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  1. Excellent point! The wording can definitely be tricky for distilled spirits specialties. I think you hit the head on the nail with how one may be appropriate while the other may be rejected for being misleading. In my experience, starting a description with the base spirit (Vodka, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Rum, etc.) then describing the 'special' processing (With Natural Lime Flavor, Finished In Used Rum Barrels, etc.) works more often than not. KISS
  2. When submitting a distilled spirits specialty (DSS) formula you aren't required to put DSS on your label anywhere. They just require a truthful and accurate statement of composition. So if you were to finish straight bourbon whiskey in wine barrels, the formula is required, would be a distilled spirits specialty, and the statement would be 'Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Wine Barrels'
  3. I knew I was leaving something out. I think with ours we went down the DSS route for those exact reasons
  4. I believe the way we did ours was along these lines. 'Spiced Rum' (all the same font, line and size) as a fanciful name and then under a statement of composition which was 'Rum with Natural Flavors'. Might not work for every TTB officer.
  5. I think that is why this labeled as agave spirit and not tequila. I believe your statement concerning tequila is indeed correct.
  6. I would agree that the article appeals much more to the romantic notion of tradition and 'true craft' rather than the logical reasons behind slow distillation/maturation. I'm not saying the former is better than the latter or vice versa, it just seems to fall short on delivering a true argument for slow distillation. After reading the article several times, it seems to me that the message he is trying to convey is a lot of modern distillers simply do not care about the craft aspect. These distillers, some with no real training in the field, value time as money. This leads to poor cuts, short maturation times, and a flood of subpar or sourced product on the shelves. For me, I see working knowledge as most important in our field. Sure, this sometimes can be seen as slow distillation/maturation, but the QA/QC of each step is of the utmost importance. I also think as an industry, we can't be blinded by 'tradition' and the 'good ole days'. If that is how you want to run your distillery, more power to you, but continuous innovation in the field is what is going to expand to endless possibilities. My counterargument would be, instead of focusing on slow distillation/maturation, take pride in your craft. Seek to continually improve in a way that fits your distilling interests/experiences.
  7. Seems like a solid list. Only thing I'd recommend is using the flowmeter(s) for water only, unless you are able to put everything on load cells then weigh it all instead. An on-demand hot water heater is always nice. Water softener/filtration for your boilers/mash water respectively. Stainless steel paddles/whisks are great tools to agitate spirits during blending, proofing, etc. Match your hoses to meet need based on proof, temperature, and sanitation.
  8. Georgeous, It's a standard tube in shell set-up. The large opening on the end is for the mash. I think what is throwing you off is that the inlet for coolant is smaller. This is indeed the case but the inlet connects to the much wider shell. Easy peasy.
  9. Couple questions: 1. How are you calculating volume? If it isn't by weight and proof you may be off by several gallons depending on several factors. 2. What kind of still are you running? What is your target ABV off the parrot? Most stills that I'm aware of recommend not running them under 1/2 volume if not more. If you have a pot still and shooting for 70% you will have to do several stripping runs to meet that half-way point. If you have a column still that can give you a decently high proof from a 8% charge, diluting the one stripping run down will be enough.\ This is the main reason some distilleries will often have 2+ stills. A larger stripping still and a smaller 'finishing' still that will accommodate the stripped volume.
  10. Lactic acid is definitely not a fatty acid. That being said it does have a lower sensory threshold so most people don't bother with it. I personally use phosphoric acid for pH adjustments but citric is also common. If you're looking for a heavy, flavorful rum, most people will agree that recycling dunder is the best approach.
  11. Do you control temp during fermentation?
  12. I'm no expert but what it seems like what the TTB specialist is saying is, your fanciful name is suggesting that your product is either a bourbon whiskey (let's stick with one for sake of clarity) or a blended bourbon whiskey which is an entirely different S.O.I. than a 'blend of straight bourbon whiskeys'. As per the CFR, since you are mixing straight bourbons from two different states it would fall under the designation of 'blended straight whiskey'. So I would suggest changing your fanciful/brand name in a way that doesn't allude to something other than 'blended straight whiskey'. This seems to have been triggered by you putting California on the label. (d)State of distillation. Except in the case of “light whisky”, “blended light whisky”, “blended whisky”, “a blend of straight whiskies”, or “spirit whisky”, the State of distillation shall be shown on the label of any whisky produced in the United States if the whisky is not distilled in the State given in the address on the brand label. The appropriate TTB officer may, however, require the State of distillation to be shown on the label or he may permit such other labeling as may be necessary to negate any misleading or deceptive impression which might be created as to the actual State of distillation. In the case of “light whisky”, as defined in § 5.22(b)(3), the State of distillation shall not appear in any manner on any label, when the appropriate TTB officer finds such State is associated by consumers with an American type whisky, except as a part of a name and address as set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. To me it seems like there is two remedies. 1. Remove California from the front of the label since normally you wouldn't have to put the state of distillation for a blend of straight whiskeys. 2. Put the states of distillation. Hopefully this helps!
  13. I was able to download it to my computer where it then showed up correctly
  14. Can you show me how you are getting these numbers? I'm getting something much, much lower (around 3-4 ppm if none of the metabisulfite is reacted out with any present chloramine). The metabisulfite is also a new addition (read: problem was present before) because I feared chlorophenols but the consensus says to ditch it so I will! I was just going off of Bru'n Water which shows that the small addition of metabisulfite when reacted with chloramine (depending on the level) should leave minute traces of sulfate (8 ppm) which shouldn't affect the flavor. Thanks everyone for the input! I'll ditch the tablets. The description of SO2 sounds spot on. Is there any way of removing it from a distillate?
  15. So this has been plaguing me for the past month or two. Our 100% corn mashes have been producing an abnormal distillate. It's hard to describe but it brings to mind images of camphor, chloraseptic, vegetal-sulfur, plastic-y and metallic. It's very volatile and astringent on the tongue but usually fades and is replaced by how the distillate should taste. At high proofs it lacks any displeasing aroma but when proofed down (Distilled, RO, you name it) the aroma begins to match its flavor. This was my latest batch: 1. Sanitize mash tun then fill with 80 gallons of water (goes through a activated carbon filter) at ~110F. Add 4 tablets of potassium metabisulfite to treat any left over chlorine/chloramine. 2. Add 200 pounds finely milled corn as water is filling. pH at this stage is around 6.2. Add 25ml Hitempase 2XL to help thin the mash and begin heating. Heat to 185F and add another 50 ml of HT2XL and hold for 30 minutes. Let it passively cool, adding 75 ml HT2XL when it gets below 170F (this specific occurrence it was 166F). Continue to passively cool to 145F, altogether this takes around 1 to 1.5 hours. 3. Adjust pH to 5.4 using phosphoric acid (150 ml to be exact). Add 100 ml Amylo300 and let rest for 1.5 hours. After the second rest, add 40 gal of water (and 2 more Campden tablets) to assist in cooling. Use cooling jackets to bring down 80F. Readjust pH to 5.4-5.5. 4. While all that is happening, rehydrate half a pound of Red Star DADY using 150 g of StartUp (no DAP) nutrient in 1 gal of 100F treated water (50g/L dosage suggestion). Add 100 g SuperFood nutrient (DAP). After awhile a slurry is formed but the yeast don't look super active (no foamy head or anything). 5. Once the mash reaches 80F, pitch yeast and let ferment in the mash tun (ruling out any dead legs or improperly sanitized hoses). Final OG is 1.054, pH is 5.4-5.5. It ferments mostly dry in 3 days (around 1.000) with a final pH between 3.9-4.0. The flavor and aroma seem typical; dry, slightly tart, slightly bitter, perhaps a little sulfurous. No signs of infection. I then transfer to the still and immediately strip it. It is a 240 gallon, all copper, steam jacketed, alembic still. The off-flavor is most prevalent in the heads but stretches throughout a good portion of the hearts. Usually not noticeable in the tails. I dump the first half gallon or so then collect everything in a receiving tank. I run it down to about 35 proof leaving me with around 15 gallons of 70 proof low wines. Running it that deep into the tails does cause some copper salts to come out in the distillate and they seem to mix nicely with the fatty acids (film of oil on top) to my displeasure. Normally I would run a few strips then do a second finishing run through the alembic. However, while I've been fiddling with these half batches I've been running them through a 50 gallon direct heat (immersed heating coils) still with two plates and very minor reflux. Seems to only get concentrated while still bleeding throughout the hearts. If I'm lucky I get a few gallons of usable product. In the beginning I thought it was a problem with water or fermentation (wild yeast/bacteria infection) but I'm beginning to suspect something with the stills. I clean them between each run with a caustic, citric, rinse routine using CIP. The lyne arm I have to remove and let it soak with each (only able to do ~110F). I also have to manually soak the condenser (again only ~110F). Today I took apart and hand cleaned everything that I could. I noticed a dog-legged piece that connects the condenser to the parrot. Several large chunks of copper salts came out as I rinsed it and it smelled horrible. Even after soaking and rinsing it still smells slightly. I also run a very flavorful, macerated redistilled gin through the alembic. It doesn't have any noticeable off-flavors, but I'm not 100% positive it isn't covered up by the botanicals. Could my problem be in the copper salts? Or is it possible that the gin is causing it? Any advice, ideas, or consolations are appreciated!
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