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    Sarasota, Florida

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  1. The guy who used to run Florida Caribbean distillery (large producer - used to make Cruzan, etc) told me that they ran experiments on this. They found an acceptable angel's share until they tried to stack four levels high. At that level of stacking they believed that the weight of the barrels put stress on the staves of the lower barrels and caused more evaporation than they were willing to accept.
  2. Barrel Mill barrel quality

    I haven't bought from them for several years since we primarily use used whiskey barrels for our rum now. The barrels that I purchased from them several years ago were very high quality though. Good people also.
  3. Cleaning Bubble Plates - no CIP

    Are they copper? If so, you are going to want to clean them even if it's the same spirit being run through. Rejuvenated copper makes for a better spirit. We have CIP on all of our stills. We use a commercial cleaner (PBW) and a citric acid wash. With a rinse in-between of course. You could do something similar by hand. You don't need to do it after every run, but you don't want too much buildup or the copper will lose effectiveness.
  4. Determining mg of solids

    Here is a TTB video that shows how to figure the weight of solids in 100ml. https://www.ttb.gov/media/2014-09-19-proofing-sec4-mds_CCSub.mp4
  5. Carbon Filtering Redux...

    We don't have any problems with air pockets. If it's flowing in from the bottom at a slow pace through granulated carbon that's not going to be a problem. You can time how long it takes to get flow out the top once you open the valve on the bottom. The flow rate may change over the run as the upper tank empties. We have learned to look at the flow coming into the bottom tank and can adjust accurately enough just by looking at it. You can catch outflow in a container if you want to be more accurate. See how long it takes to catch a liter and adjust accordingly.
  6. Carbon Filtering Redux...

    We use a very similar setup. In our case it is gravity fed. The source tank is elevated above the filter and collection tank. Our bed might be slightly taller, but that shouldn't be a concern. Contact time is going to determine the result with a given carbon. The volume of the bed will limit the amount of product that you can filter effectively though. Use a granular carbon and run it slowly. You will need to experiment to figure out how much contact time gets you the results you want. Try starting at 10 to 15 minutes and adjust from there. We have the housing attached to a pivot bolt so we can turn it upside down to empty it easily.
  7. My experience with Corson Distilling

    We bought a still from Corson as well. We also posted a bit about our experience on adiforums. It was removed at the request of Corson. I am not going to do a full review today, but just wanted to add one picture to give you a taste of the experience. The attached picture is how we have to clamp down the manhole covers on the thumpers to avoid leaking vapors. The manhole covers have been just one of the areas on this still that needed work. I will share with you some detail on the issues we had in this one area. The gaskets that they arrived with were not a solid vulcanized piece. They were cut and left with at least a 1/4" gap where you would expect the ends to meet. The ends were cut quite rough. They leaked vapors into the air at rapid pace. We replaced them with the proper gaskets but that didn't fix the leaking vapor problem completely. We still need to grind down the stainless manhole top edges to fix bumps caused by the welds that do not allow a seal to easily happen. We will probably also need to remove the bottom parts of the still's clamping apparatus and weld them into the proper place because they are not aligned. We added hardened washers to stop the grind of metal on metal when tightening down the manholes. We will be replacing the screws with more appropriate threads for this type of application. We will also be adding better handles that make it easier to clamp the manholes down. We had to drill new holes in the arms that hold the covers as the covers would not close properly as attached because the original holes were not drilled in the correct spot. They had told me that they would do a test run of the still before shipping. Clearly that did not happen. We did not ask Corson to fix these parts under warranty so I cannot say what their response would have been. We did send them a partial list of problems that we ran into but did not get a reply. We were quite frustrated with all of the things that needed to be fixed on a brand new still. We chose the quick way to get the still up and running by utilizing a local fabrication shop to fix the multitude of problems. The still had arrived so far beyond it's deadline that we didn't want to wait for warranty repairs. They were good about sending out needed parts that we requested, but I had no confidence in their desire or capability to fix the other problems that we ran into. If they knew how to do it right you would expect it to come out of the shop that way. Our still was already overdue by a few months in April of 2016 when the project manager wrote in email that he expected it to be done in 2 - 3 weeks. In June we were told via email that it was 5 to 10 days until completion. In July we were told it would ship before the end of the month. We didn't receive it until the end of December, 2016. We were jokingly thinking of naming the still "7 to 10" because we were told on several occasions that is how many days until it would be done. I could go on in more detail about other issues with the still, customer service, and delivering the still anywhere near the contractual date but I will leave that for another time. It is all very well documented.
  8. Stillhouse Vs. Whiskey Systems

    We use Whiskey Systems and couldn't be happier with the product and the service.
  9. Dunder vs Backset vs Stillage

    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. The Jamaican rum distilleries will tell you that dunder is stillage. When left to biological activity it is referred to as a muck pit. There is a lot of disagreement and confusion on the meaning of the different terms so there may not be a consensus. I am going to go with the definitions of the Jamaicans since they are the ones using the muck pits that many mistakenly (in my belief) call dunder.
  10. Activated Charcoal Filters

    Trident built us a carbon filter housing. Works great. We built a bracket to hold it that is attached to a rod going through a 6 x 6. That way we can turn it upside down to empty it. If you build it yourself make sure that the rum enters from the bottom and exits from the top. We have the ability to run r/o water through to rinse the carbon as well. Use granulated carbon. Powdered is a PIA.
  11. Dunder vs Backset vs Stillage

    We put the dunder into the mash tank with the molasses while it is hot from the still. No bacteria is living in it at that point. When distilleries use a muck pit they want the bacteria to be alive as it goes into the fermentors.
  12. Whiskey Systems. To Much Money???? thoughts??

    I'm not going to address if the cost makes sense for small startups. In the beginning most of us need to save dollars wherever we can. For those that are beyond that point and are actively considering packaged solutions I want to put in a good word for Whiskey Systems. The software itself has saved us a ton of time vs all of the spreadsheets we had used previously. Not only is it easier for multiple users to enter info, but we have far better records if we ever run into a TTB audit. The service has been nothing short of incredible. The developers have been extremely available and helpful. They went way beyond the normal help in setting up a software system and practically became TTB reporting consultants. The pricing and contract are both very reasonable. One of their competitors gave us a contract that calculated volumes in ways that seemed designed to extract every penny possible in the way they calculated sales volumes (and therefore your monthly charge). The competitor also had a disparagement clause in the contract. That means that if you are not happy with their software you are not allowed to tell anyone or they can sue you. That clause alone was a huge red flag and a deal killer for me. The whiskey systems guys strike me as wanting to provide a great product at a reasonable price. They are a software driven company, not a sales driven company. The particular competitor that we looked at seemed designed to extract every penny that they could and struck me as a sales organization that just happened to be providing a software product for distilleries.
  13. Reed Wax

    We use Reed Wax for a special run of about 1100 bottles once a year. We put it on thick and double dip the bottles. We also put it most of the way down the neck. All that means we use a lot of wax per bottle. I roughly estimate that we use a pound of wax for every 12 to 18 bottles. Picture of our bottles attached to give you an idea how much wax we use.
  14. Dunder vs Backset vs Stillage

    In my understanding the term dunder refers to rum stillage. I think that it generally means what is left after a stripping run not a spirits run. The pits used to create high ester Jamaican style rums are generally referred to as muck pits. They contain dunder as well as many other things. A great article on the subject is http://cocktailwonk.com/2016/03/days-of-dunder-setting-the-record-straight-on-jamaican-rums-mystery-ingredient.html
  15. lacquer your still

    Is this the stuff you are referring to: http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse.asp?ictNbr=452 Or is there a special high temp version?