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Everything posted by will

  1. Sorry I was not clear...and maybe did not understand the true nature of the question. We used Avery labels for cartons, not for the bottles. Our bottles use labels that are professionally produced, ACL, digital, or offset printed. Look in the wine space for label stock suitable for bottles. It's a tough game trying to make product labels. Generally, if you're market testing a brand, prospective customers will understand the nature of prototype labels made in your kitchen...but transitioning to professionally produced labels has been important to us. As a labor savings if nothing else.
  2. At first, we used 2x2 per page Avery label stock. I think you're right - it was a Word template that Avery supplied. These made large labels that were fine for 6-pack and larger boxes. Later, we decided to switch to a smaller label (due to expense) with the carton barcode and a few other things noted, like the batch number, etc. IIRC, those were 3x10 per page. We felt that because the boxes were being thrown away by the retailer, the design of the boxes was not significant. We were below the scale of an end-cap display. Even then, white boxes would have been okay in my opinion. 8"x10" label pages in the above.
  3. In days gone by, we printed carton labels using Avery software and labels in a common desktop inkjet printer. Results were acceptable, though not stunning. Just searching for Epson C3500 software, it looks like Epson supplies a software solution called ColorWorks - which I have no experience with, but here's a YouTube video:
  4. Your barrels should not be dripping at this stage. Start by speaking to your Cooper. We have a simple tool that's made for tightening the bands by pushing them toward the fat center of the barrel using a 5lb hammer. A few whacks usually clears the problem. IIRC, it's called a hoop driver.
  5. nothing wrong with cooling water. only question is about the pvc hose on the hot side of the condenser. check the ratings. if it's rated food grade at temp, then it should not pick-up any plasticizers which could taste bad, but likely not make it through the distillation. won't hurt the wash. save water...good idea.
  6. an inexpensive glass still and the required thermometer and hydrometer are what's needed. the procedure is in the gauging manual in 27cfr 30.32(c). in the process, distillation is used to remove the sugars (that are more dense than water and will push your hydrometer up making the amount of alcohol seem lower) with water. then you measure the proof in the usual way. let me say it again: replace the sugars with the amount of water the sugars displace. the trouble is that while you are making the batch, you actually can do the weights and arithmetic quite accurately, and your results will be spot-on, but when gauging for tax, you are required to use the prescribed method noted above. you might as well spring for the glass still now.
  7. Right, I presumed that it was a typo when you got the same answer using weight. I prefer weight because measuring volume is so problematic, but if everything is corrected back to 60F, then the results should be equal...as you've shown. My approach is similar to yours, but I OCRed Table 6, then used columns 2 & 3 to compute Alcohol and Water weights per gallon, and from that the weight of the mixture, and finally the weight% of alcohol for each proof. Using wt%, it's rather trivial to compute the present proof using the LOOKUP function in Excel. Simply search down the wt% column and find the value that's just below what you're searching for, and interpolate. Once that was done, I admit I got lazy, and rather than code the algebra, I just do a binary search (test & iterate) for the amount of product to add to get the proof I'm looking for. Takes less than a minute. Your results and mine differ by a few percent, and that's significant. Didn't I send you the spreadsheet a year ago or more?
  8. I'm getting a slightly different result. 33.9lbs - i'll try to track-down the source of that error. perhaps my .xls is not ready for prime time, so hang in there...
  9. E300 - Ascorbic acid is the most commonly used color retention agent.
  10. PeteB: Part 1 is correct, nicely done. Part 2 is probably in the zone, but did you use .7(47....) or .71(47...)? that's an error of around 1.5%. Also, since you're "cheating" by using Alcodens, are you correcting back to 15.56C (60F)? Note that if you do this in wt%, you won't have to worry about temperature. Pressure9pa & HedgeBird: Contact me via PM, and I'll send you the scanned tables in excel format. I would post them here, but they're not pretty enough yet.
  11. Gary, You seem to have a grip on this stuff. Would you care to take a stab at the problem posted in 2009, and restated in post #27 directly above yours? We're still hoping to find someone who knows how to compute this stuff and is willing to share the approach. Will
  12. is one of them plastic?
  13. it's actually in 27 CFR 19.356 - variations of fill. for packages of 750ml, it's +-2% - not 0.2% - and that's +- 15ml. that's easy. as fat as a Cadillac. what they will focus on in an audit is whether you have records indicating that you test, and what the results are, and what corrections you made. again, it clearly says that you should have about the same number of overfills as underfills. will
  14. according to the manufacturers, once you have a calibration chart, usually 5 points between 32 and 124F, checking with a distilled water ice bath is a sufficient calibration check to determine if the instrument has been damaged. Keeping records of these checks is a good idea. Scales are a bit different. You can take some object that's about 1/3 of capacity, and that won't change weight over time, like an old anvil, and use that as a check from time to time. Check it initially when you get the scale or when it's calibrated, then use the weight as a sanity check. Hydrometers are relatively difficult to check on your own, unless you have a bigger better instrument to check it against. We keep our calibrated hydrometers in a locked cabinet, and use them occasionally to check other hydrometers we use for production. We have a cylinder that will float two hydrometers. Good luck, Will
  15. from one of the TTB guys who was at the ADI Conference: over relatively long periods of time, about the same number of overfills as underfills. there's no hard specification. the ttb relies on the industry to do a good job. before, during, and after bottling, if you take a sample of bottles, weigh them (and mark them with the weight), then fill them and weigh them again, you can easily convert weight back to volume. the net wt. of a 750ml bottle of a non-sugar containing product at 80 proof is 712 grams. weigh each after filling, compute the net weights, then the average weight, and adjust the equipment up/down to maintain 750ml average. keep records of these QC fill-checks, and you'll do fine. we have had so-called high quality bottles that have filled to very different levels when at 750ml (712g net) - so their internal volume was slightly different. we found a better source, but had to live with some funny looking fills for a while. good luck, will
  16. will

    California taxes

    In CA, spirits excise taxes are paid by the distributor, not the producer. It's $3.30/wg for 100 proof and under, double that above. Excise applies to all spirits, regardless of where produced.
  17. using only the equipment mentioned in my earlier post, you can determine the check weight of a cordial using the following method: start with a bottle and a supply of distilled water and the cordial under test at the same temperature. weigh the bottle. fill the bottle with a known volume of distilled water by weight using 0.9990134 as the density of pure water at 60F (use .998203 at 20c outside the USA). for instance, 750ml weighs 749.25 grams. mark the bottle at the fill point. empty and dry the bottle. fill the bottle with the cordial to the same fill point. weigh the bottle. this is the weight you are "shooting for" in the fill check above. adjust your equipment to have the same number of overfills as underfills using this net weight. good luck, will
  18. nick, your fill checks should be done by weight. if you're not doing it that way, your results will likely be wrong. a 750ml bottle of 80 proof spirit (not a cordial containing sugar) will weigh 712 grams. the process is simply to weigh a representative sample of bottles, and mark the weight on the glass. send them through the filling line and take them off at the other end. weigh them again, and subtract the bottle weight. this is your fill weight. convert that to mL by the formula volume = Wt * 750/712. adjust your bottle fill machinery so that over the long-term you have the same number of overfills as underfills. do this before, during, and after each bottling run. keep records of this work. this will satisfy the TTB. you should be aware that bottles manufactured for spirits are designed to provide much more headspace than bottles made for other purposes, particularly wine. wine bottles are designed to minimize headspace because more headspace means air, and that means a greater chance of oxidation of the wine. wine at around 15% abv has very different expansion characteristics than spirits at 40% abv. good luck, will
  19. Is that taught in distilling schools? It is in some, but you might not catch it - it goes by pretty fast. For those of us who are stateside, exactly that procedure is in 27 CFR 30.23 of the Gauging Manual. I'm curious, do your calculations include a correction for the contraction that occurs when ethanol and water are mixed?
  20. will

    Yeild of Alcohol

    Chuck, The guys who make Kombucha claim that they balance the activity of the yeast and LAB organisms so that during fermentation and conversion, the ABV never goes above 0.5%, and in this way, they avoid having to get a Basic Permit for brewing or wine making operations. I tested a batch or two when the big flap started a few months back. We burned it in the glass still, and checked it with the waste hydrometer. It really was below 0.5%, so in that instance, almost all of the EtOH was converted to some acid or another. I'm looking forward to hearing more about what Coop learns. I hope he can share some of the evidence and methods he used to determine that it's LAB, where it came from, and how he plans to manage it in the future. Let's keep this thread moving ahead, Will
  21. will

    Yeild of Alcohol

    reading from the original post, you were not getting complete attenuation prior, right? were you satisfied with 5 brix? (for those playing along at home, that should be about 1060 to 1020 - not good attenuation in my world). that would suggest something else is wrong. your short chains are not breaking-down or something else. are you controlling fermentation temp? is it possible that the little bugs are committing seppuku? bacteria can be a big problem - are you making acid? ...and yes, make sure you're still is not spillin'
  22. will

    Yeild of Alcohol

    how's your liquifaction and sacchrification? did you test the yeast? is it kickin'?
  23. Jedd, I doubt that the inside of stainless drums is without porosity. I doubt that it's highly polished. In that case, it stands to reason that a kind of deposition of flavor components into porosity in HDPE happens also with stainless. Also, in the case of nocino in a tight-head stainless drum, I wonder what cleaning protocol would assure removal of those black stains since you can't reach in there and scrub. Our concern about stainless has to do with a tinny effect we think we detect when using stainless (316, i think) for proofing very neutral vodka. We don't get that from the HDPE. In either case, this is also the only time carryover is a problem. I think that an HDPE barrel used for a fennel infusion would not contribute enough flavor to wormwood or anise infusion later to be detectable because the wormwood or anise would be so strong. It's only when doing something very neutral that it's noticeable. ...and I think it might be that the aroma from the drum might be more noticeable than what actually gets into the product (you can smell it when you open the drum, but you might not taste it in the product). Good luck, Will
  24. No question about it, HDPE will absorb flavors, but if you have a container for each product, you'll not have cross carryover. In other words, you make-up a batch of really stinky fennel infusion for something. Later, try putting vodka in that thing, and it will have a fennel flavor...but if you use it for fennel again, you'll be a happy guy. Guess how we know that. Same deal with black stains from nocino - they'll make a mess of your angelica, but they're fine for nocino. Bottom line is that HDPE is so inexpensive that it's difficult to justify stainless. I'm also not convinced that stainless is either flavor free or stain free, or free of carryover...or easy to clean. The guys moving the really big stuff are starting to use mild steel containers with some sort of ceramic coating inside. I guess that's a problem if you're in the 80,000 gallon league. Really big totes are becoming unavailable in stainless. Try HDPE, you'll be surprised. Good luck, Will
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