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JustAndy last won the day on October 12 2016

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  1. It was called 'Distilled In Oregon' https://www.amazon.com/Distilled-Oregon-History-Cocktail-American/dp/1467137723/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484236666&sr=8-1&keywords=distilled+in+oregon My wife wrote the foreword, so we had an advance copy laying around the house. It was pretty fascinating if you have an interest in local history.
  2. Welcome! I was recently reading a book about the history of distilling in Oregon and was amused to learn that Eugene was originally named Skinner's Mud Hole, and there was a commercial distillery there as far back as 1856! Your labels look very nice, I look forward to visiting the next time I'm in Eugene. A place I work also used Hired Guns Creative for their branding, and were equally pleased with the results pictured here
  3. While changes to your fermentation scheme could certainly help, to me the issue sounds like poor performance on the 20 plate still. For vodka, we stripped wheat mash through a 5-plate brandy column with a small forescut (at about 90%), and redistilled that on a 20 plate CARL column. We still needed to take a heads cut during the vodka run, and even after the heads cut it was possible to produce clean 95% and dirty 95% all depending on the configuration and parameters (plate loadings, dephelg input, take-off speed, heat input, still charge). We would redistill the heads through the 20 plate, and after a generous heads cut were able to recover out about 70% of the total alcohol in that heads redistillation as usable (although very different from the core vodka produced, and use primarily for heavily flavored liqueurs). Who made the 20-plate still you are using? In my experience small stills are extremely touchy to get working consistently, and many are poorly/incorrectly designed. Before investing a lot of time and cycles into learning that equipment, I would suss out how practical it is to make vodka at that scale.
  4. Sorry, I was misunderstanding what you said in your original post. It would be helpful if you posted specifications for your equipment and process. So 20% of your 2nd distillation is heads, and when you redistill that none of it is usable to you? It is very strange sounding to me that you wouldn't end up making a heads cut when running your 'heart' through your 20 plate column. Even if you take a generous heads cut on the 2nd distillation, there will still be heads components smeared into the hearts when using only 3 plates (unless your still works very differently than ones I've used), and you should be able to separate those out with the 20 plate. That suggests to me when you are rerunning the heads through the 20 plate, the still isn't calibrated correctly and you are not getting very good separation. Lowering the charge strength to something like 25% when running through the 20-plate still would likely also help with getting better separation.
  5. When you are rerunning these heads, what is the abv charge of the still? Depending on the efficiency of your 3 plate, 20% of LPA for heads of heads doesn't seem outrageous. When we would do similar of running heads through the vodka column we probably took 10-12% as heads of heads to destroy.
  6. Sorry, we sold these. I'm looking forward to checking out your place the next time I'm in Pendleton!
  7. Is your wash actually juice from freshly crushed sugar cane, or is it some type of sugar you are re-hydrating?
  8. At one distillery I work at this essentially our process for equipment constraint reasons. Our yield is very good for most grain types but our fermentation tend to be long (at least 7 days, at 65F as long as 14 days) before activity ceases and hydrometer/refractometer measurements as you might ordinarily use can be a bit misleading. I've also used sake/shochu methods (usually called Multiple Parallel Fermentation), which relies on koji molds to sacrify and a seperate yeast to ferment functioning simultaneously. Because of the separate koji production step it won't fit very well for a lot of distilleries, but with rice the advantage is you can hit ~18-20% abv which allows you to do some interesting single-pass distillation with a relatively simple pot still. The koji ferments took about 3 weeks (although it seemed plausible you could do it faster at higher temperatures), and you need to either select a koji strain that produces sufficient acid or introduce acid in some fashion to protect the mash from infection.
  9. Accuracy Extract: 0.3 %w/w Sugar: 0.3 °Brix Alcohol: 0.5 %v/v Temperature: 0.2 °C / 0.4 °F Not accurate enough for official use.
  10. Planning to not make money at first is an excellent way of not making money ever.
  11. All the places I've worked, our carbon dosage rates were 10-to-40x less than what you are doing. Try pumping the spirit from the bottom slowly as described earlier in the thread?
  12. Your yield seems very low, from 200 lb of grain we get about 16-18PG vs your 11. I've used a bunch of different stills and distillation schema, and I don't find there to be many good rules of thumb of percentage breakdown of heads vs hearts vs tails. Because where you make cuts is very qualitative and subjective, you quickly end up comparing apples to oranges. On our 4 plate brandy still, when doing a single-pass distillation the % of hearts changes from 35-75% depending on the abv of the charge (4% fruit is about 35% and 13% wine is about 75%). Similarly, when double distilling how you process feints really change the heads/hearts/tails %. With 2-plates it seems unlikely to me that you should be trying to run it as a single pass distillation and should be instead double distilling it, or perhaps taking a very small heart cut and redistilling the rest.
  13. We want a lower pH, targeting something closer to 3.3. The pears are fermented at relatively cool temperatures (~60F) so they proceed relatively slowly and are susceptible to bacterial problems at higher pH. We avoid using citric acid for acidifying mashes, based on some materials from MSU which said " During primary fermentation and subsequent aging fruit acids are decomposed through bacterial activity. In most cherry mashes the decomposition of malic acid to lactic acid occurs without adversely changing the mash. In the production of wine the conversion of the “hard” malic acid into the “softer” lactic acid is in sometimes desired and a secondary malo-lactic fermentation in undertaken intentionally. The bacterial decomposition of citric acid leads to formation of lactic acid, acetic acid, formic acid, and acetaldehyde which can be detrimental to the mash and can appear in the resulting distillate. Decomposition processes are associated with an increase of the pH which increases the susceptibility of the mash to bacteria. " We've distilled probably 9 different pears, and bartletts are very distinctive. Having tried some asian pear ciders, I think the flavor/fruit notes might be pretty light. Seemed like it would make a good vodka base, where you just want a pleasant suggestion of fruit.
  14. Depending on the temperature of your environment, we found you don't really need external cooling of fermenters until you get north of ~500 gal batches. When we fermented in 1000L poly ibc totes, we'd see a maybe 4-5 F rise after pitching which was acceptable for the yeast we were using. At smaller sizes it was more challenging to keep the ferments warm enough in the winter.
  15. We distill about 20,000 lb of pears a year. We grind the pears, acidify the mash slightly with malic acid to lower the pH, add yeast, and after a few days of fermentation run the pears through a screening machine to remove stems and seeds. Pears ferment easily, but are more prone to spoilage than apple mash due to higher pH so they need to be distilled promptly at the end of fermentation. We occasionally add pectin enzyme and a glucoamalyase if the pears are under ripe, but it is not critical. We've worked from juice a few times in the past for specific projects and haven't needed to add any yeast nutrients, but it was unfilitered & unpasteurized juice. There is a producer in Oregon called Big Bottom who made an asian pear brandy, the flavor is relatively mild compared to using bartletts.