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Everything posted by jessicajlemmon

  1. PM me, if possible.
  2. After forever, we are finally in production! I have 2 batches of sugar wash 'shine' (basically Rum) started. One was started on 2/25 and one was started on 3/1. Batch #1 didn't take off correctly from the start. Lesson learned about nutrients and pH... After I amended it, it finally started to pick up a little bit but has been sluggish at best. Batch #2 I doubled in size, and also juiced up with nutrients AND a much better yeast starter. It's 3/7 now and neither one is done with their ferment, they're just over half way. Unfortunately we were really planning to open this weekend but these sluggish washes are taking their sweet old time. Some specs: Batch 1 - 200 lbs sugar 100 gallons water 72g of Lavlin EC-1118 to start 250g of DAP added to the wash prior to pitching. Starting SG = 1.09 The temp has been held steady around 80 degrees. We ended up putting circulating pumps in both batches to help keep them getting oxygen. #1 fizzled so on 2/28 I added 250g Red Star Dady and some calcium carbonate to correct the pH. It picked up from there and has been making ok progress but nothing special. Batch #2 I refined my recipe a bit 350 lbs sugar 170 gallons water (to make 200 gallon batch) 5 lbs yeast nutrient blend 500 g red star dady started on a DME/nutrient blend. Starting SG = 1.08 Batch #2 is already down to 1.03, where as batch #1 is at 1.04 as of today. They've dropped about .01 SG each day at a pretty steady rate. So the question is... is this a normal ferment rate? I feel like it should be going faster . I understand sugar washes can be tricky, but we're not quite ready to go all grain yet with our equipment. Unfortunately, I already broke my pH meter, and the replacement won't be here another day or two so I can't tell if they've crashed or not. THey were both around 4.8 the last time I was able to check. Should I expect them to make it to 1.0 without adding more nutrients? They're both still fizzing away like a lazy river (when the pump isn't on). I do live in NW PA, so the place is on the cool side, but we've kept heat on the fermenters. They've both been on pump cycles to keep things rolling which definitely seemed to help. I started with the Lavlin because I hoped it would perform better at the lower temps. I switched to the dady because I knew it would be a workhorse once I was in a pinch. And finally... how big of a no no would it be to just run the damn stuff if it gets down to 1.02 or so for this round. My brain is fried. Any insights would be welcome. Thanks!
  3. Before you go making stuff you might want to be sure you're cleared with the Dept of Ag depending on your state. They can have a say as well. Edit: For PA, Feds was the long, but easy part. We had to do the following: Zoning - conditional use, township approvals Dept of Transportation - Driveway Permit Federal TTB App Building Permits/ Inspections/ Occupancy Approval State LCB PA Dept of Agriculture for the manufacturing side FDA Registration Health Dept for the tasting room, which also required getting the well registered with the state Department of Environmental Protection The last one was the worst and literally strung us along for 360 days. Long story.
  4. I second what Silk City said. We ended up much in the same boat. Our permit took 7.5 months for them to even look at it... we were repeatedly told "We'll get to it when we get to it" <paraphrased> 1 small revision and less than 2 weeks to get it actually approved. But we were so worried while we were waiting that we didn't do much work because we are leasing our space. We also waited to do our state submittal until we got Fed approval. That took from August to the end of December. Then the county Health Department which has taken from December until... today. (Being first in the county isn't something I'd want to do again....) We thought we'd be open by Thanksgiving. We opened two weeks ago.
  5. Just wanted to share that after paying rent since October 2015, we finally opened to the public this past weekend! Happy to say there wasn't a dry glass in the tasting room from 1PM to 10PM. Even had a local supporter that we didn't know, stop by with a nice big custom sign for us. We're still not 100% through the local governmental muck, so I'm stuck using disposable glasses for the time being but no one really seemed to mind. We still have a lot of work to do streamlining our set up and adapting more equipment, but at least we finally have some income!
  6. Hi Denise, Where in PA are you located? We're just getting ready to fire up our operation in Erie, PA. Thanks!
  7. In the TTB review questions, they asked about if and where we have a DSP "general premises". Our facility is on the small side and from what I can see, that area is not required. I'm not sure if it is worth establishing space within our layout or not? Any advice? I'm working on getting these questions turned around ASAP since it's taken so long for them to look at our application.
  8. Yeah, it hasn't been ideal. We're doing this all out of our own pockets as well. Nothing like being a poster child for the 'worst case scenario'
  9. It took us just over 8 months. Submitted Dec 21st, 2015, got it August 25th, 2016. Once they finally looked at it, there were a few clarifications I had to make, then they had it approved in 2 weeks. I did a lot of nagging once we got past the 6 month mark.
  10. Ok, thanks! Those were the results I was coming up with, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on a deal! Every penny counts at this point....
  11. Hi guys, just an update. There was a ton of great info shared here... after I resubmitted. We decided to nix the general premises for now, and the permit went through just fine. After waiting 8 months for them to actually look at it, it got turned around in 2 weeks after a small set of clarifications....
  12. We're currently shopping for a filler as well (that we will need soon.) Can I ask where you're seeing the one for $355? I find the unit but at a higher price, when i look.
  13. Thanks for the heads up. If you're still looking for sources, I've been eyeballing this place: I haven't ordered from them yet, though. But they have a great list of hard to find exotics, from the looks of it.
  14. I'm sure it's too late to hop on this wagon, but I'd be interested in some as well. I started some artesmia absinthium from organic seed a couple years ago and now our yard is infested with it...
  15. Update, just got our DSP yesterday! Had to do one round of revisions, and everything got turned around under 20 days after that.
  16. We have a tasting room/bar but it is out of the bonded area. Due to the size we were bonding the main production area so we could have flexibility. I'm not sure we *need* the General Premises unless we want an area to store bulk booze out of bond.
  17. Submitted 12/21/15. They just looked at it and sent questions this week: 7/26/16. Well over 200 days and we're not done yet.
  18. Just curious, what testing agency did you use? We're in need of the water testing as well.
  19. Well, we jumped the gun ever so slightly and picked up a used bulk tank for use as a mash tun. 300 gallon capacity, was used to make sugar syrups prior. Pretty good shape, has the agitator but needs a new motor. Single wall, no jacket, domed bottom. So now comes the tricky part... easiest/smartest way to turn this thing in to a cooker? A couple contraints: We're not doing steam, so that's out and we won't likely have 3 phase power for the foreseeable future. We're looking to cook 100% corn or a sugar wash for starters. Move on to a more standard bourbon grain bill after that. Which makes the handling of electric elements tricky with the whole scorching issues. We are open to the possiblity of strikewater if we absolutely have to. Probably not the ideal set up but we're starting on a shoe string and this tank leaves us good room to grow (or even convert to a big pot down the line!) Here's a pic of the new baby. (Damrow 300surg gallon dairy/food tank.)
  20. After much ado, we're in the process of getting our business going. LLC established, EIN, local zoning, building lease, still on order, bonding squared away... but now as I'm getting ready to start the big stuff - TTB paperwork, I'm not sure what order everything needs to be filed. It seems like a lot of the overviews completely gloss over building permitting and state liquor board registrations, and go straight to talking about Federal. In my mind it makes sense to go building permit, state application (I'm in Pennyslvania), and then TTB. But it doesn't look like TTB is looking for building permit documentation and if I can just send in a building diagram of our proposed layout, is that enough to get the federal work going while I get it submitted to the State? Or does the state need the Federal permitting information? I know there can be some overlap on things, but I can't seem to find any examples of how far you can push it. I don't want to trip myself up getting out of sequence. Anyone have some light to shed? Thanks!
  21. Can anyone refresh me on what kind of Health Department stuff we may have to deal with? It's been a good while since we've talked to anyone in person, and all the info is getting muddled up. It was my understanding that distilleries had it easier than breweries to some degree, since we're essentially making sanitizer. Just wondering if anyone has run in to any memorable obstacles on that one.
  22. Thanks for the clarification! I couldn't find anything in the state stuff that looked like it required the federal approvals, and vice versa, that's why I was getting confused. I was thinking the same thing about waiting until the first of the year for the State application, due to the fee not being prorated at all. So it looks like I can get the Federal rolling and get my permit drawings submitted while I wait for the ball to drop. Is there any way to check the average wait time on the State permitting? I had no idea it could go as long as 10+ months!
  23. Fell through the rabbit hole for a while, working on the building paperwork and such. The heating pad thing intrigues me. How much of an energy hog is that sytem? Our tank can go up to 300 gallon, but the still we have on order is only 100 gallon, so in theory the heating pad would be able to cover the lower half of the tank and do a standard mash, posisbly. I may have access to some fire insulation type materials that could be good to wrap the unit in. And a picture of the chiller wouldn't hurt (We were out of campden tablets, thus we were poorly trying to pasturize the perry.... lesson learned.)
  24. Thanks for all the suggestions, we'll definitely look in to the options. I don't think we want to cut the top off (and I think the manway is big enough I can actually fit inside if I *have to*.) Hadn't considered bringing it up to temp and pulling the elements, that's an interesting approach. We were also wondering if we could put a hot plate type set up under it, as menitoned in one of the other options, but the domed bottom makes that a bit more tricky. Cool down is definitely going to be something we need to address as well. We had to wait half a day for a 3 gallon batch of pear wine to cool down enough to pitch yeast, I can't imagine how long this thing would take at full capacity without a little help. We had planned on picking up ye old standard dairy tank, but this one popped up for a fair price and we just couldn't resisit. My better half has good sourcing for all the pieces and parts, it's more the question of what we need to look for. I think this gives us good direction in general. We do have access to both electric and gas, the on demand water heater might be a good way to go. As of right now we're aiming for 100 gallon still, but we're thinking of maybe cooking 2 batches at a time (2/3 capacity of the tank) just to keep things efficient. A side debate regarding this thing is building a platform for it to go on so we can gravity feed from it and elminiate the need for a pump at that part. Has anyone tried jacking one of their milk tanks up to accomplish this?
  25. Fairly sure this is a long shot, but I'm hoping there are some ground to glass growers around here. We live in Northwestern Pennsylvania and are looking for some hard red winter wheat seed. It's almost time for planting, and none of the local places carry it or order it in. We would like to do around 3 acres as a trial run. (3 bushels to an acre is about right?) 5 acres worth would be great if the price was good.(We would also be interested in barley seed as well.) Being able to grow our own has a number of benefits to our plan. I have found some sources from the midwest that I can order from, but was hoping to find someone in the Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania type regions. We would gladly drive to pick it up if it's within a reasonable radius. Thanks! Jessica