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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/22/2017 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    To sum this thread up: If you are a brewer, winery or distillery you need to do the following to be craft. Grow your own trees Cut them down yourself Make your own barrels Buy raw land Zone raw land into farm Turn raw land into farm Plow, plant, and harvest seeds by hand Mill them grains by hand with a mortar and pestle Mash them in a butter churn Ferment them using your own harvested and selected yeast. Build your equipment yourself using steel and copper from your own environmentally friendly mines and steel factorys. Distill them using only power from solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal systems which you built yourself from parts sourced only from other craft renewable energy manufacturers. Use proofing water which you made yourself from only naturally occurring hydrogen and oxygen. Again, sourced from equipment you made yourself. Blow your own glass using silica which you also mined and refined yourself Each label must be hand painted on the bottle by nobody else other than the distiller themself Each cork must be made from your own cork farm, and it must be completely renewable The tamper seal must be made from biodegradable materials which, you guessed it, is also made completely on site. You must self distribute using a bicycle with no more than 10 speeds/gears (>10 speeds makes you a corporate pig) and sell only to mom-and-pop stores. You must be on site for each bottle that is sold by the select liquor stores so that you can explain to each customer how you are completely transparent. When that customer has died of boredom from your story (because they just wanted to buy a bottle of vodka) you must be a paul bearer in their funeral to show that you are comitted to a lifelong relationship with every customer. If you stray from any of the above bullets then YOU ARE NOT CRAFT and are basically lying to your customers and a complete scam artist who is only out there to deceive customers and make a buck.
  2. 3 points
    Back from the dead, nearly 10 years later.
  3. 3 points
    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.
  4. 2 points
    You guys are made of money to be using $12 a pound citric or gallons of Heinz 57. Damn, you probably even use the more expensive squeeze bottle versions too. Meanwhile, the rest of us are stuffing our pockets full at Burger King. I phone up my local chemical supply and walk out with a 50 pound bag of FCC/USP Grade Citric Acid for about $60. No sales tax on that either. Mash Acidification - Check Still Copper Rejuvenation - Check Tricking your 5 year daughter to stick her finger in and taste it - Priceless
  5. 2 points
    You should use Organic ingredients since they produce a far superior spirit.
  6. 2 points
    Waaahhh Mom, it's really hard. Do I have to really do it if I can scam the customer instead? Please don't make me? I've got an idea, lets encourage Amazon to apply for their DSP and then the totes can be shipped right to their warehouse where they can add the drops of flavor and ship it direct. They can brand it "One Click Craft". Lets just eliminate the middle man all together : You !
  7. 2 points
    I have a dream that one day we can strike the word "infection" from the distilling vocabulary. We love mixed bacterial fermentation, and routinely use at least a half dozen strains of non-yeast microbes in fermentation. Even the brewing community has begun to embrace mixed-culture fermentation in a big way. Yesterday's infection is today's purposeful inoculation. Keep in mind that a whiskey wash that doesn't go through a boil post saccharification is going to be absolutely loaded with a plethora of non-yeast bacteria that will flourish during fermentation, especially protracted duration fermentation. Fermenting in open top tanks? Fermenting in wooden fermenters? This is all about cultivating non-yeast microbes. As interesting as different yeast strains are, bacteria are 10x so. Indigenous yeast and bacteria are part of the terroir that defines a product. Operate long enough, and it's likely that your distillery develops it's own unique profile of house strains, which have become dominant in the environment, both yeast and bacteria. I'm not saying to operate in a unsanitary way, or to eschew sanitizers and GMP, there are plenty of bugs to be avoided at all costs. I am saying that this is the next frontier in craft distilling, and we need to stop worrying and learn to love the funk.
  8. 2 points
    Bloom is caused by repetitive condensation formation and evaporation on the inside of the bottles. Generally this happens on a daily basis when the climate is cold at night and warm during the day and there is moisture in the air. It usually takes 3-6 months of this happening before the white crystallization becomes apparent. If bottles must be stored for longer than 3-6 months, then they should always be stored in a temperature or humidity controlled warehouse. Generally either temperature or humidity control will work. Both are not necessary.
  9. 2 points
    Jeff, Under a given set of conditions, there is an optimum cooking temperature and time to obtain the best quality of distillate and the best alcohol yield. I believe the question you have is about cooking small grains at high temperatures. There are a lot of ways to prepare grains for fermentation, but the simple goal of cooking is to gelatinize the starch granules, to make them available for hydrolysis by enzymes to convert to fermentable sugars but the complicated goal is to efficiently obtain proper gelatinization of starch, properly free up amino acids the yeast require, convert to fermentable sugars, reduce contamination and obtain a flavor extraction from the grains. The infusion mashing process we use, (simply cooking small grains at lower & proper temperatures), here at Wilderness Trail is designed around maximizing flavor first, energy second and time third. You do not have to boil your grains up to 210F and you certainly do not want to cook any of your small grains (wheat, rye, barley, malted barley, etc) in that range, again you can but it will not be the highest quality distillate you can obtain in the end if you do that. You can cook corn to 210F and it doesn't do much more than waste energy cooking it that high, part of the high heat is to sterilize the grains of bacteria and you take care of that around 190F and you only need to cook corn around 190F-185F for proper gelatinization, we cook our corn at 190F, it saves energy from going higher, we convert all of the available sugars and sterilize our grains, that is why you do it. For wheat the actual gelatinization range is 136F-146F but we start adding our wheat around 155-160F. For Rye the actual range is 135F-158F and we add and cook our Rye no higher than 160F for good reasons. Our Malted barley never goes in higher than 145F to preserve the enzymatic activity and to keep the grains intact. Think of it this way, gelatinization is like popping popcorn under water, its a dramatic change in the grains composition.. and throw in some smaller ductile grains like wheat or rye and you blow them apart under the same conditions as well as a lot of protein you don't want to break down. The reasons you do not cook grains beyond their proper gelatinization range is more about flavor than yield because if it is too rigorous, thermal decomposition of grain components will cause objectionable popcorn phenolic odors, yield is more impacted by poor grains, under cooking, poor conversion and yeast conditions. By using the infusion mashing process for small grains, you keep the branched chain amino acids and proteins in place with the grains that the yeast will use to properly make a flavorful result. If you boil your small grains, you are creating unbranched chain amino acids, degrading proteins and frankly blowing apart the flavor you are trying to extract. Small grains also get scorched very easy and there are Maillard effects that create all kinds of new chemicals from the high heat of small grains you don't want, plus why would you, the process doesn't require it. The yeast take these unbranched chain and Maillard effect's and turns them into higher alcohols (fusels) and other chemicals that alter the flavor and result of the beer & distillate. In short summary for our whiskeys, we cook our corn to 190F and hold that for 40 minutes, we cool to 160F by adding some water additions of the overall mashbill and add our wheat or Rye and hold that for 30 minutes, we add more water additions to get to 145F which is when we add our Malted Barley which rest for 30 minutes. We add the rest of our water additions for our ferm set and the chiller takes it down to 90F. We send that to our fermenters, which are set to hold at 85F for three day beer and 78F for 4-5 day beer. By shortening the initial cook of the total water, your initial cook is thicker, for us that is around 18 beer gallons and that allows you to use less energy to heat up the initial cook and reserve the rest of the water for cooling capacity as well as when you add your grains you are also using that to help cool your mash down. For example I mentioned we add our wheat at 160F but after the grains are added the temperature drops to around 150F+ and rest out to a little above 145F. We primarily make a wheated Bourbon but we also make a Rye Whiskey, which again even though the Rye will be the majority of grains, we still cook our smaller amount of Corn up to 190F and then cool it down to 160F before adding the majority of the mashbill of Rye. Infusion mashing is scientifically proven to offer a more flavorful distillate and smoother distillate, mainly for the reasons listed above. Shane Baker Co-Founder, Master Distiller Wilderness Trail Distillery
  10. 2 points
    I assume you are referring to general distillery trade waste, not from the sinks and bathrooms. We operate in a rural area also and initially we had to truck all our trade waste off for external disposal, at great cost. We now treat the waste on-site. No septic, or air assisted bio-cycle system will cope with distillery trade waste for three reasons; The pH is way too low THE BOD is too high (typical of boiled waste) The amount of residual alcohol is often too high in 'small' distilleries (we often dump our stillage at 2% residual alcohol, as its too expensive to strip-out the remainder) We established an on-site treatment system FOR THE TRADE WASTE ONLY (all sink and bathroom effluent is treated in a standard AWT septic system) comprising of three 10kl concrete tanks. The waste is transfered on a batch basis from one to the other, and then finally sprayed out onto rural pastures. The tanks work as follows; Tank 1 takes the raw waste, and holds until we have about 10kl, we then pH adjust to 7.2 with Calcium Carbonate. Residual chlorine is resolved with H2O2. BOD is measured, as well as copper, lead and N2 levels (local EPA requirement). Calcium Carbonate dissolves very slowly so we need to recirculate this tank for about 24 hours Tank 2 has a pump over aeration system that fixes the BOD and dissolved O2 levels, this again takes about 24 hours of circulation. Bentonite is added in the last hour of aeration just before transfer to tank 3. Tank 3 is the settling tank, we settle the sludge for 24 hours, the clear water is then fed by pump to an open field for irrigation. The sludge is drained monthly, and dumped onto open compost mounds. This system has been working flawlessly for 2 years and has proved very cheap to operate.
  11. 1 point
    I am sure it made for good television.
  12. 1 point
    A lot of great information here. I learned some new and helpful things here myself. Looks like it's been zeroed in on as the problem, but I didn't see it mentioned anywhere whether they're grinding their grain in the same room they ferment. I'd advise doing that in a separate room or outside if possible. Worth considering in addition to everything else.
  13. 1 point
    The other factor to consider - what proof are you planning to bottle at? If you are planning to bottle at 90, for example, you might lose enough alcohol going in at 92 to put you under your bottling target.
  14. 1 point
    Not sure of the quality but "affordable distilling" on eBay has an electric one (150g) for $14.5k.
  15. 1 point
    Exactly, Paul,,,no floor traffic for vendors!
  16. 1 point
    Your findings do not surprise me at all. I have often measured lower than expected ABV and suspected heating the flask contents once most of the alcohol and water have gone would most likely boil off solids, which will then cause obscuration of the collected distillate. I have been tempted to re-distill the distillate to see if this was happening. Your method would be easier and probably more accurate.
  17. 1 point
    Same as Thatch. I'm less than 10 minutes from the Convention Center & $600 is way too much just to check it out. For those that do come check out Butcher & Rye (Whiskey bar, walkable to convention center) and Hidden Harbor (Tiki bar, a little further out, Uber or Taxi it). If you have any questions on what to do in the city Huffy2k or I can answer those questions. Tons of stuff to do outside of the convention.
  18. 1 point
    Pretty much impossible to pin down a bacteria/fungi without plating a sample. You can speculate that it probably has a acid compound due to it having a low pH. Possibly a carboxylic acid such as acidic acid which when mixed with ethanol (esterification) will give you ethyl acetate which smells of pears. Furthermore, a carboxylic acid mixed with ethanol can form a alpha-hydroxy group such as lactic acid, hence the low pH. Again, hard to narrow down the exact carboxylic acid without knowing the bacteria/fungi, but there are plenty that have great aromas after esterification. As @Foreshot mentioned, it can be seen as a positive condition because of the esters. Unfortunately the large distillery of the last century have not advance fermentation much and only focus on the production of ethanol wheather it be neutral grain or whiskey, which gets its flavor from the barrels. The only industry close is Jamaican rum with the use of dunder pits. As a former brewer, I find the use of controlled fermentation and bacteria to create esters that can enhance any distilled product (including whiskey with light barrel use) very intriguing. IMO more distilleries should focus on quality of product through ingredients and controlled fermentation as well as distillation to create unique esters/flavors. I suspect as more craft distillers pop up this will become more common as it was in the beer industry. This is a time of innovation in our industry which is why i have moved in this direction. Sorry of the rant.... If I were you I would embrace this as a one-off experimental product. Take a sample to know what is causing the condition. Run the was through your still and after you have collected the majority of ethanol, take many small cuts of your tails and separate them in containers. You can then sample them to see what ester you get and mix them back into the ethanol in different volumes till you get the product that is best. Carboxylic Acids have very high boing points, so take deep cuts into your tails. Also, document everything well and with your wash sample you will be able to replicate the product if it turns out well. Or just ignore what I said and dump the wash or run it for the ethanol only. But if your anything like me, what I have just said will spark interest in the geek within you.
  19. 1 point
    a p-trap is helpful, but there needs to be sufficient height separating the column bottoms, P-trap and fluid level of the boiler. otherwise you wont have enough head for gravity to do its thing and overcome the micro pressures in the kettle. 12" of height difference between kettle fluid levels and the bottom of your column only gives you a gravity/pressure difference of 0.375 PSI. this is well within the range of pressures you can build in the kettle, even with an open vapor path. Many of the newcomers to the equipment market are using 12" or less height difference, realistically 24" or more would be ideal, but then height becomes a concern. throw in Dual columns, and your troubles double. individual plate flooding is another issue, it can either be bad plate design, or a combination of running too much heat and too much reflux, in which case back off on the heat, back off on dephlegmater flow and you will have the same results out of your parrot with fewer column flooding problems.
  20. 1 point
    It's very simple. You need to use the same spirit that is approved on the label. If you add a little whiskey to rum, it's not rum anymore. If you add rum to whiskey, it's not whiskey anymore. If you add high proof vodka to straight whiskey, it's not straight whiskey anymore.
  21. 1 point
    There are a tonne of flavor houses. Givaudan is one that I have used previously, for example. Orange is not "orange" from one company to another (they'll taste different). Check out Moonshine University in Louisville, or whatever their bottling line is called,. It might be worth hiring out your first couple batches while you can use their flavor scientist. I've never used Dehner but he apparently knows what he is doing as well. To the OP - make it from scratch, buy extracts, blend the two together - doesn't matter in the end. Do what is right for your brand. There's nothing immoral about being an NDP, blender, or anything else as long as you're honest with your customers. Be cautious when working with really small batches - you'll need to scale the production and if it'll get wonky if you're chopping lines tumeric like Escobar. Try multiple maceration duration, proof contents, and concentrations. Each variable can make a substantial difference. I have to reiterate the other's comments about making separate concentrates and blending them together. Also, keep in mind that sugar and filtration will change your final product as well.
  22. 1 point
    Good catch, but they know it. The gauging manual contains the following: § 30.64 Table 4, showing the fractional part of a gallon per pound at each percent and each tenth percent of proof of spirituous liquor. Table 4 [TTB editorial note: Erratum on page 549, Proof of 173.7 proof should read Wine gallon per pound of 0.14233] I didn't know that until I started poking around. The tables have been around since dirt and I figured someone had to have caught this before. They had. TTB should update the tables, but ...
  23. 1 point
    ReadeHud, your math is correct. There are two reasons why the mass you have calculated for 750 ml is different from the values calculated by PeteB and Silk City earlier. The first reason is that the values calculated by Pete and Silk were for 750 ml at 60°F but you are working at 20°C. 20°C is a bit hotter than 60°F and the spirit expands and for the same volume you have less mass. The second reason is that although 80 Proof is equal to 40 Vol% at 60°F it is not the same as 40 Vol% at 20°C. Alcohol and water have different rates of thermal expansion and as the spirit is warmed from 60°F to 20°C the alcohol portion expands (very slightly) more than the water. This changes the volumetric ratio between the alcohol and the water. 80 Proof is equal to 40.07 ABV at 20°C, so when you buy equal volumes of spirit at 40 ABV from US and European suppliers you actually get a bit more alcohol from your US supplier. A large part of the confusion between weights and masses in air and in vacuum is our loose use of the terms weight and mass. We use the terms weight and mass interchangeably, but they are really two entirely different physical quantities. Weight is actually a force, and is related to mass by Newton's second law ( F = m x a ). The most common way to determine mass is to actually measure the weight (i.e. force of gravitational attraction to the earth measured on a balance or scale) and then infer the mass from the second law. Of course we don't actually do the math every time and the "a" term is built into the calibration of the scale and we simply read out the result as a mass in pounds or kilograms. The mass of an object is not affected by the presence of surrounding air, water or other fluid. Nor is it affected by the force of gravity. But weight is obviously affected by both. Using gravity to measure weight and inferring the mass is not the only way to measure mass. When astronauts spend extended periods in space it is very important for them to know how their mass is changing (for health reasons) but because they are weightless in space a normal scale will not work. They measure their "inertial mass", which is actually the same as the "gravitational mass". If all this is not sufficiently confusing, try using the Canadian alcohol tables which measure ABV using the "in vacuum" density value, and then use the "in air" density value to determine the volume of the spirit.
  24. 1 point
    All right, more on gin! First I want to dive into barrel aged gin. Then, in another post, more on the gin herbs bill, where I will use a modification to an existing model. The existing model was very good, safe two ingredients, where I learned the hard way ... that they need different quantities. Okay, barrel aged gin first. Just to start ... I am sure there are benefits to it as well as downsides. Here are a few benefits: 1. Brown likker usually sells at a higher price point / margin than white spirits do; 2. It's great for marketing; 3. Via the barrel you introduce a few interesting new flavors. As for the downsides: 1. Gin is basically a white spirit, right? Barrel aging is not part of its history and for some (London Dry Style) it is not even allowed; 2. Even though water and alcohol need to marry when a gin is diluted to bottling strength, and this takes around 5 weeks, gin is made from neutral ethanol. There is no heads smearing that needs mellowing out via oxidation (like in a fruit brandy). There is no early Tails smearing, where these complex high boiling point molecules need time in the barrel to recombine into something interesting (like in Scottish single malt whisky). So to me, apart from the higher resale value, the marketing ... barreling gin feels a little bit like cheating. No history and no real aging takes place, but we sell it with that notion in our customers mind, right? Now, please take no offense of it. If it is tasty, if you sell it, there is a market. Let's not go gin nazi at all, instead make your barreled aged gin a success so that you and your company and employees and their families, and your customers may benefit. But I'd like to propose a new route. More work, but way more interesting. And not that much work if you already make whisk(e)y. Please know that gin finds its roots in the Dutch drink called "genever". Genever is originally more like a white, young whiskey, redistilled with herbs. Only after the English got a taste for it and only after some major new distillation technologies became available did it turn int a something like a neutral / vodka redistilled with herbs. If you make a whiskey, it makes sense to age it in a barrel. There's heads smearing (especially in Bourbon/bubble cap distilled) and there is Tails smearing (especially in single malt/pot distilled styles). And often there is quite a bit of both. The barrel now not only imparts new flavors (vanillins, tanins, etc.), but via breathing and the angels share introducing oxygen, it now also offers oxidation of especially the headsy components. And over time tailsy molecules recombine and make the drink more mellow and more interesting. Traditionally Dutch genever is made with (at least) 51% "malt wine", meaning new make whiskey. Usually corn, malted barley and wheat or rye as an adjunct (50/30/20 or there abouts). If you have aged a whiskey, why don't you try to add some of your gin to it and give it 5 weeks of rest? If you want to make barrel aged gin, why don't you work with a lower amount of berries (half) and a slightly tuned down herbs bill, and redistill your new make whiskey with these herbs and then barrel it? You may find that the grain and herbs working together create a very interesting taste. And also, if you now barrel age, you actually have some Heads and Tails molecules there, so your gin or genever actually does get better over time, much like your whiskey does. Something else. Not sure it belongs in this thread, but I want to ask it anyways. We gain more and more knowledge and experience on how to use our new extractor technology. Would it be worth it to start a new thread on that? To share what we learned and see if/how it can help out the craft distilling industry? Also, we have been doing loads of research on accelerated aging. More of a rum/whiskey topic. Would you guys find it interesting if I started a thread on that and share info on that as well? Just let me know! As for now, it's Odin out for a few days. Preparing for another 4-day workshop here at the iStill University near Amsterdam. Looking forward to that. I'll probably chime in with new posts on gin only after that, so around Tuesday or Wednesday. Regards, Odin.
  25. 1 point
    I'm throwing money at the screen - are you getting it?