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Everything posted by bluestar

  1. spirit scales

    I just got an email offer for a similar scale from Prime, their model PS-AS4320 https://www.paypal.com/webapps/shoppingcart?mid=2698762161078454749128381505833303&flowlogging_id=e15cf64f59589#/checkout/shoppingCart It's only $300, 1000 lb capacity, and 0.2 lb resolution. Another vet scale, not NTEP, but again work great for measuring up to full barrels or even 100 gallon tanks.
  2. In urban areas, you can even be adjacent, provided there is complete security and firewall separation between the two buildings.
  3. It looks to me that this specifically is for something labeled as a flavored brandy. So that you would end up with something like "blueberry brandy flavored with 20% of grape wine"?
  4. Agave

    Yes they are. And the owners are really nice people, so I would suggest reaching out directly to them if you want to get advice. I don't know if @Tailwinds follows the forum regularly, so they may not have posted yet because they haven't seen it, are too busy, or are just shy ;-)
  5. Agave

    We didn't experiment enough with it to know, so like Round Barn, we gave up. But keep in mind that one of the things that distinguishes agave is that it is like the fructose version of corn: corn starch is primarily converted to dextrin that gets converted to dextrose (glucose), which is most easily consumed by the yeast for conversion to alcohol; agave primarily contains inulin that gets converted to fructose (mild heat will do it). So, agave syrup or nectar is primarily fructose, with some glucose and maybe some residual inulin, depending on how the syrup was processed. Yeast will consume both glucose and fructose, but efficiency of conversion of fructose to alcohol varies depending on the yeast strain. And inulin needs conversion. There can be a lot of variation in the content of the agave syrups, so even if you processed the same way each time, supplier or batch can affect the result. Sufficient glucose in the syrup will get a yeast started that might initially consume glucose and eventually fructose. Too little glucose, and some yeast may never start up. We notice this with honeys, where there is wide variation in sugar content depending on the flower source. We see that reflected at times in the speed of fermentation, startup, or even stuck fermentations. So I suspect that could be another factor in difficulties with agave syrup. Round Barn is right, that V1116 is specifically intended as a yeast for wine fermentation in extreme conditions, including high residual fructose due to stuck fermentations. I don't know how that compares to something like SafTeq Blue or Silver, which are specifically formulated for use with agave.
  6. Anti-Foam Alternatives

    Great. Did you tell them I sent you?
  7. Pomace Brandy required labeling statement

    From the CFR: 5) ‘‘Pomace brandy’’, or ‘‘marc brandy’’, is brandy distilled from the skin and pulp of sound, ripe grapes, citrus or other fruit, after the withdrawal of the juice or wine therefrom, and shall be designated as ‘‘pomace brandy’’, or ‘‘marc brandy’’, qualified by the name of the fruit from which derived. Grape pomace brandy may be designated as ‘‘grappa’’ or ‘‘grappa brandy’’. So grape pomace brandy and grappa are the same, from TTB point of view. TTB does not limit term grappa in US like EU. And: Fruit brandy, derived from grapes, shall be designated as ‘‘grape brandy’’ or ‘‘brandy’’, except that in the case of brandy (other than neutral brandy, pomace brandy, marc brandy or grappa brandy) distilled from the fermented juice, mash, or wine of grapes, or the residue thereof, which has been stored in oak containers for less than 2 years, the statement of class and type shall be immediately preceded, in the same size and kind of type, by the word ‘‘immature’’. So you do not have to have the immature designation for pomace-marc-grappa brandy if aged less than 2 years. No statement of age is required, but as is usual, any statement of age has to be true, which means it must indicate the minimum time the product was aged in oak containers. Aging or not does not affect the use of the term "grappa" for grape pomace brandy, and in Europe, there are many barrel aged grappas. So to your original point, you can call it grape pommace brandy, marc, or grappa, the terms are interchangeable. You do not have to label it immature if aged less than 2 years, as you would for regular grape brandy. You do not have to state age, but if you do, it must be truthful, identifying the minimum time spent in oak container for any product in the bottling. So the appropriate description for unaged pomace brandy is pomace brandy or unaged pomace brandy. Or marc. Or grappa.
  8. Fermentation stops @ 50%

    Yeah, but if as indyspirits says and I asked about, your infection is outside of the vessels, you have to sanitize the distillery top to bottom. Putting a cover on won't do much in that situation. Might be time to check for the culprit with a lab test.
  9. Fermentation stops @ 50%

    Are you fermenting completely open like in the picture? If so, you might have an infection problem that is beyond the containers, so disinfecting them won't be enough. pH sounds low.
  10. If kept wrapped, and relatively high humidity, they might still swell shut. Depends on how well the heads were fixed. If the pics are current, they still look pretty tight between the staves, and you can tighten that yourself if need be. But if the heads aren't sealed, that is more of a problem.
  11. Agave

    We tried again, and no go. While meads are slow, we have no difficulty with them, rarely a half stuck fermentation, but always can be restarted. We do a lot of mead. We never tested the agave syrup for sulfur, that could explain it. Because we also found that we could not get a 50:50 mixture of the syrup with honey to ferment either.
  12. Barrel Mill barrel quality

    We also have used ISC barrels and Black Swan barrels. The ISC barrels are very different than either Black Swan or Barrel Mills. Of course, ISC are full 53 gallon only, and we only use smaller barrels from Barrel Mills (15 gallon) and Black Swan (5, 8, 10, 15, 23 gallon). But wood and toast qualities of Barrel Mills and Black Swan are not very different, I suspect both are using regional Minnesota oak. The ISC barrels we use are Missouri oak. The wood is very different between the two, probably representing both differences in the white oak species mix and the differences in climate. We find the tighter grain Minnesota oak more suitable for the small barrels, and the Missouri oak works well for the full 53 gallons. But the difference in size and chars, etc., also means it is hard to do a real 1:1 comparison.
  13. Barrel Mill barrel quality

    We have had no problems with them, although we don't use many of them. We have been using 15 gallons.
  14. Yes, exactly, we have considered both avenues for the same reason. We will likely try both.
  15. This still gives you much leeway. For example, if you have a 10% ABV (20 proof) wine, you can mix that about 5:1 with a spirit above 100 proof, and the result will be less than 50% wine on a proof gallon basis, and hence can be bottled at less than 48 proof (it will in fact be a bit above 16% alcohol, or 32 proof, less than many fortified wines). So it should be possible to bottle something that is at typical fortified wine proof (less than 40 proof), but contains less than 50% wine on a proof gallon basis, and so would be a distilled spirit. If you want more of the flavor profile of a fortified wine, key might be using lower proof wine with higher proof spirit.
  16. There is a style of amaro called vermouth amaro, which uses wine as the primary base material. What they are classified in the USA is unclear for the traditional Italian products. In the USA, the TTB is primarily interested in getting the maximum taxes, so the rules are focussed on getting you OUT of the wine category. You stay IN the wine category by fortifying wine with spirits distilled from the SAME wine or fruit as the base wine. Otherwise, you become a distilled spirit, and most likely, you become a specialty, since high wine content is not part of any of the standard categories, although in some cases, at high enough proof (less wine more spirit) and sweetened, you might be a liqueur. So, what we have considered doing, and recommend others could do the same, is try making a vermouth amaro, with either a non-wine-based spirit or enough spirit to take you out of the wine category, and put you into the spirit category, and get its formula approved as a specialty. Whether they would allow you to use the description or fanciful description of "vermouth amaro" is unclear.
  17. Anti-Foam Alternatives

    If you are being certified organic, the material used has to also be certified organic by the manufacturer. I don't think Patcote 376 is, and I don't think Hydrite has any others that are. Magrabar 3000 is registered and certified organic. Something made by your neighbor won't work, but true if you make it yourself in your certified organic shop, using certified organic precursors, that should work, too. In any case, we use the 3000 product. A bit pricey, but effective so we don't go through that much of it.
  18. spirit scales

    They also have this unit, which is worth considering, although not NTEP: http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-700lb-x-0-1lb-44-x22-Animal-Scale-Vet-Scale-Pet-Scale-w-Hold-Button-/181674820811 Ignore its description as a pet scale. It can be used for anything. 700lbs should be adequate, since CFR limits you to scale weighing 55 gallon containers, and they seldom weigh more than 500 lbs (460 lbs of water plus container tare). It is twice as accurate at 0.1 lb instead of 0.2 lb. It is larger area (which could be a plus or minus), but it is a stainless platen, which you want in case you spill high proof alcohol. It is still not washdown, but neither is the cheaper version of the NTEP.
  19. Anti-Foam Alternatives

    Magrabar makes an organic antifoam http://www.magrabar.com/assembled/antifoam_and_defoamers.html We have used it for years.
  20. Grain Mill for sale

    Which power option is it?
  21. using Honey - avoiding sediment

    Don't know if Letterpress Distilling in Seattle is on the Forum, but I know he uses honey for his limoncello, and when I visited, mentioned his process for avoiding clouding when using local honey for sweetening. Maybe he will provide you some pointers if you ask.
  22. Spiced Rum....amount of each spice

    It should scale, if all process steps are the same. But it will vary each time, as batches of spice vary.
  23. Honey in Gin

    Honey is not as sweet as sugar. Honey is a heavy syrup, you have to dilute it almost 1:1 to make something akin to simple syrup. We roughly will use 50% more honey by weight to get the equivalent to granular sugar, but keep in mind that also means you have to reduce the amount of liquid by the volume of honey, roughly.
  24. How much are you paying for stoppers?

  25. Can we ship bottles to customers?

    You need to establish an alcohol capability in your FedEx account in order to ship alcohol. You use special marking labels from FedEx, you list it as an alcohol shipment when you generate the shipping label. You can only do this if you establish an alcohol capable account. Contact your FedEx representative to do this.