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Everything posted by Lenny

  1. Lenny

    Filtering Through Limestone

    Oof! Please, let's not spread this misnomer that mineral content and a specific ph level (both of which are easily replicated if so desired) has a substantial impact on the flavor profile of a whiskey in comparison to the WAY more impactful aspects of grain selection, fermentation, distillation technique and maturation . The majority of content on whiskeywash.com is of quality but piece is just Kentucky marketing shtick.
  2. Lenny

    Filtering Through Limestone

    Of all the spirit comps, ADI runs a pretty tight ship. Most of the comps out there are complete bullshit. We enter the ADI comp ever so often and I've seen some absolutely preposterous comments by a few judges.That being said, those wacky comments are tempered by valid constructive criticism. Before getting weird with calk, maybe pick up the 'best in class' vodka winner and side by side taste it with your own juice - be super self critical and real about what's going on between the two - adjust (or don't) your process as needed.
  3. Without going full blown automated system for packaging... has anyone here advanced to a packaging solution beyond the complete hands-on approach of hand placing bottles in the filler... filling... inserting bartops... rolling on labels... applying closures? Our current method of bottling is slow enough that we foresee problems as we begin to up our volumes of spirit to be packaged -but- we're not going so big that it makes sense to drop 50-100k for a full blown packaging robot. There must be a sensible solution somewhere in between... has anyone found it? Recommendations?
  4. We struggle with maintaining what we consider to be our own strong brand attributes. Pre printed bottles or screw tops wouldn't be the right fit for our product - obviously could make sense for others. This CDA machine sounds like it might be a great solution though. Thanks for pointing this one out, Sonny.
  5. Lenny

    Plate and Frame Filtration

    Here's a stainless filter housing that works well coupled with a polypropylene cartridge. We run two of them inline with 1 and 1/2 micron filters - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Industrial-Filter-Cartridge-Housing-stainless-steel-Hydro-Genics-Viton-seals/201912178353?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649
  6. Lenny

    PP body for spirit transfer pump

    Lot's of folks use polypropylene pumps. We try to use stainless wherever we can, but so long as ethanol is compatible with whatever material you are considering (https://www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance), you're good to go. Out of curiosity... which Yamada pump you're considering. I need to pick up a few smaller aod pumps.
  7. Lenny

    Labeling Machines Recommendations?

    I've got a zap labeler that I'd sell you for $300 + shipping. I paid $450 and used it for a few hours worth of bottling. it worked great for our square liberty (pirmal) bottles but the vast majority of our bottles were ovals and it didn't work great for them. We ultimately ended up switching around a few aspects of our packaging and now run a race labeler for our new cylindrical bottles. I've got a few extra aluminum guide rails that I ordered from zap to help keep the bottles perfectly straight, as well as the longer legs to accommodate larger label rolls. Give me a shout if your interested.
  8. Has anyone recently come across any deals on used double barrel racks? I've dealt with Country Connection and Rack & Maintenance source over the years, but current pricing is $60-70 for used or refurbished racks. In the past i've picked them up for around $30 each. Anyone have a lead?
  9. Lenny

    Hello from Denver

    Feel free to send a resume over to info@deerhammer.com
  10. Lenny

    After 5 years and Broke

    Would never try to speak to the circumstance mentioned above, but with regards to what went wrong on the TTB side... I'm going to assume that you've never spoken to a distillery that's been audited by the TTB? If records are not impeccably kept to the exact level of compliance that is expected from the TTB, you could absolutely expect to get hit with $ owed. We attempt to mitigate the risk of effing up something significant by running software from Distillery Solutions.
  11. Lenny

    TTB reporting software

    Everyone on here will tell you they like what they use. I'm going to say the vast majority haven't extensively used anything else - us included. We use Stillhouse from Distillery solutions and thing it's awesome. Never used any of the others.
  12. Lenny

    Flavor difference? - Malted barley vs unmalted barley

    We messed around with unmalted barley early on, but can't really speak to anything notable in the flavor profile (too many other experiments in conjunction). I would definitely recommend looking into buying your malt in bulk (we use bsg) and then weighing out the value in using local grown/malted barley verses a .45/lb or more savings. We use locally grown corn, rye and wheat for our other whiskies, but for malt... BSG makes the most sense for our program.
  13. Lenny

    slot floor drains

    We run our 1.5" and 2" hoses directly into our trench drain (with the grate removed) when we're emptying liquid stillage or whatever else -- that slot drain would not allow for that. It looks cool though.
  14. Lenny

    Can we ship bottles to customers?

    I'm fairly certain that shipping direct to customers varies state to state, and the majority of states do not allow it. I know with certainty that it is NOT permissible in Colorado to ship bottles out of state. There are still a few Colorado distilleries that are doing it anyway.
  15. We use Pirmal's St.Louis Bottle (pictured below). It's tall and oval shaped and it SUCKS to apply labels to! We're currently in process of trying to adapt a zap labeler to work by adding additional guides to allow the rounded bottle to hopefully slide straight - not a lot of success with it thus far. We typically do not exceed 500/run and I don't foresee ever going beyond 1,000/run. There's gotta be something out there... I've scene folks make mention of race and primera on this forum, but neither seem all that appropriate for the bottle shape we're using. Is ANYONE having real success using any sort of label applicator machine with an oval shaped bottle?
  16. You know how folks like to suggest that a startup distillery look at whatever initial costs they've cobbled together and then double it? I say, do the same thing with your yields. Figure on using double the grain you think you need for the yield you're hoping for. We run our bourbon (corn, wheat, oats, barley) though a double distillation on true potstills. Our cuts are tight and we don't reach full attenuation, but we definitely get less than that 5.82 proof gallons/56lbs that you're looking at. My math sucks, but I'm thinking we're closer to 2.5pg/56lbs.
  17. Lenny

    Another option for separating grain/wort?

    I've got 0 answer for your question as asked - and I'm super interested in seeing what that giant fruit juicer does), but... Kinda along the lines of what isiebae stated... have you considered entering into production with a mash that can be lautered in the same manner that a beer mash is typically handled? If you stick to a high percentage of malted barley and either implement a false bottom or some other method of straining out your liquid, you should be good to go without spending big bucks. Plus, this country needs more American malt whiskey!
  18. Lenny

    Roller Mills Sasquatch, RMS, other?

    http://k-malt.com/ I've worked primarily with Bryan Herman over there. We used them to put together a complete malt handling system -- roller mill, aguers, silo, grist bin, load cells, etc. Our 2 roller mill that we use primarily for malted barley works great on most every other grain except whole corn - that was a nightmare I'm trying to forget. The best results we've had in working with corn is to start with cracked corn -- the 2 rollers at a fairly tight setting do a pretty nice job of milling the stuff into a very fine crush. However, I definitely didn't go with this mill/system for it's corn crushing abilities. It was more for working with malt and maintaining a closed milling system that would allow for a dust-free environment in the mill room
  19. Lenny

    Roller Mills Sasquatch, RMS, other?

    There's also Kunzel Mills which is distributed by K-Malt. I have one and have been running it for 2+ years. Great mill for everything except whole corn.
  20. Lenny

    What type of mill

    We use a corona mill (easily found for $30+ online) with a drill to run it. It's been working really well for almost 2 years of steady use. You can adjust the grind plate to accommodate the level of crush you want. Only downside is that you'll have to run it with some sort of covering (we just drape a trash bag) or it'll throw botanicals everywhere. Oh, also... we attached a larger hopper using a few sections of vent duct. http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Quality-Grinder-Wheat-Grains/dp/B000U5NZ4I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456324932&sr=8-1&keywords=corona+mill
  21. Lenny

    distilled versus produced and bottled

    I'm pretty sure follow you — There can be a "Colorado Straight Bourbon" (ex. peach street distillers) that is held by regulation to having to produce every drop of that bourbon in the state it claims and be at 2yrs matured at minimum. Or... there can be a "Colorado Bourbon" which is either legitimacy distilled in colorado but matured less than 2 years -or- it can be juice from anywhere else in the country so long as it conforms to the standards of identity for a bourbon. In my estimation, a huge issue with this aspect of spirit regulation by the TTB is that the onus falls on the consumer to understand either what "straight" means (my guess: 95% of buyers do not know what straight means), or to flip a bottle around and read the small print. Meanwhile, producers—who's product seems to account for the majority of "craft" spirit sales on the shelves—can delight in the intentional deception of customers by using their home state as a descriptor to position the product as locally produced ...and the TTB doesn't mind that in the slightest. That's fucked up.
  22. Lenny

    Pre-barreling dilution water

    I'm at 66ppm dissolved solids coming from our municipal water passed though a carbon filter. When first started out and used that water to proof down, we got a lot of "clouds" precipitating out and collecting towards the bottom of the bottle. When we switched to RO for proofing down, we still got a slight amount of clouding -- but when we used the same water passed though an ro filter and then ran the proofed down distillate though a 1 micron filter we're not seeing any precipitate. I've never tried using *just* carbon filtered municipal water with final product run though a 1 micron filter - too scared.
  23. Lenny

    Pre-barreling dilution water

    I'm on the exact same page. We're smack in the middle of colorado (8'000 feet) at the base of a whole mess of 14,000' peaks, and our water comes the snowmelt off of cottonwood pass (continental divide). It tastes like... nothing. Just like water is meant to. It's at a ph of 7 and full of minerals. We run it though a carbon for mashing and RO for proofing down. I'm not confident enough that variation could not happen and cause massive clouding or the odd flavors to develop. Curious though -- for as many distilleries out here or wherever that sing the songs of using water from springs/glaciers/martian ice/artisan wells/etc. (cough... breckenridge, spring44, tincup) I always wonder how many are really using it straight from the tap (no RO filtered) to proof down their spirits, and if I might be over estimating the importance of ro'ing our water.
  24. Lenny

    Pre-barreling dilution water

    ...and if you don't have clouding issues, is there a specific low micron level filter that you might be running though to prevent it?
  25. Mine have that back dent too. Pretty sure all St.Louis bottles do. Figured it was a component of the manufacturing process but it makes sense that it could be used in some way to center the bottles for labeling -- i'll look into that. The more I mess around with the zap labeler the closer I'm getting to a working solution. I'll post a video of how it works in it's current configuration. It can work, and it seems very similar to that race labeler that was linked to, but was hoping there might be a better solution out there.