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jo-el-eo last won the day on June 8 2017

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  1. On the bourbon - 21% rye - do you know the rest of the grain bill? Is it wheated? Thanks, Joel
  2. Thanks to those of you who have shared your experience. Having received threats from these guys, I know it takes courage. I've talked to a lot of people since my first post, some who are currently suing Corson over truly egregious situations like Stumpy's, several who have put money down and have been waiting way past original estimates on equipment, and many who are thinking about using Corson. This needs to be a place for the facts on that subject. (All due respect Southern Highlander, but I think your plugs belong somewhere else!)
  3. Hey guys. There's also such a thing as a slow opening/closing solenoid valve. Works just the same way as a normal solenoid valve, but doesn't crash open and closed. I learned about them, of course, AFTER putting in a bunch of the fast acting ones.
  4. Main advantage of air pumps is safety for pumping high proof. Theoretically a grounded diaphragm pump is your safest option. The good ones are insanely reliable. We've been operating a 2" ARO every day for 3 years. I replaced the wet side components once, but it didn't really need it. We clogged it once with corn - that's the only time it has stopped working.
  5. Thanks for sharing your situation Hayes. I too had never experienced disrespect or name calling in this industry (or ever, really) like I did from those guys. We ended up repairing the jacket ourselves. Looked for deformations on the inside of the tank, then cut big windows out of the outer shell and removed the insulation where the deformations looked the worst. Naturally the deformations tended to be where the spot welds had been skipped during initial construction. Pressurized the jacket to 15psi with air to find the leaks. Tig welded the pinholes, which were where in the dimples on the cooling jacket where the welds had broken loose. Kept this up until the jacket would hold pressure. Then reinstalled the insulation and welded back in the pieces of the outer shell.
  6. Sorry to revive this ancient thread - but does anyone know how Napa Valley Distillery's bar club works legally? They ship a box of small spirits bottles and mixers once a quarter. Charbay, also in California, will direct ship. These places are high enough profile that they would have been shut down if it were illegal, right?
  7. I bought five 1,000 gallon fermenters and a 1,000 gallon mash cooker from Corson Distilling. I've known them for the better part of 2 years now, since my first conversations with them, having equipment built, and using the equipment for about a year. I previously posted a review, which was taken down by the forum moderators at Corson's request. After my review, I received calls from several people who have had negative experiences with Corson, from receiving defective equipment late to putting down large payments and receiving nothing at all. Several of those people shared that they are filing lawsuits against Corson. Though Corson threatened me with legal action after my first review, there is nothing illegal about sharing my experience in a factual and dispassionate way. And I feel obligated to share my experience to help other distillers avoid the same difficulties. Thanks to ADI's changed forum rules, I hope that this review will remain available for people to see. 1. Delivery Delays Our equipment was delivered late, after much work on my part to encourage its completion. Well into the process I went to Boise in person because their communication made me worried they weren't making progress, to find they were essentially beginning work as I arrived. We ended up receiving the equipment several months after the delivery window, and only with an immense amount of followup on my part to ensure they got it done. 2. Design and Build Quality When we received the equipment, by and large the quality appeared to be good. There were a fair number of missing or incorrect parts, but they were very good about sending out replacements. Once we got the equipment on line, we found that there to be some design flaws on the mash/lauter tun. It was missing a sparge arm, the removable false bottom didn't fit in the tank, and actually broke during the first run, and the design of the rakes, motor and gearbox was inadequately powered to rake even a very small grain bed. The propellers for grain-in mashes also weren't able to keep the contents of the tank moving. Josh Corson and one of their technicians came out and fixed the false bottom, shored up the motor mounts, installed a sparge arm, and did some other minor fixes. After that, over numerous months, we worked with them to get a new gearbox, and to try and get a stronger motor. They did send some parts, but after a year of followup the lautering setup still doesn't work, and I ended up having to modify the propellers myself to get the agitator to work for grain-in mashes. There have been a few problems with the fermenters as well. First, though the design specifications were supposed to have 30% true headspace on top of a 1,000 gallon volume, they do not. Additionally, one of the fermenters developed a jacket leak. It turns out that when the tanks were originally built, Corson did not spot weld about 25% of the dimples on the cooling dimple jackets. So at the specified operating pressure of 15psi, the tanks have blown numerous spot welds, and developed a couple of leaks that we've identified so far. 3. Customer Service The biggest stress for me of this whole experience has been Corson's customer service. They respond to reasonable concerns and questions with anger, insults, and blaming the customer. The best way I can describe the experience is as gaslighting - they've made me feel crazy. We've gone through numerous account managers, who seem to leave as quickly as they come. But all along the way I've been blamed and belittled and made to feel insane for just asking them to build the equipment to specification and fulfill the warranty. When I presented the leaking jacket problem to them a couple months ago, they said I was free to send the tank back to them at my expense, and they would decide whether or not they would cover it under warranty. That of course would be much more expensive than just having it fixed on site. At that point I decided to post my review of them on the forum, after which they threatened me with a lawsuit and said they would no longer be honoring my warranty. I've subsequently fixed the leaking jacket and the propellers myself. In summary, I cannot recommend Corson Distilling. They did produce equipment for us, which we use every day, and I was initially pleased to be able to partner with a small American startup manufacturer. And they certainly made a good faith effort at the beginning to follow through and make things right. But the design issues, and most importantly the customer service, have made the experience overall a very negative one. I would welcome other people who have worked with them to share their experiences, positive or negative. Thanks, Joel Vikre Duluth Minnesota
  8. Thanks guys. I think that's a helpful move toward a more open atmosphere on the forum.
  9. I should add that it is possible to have a policy that allows direct and honest comments and reviews but doesn't allow disrespectful, hateful or slanderous speech. It just requires the moderators to exercise some judgement, and the members to help ensure positive honest and respectful tone.
  10. Hi folks, I recently discovered that the ADI forum has a "no badmouthing" policy. This doesn't sound bad, but in practice it allows sponsors of the forum to have any content they don't like removed, even objective reviews. After recently posting a negative experience with one of the forum sponsors, my post was removed and I was threatened by the sponsor with a lawsuit. But in the meantime I was contacted by several other distillers who have had even worse experiences with this particular company. I now know there are numerous lawsuits in the works against this company, which appears to be in the business of taking deposits and providing faulty, late or no equipment to its customers. Because of ADI's forum moderation policy, there are no candid reviews of this company on the forum. Presumably if other people have shared similar experiences they have been taken down. If I had known about other people's experiences, I would not have done business with them. Since this is the primary place where distillers talk to each other, having the ability to share negative experiences is absolutely critical to the industry. I asked Bill Owens to consider changing this policy, and he has not responded, so I thought it wise to post it here. Either the ADI forum needs to change its policy to allow for open dialogue and reviews of its sponsors, or we need to open a new forum that is not censored in this way. Thanks, Joel Vikre
  11. Oh yeah - one other thing. Until you're in processing or storage, the TTB doesn't require you to file anything about destruction. Losses are expected as part of distilling, so they don't expect everything to add up perfectly in the production account.
  12. Hey Rick, As you know, most folks redistill their tails. A few folks redistill their heads, but that's dodgy territory depending on how it's done. (I thought they were just doing it wrong, but there are some complex distillation schemes used in Scotland that redistill heads). Most folks claim they're reusing the heads for cleaning, solvent etc - but as we've interrogated a bit my impression is that most goes down the drain at most places, likely diluted in pot lees or water. On one hand it's a natural product of fermentation, but on the other hand it's very concentrated. I wouldn't want to dump it on a septic either. Burning it isn't a bad idea, if you can do so safely. We've been looking around for places that could use it locally for cleaning/solvent - but not much luck so far. Joel
  13. Hi all, I remember a couple years back one of the ADI staffers put together a database of distributors by state. Has that been maintained, and is it still available? Thanks, Joel
  14. Hi Chris, Thanks much for the reply. I'll look for that Oregon report. Cheers, Joel
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