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Everything posted by bluestar

  1. Distilling Cider With High acidity

    You can't "salt out" the acetic acid. You will form the acetate salt, but that is still volatile, so you still end up with the acetic acid in the vapor. What happens in the first distillation doesn't matter so much as the second distillation, since you can get rid of the copper acetate by a clean distillation (with no copper condenser). But so long as you have acetate or acetic acid in any quantity in the charge, and you have copper in the condenser, you are in danger of generating copper acetate. Supposedly, you can try to passivate the copper condenser so that it won't be attacked by the acetic acid, but if anything removes or undermines the passivation, you can generate the copper acetate. So, while the acidic charge is indication of acetate in the pot as acetic acid that will form copper acetate, neutralizing the acid might not get rid of the problem. You have to tie up the acetate. Or get rid of the copper.
  2. "Would you like fries with that?" Moments

    Probably good idea, but you do have to use caution if done in the context of a room that sells cocktails, depending on state laws. In our state, laws prohibit doing things that encourage increase of consumption of drinks by economic incentives. For years, we didn't have Happy Hours for that reason. But specifically, if you did something like say offer: "order 3 cocktails, and you get a $5 discount on a purchased bottle", that might be prohibited, because it encourages increased consumption in a sitting at the bar.
  3. Hopped Whiskey(?)

    Okay, now you muddied the waters. You can use various chemical, non-flavor, additives as part of production if they are recognized as being standard or typical, like adding certain yeast nutrients or maybe anti-microbials. If you want to be sure, you submit a formula for approval. You are supposed to put all of those in your formulas now (used to be you did not have to mention yeast or nutrients, but now they do require it, even water added). In that context, that might get approved for use, even in whiskey. But that the chemical is derived from hops is incidental, it is not hops. It is left to the TTB to make these judgement calls. What you can not do is assume: TTB should allow use of hops as a botanical in making whiskey because TTB allows a hop-derived, flavor-free chemical to be used in small quantities for an anti-microbial. Nice try, but no dice.
  4. Malted vs unmalted wheat for whiskey

    We just ran some 80% malted red wheat. Definitely a sweeter, fuller flavor than unmalted wheat. We'll see what kind of whiskey it is in a year or two.
  5. Black deposit on inside of copper still

    Water softeners substitute salt (NaCl) for other minerals. That could result, in part, in the formation of copper chloride dihydrate, among other things. To remove copper salts, etch with hot dilute citric acid (normally part of refreshing a still). We never use softened water, we use RO water. If you need to demineralize, then use RO. Usually there is no problem using hard water, unless it has iron in it.
  6. Distributors marketing contribution$$

    My previous distributor had a "program" to split the cost of tasting reps for events. My current distributor sometimes arranges events for all their brands, requests our participation, and charges a table fee (more or less, depending on if we supply personnel).
  7. Hopped Whiskey(?)

    There are plenty of products out there, particularly from 4 or more years ago, that got approved labels, but incorrectly. Over time, the TTB has been cleaning that up. Yah, there are a lot of COLA errors still floating around. Even when the TTB finds them, for small producers they usually don't require items to be pulled from shelves, or rebottled, or relabeled. Sometimes, they will even let them finish out the use of printed labels (a bad practice, IMO). But eventually, they have to fix it. How many whiskeys are out there that still have the "aged less than x years" statement (illegal)? Or no age statement, but clearly the whiskey is not 4 years old (illegal)?
  8. Hopped Whiskey(?)

    Sorry, any hops in there will not be recognized as a typical or traditional processing aid (for whiskey). Nominally, there is no de minimis. What is true, is they will ask for a formula (if anything suggests on the label that it has hops, before or after distillation), and then they will decide the category (special or flavored whiskey, depending). If you could get it down low enough for them to ignore it, it would likely have to have no flavor effect, in which case it is immaterial, you couldn't say it is in there, and it would be much less than found in any hopped beer. Of course, if your label doesn't allude to the presence of hops at all, then they will never know its there, and will approve the label. There are plenty of whiskeys out there that are not technically whiskey because the label is legal, but it does not describe what is in the bottle (distilled over 160 or chaptalized mash, etc.) and no formula was submitted.
  9. Apple Brandy Cuts

    When we covered this through a thread back in 2008, we ended up in a strange place, where we thought it might be possible to chaptalize in the distillery, but not in a bonded winery transferring to a distillery. That was because of the specific call out in the wine regs that said you can transfer wine to a distillery, provided you don't add sugar. But it does not say that in the distilling section when calling out use of standard wine. Moonshiners chaptalizing corn would not be relevant in any case, it is not standard wine. In the end for us, for apple, we decided to avoid apple wine (almost all are chaptalized), and use unchaptalized cider instead.
  10. Apple Brandy Cuts

    I presume you pointing out you have different rules in Canada than the TTB in USA?
  11. Visiting Distiller - Peru South America

    I haven't been to the Peruvian Andes since I was a young man, in the early 80's. Would love to spend a month, but couldn't afford more time than that.
  12. Distilling Cider With High acidity

    DON'T USE A COPPER CONDENSER WITH FRUIT SPIRITS that can produce acid vapors. You likely have a fair amount of acetic acid (maybe malic acid) in the distillate, and it is creating copper acetate (maybe copper malate) which gives the bluish hue. It is toxic.
  13. Apple Brandy Cuts

    If you make it from a mash, then it probably does have to be solely from fruit. If you make a wine, it can be chaptalized, and then you can distill from that. But maybe not directly from the fermented mash. At least, that is my reading of the CFR. Perhaps someone that has discussed that particular scenario with the TTB could comment. I have not.
  14. Spent Grains after on-grain distillation

    We use a much larger stainless version of a counterflow heat exchanger (2"), with a 60 gal/minute centrifugal pump. We use this to both heat and cool a 150 gallon mash. Works okay, should work better with wash than mash, and rye mash is most challenging. The longer the heat exchanger, the more efficiently it runs. Probably still slower than jacket-cooling the mash tun.
  15. Mashing Off Site

    If you mean they will make you the beer, you can do that. You will have to do a transfer of the alcohol as beer from the brewery to the distillery, with appropriate paperwork for both the TTB and the state. I have no idea what ND requires, you will have to discuss that with them. TTB has you enter it as "beer (from malt)" or whatever grains, on the second page of 5110.40, in gallons. This is different than how wines are handled, and reflects difference in bonding requirements. If you are just having them mash for you, and then moving to your location to ferment, keep in mind the easy possibility of spoilage. I would minimize that by transporting the fermentation vessel to the brewery, having them fill it there, and transporting back sealed as well as you can. Then pitch yeast. Again, it would be recorded in 5110.40, not sure if in gallons or by weight, to be sure you could include both pieces of information (gallons mash, weight of constituent grains). I have done the former regularly, no experience with the latter.
  16. Depends on what you want to convey. If you want to appeal to the majority of craft distillers that are really trying to make a go of it as a business, it is a bad choice. Most don't think of themselves as 'shiners. If you are trying to appeal to both the turbo-yeast driven hobbyists and the producers of near-neutral spirits in the garage, it is the perfect title.
  17. Apple Brandy Cuts

    Hmmm, maybe. If it is truly cider, and can not be characterized as apple wine, you are correct, because it must be from a solely fruit must (like cider). But it can be made from any "fruit wine" as well, and the CFR allows chapitalization of wines.
  18. Best place to get an agitator???

    Braun is the creme de la creme, semi-custom built. The owner is the design engineer, he can customize for your needs, but they assembled from standardized components kept in stock in the factory. I have visited them in Holland, MI, and he is dedicated to his company and product. I think he is now the standard supplier of the agitator used by Vendome, after convincing them it wasn't worth making their own. I can attest as well, that many people end up burning through another brand, and replacing with Braun.
  19. We have used various Ace (Den Hartog) Roto-mold inductor tanks for many purposes, including fermentation, water storage, low-wines storage, etc. We have use both 60 gallon and 200 gallon inductors. Unfortunately, we have discovered a potential problem when using a particular style of the 60 gallon inductor tanks, due to their design and style of construction. These are the cone tanks that come in a set with matching plastic legs (IBFD60-SET), with similar sets of tank and legs sold in others sizes (15, 30, 85 gallon), but we have only worked with the 60 gallon. While the tanks performed very well for a couple years for fermentation (we keep temperature always below 90 deg F, not pressurized), eventually we noticed mild infection problems recurring after some time. Cleaning and sanitizing did not solve the problem. Close inspection after cleaning revealed that there is a seam that would open up inside near the point where the tank attaches to the legs. There was no observable external leak because the seam opens into a void in the part of the tank that provides an anchor for attaching to the legs. As a result, mash could leak into the void, and because of the narrow split of the seam, would become trapped in there. This would result in a source of infection in subsequent fermentations. We have found that this problem would eventually occur in the seams for every other leg over time. We have also found that this problem would eventually occur with all similar tanks (6 so far). Den Hartog will not treat this as a warranty issue after 2 years. Unfortunately, you can not replace just the tank, you have to replace all 4 legs and cover as well. You can of course still use the tanks for things like non-potable water or waste storage, if it does not have to be sanitary. We tried to seal the leaks, but without success, since it is hard to get a sealant to attach well to the polyethylene. We are curious if others have observed the same problem with this product. If so, we suggest you also inform Den Hartog, who claimed it was the first they have heard of this problem, but clearly it is a flaw in design or manufacture, since it occurs so regularly. And if you have found a good means to repair the seam leaks, please post here. Note we also use their 200 gallon cone inductor tank that sits on a metal support stand. These have no seams, and we have had no problems with them for years of service. If we need to use smaller tanks, we are now considering using the type similar to the 200 gallon that use a metal support stand and have no seams and would sit on a support stand. As a result, until someone can provide a good repair solution for this problem, we would suggest either 1) not using these for fermentation or other sanitary operation or 2) institute a regular inspection regime to remove these from service upon failure and anticipate a limited service life. It is a shame, because until they fail this way, they provide much utility at the best price we have found for this type of polyethylene tank. We hope our sharing our experience will be of use to others. If you have other or differing experience with these or similar tanks, consider posting it here.
  20. Anton Paar Products

    LOL. Yah. That is one of my biggest bugaboos about the design/construction: any drop or shock to the quartz tube will break it. The tube can not be replaced, so the whole instrument is toast. And they could do a repair, just swap out the tube and recalibrate, which in theory could be done, but they won't. The best they will do is give you a credit toward a new purchase.
  21. WARNING: Oak Wood Barrel Co.

    LOL. Those barrels are CGI!
  22. Wages for production assistant?

    We are both in the midwest, so not surprising it is similar. Could imagine you might have to pay more near major urban areas on the coasts.
  23. Wages for production assistant?

    After internship, $10/hr, bump to $12/hr in 6mo, then to $15/hr in 1 yr.
  24. Anton Paar Products

    Nice, and cheaper, than the old DMA-35, but no better at meeting the requirements for the TTB.
  25. Vermouth

    This more recent thread has some relevant material: http://adiforums.com/topic/8719-using-wine-as-a-component-of-a-distilled-spirit-specialty/