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Everything posted by JustAndy

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. I'm not certain many others do make it work, unless there are significant tax incentives in your state/country for working from local materials.
  6. 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.
  7. If you are new to the world of fittings, it can be helpful to go to a Brick and mortar store like Davidson Winery Supply in McMinnville to get oriented on what is out there and what it's called.
  8. http://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/tc15hb34.htm
  9. I've worked 3 places that have been audited/inspected by TTB, and they have never looked at/asked for fill level documentation or records. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't keep track, but with the error bars for proofing being 10x tighter that seemed to be a bigger concern. As long as you were diligent in tracking all the alcohol in and out and could prove you've paid all the taxes required, they didn't seem as concerned with 'gotcha'ing us on forms or technicalities. Your mileage may vary.
  10. I wont use boiled linseed oil, it contains metallic drying agents which I would worry about leaching into the barrel? What is your evaporative loss? Likely easier to move the barrel to a less dry/hot locations than to seal a full barrel. French oak typically has coarser grain than American oak which means higher evaporation, part of the reason most French oak spirit barrels are 350-400L.
  11. You really can't rely on pictures of what other people are doing, I've visited probably 75 craft distilleries and only seen maybe 10 that were near to compliant with their MAQs.
  12. Do these have any valves / fittings or are they just barrels with the heads off?
  13. Cultus, my numbers with stripping runs look quite different than yours. In a simple pot still (meaning no intentional reflux) we'd collect closer to a 1/3 of the original vol at closer to 35%. 3 Stripping runs + spirit run feints = full still volume for 2nd distillation. 70% of total PG as hearts yield is ballpark as well. On our hybrid 4 plate still if we did a stripping run we get about 1/4 the original volume the original volume at about 40%.
  14. The issue with the local fire marshal not caring if your non-compliant is that fire marshals and inspectors change. In our municipal area there are around 6 distilleries that opened 6+ years ago and up until 3 years ago no one had any serious issues with their inspector or city officials. A new person comes in with a bee in their bonnet about enforcing the code and things the previous inspector had no problem with are now giant issues which have led to 3 facilities having to essentially shut down and move out of town and everyone else having to invest serious time, money, and energy to stay operating.
  15. We use malic acid to acidify high pH fruit mashes and also whiskey mash when we don't have backset. In wine and cider, MLF is typically started at the end of primary fermentation when brix readings near zero. With the general instability of most whiskey and non-grape fruit mashes, I think you would have other problems if you were waiting for bacteria to convert the malic acid you added into lactic. It would make more sense to add the lactic acid yourself at the acidifying stage. I couldn't say for whiskey, but MLF is thought to have an impact on brandy distillate quality (something my experience with distilling wine and cider generally supports).
  16. We've carbon treated gns, works well and is simple. I disagree with Rogers statement that GNS doesn't have heads and tails components, there is a pretty big range of quality and flavor to different varieties and sources of neutral spirit. Having redistilled GNS in a vodka still many times, there are clearly heads hearts and tails to it by flavor and aroma. Similarly, you can something akin to a heads fraction from redistilling GNS in a non-vodka still but it's not a practical way to remove the problem components.
  17. You'll also want to taste out alternative suppliers in your development stage so you are able to make substitutions when your preferred supplier runs out and tells you there will be 3 months before its restocked...
  18. We've gotten totes with a non NPT thread, this is the banjo part number that fits them TA283QD. Then from that you can get a cam lock to TC fitting if need be. http://www.banjocorp.com/products/ibc-tank-accessories/accessories/buttress/ta283qd The NPT equivalent is part 200a https://www.amazon.com/Banjo-200A-Polypropylene-Fitting-Adapter/dp/B001GLUNFE
  19. I wouldn't worry about it infecting your whiskey storage barrels. It's very possible depending on the type of equipment you have to get a persistent brett contamination of fermenters and etc but it would depend on your process whether that's a problem for you. We have some plastic fermenters that I'm certain harbor brett from some wine we worked with, but the 7 days that whisky ferments reside in them doesn't seem to be long enough to get much activity from it.
  20. I also think there will be a big rash of closures, and pretty soon. The distilling industry has spent the last 200 years going through boom and bust cycles, I'm not sure why that would change.
  21. I would be curious to see the filter that is going to let you filter a 60-70% corn mash bill. To me it makes more sense to design a whiskey around the capabilities of your equipment, rather than trying something that will always be an error-prone struggle. I also think you'll have a hell of a time trying to make that mash without an agitator/mixer in your vessel. We've used a method similar to what you describe to make bourbon mash in a 1000L IBC tote (with top cut off) and it requires the use of an agitator to get the grain mixed into the water.
  22. We had a copper one, but unfortunately found it communicated a copper-like smell to samples so we got a couple of stainless steel ones http://thevintnervault.com/index.php?p=view_product&product_id=4520
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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.