Jump to content
ADI Forums


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by kelbor

  1. kelbor

    Barrels for distillations

    http://www.bascommaple.com/search/drums/ This is who we use. Way less expensive than Bubba's but you got to find stainless bungs separately. The ones that come on them are zinc or some shit. I use plastic drums for lows that I get for $10 bucks at the local bulk foods re-packager. I felt concerned until I got a several free plastic drums from a local limoncello maker that that contained organic NGS. They are marked with a "2" on the bottom I believe which is how the drums from the food re-packager are marked (same as the plastic handles of alcohol and even everclear in the liquor store).
  2. That's right. I've been too lazy with my cleaning regime and the inside of the my pot still is way dirty. My usual PBW rinsing followed by citric acid water won't bring back the shine. Even with elbow grease and a scrubby sponge. Suggestions?
  3. kelbor

    How do I get my neglected copper clean

    I run everything through my pot still - Molasses based rum wash, strip wheat wash for vodka, ciders and wines for brandy, grain wash for whiskies. I usually (though not often enough) do a water rinse followed by a hot PBW re-circulation for 20 minutes (pumping backward through condenser and then back out of pot). This is followed by a water rinse and then followed by the same procedure with a citric acid rinse but with cold water and citric acid. Not sure on the acid concentration - I usually just shoot for "sour" tasting. Less than lemon juice sour (probably PH of 3.5ish). What P.H. should I shoot for? Pot is stainless and is pretty clean but Pot dome, cap, and lyne arm up and over to condenser (condenser is stainless) is copper. My water is just normal water (not RO). I'm thinking, from reading your response (thank you by the way) that I need to do a really good HOT (140-150 degrees F.) PBW rinse and then HOT citric acid rinse (I have always done cold citric). I don't feel like there is any 'soil' per say, but I suppose there may be a layer of organic material creating dirty copper. Not sure if I have copper sulfate issues..what do you mean by this? Thanks again!
  4. kelbor

    Sediment in finished bottles

    Dang, really sounds like the water is the culprit. Try bottling a few at cask strength (with the same filtering regime) and see if you still get that settling. Start eliminating variables....
  5. kelbor

    Sediment in finished bottles

    How long ago have you changed your RO filters?
  6. Looking for a 5 gallon bourbon fresh dumped barrel for a small experiment. Thanks!
  7. kelbor

    Bourbon & Rye Barrels fresh dumped

    Hi, Haven't heard anything. Are these sold?
  8. kelbor

    Bourbon & Rye Barrels fresh dumped

    Hi Joe, I'm interested in these barrels - Particularly the bourbon barrels. Any idea on how much I'd be paying in Freight shipped to 97405? Also, how many do you have? You, for some reason, are unable to get PM's by the way.... Feel free to shoot me a email: kaylon@thinkingtreespirits.com
  9. kelbor

    Can Anyone Interpret This Spirit Analysis?

    Tequila is actually any spirit made in a "qualifying" state of Mexico that is 51% or more agave and is made from Blue Agave hearts only. Many are just that. 100% agave tequila should, by definition, contain no alcohol derived from cane or beet sugar. To advertise is as being from "Blue Agave" is redundant since tequila must be made from this species of agave. 95% of 'Tequila' sucks anyways - Mezcal is where it's at. Ha! But what do I know. I'm just a pale kid in Oregon.
  10. kelbor

    Pulsing Still

    I'm currently wrastling with this same issue as the O.P.. 50 gallon pot, steam heated, 6" diameter column still has a three foot packed section below six bubble plates. It will chug along all happy (but very slowly - about 1.25 gallons an hour) for about 5 hours or so and them out of no where start a massive surge cycle. Parrot has surge breaker holes, I also read about the flash boiling a while ago so I cut up several sections of copper pipe and put them in the pot. Didn't help. I have been somewhat successful by turning down the dephlag and running real low heat with the thinking that my surging was coming from too much condensate return 'chocking' the packed section and creating a sort of liquid blockage for the rising vapors. My packed section is pretty fine copper mesh (used to keep mice and rats from chewing through holes). No sure if this is the issue or not but this is driving me fairly crazy as every time it surges I have to crank up my dephlag, turn down my heat, and re-equalize my column. Any thoughts?
  11. kelbor

    Cost to filter spirit

    Are you using R.O. water to cut your spirit? I've only ever seen cloudy spirits way way past where I would take my tails cut. Smell and taste are what I use as my hydrometer in my parrot will read different depending on temperature of the spirit coming out.
  12. kelbor

    What ever happened to iStill?

    Yes, and I need enough of it to pack 30 inches of it to pack a 6" diameter column. Available for real market testing yet?
  13. kelbor

    Spiced Rum

    Joe - Well put. making money is, for most, the only way to make it "work". It sucks but is the truth. I would not ever condone a person for that. Easier is usually the best route - especially if quality does not suffer. Congrats on the expansion and growth! Silk - You misunderstood me (or I was not clear enough). I don't "poo-poo" people doing things from scratch themselves (even making flavoring themselves to keep product consistency). That's what it is all about. A Vanilla bean is a flavor as is a cinnamon stick. Our Gin is packed with flavor from herbs we did not grow. What I am against is the multitude of producers claiming to be micro distillers who buy and flavor NGS. I really don't think someone would go through the trouble of making a neutral spirit, or any unique spirit from scratch, then just normalizing it by dumping a mass produced/mass distributed flavoring in it. As I stated these products are then often labeled as "hand crafted", "small batch", "micro distilled", "Artisan". Etc. It's competing against these producers with a truly craft product that took real time and significantly more money to create, in a market that is already feeling crowded, that I think needs to change. My original post was in reference to the OP wanting to create a home made flavoring for his rum and Dehner saying "buy the flavoring and be done. don't be a super hero..... make money, don't waste time." which, from his point of view and biz plan, makes sense. But from my point of view and ethos, goes against being "craft" (whatever the F that means these days).
  14. kelbor

    Spiced Rum

    Hey Joe, I really like you and often applaud your self proclaimed success in this industry.... but this advice you gave sucks in this context. I feel like this is exactly why our industry is in inner turmoil with true craft distillers trying to find a way to set our selves apart from rectifiers who claim to make "small batch" "locally distilled" " hand crafted" products from bulk spirits. Yeah, ya could just buy the flavoring and be done with it - pour that flavoring into your bulk purchased NGS (I highly doubt you would want to ruin something that you put you heart and soul into) and sell as a craft produced product. Which is the equivalent, in my mind, of a small bakery decorating homemade cake with Betty Crocker frosting and calling it homemade. Don't you make flavoring Joe, I remember a thread a while ago where you said you were producing one I think? I guess the direction you choose will determine if you intend to make a unique craft product and sell at craft product prices. Or if you intend to make a mass-produced product you plan on marketing like a craft product.
  15. kelbor

    Carbon Filtering Redux...

    Also, you will want to have your "Neutral In" pipe higher then the "Neutral Out" pipe to the whole holding tank will drain....maybe its just looks wrong on your napkin drawing. Note: I see the valves now. Looks Great!
  16. kelbor

    Carbon Filtering Redux...

    We use a very similar system with good results - but at a very limited capacity. We use .5" tubing for neutral to flow from tank to tank. I let it flow through the carbon at about a rate of 25 gallons in 12 hours. I do this as many times as needed until I feel it taste clean enough. (usually around 4-5 passes through the filter bed). Our filter bed is 36" tall and 4" in diameter and we use coco carbon with a few stainless filters at the top of the column. Carbon dust is rinsed out before using the filter for the first time and seems to be removed fairly completely by passing the neutral through the filter several times. Don't forget to place a few ball valves - one at the top and one at the bottom of your filter canister so you can isolate and/or remove for filling or whatever. I also use these valves to adjust flow rates and to close off the filter between batches. We store our filter full of vodka - not sure if that matters though.
  17. kelbor

    Help: Ferment stalled

    Hi everybody - I have my first stalled ferment and am a bit unsure how to proceed. Back story: Rum wash started on Saturday by me but inoculated by my partner later in the day. Wash is 500 gallons (100 gallons Molasses, 200 gallon rum backset, 200 gallons water). Inoculation consists of several types of yeast hydrated correctly. Wash is pumped into the fermenter from the top so it has plenty of air in it. Yeasty nutrients consists of 540 grams DAP, 70 grams vitamin B complex, 10 grams magnesium sulfate. I took Sunday off and came into the distillery on Monday morning expecting to see a fermenter happily bubbling away like normal but nothing. I tested the numbers and got a PH of 4.68 and brix of 29 (which is a bit high but with the non-fermentable sugars from the backset giving as reading this is pretty much normal for our wash). I re-pitched another round of hydrate yeast (I wanted to see if the yeast might be dead but the re-hydrating yeast seemed very active). I came in this morning, Happy Fourth of July by the way, and nothing going on in the fermenter. Any ideas? Thanks! K
  18. kelbor

    Help: Ferment stalled

    Hi JustAndy, I agree, 29 Brix is high. If this was a sugar wash or grain wash it would be ludicrous and just may be with this one as well. When I first started running experiments with different rum washes I found that one gallon of this molasses with four gallons of water gave me about 20-21 Brix. This, of course being a 100% molasses rum wash, did not finish out dry at 0.000 on the hydrometer due to crud and unfermentables in the blackstrap so at 21 brix I was not pushing above 8-9% alcohol. So, I am estimating that there are 8-9 brix points, (sorry, I miss calculated 7 earlier) being brought back over from the pot to the fermenter. Not first batch with backset (probably at least the 15th) and same amount of everything as usual. It is a lot of osmatic pressure but not out of the range of what we've been doing and I'm not sure how burnt sugars affect osmatic pressure. I really do feel like you may be onto something with the building yeast-toxic levels of salts/minerals though. It is a lot of backset to add each time. Update: Just checked ferment. Tank has a white film scum like a bloom on a wine/mead ferment. Smell is rum wash based with a slight sweet acetone/nail polish aroma - exactly like fores actually. I drew liquid from the middle of the tank and it smells just fine - like clean rum wash. PH is 4.44, Brix is 28, temp is 85. Is any body else out there using backset in their rum washes want to chime in on issues they may or may not have had with continued use? Is 200 gallons of backset in a 500 gallon wash too much? Thanks!
  19. kelbor

    Help: Ferment stalled

    You know, I kind of just keep doing the same recipe each time and haven't been monitoring things as well as when I began. I do always check PH and Brix and they have stayed consistent. Don't add anything to monitor PH crash because I have been finishing dry tasting after about 7-10 days of fermentation and I end in the low to mid 4's (a bit lower then 5 but not in the dangerous range). I keep ferments at 90 degrees F and have an aquarium pump at the bottom of my fermenter to keep yeast suspended. Yeast food consists of 500 grams DAP, 70 grams Vit B Complex, 10 grams of Epsom Salt dissolved separately and added while initially aerating the mash in one feeding. I used to add a few pounds of boiled yeast for nutrients and citric acid to bring the PH down but now I just add 175-200 gallons of my backset which should have plenty of acid and boiled yeast in there. Feedstock is 100% black-strap from Glory-bee. I forget what my normal ending gravity is as I have not checked with the meter in a while - its in my notes. I just usually taste a bit of it.
  20. kelbor

    Help: Ferment stalled

    Update: Last Wednesday i went and picked up 12 packets of EC-1118 and re-hydrated as per directions. After 20 minutes I added the yeast to 5 gallon carboy with a mix of about 50% of the stuck ferment wash (well aerated) to fresh water. Early batches using the same molasses to water ratios as the stuck ferment (before we had backset available for use) tested out at about 20-21 brix. I am assuming the Brix of 28 I get now indicates approximately 7 Brix of un-fermentable sugars that came in from the stillage I added. P.H. of the mash still tests 4.65. I forgot to test the PH of the stater liquid i added the re-hydrated EC-1118 to. Brix of starter should be around 20 Im assuming (didn't bother to check since I know the brix of the wash). Thursday morning I prepare a second 5 gallons of 50/50 water and wash - mix in sterilized vat with the now slowly bubbling starter started on Wednesday. I split into two 5 gallons carboys, aerate and airlock. Friday afternoon I took the now two fairly active 5 gallon carboys and added them back to our main stuck ferment. I should have maybe grown a bit of a bigger starter but I had a prior commitment I was attending ( a six day festival) and had been driving about an hour each way the last few days to get this starter going and wouldn't be able to return through the rest of the weekend. The starters were active with visual, albeit slow, rolling and vigorous bubbles through the air-locks. Sunday the ferment was checked and nothing. Sorry for the book but Im pretty stumped. Going in this afternoon after work to check numbers again....
  21. kelbor

    Help: Ferment stalled

    Forgot to mention - Temps during initial pitch were consistent with previous ferments -Yeast was pitched at 95 F. the first day and 90F the second time. Ferments are held at 90 F as a rule of procedure.
  22. kelbor

    Big price difference in Botanicals

    We were given some sage (Ha!) advice a while back when I asked a similar question. We use Mt. Rose as they are here in town but were warned that they, like some of the other very high quality botanical dealers, are very particular about the quality of their herbs they are buying. If the juniper berries, for example, are not up to par from there supplier they will simply just say "No" and then may be out of that botanical for an underdetermined time until they find another batch that meets their standard (and there goes your consistent flavor) . Larger companies such as San Francisco Herb Co. might not be as high quality will always have the botanicals. I cant comment on price vs quality but food for thought when selecting a botanical source is consistent availability.
  23. Hi all, Been here for a few years but have just opened our doors. We are a very micro distillery in Eugene Oregon. Thinking Tree Spirits. Just wanted to introduce my self and say thank you for all the information and help I've received from various posts and members over the years. Cheers! Kaylon
  24. kelbor

    mashing in your fermenter

    I think there may be some fundamental issues with your plan that will end up creating more pain and suffering than success...making changes now in the planning stages might be the best plan of action (which Im sure is why you are here now...). First, you may need to go a bit higher with your mash temps than that industrial hot water heater can go. Corn gellats around 190'ish (and that's the low end of the range) - a final mash temp this high will be hard to hit, especially considering a significant amount of the mass in the mash will be coming in around 70 degrees (F). There are online calculators that can assist with determining the strike temp of your water to reach a final temperature which considers volume and temp of grain. Using your still to heat water is sound advice but your still will not heat enough water to make 600 gallons of mash in one go.... The second problem you will have, as stated above, is separating that grain from your mash before distilling. The old mop bucket and screen bag trick ain't going to be pretty on a commercial level and separating machines can be expensive. I know thinking outside the box and/or re-inventing the wheel with this distilling thing seems attractive and is a great exercise, but there is a reason some things are pretty much the status quo. I really wish you the best of luck and hope you get it all sorted in the best way that works for what you wish to accomplish!
  25. kelbor

    Malt Whiskey from Tails?

    Interesting idea but I'm not sure you can classify it as "Whisky" since it already came off the still way higher then 160 proof (while you were making vodka). I may be wrong about that though as it does seem to be a bit of a grey area since the product you are now making is coming off the still at 160 or less...Im sure more informed people will be along shortly. As far as how long to age it - That is a personal matter and is dependent of many factors such as the age of the barrel and personal preference for the 'whiskies' profile. As far as getting a lot of tails, try slowing down your run a bit and periodic "re-stacking" of your column with the dephlag control as you get close to the tail. Your large tail volume could be from here or perhaps from a unhealthy ferment. If it was me, I'd be looking at way to reduce my amounts of tails rather then trying to find ways to utilize them.....Good luck!