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Everything posted by HedgeBird

  1. Yeah, I dont understand the thought process on getting an electric boiler to create steam to then heat your still. If your going to use electric as your energy input (instead of natural gas) why pay more for a steam heated still, and more for a steam boiler. Either go electric still (with element, or a bain marie) and have the cheaper/easier install/up front cost, or go natural gas with a boiler an pay more up-front for the lower operating cost. Getting a steam heated still with an electric fired boiler kinda seems like getting the worst of both (typically more expensive still, more to pipe and install, boiler to install, potentially needing a boiler room, high operating costs).
  2. check the other thread for details..
  3. Let me Google that for you: https://www.google.com/search?q=average+alcohol+percentage+whiskey+stripping+run&oq=average+alcohol+percentage+whiskey+stripping+run&aqs=chrome..69i57.10711j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  4. I think this is the last thermometer I purchased. I did not spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out if it was "acceptable" but I think it was the most affordable thermometer I could find that identified it as being NIST calibrated. http://www.novatech-usa.com/Products/Digital-Traceable-Thermometers/4015_2 also has a stainless probe under related items..
  5. Care to share what method you are using Silk?
  6. I know for myself at least we do distill on the grain, but are still interested in separation options post distillation to reduce to volume/weight of spent mash we need to move/transport.
  7. I am a bit surprised that folks are responding with these maybe and could be type answers. The answer your dont want, but the correct answer is no. There needs to be physical separation (floor to ceiling wall or partition and not just a railing) between the bonded distillery production area and the (not part of your DSP premises) tasting room/serving area/sales area. Yes, there are many examples of distilleries breaking this rule. Yes you might get away with breaking this rule yourself. No, your layout would not meet TTB demands if they chose to make demands or they chose to start enforcing these clearly communicated layout rules.
  8. No, your DSP does not have to be in an industrial zoned building. Zoning really only comes into play with your local government. The TTB almost certainly does not, and your state probably does not, take into account zoning when issuing permits. My own distillery is in a residential zoned area of the city, but I was able to receive a variance from my local municipality.
  9. I sent the following testimonial over the Black Water Barrels today and figured I should share it here as well. We also painted up the heads of these barrels and are pretty pleased with how they came out. Barrels by Black Water, artwork by HedgeBird! We recently took delivery of some new 53 gallon barrels with a char #4 from Black Water Barrels. We are very pleased with both the barrels and the customer service provided by both Greg and Tiffanie! Both the quality of the barrels and the pricing are better than we have been receiving from some of the larger manufacturers. We did a minimal amount of hydrating to the barrels before filling, but I think we could have gotten away with filling these barrels dry as the staves all look super clear and the barrels are very tight. We experienced no leaking on either the staves or the heads of the barrels. We could not be more satisfied, and look forward to filling more Black Water Barrels and enjoying the whiskey that comes out of these beauties in another three years! https://www.instagram.com/p/BTtv5fqD_6f/?taken-by=thistlefinchdistillery&hl=en
  10. Re-reading my post it seems I could have phrased that better. What sounded like a friendly, sarcastic teasing type of comment in my head reads on paper as a bit mean and insulting. I hope that my willingness to share info and suggestions demonstrates that I am not/was not intending to be insulting. Apologies for my poor choice of words! Makami - What your describing sounds like it would be a fine product and a bit different than what most small distilleries are already making! Its probably also a better business model. I look forward to purchasing and drinking your product when its available! Southernhighlander - I can't disagree with anything your saying! Cheers!
  11. I dont think anything changed specifically in relation to distribution. Since this 2014 post there have been a few changes that have added more benefits to PA limited distilleries. Number of off-site retail locations have gone up from two to five to match the limited winery licences. (sounds like you are aware of that) Additionally PA distilleries may now serve any beer or wine made in PA, and vice-versa for wineries and breweries. There is a limit to how much of other alcohol (not your own product) you can serve, but its a nice addition. Expect getting distribution in NJ/NY to be somewhere between hard and impossible. Expect getting product unto PLCB store shelves to be somewhere between hard to impossible as well. My advice to all potential PA distilleries is to build a smaller distillery and a larger tasting room. If your just looking to blend and bottle and not actually distill then my advice is to not bother at all as no one wants that crap anyways.
  12. I built my own four plate hybrid still and have been pretty happy with the results. Having never really distilled commercially prior to building it I did not really realize how beneficial a good CIP system would be. As a result, the still is a massive pain in the ass to clean, particularly if you are trying to switch between products. I just never felt like we could get it clean enough to run vodka without tasting a bit of whiskey flavor. In the end we just got a smaller second still (that we can brake down and clean) that we use for the gin/vodka and the big still is dedicated solely to whiskey. This worked out better for us anyways as we needed the extra capacity. As others have said, it certainly is possible to clean well enough to switch products, but if possible you might want to consider a smaller finishing still that can be used for second distillations, spirit runs, gin botanicals, small test batches, etc. and keep your big still just for whiskey/vodka stripping runs.
  13. Feel free to hit us up if you ever make it out to the eastern side of the state. We are friendly folks and always enjoy visitors. http://www.thistlefinch.com/
  14. Hey all - After some trial and error, we have finally been able to strain/separate our spent mash. We ferment and distill on the grain with the grain milled to a fine flour. I have attached an image of what the spent mash looked like after one day. It ended up being somewhere between a batter and jello in consistency. Unfortunately after a weekend of sitting in the distillery there was noticeable mold growing on the top surface of the mash. Our farmer is (not surprisingly) concerned about the mold as are we. It seems pigs are much more sensitive to mold than dairy cows. Our hope was just do do one weekly delivery/pickup of grain meaning that at least a part of the mash would sit from Monday to Friday. I am just curious what everyone else's experience is with spent grain shelf life? I assume if we cover the mash it will last longer? Does the fact that we are using flour and not a coarse grind make it mold faster? Are there preservatives anyone is using the prevent mold/bacteria growth? How much do your farmers care about freshness/mold? Is there an acceptable level? Input/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  15. I basically built a false bottom on the box shown in that picture with a fine wire mesh. Right now its pretty poorly constructed as I just wanted to make sure it would work, but I am now going to build it out in more sturdy material. I will post some pictures/video once I get that done in the next week or two if folks are interested.
  16. You spent 2 years and $100,000 dollars just to write a business plan?
  17. "Then after playing around with different things all my friends said that my different “waters” were better than what they could buy in the stores." This has to count for something at least. Every home distiller I know thinking of starting a distillery always talks about how much negative feedback they get from their friends. </sarcasm>
  18. If you read this gentleman's one other post on this forum he explains that when he says he "wrote the book on craft distilling" he really means he wrote a business plan the some other distilleries might have referenced when they created their own business plans. Personally I would think claiming you "wrote the book on craft distilling" when you never actually stared one is a bit of a stretch, but then what do I know?
  19. It sounds like you may be confused about how this machine operates. The machine is not calibrated to any specific volume size, but has a timer that controls how long its fills for each time you push the fill button. You control/adjust the fill volume by changing/adjusting this timer. (the timer can be adjusted to the hundredth of a second) Every time you bottle (even if you only ever bottle 750mls) you should expect to have to adjust the timer based on the product you are bottling and the temperature, etc. Do what Silk City describes above, and use that info to adjust the timer/fill volume.
  20. XpressFill 4-Spout Volumetric Filler with a block of wood on the shelf to get the bottles up high enough. I think they make a straight spigot option but we where able to make it work with the standard spigot that has a bit of a bend at the end.
  21. FYI - The one recommendation I have seen for linseed oil on a wine barrel was specifically for "raw (not boiled) lineseed oil" I have no experience or knowledge of what the difference is or how it works but figured it might be worth a mention. Also of interest I believe forum member Blackheart might have some experience with wrapping barrels in plastic to reduce the evaporation loss.
  22. 2lb per gallon is a pretty standard starting point.
  23. Looks like you where spot on PeteB! http://www.drahtweberei.de/products/synthetic-wire-cloth/
  24. It seems I was confused about what you where looking for, but I get it now. These guys might be a better option: https://www.replacementglass.co/product/clear-circle-tempered-glass Their website has pre-determined sizes, but I had them cut 6" circles for me. Looks like I paid $220.85 with shipping for five 6" diameter 1/8" thick clear tempered glass. Sounds like Dehner's suggestion is quite a bit cheaper though if you can go that route!
  25. I purchased a red-line sight glass tube from these guys to replace a cracked sight glass we had. http://www.shopoilsupplies.com/gauges-s/7.htm Fittings, tubes, valves and event the cutter to cut your sight glass the length: