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Silk City Distillers

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Everything posted by Silk City Distillers

  1. How do you measure the spirits quantity ?

    I've seen others making reference to this "stick" for measuring volume. Don't forget about TTB table 27. Expansion coefficient by temperature and liquid absorption for each wood species. You need to adjust for growth and shrinkage of the stick based on the temp and how much liquid it's absorbed in the process. Never a day so freeing as the day you stop thinking in volumetric measurement. I've had lots of commercial bakers tell me this as well. It's hard to give it up, but once you do, woooo wee you don't look back.
  2. Mileage on activated carbon?

    If you call up any carbon manufacturer and talk to their techs, they will all tell you that you need to do a pilot column study. Here is a really nice overview from Cabot/Norit. There is a ton of helpful information. Ironically, you might find that your pilot column is more than capable of handling your production volume (if you build to their recommended spec of 4", 4 columns, 24" bed depth). Keep in mind, a high quality carbon changed frequently will outperform high-end carbon that you attempt to squeeze to the bitter end. Cabot_Pilot_Column.pdf
  3. How do you measure the spirits quantity ?

    The weight stays the same regardless of the temperature. Just to be very clear, when gauging with a hydrometer, you always need to adjust for temperature. But the weight of the distillate being gauged, that's static.
  4. Topping off barrels

    So what if a barrel requires two distillations, and two fills, before it's bunged? So if I have a new char 53, put 25 gallons in one day, and then 25 gallons in the next. Is it no longer bourbon because the second fill a day later was into a used barrel?
  5. Mileage on activated carbon?

    A carbon filtration system is just about the most basic filter style possible. You can put together your own with a few pieces of pipe. There is absolutely no magic involved in this process. Going too big means you can run more volume before changing or regenerating carbon (and slightly more loss). Have you read the Gert Strand Carbon PDF? If not, start there. It's a home distiller book, but it's better than anything else I've seen.
  6. What copper should I use for a 300 gal still?

    Yeah, that's the funny thing with copper. You can throw amps and amps and amps at it, and it seems you've never got enough power. Meanwhile, 3 feet away, your glove is starting to smoke. Does AC work better? Pulsed? Or is my 150 amp DC box just a kids toy.
  7. Topping off barrels

    I understand the desire for slow proofing, but what are we talking about in terms of water additions at one time? To make slow proofing easier for us, I've been looking into small metering pumps, which would let me add water to holding tanks very slowly, on the order of a few ml per hour, or even less. I could theoretically add a few gallons to a holding tank over the course of weeks if I wanted to, and I could do it in a way that allowed me to add a minimal amount of water at any given time. Drop, by drop, by drop, by infernal drop. In the context of a barrel, what are we talking about in terms of additions? A few mL from a 5ml syringe, every day, or other day, for a month? Adding a gallon of water directly to the barrel seems awfully abrupt, if we're looking at this in terms of proofing very slowly.
  8. Semi - Automation of hybrid still

    Using only one valve to control both?
  9. Semi - Automation of hybrid still

    Here is a good primer for the AVTA on the product condenser - Cotherman has done a lot of work here. Very old thread, but the approach for external mounting would be roughly the same. https://www.stilldragon.org/discussion/213/thermostatic-valve-installation-on-product-condenser Danfoss FJVA would be a good alternative on the PC, forgot about that one.
  10. What ever happened to iStill?

    Interesting, but you assume 96% product yield in your screenshots?
  11. Semi - Automation of hybrid still

    It's not a fair fight if you are comparing it to a RTD/PID/Proportional Valve. Dialed in, you can easily hold a tenth of a degree. Danfoss is probably +-2 to 3c.
  12. Semi - Automation of hybrid still

    The mechanical thermostatic valves would be great if the probe end wasn't so damn big (Talking Danfoss AVTA, the KING of self-acting valves). For someone without fabrication capability, they are impossible to use as they are too big to fit in the condenser, or plumbing. If someone would fabricate a flow-through housing that could be easily plumbed into the output plumbing of a condenser, that would be fantastic. A nice one-piece unit. Even better if it has the adjustable bleed for the control valve necessary when you locate the probe away from the process temp.
  13. Boiler Chemicals

    We use steam injection too, hence no chemicals.
  14. Semi - Automation of hybrid still

    Preheat in the still? To save time? Obligatory cautionary statement - Don't even think of attempting to let that still heat up unattended. I second many of the comments posted above. I suspect it would be less expensive and less of a headache to simply purchase a larger still if you are looking to save time. A decent PLC system with a good HMI, and all associated instrumentation, valving, input modules, output modules, could easily run north of $1500-2000 for just parts. Depending on the PLC system, you might even need to purchase the programming software and hardware interfaces, which isn't cheap, then spend the time educating yourself on the system. PID dephlegmator control will give you 75% of the magic of a fancy PLC automation system, at 1/10th the price.
  15. glycerin

    Mouth feel, smoothness, sweetness. Trying to dig up some old references on glycerin. I think it was an old Fleischmann book where he stated that glycerin's positive impact was temporary, and over longer periods of time it would turn bitter. Thought this was interesting, as I'd never heard that previously. Seemed to be a relatively common blending ingredient pre-prohibition, especially in low-tier spirits.
  16. Cane sugar

    Like Indy says, 1:1 ratio. Don’t boil it, you are caramelizing the sugars. Bring water to a simmer, take off heat, add sugar. It will take a little longer to dissolve. Give it an occasional stir.
  17. Vapor in Column Backflow

    Unfortunately, seems this isn’t a China phenomenon anymore.
  18. Vapor in Column Backflow

    Another option if the rig is beyond retrofit - Convert to pumped reflux with an explosion proof AODD pump and don’t worry about dip tubes, traps, heights, or differential pressures. You will, however, need to dial in your pumping speed to match reflux rate, and this may require adjustment throughout the run.
  19. Vapor in Column Backflow

    Assuming there isn’t a physical issue with the trays (blockage, manufacturing issue), intermittent mid-column flooding is typically due to a slug of subcooled reflux in the column forming a vapor trap. Usually traces back to sloppy RC flow control, where a spike in cold coolant flow causes a period of very cold reflux. This liquid is slow to descend, and seemingly appears “stuck”, as the cold temperature of the distillate on the tray causes a disproportionate amount of upflowing vapor to condense. If shutting down the still for a few minutes, allowing all trays to drain, fixes this, focus on getting better control of your RC coolant.
  20. Topping off barrels

    It’s my understanding that in some of these cases, they are laying down entire barrels of lower proof distillate for proofing purposes, not adding water directly to barrels.
  21. Topping off barrels

    No idea on the legality but why would you want to do this?
  22. Rhum Agricole

    Find your local chemical supply house and make friends. Citric, Lactic, Sodium Hydroxide all at very reasonable prices, only catch is you are buying 50lb bags or 4x1g liquid. Just tell them you need USP grade or higher for food use and they’ll know exactly. For really small quantities, you can get USP grade chemicals from Amazon sellers.
  23. Rhum Agricole

    I’ll second the food grade lye for intermittent pH adjustment, but you’ll want to test and adjust more often than once a day. Small adjustments, otherwise you will stress the yeast. I can’t see using that pH 5.2 product at commercial scale.
  24. Barrel Racks - Northeast

    Looking for Western Square style double or quad racks somewhere closer to the Northeast. 53g or 30g sizes. Thanks!
  25. Pulsing Still

    From some of the design threads around the interwebs, running the feed on the bleeding edge of boiling is problematic as you risk boiling in the feed lines from the last heat exchanger to the input, causing all sorts of sputtering and inconsistent feed rates.