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Everything posted by bluefish_dist

  1. bluefish_dist


    Lallemand makes a TQ yeast which works as well. I have not tried it, but there is a guy on home distillery who is doing dunder and adding it back to make a more robust flavor.
  2. bluefish_dist

    How to determine outputs/ still size

    How much you can sell and how much you can make are two very different questions. Can't help on the how much can you sell. To answer the how much to make I will post what I think are some good estimates. Not perfect, but they will help you plan. Note I have posted this before. Start with how much you need to make (gross). Figure you can get $100/gallon for bottled product ($20/bottle) Maybe more, maybe less, but this is a rough estimate. So divide gross sales by 100, that is how many gallons you have to make. So roughly every $100k is 1000 gallons. Divide by 50 to get per week. That's 20 gallons or 100 bottles per week to sell $100k. Distillation is about a 10:1 reduction, so 20 gallons bottled is about 200 gallons of wash/wort into the still. To determine still size, decide how often to run the still. Once per week is a 200 gallon still, twice per week is 100. For fermenter, figure a two week turn. Some are faster, some slower, so that doubles the still volume. In rough numbers 400 gallons of fermentation, 200 gallon still run weekly gets you $100k/year gross. I think this shows why you need a pretty big setup to make any money. also look at your fire code. If you don't have sprinklers you can only have 120 gallons in a control area. That isn't much barrel storage. It goes to 240 gallons with sprinklers.
  3. bluefish_dist

    Question About Spirit Definition Legalities

    Yes, once you have your dsp you can start submitting formulas for approval. Then once you have a formula approval you apply for the cola (label) approval. All done online.
  4. bluefish_dist

    Packing and Plates

    I ran a 4" packed over plates for quite a while. From my testing packing is more efficient than plates. I simply ran one plate to see what was going on in the column. If space limited, fewer plates and more packed for the same height will give more equivalent plates.
  5. bluefish_dist

    Question About Spirit Definition Legalities

    Distilled spirits specialty are usually labeled with a fanciful name and a statement spirits distilled from X on the front label. Not a big deal, but you do have to get formula approval first. Last time I did one, formula approval was less than 2 weeks, but it has taken up to 2 months to get one approved.
  6. bluefish_dist

    Hallelujah! We got our TTB Permit

    I have had good luck with all American glass for glass and Paulson supply for t tops. OI also has good customer service even though we no longer use them.
  7. bluefish_dist

    Food in tasting room

    Same here, single serve prepackaged snacks are not food, but once you sever ice or prepared food then you need a restaurant license. We have not gone that route yet. Most simply get a food truck to provide the food.
  8. bluefish_dist


    I use calcium carbonate for ph adjusting. 1/2 lb at a time on a 110 gal ferment. Raises it about .2 ph and that lasts for a day or so. I aim to hold ph from 3.8-4.0. that is the bottom end for the yeast, but it finished well. I also heat to 90 deg. After the second yeast addition I drop about .05 per day on the sg. I have never used baking soda except in vodka low wines, but I would be concerned in adding too much sodium. Cc is available in 50lb sacks for cheap. I would rather finish better and use all the sugar. Especially on one that costs so much.
  9. bluefish_dist


    I just finished a run which started at 1.056 and finished at .997. Took about 2 weeks to fully ferment and clear. I did a second yeast addition at 48 hrs. Turned out well and now I am running another batch starting at 1.065 to see how it compares. From talking with a master tequila distiller he recommended a 6-8% potential abv.
  10. bluefish_dist


    you need to determine the % solids and finished proof to determine the correct method to get the true proof. I don't remember the exact numbers now, but if the proof is 80 or above you can determine the solids and adjust proof using an oven. If the proof is lower than 80 you have to redistill in a lab still to get the true proof. The ttb has a video on how to do this.
  11. bluefish_dist

    Stupid label question

    I call them strip labels. Almost any label supplier can provide them. We use them but if production gets higher I will look at using printed capsules to speed up packaging.
  12. bluefish_dist

    Hillbilly Still 5500 Controller + Element

    My setup uses multiple elements and only one has a controller. The others are on/off only. I can run from 0-100% by a combination of elements and the one controlled element. For my 35 gallon still, I use two 5500 on 208 for 8000w total and I can warm up in an hour, then throttle back to get the right vapor speed for my 4" column.
  13. bluefish_dist

    Hillbilly Still 5500 Controller + Element

    Is it a 5500w element for 240 running on 208? If so, you will only get about 4000w on the 208 and 19 ish amps is correct. I have a be the same issue. 5500w elements run at about 19a. The easy fix is add more elements.
  14. bluefish_dist

    Cane Sugar Fermentation

    Really depends on the yeast. I run a couple different ones and pitch slightly above what is recommended. Ie if it's a 2-4lb/1000gal I pitch at say 5lb/1000 gal. You will have to experiment to find what works for your yeast. Just don't be afraid to bump it up a little.
  15. bluefish_dist


    Thanks for sharing. Can I ask when and how much yeast you pitched on the second addition? Generalities of amount are ok, i.e. Same as first pitch or half first pitch. I try to hold ph between 3.8 and 4. I also get slow fermentation times 3-4 weeks. Next batch will be addition of a second yeast to see if I can get another .01 of attenuation.
  16. bluefish_dist

    Spirits Competitions

    Really depends if you want real feedback or a medal. Adi seems to the former. Others the latter. We entered one and did well, but then I looked at who got double gold and lost all respect for the judging. When the double gold goes to a product that one of my blind taste testers identified due to how bad it was, I really question who is judging and if I want to make a product they approve.
  17. bluefish_dist

    Cane Sugar Fermentation

    I don't do washes that are exclusively sugar, but do sugar based washes. Sugar washes do need something for buffering. Calcium carbonate works. You are correct that rum gets some of its buffering from the molasses. I find with my water if I add citric and cc at equal parts by volume it will get my ph close for pitching. This allows you to add a lot of cc for buffering if needed. Ph will drop and even crash if you are not careful. I pitch at 5.2-5.4 and try and hold it to low 4's when fermenting. I also now pitch at higher rates than recommended along with slightly higher nutrient additions. I am above the top recommended rates for both yeast and nutrients. I took a couple ferments from 1.01 to .997 by simply adding a little more yeast. Other ferments needed both more yeast and nutrients. Really depends on water and mash bill. My vodka has some grain in it and it uses 1/2-1/3 of what I add to the higher content sugar washes. It also finishes in 3 days Mixing/degassing has been reported to help, but it sounds like you are already doing that. Personally I have found the right mixes to get full attenuation, but it was a combination of correct ph, for both pitch and fermentation, the right amount of yeast and nutrients.
  18. bluefish_dist

    TTB Certified hydrometer

    From Cole pharmer, the basic hydrometer runs $35-$40. The real cost is calibration.
  19. bluefish_dist

    TTB Certified hydrometer

    If by certified, you mean calibrated, yes.
  20. bluefish_dist

    Loss in low-wines run

    Also carbon should be wet with water prior to introduction of the alcohol, so leave some room for proof changes. I use a simple gravity filter. About 3 ft of 2" pipe filled with 8-32 carbon. Then let gravity flow through. For larger quantities a pump system is needed.
  21. bluefish_dist

    Loss in low-wines run

    My proof is still over 190 when I hit tails for vodka. The way I run the still, the still head temp only changes .1 to .2 deg at tails. A small jump in proof. It's more about smell and taste than proof.
  22. bluefish_dist

    Dephlegmator and Condenser Equilibrium

    You should see the boiler temp change as the alcohol is depleted. That will be a good sign that you are getting to the end of the run. I will start about 185 and end up at 200. I am close in altitude so you should get similar numbers.
  23. bluefish_dist

    Stripping Run

    I reduce heat as it starts to boil to get a hot break. Then bring back the heat after the hot break. If you don't have any issues with foaming or puking, I would not worry about it.
  24. bluefish_dist

    Micro Distillery Calculator

    For planning I would use a 10:1 reduction. So if you start with 100 gallons in a fermenter, you will have about 10 gallons or 50 bottles finished product for whites/vodka. Barrel aged whiskey will be less, maybe 15:1. Pretty easy to work your way back from there. Just take your bottles per week, divide by 5 for gallons, then decide how many still runs you want to do. Divide your gallons by still runs, then multiply by 10 or 15 to get your still size. Figure 2 week turn on a fermenter. So take still runs per week X still size X 2 and that gives you the fermenter capacity needed. Then match the mash tun to the fermenter size. Might not be perfect, but it will get you close. The hard part is getting sales volume. Equipment is all about capital expenditure and easy to calculate.
  25. bluefish_dist

    Dephlegmator and Condenser Equilibrium

    the poster is about 5800 ft, so that will drop the boiling points. I am at 6k and 185 is not uncommon for a starting boiler temp for a 10% wash. Same with head temps, 140 proof is about 182 deg.