by several other distillers who have had even worse experiences with this particular company. I now know there are numerous lawsuits in the works against this company, which appears to be in the business of taking deposits and providing faulty, late or no equipment to its customers. Because of ADI's forum moderation policy, there are no candid reviews of this company on the forum. Presumably if other people have shared similar experiences they have been taken down. If I had known about other people's experiences, I would not have done business with them. Since this is the primary place where distillers talk to each other, having the ability to share negative experiences is absolutely critical to the industry. I asked Bill Owens to consider changing this policy, and he has not responded, so I thought it wise to post it here. Either the ADI forum needs to change its policy to allow for open dialogue and reviews of its sponsors, or we need to open a new forum that is not censored in this way. Thanks, Joel Vikre
  5. 5 likes
    Introduction Over the last decade I have had the opportunity to help dozens and dozens of craft distillers with developing and designing their gins. I want to use this thread to help lay out some of the basic guidelines I learned, that make the production of great gin quite easy and straight forward. Over the coming days (and depending on comments and my time in the factory) or weeks, I want to get most of the information (if not all) that we give on our gin making courses across. Now, gin making has a wide set of variables. And a lot of people adhere to certain approaches. If ever you feel my approaches or opinions to be contrary to yours, let's turn this thread into a discussion, not a battle ground. I for one will not. Just sharing info, not trying to convince anyone. Use the info or not. It's here (or it will be) and I will share it so you can use it. A few things on gin. Basically, let's dive into procedures, herbs bills, distillation techniques. But I want to start with a general outline on taste. Just to make or introduce a starting point. When I make whiskey, I find the late heads, smearing into hearts, to be fruity. Front of mouth oriented. You taste them first and you taste them on your lips and the front of your tongue. The body, the grain, comes over after that. Hearts. Middle mouth feeling. Early tails, that smear into the last portion of hearts, have a nutty, root-like taste (if you give them time to develop) and are tasted at the back of your mouth towards the throat. Now, in my experience, the same holds true for a gin: it's the fruity bits that come over first, then the body, then the root-like, nutty flavors. So if you want to make a floral gin ... don't add root-like, nutty things to your gin recipe. And cut a bit earlier. If you want a full-bodied gin that lingers in your mouth and can be consumed neat ... do add those nutty, root-like components. And cut a bit later, since these tastes come over during the last part of the run. Okay, that was the introductionary post. More on herbs bills and aging gin and procedures in future posts! Regards, Odin.
  6. 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.
  7. 5 likes
    Good idea bull, I'll post a few. I'll preface the pics with a very brief backstory behind our brand. Being located in Washington, PA, we're at the center of many of the events of the Whiskey Rebellion (I could hit the restored home and now national historic site of David Bradford, the leader of the rebellion, with a 9 iron from my front door). We went with a very colonial theme in our tasting room including a colonial fireplace back bar, the portrait of Alexander Hamilton (hanging upside down) above the fireplace, 1790's themed lighting fixtures, tables we made out of reclaimed barn wood and a separate dining room for private tastings and events.
  8. 4 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. 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.
  10. 4 likes
    While much of what Joseph says is, and always was, true (operating capital management, marketing 101), I don't buy the bubble argument for one second. People have been saying the same thing about craft brewing for 20 years. It's still growing in volume nearly 13% year on year. Spirits are just getting started. Millennials re-wrote the markets for craft beer and wine, and they're about to do the same for spirits. They don't have the age statement bias of their parents. They're not afraid of trying new things (would you or I have ever tried a cinnamon whiskey - bleah!) They also crave experiences. So, putting capital into your location and tasting room may be FAR wiser than into name-brand copper in your stillhouse. There's also the international markets that are clamoring to experience US craft spirits. Know what an ounce of Stranahan's goes for in NL? 25€ The tired old shelf space argument never ceases to crack me up. Do you honestly mean to tell me your local liquor store had 10-12 beer coolers back in the 80s? Liquor stores are in the business of selling booze. If there's a market, THEY'LL MAKE SPACE. There's this absurdly tiny liquor store on my way home from work. Not even 500 sq ft. They are incredibly convenient though. I stopped in looking for my go-to beer (Trumer Pils) about a year ago. Of course they didn't carry it. I just mentioned to the owner that I was looking for Trumer. He said "I'll have it here next Tuesday". Now he didn't know me from Adam, but you know what? He somehow made space. Trumer Pils is always there and I pick up a six every week. 250 types of brown spirits? LOL. Have a look at the wine isle and imagine yourself in THAT market. Oh, and they're thriving. Sure, there will be some craft distillery closures. The days of "if I make it, they will come" are over. For every closure though, there will be 2+ more opening. And some of those will actually have a clue about marketing. FFS, High West just cashed out for $160M, selling whiskey they didn't even make!
  11. 4 likes
    Hi there, Here's a little booklet I wrote a few months ago on taste rich distilling. With a few typo's. Sorry for that. Not of native English tongue. Let me know what you think of it and if I should write a few more. Like on gin making, whiskey making, still design and operation, or whatever. As long as you can think of a few questions, me and my team can probably dive in. Regards, Odin. 33 Questions On Taste Rich Distilling.pdf
  12. 4 likes
    Mail merges are a dying art. Only the Nigerians seem to make the effort anymore.
  13. 4 likes
    We have a forklift. Cant imagine life with out it. We move barrels with it. And smoke cigarettes at the same time, and run with scissors.
  14. 4 likes
    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
  15. 3 likes
    As bluefish says, use weight. For your calculation the only volume you should put into alcodens is 750 mL and the only temperature is 60 f (assuming you are TTB) Also, do not bother measuring the temperature of your bulk spirit. With mass that is irrelevant, and it has confused you because you have put that 73.54 f into Alcodens to calculate the 1072 bottles. 1674.8 lbs should have filled only 1066 bottles at 60 f. You have actually filled 14 more bottles than you should. What you have done is filled the bottles with 750 mL of spirit at 73.54 f instead of at 60 f. There will be less than 750 mL in the bottle which is part of the reason you ended up with extra bottles. Also, throw away that measuring cylinder. For one thing it is calibrated at 20c not 60f. (was the 80 proof you measured at 20 c? ) Parallel sided glass cylinders are not sensitive enough to read to fractions of a mL unless they are very skinny. Even so, I still can't see how your measuring cylinder was 11 mL out. Don't do your volume checks with a measuring cylinder, use weight. 750 mL of 80 proof at standard temperature (US) 60f weighs 712.34g. (in air for TTB calculations only) An easy way I use is to stack say 10 cases of empty bottles with caps on your scale. Fill them all then re-weigh. If they are cases of 6 X 750 mL then the lot should weigh 60 X 712.34 = 47.74 Kg (94.226 lbs) more than when they were empty
  16. 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
  17. 3 likes
    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.
  18. 3 likes
    Generally speaking, you need about 1,000 BTU/hr / US gallon on the output side of the boiler to heat it up in one hour. That makes a number of assumptions but it's reasonable for budgeting purposes. If you're on a tight budget, look for an old new-stock residential boiler. But beware, in terms of the entire heating plant the boiler will be the a small fraction of the total. You'll need feed tanks, condensate return, steam trap, lots of piping, water softener, etc, etc, etc. If you have well water I'd seriously consider using that for cooling. All that being said, if you're on that tight of a budget I'd take a long hard look at your business plan and make damn sure you want to get into this business.
  19. 3 likes
    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:
  20. 3 likes
    Yes. But... We must always guard against the danger of getting lost in the romanticism of nostalgia. We can respect the old ways and be thankful that we have the ability to stand on the shoulders of giants, but that doesn't mean that we should not push the limits, leveraging new technologies and new techniques, to create new, unique, and better products than our elders had before us. Just because they are the old ways, do not mean that they are the best ways. Don't mistake my words, I'm not saying that a new way is better because it's new, or that an old way isn't the best way. Just like our elders had the responsibility of growing and enriching their craft, so do we. If it means an old way must go, it must go. I believe the old artisans would approve. I'm sure I'm not the only one who reads this article as being condescending. I'm sure it wasn't written to come off as condescending, but it is nonetheless. I admit, it's nice to look back on the good old days. Everything was better back then, wasn't it? Men were men, honesty was a virtue, and someone's word actually meant something. Having studied neuroscience and cognitive psychology for many years, with a focus on emotion, memory, and cognitive bias, I can't help but read these kinds of nostalgic pieces and imagine how much of that retrospection was clouded by biases and flaws (or omissions) in our memories. There is a well known cognitive bias called Rosy Retrospection. Despite the cute name, it's the basis for those feelings of romantic nostalgia we have for the past. However, it also means that perhaps the past was not how we remember. I still remember the taste of the champagne that I sipped after toasting with my wife at our wedding reception, or the taste of that whiskey me and the boys sipped when getting the news that there was a little one on the way, god it was so good. The reality of it is, the good old days weren't. I'm not complaining that our brains have a propensity to fade unpleasant memories, and retain (and even embellish) the good ones. Life would be awful otherwise, wouldn't it? But, the old stories come together, and history is written with these biases. So when we look back, we need to understand that the negatives were probably omitted, and the positives are certainly more positive than they were. So, now we get to the truth, let's be realistic here. Commercial producers, even small ones, have been producing awful spirits for as long as people have been drinking them. You would be remiss to simply assume just because some producer produced something seventy five years ago, it was absolutely fantastic, magical, unparalleled in quality and without compare. Because, you know what, most of it was probably pretty bad. Craft was probably the last thing in many of their minds. Losing a batch to a raging bacterial infection meant your kids going hungry, so they produced it anyway. I've tasted lots of very old product, you know, the kind with fancy scores and reviews, when people fawn over names, and was amazed that after dozens of years your could still taste the fact that they didn't bother to take much of a heads cut, hell, any cut at all. The raw distillate was probably so god awful that it needed 25 years on oak just to be remotely drinkable. What I don't understand is, why make these overly broad, sweeping assumptions about the new breed of craft producers? Yet at the same time paying some kind of religious homage to those who came before? Frankly, neither deserve it.
  21. 3 likes
    I've professionally used home-built 55-gal drum electric stills, 3 different simple pot stills (800L, 1500L, 2500L) built by inexperienced US fabricators, a steam-heated CARL with brandy & vodka columns, and a 4-plate electric water-bath KOTHE. While it is possible to make good spirits on all of them, the carl and kothe both dramatically expand the options of the types of things you can distill and the different methods you can do it by. They are also significantly safer, faster to heat, and easier to clean. Knowing what you plan to produce is the biggest factor in what type of still you should look for. If you plan to make gin from redistilled GNS, you don't need much. If you want to make pear brandy from whole fruit, you need either something more sophisticated or the hands-on experience you'll only gain from ruining a batch I've heard of several people finding deals on used german stills, both in the US as people outgrow them or go out of business (how we got the CARL) and abroad as the brandy market continues to shrivel. That is the path I would take, as I think there will be a pretty regular clip of closures in the next few years.
  22. 3 likes
    Ingredients, fermentation, still operation and aging all go hand in hand. I think anyone currently making a great drink would still make a great drink if you gave him a beer keg on a gas burner for a still. Better equipment may ease or speed production, but better equipment will not necessarily produce a better drink.
  23. 3 likes
    A nice hammer does not a carpenter make.
  24. 3 likes
    You are killing your malt/enzymes by adding it over 150. Also, you can't use a refractometer on your beer, once it has alcohol in it. Fine for the initial info, but worthless once the fermentation starts.
  25. 3 likes
    No one has a license to dictate how the word "craft" is used. "Craft" connotes more than it denotes. That means that craft is what you say it is, not what some "they" say it is. Various organizations, ADI included, want to give private definition of the term, but they have no ability to enforce their notion of what "craft" should be. That statement is not meant as a value judgment; it is a statement of fact as I see it. Here are my value judgments. You talk about buying bulk spirits to make infusions. When you infuse, you alter the character of the base product. Arguably, and I'm ready to take the flack on this from the craft community, neutral spirits produced in large, industrial stills and then used to produce small lot gins by distillation or maceration, are probably better to use as a gin base than neutral spirits produced by small distillers in stills that strain to make 190 proof. A neutral pallet on which to paint provides you the opportunity to create an imaginative products by, say, multiple fractional distillations, that take time and attention, and to blend those products in imaginative and even "artistic" ways, which requires a sensory pallet. Those with good sensory pallets can certainly "craft" better products than a those, like me, who have no taste at all. Speaking of pallet, let me argue by analogy, which is always dangerous, because analogies always will fail in some regard. But, does anyone worry about whether Picasso or Cezanne or Monet or .... whoever, you name the artist ....made their own paints and wove their own canvases. Of course not. It is how they applied the paint to the canvas that matters. It is their vision, their skill, their ingenuity, their energy that add up to "genius." Their work transcends that of producers of craft art, and a person who blends or infuses spirits or wine skillfully, can transcend craft distillers and winemakers who do so with a heavy hand. So why worry about tags. . Worry about what gets into the bottle. Consumers can then decide if you are an artist that transcends or a small distiller calls itself craft, for no other reason than it is small. Just be honest in the story you tell. And, for the record, as far as US regulation is concerned, you will be making liqueurs only if the product you put into the bottle meets the US standard of identity for liqueurs. they are " products obtained by mixing or redistilling distilled spirits with or over fruits, flowers, plants, or pure juices therefrom, or other natural flavoring materials, or with extracts derived from infusions, percolation, or maceration of such materials, and containing sugar, dextrose, or levulose, or a combination thereof, in an amount not less than 21/2percent by weight of the finished product." That definition matters, but it does not change the quality of the product either.
  26. 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
  27. 2 likes
    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.
  28. 2 likes
    Lots of threads on this site that compare the various distillery management systems. I would encourage you to also evaluate Hoochware - we use it and love it!
  29. 2 likes
    Just to let you know we have recently changed our terms of service for the forum which states that truthful reviews of vendors will be allowed on the forum going forward. However, posts that are vulgar, threatening harm, libel, etc. will be removed.
  30. 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
  31. 2 likes
    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.
  32. 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.
  33. 2 likes
    urea is a precursor to ethyl carbamate, a known carcinogen. you can boil bakers yeast (as the homedistiller forum suggest, yeast hulls don't provide nitrogen but thats also not the point of using hulls) for amino acids. DAP is also better than urea because it has a N base (diammonium) and P (phosphate), the two macros that you'll likely be deficient in. You need to ensure that all of the nutrients (or at least the DAP addition) is metabolized before the finish of fermentation because residual N will affect flavor. This is one of the reasons why you add at the beginning of fermentation or after 1/3 of the sugars have been depleted. For my current use, I add it at the start of fermentation and after 12-16 hrs depending on ferment speed and lag time - but I'm doing fresh pressed sugarcane (agricole-style) which is an entirely different beast than most of y'all
  34. 2 likes
    Matt Hofmann speaks about Brand & Product Identity.
  35. 2 likes
    Two custom made Vendome stills for sale. My loss is your gain! I have decided not to start a distillery and have these two beautiful stills I purchased used (3 years old) See photos and drawings attached for more details. $225,000.00 plus loading and shipping. The total system can fit on a flat bed trailer. Vendome Stills for sale.pdf twin pot still assembly (1).pdf
  36. 2 likes
    Just saw that today when doing a tasting at a small local store. He commented that he is going to drop all the big name flavored vodka to carry more local spirits. He is seeing a change in his customers. They want local.
  37. 2 likes
    Re: a 20-day approval. Miracles do happen, but don’t expect them. To understand the unlikelihood of your application being approved in 20 days, you must understand the way in which TTB processes applications. The system makes it all but impossible. That is why 20 days to approval is miraculous. When you submit the application, it is assigned, within a day, to a specialist. TTB used to use a triage system, but it appears to have abandoned that. The assignment to the specialist appears to now be made before anyone looks at it. The assignment to the specialist is made like dealing a deck of cards. The applications that come in each day are dealt round robin to the specialists. Who gets it is a lottery. The specialist who gets the application doesn’t look at it when she or he (I’ll chose she) receives it. It comes dealt face down and remains face down. She doesn’t look at it to say, oh, this one is great or lousy. It’s simply inserted into the bottom of the stack of applications she already has pending in her pile. She works this stack from top to bottom. This is a matter of “fair play.” One application is not favored over another. Since the specialists carry an “inventory” of 150 plus pending applications – I’ve heard figures as high as 250 - it takes a while for new ones to rise to the top, no matter how well prepared, to become the old ones at which they take a first look. This first look often does not occur for 180 days or so, although the October average time to approval was 180 days, so the average first look probably came at closer to five months after receipt rather than to six, for those applications, but that varies too, since in September the average was 206 days to approval. Now, is it possible that any particular application can bore through the pile to make it to the top in 20 days? Sure, anything is possible. But it would be an anomaly that would fall more than several standard deviations from the expected. But, let’s assume, for purpose of argument, that such a miraculous event does occur. What then? TTB says 75% of applications require correction notices. That was a 2015 figure. My experience says it probably is now a higher number than that. Some of that is because of real errors or omissions, but a lot is not. I submit quite a few conscientiously and competently prepared applications. I have found that what one specialist wants may not be what another specialist wants, so an entry that generates a “correction request” from one specialist, will not from another. Worse yet, the “corrections” that one specialist might require might be entries that are anathema to another, i.e., precisely the entries that would generate a correction request from the second specialist. In short, there is no “right” way to make entries when the specialists, or their immediate supervisors, are free to invent their own rules about what is required and the form in which it should appear. [Note, in fairness, I do make errors, from time to time, that generate needed requests for correction, so not all such requests are nonsense, but in my opinion many are]. In this situation, I proceed as follows. I read what the instructions ask for, provide that, and do so in a form that most specialists accept most of the time. I then handle any correction request, nonsense or not, in a couple of days. But I can’t prevent it. And I can’t get an approval in 20 days or 40 days or 60 days or 80 days. That is my reality. I can’t perform miracles. Next, let’s assume, for purposes of further argument, that the specialist who has reviewed the application within the miraculous 20 days, finds no fault with it and sends it off for “management disposition,” which is yet another hurdle that the applications must clear before it crosses the finish line. While it is possible to get management to dispose of the application quickly, if one has been expressing legitimate concerns about how long it has been pending, getting expedited service is not likely. The manager’s review serves as a “quality control” check. The managers return the application to the specialists if they find any problem and “gig” the specialist for the error, be it real or imagined. But that is not the problem. The problem is that the “gig” system is a Machiavellian management style that has the specialists working in fear of even the tiniest error and managers, who are also subject to gigs, working in fear that they will miss an error the specialist also missed. The absurd consequences that result from working in fear of errors, a nitpicking, excruciatingly slow review, do not matter in TTB's present mileau. Specialists and managers, in turn, look at each application in detail to find reasons the application should not be approved, not to find reasons that it should. Next, like the specialists, the managers have stacks of applications on their desks. Yes, if you guess that the most recent ones go to the bottom of the pile, you are correct. Unless someone is complaining about how much the processing time for their application has exceeded the average time, i.e. 180 days, not something less than 20 for others, things do not get expedited by merit. So, absent legitimate concerns about how long the processes has already taken, again in the sense of fair play, the managers take up the applications in the order received. My experience says that the times in which the manager acts in less than 20 days from the date the manager received the application are not common, unless, again, there are extenuating circumstances. So, management disposition alone general takes as much or more time than the 20-day application took from its conception to its approval. While the 20-day approval suggests that the application may have been immaculately prepared, in the manner of which the submitter justifiably is proud, the care with which it was prepared does not account for TTB not carrying it full term. The application was in fact "blessed." Unless your application is similarly blessed, by whom or what I cannot suggest, your application will not receive such favored treatment. I can all but guarantee it. As I said, I can’t get an approval in 20 days or 40 days or 60 days or even 80 days, because they do not even look at the applications until well after such time frames are in the rear-view mirror.
  38. 2 likes
    tails test the end of your run with a glass of water.
  39. 2 likes
    If I go lower in pH, it is because I want to create a little bit more taste. Lower pH enhances the formation of taste molecules (Esterification). So I do it on rum and whiskey, but not on vodka recipes. When I make (or help develop) taste rich products, like rum or whiskey, I use (or advice to use) backset. It is sour and will sour up mashing and fermentation, enhancing esterification. Since you now add backset, instead of water, to the next mash/ferment/distillation cycle, you also increase taste, you don't need (so much) yeast nutrients, and it helps you stabilize on taste output (repeatability). In general, I aim for a much lower pH, especially while fermenting (where most taste is formed). It does not only help create more taste (and a more interesting whiskey or rum), it also helps against bacterial infections, when pH is below pH 4.8. Low pH is good against all bacterial infections ... safe lactic bacteria infection, unfortunately. I usually aim for a starting pH, while fermenting, of pH 4.8 and will see it go down to pH 3.8, depending on wash type (malts having more buffering capacity than grains having more buffering capacity than molasses). If it goes below pH 3.5, I know that next time I have to add a bit of lime to start with, so it does not get more sour than pH 3.8. I don't like it lower than that because (again, depending on sugar source) ferments tend to stall below that. Regards, Odin.
  40. 2 likes
    I had posted a diagram in this thread: But it appears the image I posted was lost in one of the forum upgrades. After some searching, I think I have found it once more, although it appears this is actually for a triple-distilled Scotch.
  41. 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
  42. 2 likes
    *Chanting* IN THE STILL! IN THE STILL!
  43. 2 likes
    We had similar problems when we proofed our white rye whiskey down to 80 proof. I found some older threads in this forum that talked about fatty acids that are soluble at high proof start to come out of solution as you proof down below 92. We ended up running our 80 proof whiskey through a 1 micron filter to remove the haze. We ended up with a perfectly clear spirit in the bottle.
  44. 2 likes
    Side note: There is no need to take stock in awards. Most brands have won awards and gotten gold medals. In general, the more awards a brand wins simply proves how many competitions they enter - not how good the product is. The entire tasting competition industry feeds off of distillers' insecurities and desire to be recognized. It's all not too dissimilar from how kindergarten teachers give all their students a gold star at some point throughout the school year.
  45. 2 likes
    Bluestar is correct about the legal designations. But the term "rectifier," or its variants, now appears only in the Federal Alcohol Administration Act regulations, parts 1 (permits) and 5 (labeling). It does not appear in part 19, the distilled spirits plant regulations. It was banished, so to say, when congress eliminated the separate excise tax on rectification. If I recall, correctly, that was in the early 1980's. And prior to that, distillers could also be rectifiers. Small players who only rectified and/or bottled were commonly called "bottling houses." Few of them professed to craft. Most made well products that sold on the bottom shelves in liquor stores. In part 19, "rectification" has become "processing," which also includes bottling, etc. TTB approves the registration required by part 19 for distillers, warehousemen and processors. Although it will approve a registration as a distiller or warehouseman only, a processor must also be either a distiller or a warehouseman. So, in the United States, if you do not distill, but do conduct processing operations, then you must also register as a warehouseman. This terminology has not yet found its way into the permit and labeling regulations of parts 1 and 5. The permit provisions 27 CFR 1.21, provide that "no persons, except pursuant to a basic permit ... shall ... engage in the business of distilling distilled spirits ... or rectifying or blending distilled spirits, or bottling or warehousing distilled spirits." If this were rewritten in the language of part 19, it would say that except pursuant to a basic permit, no person shall engage in the business of distilling, warehousing or processing distilled spirits. Part 5, the labeling regulations, make repeated references to "rectification," or variants thereof (the terms occur 11 times), but the regulation does not define what the term means, either within the definitions section, 5.11, or in the definitions section of part 1, section 1.10. The regulations rely on the meaning of the IRC regulations at the time the FAA regulations were written. So, if you are qualified to do business, as a distilled spirits plant, in the United States, you may be dubbed either a processor or rectifier, depending on which regulation you are reading, but the bottom line is that there are no longer any operations conducted on bonded premises that are identified as "rectification." It is all processing. In my early years in college, we had a sophomoric expression, "It's all semantics." In this case, that is true. To further confuse, the mandatory statements of name and address allow for different statements depending on the operations you conduct. The bottler must state that they are the bottler. The bottler also may state that it is the distiller if it distilled the spirits, either by original distillation or by redistillation in the processing account. If the bottler is also the "rectifier" of the spirits, it may state in addition to the mandatory bottled by statement, that it blend, made, prepared, manufactured or produced the spirits, depending, as the regulation states, on whichever term may be appropriate to the act of rectification involved. By regulation, "rectified by" is not among the optional terms. I do not know what TTB does in practice (who does?), but rectify is not among the optional terms listed in the beverage alcohol manual either. I'll leave it to you to determine the differences between manufacturing, producing, making, and preparing, and what specific operations make one more appropriate than the other. I think TTB does not care. I think if you conduct a processing operation, as defined in part 19, then you could claim the right to use any of them. But this is all very far removed from the character of the spirit that is in the bottle. It is intended to inform the consumer. Long explanationslike this speak volumes, I think, to whether it actually does so. It takes a wonk, i.e, someone who takes an excessive interest in minor details of policy, to even try to get this straight. I take that interest because as a consultant, if I do the wonky work, I free others to do the real work without fear of getting crosswise with TTB. Finally, let me ask a few questions? Who in the public knows the difference between 'produced by" and "distilled by?" Would the number who know be even 1% of the purchasers? And among those who do know, what percentage would make the purchasing choice based on the distinction? You may want to point this out as a part of your marketing, but I think you market to a small percentage of buyers, in most cases probably to those who come to your tasting room or find you on social media, i.e., those who are inclined to participate in your story to begin with. You don't have advertising budgets that allow you to sway public opinion. This leads to a final observation. I'm not sure that casting aspersions at small companies that hold forth as craft players, whatever the circumstances, is good for the craft market you are trying to build. But about that I'm over my head. I'm a regulations wonk, not a marketing wonk. .
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    The term for this in the USA is a "rectifier", which applies to anyone that purchases spirits and then further processes it to make a liquor, by redistilling, blending, or flavoring, and then bottling it. If redistilling, you could still label the product as "distilled by", and call yourself a "craft distiller". But if you are not distilling, the "craft distiller" moniker technically should not apply. You could call yourself a "craft spirit producer", for example. The distinction is actually a legal one in the US Basic Permit: "PROCESSING (RECTIFYING) DISTILLED SPIRITS AND WINE" is one of the three things you can apply to do with the permit, the others being distilling or warehousing. Most of us check all three boxes, and our permit covers all three. But the distinction of being a "distiller" or not would only show up in the approval of a label, with regards to the "distilled by" versus "produced by" on the label. Gin and absinthe are typical examples of products that could be produced by a rectifier by redistilling spirits with botanicals, and hence could use the "craft distiller" moniker honestly. But if you are making infusions that are not redistilled, you would use the "produced and bottled by" on the label, and really should use something other than "craft distiller" as a moniker. I like "craft spirit maker" myself.
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    Craig, If I were you I would be thinking of trying to make some interesting bourbons there not trying to compete with the old Pisco families. I lived in Peru for 8 years and subsequently I have moved to Argentina and then become interested in setting up a distillery here. But in Peru there are hundreds of different types of corn and a thriving craft beer industry so you can get other grains to make different whiskies. While your at it there is no-one in Peru making top quality gins with Local botanicals. Peru has about 10% of the Amazon forest and there is still a lot of knowledge up in the mountains of local herbs and flowers. You could make some gins that are great tasting and sell them to the tourists coming in and out. The same with bourbons. Anyway I am going to set up my distillery here in Mendoza Argentina, then I will do one in Chile and I am trying to get a mate in Lima to start one as well. The key to anything in Peru is getting the upper middle class to buy it and flogging it to the tourists. there are about 1.8m tourists a year go to Peru and most of them go in and out of Cuzco and Lima. Cheers and have a great ceviche for me. If you want to talk about this some more PM me. Matt
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    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..
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    I'm sorry James, your calcs. are wrong for immersion heaters Alex, using immersion heaters directly in the mash 44kW will get the 1000 liter still up to operating temp in a little over 2hrs. 44kW at 240vac 3 phase only draws 106 amps. 88kW would bring it up to temp in a little over 1hr and it would only draw 106amps at 480vac 3phase. 44kW single phase 230vac will bring it up to operating temp in a little over 2 hrs and it will draw 191 amps, so all of these are do able. We have built electric heating systems for several stills over 200 gallons. The price for the heating system and programmable digital controller is way way less than 1/2 the price of a low pressure steam boiler. The service to my business here is a 800 amp 230vac single phase service and I built a 60hp rotory phase converter to convert 100 amps to 240vac 3 phase for my 3 phase welder. We run mostly single phase welders and equipment. Alex, let me know what voltage and phase that you have available and the capacity in amps of your service and I will let you know if an electrical heating system is doable. Our heating systems and programmable digital controllers are built using all UL listed parts. The enclosures are NEMA4x listed and we can supply explosion proof enclosures if needed. We can build heating systems and controllers in all voltages 208vac to 600vac in single phase and 3 phase. I also sell natural gas and propane fired Rite low pressure steam boilers, so if you need a steam boiler let me know and I will send you a quote. 1000 BTUS of boiler output is needed for each gallon of mash to get you to your operating temp in 1 hr. James is correct that a 15hp boiler is what you need.
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    It took me a while to figure out what you were talking about, but I finally got it, and that definitely helps. For everyone else, I've summarized a few things and included some links below: TTB F 5110.11 – Monthly Report of Storage Operations (http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511011.pdf) Completed using proof gallons – Monthly, due by the 15th of the following month. http://www.ttb.gov/forms_tutorials/f511011/f511011_tutorial.html The purpose of completing TTB Form 5110.11 is to report storage account activity for a Beverage or Industrial Distilled Spirits Plant. This report is to be filed if the operation of warehouseman is shown on your permit and registration. If there is no activity during the month, you are required to file the report showing zeros. Send to: TTB National Revenue Center (Form 5110.11) 550 Main Street, Room 8002 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 TTB F 5100.28 – Monthly Report of Processing Operations (http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511028.pdf) Completed using proof gallons - Monthly, due by the 15th of the following month. http://www.ttb.gov/forms_tutorials/f511028/f511028_tutorial.html Form 5110.28 must be filed if your plant conducts processing (rectifying), bottling, packaging or denaturing operations. You are required to file this report each month. If there is no activity during any months, you are required to file the report showing zeros. Send to: TTB National Revenue Center (Form 5110.28) 550 Main Street, Room 8002 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 TTB F 5110.40 – Monthly Report of Production Operations (http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511040.pdf) Completed using proof gallons - Monthly, due by the 15th of the following month. http://www.ttb.gov/forms_tutorials/f511040/f511040_tutorial.html Form 5110.40 must be filed if distilling/production operations are shown on permit and on registration. You are required to file this report each month. If there is no activity during the month, you are required to file the report showing zeros. Send to: Director, National Revenue Center (Form 5110.40) 550 Main Street, Room 8002 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 TTB F 5110.43 – Monthly Report of Processing (Denaturing) Operations (http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511043.pdf) Completed in wine gallons (regular US liquid gallons) - Monthly, due by the 15th of the following month. http://www.ttb.gov/forms_tutorials/f511043/f511043_tutorial.html Report in this section recovered denatured spirits and/or recovered articles users return to you for restoration or redenaturation. You may also report any denatured spirits or articles that you recover and/or either restore or redenatured. Send to: Director, National Revenue Center (Form 5110.43) 550 Main Street, Ste. 8002 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-5215 TTB F 5000.24 – (http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f500024.pdf) Completed for US$ amounts – Semi-Monthly returns are normally due no later than the 14th day after the last day of the return period. Except for the September periods the 16th-26th shall be filed no later than Sept. 29th. The period 27th-30thshall be filed no later than October 14th. (3 returns due in September) http://www.ttb.gov/forms/helpful_hints500024.shtml http://www.ttb.gov/forms/smartform-user-guide500024.pdf http://www.ttb.gov/expo/presentations-black/s10-bw.pdf Send to: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Excise Tax (F 5000.24) P O Box 790353 St. Louis, MO 63179-0353