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JustAndy last won the day on August 16 2017

JustAndy had the most liked content!

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About JustAndy

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  1. JustAndy

    Oregon Oak barrels 30 gallon

    The important distinction is that MN oak, similar to Kentucky, MO, MI, and etc oak are all more or less the same species of tree just grown in different locations. Oregon Oak (quercus garryanna) is a different species with different properties. It has to be split and quartersawn like french oak, which reduces the yield per tree considerably and it also needs 3-5 years air drying to get a stave that's useable (compared to 6-18 months for a typical whiskey barrel). There also isn't very much oregon oak to be had, compared to the entire industries and forests devoted to white american oak. I've used oregon oak at a couple of different distilleries and it has some unique flavor contributions that are distinct from french oak. Whether that's worth an extra 400-600$ per barrel I think depends on how strong your marketing department is.
  2. JustAndy

    How do they flavour those Gins!

    We make rhubarb liqueur, step one would be to taste the rhubarb and see how flavorful it is. We see big variations in flavor intensity depending on the year, time of year, location, and variety (sometimes requiring the use of almost double our typical amount of rhubarb to get the flavor intensity). If the rhubarb you are working with doesn't have flavor, neither will your syrup. If you want cooked rhubarb flavor I suspect you need to cook the rhubarb longer, and if you want raw rhubarb flavor you need to press it. Either way you'll need to settle and filter the syrup/juice to avoid sediment.
  3. JustAndy

    Water Chiller

    I would suggest diverting as much hot water as possible into an insulated tank to use for mash water and cleaning water rather than trying to chill it. And use a cooling tower or similar to drain off as much heat as possible overnight before putting it through a chiller.
  4. JustAndy

    Mashing raw barley

    We've done some whiskey from 100% unmalted barley flour, we just mashed it the same as how we deal with other unmalted grains using a high temp alpha and gluco. So far the unmalted barley spirit has gotten pretty poor marks for flavor, and we'll ultimately probably need to blend the barrels with something else down the road. We've tried out a lot of different grains (rice, oats, rye, wheat, corn, millet, sorghum, barley) and unmalted barley is the least appealing to my palate.
  5. JustAndy

    Glass Costs

    We have seen it too, tariffs and trade war worries. https://katu.com/news/local/trump-tariffs-could-squeeze-local-wineries
  6. JustAndy

    Hot vs Cold Water Barrel Prep

    I just looked and we have barrels where the hoops are held with nothing, nails (close to the worst), T-tacks, and L-cleats (the best). The most annoying for my money was at another place I worked, where we got black swan barrels that had the hoops held in place with screws. I've had the same experience with the nails tearing the wood and causing leaks, but more typically happens when removing a hoop rather than tightening. I will drive the hoops down a bit, then back up, which makes the nails/tacks/pins easier to remove with pliers. We have a set of barrels that hold stuff for 9 months and sit dry for 3 months and I use L-shaped cleats which go under the hoop rather than through them to hold everything in place while they sit dry.
  7. JustAndy

    Hot vs Cold Water Barrel Prep

    On the subject of hoop drivers: I had a local black smith (the amazing Bob Denman of Red Pig Tools http://www.redpigtools.com/About-Us_ep_7.html) forge a hoop driver based on an older design called a nantucket hoop driver (https://www.stortz.com/product/nantucket-driver/). It's essentially a 2 lb sledge with one face flattened into a notched edge. You still need a mallet to fully tighten the hoops, but I find it's pretty handy when reassembling barrels, as you can roughly knock hoops into place while still having a free hand to work a head puller or bumper compared to using a driver and mallet.
  8. JustAndy

    Dealing with vindictive neighbors...

    I would just try to ride things out longer, he's obviously trying to provoke a reaction and in absence of one will either get tired and move on or will escalate to something that gets him in trouble.
  9. JustAndy

    Hot vs Cold Water Barrel Prep

    I'm sure you could rig appropriate pressure gauges and reliefs but I would still feel worried creating and dispensing steam from a vessel not designed to do that.
  10. JustAndy

    Hot vs Cold Water Barrel Prep

    I'm sure you know what you're doing, but a home built barrel steamer sounds like an excellent way to visit the morgue. 😉 Standing the barrels on end and filling the head recess with warm/hot water is a good way to start re hydrating without washing out a lot of barrel character or using a ton of water. Similarly I've seen/heard of people using barrel 'kiddie' pools for very dried out barrels. We don't let water sit in a barrel for longer than 24 hours, and the water used to rehydrate/fill the barrel should be the same clean, filtered water you would use to proof spirit. https://issuu.com/artisanspiritmag/docs/artisanspirit_issue023_web/41
  11. JustAndy

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    This probably sounds snarkier than I intend but if you don't want to mimic Scotch, you probably shouldn't hope to rely on a term like 'single malt' that they have defined and marketed for 50+ years.
  12. JustAndy

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    The vodka thing doesn't bother me, because I no longer work anywhere that makes vodka 😉 More seriously, with the exception of color I consider the definition to be an unenforceably subjective standard because everything has an aroma and flavor and if you do enough QC and sensory panels you can get pretty sensitive to them. Water is probably defined as flavorless, but taste the water in 5 states and they will all be different. Even DI or RO water has a taste when compared to a non-RO sample. If the definition was based on g/LPA of esters or volatiles or something analytically measurable it would make more sense to me, but right now it's sort of the 'i know it when i see it' definition of pornography.
  13. JustAndy

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    I was weirdly enough interviewed for that story, my wife is the editor of that site. I don't doubt that sorghum syrup could make an interesting spirit and I've enjoyed reading your family and regions history of it, but it's not legally/technically/or conceptually whiskey when made from syrup. As we have all seen at this point a zillion times, just because the TTB incorrectly approves one label doesn't mean they will or should incorrectly approve a future label.
  14. JustAndy

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    Per a TTB webinar on the whiskey standards of identity, whiskey cannot be made from syrup, it must be processed from grain. So if you are fermenting and distilling sorghum syrup it is a distilled specialty spirit and not whiskey or rum. We've made whiskey and baijiu from sorghum grain, I don't think it will be catching on anytime soon.
  15. JustAndy

    Outdoor wood fired stills for wineries etc?

    Brandy Peak Distillery in Brookings OR had outdoor wood fired stills which operated from like 1994 until they closed last year. The owners father designed stills for Gallo and had his own company L&A Engineering construct their two wood fired stills. I never saw them in person so I couldn't tell you about them