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Everything posted by bluestar

  1. bluestar

    from Copper to Cooper to Copper still

    If you are in Illinois, I suggest you join the Illinois Craft Distillers Association. You might want to do that even as a regional cooperage, or associate member in any case. And I would be happy to give you some feedback, just visit our distillery. We are very small, and I don't know how much you intend as a small amount to put toward start up, but even a very small distillery will require 100s of K dollars, especially in Illinois. Good luck!
  2. bluestar

    Sediment in finished bottles

    Yup, that could be it, the concrete will provide calcium and some magnesium salts, and may be alkaline (check the pH). Generally, those salts will cause precipitation of organic salts or general cloudiness. If you are going to use that water, you need to do reverse osmosis.
  3. bluestar

    Sediment in finished bottles

    Thanks, I appreciate the additional information. I am very into the science of this, since I am a Ph.D. physicist that in my science career actually studied the flocculation both theoretically and experimentally (although that was for simpler polymeric materials, not whiskey per se). Yes, phenomenologically, it is as you described, although fundamentally the mechanism matters to meet the definition of either, not just the appearance. Flocculation (also agglomeration, depending on appearance) is the coming together in solution of (usually) oligomers or polymers so that they form concentrated masses that effectively drop out of solution. In fact, they may still be solvated, but the agglomerations (flocculate) become visible: the clouds or flakes we observe. Since generally the flocc is formed from oligomers or larger molecules, a clean fresh distillate will not produce these since larger molecules don't come across in the distillate, except maybe deep into the tails. I don't see it in my white spirits, and why I expressed my surprise at your seeing it. Can I ask another question: when you proof down, are you using distilled or RO water? White precipitate is also formed in spirits if mineral salts are in the water added for proofing, and these will precipitate organic-salt complexes in fresh distillate after some time. This is not the same as flocc, since it is creation of an insoluble organic salt by the addition of the minerals to the solution containing the trace organics. This is what @Jedd Haas was alluding to earlier in the thread.
  4. bluestar

    Sediment in finished bottles

    I would like to know more about what you are describing, because you should not get flocculation from unaged spirit. You can get louching if you have a source of fusel oils in the distillate, when you drop the proof. Flocc can occur even at higher proofs, louching will not. If you are making whiskey, you should not get louching either, unless you are going deep into the tails.
  5. bluestar

    Reusing condenser water for mashing

    We do it some of the time as well.
  6. bluestar

    To filter or not to filter...

    These are probably oligosaccharides and maybe proteins from the wood in the barrel. You said this was your longest aged product, is it also in used barrels? Used barrel aging shows this more, also exposed toasted oak, in our experience. New fully charred barrels don't tend to show this. The longer aging would mean more exposure to the wood extractives. You can remove it by chill filtering, if you don't want it.
  7. We were looking at a bourbon cream using the same base, but we found we could not add as much bourbon to the base cream as we would like for the flavor profile we wanted. Would be interested in learning more on how that went for you.
  8. bluestar

    reusing feints

    We never recycle foreshots. Just heads and tails, and we don't go too deep into the tails.
  9. bluestar

    reusing feints

    For our whiskey feints, it is about half a dozen times.
  10. bluestar

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    The traditional Chinese spirit made from sorghum is called Baijiu, and is somewhere between a moonshine and vodka and rum in spirit type and quality.
  11. bluestar

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    You can't make a product from high-fructose corn syrup and call it bourbon, legally, presuming you mean you are going to bring high-fructose corn syrup into the distillery as the raw material.
  12. bluestar

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    Sorghum whiskey is made from the seed/grain/kernel, and can be called whiskey. Sorghum rum is made from the cane, and once was called sorghum rum, until the feds decided rum can only refer to a product from sugar cane, so now must be a specialty. Some of the spirits that Paul identified are made from the grain. If someone submits a label for sorghum whiskey, with no formula tied to it, it can be approved by the feds, since it is an allowed label. But if they are actually making a sorghum "rum" from the cane, and labeling as sorghum whiskey, that is illegal, and they might eventually get caught, but not until the feds audit or check the paperwork: like noticing that they are producing all this whiskey, but bringing in lots of sorghum syrup but no sorghum grain.
  13. bluestar

    Good Brandy From Bad Wine?

    I concur, especially regarding the aromatics, "bad" wine will make bad spirit. EXCEPT, if the aromatics are interesting, an otherwise thin or unbalanced wine (too acid, too tannic) might still make a good spirit, maybe even a great one. But you will have to experiment. Remember that cognac and armagnac are brandies that use grapes that otherwise make unappetizing wine.
  14. All the agave-like spirits have a similar situation. Tequila is a plant (agave tequilana) and a region, and the production of the spirit called that must be in that region with that plant, although the plant grows elsewhere.
  15. bluestar

    Control pannel for pot still

    Yes, the controller you describe sounds quite good, including essentially all the features we eventually incorporated into the unit we redesigned and built. Certainly, what the original vendor (not you) supplied was far from adequate. And from what we have seen from a number US vendors (other than you) have not been up to our standards, at least. The only other thing I will add is that while you get LESS surging with the elements in the boiler (jacket), the effect I described was observed with the elements in the boiler (jacket). As I said, this is most noticeable when you get to the boiling point in the boiler (jacket), and steam production is a part of the thermal transfer (if the jacket has empty space for steam to fill above the water line). In this case, the on-off cycling will produce increased boil rates, which increases steam production. This is observable until you approach cycling rates of one second. You will not observe surge if you are well below boiling point of water, and/or if you have almost no space above the fill line in the jacket (since then there is little space or surface area for steam transfer).
  16. bluestar

    Race Label Machine

    I have one or two used ones around, but I will have to find them. Email me manager@quincystreetdistillery.com
  17. Don't forget another one of the requirements is that there must be public access to the entrance of the bonded space for the distillery, either directly from public thoroughfare or indirectly through other space the distillery controls that is itself accessible from public thoroughfare. As regards proximal residences, the idea is that no resident or other property owner can prevent access by the TTB to the distillery and bonded space, in particular by exercise of so-called "castle laws".
  18. bluestar

    steady take off rate

    We have tried this with our vodka still (which has a boiler and elements from @Southernhighlander) and Danfoss valves, and haven't been able to make it work. We might get in touch with you soon Paul to see if you can help us give it another go...
  19. bluestar

    Control pannel for pot still

    I am going to half agree and half disagree, I think, with both @SilverSwede and @Southernhighlander. In our case, the limit (protection) PID is operating simple on-off using relays, and in fact not only protects the still and its elements, but also the SSRs that are used for temperature control. Note that you really should not use mechanical relays for temperature control, since they are rated for limited cycles that can easily be exceeded for still operation in far less than one year. On the other hand, the temperature control PID can be flexible enough to operate in different ways, including cycling in fixed % power or feedback with dampening to temperature set point. The main advantages of the SSR is that they can cycle many times (long lifetime) before failure compared to mechanical relays, and they can cycle much faster. The latter is useful to avoid surging in the still, where the rate at which product is vaporized can vary as the elements cycle on and off. We see this effect sometimes all the way down to a few seconds cycling. While the effect is more pronounced in direct heating with elements, we also observe it with the use of a bain marie, especially when operated near boiling point of water (for the bath). This is because the cycling of the power on and off is resulting in surges in vapor production in the space above the bath, which transfers heat to the pot contents by condensation, essentially an internal steam source in the surrounding boiler. So, in that case, cycling the power on and off while heating the bath is equivalent to opening and closing a valve to a steam source. @Southernhighlander is correct that you have to be concerned for a larger still (ours is 40KW) that cycling can cause variations in voltage on the circuits in common with the still power. Really, you should be sure to wire up your facility so that it will not occur. In our case, the key is both to use balanced 3-phase supply and to pull an independent panel sourced all the way back to the main building transformer for powering the stills. Finally, if you can obtain and afford the necessary type of PID and SSRs, you can do pulse control of the supply, where the waveform is chopped instead of cycling the time, or the number of cycles on and off is chopped. This can result in an effectively equivalent to a proportional control of the supply. Generally, since this means variations in power draw that are a fraction of a second or even a fraction of a 60-hertz cycle, the inherent inductive impedance of the wiring in the building will smooth out the power draw and minimize the affect of the power fluctuations seen elsewhere in the building. An isolation transformer can even further mitigate this effect if necessary.
  20. The Feds will require a full secure separation, preferably masonry, with no operable doors, conduits, etc. Fire codes may require a 3 or 4 hour separation, also easiest with masonry, and independent ventilation.
  21. bluestar

    Control pannel for pot still

    Even with water and proportional control, you still might want a PID or some means to have temperature sensitive safety limit cutoff. We have two PIDs, one for temperature control, one for safety limits.
  22. bluestar

    Control pannel for pot still

    Paul is correct. Ours was from Vendome, the heating element system is UL listed, and their design is certified. And as I mentioned, it has pressure relief at less than 1psi.
  23. bluestar

    BOTTLES 750ml & 1 Liter $0.15/bottle

    Are you sure that is not listed backwards? If the 1 liter bottle is larger and heavier than the 750ml bottle (I would suspect), then I would expect 1) more cases of 750ml per pallet, and 2) 1 liter case to weigh more than 750 ml (12.69 versus 10.19 lbs).
  24. bluestar

    TTB stopped our production due to high proof

    Most of the difference has to do with temperature control, equilibration, and correction. This is especially true for the handheld units, which have no temperature control. The quartz oscillation tube measurement itself can be done to very high accuracy even with an inexpensive handheld unit. But you have to have the temperature fixed in the device and measured accurately, as well, and then calibrate the whole thing.
  25. bluestar

    TTB stopped our production due to high proof

    Better yet is if Anton Paar or Rudolf would make a cheaper instrument that just met the requirements. They could, the difference between versions is to some degree just software. The DMA 4500 is probably overkill. But they have an inherent interest in having a large price point differential above and below the TTB requirement. One day, a vendor will do so, and everyone will do so.