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Odin

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Everything posted by Odin

  1. Odin on Gin

    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.
  2. What ever happened to iStill?

    Hi y'all, The day after tomorrow I'll fly to Salt Lake City, where I give a 3 day training at the New World Distillery, together with Chris and Ashley. Looking forward to meeting 14 new craft distillers and talking to them about distilling and fermenting and aging and spirits design, etc. I'll post some pictures of the course later on. Here's a few pics of another Dutch distillery opening up using my machines. Incredibly proud to have pretty much all new distilleries over here choosing for our equipment. https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/craft-distillery-de-destillateur-chooses-istill/ Regards, Odin.
  3. Odin on Gin

    Fresh citrus peel (or fresh peel in general) has less influence per gram than dried one. Imagine that fresh peel is like 65-70% water. If that evaporates, you are left with only the goodies, no water. That's why I advice dried peel, for more consistency (how dry is the fresh?). If you want to go fresh, usually a times three will work fine.
  4. Odin on Gin

    Herbs Bill for Gin Recipe Development Kudo's to the Yahoo group of old and to Tony Ackland, who came up with this. I just tested it, changed a few things for the better, and will publish it over here. It is for a bold style boiler infused gin. I use it time and again and if I don't, it usually puts me in trouble. Procedure: X is the amount of juniper berries. You need half of that in coriander/cilantro, a 10th of the juniper amount if you want to use angelica, etc. Orris root, etc. only 1/100th of the amount of juniper. Peel, be careful, only a total of x/100. So if you use lime and orange, devide both in half. Liquorice is difficult to work with. Use a powder or do it in a seperate distillation run. Bigger chunks will vary too much in the heat they give off: too hot or not there. Herbs per liter of 30% boiler charge. Run prep procedure: Fill the boiler with (example) 100 liters of 60% the evening before the run. Throw in the juniper so it can soak. Next morning dilute to 30% by adding more water. Then throw in the rest of the herbs, peels, roots, etc. Now start the run. I hope you find this information useful. If you have any Q's, please let me know. Regards, Odin.
  5. What ever happened to iStill?

    iStill in Aberdeenshire, Scotland ... https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/blackford-craft-distillery-chooses-istill/
  6. Odin on Gin

    Yes, and it turns out that some coriander - or cilantro - is producing soapy tastes more than other. Cilantro from modest climates less so than the ones from for instance warm Morocco. So just to be sure, it's better to use coriander or cilantro from a region with a mild climate rather than a hot climate.
  7. Odin on Gin

    An anecdotical story about gin My family in law loves me to take drinks with me when we visit them. "More vodka, please!", "Why don't you bring more rum next time?", that kind of remarks and questions is what I get. If I take vodka and rum and gin with me, they'll ask for brandy and whiskey. If I take brandy and whiskey and gin and vodka with me, they'll ask me to bring more whiskey and vodka and brandy and rum. Long story short ... they never ask me to bring more gin. I love making ging and develop a few dozen recipes per year. Mostly for customers, sometimes for myself. So I made Odin's Gin and I put all my knowledge and experience in it. It worked out well, but then again, who am I to judge my own product? So I asked my wife. Women are better tasters (nosers, actually) than man. So she tastes my gin and says: "It is soapy, I don't like it". My wife, like my family in law, is not a gin drinker. It was her first gin and she hated it because of the soapiness there. I tried it again but didn't detect soapiness at all. Another course on gin making, where we have some 10 to 12 people being trained in gin making. We make a few recipes and one of the participants think they are all soapy. Just as my wife, who joined us at the end of the workshop. What the heck? I learned that it is the coriander that can taste soapy. Not to all, but to some. Has to do with the make-up of coriander. Aldehydes that resemble those of soap. But it mostly has to do with genetics. Some genetic markers seem to make this happen. You have marker x or y and all of a sudden coriander (especially distilled coriander) tastes soapy to you. I now finally understand why my family in law never asked me for more gin. A year ago we did a few tests/tastings on a family meeting and most of them have (of course) the same marker as my wife has and gin (with coriander) tastes soapy to them. I thought that was funny to share. Here's a link I found online: http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/02/25/why-can-coriander-taste-soapy-the-chemistry-of-coriander/ Regards, Odin.
  8. What ever happened to iStill?

    Some more pics:
  9. What ever happened to iStill?

    Hi there! I am a bit tired after giving the latest 4 day certified workshop. But it sure was fun as well! Great group of students. New courses in Utah (sold-out), Amsterdam (still a few places left), and Madison (2 introduction days on the iStill 500 NextGen and the iStill Extractor). If you want to join, please contact us via https://www.istill.eu/workshops For pictures and more, please see: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/new-students-at-the-istill-university/ And there is more news: we will meet up with Bill Owens and his ADI Team in London. And after that Bill & Team will fly over to spend a few days with us in the Netherlands at our factory, assembly hall, and university. Looking forward to seeing you again Bill! Regards, Odin.
  10. Odin on Gin

    Congrats to The Wrecking Coast Distillery! https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/the-wrecking-coast-distillery-wins-again/ Regards, Odin.
  11. What ever happened to iStill?

    Good question! I'd say it is distilling. Not the extraction part of the process, but you put alcohol and water in a boiler, bring it to a boil and let the gases cool. These distilled liquids go into the extractor, which fills up, and then - via the syphon - is automatically deposited back into the boiler. So the whole process includes distilling. If you look at the pictures in the above link, you see that the extractor and iStill 2000 (for sure a still!) work together. The distilling device creates the high ABV alcoholic liquid, the extractor is filled, and when full the resulting extraction returns to the still's boiler, where distillation starts again. From a unit point of view ... the extractor is not part of the distilling device. In itsself it does not distill. It is "just" a very fancy reception vessel with benefits. No registration needed there. It can't distill on its own. No heating, no cooling, no gas creation capacity. Regards, Odin.
  12. What ever happened to iStill?

    I designed a new Extractor to go with the iStill 2000 and 5000. Big, movable, and 550 liters (140 galon) net content. For pics see: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/07/new-550-liter-istill-extractor/ Regards, Odin.
  13. Odin on Gin

    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.
  14. What ever happened to iStill?

    Introducing the new iStill educational facility! We put in a lot of work and money to further professionalize the way in which we train craft distillers from all over the world: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/istill-university/ Regards, Odin.
  15. Odin on Gin

    All right, just an update on the Extractor. We decided that we will not only deliver the new Extractor columns to iStill customers. Also craft distillers with other stills can purchase them. We'll adjust the height so that they work perfectly with your existing still. Regards, Odin.
  16. What ever happened to iStill?

    For those interested in rum making, here is a little radio interview with Collin van Schayk, craft distiller from the island of Orkney: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/the-rum-diaries/ Regards, Odin.
  17. Odin on Gin

    Yes, they are, Mr. Hagemann. We have three models. The smallest is 25 liter in net extracting chamber capacity. It fits on top of the iStill 100 boiler. Easy does it. You take of the "standard" column and put the Extractor in place. Because the iStill 500, 2000, and 5000 are bigger, they also need bigger Extractors. We have the 110 and 550 liter models for them. They are stand alone and can be wheeled into place next to the (bigger) boilers, so that no column needs changing, but it's just a question of attaching two hoses. This "stand-alone" solution also means that the amazing automated and robotized column performance (20-96.5% ABV at huge output ratios per hour) can be fully benefitted from. I'll put up some pics on Tuesday (about how we build them) and Thursday (when we are finishing up the new movable 550 liter versions and transporting one to the iStill University). Regards, Odin.
  18. Odin on Gin

    Thanks! Yeah, the avatar sorta sticks to me, right? Looks a bit like a grumpy fellow, my avatar, in reality I am not. Or so I am told. It's time we get this gin thread on its way again. And maybe one on vodka as well? Summer and incredibly busy times have come in between. Currently we are testing new technology for the gin making. I designed the Extractor column for it. A sort of oversized (understatement) Soxhlet with benefits. We now have them with in sizes of 25, 110, and 550 liters. We have used the 25 liter version to make all kinds of recipes. The conclusion is that it helps extract the tastes of all the herbs/berries in the gin making process in an amazing way. It also helped solve what I felt is (was) an industry wide issue in gin making: vapor infusion is lighter and less bold than boiler infusion, but boiler infusion (even though it creates a more flavorsome gin) can overcook the ingredients meaning you have to stop sooner and collect remaining alcohol separately and turn it into GNS again via a vodka still (or the iStill). More taste, more work, less work, less taste. I don't like these compromises and designing the Extractor helped solve that issue: the liquids do the extraction, so there is much more extraction (even more than in boiler infusion, more on that later), without boiling, because the herbs in the Extractor get warm but don't boil. We have also used the Extractor to make fruit brandies and liqueurs. Peach, apricot, strawberry were totally amazing. Brambles ... not so much. And SO2 dried apricots are not good either, because of the sulfur involved in the drying process that leaches into the extract. But maybe that deserves a new thread? Back on gin in a few day! Here's a link of a great gin. One of the best ones in the world I dare say. Amazing gin school, amazing location, amazing team ... it somehow all adds up. I already shared it in another thread here, but I think it is more applicable to the gin heads ... Regards, Odin.
  19. What ever happened to iStill?

    This thread was started by asking how iStill is doing. Well, we are doing fine indeed. And more importantly: our customers are doing great! I want to congratulate Lorien and Kevin and their Loch Ness Distillery with making the best Scottish distilled spirits! And Kevin, thanks for coming by again. I hope the last two days were insightful. I know I had loads of fun! Good luck on assembling your new iStill 500 NextGen and putting it to good use! Regards, Odin. https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/guess-who-makes-scotlands-best-distilled-spirits/
  20. What ever happened to iStill?

    The Listoke Distillery in Ireland makes one of the best gins in the world. We are proud to be their partner! Regards, Odin.
  21. What ever happened to iStill?

    Today Peter, from the Co & Co Distillery picked up his second iStill! https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/co-co-distillery/ Regards, Odin.
  22. What ever happened to iStill?

    New services from iStill to make the life of the starting Craft Distiller easier: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/contract-distilling-by-istill/ Regards, Odin.
  23. What ever happened to iStill?

    Since we educate around 200 Craft Distillers per year at the iStill Center, we decided to set-up a new hall just for that purpose. With iStills 100, 500, and 2000, and of course with the new Extractor Column. The new, so-called iStill University, will also host a laboratory with fast aging technology and an open deck, where we teach our advanced theories on distillation. Everything should be up and running within the next few days. Very exciting stuff! Regards, Odin.
  24. What ever happened to iStill?

    We are proud to be providing the Deeside Guys with the right stills to make amazing Scottish Single Malt Whisky! The 500 is up and running, congrats on your new iStill 2000! https://istillblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/istill-2000-nextgen-to-scotland/ Regards, Odin.
  25. What ever happened to iStill?

    Do you want to see how the latest iStill 5000 NextGen gets delivered to one of our customers in Canada? 5000 liter net capacity, that's around 1300 gallons. Here is the configuration they purchased: https://www.istill.eu/5000-4aa And here are the pictures of the boiler being delivered: https://istillblog.wordpress.com/?page_id=10646 Regards, Odin.
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