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Everything posted by bluestar

  1. Moonshine (corn whiskey)

    We noticed that our sweet mash unaged corn whiskey (Water Tower White Lightning™) sold in the southern part of Illinois, but got little traction in northern Illinois. So, there definitely seems to be a north-south divide culturally. But I do consider our product, a true corn whiskey, different from some moonshines, like my great grandpa made, because they were distilled to higher proof, above 160, too high to be considered whiskey. And others, like Popcorn Sutton, might add sugar to the corn, again no longer considered a whiskey.
  2. Off hearts to trails ratio

    More plates, especially if you are going to complete the run without the dephlegmator. You are getting separation for the heads cut, but you are smearing your hearts into your tails.
  3. Point of Sale System

    Shopkeep has worked well for us, with a couple glitches. We use it for both cocktail bar service and retail package sales. It allows each product to have different taxes and allowed discounts. What it does not do is allow a volume or flat per piece excise tax to be included in addition to a percentage tax, which is inconvenient for us, because our county charges one that needs to be called out separately. Most don't have this problem. It is most affordable if you use their offered credit card processing, which we found competitive with what we were using at the start with them (National) and others we priced. You must use an iPad. You can use more than one, but each has a monthly charge, which is a pain when you may wish to use another unit just for the occasional event or during busy days. So, we use a Square in parallel for off-site events. I think Shopkeep leaves money on the table not offering a way to have a unit running that is not a full regular use register. It was as little as $50/mo, but now it is $70/mo.
  4. Nordic Distillery Texas

    Good luck. I know a few of the craft distillers in Texas, there may be more there than you realize. Also, I have some knowledge of both Nordic versus American spirits, having lived in Sweden for four years, and currently make a Scandinavian style akavit. So, while I do share your passion for wanting to bring some of those style spirits to the American market, I will suggest to you that they are niche products, not likely to get broad interest. Be happy to converse more by email.
  5. Shipping

    YMMV. I burned through 3 account reps and 4-5 months to get it done the FIRST time. Then it "disappeared" due to a period of inactivity, and I had to get it reinstated (which I was able to do in a few weeks).
  6. Shipping

    You have to work with your assigned commercial FedEx agent for your account, and have them apply for alcohol shipping capability. They will need to have you set up for pick up at the distillery, and you will need to provide copies of your DSP, etc., to verify you are licensed for alcohol production. It took me a couple months, I had to keep querying status.
  7. Plastic vs Stainless tanks

    I may have to partially retract, I think Brian is correct, at that concentration it is Ic classification, and under regular flammable hazard, the plastic container would not be allowed under NFPA 30. But I had been looking at a document that had a 60 gallon exception for beverage alcohol, but that may have been under a completely different code, and may be out of date.
  8. Plastic vs Stainless tanks

    Well, I am reviewing what I said again, because that source is in conflict with another source. There are some versions of the codes (which may be out of date) that had exceptions for beverage alcohol. So I would have your customers review with local code authorities, since it is the prevailing code (and version) at their location that is valid.
  9. Plastic vs Stainless tanks

    Thanks. So it is good to keep in mind that the concentration of ethanol changes the flammable classification. Based on the NFPA chart you show, if you have low-wines or spirit with less than 43% alc by weight (about 54% alc by volume), the classification is II, and rigid plastic IBC totes are allowed to 793 gallons, PE containers to 119 gallons. There are other provisions somewhere that might limit a plastic container to 60 gallons (I am searching my references for that). Your reference is focussing on shipping and storing GNS, as it should, since much of the thread here is discussing GNS. But I thought to mention this because a few referred to high-proof spirits, without a specific proof as a cutoff. FOLLOW UP: Reviewing my sources, I see a confusion between classification at that concentration for flash point, versus classification for storage requirement under a beverage alcohol exception.
  10. Activated carbon filtering Vodka for Gin production

    filter at 50% (be sure everything is very well grounded). dilute wines to 30-40% for redistillation.
  11. Bain Marie Heat transfer oil

    I think we are violently agreeing ;-) We use water for the same reason.
  12. Plastic vs Stainless tanks

    which regs, can you find the passage to cite it?
  13. using Honey - avoiding sediment

    What concentration of honey are you using? It is the rate you can go through the filter that is affected by both the concentration and the filter size.
  14. White Whiskey

    Oak container. Can just touch, but must go in, then out. If used, the question remains if it can be "troughed", but it is all about how you could later prove the time in container to the TTB, which will be reported on the label as the age statement. The "white whiskies" out there with no age statement, other than corn, are simply BREAKING THE LAW. Heck, there are many distillers (some in my state) that have no age statement on whiskies, which means they MUST be 4 years old or older, that are known to blend in younger barrels, and so are breaking the law. How do the get away with it? They haven't been audited yet. The COLA won't catch this, because a COLA without age statement is legal (just means the whiskey is older the 4 years), so the "approved" label can be put on a bottle, but with the wrong contents. Until TTB audit shows they are not putting the correct product with the correct label, they get away with it.
  15. On The Grain *Newbie*

    Try making some malt whiskey, which is normally done off-grain (from a wash). You can also try making a wash from malt rye, but as pointed out by someone else, you will get more suspended solids. In either case, key might be allow trub or lees with solids including yeast to settle out, and remove, before transferring to the pot for distillation. Otherwise, I recommend working out with Southernhighlander to see if he can provide an affordable jacketed pot that could be swapped for what you have now.
  16. On The Grain *Newbie*

    Sorry, I think I would disagree. I think the grain contribution can be as much or even more than the yeast contribution to the flavor. A good example of this to the negative side is doing barley on grain, where the presence of the hull causes a major flavor difference often found undesirable (and another reason to do malt whiskey from a wash). Although I would note we see more grain-vs-yeast contribution for a pot whiskey (no plates or thumper), and less grain-vs-yeast if using plates. YMMV
  17. Bain Marie Heat transfer oil

    Yes, you can run the way you describe, but it is not the best way to do control. By setting the temperature to 220F, since boiling is 212F, and depending where your sensor is, you are keeping the unit on to superheat around the elements, to ensure you are driving steam. We did that originally, too. But that can be sensitive to the bain marie water levels, contents of the pot, agitation, etc. What you really want to control is power, since that will directly translate into steam production. So we use temperature control for when we are running below boiling, but often use power control when we are running during active part of distillation using steam heat. Whether you run controlling temperature or power, we find both have to be adjusted while you run the distillation, to reflect the need to get the contents of the pot at the same boiling rate as the residual alcohol content drops. The advantage of oil is the precision of temperature control as a means to control heating rate. The disadvantage will be the slower response (increased thermal lag) when making changes in power. It can also increase scorching (since steam heat can't get much above 212F). On the other hand, if you can determine a set of repeatable parameters and rates for a distillation, then you can program the oil bath to optimally run that distillation, and large temperature corrections should not be required, mitigating some of the problems due to thermal lag.
  18. Bain Marie Heat transfer oil

    We use a water bain marie, and agree, that what you are really doing, if you want to operate at higher temperature, is not running it as a bain marie at all, but heating the sidewalls with steam, and that is far more efficient for heat transfer than near-boiling water. So, ironically, you can get better heating at a lower water level. BUT, unlike a steam jacket where you control heating by adjust amount of steam flow, it is harder to control the bain marie because you are adjusting heating elements, these are what adjusts boiling rate, and this indirect control has more thermal lag.
  19. libdib anyone?

    Where need for the states, LibDib can guide you for that.
  20. Vendome Mash Cooker - 150 Gallon

    How much steam is required to cook corn (~200)?
  21. If you read carefully, you would see the answers above, No and 150g.
  22. Grain-in pump

    give it a quick stir beforehand, don't need a full agitation.
  23. 5 Gallon Barrels

    Clarification: are these known to meet TTB requirements for new barrels, if they are made from recycled staves? Toast? Char?
  24. libdib anyone?

    We have used them. It "works", but keep in mind you must do all marketing, and if you are direct shipping smaller quantities, the shipping cost with FedEx can be very expensive, especially since they now require a per/package signature fee for alcohol. At this stage, we see it more as a way to get a very limited exposure in the NY and CA markets, before fully committing to a larger distributor if we grow there.
  25. spirit scales

    19.183 (Scale tanks) (b) The requirement to mount tanks on scales does not apply to tanks having a capacity of 55 gallons or less. Such tanks may be moved onto an accurately calibrated scale when a tax determination gauge needs to be made.