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Everything posted by nabtastic

  1. Topping off barrels

    yeah thats what I'm saying. chill.
  2. Topping off barrels

    If adding spirits and then emptying the barrel doesn't count as using it, then what does? I think you misread or I mis-wrote? My opinion is that a barrel is used after it has been filled and emptied. When/if water is added is irrelevant. If you add spirit, then the age statement is altered. And with that, I end my interpretation.
  3. I've mostly used it as in spray bottles but I'm guessing it would work fine in the CIP during sanitary, wouldn't it? (to RBD and Liquid Riot)
  4. Organic distilled spirits means exactly what?

    That's cause he's doing it wrong. Switch to no-till and stop burning the earth. The burning method is dumb at best - it kills all the microbes leaving the ground in a worst state than using glyphosate (which really is rather benign in comparison to popular herbicides and pesticides). At the least switch to using a citric acid herbicide. To the OP - I think you know this already, but organic is not and should not be explicitly about the end product. It's not unlike the reasoning behind clothing companies telling people you don't use sweat shops. It's a method of telling the consumer that you are at least trying to do the right thing through-and-through. Another straight comparison is when buildings/companies advertise their LEED rating. Is there really an immediate biological benefit to the consumer? Probably not, but they can feel confident that their money is going in the hands of someone that Captain Planet might be proud of. Point is "organic" used to imply a holistic growth environment as a reaction to heavily industrialized (in both mechanics and chemicals) farming. Over time, people realized that they can use non-holistic practices that still fit within the legal definition of "organic" regardless of whether or not it was a sound, environmentally responsible manner.
  5. How do you measure the spirits quantity ?

    I can second Prime Scales - I've got a few of them. Use a calculator - whiskey systems, alcoden, and I assume distillery solutions has them. No you don't need to check the temperature for the weight, but you will have to temperature adjust (water bath or calculator or the CFR) for an accurate proof content. Scales need regular calibration and you can be certified yourself. Apparently it's only a few hundred, which is about what it cost for me to pay someone else to calibrate it. Read through the regulations posted. It's pretty specific. Also remember to look for explosion proof or intrinsically safe equipment.
  6. Topping off barrels

    Tom - (no offense was taken, I'm just confused) I don't see how the TTB rule cited implies or states that aging has anything to do with water addition. According to 5.11 age is counted for the duration between distillation and bottling when *spirit* is in new oak - it does not reference water. If Bluestar is correct, in that exposure to any interior wood surface that has been previously exposed would require you to restart the clock - whether you add water or just roll the barrel over (after evaporation) you would be contacting previously exposed wood. I do not believe that was Bluestar's or the TTB's intent. The remaining whiskey that was in the barrel is still in the barrel, thus it remains arguably virgin whiskey. Proofing water does not require aging. If it did, you would have to package everything at cask strength because it never entered a new charred oak cooperage. IMHO, this is a perfect example of where intent of the law is most important - the TTB was saying that you cant count the time in hold tanks.. I feel like we are overthinking the legality of this (but in a good way). I would definitely agree that if you were topping with spirit (as in solera aging) then you have to stop the clock but I don't believe water has the same restrictions. Incidentally, I didn't realize that finish aging wasn't allowed to count in the age statement of whiskey ... thank god I make rum lol. Roger - what do you mean by "refreshing process should remain pretty lineal"? I read that as meaning that the ABV evaporation rate would stay at 5% as long as the volume remains constant. I do not have sources to cite here but I was under the impression that the evaporation rate changed with the proof content, no? Love this conversation though. Always down to learn.
  7. At what point is a pot still too big?

    A pot still should only be a little less efficient in alcohol recovery but the heating & cooling will be more expensive than running a continuous still. You can recover a lot of the heat (Armagnac stills/condenser liquid piped into beer still). However, you should expect flavor differences when changing distillation equipment. The amount of reflux should change your flavor profile both immediately and in the long run but I doubt you'll find much side by side comparisons in the whiskey world (please share if you have!). . It is my opinion that the historical reasons for column v pot were largely financial and not based on flavor. I will not argue one way or the other to that point here, but I will suggest that our position as "craft distillers" should not be strictly based on financial returns. And yes - there are awesome products made from both continuous and batch distillations. Just my opinion.
  8. Topping off barrels

    My proof reduction occurs over a 2 week period dropping 5-10 proof every 2-3 days. Seems to work pretty well but I don't have GC reports or double-blinds to back up my methods. I'm also playing with filtering before, during, and/or after proof reduction to see if there is a noticeable effect on flavor/stability (so far nothing notable)
  9. Topping off barrels

    No disrespect Tom but I'm not confusing or conflating the two terms. I'm emphasizing the importance in distinction. Cracker's question seemed to me to imply maturation in the organoleptic sense, not in time/duration. It's also important to note that his question is in regards to contact with "air" but we need to point out that water has oxygen in it and although tightly bound, it will react and continue to *mature*, or form new chemical bonds, within the spirit. Cracker - look into Oxygeen, a defunct absinthe company that sprayed atomized spirit into a pressurized (hyperbaric?) chamber filled with O2. There are also several companies that force reactions with oxygen via air stones, rotations, microwaves, UV lights, etc but (again, my opinion) it's still better to make the best mash/wash possible before trying to alter distillates. With regards to the TTB - they care about proof gallons removed regardless of which spirit you are making. The OP question is not in regards to a cooperage but whether or not you can add water after it is in the barrel, which are very separate issues in my opinion. As for Roger's comment on single barrels tasting the same ... yes and no. For us, many of our single barrels releases are very distinct [laphroaig, Madeira, chardonnay, etc] and many of the large producers use several distinct recipes that are blended together for uniformity. To an extent yes, a bourbon is a bourbon, but a bourbon can also be drastically different from one barrel to the next depending on it's mash bill. Yes, you can add water to your cooperage at any time. You could, in theory, add the 10 gallons of water before maturation begins because the TTB cares about the proof gallons in/out of storage not how many barrels you use to get there. The methods and merits of doing so are debatable but it would appear that the TTB does not care one way or the other so long as the defined parameters of your class/type are not crossed. [the intent of these comments is purely adult conversations - please do not take offense or injury to them.]
  10. Topping off barrels

    Wood is gas-permeable so oxygenation occurs regardless of fill level. There's also significant oxygenation during the filling process. If you fill a barrel half full then you'll have significantly higher surface contact with oxygen but no contact below surface level (assuming you don't rotate) but you would also have half the contact with the barrel. You cannot "limit" or extend the aging process without defining what you mean by aging. You could likely mean aging to refer to lactones, acids, sugars, etc or any specific combination of them. (reference Lost Spirits where if you have an increase in one component in an older profile you have somehow replicated the entire profile?). Is a super dark, naturally sweet whiskey thats 6 months old more aged than a 23 year light-fruity spirit? to the OP: (I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice) So long as you are not going over or under proof for the standards of your product it *should* be legal. However, it will be hard as hell to track, replicate, and grow. It would seem to be a lot easier and less legally contentious to dump the entire barrel, reduce to whatever proof you choose, then refill the same or different barrel. As to the slow distillation topic: I think what they mean to say, is that it is better to manage the production cycle to minimize defects than to correct them post-distillation. This is largely mimicking R. Arroyo's myriad papers on rum production that basically all say this: better ferments will always make better distillates. You can age a dookie distillate as long as you like but it'll never achieve the greatness of a well fermented wash.
  11. private labeling, contract bottling

    Bluestar - I don't believe that your last line is correct. It is quite common to receive high-proof bulk spirits and for the recipient distiller to blend/reduce/alter the spirit before bottling. Think about all of these guys buying GNS at 190 and bottling it, or bulk whiskey whatever. The only difference I'm seeing here is that the producer is using a contract bottler. Wasn't Bombay just in the news for pushing out overproof gin by accident?
  12. Rhum Agricole

    I've not tried pH 5.2 by Five Star but that *should* work. I've had good luck adding a food grade caustic (potassium hydroxide) - just a dab'll do ya (try adding 1 cup per 500 gallons and then test pH again). In general, a cane wash (fresh juice or crystalized sugar) will be deficient in lots of nutrients but most importantly nitrogen (Rafael Arroyo has written a good bit about this) but you'll also want to take care to not add too much N as it will cause a negative flavor profile during distillation. You can also use "turbo yeast" which will have enough of everything to finish dry in about a week but it's a bit better for rocket fuel than drinking, IMHO.
  13. Rhum Agricole

    Since we are reviving an old thread... get a pH stabilizer or be prepared to continually adjust your pH up with a strong base. There's not enough chalk or baking soda in the world to balance out a sugar wash
  14. Best still design for rum?

    In Arroyo's 3 chapter he states that condensers are best fitted as long, narrow units with the lowest, coldest portion being about 30C (85F) and the exiting coolant 65C (149F). https://www.bostonapothecary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/The-Manufacture-of-Rum-Part-III-Arroyo.pdf I'm using tap water so that's about right for us, but I figured you guys with chillers had a much lower starting temp for your condensers?
  15. enough is enough: what a load of hot water

    Our dishwasher has a minimum operating temp of 145F I believe. Other than that (and assuming we aren't talking about mashing), just for washdown.
  16. Best still design for rum?

    Truth. to the OP: column stills will (referencing esters) generally result in a lighter rum. Pot stills generally in a heavier rum. Pot still with plates, column stills ran at lower proofs, etc will land you somewhere in the middle. More esters means more aging but allows for a more "developed" rum or for an older shittier rum if you don't do it right. Dunder is neat but I'm guessing a wild dunder is far more problematic in the short term than co-pitching for the flavors you want. A lot of times we find ourselves trying to emulate an old style without really understanding why they did it in the first place. IMHO, never start your inquiries with what equipment do I need for "xx". Instead say "xx is the profile I need to make" and figure out how what production style gets you there. {I mean that as a philosophy, not nagging on your post - it was fine}
  17. Best still design for rum?

    ^somebody likes poking the bear lol
  18. destainex

  19. destainex

    Does anybody have experience with Destainex available through GW Kent? DESTAINEX PEROXY-ALKALINE DETERGENT 5 KG. I've been using PBW or caustic soda followed by a heavy does of citric acid. One step would be great for me.
  20. Ship Spirits to California

    Allen, if you are intending to get a foothold in Cali try out libdib. It's an interesting and innovative (which means it's not all glitters and gold) but a good entry platform. They are much more flexible than any other distributor but their flexibility may be their limiting factors... i.e. you can hit a few locations but I doubt they'd ever go statewide. If you're only planning to ship a few cases, understand that it'll be expensive. You can probably get a flight and pack it in your luggage for the price of a few cases in shipping. (Hawaii to mainland can often cost ^$75/case). Have your family go to their local store and request it be brought in, then call the retailer with a "hey, I've got some inquiries from Cali, can you fill them? Here's the local rep.." Happy hunting
  21. Best still design for rum?

    I think they may be referring to Rafael Arroyo? https://www.google.com/patents/US2295150
  22. Spiced Rum

    There are a tonne of flavor houses. Givaudan is one that I have used previously, for example. Orange is not "orange" from one company to another (they'll taste different). Check out Moonshine University in Louisville, or whatever their bottling line is called,. It might be worth hiring out your first couple batches while you can use their flavor scientist. I've never used Dehner but he apparently knows what he is doing as well. To the OP - make it from scratch, buy extracts, blend the two together - doesn't matter in the end. Do what is right for your brand. There's nothing immoral about being an NDP, blender, or anything else as long as you're honest with your customers. Be cautious when working with really small batches - you'll need to scale the production and if it'll get wonky if you're chopping lines tumeric like Escobar. Try multiple maceration duration, proof contents, and concentrations. Each variable can make a substantial difference. I have to reiterate the other's comments about making separate concentrates and blending them together. Also, keep in mind that sugar and filtration will change your final product as well.
  23. Reuse Glass Bottles?

    I've been asked this several times and I keep shutting it down because I don't want to deal with removing the labels and I feel like there will be a lot of paperwork involved but... Is anybody reusing their packaging, i.e. glass bottles? This would only be for a few accounts that are concerned with it but I feel like the savings in packaging would be out-weighed by the cost in labor hours. Anyway, if anybody has information about this or can link me to a thread (searched but didn't find anything) I'd be grateful.
  24. Filtering herbal macerations (Fernet)

    at what point are you proofing your spirit? you may need to slowly lower the proof over a matter of days. I agree on adding the sugar last, just before the final filtering edit: My bad. noticed the month of OP not the year..
  25. Visiting Distiller - Peru South America

    This is probably the coolest posting on ADI yet