Tom Lenerz

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Tom Lenerz last won the day on April 20 2016

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About Tom Lenerz

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  1. Pretty much three ways to move liquid, gravity if you have it, pump if you don't, and bucket and funnel. We have a few situations we let gravity do the work. Most of it is pumping. Collect the last in the hoses or tank in a bucket and dump. Just a bucket and funnel would work, but you are wasting your time, pumps aren't that expensive. I can't imagine operating a distillery without a spirit pump.
  2. If a brush and PBW work for the tanks, fill a bucket or tank with PBW solution and try pumping one of these. We run the ball through our flex impeller pumps, but have not tried with our lobe pump.
  3. Shane, thanks for sharing all the reasoning here!
  4. Technically under the FSMA here in the states we have the same, but there is a blanket exemption for breweries and distilleries. This exemption was called into question a few years ago, but ultimately industry won for now, it could become an issue again in the future though.
  5. I would rethink the concept personally. Simply put distilling exists as way to store and minimize transport cost of raw material. In France, they used to have mobile stills that would go from vineyard to vineyard, bring the still to the fruit not the fruit to the still. Not saying you can't do what you want to do, but it hardly seems worth it, regardless of the 'concept'. If it is a high traffic area and you want people to see your cool still, get an ugly stripping still at the other facility and just truck low wines. That's what Buffalo Trace does with the Bowman Distillery. Everything about moving the mash and having two facilities will only increase your cost and lower your margin, and provides zero value add to customers in the process.
  6. Curious as to why if you have near unlimited space nearby the whole operation isn't there? Nearby being a very interpretive term, pipeline close?
  7. I don't necessarily disagree with 3d0g here, but I do want to point out a few things. Craft beer was up 13% by volume sure, but they were up 15% by number of breweries, so that means they were making less beer per brewery than the year before. If you are getting your data from here ( you will also notice that regional breweries were up 26% versus the smaller pubs (10%) and micros (20%). Which means more of the volume from big players. So while I don't believe a bubble to the point of falling flat is going to happen in either industry, there is definitely crowding as more players get in the game. The argument about shelf space is true as well, just remember though that owner kicked some other beers slot out to make space for a beer he knew he could sell. We are seeing this everywhere with taplines and coolers with beer, and I've witnessed it with spirits as well.
  8. The main reason for a centralized cooker, is to remove extra and expensive apparatus from fermentors, IE, heat source, agitation and any grain handling that fills it. That being said, if the only thing extra is hot water you are minimizing that. The idea would be getting the grain to it, one flex auger to fill a cooker is cheaper than a system that could move grain to each fermentor.
  9. Keep in mind you have to pay attention to the shipping laws for both your state and the state you are mailing the sample too.
  10. Custom Metalcraft for the tank, the head/condenser looks like it could be from Vendome. Vendome does sell the Custom Metalcraft tanks too. Corsair is also pretty open about things, you could probably call them and ask too.
  11. We have done it both ways without any noticeable difference. I could be wrong, but I believe the reasoning is it doesn't make a difference, so why spend the btus and time to heat the rye or wheat if you don't need too. On the small scale I don't know how much of either one could save. Completely contradictory to the article, I read the other day that large Scottish grain whiskey distilleries process wheat at much higher temps than necessary simply because they can, and if they switch to corn because of a change in commodity prices, they don't need to redo their processes. They also can't use enzymes.
  12. You could put a normally closed valve that requires power before the control steam valve, you set up a Johnson style controller that sends power to the valve, opening it, if your condenser water is at an acceptable temp (heat mode, and you set your max allowable). If the water is good temp and you have electricity at your facility it allows steam to your still. If either of those conditions are met, it loses power and springs back closed. Shutting off the boiler is an issue because there could be a lot of steam in your system still, continuing to heat.
  13. AS Silk City said, if you are running glycol in your system you won't want to 'cross the streams' so to speak as you will be diluting the glycol, which can be added back, but is expensive. Perhaps you place a plate exchanger that is on a thermostatic valve to temper your inlet water to your setpoint. Chill loop on one side, city water on the other. The glycol side always runs through, but if it gets over your setpoint, it is chilled again with city water. Another thought, is you could pipe it like we have with our mash cooler. We run a tube and shell with a pair of three way valves. Set both valves in position 'A' and we run well water through the cooler, to be preheated for our next cook, stored in a insulated tank. Once we collect what we need, we switch to Position 'B' which closes the loop, but adds a plate exchanger which is on our chiller loop. We turn on the loop pump and it recirculates the well water between the two exchangers. This way our mash cooler only ever sees potable water, but we can use our chiller loop or well water to chill the cook. You could set something like this up with a thermostatic valve to temper the inlet temperature, but the loop pump would need a bypass. You could also put a manual override on it so you can preheat city water if you need it, and not use the chiller system at all.
  14. You answered your own question here. Vodka is defined as neutral. Having a hotter ferment will create more congeners, congeners you have to get out of your vodka. To make life easier, I would recommend a different fermentation temperature or a different yeast that produces less congeners at high ferm temps.
  15. I know you are unhappy with your spreadsheets, and from talking to people and looking at this post, a lot of other people are as well. However, I'm going to stand here and defend spreadsheets. I have written multiple spreadsheets not only for daily reporting and all the TTB logs, but also for budgetary, production scheduling and sales projections, and while they aren't perfect, I wouldn't describe them as clunky either. People always praise software for it's ability to spit out reports or information as needed. Which spreadsheets are capable of as well. It takes me minutes to do all of my end of month paperwork with this spreadsheet, and I have additional information that I have decided is relevant stored on the report. My raw material spreadsheet will turn a case number into bushels, barrels, blocks of yeast, days of still time, and in minutes I can rearrange our production schedule to drop a products numbers and increase another to make sure we are operating at capacity. I'm not sure how good your Excel-fu is and perhaps your spreadsheets are already great, but not good enough, then in that case ignore me. But I'd like to defend the poor old spreadsheet, and say if you are willing to, there is no reason you can't build spreadsheets custom tailored to your business for a fraction of the cost of buying software. To me this is the key, I know software is getting better and more customizable everyday, but nothing beats the flexibility (and price) of a spreadsheet. I'm no spreadsheet expert by any means, but I have found that armed with a whiteboard and list of what I want to accomplish, I can design what I need in a few hours. I also feel by building the spreadsheet, it helps me understand the logistics of whatever the spreadsheet accomplishes. For example, building my TTB record keeping spreadsheets using the CFR as a guideline helped me become intimately aware of their details, which was important for me as I had no experience with regulations before.