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Everything posted by bluestar

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. bluestar

    TTB stopped our production due to high proof

    If you review carefully the TTB glass hydrometer method and old standard practice, you will note that the accuracy, precision, and repeatability for a glass hydrometer is better than the nominal accuracy. For example, typical IRS glass hydrometer has 0.2% divisions and 0.2% "accuracy", but in fact the method for doing the readings can give you greater precision than the 0.2% divisions, because a skilled user can read to about 1/4 of a division, or 0.05%, and then you are to make multiple (at least 3) readings, and average them. Hey, that is how it used to be done. The result is that a better than 0.05% accuracy is attainable. These analog devices are highly repeatable, in fact, any variance due to repeatability is primarily due to human error, or skill of the operator. Finally, while nominally 0.2% accurate, if calibrated, they can be calibrated to the best attainable accuracy, or 0.05%. That means +-0.1 proof, within the 0.3 proof needed by the TTB and better than a DMA 1001. Okay, in practice today, most users lack the skill and patience to make this measurement that carefully. But the method is assuming you are a chemist in 1933. By the way, the key to all this is having everything fully equilibrated at one temperature, and a very accurate measure of temperature, and correction from 60F using tables.
  5. bluestar

    Thermal fluid system for still heating(?)

    Disadvantage of bain marie is as @Skaalvenn suggests. But there are other advantages. Primarily, being able to distill items that would be to heavily "cooked" if heating with steam, because you need to keep the temperature lower than boiling point at the pot wall. Typically, this is true for absinthe, for example. Could also be true for grappas and other fruit brandies done on fruit mash instead of clear wine.
  6. bluestar

    Free samples to distributor?

    There are distributors that will request that they can have free samples, usually this is stated in the contract, and usually the amount is limited to a percentage of the total amount purchased. And I have had our CA distributor ask for a very limited number of free samples. On the other hand, my experience with the 3 distillers we have used in IL is similar to yours in TN, they will charge back 50% of the price of stock on hand that they pull for samples.
  7. Thanks, might come try samples of the barrels some time?
  8. A little more info? What makes this port style? Alcohol content?
  9. bluestar


    Leather. $18.
  10. bluestar

    Anton Paar Products

    All of the portables compensate for temperature (through look-up tables), but they do not equilibrate or control temperature, like the expensive desktop units. That is, in part, why they do not have the needed accuracy, including the Snap 41, for final gauging required by the TTB, and are not an "approved" densitometer.
  11. bluestar

    Anton Paar Products

    Yup. Certified thermometers are very expensive beasts, compared to hydrometers. Many don't realize this, and will get the high accuracy corrected hydrometers, but use a thermometer without the needed accuracy and correction, so they end up not meeting the TTB accuracy requirements for the gauging. This is the corollary issue to needing to equilibrate everything for temperature.
  12. bluestar

    New life for used botanicals?

    We put them into soaps for liquor-based hand-made soaps.
  13. bluestar

    distillery management software TTB reports

    Don't know anything about them, except I think they are still in development for their distillery software. The currently sell their brewery software, and I think are in final beta for wineries?
  14. bluestar

    Getting absinthe to louche properly

    Absinthe distillation is a funny beast. The expert on the forum is @Gwydion Stone, so check out his posts too. I tend to follow the methods and recipes described in the 19th century texts, where you macerate at high proof, distill from high proof, and distill to high proof. You are correct, that some of the oils will come across toward the end when the alcohol content is low, and proof coming off is low, mostly due to the hydrosol effect, where the oils come across, but not fully in solution. That is one reason why you run deep for the tails, to pick those oils up too, although since the average proof of the distillate is so high, all the oils will be back in solution when collected together. If you are distilling from too low a proof, you won't get a high enough proof for the final product, without cutting too early for the tails. And of course you recycle the tails, including any residual oils, for the next distillation. You are not really doing any cut of the alcohol, so the base must be clean. You are just trying to get as much of the extraction from the herbs and seeds as you can, including the oils. By the way, you never really get to high enough BP to reach true BP of any of the oils, the key is how the oils interact with water and alcohol and are carried into the vapor phase by them.
  15. bluestar

    Oregon Oak barrels 30 gallon

    It is expensive, although typically you will pay a premium for smaller barrels over conventional 53 gallon, and again for northern oak, and again for heavily seasoned oak. But for that kind of money, it would be more interesting to get French oak, for example. Does anyone have any experience with these, comparing this oak with others?
  16. bluestar

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    First, my apology to @SchieferP1, because I confused his reply as a continuation of a comment from @saaz (they have the same generic avatar). It was @saaz that made the statement that an age statement was not required for a whiskey less than four years old. But, regarding your reference, no, not quite, what the article is discussing is what wordings are NOT considered an age statement, and specifically, the phrase you cite, is one that is a candidate that might be considered NOT an age statement, if used for a whiskey WITHOUT an age statement. And you wrote "According to Sarah Johnson - Sr Labeling Specialist you only need an age statement if you make a claim of aging on the label". My point was that is not quite what she said. My reading (listening) is that is so for a whiskey older than four years old. So, I AM claiming that some of the things you posted are incorrect, albeit that could be because your wording was imprecise, rather than explicit intent. But maybe I misunderstood, maybe you were trying to point out what I think she said: that an age statement MAY BE required even for a whiskey that is more than four years old, if other references to age are made on the label?
  17. Any straight whiskey can not have caramel or other flavoring/coloring added. Currently, the TTB interprets for bourbon, straight or not, that caramel or other flavoring/coloring can not be added. But just because those are the rules, does not mean they are being followed. On the other hand, I would not expect caramel coloring to be any more or less likely to cause what you describe than exposure to heavily toasted and charred oak. The difference COULD be if the other whiskies had been filtered more or even chill-filtered, but the whiskey with the residue was not.
  18. bluestar

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    For others reading here to learn correct requirements: what @SchieferP1 has posted is incorrect, and his references actually contradict or at least do not support his assertion that whiskies younger than 4 years old do not require an age statement. (PS, next day: it was @saaz not @SchieferP1 that made the original incorrect post about whiskies younger than 4 years old not requiring an age statement).
  19. bluestar

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    DUH! It does NOT say it does not require an age statement! The item quoted is saying that the closing clause of the sentence applies to those whiskies that DON'T require an age statement (such as whiskies older than four years old). The article you reference repeatedly mentions an age statement is not required for whiskies OLDER than four years, but not younger. You need to read carefully.
  20. bluestar

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    And since many people evidently can't read and understand the CFR or the BAM, the TTB also provides this in their FAQ: Is an age statement required on a whisky label? The TTB regulations at 27 CFR 5.40(a) require an age statement on the label of any whisky that has not been aged for at least four years. This requirement applies to any whisky produced by mixing or blending if the youngest whisky in the mixture or blend has been aged for less than four years. An age statement is optional for any whisky that is four years old or more, unless the label makes a representation as to age or maturity. See 27 CFR 5.40(e)(2) for rules applying to age, maturity, and similar representations. What is the "age" of a whisky? The TTB regulations at 27 CFR 5.11 define the term "age" to mean the period during which, after distillation and before bottling, distilled spirits have been stored in oak containers. For bourbon whisky, rye whisky, wheat whisky, malt whisky, or rye malt whisky, and for straight whisky other than straight corn whisky, the "age" is the period during which the whisky has been stored in charred new oak containers. Do the format rules for mandatory age statements also apply to optional age statements? The regulations at 27 CFR 5.40(a)(5) provide that optional age statements must appear in the same form as required statements. See 27 CFR 5.40 and Chapter 8 of the Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) for additional information about optional age statements. What information must be included in an age statement? The age of the whisky must be stated in hours, days, months, or years, as appropriate. The age may be understated, but the age may not be overstated. See 27 CFR 5.40(a)(4) for the requirements regarding disclosure of aging in reused barrels for certain products. How should age be stated if the whisky consists of a mixture or blend of whiskies with different ages? If the whisky contains no neutral spirits, the age must be stated either as the age of the youngest whisky, or as a statement that includes the age of each whisky in the mixture or blend, and the percentage of that whisky in the mixture or blend. If percentages are listed, they must be based on the percentage of the finished product, on a proof gallon basis, contributed by each listed whisky, and the percentages listed must add up to 100%. If the whisky contains neutral spirits, see 27 CFR 5.40(a)(2) for rules that apply to statements of age and percentage. Can the age statement include minimum or maximum ages? As noted above, age may be understated, but may not be overstated. A minimum age (such as "aged at least __ years") is acceptable, but a maximum age (such as "aged for less than ___ years") is not acceptable. I am bottling a straight whisky that consists of one straight whisky that has been aged for 3 years and another straight whisky that has been aged for 2 years. The older whisky makes up 60% of the mixture, on a proof gallon basis, and the younger whisky makes up the remaining 40%. Can I simply label the product as having been "Aged for less than 4 years"? No. The statement "aged for less than 4 years" does not satisfy the requirements of 27 CFR 5.40 for an age statement, and it creates a misleading impression as to the age of the product. You may choose to label the product with an age statement that reflects the age of the youngest whisky ("Aged 2 years") or you can set out the percentage of each whisky, with its age (60% straight whisky aged 3 years; 40% straight whisky aged 2 years"). What are examples of acceptable formats for age statements? The following formats are acceptable: _____ years old. ____ months old. Aged _____ years. Aged at least ____ years. Aged a minimum of ____ months. Over ____ years old. Aged not less than ____ years. ___% whisky aged __ years; __% whisky aged ___ years. What are examples of age statements that are not acceptable? TTB will not approve labels with the following age statements, because they list a maximum age instead of a minimum age, and thus may mislead consumers as to the age of the product: Aged less than ____ years. Under ____ years old. Aged not more than ____ years. Last reviewed/updated 12/29/2014
  21. bluestar

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    I just reviewed Sarah's presentation. You are INCORRECT. She states clearly, and the viewgraph clearly shows, that whiskey must have an age statement if it is less than four years old, and if it is a blend of different ages, the age is that of the youngest in the blend, and an age statement is not required IF AND ONLY IF all of the whiskies in the blend are older than four years. SORRY! In the question and answer period, there is a question about dates of distillation, and she points out that if a date is there, you have to have a storage method statement (for example, stored 5 years in oak barrels: essentially an age statement), and in that case, the date of distillation does not have to be there, it can be left off. That is NOT saying you don't need age statements for whiskies under 4 years. So, if you are currently selling any whiskies with content less than four years old and are not putting an age statement on the label, you are breaking federal laws and you are carrying out fraud on your customers. PERIOD.
  22. bluestar

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    Hear, hear! I must run into at least two more craft distilleries a month that sell NAS whiskey that in a candid conversation with an owner, maker, or salesman, I learn is not 4+ years old. I am also starting to hear more of the "well, it is blended with 4+ yo whiskey" justification, as well. Sheesh!
  23. bluestar

    Anton Paar Products

    But maybe not that much faster if you are using the hydrometer correctly to achieve the same precision. The time taken is for the machine to thermally equilibrate. If you use a hydrometer, you must also thermally equilibrate the WHOLE system (product, vessel, hydrometer, and thermometer being used to measure temperature), so that you have an accurate and precise enough measure of temperature to properly correct the hydrometer measurement to meet required precision and accuracy of proof. In fact, this is the major difference between cheaper and more expensive digital densitometers for measuring proof: accuracy of control and measurement of temperature.
  24. bluestar

    Getting absinthe to louche properly

    That is 50:50 green anise to florence fennel. We use no star anise. Sorry, did not mean to imply we dilute with water, we dilute with spirit and feints.
  25. bluestar

    Anton Paar Products

    I don't think the 3500 listed as an approved unit with the TTB. The DMA 4500M is in the EC (European Commission) version.