Jump to content
ADI Forums


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Skaalvenn

  1. Skaalvenn

    50ml Contract Packaging

    PM sent.
  2. Skaalvenn

    Branding/Packaging Question

    Prices vary widely, and you usually get what you pay for. You can hire an artist online for a few hundred dollars, or you can easily and quickly get into the 6 digits with a full creative agency. If you are looking for a first class partner to develop your brand, labels, website and some extra marketing materials to get you off the ground you are looking at the $50,000-$100,000 range depending on where you go. Feel free to PM me for any other details.
  3. Skaalvenn

    Ethanol from Almond Shells

    (USA only) You would first need to be sure that almond shells are GRAS (generally recognized as safe). I know it's crazy, but sometimes something you think should be GRAS actually isn't. Case example: I couldn't find the article, but there was a distillery that was mashing and fermenting the stalk of a common grain plant (I can not remember the type) but they had to stop as the plant itself wasn't GRAS, only the seed, and it was nearly impossible for a small business to add something new to the GRAS list. Someone else might have better luck pulling up the article.
  4. Skaalvenn

    Corking machine T-Corker

    I'm interested. How noisy is this one? I saw one a few years ago that made quite the racket when it was running and I'd like to know if anything has changed to deaden the sound of thousands of corks tumbling around. Thanks!
  5. Skaalvenn

    Hammer Mill w/ Blower

    How were they to deal with, and how does the mill's construction seem? That company is located a couple hours from us and I've been meaning to set up a time to bring a few bags of grain out to test a mill and maybe bring it back with me. The prices do seem attractive.
  6. Skaalvenn

    Security Cameras in tasting room?

    If anyone is considering building their own, I highly recommend you spend the extra on surveillance rated hard drives. During normal operation of your home computer it's hard drive is operating only occasionally, as most everything you do loads and works within RAM. In a security camera system the hard drive is reading/writing 100% of the time which will usually lead to a premature failure of a regular hard drive.
  7. Skaalvenn

    Cane Sugar Fermentation

    For granulated sugar types you'll need a lot of nutrient and you will need to constantly adjust the pH. We use a little over 1 gram of DAP per liter, and go above the beer brewing nutrient dosage for yeast nutrient. Remember that beer typically has grains with nutrients, and they only ferment to about 4-6 percent ABV whereas sugar has almost no nutrient and you'll probably be fermenting to 10-15 percent ABV. We use molasses in ours and typically have to adjust the pH one time only after the initial crash, and after that it stays fairly solid. With pure granulated and an overdose of yeast you will probably need to adjust every 12 hours for the first day or two, if not more often depending on activity. You should be able to ferment dry within 3-4 days. There are a lot of variables with plain sugar washes, what end product you are making, and how you want that product to taste. You'll have to play with it and figure out what works best for you.
  8. Skaalvenn

    xpress fill reviews xf460hp

    That screen is only designed to protect the pump and the valves inside your filler, it is not designed to filter your product. You can buy filter housings off ebay, but you have to be careful with used ones as they could have been used in non-beverage applications which is a no-go. St Pats of Texas sells complete units and filters. You'll want to get a cheap pre filter before the pall filter as you don't want to clog up an expensive one all the time. You can get a 10" stainless steel water filter housing and use cheap filters with materials rated for ethanol. Be wary of the ones with plastic end caps as the glues are oftentimes not compatible with ethanol.
  9. I've never seen that company but I am really interested. $23k isn't bad at all considering what it does. https://cda-usa.com/our-products/labelling-machines/wine-beer-and-spirits/auto/regionale/ One item that we have spent some money on for increasing our bottling speeds are rotary accumulation tables. If you don't have enough staff for every step of the process the rotary tables reduce the amount of time one spends switching back and forth, or moving bottles down a table. They cost roughly 3 grand each and take up a lot of room but have also saved us a lot of time. Sonny, is there any thing about that CDA machine which you do not like?
  10. Skaalvenn

    xpress fill reviews xf460hp

    We run PALL filters between the spirits tank and the unit. One minor disadvantage of a timed flow unit is that you have to keep a slight eye on the fill levels because as the filters get clogged up their flow decreases. It's not much of a problem if you're only doing a thousand bottles of vodka at a time, but if you're doing something with a high sediment load you would potentially have to increase the fill time slightly if there's too much resistance in the filter. If that happens, a couple quick presses of a button are all you need. For vodka we run a 1um followed by a .22um and have no troubles. We calibrate ours to the weight of the spirit we're bottling. The nice thing about digital control vs setting an overflow nozzle height is you can be very precise and it's quick to adjust. You will need to adjust or calibrate any bottle filler before you bottle to ensure you are meeting the fill standards. Since the temperature of the spirit changes day to day you need to make minor adjustments each time you bottle, and sometimes in the middle of a session.
  11. Skaalvenn

    xpress fill reviews xf460hp

    We purchased the regular XF460 approximately 16 months ago and we like it. The only thing we don't like is that all 4 bottles have to be filled at the exact same time which leads to a few moments of rapid paced movement of removing and replacing bottles and then waiting about 25 seconds for the fill to be completed. This can be a benefit though as it may give you time to cork and band the bottles while you wait. We have needed minor service that was able to be resolved by a brief phone call. It's not a complaint, it's a compliment as they picked up the phone and the person answering knew the machines inside and out. Fills are very accurate. We are thinking of buying a second unit so that we can fill bottles quicker.
  12. Skaalvenn

    Still agitator

    I like the idea of the Teflon "rope" packing that my brawn mixer has. If it starts leaking (after 2.5 years it has not) I can tighten the bolts slightly to squeeze the Teflon more. If and when the Teflon wears out and needs replacing I can't see it costing more than $10-20. My mixer from MXD had a seal that went out and allowed a small amount of vapor into the gearbox which then caused the bearings in the gearbox to fail. MXD refused to warranty their equipment even though before the warranty ended I notified them and said it was making noise. The local brawn rep/engineer spent a lot more time taking measurements and ensuring that I had the exact mixer I needed. They also provided me with the critical speeds to avoid (where the natural vibration/harmonics will tear any shaft driven prop to shreds). MXD basically said "what size tank? What kind of fitting? Ok here's a mixer". I had no previous knowledge of critical speeds and there is the possibility that I was unknowingly running inside those ranges which would have caused premature failure, but I'll never know because I was never given any real specs. Food for thought. There's plenty of people who just want to quickly sell you something and move on to their next customer. The broken agitator shut down any grain-on distilling for over a month, I'll never take the cheaper route on something like that ever again.
  13. Skaalvenn

    Industry news/research websites/magazines?

    Similar topic. What is everyone using for finding used distillery, brewery, and winery equipment?
  14. Skaalvenn

    Still agitator

    I have a Brawn mixer on my still and it's been a great piece of equipment. Avoid MXD/MixersDirect.
  15. Skaalvenn

    Small Scale Grain Liquid Separation

    Ahh I forgot about corn doing that. Thanks. Edited my post.
  16. Skaalvenn

    Small Scale Grain Liquid Separation

    EDIT: DISREGARD MY POST. DOES NOT WORK FOR CORN You'll want more of a brewery style mash tun with a false bottom. Your best bet is to separate the grain before fermentation. http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/kettles/55-gallon-mash-tun EDIT: DISREGARD MY POST. DOES NOT WORK FOR CORN
  17. Skaalvenn

    Grain-in pump

    Interested in CIP as well. Have a 1.5" centrifugal that I've had zero problems pumping wheat mashes with, but it's a pain to use for CIP as any vortexing in a source tank causes the pump to air lock.
  18. Skaalvenn

    T top corks

    Paulson is great. Good people to work with, and I maybe have 1 defective cork in 50,000 units. We reject bottles fairly regularly, we reject the occasional labels, we reject the occasional shrink sleeves, but the corks? Basically never.
  19. Skaalvenn

    Label Design

    I would highly recommend going to a creative agency for your label design. It's typically not cheap however, your label is the #1 thing that will get a random customer to buy your bottle over someone else's. If everything else in your business plan is done well, the money spent will pay for itself many many times over. We used Shinebox Creative in Minneapolis http://shinebox.com/ (our branding will be the first thing you see. Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with then in any way, we're just a customer they get to have a lot of fun with). Take a look at a couple big brand bottles and take note of the similarities. Beyond that, read the regulation on label. It's very basic, but there's some do's and don'ts that you want to be sure you get right.
  20. Skaalvenn

    How to get a response from TTB?

    I found that you have to call them as soon as they open. I've had them call me back same day, and also a couple weeks later.
  21. Skaalvenn

    need help with posting

    Moderator does it to prevent spam. What are you selling?
  22. Skaalvenn

    Just building away in Iowa

    That looks real nice! What kind of GPM throughput on one that big?
  23. Skaalvenn

    Federal Excise Tax and my thoughts

    100% of our tax savings is allocated towards equipment and employees.
  24. Skaalvenn

    Finished Product Storage and Exemption

    I don't do open fermentation because fruit flies are a complete pain, but many, many distilleries do it and it is almost "the standard", and just like in every other part of the food industry there will be the occasional insect that makes it's way in there. However, that insect and the dust will not make it through distillation, and your final product coming off the parrot is basically sterilized (which is better than sanitized) by heat and alcohol. Once distilled I would keep your spirits in closed top containers because at that point you're dealing with concentrated alcohol and it's now your final product and susceptible to contamination. It sounds like you just need to sit down with your locals and simply educate them on the industry and alleviate their fears. I mean heck, a sour mash whiskey is exactly that. Mash that has "spoiled" and has become infected with bacteria. Sour mash whiskey is not any more harmful than regular whiskey due to the process of distillation. As for the barrel exception. I didn't dig through them, but you should find something here: https://www.google.com/search?q=distillery+barrel+exemption+fire+site:adiforums.com&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi8rZ7t-MXXAhXn34MKHXqgDEIQrQIINygEMAA&biw=1600&bih=791
  25. Skaalvenn

    Finished Product Storage and Exemption

    1 - I have never heard of this. Sounds like some old prohibition era thinking. 2 - I believe barrels and bottles are exempt. You should be able to search the forum and find a thread or two on that. 3 - In MN my non-UL listed electrical panel needed to be inspected and "certified" by an engineer. 4 - M occupancy? I could see the part of the distillery that performs merchant operations being classified as M, but the part of the distillery that manufactures wouldn't be a merchant operation. Is this your municipality or your architect deciding this?