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Silk City Distillers

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Everything posted by Silk City Distillers

  1. Cleaning Bubble Plates - no CIP

    Rinse the still on the off days? Don't bother.
  2. Chocolate Liqueur

    You got me on a chocolate kick. Have you seen this product, designed for brewers? http://www.cholaca.com/brewmasters-cacao-nibs-alternative/ http://imbibemagazine.com/cholaca-chocolate-beers/
  3. What ever happened to iStill?

    Oh oh oh, I am misunderstanding I think, the end result is not distilled, you are draining the product from the boiler. So yes, you've made a large soxhlet, very cool.
  4. What ever happened to iStill?

    Thanks Odin, that's helpful. Is the resemblance to a soxhlet extractor intentional or coincidental? I can't see all of the plumbing to see if it works in the same manner. Generally though, that much carry over I've only ever seen with higher vapor speed extraction. Some very interesting things happen when vapor speeds are high enough to begin carrying over non-volatile flavor compounds, a technique used commonly in the extraction of botanical oils. But, if you are working like a soxhlet, that shouldn't be the case. Boy, Hazi, where do I start with that? I was gifted a jar of some "very fine" hazi, wow was it rough. Not just in tails (it was visibly cloudy at 110 proof), but the heads cut? What heads cut. I told the person, you've got to be fooling with me. How do you simultaneously be happy that this person smuggled some back all the way from Hungary for me to try, but not have the heart to tell them it's absolutely awful!
  5. What ever happened to iStill?

    Odin, Following your work on the extractor - why the turbidity in the color in the distillate? Is this being done in conjunction with masceration?
  6. Chocolate Liqueur

    Somewhat related. If you've never read up on the fermentation of cacao beans as a part of the manufacture of chocolate, you owe it to yourself. The microbiology of it is incredibly interesting, and very much related to what we're doing. I've been dying to get my hands on raw beans and ferment them in conjunction with a grain mash.
  7. Rapid Distillation - The Hot Rod by Detroit Stillworks

    I know you didn't really mean what you typed there, or it came across in an unintended way. We all know the customer is queen/king and their opinion is gospel. But, when the customer genuinely feels that a "produced by" product is better than a "distilled by" product? Certainly, you might educate the customer on what the differences are. But, you really aren't trying to argue that a substandard "distilled by" product should get a pass because it's "craft produced", are you? The product needs to stand on it's own merit first. Agree on the fake craft pushback, but what about the headwnds generated by the crap craft pushback?
  8. Spiced Rum

    (trigger warning for those prone to that sort of thing, this is intended to be provocative). I don't think making your own flavors and concentrates is incompatible with craft spirits production. If takes considerably more skill and craft to make your own flavor concentrates, than to single pass distill a "finished" product. So what about using someone elses? Trigger existential crisis? Currently working on a very low-temperature vacuum distilled cucumber concentrate for gin. I think it's far superior to putting cucumber in a gin basket, or macerating with cucumber in the final product. There are some very very interesting problems with making this concentrate, caused largely by the high sulfur content in cucumber, but these are solvable. It's much easier to control the final flavor profile and drive higher batch-to-batch consistency. But you know what I learned? This is really hard. Or vacuum distilling citrus to produce deterpenated extracts with significantly highly flavor and aroma "fidelity", one significantly less prone to oxidation. It's amazing the difference deterpenating citrus makes. The aroma and flavor is incredibly distinct, they don't cause the spirit to cloud. On the flip side, for some botanicals, it's the opposite, and it's the terpenes you want to keep. Or maybe just one of the terpenes, and you need to distill to get it. The big difference between the natural extracts coming out of the good flavor houses, is this kind of thing. Their ability to extract and purify a specific flavor is better than yours. The sophistication of their "craft" is far beyond our "craft", and what's really ironic is that their processes, in many cases, is very similar, albeit with a higher level of sophistication. It seems a little silly to poo-poo the flavor houses as being anti-craft, when you are calling someone dumping some (probably lower quality) botanical in a drum of ethanol, "craft".
  9. Cleaning Copper Still

    Find a local chemical supplier - we buy 50lb sacks of USP grade Citric for $97. It's pretty cheap as far as cleaners go. Bonus works great for acidifying mash.
  10. Cleaning Copper Still

    Small amounts of citric don't do much, 10 minutes won't do much. The above recommendations are really solid, we do the same. PBW and Citric. Hot citric works better than cold.
  11. Leuconostoc

    I love the funk, but that's not a common one. Ropiness and slime in fermentation is also common with Pediococcus. In fact, nearly always in brewing settings. The wild card, as you say, is the sugarcane. Leuc. is found in vegetative settings. Lots of those microbes fall under the lactic acid producing umbrella, but are genetically different.
  12. Boiled linseed oil for oak barrels

    What's your average temperature and humidity?
  13. Rapid Distillation - The Hot Rod by Detroit Stillworks

    Or just label as "Produced and Bottled By", and skip the pouring through the still entirely.
  14. U.S. ethanol makers steer away from fuel, reach for booze

    So in one day, they can produce more than all the craft distillers do in a year?
  15. pH buffer / stabilizer suggestions

    If you are using RO and building up your mineral profile from scratch, why not just correct it there? You need more alkalinity. Calcium carbonate (chalk) or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or both. It's likely whatever you are adding is simply resulting in too low a concentration. Salts don't make it though distillation. What concerns brewers here is irrelevant to us. Baking soda is cheap and easy, you can add it proactively. In the quantities you might use to manage pH crash - it would make a beer very salty. Chalk won't completely dissolve unless your water is high in co2, but don't worry about it, as fermentation will take care of it.
  16. Electric Stripping Still?

    1000 liters electric? How much power do you have in your facility? You are well outside the realm of water heater elements and standard 240v 200a service. Heed the warnings, you are being warned for a reason. In 1000l volumes, scorch just one batch a month, and in a year you are halfway in cost to a fit-for-purpose still. When you scorch distillate, it's not a fault, it's garbage - and completely non-recoverable.
  17. "Greenest" distillery?

    Are we talking about clean, or are we talking about cheap? Wood is a polluting and wasteful energy source.
  18. Cleaning Bubble Plates - no CIP

    Does your product condenser have triclamp fittings? If so, circulate your cleaners and acids in reverse through the PC, and feed from the boiler drain. Flooding plates in reverse flow is pretty effective. Last step is to thoroughly rinse, leaving only water on the plates. For day to day cleaning, you can use a non-caustic cleaner like PBW first, followed by a rinse, then with citric acid to brighten the copper, followed by a final thorough rinse.
  19. Carbon Filtering Redux...

    I think this was already implied by the other comments, but, you shouldn't need 2" piping on the feed or output. I would imagine 3/8 to 1/2 ID tubing would be more than sufficient. It's the difference between what looks like $200-300 in triclamp spool and fittings and $20 in tubing. Oh, and you need submicron filtration after the carbon.
  20. Schizosaccharomyces pombe

    Talk to Matsunosuke Higuchi at Higuchu Matsunosuke Shoten. http://www.higuchi-m.co.jp/ He was very helpful - his export pricing very good.
  21. spirit scales

    Scale tanks have all sorts of problems, it's not a panacea. They regularly drift, meaning the displayed weight is not accurate. If you have visions of putting 1000 lbs in a tank, and coming back in two weeks and seeing an accurate weight, sorry. Impossible to re-zero without dumping contents, unless the tank has an integral lift to unweight the load cells (I've seen this). Permanent hose and wiring connections on the tank become problematic as they throw off your tare and calibrations, they may need to be disconnected for weighing and zeroing. For a while I thought about fabricating and selling universal flat bottom tank scales. For example, for standard Letina, Marchiso, etc wine tanks. 4 legs, stainless frame, integral load cells, integral level, and a lip to keep tanks centered.
  22. spirit scales

    101 gallons and up need a permanent measuring device. All of the CFR references to scale tanks refer to tanks on scale beams or load cells. Not tanks sitting on scales. But really, a 200 gallon Letina tank sitting on a floor platform sounds pretty permanent to me. We gave a 400 liter tank sitting on a 1000lb base.
  23. spirit scales

    Speaking of Ebay. If anyone is anywhere near Puerto Rico - This is an unbelievable deal: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mettler-Toledo-2888-1000-lbs-DECKMATE-all-Stainless-Portable-Scale-/262926057121?hash=item3d379d3ea1:g:5lwAAOSwDmBY5ksZ Mettler Class III Indicator, stainless/sanitary deck base, 1000 pounds 0.2lb accuracy, explosion proof/battery powered. You'll probably be dead before you break it. This is a $5,000 scale.
  24. spirit scales

    Can you tell I like scales yet? Every distillery should have 3 scales. Yes, get out your pocket book, you should have 3 scales: Scale #1 - Sized for the maximum amount of spirit you deal with in Production. Scale #2 - Sized for the maximum amount of spirit you produce in Processing. Scale #3 - Sized to check weight a filled bottle for verifying filling accuracy in Bottling. If you deal with similar weights on a day to day basis in Production and Processing, than the same scale would suffice. But if you are working with totes of GNS in Processing (needing a max capacity of at least 2000lb), and producing 50 pounds of distillate at a time out of your still, you probably want two different scales. What is a good accuracy when dealing with a tote is not a good accuracy when trying to proof 50 pounds of distillate. If you deal with small volumes in production and processing (under 10 wine gallons), keep in mind 19.186 above, this will all but GUARANTEE you need three scales, since you will not find a high capacity scale with enough divisions to accurate read to the hundredth place. Generally, this kind of scale is going to be under 100 pounds maximum capacity. The third scale is for checking your bottle fill accuracy, and it is going to need to be accurate to the gram. We use a 2kg x 1g scale which works perfectly for us (750ml is our largest bottle, and the glass is a little bit over 900 grams), but you are going to need to know your bottle glass weight and volume to determine if 2kg is sufficient or not. You weigh a bottle, tare it, fill it, then check against the table. Allowable fill variation is pretty wide, so 1g accuracy is enough. You can find inexpensive high quality scales for this, and it is significantly easier than attempting to verify bottle fill volumetrically. You can find my bottle verification check weight chart here for 375 and 750ml:
  25. spirit scales

    Generally, legally I mean, Legal-for-Trade is typically determined by your State Division of Weights and Measures. Usually, just having an NTEP scale in place doesn't automatically mean you are Legal-for-Trade - this usually requires state level registration and regular inspection. How many distilleries are registering their scales with their State, and having state inspectors come out to provide a Weights and Measures seal on a regular basis? The CFR we are talking about are all Federal requirements, Legal-for-Trade is a State requirement. Not to mention, the rules for Legal-for-Trade will differ, sometimes SIGNIFICANTLY from state to state.
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