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About kelbor

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  1. We were given some sage (Ha!) advice a while back when I asked a similar question. We use Mt. Rose as they are here in town but were warned that they, like some of the other very high quality botanical dealers, are very particular about the quality of their herbs they are buying. If the juniper berries, for example, are not up to par from there supplier they will simply just say "No" and then may be out of that botanical for an underdetermined time until they find another batch that meets their standard (and there goes your consistent flavor) . Larger companies such as San Francisco Herb Co. might not be as high quality will always have the botanicals. I cant comment on price vs quality but food for thought when selecting a botanical source is consistent availability.
  2. I think there may be some fundamental issues with your plan that will end up creating more pain and suffering than success...making changes now in the planning stages might be the best plan of action (which Im sure is why you are here now...). First, you may need to go a bit higher with your mash temps than that industrial hot water heater can go. Corn gellats around 190'ish (and that's the low end of the range) - a final mash temp this high will be hard to hit, especially considering a significant amount of the mass in the mash will be coming in around 70 degrees (F). There are online calculators that can assist with determining the strike temp of your water to reach a final temperature which considers volume and temp of grain. Using your still to heat water is sound advice but your still will not heat enough water to make 600 gallons of mash in one go.... The second problem you will have, as stated above, is separating that grain from your mash before distilling. The old mop bucket and screen bag trick ain't going to be pretty on a commercial level and separating machines can be expensive. I know thinking outside the box and/or re-inventing the wheel with this distilling thing seems attractive and is a great exercise, but there is a reason some things are pretty much the status quo. I really wish you the best of luck and hope you get it all sorted in the best way that works for what you wish to accomplish!
  3. Interesting idea but I'm not sure you can classify it as "Whisky" since it already came off the still way higher then 160 proof (while you were making vodka). I may be wrong about that though as it does seem to be a bit of a grey area since the product you are now making is coming off the still at 160 or less...Im sure more informed people will be along shortly. As far as how long to age it - That is a personal matter and is dependent of many factors such as the age of the barrel and personal preference for the 'whiskies' profile. As far as getting a lot of tails, try slowing down your run a bit and periodic "re-stacking" of your column with the dephlag control as you get close to the tail. Your large tail volume could be from here or perhaps from a unhealthy ferment. If it was me, I'd be looking at way to reduce my amounts of tails rather then trying to find ways to utilize them.....Good luck!
  4. Thanks! And yes, please do make sure to stop in next time you are down! What is the name of that book you were reading by the way?
  5. Thanks! Like I said, I've been here for years but Im more of a sponge/wall fly then poster. Learned so much and this place is always the first place I look when trying to figure something out. It was a long road (from finding minded partners, building a biz plan, finding investors, securing location, build-out, dealing with permits, feds, state, etc. etc.) but I've been loving every minute (even the long ones. Ha!) of the distillery life. Labels and branding credit goes to Hired Guns Creative - those guys have a depth of talent, communicate well, and really worked hard for us when trying to nail down the look and feel we were shooting for. Check out there website for the "sexy photo shoot" they did and do for their clients - I would strongly recommend them to anybody looking for this service.
  6. Hi all, Been here for a few years but have just opened our doors. We are a very micro distillery in Eugene Oregon. Thinking Tree Spirits. Just wanted to introduce my self and say thank you for all the information and help I've received from various posts and members over the years. Cheers! Kaylon
  7. Thanks guys, that should get me started in the direction of the ballpark. Happy brewing!
  8. Thanks Palmetto - And that is on your average spirit run to make either brown or clear spirits (whiskey or vodka)? I know a person who might run a small beer keg pot still on the hobby level and I think they generally have a much smaller hearts cut then 65% of the total alcohol charge. The reason I ask the question here is that I imagine a better still might produce better fractions or separation (less smearing) which would make the hearts cut larger - Is this correct thinking or is the person I know doing it all wrong. Matt - when you say "run with it" do mean to go ahead and crunch the numbers using percentages as per Palmetto gave above? As a distillery consultant this is a question that you surely have been asked before right?
  9. Hello, Im trying to get a business plan going and could use some help from any operating distillery. Basically what Im wondering is how much finished product can one expect off a certain size run (and I know it will 'vary'). In other words, Im trying to figure out how big of a still to price out (which will lead to how many/big my mash tuns/fermenter/etc. equipment needs to be). I know each distillery makes different cuts on different mashes of different strength washes so I am really just looking for ballpark figures. So the question comes down to "If I load a 100 gallons of 40% wash into my pot still how many gallons of "keeping" whiskey will go into a barrel?" (I know there is 40 gallons of 100% but it will come out ranging from mid 80's% on down). I guess I would like to know the same for neutral spirits as well (Vodka). I assume you could keep a larger hearts cut on Vodka because of the ability to filter the jebezous out of it? Like I stated earlier, I realize that every singe distillery will have a different number - but is there industry standards? Am I going at still and equipment sizing all wrong? Is there another way to figure the balance sheets for production and costs/profits on my biz plan without this data? Thanks! K
  10. We use Argon at our winery....its not the safest of gases but is the best at displacing air. Just don't breath it. It is so heavy that it can and will fill your lungs and you will asphyxiate before you can get it out. We kid around about have a pair of those gravity boots near the eyewash station in case of accidental inhalation....
  11. Im at the same place you are and have found that if you visit distilleries just dont come off as an ass. There are a number of ways to do this..... Feel them out and ask appropriate questions. Throw some compliments their way (" I really like how you built your still" or " You really did a good job with this...." etc. ) Buy a few of their bottles, let them know that you are insanely interested in opening a distillery, ask SMART questions that you have researched and cant find the answers to yourself. Say a few smart things so they know you are not just some yahoo or lookyloo. Become familiar enough with the trade through reading/researching that you don't ask stupid questions that could easily be answerable with a bit more research on your part. If they are giving tours, I would assume they have a second to talk business (I like to be the only person there so its one-on-one). I have yet to be given a cold shoulder but have visited distilleries where I didn't ask any questions at all because I felt either they were to busy, the wrong type of person to chat with, or that they were less knowledgeable then myself (like at larger ones when you are dealing with just a server). I've been offered the option to come back during the week and actually help with aspects - perhaps volunteering to sweat for them for a day or so would be a great way to get your foot in the door. I dont know. Like I said, Im at pretty much the same place as you. The best piece of advice I've got that I still have not followed is to just "jump". You wont be able to fall on your face or land on your feet without first jumping (Take note self...Ha!). Good Luck!
  12. I know you said it is under construction but there is a missing word on the first page "More than just stills, we can design just about (Any?) product you need."