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About Gundog48

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  1. What kind of sized heater are we talking, just a 300W one or bigger?
  2. HDPE is fine, high strength alcohol of 96%+ is regularly transported and stored in HDPE drums, IBCs and containers. The real concern is control of static electricity.
  3. We've been having some issues with the filtration equipment I've inherited at the distillery I work at and I want to review our procedures. Currently, we use a 20x20cm plate and frame filter and typically filter everything through 10 micron filters after fining the tank with DE and allowing to settle for several weeks. We use this for our infused gins which have a heavy loading of steeped fruit. We use 18 of 20x20cm sheets. Sometimes the filters will blind very quickly, sometimes it will sail through, but over time our products invariably drop a precipitate. I imagine these are DE ultrafines, as well as proteins that were small enough to get through the filter pad and have floculated together post filtration. After talking to other distillers, it seems that something like a 2uM final filtration would be adequate to permanently remove these. With other products in the pipeline, I'd like to seriously review our filtration procedures and equipment. We do very low volume, we generally filter about 1000L at a time which we would do at a rate of about 4lpm. Cartridge filters look like an attractive option, but I've no idea how to appropriately size them. Whether I'd replace our plate and frame filter altogether is another option, using a 2-3 stage filtration. My main concern is overloading the cartridges, and cleaning. Most of these seem to be priced at a point where they have to be reused to be commercially viable, but given that we have 3 different products that require filtration, this may not always be possible as the flavour/colour of one could contaminate the other. Can anyone recommend any reading or procedures for determining the suitability of filtration systems? Are you guys having your products anylised, doing it yourself? How should I determine what size pleated cartridge is required?
  4. Would you be able to share some methodology here? I'm also looking to achieve the same thing, keeping the pH at about 4 after 48 hours. What quantity of calcium carbonate and citric acid are you using to create your buffer, and how much do you add to the fermentation? I know it depends on the total acid levels in the wash, but it would be good to get a starting point.
  5. I'm currently developing a process for rum fermentations. We've never done fermentations in the distillery before, so it's a learning expereince for all. The small scale fermentations are going well, however in the second generation the pH has dropped too far and has caused fermentation to slow. I've corrected this by testing on a small portion of the wash and then adding Calcium Hydroxide to bring the pH up. Starting gravity is fairly standard, about 1.08. I've used 20% fresh dunder by volume, and it's a mixture of blackstrap and white cane sugar. The first fermentation sans dunder finished at about 4pH with an FG of 1.012. The second fermentation dropped to under 3.5pH where it began to slow things down at about 1.030. The point of these small scale experiments is to develop a repeatable process for scaling up. One of the things I want to do is fixed 3-generational batches. So the first fermentation never includes dunder, the subsequent fermentations each include 20%, then you start from scratch and combine the low wines. So you end up with several discrete 3-fermentation cycles. This should deal with over-concentration of the dunder and traceability concerns. As such, I want to come up with a SOP for pH adjustment. The way I see it, my options are: On-the-fly pH correction using Calcium Hydroxide Adding Calcium Carbonate, which I understand should keep the pH at about 5. This could be good but is a little high for my liking Create a buffer solution, perhaps citric acid and sodium citrate that buffers to something like 4pH. Add the solution either at the start of fermentation or after 24 hours Record and repeat the results of the 'on-the-fly' pH ajdustments and have the corrective additions as regualar fermentation additions to be added at a set point in the fermentation. What are your thoughts on these approaches? What ones do people prefer?
  6. Well, we're finally taking the step from GNS gins into fermentations, our distillery is currently developing a line of rums and it's all very exciting. We're currently doing development work with 50L fermentations which we just keep in a temperature controlled room, the plan is to scale up to ~800L fermentations in 1000L plastic IBCs. The temperature in the facility varies wildly year-round from about 7°C in winter to 30°C in summer. We want to keep fermentation temperatures in the 25-35°C range, with fermentations that last about 4 days. We've got no experience with fermentations that big, and the heat loss and heat production are a bit of an unknown quantity. We're hoping that most of the year round we can simply control the pitching temperature so that it stays within the required range. Most of the year, this will probably involve warming it up to about 25°C before pitching. What I don't know is whether we'd need to insulate, or exactly what temperature we should pitch at depending on outside conditions. Does anyone have any examples on, for example, the fermentation temperature in an IBC pitched at 20°C in a 20°C room? It would be easy enough for me to experiment with the rate of heat loss by filling an IBC and tracking the temperature, but I don't know how much heat will be produced by the fermentation to offset the loss. Can anyone share their experiences?
  7. I work at a gin distillery that works with NGS. We've made the transition to buy our NGS in 1000L IBCs as opposed to drums, and have been getting on quite well, but I think we need to take a step back and look at our safety procedures, I was wondering how you guys handled this. I've got two main concerns: Transfers: Currently this involves me climbing up on the racking and removing the lid, then transferring from the bottom valve using the pump or just by gravity. We need some kind of breather valve, can a vacuum relief lid be used to get the job done, is this sufficent? Spillage: If the worst did happen, which would be due to failure or damage of the valve or damage with a forklift, we've got the potential for 1000L of 96% alcohol gushing out over the floor. What kind of steps do you take to reduce and mitigate that risk. We have a spill kit, and keep a spare IBC for emergency transfers, but it's an enormous fire risk. We've just been working with what we have, but it would be nice to know what other people are doing so we can proceed in a safe manner.
  8. We're primarily a gin distillery who's operations are expanding quite rapidly. Our process involves blending together multiple distillates in a blend tank, and then diluting down to bottling strength. At the moment, we achieve this by placing our tank on a pallet balance and pumping the distillates by hand into the tank until the correct weight is reached. This works on the scale we currently work at, as we can move the tank on and off the balance using a pallet truck. We're looking at scaling up our blend sizes to a point where moving it wouldn't be viable. I'd be interested in what solutions there are for weighing or dosing alcohol into another tank. How do you guys do it?
  9. This is my first time posting here, so I'll briefly introduce myself. I'm an imposter from the UK, very keen on the practice and study of distilling, this is my first year working in the industry. I work for a gin distillery, they've always been keen on producing other spirits (we did a single barrel single malt collaboration project before I started), and I've done a lot of research on rum. As it stands, they've given me the green light to start my own rum project, which I'm incredibly excited about. I'm trying to balance working on a small scale with trying to replicate the results that will be obtained by ongoing production, as well as producing a spirit that we can trial in different ways. I intend to do 3x150L fermentation and distillations, using blackstrap molasses diluted to provide a potential ABV of 10%, with initial additions of DAP at 0.6g/L, and pH adjustment with acid addition. Fermentations will be pumped off the lees, leaving some behind in the fermentor, distilled, then sufficient backset (roughly 30% to begin with), molasses and water added back to the fermentor once cooled (perhaps with the addition of fresh yeast?). For yeast, I intend to use either a Belgian abbey or saison yeast, or potentially a hefeweizen yeast pitched alongside a more alcohol tolerant strain. The aim is to increase ester production. After three fermentations and distillations, the combined low wines will be distilled, using a rectification column configured to collect the heart cut at around 85% ABV. With the resultant spirit, I intend to try some variations such as plain white rum, oaking experiments, blending with clarified dunder, macerating with spices, and redistilling with botanicals. I'd like to know your thoughts on my plan- as you can probably gather, I'm very new to commercial distilling, I'm very enthusiastic with my study, but have little practical experience at product development. The still I'm working with is a nominally 300L still (can take over 450L of wash if needed), with a 7-plate rectification column. It's not the setup that's going to launch us into large scale rum production, but we're not adverse to the idea of small batch production and one-offs!
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