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Everything posted by JustAndy

  1. Industry news/research websites/magazines?

    https://thewhiskeywash.com/ http://www.spiritedbiz.com/ https://www.winebusiness.com/ http://artisanspiritmag.com/ https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/ http://www.alcademics.com/2017/01/new-booze-2017.html
  2. Analytical Labs

  3. White Whiskey

    The House Spirits example was also approved probably 10+ years ago, so there has probably been some turn-over and clarifications to the approval process.
  4. Barreling Question

    I wouldn't sweat it. 4.5 gallons isn't all that much head space, we see that liquid level in the barrel about a year after filling. We also have some half-filled barrels, in my experience the extra head space helps move the spirit along but also increases the angel share a bit. All the half-full ones are where I can see them in case they develop leaks as I've heard that can happen but haven't seen much evidence of it.
  5. Proof affecting oxidation in barrels?

    Think about how much easier 12% abv wine oxidizes vs 22% abv port.
  6. Proof affecting oxidation in barrels?

    http://www.iscbarrels.com/2018/01/30/oxygenation-part-1/ "To add further complication, the effects of these variables are not static throughout the aging process. As the barrel ages, the wood becomes increasingly more saturated with alcohol. As this happens, the rate at which the oxygen can permeate through the wood changes. The diffusion of oxygen in air is multitudes greater than that of its diffusion through water. This suggests that as the barrel becomes more saturated over time, the rate at which oxygen transfers through the wood slowly decreases. Furthermore, the diffusion coefficient of oxygen in ethanol differs from that of water which would suggest that entry proof has an effect as well."
  7. Product finishes too hot

    Do you make the base or use a sourced GNS? If you use GNS, do you perform QA on each lot? GNS quality can vary a lot depending on the producer/source, and if you get it through an intermediary you might be getting it from a different producer without being informed. If you make the base yourself, did you compare that to your typical starting point? Changes in fermentation temps, yeast strain, yeast nutrients, and mash abv can all have an impact on flavor or perception of alcohol 'heat'. Similarly, your cut points can have a big impact, and seasonal changes in cooling water temperature can have an impact on still performance and cut points which might also change the perception of alcohol. I wouldn't discount getting your botanicals from a different source, especially as many gin botanicals can have a 'heat' of their own (ginger, cubeb, cardamom, grains of paradise, coriander to name a few). Juniper from different sources can dramatically shift the flavor, I have trialed some which had significantly more bite/harshness/chemical aroma than others. Sitting for 2 months after distillation (or even a week) will also change the mouthfeel and aroma of the distillate quite a bit.
  8. Product finishes too hot

    Providing more information about what you are making and how you are making it would make it much easier to provide answers or suggestions.
  9. We are having a problem which has left me scratching my head a bit. The fores, heads, and early parts of the heart are coming over with a pale greenish/yellow tint. It starts most intense at the heads and generally lessens as the run goes on. It looks different than the copper contamination I've seen from other stills, there isn't any blueish and shades more towards yellow. We've done 6 distillations of wine and it has happened the same way each time. We are distilling a 14% abv red wine made from Syrah, the wine has no added SO2 and doesn't present as flawed (no obvious VA,brett, infections). Wine pH is ~3.8 We are running a 4 plate Kothe still; it has a copper boiler, stainless column with copper plates and dephleg, and a stainless steel condenser. The lyne arm to condenser is stainless and has an upward J, so liquid generally drains back to dephleg and not condenser. It is heated very slowly via bain marie and no wine generally boils/foams into the plates. We generally distill brandy in a single pass, using the plates and dephleg with a heads cut from 182 to 175, adjust dephleg down and a hearts cut 165-145. The still is cleaned with 80C water after every distillation and receives a citric acid rinse generally when we switch between products or the copper is looking tired. We've distilled probably 300+ runs of wine on this still without encountering this. I've tried degassing the wine to remove co2, which didn't change anything. I gave the still a through cleaning & citric acid treatment, as well as dissembling the lyne arm to look for corrosion or debris but it looked clean. Adding baking soda to the diluted greenish fraction doesn't alter the color, but after a period of time it appears some of the green drops out and the fraction is clearer when decanted. Today I am going to redistill the greenish portion as well as try filtering it through a .25 micron filter to see what happens but I would appreciate some theories on what's going on.
  10. Contaminating Condensing Column

    The way it was explained to me: There is a DIN port near the still dump valve, designed to connect via hose to the inline port on the CIP pump. So you could mix your chemicals in the still body and recirc out the bottom DIN port using the CIP pump. I would be wary of doing it that way as it seems like a good way to clog up the spray balls in the column with solids, and those spray balls are solid and not attached with a cotter pin so it seems like a nightmare to clean them if they get clogged. You can also screw off the sightglass on the condenser water collection tank and add your chemicals there.
  11. Greenish/Yellow Heads in brandy from Red wine

    In between various distillations of the syrah we distilled pear mash, rye mash, and chardonnay wine none of which had any color tint. The syrah had a tint regardless of the product run before it, and steam cleaning/flushing/citric rinsing prior to distilling the syrah had no impact on the tint. We didn't make the wine, I am going to follow up with the winery to get some more details about the process. We've distilled a lot of other wine for them, and they are an extremely well-regarded winery but it seems like it must be some artifact of the wine making process. If it was something related to grapeseed/maceration, it seems like it would also be a problem when distilling grappa as the pomace is rarely deseeded before distillation but we've never had a tint to the grappa from red wine. We sent the tinted fraction in for copper testing, which showed only a normal/nominal amount of copper so that is ruled out. With time, there was some sediment that started to form and settle out, which seemed to reduce the color of the tinted fraction. Based on that, we ran it through the fine depth-filter pads we use pre-bottling and that removed all of the color. Mysterious..
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Contract Malt Whiskey Production

    Jonathan, I'll pass your information to this client. I'm at the end of what they engaged us for, so I'm not sure their next steps.
  15. Mashing technique and Brix degree

    How much malt to how much wheat? Is the wheat malted? How is it being milled? The mash also seems way too thick, at 10 lb / gal (we mash closer to 2 lb per gal...) You also likely need to do something to break down the wheat
  16. Greenish/Yellow Heads in brandy from Red wine

    The dephleg I believe is all copper. The boiler is about 300L, so too small to get inside but you can reach everypart of it from the manway. I will try to post a picture, the color tint is light enough that it is very hard to photograph. When running out the tails eventually the spirit is very waxy/oily, but nothing black, ashy, flecky. It looks just like tails from other washes, there is no color in the late hearts or tails. We have a parrot, which actually designed with a sort of phlegm separator which holds back wax and etc which floats at the top. I distilled a different wine (chardonnay) and the distillate has no color tint, which leads me to suspect some kind of fermentation/nutrient byproduct from the syrah wine rather than something from the still.
  17. Greenish/Yellow Heads in brandy from Red wine

    That was what I thought as well, but it was suggested by our local pHD in whiskey at Oregon State so we are exploring it. It was also mentioned by Meerkat in another thread who said "The closest I have seen to your experiece was a yellow-green heads stream in a continuous neutral spirit plant. The plant wisdom was that this was diacetyl (butanedione). In this plant the fermenters were steel, the stripper column mostly copper and the rectifier fully stainless steel." We didn't ferment this wine, but the winery mentioned the grapes were not in good shape compared to their usual material so perhaps it is a fermentation byproduct issue?
  18. Greenish/Yellow Heads in brandy from Red wine

    Redistilling the green fraction without any wine in the still didn't produce a different result. It seems unlikely it is copper related, so we are investigating it possibly being diacetyl. There isn't an aroma or flavor component to it that I can detect, but the aroma of heads might just make it hard to seperate out.
  19. Vapor in Column Backflow

    This is a Kothe, and I imagined they would have the kinks worked out at this point as I've seen the same setup at numerous distilleries. I've used a smaller one at a different facility which has worked flawlessly with no modifications from factory original for 2000+ distillations, so I was surprised at all the issues with this installation.
  20. Vapor in Column Backflow

    They don't actually use the vodka column for any of the product currently, so I haven't spent much time fooling with it and don't know what sort of issues it has with vapor and plate performance. It has a whiskey helmet which goes into 2- 8 plate columns. The one time I tried to run some wine through both columns, as the plates filled and it started to reflux the vapor turned out to flow up the gin basket return pipe and bypassed the 2nd column entirely (the return line is plumbed into the piping which leads from the top of the 1st column to the bottom of the 2nd). There are some other design issues with the still (like the gin basket was installed backwards so there is no way to open it...) which really astound me.
  21. Topping off barrels

    I have hard time believing that adding water to a barrel stops the aging clock as well, as it is a standard practice for Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados. If Bluestar's interpretation is right that would likely mean none of the age statements on Germain Robin's products are correct.
  22. Vapor in Column Backflow

    I've had a similar problem with a Kothe 2-column still at a place I occasionally work. The return pipes from the bottom of each column to the still kettle/boiler don't have a p-trap, valve, or flapper. Inside the still kettle, the return pipes are only about half-way down, meaning they are not submerged in liquid if the liquid level in the still drops below about 275 gallons (in a 500 gallon still). As soon as the liquid level drops below the return pipe, both columns begin to fill with vapor which is problematic if trying to bypass the columns or just use 1 column.
  23. 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.
  24. 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?
  25. 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.