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Everything posted by Patio29Dadio

  1. Patio29Dadio

    Distillery Hoses

    Recommendations for the best resource for distillery hose? Checking prices at TCW, looking at about $700 for a 2” x 20’ with 2.5” Tri-clamp ends. Seems on the high end.
  2. Patio29Dadio

    Thermal fluid system for still heating(?)

    Spent a good deal of time looking into this and changed my direction from Baine Marie to NG-fired low pressure steam. However, it added about $65k to my budget for a 36HP 1.4M BTU/hr low pressure steam boiler installed in my near-communist-controlled state. If you are thinking of Baine Marie because you don't have access to NG or propane, or you want to keep your capital outlays low, I would suggest you look into the alternative of electric-powered steam. The Sussex EX steam boiler looks like a good option to me. The largest of these is 18.2 HP which translates into about 600K BTU/h I think. The cost of the boiler alone is about $16-17k. You will also need about $7 in extras including the condensate return and the blow-down separator. The neato thing about these Sussex EX boilers is that they are a lower amp draw than others I considered. 480V/3PH/60HZ SUPPLY VOLTAGE, 217 AMPS. 240V/3PH/60HZ, 434 AMPS. The 11 HP version is 480V/3PH/60HZ SUPPLY VOLTAGE, 130 AMPS. 240V/3PH/60HZ, 260 AMPS and looks to be close to 400K BTU/h. I think this smaller unit should power a 150G still to get up to temp faster than the Baine Marie. It is probably $20k or so all in not including the cost of installation. Consider the cost of the Baine Marie components, the electrical installation costs and the boiler installation costs... do a spreadsheet. Gas steam is certainly going to be more affordable long-term for most... assuming you have gas.
  3. Patio29Dadio

    TTB stopped our production due to high proof

    Awesome post. Thanks. One follow up point/question. While I certainly get the significance of this proof variance in accuracy, your example above assumes an absolute difference. In other words, you show an absolute increase in proof for the higher-accuracy density meters. I think, unless I am missing something here, the actual result would be plus-or-minus accuracy that, over a larger sampling set, would potentially result in less average variance. In addition, the IRS-approved hydrometer and thermometer have accuracy variance. For example, +- .2 proof for the hydrometer, and +-.75 C for the thermometer. So we would need to calculate the variance for both for a valid comparison... and also include the variance for all the variables of human error and other unknown influences. If it were me as the king of the TTB, I would approve more of these less-expensive meters and just require that they are certified every year along with an annual certified lab test of each proofed product.
  4. Patio29Dadio

    CA Tasting Room 1.5oz Limit

    I joined CADG and would like to see the CA law changed to at least 2 oz., but preferably 3. 3 oz is two regular cocktails. Yes some people should not drive after two cocktails, but in general being able to serve two cocktails allows for a REAL tasting room experience without the hassle of dealing with people that stay too long and get inebriated... but while also helping to motivate customers to buy a bottle or three. At our place I anticipate some unhappy customers being told they cannot have a second cocktail (not quite open yet). They leave grumpy about the experience and it can negatively impact their opinion of the brand. Tasting rooms are really hospitality services and unreasonable rules damage the service capability. Starting a regular restaurant is a HUGE deal. It is can be a very big capital investment, and adds tremendous operating complexity to a business that is supposed to be manufacturing primarily. Selling a couple of full-sized cocktails to showcase our spirit, to provide a quality tasting room experience... it seems quite reasonable to me and seems unreasonable to limit the pour to 1.5 oz per person per day. This is about building a brand making spirits... the restaurant option might work for some as a revenue generator, but it detracts from the manufacturing focus IMO. Also, the CA craft industry needs to increase the 3-bottle sales limit to 6-bottles, or eliminate it completely. See Washington. In general there does not seem to be a rational argument for why CA craft spirits don't get the same tasting room capabilities as do beer and wine.
  5. Patio29Dadio

    TTB stopped our production due to high proof

    The regs say: It is fantastic to me that TTB would require this level of accuracy in a density meter while accepting manual measures that rely on human eyesight. For example, I know that I can take proof measurements using my certified and calibrated hydrometer and thermometer and be no more materially accurate than I would be using the SNAP-50. In terms of which Anton Parr density meters comply, there is a DMA 501 small bench-top device for around $8k but "only" has accuracy of Density: 0.001 g/cm³ & Temperature: 0.3 °C. The DMA-1001 is around $13k and has accuracy of Density: 0.0001 g/cm³ & Temperature: 0.05 °C. The "lowest" accuracy that the TTB will accept is the $25K+ DMA™ 4500 M: 0.00001 g/cm3 & Temperature at 0.01 °C. Again, that is crazy levels of accuracy required given the alternative of manual proofing and the potential for eyesight variance. I get the worry about tax revenue, but TTB should get real about this. I am starting to think that these density meter companies have some good lobbying.
  6. Patio29Dadio

    Anton Paar Alcolyzer ME For Sale

    I might be interested. How do I contact you to discuss?
  7. Patio29Dadio

    Water Chiller

    Good recommendations. Unfortunately the roof of the building cannot be used for installing a cooling tower. The other issue I think is that chilled water cannot be used for mash water unless the chiller is configured for potable water. At least that is what I have been told. And my chiller is not and I understand that this is an expensive modification. I know of one distillery that just uses straight city water for their cooling (it comes out cold)... they save it in an insulated hot water tank and use it for cleaning and mash water. But where I am located we have many days during the summer in the high 90s and 100s and the tap water will get to high 60s and even low 70s... thus the need to chill the condenser and mash crash cool water. I think what I came up with will work... having a 3-tank system with an insulated cooling tank, a non-insulated steel hot water receiving tank and a non-insulated water staging tank. Pump the water from the staging tank to the chill tank before going home for the night and start the chiller loop. In the morning drain the previous hot water that had been allowed to cool overnight into the staging tank. Then run production where I empty the chilled water tank and fill the hot water tank again. And repeat.
  8. Patio29Dadio

    Water Chiller

    I am busy designing a system for my new distillery. I have come up with the need for three tanks. Insulated cold water tank. Hot water tank, and staging tank. Chill the cold water over night to 50F in the insulated tank. Condenser and mash cooling hot water discharge to the non-insulated hot water tank where it will naturally cool over night. Before leaving for home, pump the water from the staging tank into the cold water tank and start the chiller circulation. In the morning pump the water from the over-night cooled water from the hot water tank to the staging tank. Repeat process. I will need a dedicated water pump or two for this, but not too expensive. Later I can work on automated controls. The initial problem I was running into is finding tanks that would take 160F-180F water. Poly tanks cannot. Also the insulated tank for the chilled water can be poly, but I don't like the way they look (a marshmallow as someone else described them) and they will sit next to my other shining equipment. A 1000G custom cold-liquor tank and a 1000G hot water tank was breaking my budget. So I got a quote for 2 sets of two 550G stainless totes that are stacked and will connect to fill as one set x2. The staging tank is poly. I continue to think this through and might tweak it before final purchase of equipment, but water cannot be wasted where I am located.
  9. Patio29Dadio

    Anton Paar Products

    On the Novatech.com sight and finding certified hydrometers for around $70 but the certified thermometers are $250+. Do I have that right?
  10. Patio29Dadio

    Tube-in-Tube Heat Exchanger Design and vendors

    I ordered one of Paul's heat tube in tube exchangers. I will report back once we start using it.
  11. Patio29Dadio

    Water Tank Ideas

    Looking for insulated water tank options for my closed-loop system. Need 350-550 gallon tanks - one for hot water coming from the condensers that will be used for mashing and the other to hold water that is chilled to 50 degrees F or so overnight with my glycol chiller... so both are ready to go for the next day of production. Insulated hot water tanks (generally with an internal glass tank) are expensive and need engineering per my local city building official flexing his tiny muscles. Custom-made insulated stainless tanks are also expensive (I bet) and would require engineering (I know). Insulated poly tanks look like crap (IMHO), and again, if tall and narrow will require engineering (we have some earthquake shaking in my neck of the wood-less woods.) And if fat and short they don't fit in my space. Note, I will be doing tours and care what the tank room looks like. IBC totes don't need engineering as they are fork-liftable (got tiny muscles to agree). Thinking of putting a pretty insulation jacket around a couple of 550 G IBC stainless totes for my hot and cold water tanks. Just interested in other's ideas on this fascinating topic!
  12. Patio29Dadio

    150g w/8" 4-plate column Electric Pot Still

    Hi Rob. We visited you over a year ago and you sold me on Paul's equipment... however, I am going with the vertical system 😀. Glad to hear you are expanding and going to steam. Think you should be able to move this easily.
  13. Patio29Dadio

    Getting started, a building.

    Agree with captnKB. Closed water system will help. But there is the cleaning. Septic systems rely on bugs that you can hurt by flushing cleaning/sanitizing chemicals down the drain.
  14. Patio29Dadio

    Water Tank Ideas

    Just got a quote from the good people at National Tank Outlet (yes, they work weekends!) for a 550G Food Grade Stainless IBC tote with 2" polyurethane foam with a latex mastic protective coating. Less than $5k each. I think two of those will do the trick... much more than poly tanks, but will stay useful equipment even if we expand in the future to need larger tanks. I can stack these too... which saves floor space.
  15. Patio29Dadio

    Water Tank Ideas

    Looking at poly tanks online, they all appear to be rated at 120 degrees F max. The condenser water from a stripping run will be significantly hotter than that. Anyone else running a closed loop water system using poly for the hot liquor tank?
  16. Patio29Dadio

    Water Tank Ideas

    Exactly what I don't want... a mini marshmallow! Interesting. These are all horizontal tanks, right? Probably don't have the floor space. The stainless IBU totes are compelling because I can stack them and continue to make the case that they are forklift (non-permanent) tanks. The building official is obsessed with any piece of equipment that isn't portable needing engineering and permits... probably adding another $4k to the cost. However, when I look for insulation blanket for the totes, they start to look a bit like a square marshmallow... so maybe insulated poly is the answer. Probably no way around the engineering and permit requirement. Tiny muscles wins again!
  17. Patio29Dadio

    Green Color Coming Through During Gin Run

    My stupid old self remembers some green-blue distillate from the copper alembic, but only the start of the finishing run and cleared out before the hearts. Iron in the water you are using to proof down the charge? Arugula in the botanical mix?
  18. Patio29Dadio

    local sewer district concerns on water use, BOD, TSS

    Early on I did a grid of the water use and the waste-water pollution potential. It was a hit with every water official in all three of the communities we worked with to find a location. Let me know if you are interested and I can email you a copy of that document... two pager.
  19. Patio29Dadio

    GNS Cost and Availability

    Interesting. I always assumed that the "G" in "NGS" or "GNS" referred to "grain" and that it meant that the spirit was produced using 100% grain. Maybe I have this wrong and NGS or GNS can be made from may things, and thus it is up to me to make sure that the sourced spirit I use is 100% distilled from grain.
  20. Patio29Dadio

    GNS Cost and Availability

    Thanks for the feedback. Great stuff! I am going to look into this and talk to my alcohol industry attorney. If you think about the ramifications of this for a big producer getting a mistake from a TTB regulator... it could cost millions. I can accept it when the determination is clear, but there are a lot of gray areas in the regulations. Otherwise why do labels need to be approved by TTB?.. just publish the regs and require all the producers to follow the rules or risk getting a cease and desist when they get it wrong! I think the reason is clear... the labeling regulations are complicated and subject to different interpretation. Sometimes the prize goes to those that push the ambiguity and get an approval instead of assuming something is disallowed. Question about NGS or GNS (hear it both ways)... when would it NOT be distilled from grain?
  21. Patio29Dadio

    GNS Cost and Availability

    Interesting. Good stuff. I'm not trying to be "crafty" in labeling to do something I am not supposed to. Reading the regs, without getting into a long winded debate, there seems to be plenty of gray area on NGS being re-distilled to vodka. There are always going to be differences of opinion, but I have always taken the approach with respect to the regulations that the regulator is the decider. As we often don't know the basis for the rules and risk going overboard in compliance. In other words, I don't see any benefit in producers in the craft spirits industry becoming rule interpreters... we should just ask the officials for clarification and accept their ruling, but when there is undefined ambiguity I think it is an "American?" responsibility to assume the most beneficial alternative is allowed. My back label says "... is made from a blend of house-made spirit and sourced neutral spirits that are redistilled to capture a balanced profile". There is a separate commodity statement that says "distilled 100% from grains" And there isn't anything false or misleading about this labeling. And frankly, in the scheme of things, I cannot wrap my head around any benefit to the consumer disallowing NGS to be redistilled to vodka. Just ask Tito! But if TTB missed something here, and there is a need for a formula... a formula will happen. Oh... and my gin has a formula. Note that on the table of product categories from TTB and on the COLA online site, there is not a place to connect a formula to vodka... at least that I can find.
  22. Patio29Dadio

    GNS Cost and Availability

    I am late to this entertaining party. Read this... Just got a COLA approval for my vodka which is 75% sourced GNS, 25% home-made GNS blended and re-distilled. No formula required. Just the commodity statement "Distilled 100% from Grains." Doing the same base for our gin. I am making healthy cuts in the final run. GNS is inexpensive, so don't mind sending some down to clean the drains a bit. Also proofing with my unique water design. Allows me to keep the "local ingredients" bit and also tweak the product to that craft vodka profile with a slightly unique mouthfeel and finish. In my opinion, GNS is not a craft-killing devil as long as there is honesty in the branding/labeling. I see it as an ingredient commodity. There is really not much art/craft required to produce it. In my view the craft part is doing something with it that is crafty. Those vodka purists that like their familiar near-tasteless ethanol experience have a lot of options I would prefer not to compete with. Your local customers will let you know if you are creating anything good enough to sell and drink.
  23. Patio29Dadio

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    Acquired (all taxes paid) white dog bourbon and white rum from a friendly distiller to test different small barrels and entry proofs. Five gallon and ten gallon new oak barrels from Barrel Mill with #3 char. After four months in the 5 gallon at 60% ABV the rum seemed to have over-extracted... the funk was resolved, but the spirit has a more bitter, acrid and sharp finish and has taken on some of the barrel char... it does not have the long rum sweet finish I would expect. Very little vanilla and toasted brown sugar notes that I would expect from brand new barrels. Bourbon in 10 gallon for six months is starting to give the same. It also entered at 60% ABV. Nose is great except for a mild charcoal hint from the barrel char (same as rum). Color is great. Barrels are in a storage shed with good temp swings. Both white spirits seemed perfect to me based on my experience with the un-aged variety. My question is related to my barrel-aging inexperience here. I know people are going to make the point of "see, that is what you get trying to use small barrels!" But either the over-extraction is extreme, I have some bad barrels, or I mistaking over-extraction with under-maturation. At this point I am just going to let it keep aging and check it every 3 weeks or so. But hoping someone can share some knowledge of aging/maturing evolution to help me diagnose what might be happening here.
  24. Patio29Dadio

    Macerating and distilling with Plates

    Variables: - Type of base - Botanical selection - Quantity of all - Masceration, over-boiler basket, vapor basket, post distillation infusion - Extract blending - Other blending - Filtering - Water qualities - Proofing Basically it seems that there is an infinite number of combinations to get to a final product. It is a big puzzle and only for those that like puzzles. What am I missing?
  25. Patio29Dadio

    Electrical standards for control panels 409 or 508A

    My opinion on this is that as a buyer of equipment, first, I need an equipment manufacture that is up to speed on the current certification code compliance. Then I want to be educated on the value proposition for decisions. I need you to be the expert and help me the customer understand what you think I need and the trade offs for less or more features... what you are doing in this post. Paying more is fine if it makes sense and is a value to me. I would also advise you to think about your market and what you want your brand to represent... and just be committed, convicted and passionate about what you decide. Can you be a lower-cost equipment manufacture while also being tops in safety code compliance? Maybe. But it will certainly create some challenges. Low cost buyers are sometimes willing to take risks on product quality. Just check out those Walmart buyers acquiring inexpensive Chinese-made appliances... things that they could not afford otherwise... so the binary decision they have to make is to go without, or take a chance on the cheap Chinese brands. Some roll the dice. Maybe you don’t want those cheaper product risk-takers as customers? As you point out there are plenty of still manufacturers creating inexpensive systems. Maybe your market sweet spot is above them and below those willing to spend twice as much on Vendome and wait for 2 years for it to be delivered. I am not saying you are a cheap Chinese brand... far from it. You have already established a brand of affordable AND reliable/quality equipment. So maybe you add to that “safe” to that. Affordable, Reliable and Safe! Personally, I believe some distillery equipment manufacturers have jacked their prices due to the craft distillery fever. I appreciate that you have taking an approach to keep your margins consistent and focus on value and customer service. It is my opinion that this is the approach that wins the long-game. Those built on hype and greed will crash when the fever ends. Lastly, I think there is some great responsibility for still manufacturers to over-engineer safety features. Especially with all the craft distillery fever... because so many dreamers without experience are going to be creating highly flammable vapors that can kill them and others around them.