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bluestar

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bluestar last won the day on March 6

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About bluestar

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  • Birthday 09/11/1956

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    http://quincystreetdistillery.com

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    Chicagoland & Southwest Michigan

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  1. So where are you in West Michigan? I happen to be visiting that part of the state today.
  2. I would recommend leaving it saturated with vodka at proof you were filtering.
  3. We will have to agree to disagree on some things, and can agree on others. The last sentence above I certainly agree with the first clause, but maybe not the the second. And the first sentence I am not sure I agree with. I think there are plenty of successful small producers of spirits out there with low quality product, but marketed well and the right price point, can still be successful, if we define success as making a profit. You don't even have to be a distiller at all, just repackage product appropriately. And there are people that go to the grave having conducted business dishonestly, but successfully. Too many sadly.
  4. It is not unusual to lose a very small amount of ethanol in any processing step, but that is about 10x greater drop in proof than would normally be acceptable. That said, your charcoal filter will have to saturate with ethanol until it stabilizes, and what ABV that it will stabilize at is specific to your charcoal. Once it is stabilized, you should not see much drop in ABV. General rule though is NOT to do the final adjustment of proof before filtration, but afterwards, with filtered water. So, once stabilized, try filtering at 45% or 50% ABV, then proofing down just before bottling. If you are wondering why your charcoal might pull out so much ethanol, it depends on how hydrophobic/hydrophilic the charcoal is. More hydrophobic charcoal will tie up more ethanol as it stabilizes. Some charcoals are processed, for example with acids, to make them less hydrophobic.
  5. The distributors are probably right. They saw the same thing first time around with craft breweries, and craft distilleries look more like craft breweries the first time around, not like the renaissance of craft breweries today, which have a much higher success rate. But the example you raise of Death's Door is interesting, too, because it shows that a poorly run business can fail even with a great brand and decent product. What we need to be doing now as the first few craft distillers fail and new ones evermore start up, is getting info out on those failures so that we can do lessons learned. I am less concerned about how many new craft distillers are not good distillers than how many are not good business people.
  6. Release valve/plugs. Keep it stored cool.
  7. Molasses can become active during storage, so this is something you have to plan for.
  8. Anyway, to answer your original question, if you want lots of aromatics and flavors in your molasses rum, we really liked RM. SR is intended for clean whites.
  9. That sounds like very valuable information, but it is unfortunate we can't connect it to a catalog product for them. I am surprised your invoice didn't list one of their standard product names. Anyway, I will be doing a very small test with #100, and can let people know the result. I agree, I would be hesitant to try a full tote of molasses without prior indication of how well it might ferment.
  10. Huh, I don't know what that is, and when I queried them, neither did they. I could see having difficulties using #150, and I could also see someone calling that "distillers grade" if by that they meant something that wasn't good enough for food consumption or baking. #150 is cheap (less than $0.40/lb), but more expensive per lb of usable sugars, IMO. I was going to use their #100, or maybe #10.
  11. Which SS molasses did you use for that, #10, #100, or #150?
  12. Yup, sounds like secondary souring of the sweet mash after fermentation. Some consider this a "flaw" that sour mashing prevents. If done right, it can be very nice.
  13. You can be measured by the TTB to be in the range of stated proof from +0.00% to -0.15% abv, but they will make that measurement with 0.01% accuracy, so you better know you are in that range with 0.01% accuracy, which is tough to do with gauging that is only 0.2% accurate, for example. Keep in mind, they INTEND for you to measure to be at proof or just under on the order of 0.05% or better before bottling, with the expectation that bottling will drop the proof slightly by differential evaporation of ethanol during the transfer. This is the real reason why you can be as low at 0.15% abv. It is NOT meant to say you don't have to measure any more accurately than that!
  14. While it shows a full extra decimal (0.01 %abv), it is not 10x more accurate than the Snap 40. It is only about twice the accuracy at 0.1 %abv. The main advantage of showing you the higher precision digit is so you can see the level of instability or reproducibility. So, they could not get it approved even if they wanted to. One should not confuse resolution with accuracy. Anton Paar does a good job of describing their instruments specifications with regards to this.
  15. The Snap type hydrometers can not read anywhere near the accuracy that is required by the TTB. You can do this with the approved certified calibrated hydrometers, but it is a very slow tedious process. Also the hydrometers require very high accuracy thermometers, which are often far more expensive than the hydrometers. While it is true that most won't learn the process well enough, or take the time to execute it well enough, to do even as well as a Snap 40, that does not mean you will be getting a good enough reading to pass a TTB audit using even a Snap 50. That being said, many small distillers of have a set of approved hydrometers to point at, but do the measurements with something like a Snap 50, and are essentially rolling the dice, hoping they never get audited. If you end up using one of the approved electronic densitometers, you will eventually appreciate what they can do, and why something like a Snap 50 is not up to the job. The handhelds can not control, measure, or stabilize the temperature well enough. To calibrate them, you can't easily dry out the U-tube enough for dry air measurement. And while the readouts might be to 0.01 proof, they are only accurate to 0.2 proof. Most recently, we got ahold of a lightly used Mettler Toledo DM45, which is approved. It is a slightly older model (Mettler just replaced it this past year, but the new model is not yet approved). Sure, it takes a bit longer to do the measurement than with a handheld, but you can get accuracy to meet TTB requirements, which is not possible with the handhelds. Even an inexperienced operator should be able to get 0.05 proof accuracy with it.
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