Tom Lenerz

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Everything posted by Tom Lenerz

  1. Ideally you want cool and dry. Meal moths and other bugs like warm and humid, so if you don't climate control you will just have to stay on top of controlling the population and cycling inventory fast. This is less of an issue if you are dealing with 50 pound bags then bulk bins or sacks.
  2. Flex impeller pumps are nice because they self prime (so do AOD) but you can switch directions as well. The various brands of flex impeller pumps we have used can handle the solids to a pretty reasonable extent. Also compressed air is loud, expensive to operate (cost to power compressor vs direct electric cost), and you have the surging issues. The only real downside I see with flex impellers is high heat, both their resistance to it, but also the fact that they expand and can get stuck when trying to switch directions or start from a stop. We have a Jabsco RPD (lobe style, doesn't self prime) pump from TCW we use because we use it a lot in high heat applications. If I didn't need it for moving my cooking mash through the heat exchanger we would probably use a flex impeller. We use an AOD for spirit work.
  3. We went the same route. We have a local fab shop do all of our stainless work, from a few feet of pipe up to 7000 gallon tanks. We decided on direct steam injection over a jacket and it lowered the price a little bit. We have some Venturi style nozzles, they are loud, but not too loud, good and fast heat up. We went back and forth on direct inject versus jacket, and settled on direct inject. It works fine, but in hindsight the steam jacket probably would have been nicer. We have to deal with occasionally plugged nozzles, food grade boiler treatment chemicals (we use steam for sanitation of equipment and swelling barrels so we needed this anyway) plus the cleaning of the manifold. We had the fab shop put in 'pegs' around the bottom designed to hold some U channels that can hold wedgwire screens if we choose to go that route, but I think it will be kind of tricky with the direct steam heat to use them. Whether or not is worth it is up to you and what you are going to make. We haven't even thought about having the screens built yet. But if you want to do lautering I'd definitely recommend a steam jacket over DSI. We insulated the mash cooker, it's nice to have in case someone leans on it, and it holds heat really well, but you can get away without it. We do an external exchanger for cooling so we can use it for other things, but a built in jacket for cooling would be nice. Per the agitator i want to say ours is 3 HP on a 500 gallon, our fab shop had it quoted by a supplier for the application. If I had to do it over I think I'd drop the side man-way, insulation and lauter pegs, and go with steam jacket over DSI, plus a cooling jacket. That being said, what we have works amazingly well, we will do 2 cooks in 7 hours tomorrow including setup and tear down, and I don't think jackets would give me that speed.
  4. After distillation makes a lot of sense because it is waste, so the efficiency of the process doesn't matter, but before fermentation or distillation seems like an awful time. I'm surprised nobody has talked about mash filters (see as they are actually designed for this application, but they sure are awfully expensive.
  5. "In addition to registration, breweries, distilleries, wineries, and other alcohol beverage facilities are subject to FDA inspections. On the domestic level, inspections are usually conducted by state agencies. While this rule is not new either, pre-FSMA alcohol beverage facility inspections were not very common. However, this number is growing what with inspection frequency mandates established by FSMA. Shortly after FSMA’s regulations were implemented, Wine Spectator reported that roughly 261 U.S. wineries were inspected in fiscal year 2011-12 in comparison to 132 in 2009-10. Although FDA inspections may be new to a brewery, distillery, or winery, an establishment that is alert, well managed, and informed should not fear an inspection. During inspection, alcohol beverage facilities are held to current Good Manufacturing Practices (“GMPs”), which are found in 21 CFR Part 110." The key line here is 'usually conducted by state agencies', so the level of inspection will vary from state to state. FDA sets the rules for things like GRAS, three-bay sinks, acceptable materials, etc... Which is then usually enforced by your local health inspector.
  6. I could definitely be wrong, but my guess is you are looking at 8419.40.0040. DSPs are regulated by both the TTB and FDA, because they are a food and beverage processing plant. I would imagine other would be for things like fuel ethanol or chemical processing.
  7. SCD: How much are you paying for corn where you are at? Commodity price of corn is $3.75 a bushel around here, I'm getting a number close to 15 cents a bottle with pure corn. (1000 pounds = 17.9 bushels, $67.13 for 450 = $.149). Cestrin: There are simply too many variables to just say "do this and you can be profitable". My first comment is to illustrate just that. I once had an operations manager for a large distillery tell me that by far our greatest cost would be grain. Which for us, it isn't even near the top. It is all about scale, labor, cost of grains, cost of botanicals, utility rates, capacity utilization, and that is just about COGS. Your finished goods price is going to have to be influenced by the market, and obviously the less you charge the more you sell to some extent. Major variables include, but are not limited to, raw material costs (varying based of equipment available, production efficiency and location), utilities (gas vs. propane vs. electric and location), labor (still size, skill level and location), packaging costs, market pricing (branding and you guessed it... location).
  8. Yeah, but they are literal life savers. The codes exist to protect you, your staff and your customers.
  9. Silk City has answered the legal requirements here from CFR 19.356 - must be done in 'representative intervals during bottling operations'. We do one about every hour. The results need to be logged via the requirements in CFR 19.600.
  10. Yeah, mixers can be useful to bring cooler liquid down to the bottom. Bigger the delta T, the better the heat transfer and efficiency. We used to run direct fire, without agitation and it was slow. At least in the brandy world, it is believed that the high heat and copper contact in a slow warm up contributes positively to flavor. Not sure if that is the same for rum or not. We switched to direct steam coils, still no agitation on that still and warm-up is faster, but still slow, agitation would help with that, but it is fast enough, and the flavor profile seems unaffected. We used to pre-heat our wine for the still to 120 to shorten warm-up. Might be an option for you if you have an insulated tank, drain the still through a coil in an insulated tank (or use another heat exchanger of your choice) to save the heat for the next day. My understanding is LP is typically much more expensive than NG, (although I'm sure that varies depending on location), so that could be another reason to try to save/reclaim heat.
  11. See CFR and look at regs for package, as TTB defines package as follows. "- Package. A cask or barrel or similar wooden container, or a drum or similar metal container." Examples of relevant regs, 19.324, 19.476, 19.484, 19.485, the list goes on and on and on.
  12. I believe that the ruling stated something along the lines that Maker's Mark dripping red wax is iconic and unique enough to qualify as part of their branding trademarks. That doesn't extend to other colors of dripping wax or non-dripping red wax, just dripping and red. It isn't illegal to use dripping red wax, but if Maker's tells you to stop using it, they have the law on their side.
  13. If you are in America, start with HAACP, there are lots of exemptions for Bev Alcohol
  14. Not exactly the same, but in the same vein, it might be worth looking into how American craft distilleries are handling making, Irish and Scotch style whiskies. A lot of American craft distillers are in that same situation of trying to make a whiskey that isn't defined by the law or known by consumers.
  15. Since California isn't exactly cold, I would imagine sometimes your air could be as hot, or potentially hotter than the water you are trying to chill. These types of chillers do exist, and are often used in colder climates during the winter to offset demand, however you would need a very very large one if you have a smaller delta T. I would consider other ways to use the existing BTUs for other activities requiring heating, like warming water for your cooks or for the never ending cleaning. Buffer tanks work well to even out the demand on the chiller if you aren't running 24 hours a day.
  16. The issue is one gallon of 100 proof liquor plus one gallon of water, with or without sugar does not equal two gallons.
  17. Are you using a hydrometer to do this? If so, this check the gauging manual in reference to dissolved solids, and this sweet, sweet video series.
  18. There are some more issues here too, like how the still is setup, hybrid vs pure pot, how clean your cuts are, etc... Our real world numbers, we run a 30 gallon beer (30 gallons of volume per bushel) so our mash varies from 7.5% for rye to 9% for bourbon. We do 500 gallons a day on a hybrid, single pass, and we see between 3.8 to 4.5 pg/bushel of hearts. So 16.66 bushels per day, results in 63 to 75 PGs, or a barrel and change a day. Running pure pot double distilled, we see about 70% of the mash PGs make it to hearts.
  19. We have an AODD Yamada NDP-25 and our still came with a small EXP Jabsco flex-impeller hard piped in. No complaints on either.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Shane, thanks for sharing all the reasoning here!
  23. 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.