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JustAndy

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JustAndy last won the day on August 16

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  1. Vapor in Column Backflow

    This is a Kothe, and I imagined they would have the kinks worked out at this point as I've seen the same setup at numerous distilleries. I've used a smaller one at a different facility which has worked flawlessly with no modifications from factory original for 2000+ distillations, so I was surprised at all the issues with this installation.
  2. Vapor in Column Backflow

    They don't actually use the vodka column for any of the product currently, so I haven't spent much time fooling with it and don't know what sort of issues it has with vapor and plate performance. It has a whiskey helmet which goes into 2- 8 plate columns. The one time I tried to run some wine through both columns, as the plates filled and it started to reflux the vapor turned out to flow up the gin basket return pipe and bypassed the 2nd column entirely (the return line is plumbed into the piping which leads from the top of the 1st column to the bottom of the 2nd). There are some other design issues with the still (like the gin basket was installed backwards so there is no way to open it...) which really astound me.
  3. Topping off barrels

    I have hard time believing that adding water to a barrel stops the aging clock as well, as it is a standard practice for Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados. If Bluestar's interpretation is right that would likely mean none of the age statements on Germain Robin's products are correct.
  4. Vapor in Column Backflow

    I've had a similar problem with a Kothe 2-column still at a place I occasionally work. The return pipes from the bottom of each column to the still kettle/boiler don't have a p-trap, valve, or flapper. Inside the still kettle, the return pipes are only about half-way down, meaning they are not submerged in liquid if the liquid level in the still drops below about 275 gallons (in a 500 gallon still). As soon as the liquid level drops below the return pipe, both columns begin to fill with vapor which is problematic if trying to bypass the columns or just use 1 column.
  5. Cleaning Run

    ouch, well don't do that I guess... We boil water in the still for mashing and cleaning and the manway gets opened regularly in the process but perhaps we should change that.
  6. Cleaning Run

    Is the water boiling in the still? If so, are the temp gauges in the lower parts of the column at 100C? If its the first time running the still, I would be looking at all the connections with a mirror for vapor leaks where the steam might be escaping. I would also check all the routing and piping valves to make sure the vapor is going the path it should be and not hitting a dead end with a valve going the wrong way. If you bypass the column and go straight from still to the condenser do you get steam?
  7. Apple Brandy Cuts

    I think you've got the wrong end of the hatchet with everything you propose here. I've visited about a dozen Italian fruit brandy producers, a few of whom are considered among the best in the world, and it's easy for me to imagine that if you told them you brought your fruit must up to 16% abv with sugar they would spit on you.
  8. Mash to whiskey in single run

    We make whiskey in a single pass/distillation on a 4 plate still, similar to what Silk City said you can hit a pretty big range of proofs in a single pass depending on the design and mfg of your still. The cuts similarly vary tremendously depending on how you manage reflux. For some whiskies our heart cut is 158-142, others its more like 155-136 but a change in cooling water temp without an adjustment of flow rate shifts everything. We have a bain marie still and doing stripping runs isn't efficient for most products, as the still cannot be run "hot and fast", but there are some niches cases where we do that and the low wines/strip have to be diluted or you cant get a low enough proof. We figured out our cut points over about 1200 distillations...
  9. Apple Brandy Cuts

    I make a chunk of apple and pear brandy every year, and if the ferment has been clean the heads are not considerable especially compared to wine. You probably need to proof down the charge before redistilling it, with that high an abv charge it is likely difficult to get good separation of head products. Also, if the cider has been chapitalized you cannot label it apple brandy.
  10. Marchisio tanks

    They work fine and aren't many other options I've found in that same size/price range but to vent for a minute I found them to be very irritating to work with. The flat bottom and outlet located above the floor required a lot of tipping/leaning/dumping to get all the reside out. You can get a tri-clamp racking arm (https://morewinemaking.com/products/15-triclamp-rotating-racking-arm.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMInfmr9JO-1gIVh2B-Ch1SsAzREAQYAyABEgLIQfD_BwE) which helps but not much. One place I worked had a thin wall tank (I think it was Letina) that had a pitched floor and an outlet flush with the bottom which was much easier to work with, but it was on wheels to accommodate the bottom valve and eventually a wheel wrenched off from the tank while it was full which was nearly a disaster. The floating lids are also deeply annoying for the reasons Wayward mentioned ( and some spirits also have a propensity to eat through the inflatable gasket material).
  11. At what point is a pot still too big?

    For some products like single malt whiskey and irish pot still whiskey, continuous stills are not an option for legal,traditional, and flavor reasons. Thus the giant Midleton pot stills, which are obviously not as efficient or cost effective as a continuous system would be.
  12. A client of ours is interested in having malt whiskey produced for them so they'll have some aged stock available if/when they launch their own distillery. It would a custom mashbill, as they aim to explore some unique heritage and local malt (which they would source if needed). The client also has some transparency requirements as they have a carbon-offsetting and environmental accountability component to their business plan. The volume is still in flux, but it would be somewhere between 50-150 barrels depending on pricing/availability. They are based in Pacific Northwest but are open to other pitches. The timeline is soon, but not immediate If you've got some malt whiskey capacity, please message me and we can discuss the project further.
  13. Bench still for Proofing

    Ah I see, my mistake, I've never needed to heat up a sample (only cool down) so it didn't occur to me. When I was originally looking for a proofing still I wasn't able to find a condenser that was the right shape and connection to use with an erlenmeyer flask without a bunch of adapters which made the pellet lab setup cheaper for me.
  14. Bench still for Proofing

    I would think the Max Temp of 90C would prevent you from distilling a proofing sample to completion? We also use the pellet labs still for proofing tests (https://www.pelletlab.com/distillation_equipment)
  15. Barrels and Aging / TTB Rules

    It says oak containers, which I would interpret to mean a container built from oak which these are not. Their use should require the 'finished with wood staves' caveat that appears on other spirits which are flavored with oak rather than aged in barrels. Also these things look ridiculous, I bet it leaks like a sieve.
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