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Hammer Spring

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About Hammer Spring

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  • Birthday 04/01/2016

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  • Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Interests
    Vodka, Gin, Whiskey

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  1. Adam, this post has been a lifesaver!! We have the Mori-Tem, whatever, knockoff - and I didn't know you could adjust the depth of the filler tip by rotating the purple thing! This little tip now makes our life infinitely easier!!
  2. I'm curious if there's any type of chart out there for water displacement on various grains. I understand it will/may vary somewhat on the grind, but generally speaking. If I put X pounds of milled grains in my mash tun, and fill it the rest of the way up with water... how much water actually went in there, by percentage? Sugar is a known variable, but does anyone have numbers for this on corn or other grains? My very rough guess is that for 250 lbs of milled corn, I'll add about 75 gallons of water to a 100 gallon mash tun to fill it up. Anyone else ever calculate this before?
  3. We're just starting with corn (2 years in with potatoes, and making great vodka from them!). We buy flaked (pre gelatinized) corn, and mill it to a flour just a fair bit finer than corn meal, but not all the way to bread flour. We have a jacketed mash tun, and use Alpha, Beta, and Bioglucanase enzymes (no malted grains). We're getting pretty consistent Specific Gravity of 1.08 (10.4% potential alcohol). We also have a jacketed still, and distill on the grain. Take everyone's advice about not trying to lauter corn - you'll die trying, and it won't benefit you much (unless you have a $20k centrifuge separator).
  4. I think I'm too far into the ferment on this round - but I'll try it on the next go Thanks for the feedback!
  5. I've never heard of putting bg in after fermentation starts... is that what you meant? Or did you mean leave it at room temperature for 3 days before fermenting <yikes!>
  6. Yea, not much else I can do at this point with it. I pitched some yeast, we'll see how she does - thanks for the follow up!
  7. Just as an experiment, I tried a 100% wheat mash (100 gallons of it). I milled 200 lbs of hard red wheat kernels and 50 lbs of malted wheat into the typical flour/grist (1:4 malt ratio. Malter said wheat had a DP of around 140'ish). To the cold water I added 100 mL of bioglucanase, and 10 mL Fermcap-S, and 300 mL of Amylo-300, slowly brought it up to 150 as I added the grist <edit: forgot to mention I adjusted the pH to 5.2>, and held it there for an hour or so. It looked, smelled great, tasted sweet, was plenty sticky when rubbed between fingers, etc - all the things were great. Even the specific gravity showed 1.085 (about 20 brix). All signs pointed to a successful mash, but It failed the iodine/starch test ... so I let it sit (at 150F) for a while longer... still black. I let it sit overnight at 150F (all the time slowly agitating to keep it consistent). In the morning, still black. Around noon the 2nd day I added 3.5 oz alpha amylase (dry), nothing, turned up the heat to 165F, still black iodine. Any thoughts on why it might not fully convert? JP.
  8. We started (and still are) small (100 gallon). If we mashed 300 gallons per day, we'd have outgrown our space in a week because as a start-up, you're never going to sell that much, no matter what spirit you make. If you're barreling it, you'd better have a million square feet of rick house that you can float the rent on for the first few years before you sell anything because your barrels are going to pile up fast. Distribution in a control state is a real struggle and competing against national brands is nearly impossible. Unsurprisingly, particularly with vodka, most consumers are happy enough with a $6 plastic bottle of Bartons and just laugh at a $25 bottle of true craft, potato vodka. Even many of your local shops are sourcing and/or rectifying so you can't compete with that either. So, in addition to all the things - you'd better be (or have) a marketing genius. For what it's worth
  9. Unmalted - excellent advice, thank you! JP
  10. Thanks for the reply Silk City! I'll be sure to adjust pH earlier in subsequent batches, and increase the rest times as suggested. We do use an electric bain marie (oil jacket) with an agitator. I know the heat up time is what it is, but once it's to temperature (192f at this elevation) it still runs dreadfully slow. I know the lower the abv in the wash/mash, the slower the run will go - so that was kind of the genesis of my hunch that I had unfermented sugars still in there. We work in 100 gallon sets, so it's 250 lbs grain in just shy of 100 gallons of water, 100 mL biogluc (I know that's more than needed), 300 mL Hightempase, and 30 mL Amylo 300, about a cup of citric to get to 5.8, and 145 g dry yeast.
  11. I knew there was some level of inaccuracy with rotodexterity in the refractometer once alcohol was introduced - just wasn't sure what to expect with this new batch. Thanks for the reply!
  12. Ha, the glucometer is brilliant! I'm a retired paramedic, so I would love to break out my kit again! Thanks for the other tips on sugar detection - I know I could also pop $3,500 on a Snap 51, but I left my money in my other pants...
  13. I'm interested in the replies here. We've been open for a year successfully making clear spirits to pay the rent up to now, and finally we're starting our brown spirits. I'm a Rye fan, so that was a logical start for me. This week was our first stab at it. Our mash is essentially 2.5 lb fine rye flour per gallon of water. We start with bioglucanase and fermcap (glad to learn of a cheaper alternative!), add hightempase at around 140f, raise to 170f and hold for 1/2 hour, cool to 140 then add amylo 300, rest for another 1/2 hour, confirm conversion with a few drops of iodine in a small sample, then cool to 85f. This is where we adjust the pH, and I see some are adjusting at other points along the way? Then we transfer to the fermenter and pitch yeast (Safspirit M-1). Our starting gravity was 1.085 which was a little lower than I expected, but workable. However, the distilling run was A) slow as can be - as stated above, seriously barely a trickle for like 6 hours - it felt like our vodka spirit run!!, then B) only gave about 1/2 of the proof gallons we expected. The good news is, what we did get tasted GREAT!! just not nearly as much of it as expected. Here's a part that might explain my low proof gallons - and that's about the method of checking the OG, and FG. It's way too viscous before conversion to get a good OG reading with a hydrometer (it basically just sits on top of it), so we use a refractometer. But at the end, as it ferments and thins out, a hydrometer reading is possible... and zeros out to 1.00 after ~4 days, but the refractometer still reads 1.035? Which one is correct? Did we still have 4.4% potential (unfermented sugars)? Or was something else, "a-rye"? JP
  14. Schnapp Still equipment is crap. Non UL, or NEMA, basically made in his basement from Home Depot scraps.
  15. Jason schnapp is a complete jackass. Most of his stuff is resale Still Dragon parts. Some of the pieces we got were clearly already used and damaged/ broken. I generally would not make such a poor review of anyone, but he screwed us out of a lot of money when we made an accidental overpayment on an expensive two column system that we bought from him. Instead of refunding the obvious overpayment back to us, he actually told us to go f*** ourselves. We have copies of checks and invoices to prove the error was his, but we don't have an attorney in Missouri. We have had problems with nearly every single piece of our order. One of the controller's had to be sent back because it didn't work, several of the PID cables are bad, the heating elements are underpowered, the dephleg does not circulate enough water to hold the column in reflux, he ships equipment in bad packaging so that it is damaged during shipment (and then expects you to pay for the repair). Basically just stay as far away as you can. If anyone else has had a similar experience and is interested in a class action suit against him, we would be interested to talk to you.
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