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About robertbirnecker

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  • Birthday 12/14/1981

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    Chicago, IL

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  1. Kothe Distilling Technologies Fall 2011 Workshop Koval Distillery in Chicago is proud to host Kothe Distilling Technologies' three-day fall workshop from October 14th to 16th. The course covers both basic and advanced distilling techniques and the legal and business aspects of starting a distillery. It is not only tailored to prospective distillers, but also is of great benefit to liquor industry professionals who want to improve their knowledge of the craft distilling movement, understand the process of distilling, and hone their skills in tasting distilled spirits. During the workshop, participants will learn the entire process of starting a distillery from fruit selection, mashing, distillation, and packaging, to the legal and business aspects relevant to North America, including the federal Tax and Trade Bureau, certification and label approvals, location requirements, and state regulations. Students will also receive hands-on distilling experience on a custom Kothe still at Koval Distillery. A sensory seminar during the workshop will teach various sensory aspects of different types of alcohol, including eaux de vie, vodkas, whiskeys, grappas and liqueurs. Participants will sample many different products and learn to identify positive as well as negative aspects of distillates. Hosts Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker Hart, founders of the award-winning Koval Distillery and the manufacturer's representatives for Kothe in the United States, will be giving personal insights into the practice of distilling and starting a distillery, and other lecturers will speak on their areas of expertise. The workshop will take place from Friday, October 14, through Sunday, October 16, at Koval Distillery at 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave., in Chicago, Illinois. Cost is $799. Please visit http://www.kothe-dis...ducts/workshops for more information and to sign up for the course.
  2. Sounds interesting. Quite a few people leaving academia for distilling... I guess, it's been said that academia drives you to drink. We did the same thing here in Chicago. All the best, Robert www.kothe-distilling.com
  3. The one day we reserve for the sensory seminar, I don't think the name Kothe even gets mentioned. People are plenty busy keeping up with Dr. Hagmann. Unfortunately, we are probably doing the last sensory seminar in May - at least for a while.
  4. Hey guys, @Melkon I agree with you, that's why I mentioned that this idea was good from the beginning. We just want to pursue the other aspect in addition (I think this is where people read the post a little too fast). @Ralph Thanks for summing this up! All the best Robert
  5. I don't think you quite understand the discussion. We are talking about 2 different things. No one is trying to exclude you. Please re-read the posts. Since this is a public forum, I think a tad of netiquette would be in order.
  6. Hey Melkon, It is something that started out of discussions with a number of other distillers that were looking for another marketing angle. Bill knows about it and we have talked about our project. We are definitely going to work with the ADI on it but I think it will only be associated with the ADI and not serve as a certification from the ADI. That's why I think your micro idea is quite interesting as well. This could be something actually from the ADI and be broader than what we have in mind. All the best, Robert
  7. This has nothing to do with relegating you to the sideline. I have no problem with people using NGS. You also have to grant people who don't use NGS though to use that as a marketing tool similar to organic and kosher. Please also watch your language.
  8. Hey Melkon, Really like the idea. We are working on something similar and have a lot of people on board by now. Q1 of 2011 we will launch a certification group for distilleries. However, we will be focusing on grain/fruit producers and exclude the usage of NGS. I've talked with Bill about it as well and agree with you that these things need to come from within the industry. All the best, Robert KOVAL Distillery
  9. I understand the discussion if we talk about Gin or Liqueur. For Whiskey... I am not sure if you can call various amounts of grain a recipe. Plus, the different types of a specific grain can really change the flavor. Wheat is a great example for this. In addition, technique can also affect your flavor.
  10. Hey Scott, Used is tricky but the new ones are 9KW and 12KW - definitely need a variably frequency drive or converter for the single phase. Let me know if you can't find a used one. All the best, Robert Kothe Distilling Technologies. Award winning handcrafted German engineered potstills for the production of high quality fruit and grain spirits, as well as bioethanol. “Kothe Destillationstechnik” uses patented technology to specially engineer each still with solid quality and energy saving compounds to meet the particular needs of each distiller. Kothe Distilling Technologies is the sole representative of “Kothe Destillationstechnik” in North America, Canada, and Mexico. -------------------------------------------------------- Kothe Distilling Technologies Inc. 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60640 http://www.kothe-distilling.com info@kothe-distilling.com (312) 878 7766
  11. Hey John, Steam is always a tricky issue, especially when it comes to process steam. It sounds like you don't have enough steam buffer for the settings you have on your boiler. If you lower the differential (I would say 1lb is standard, but there are also 0.25lb) your boiler may keep the steam more accurate. The problem is that it will then cycle on and off. Gate valves are a good way to control steam if you have relatively steady steam. The difference in psi you have requires either a large steam reservoir (more steam = more time for the boiler to start up) or a pressure reducer to keep your steam steady. There are electronic options out there as well to counter severe drops in steam by modulation of a valve, but they are the most expensive solution. As for residential vs. industrial - mostly the cost difference is cast iron vs. stainless, secondary shutoffs and so forth. All the best, Robert Kothe Distilling Technologies Inc. 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60640 http://www.kothe-distilling.com http://www.kotheconsulting.com info@kothe-distilling.com (312) 878 7766
  12. Hi Direct fired versus waterbath/steambath has been a discussion in this industry for a while. In Europe, the waterbaths developed because of the high amount of fruit mashes distilled there. Even with agitation it is very hard to avoid sticking to the pot and the heat stress to the mash can be quite significant. Just think of melting chocolate in a waterbath versus over a direct flame - same principle. However, this problem is not limited to fruit mashes. Grain mashes are just a bit more liquid and still prone to sticking. If you are only putting stripped runs through it (and now my question would be - where is this other still with the waterbath and why not just have it for both runs?) or NGS you won't have the sticking but honestly I wouldn't want to be around that still. Bottom line is, direct firing is a technique of the past. If you want to produce high quality spirits you either have a steambath or a waterbath. All the best, Robert Kothe Distilling Technologies Inc. 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60640 http://www.kothe-distilling.com http://www.kotheconsulting.com info@kothe-distilling.com (312) 878 7766
  13. Dear Pete, First of all, you need to know the maximum operating pressure of the still you are building, I assume low pressure steam meaning 15psi or lower to put all the appropriate safety devices on. 150GAL usually require a slightly bigger boiler than the one you have available. It basically means your heat up will take a bit longer. As for the steam regulation, you would regulate the flow of steam relatively basic with a globe valve or a ball valve, also reducing the pressure inside the still. There are more elaborate management systems with digital measurements and automatic adjustment of steam or pressure reducers that go to certain setpoints but they are also more expensive and require some more knowledge. Hope that helps. Robert Kothe Distilling Technologies Inc. 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60640 http://www.kothe-distilling.com http://www.kotheconsulting.com info@kothe-distilling.com (312) 878 7766
  14. Dear Porter, We are trying to start a guild, not an independent research group. At Koval Distillery, we know the people around us. We know who is in our business. At the end of the day, microdistilleries are in the same boat. While there is always a bit of competition, I think this is the wrong way to look at it. Brewers guilds, Winemakers guilds and so forth have shown that micros in other industries work well together. Other distillers guilds (CO, NY) also show this. As for the association with Koval, we have one seat on the board the first year. The other seats are taken by other distilleries. We decided to supply the office space, email account and labor for this venture. I don't think anybody in the guild sees this as a problem. The name of the guild is Midwest Distillers Guild - no association in name. We will also have our own websites, but these things take time and money. All the best, Robert
  15. Hey guys, For the type of production you are planning, I think you'd be better of with a motorized crusher designed for fruit mashing. You can either go with a plastic model or a complete stainless setup. I am attaching two pictures. Please give me a call if you are interested in one of them. Also, if you want to discuss production techniques for your pear brandy, I am happy to see if we can help you. The crushing might not be the only thing you might want to do with the pears. As for the test distillation mentioned above, there are small units (like in a lab) that take 100ml samples of mash, liqueur or sugared product. Denver Distiller was spot on with this and also the production of "Geist" (if anyone out there has an English term, please tell me). The reason for removing the stems as mentioned above is to get rid of tannins. All the best, Robert Kothe Distilling Technologies Inc. 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60640 www.kothe-distilling.com www.kotheconsulting.com (312) 878 7766
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