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Everything posted by JustAndy

  1. Cleaning Run

    ouch, well don't do that I guess... We boil water in the still for mashing and cleaning and the manway gets opened regularly in the process but perhaps we should change that.
  2. Cleaning Run

    Is the water boiling in the still? If so, are the temp gauges in the lower parts of the column at 100C? If its the first time running the still, I would be looking at all the connections with a mirror for vapor leaks where the steam might be escaping. I would also check all the routing and piping valves to make sure the vapor is going the path it should be and not hitting a dead end with a valve going the wrong way. If you bypass the column and go straight from still to the condenser do you get steam?
  3. Apple Brandy Cuts

    I think you've got the wrong end of the hatchet with everything you propose here. I've visited about a dozen Italian fruit brandy producers, a few of whom are considered among the best in the world, and it's easy for me to imagine that if you told them you brought your fruit must up to 16% abv with sugar they would spit on you.
  4. Mash to whiskey in single run

    We make whiskey in a single pass/distillation on a 4 plate still, similar to what Silk City said you can hit a pretty big range of proofs in a single pass depending on the design and mfg of your still. The cuts similarly vary tremendously depending on how you manage reflux. For some whiskies our heart cut is 158-142, others its more like 155-136 but a change in cooling water temp without an adjustment of flow rate shifts everything. We have a bain marie still and doing stripping runs isn't efficient for most products, as the still cannot be run "hot and fast", but there are some niches cases where we do that and the low wines/strip have to be diluted or you cant get a low enough proof. We figured out our cut points over about 1200 distillations...
  5. I was informed that in California, distilleries can produce spirit for wineries and if those spirits (brandy and pomace brandy) are produced from the winery's grapes the spirits can be sold by the winery under their tasting license. Does anyone have experience with this? Can you point me to the state laws related to it? One place I distill is a small Oregon brandy distillery, and it would be a lot of fun for us if something similar could get passed in Oregon. I am hopeful that seeing a framework operating someplace else might give us a starting point.
  6. Apple Brandy Cuts

    I make a chunk of apple and pear brandy every year, and if the ferment has been clean the heads are not considerable especially compared to wine. You probably need to proof down the charge before redistilling it, with that high an abv charge it is likely difficult to get good separation of head products. Also, if the cider has been chapitalized you cannot label it apple brandy.
  7. Marchisio tanks

    They work fine and aren't many other options I've found in that same size/price range but to vent for a minute I found them to be very irritating to work with. The flat bottom and outlet located above the floor required a lot of tipping/leaning/dumping to get all the reside out. You can get a tri-clamp racking arm (https://morewinemaking.com/products/15-triclamp-rotating-racking-arm.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInfmr9JO-1gIVh2B-Ch1SsAzREAQYAyABEgLIQfD_BwE) which helps but not much. One place I worked had a thin wall tank (I think it was Letina) that had a pitched floor and an outlet flush with the bottom which was much easier to work with, but it was on wheels to accommodate the bottom valve and eventually a wheel wrenched off from the tank while it was full which was nearly a disaster. The floating lids are also deeply annoying for the reasons Wayward mentioned ( and some spirits also have a propensity to eat through the inflatable gasket material).
  8. A client of ours is interested in having malt whiskey produced for them so they'll have some aged stock available if/when they launch their own distillery. It would a custom mashbill, as they aim to explore some unique heritage and local malt (which they would source if needed). The client also has some transparency requirements as they have a carbon-offsetting and environmental accountability component to their business plan. The volume is still in flux, but it would be somewhere between 50-150 barrels depending on pricing/availability. They are based in Pacific Northwest but are open to other pitches. The timeline is soon, but not immediate If you've got some malt whiskey capacity, please message me and we can discuss the project further.
  9. At what point is a pot still too big?

    For some products like single malt whiskey and irish pot still whiskey, continuous stills are not an option for legal,traditional, and flavor reasons. Thus the giant Midleton pot stills, which are obviously not as efficient or cost effective as a continuous system would be.
  10. Bench still for Proofing

    Ah I see, my mistake, I've never needed to heat up a sample (only cool down) so it didn't occur to me. When I was originally looking for a proofing still I wasn't able to find a condenser that was the right shape and connection to use with an erlenmeyer flask without a bunch of adapters which made the pellet lab setup cheaper for me.
  11. Bench still for Proofing

    I would think the Max Temp of 90C would prevent you from distilling a proofing sample to completion? We also use the pellet labs still for proofing tests (https://www.pelletlab.com/distillation_equipment)
  12. Barrels and Aging / TTB Rules

    It says oak containers, which I would interpret to mean a container built from oak which these are not. Their use should require the 'finished with wood staves' caveat that appears on other spirits which are flavored with oak rather than aged in barrels. Also these things look ridiculous, I bet it leaks like a sieve.
  13. Look up carbonic maceration.
  14. Different Use For Reverse Osmosis Filter

    That is interesting, what I tasted was 177 proof neutral grape spirit for fortifying wine, so a different objective. What is the abv of the permeate you get?
  15. Different Use For Reverse Osmosis Filter

    Something conceptually similar is used in the wine world, basically the permeate is mostly water, alcohol, and some acids and all other components of the wine/wash are left behind. The permeate is then distilling or disposed of. I've had distillate produced in this process and it has very little character but I am sure is useful for things. http://www.vinovation.com/alcadjustment.htm http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/5360 http://www.vinovation.com/custequip.htm but the systems are designed to remove alcohol, rather than remove water. Alcohol is larger than water so maybe it is possible to alter the equipment to target water removal rather than water + alcohol.
  16. Prepair for the FALLOUT!!!

    I feel like the wine buyouts are quite different, as even non-viable or hobbyist wineries may possess valuable vineyards/plantable acreage which larger entities want to gobble up (they aren't making much more land...) Distilleries will be much more likely to simply go out of business, as unless they can find someone that wants a turn-key operation there isn't a larger company that will be interested in their brand or assets.
  17. Help: Ferment stalled

    I am understanding correctly that this is the first batch you are using backset with? 29 brix is high, even if you think 7 brix of that is unfermentable the density of the wash is very high and the yeast might be experiencing too much osmotic stress. If you have been using backset for several generations, it's also possible that you have accumulated yeast-toxic levels of salts/minerals etc.
  18. Wine cap style crimper

    Not sure what a wine cap is, if you are looking for something to apply screw-top style closures to bottles look for an ROPP (roll-on pilfer proof) machine. If you are looking for a bottle cap similar to what's used for beer look for a crown capper
  19. Transfer in bond to Winery

    My understanding is that wineries can only use spirit from the same fruit type as the beverage being fortified. As they are not allowed to brew beer, they can't use grain neutral to fortify anything. If their license lets them make fermented cane sugar soda (which I understand it does) they could use cane neutral? Should probably ask the ttb agent. FallIng Rock, perhpas the GNS is grape neutral spirit? https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=970a668ad1fa42555e7331f81c0e366d&node=27: "The proprietor of a bonded wine premises may withdraw and receive spirits without payment of tax from the bonded premises of a distilled spirits plant for uses as are authorized in this part. Wine spirits produced in the United States may be added to natural wine on bonded wine premises if both the wine and the spirits are produced from the same kind of fruit. In the case of natural still wine or natural still hard cider, wine spirits may be added in any State only to wine produced by fermentation on bonded wine premises located within the same State. If wine has been ameliorated, wine spirits may be added (whether or not wine spirits were previously added) only if the wine contains not more than 14 percent of alcohol by volume derived from fermentation. Spirits other than wine spirits may be received, stored and used on bonded wine premises only for the production of nonbeverage wine and nonbeverage wine products. Wooden storage tanks used for the addition of spirits may be used for the baking of wine."
  20. Specific Gravity Hydrometers

    Sorry, I misunderstood your question. That's news to me if true, no place I've ever worked had them. If we did have them, they would be pretty useless for measuring the abv of our bourbon, rye, or fruit mashes.
  21. Specific Gravity Hydrometers

    You need a full set to test the strength of your spirits off the still, at barreling strength, and bottling strength. If you produce liqueurs or lower strength spirits you probably need 0-20, 20-40, 40-60 etc. Accurately measuring and recording the proof is important to the government, as the tolerances for error are 10x smaller in spirits than beer, and the tax rate per unit of alcohol is probably 15x higher for spirits.
  22. Freshly dumped, once used bourbon barrels

    http://barrelsandracks.fishcreative.com/barrels/ might be able to help you. You aren't likely to find any 300 or 500 liter bourbon barrels, if you do they will be wine casks that someone finished bourbon in.
  23. Making Business Sense of Gin (from grain)

    With a 50-100 gal still, labor cost is likely a much more significant factor than mashing efficiency or distillation yields. If you are doing it yourself (and probably not taking a paycheck or salary), make sure to factor the theoretical labor cost into the product or you will paint yourself into a corner of never getting to pay your self (or someone else).
  24. Rye Whiskey Smoking in Still

    Preheating your wash can help and and agitator as well. Using a beta glucanese is very helpful for 100% rye. But you are likely in for a life of suffering.
  25. Earthiness in potato vodka

    I believe Different potato varieties have different amounts of geosmin, so it could be related to the type of potato. some Japanese shochu producers peel the potato to reduce earthiness. Also, apparently potatoes can have tca issues http://journal.ashspublications.org/content/132/1/112.full