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About kelbor

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  1. Hi JustAndy, I agree, 29 Brix is high. If this was a sugar wash or grain wash it would be ludicrous and just may be with this one as well. When I first started running experiments with different rum washes I found that one gallon of this molasses with four gallons of water gave me about 20-21 Brix. This, of course being a 100% molasses rum wash, did not finish out dry at 0.000 on the hydrometer due to crud and unfermentables in the blackstrap so at 21 brix I was not pushing above 8-9% alcohol. So, I am estimating that there are 8-9 brix points, (sorry, I miss calculated 7 earlier) being brought back over from the pot to the fermenter. Not first batch with backset (probably at least the 15th) and same amount of everything as usual. It is a lot of osmatic pressure but not out of the range of what we've been doing and I'm not sure how burnt sugars affect osmatic pressure. I really do feel like you may be onto something with the building yeast-toxic levels of salts/minerals though. It is a lot of backset to add each time. Update: Just checked ferment. Tank has a white film scum like a bloom on a wine/mead ferment. Smell is rum wash based with a slight sweet acetone/nail polish aroma - exactly like fores actually. I drew liquid from the middle of the tank and it smells just fine - like clean rum wash. PH is 4.44, Brix is 28, temp is 85. Is any body else out there using backset in their rum washes want to chime in on issues they may or may not have had with continued use? Is 200 gallons of backset in a 500 gallon wash too much? Thanks!
  2. You know, I kind of just keep doing the same recipe each time and haven't been monitoring things as well as when I began. I do always check PH and Brix and they have stayed consistent. Don't add anything to monitor PH crash because I have been finishing dry tasting after about 7-10 days of fermentation and I end in the low to mid 4's (a bit lower then 5 but not in the dangerous range). I keep ferments at 90 degrees F and have an aquarium pump at the bottom of my fermenter to keep yeast suspended. Yeast food consists of 500 grams DAP, 70 grams Vit B Complex, 10 grams of Epsom Salt dissolved separately and added while initially aerating the mash in one feeding. I used to add a few pounds of boiled yeast for nutrients and citric acid to bring the PH down but now I just add 175-200 gallons of my backset which should have plenty of acid and boiled yeast in there. Feedstock is 100% black-strap from Glory-bee. I forget what my normal ending gravity is as I have not checked with the meter in a while - its in my notes. I just usually taste a bit of it.
  3. Update: Last Wednesday i went and picked up 12 packets of EC-1118 and re-hydrated as per directions. After 20 minutes I added the yeast to 5 gallon carboy with a mix of about 50% of the stuck ferment wash (well aerated) to fresh water. Early batches using the same molasses to water ratios as the stuck ferment (before we had backset available for use) tested out at about 20-21 brix. I am assuming the Brix of 28 I get now indicates approximately 7 Brix of un-fermentable sugars that came in from the stillage I added. P.H. of the mash still tests 4.65. I forgot to test the PH of the stater liquid i added the re-hydrated EC-1118 to. Brix of starter should be around 20 Im assuming (didn't bother to check since I know the brix of the wash). Thursday morning I prepare a second 5 gallons of 50/50 water and wash - mix in sterilized vat with the now slowly bubbling starter started on Wednesday. I split into two 5 gallons carboys, aerate and airlock. Friday afternoon I took the now two fairly active 5 gallon carboys and added them back to our main stuck ferment. I should have maybe grown a bit of a bigger starter but I had a prior commitment I was attending ( a six day festival) and had been driving about an hour each way the last few days to get this starter going and wouldn't be able to return through the rest of the weekend. The starters were active with visual, albeit slow, rolling and vigorous bubbles through the air-locks. Sunday the ferment was checked and nothing. Sorry for the book but Im pretty stumped. Going in this afternoon after work to check numbers again....
  4. Forgot to mention - Temps during initial pitch were consistent with previous ferments -Yeast was pitched at 95 F. the first day and 90F the second time. Ferments are held at 90 F as a rule of procedure.
  5. Hi everybody - I have my first stalled ferment and am a bit unsure how to proceed. Back story: Rum wash started on Saturday by me but inoculated by my partner later in the day. Wash is 500 gallons (100 gallons Molasses, 200 gallon rum backset, 200 gallons water). Inoculation consists of several types of yeast hydrated correctly. Wash is pumped into the fermenter from the top so it has plenty of air in it. Yeasty nutrients consists of 540 grams DAP, 70 grams vitamin B complex, 10 grams magnesium sulfate. I took Sunday off and came into the distillery on Monday morning expecting to see a fermenter happily bubbling away like normal but nothing. I tested the numbers and got a PH of 4.68 and brix of 29 (which is a bit high but with the non-fermentable sugars from the backset giving as reading this is pretty much normal for our wash). I re-pitched another round of hydrate yeast (I wanted to see if the yeast might be dead but the re-hydrating yeast seemed very active). I came in this morning, Happy Fourth of July by the way, and nothing going on in the fermenter. Any ideas? Thanks! K
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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!
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. Thanks guys, that should get me started in the direction of the ballpark. Happy brewing!
  13. 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?
  14. 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
  15. 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....