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Everything posted by RobertS

  1. RobertS

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    Spirits made for unaged consumption are also going to be made a bit different than those for aging. There a number of unpleasant compounds that react during maturation to create complex and complimentary aromas and flavors. At this stage it is probably extraction that has not been balanced by time to mellow, but don't be surprised if your product comes out a bit simple/flat compared to aged whiskies and rums from the same distillery you bought from.
  2. RobertS

    Blue tint

    Don't you go spreading your rugged individualism around here, buddy.
  3. RobertS

    Blue tint

    Might be a copper compound? Those can range from green to blue.
  4. RobertS

    Barrel Filling and Recording

    §19.619 explicitly calls for a tare and gross weight when a package record is required. I could have sworn this was required for use in storage, but the only areas I see calling for it are when the packages are going to leave bond. Even the requirements for a transfer in bond don't require a more detailed gauge. I'd double check with a consultant before doing the less stringent thing, but the 8-ball looks promising. I had figured the big boys just had a more automated way to weigh in bulk, but maybe they are just using accurate-but-not-approved flow meters and 'assuming' everything is equal.
  5. RobertS

    Possible Mash Infection, Need Help

    Lacto will smell funky similar to pungent sour cream. Brett smells like band-aid, wet horse, old leather, or medicinal depending on strain and concentration. Everything you describe sounds like infection to me. Is there a dead leg where you may have dirty wash lurking and waiting to pitch an infection into your next batch? Your CIP cycle might be missing a section of your transfer set up.
  6. RobertS

    Hopped whiskey??

    Indeed there is. Chapter 4, page 11, bottom entry. Flavored whiskies can be 60 proof instead of 80 and must have the predominant flavor in the designation. So they would need "hop flavored whiskey" unless another flavoring is stronger.
  7. RobertS

    Help! Artemisia pontica..

    Where would I go to acquire a plant or two of quality wormwood of my very own?
  8. RobertS

    Moonshine (corn whiskey)

    Got me to refresh my history knowledge, I had thought the Whiskey Rebellion being put down had settled taxation on liquor permanently. Jefferson repealed the specific tax that the Whiskey Rebellion was fought over in 1802, but there is probably another tax I'm not aware of that went until 1817. Congress set a tax on whiskey in 1862 to fund their half of the Civil War, which then wasn't felt in the South until after it ended. I can only find the barest overview (and only the perspective of the moonshiners being the nastier side) of those early days of the IRS. @Southernhighlander, do you have a book or documentary you recommend for moonshiners vs government at the birth of the IRS? What little I can find says that it will be a great read.
  9. RobertS

    Ferment-able sugars in Molasses?

    There's a more going on than just fermentables for rum production. Are you using nutrients? Monitoring and adjusting your pH? What sort of numbers were you getting for gravities and yield? Solids are particles in suspension - sugars, acids, minerals, protein, fats, etc. I found a paper from the 40's on the breakdown in molasses. Ash would be the solids that don't burn off. The data sheet the molasses supplier gave you is as good as you'll get without some heavy lab equipment, but you can run a test fermentation under ideal conditions to determine expected yield.
  10. RobertS

    Tank aging of fruit/berry based Liqueurs

    Operating theory for holding vodka before bottling for me has been degassing volatiles into the head space. Even with no air transfer, trace volatiles and minimal ethanol enter the head space due to vapor pressure and are left behind when transferring to another tank or bottles. Bottles have less head space and are more likely to have it shook back in shortly before opening.
  11. RobertS

    How to pasteurize this product?

    What hard spirit would need to be pasteurized? As to bulk vs bottle, that depends on how clean your bottling line is. It is standard practice for dairies pasteurize in bulk and then take extreme pains to maintain a sanitary environment. Canned foods are often packaged and then pasteurized in the cans, due to the nature of the sealing process. It will be a lot easier to retrofit post-filling pasteurizing into an existing line and a lot less fuss to maintain. There are trade offs to product quality, but yours is probably not as delicate as dairy?
  12. RobertS

    Solera Aging Whiskey

    Technically, you could have a non-age statement solera bourbon by not designating a barrel as the new youngest until it is 4 years old. Since you have met the aging standards and aging ends once you are no longer in new oak, the additional however many years would be irrelevant from an age statement standpoint. Not much help for a young distillery, but a heck of a show piece for local craft.
  13. RobertS

    On Grain or Off Grain

    We've actually done both on and off the grain for bourbon and rye whiskey. Yield and unaged profile were indistinguishable as far as I could tell, haven't yet pulled samples to see if they age different. We have a Meura bladder filter, which lets us press pretty much any mash bill dry. There are advantages to being attached to a brewery.
  14. RobertS

    Bad tasting gin

    You can also try a scaled up version of the moonshiner's mason jar method. If you have suitable containers, you can separate your run into several time/volume units to keep/toss/blend to taste.
  15. RobertS

    COLA flavored whiskey problem

    I take it that the overthinking is because of TTB Ruling 2016-3? My paranoia stems from Chapter 4 only defining the general 'flavored whiskey' class but not saying anything about sub-classes. Given that major distilleries have flavored whiskies with sub-types (e.g., Jim Beam's Red Stag infusions) I suppose that flavored whiskey is more of a modifier than a monolithic class? Dehner, may I ask what sort of wording and "use" you gave the TTB?
  16. Drums can be funky at a small scale distillery, since they may be treated as a tank by some places and a package by others. If you don't move it around, especially if you have added a drain port, you can probably call it a tank and give it a static ID. If you palletize and store it, it would be given a package ID. I don't have any literal drum-tanks, but I do have a couple tanks that are smaller than drums and it's made sense in record keeping so far. When I transfer into/between tanks, I have a record that says how much of what was moved, from where to where. If it splits and remerges a single lot, no problem. If it blends two separate lots, time to make a mingling record entry of how much of what went in and thus became the new lot. Either way, I have a step-by step record of what was in each tank when, where it came from, what it became, and where it went. The tank is also labelled with its current contents at any given time, but that's dry-erased on while the tank number stays the same.
  17. And on not needing to identify individual packages within a lot, I still find it much easier to have a secondary serial code (I just tack an extra letter on the end) to ID each individual barrel. It takes almost no extra effort and makes inventory and tracking progress much easier, at least for me. Also, when I put spirit in drums for temporary storage (or long-term macerations) I still give them serial codes. Again, very little effort and makes it much easier when more than one person may touch things.
  18. RobertS

    MRO Inventory Management

    We have less than twenty people, any of which might touch MRO. About ten actually do more than once a year and about six actually use it regularly. Maintenance schedules are spread out across about a dozen manuals right now, compiling those is part of the project. Edit: Apparently 'about' is my word of the day.
  19. I know most of us on here are probably too small to really worry about this, I'm attached to a brewery large enough that we are and I've been tasked with sorting out our non-production inventory. I've been cataloging everything we have and reading up on Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (the MRO in the title) inventory management but the examples aren't as helpful as I would like. I don't feel we're large enough to purchase a software suite to handle the thinking part, we're DEFINITELY not large or focused enough in our needs to have a vendor contract, and 'centrally located storage' is a funny way to put 'the back corner of the mezzanine'. Does anyone here have a manual spare parts management system they're happy with? How do you keep usage records straight with more than a few users? Did you manage to sell the idea to your whole staff, or does someone need to go through regularly and see what's missing? For a little leg up on people who (like me a month ago) haven't even heard of MRO, here are some articles I've found helpful. http://www.supplychain247.com/article/five_basic_practices_that_can_quickly_close_the_gap_with_mro_inventory/inventory https://www.idcon.com/resource-library/articles/best-practices/1059-storeroom-spare-parts-what-good-looks-like.html https://www.lce.com/Changing-the-Storeroom-Culture-to-Best-Practice-Performance-1292.html
  20. RobertS

    Using bulk distilled spirits?

    I've seen Keurig soup. Keurig gins may be the next big thing, Roger.
  21. RobertS

    Proofing using Gauging Manual Table 6

    Given the rounding artifacts in the TTB tables, my guess is that key data points were collected and the rest were derived by linear interpolation without an over-arching formula.
  22. RobertS

    slot floor drains

    Having worked in a food packing plant, I can see the advantage to slot drains for incidental messes and I wish we had them there. But it looks like the way slot drains deal with the concerns brewers/distillers have of not being able to handle dumping tanks is 'do something else with slurries and solids'. http://blog.slotdrainsystems.com/5-issues-brewers-must-consider-about-their-trench-drains
  23. RobertS


    Ask your certifier. If you don't talk to them, they will assume regular use and only put it out to a year tops. Even if you can't push past a year, it's still good to be able to recalibrate twice for the price of once and be able to cheaply recover from the inevitable dropped hydrometer.
  24. RobertS

    Heating and cooling with the same jacket

    https://wine.appstate.edu/sites/wine.appstate.edu/files/Diversey_PassivationofStainlessSteel.pdf We are removing iron exposed by wear and exposing chromium so that it can form a protective oxide layer. This oxide layer renders the steel 'passive' to further corrosion until it is damaged again. Oxidation takes time, so passivation is best done with a large time gap (at least overnight) between completing the acid cycle and using the equipment.
  25. RobertS


    Check what type of calibration you have on your hydrometers, most are single or two-point calibrated. You will need a temperature-control bath to match the calibration temperature. This is a cheap and easy ice bath if they're calibrated to 32F/0C. If not, you'll need a temperature controlled bath. You use the calibrated set to proof down a calibration solution for each calibration point. Match the numbers on the certified hydrometer, then record the reading given by the workhorse at that point. Now you have the correction you need to apply to its readings. For single point calibration, it's a simple +/- you apply to future readings. For multi-point correction, you'll need to create a correction table based on however many points you took. Use calibrated -> Match calibration point -> Record workhorse measurement at calibration point -> Calibration correction found Your records will have the date and time of calibration, what master hydrometer was used, what it read at what temperature, what the workhorse read at the same temperature, and what correction that entails.