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Silk City Distillers

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  1. You didn't get all of the carbon out. Submicron carbon will make the spirit look cloudy. 1 micron is not sufficient to remove small carbon fines. We use powdered activated carbon for decolorization, and it requires filtration down to .2 or even .1 micron to regain a bright, sparkling, clear appearance. Rinsing carbon is critical to remove sub-micron fines, which are very, very difficult to filter. It will never settle out, so don't bother. If all you have are 1 micron filters, you can try filtering with brand new filters, at a very slow flow rate. However, the better fix is to filter again with smaller pore filters (.2 or .1 micron).
  2. Too bad the alcohol retail and distribution model is prime for disruption and disintermediation. Young consumers have zero desire for brick and mortar retail, especially undifferentiated retail. We know these new generations are heavily motivated by experience, and that plays a major role in the brands they associate with, and buy from. That said, the destination distillery, brewery, winery, cidery, or meadery represent a major threat to both retailers and distributors. This is disintermediation. I live in a major metro, I can buy from Amazon in the morning, and have it on my steps in the afternoon, even on Sunday, yes Sunday. I have to drive to 5 different stores to find the bottle I want? That's just f*cking stupid. I don't have cable TV, I don't watch any of the channels they want to shove down my throat with their packages. I want what I want, when I want it. This applies to everything today, it's not just cord cutting. If you don't have the beer I want, when I want it, I won't ever come back. I don't care that you have 300 cases of Bud and Coors stacked up, or that you have 100 other craft brews. I'll drive two hours, stand in line for two hours, get what I really want, post about it online, and not give a crap about your corner store ever again. This is disruption. Spend 15 minutes on the secondary market forums/communities online. You'll see everything you need to about how passionate consumers can be about products. Bourbon, beer, rum, wine, etc etc. You'll also see everything about why alcohol retail will die. Limited allocation, you need to spend thousands of dollars at a store to even have a chance at getting an allocated bottle, retailers charging absurd markups. If you aren't lucky enough to live in a major metro, with a good retailer, you don't stand a chance at being able to purchase many products. There are dozens of large distilleries that would be immensely more profitable if they could sell direct to consumer. There are probably hundreds of products that would be wildly successful, but can't make it there, because the distribution and retail model will never allow for it. Wineries are making a major push for direct to consumer, I suspect breweries will as well. Recreational pot is passing around the country. Sorry, but the protectionist, prohibitionalist, monopolistic alcohol distribution models are not long for this world.
  3. Yeah it's rare to get such a behind the scenes glimpse into a large commercial operation like that.
  4. Is the filter/system or carbon being rinsed with water prior to filtration? Sounds like there is residual water in the system that isn't drained, or can't be drained. It is customary for carbon to be rinsed with water prior to use, to reduce the level of small carbon particulate (fines). Water logged carbon, even if not obvious, will impact proof. From a filtration loss perspective, you might consider first running RO through the filtration system to purge. Followed by your alcohol at a higher proof - to compensate for the water, run RO again at the end of filtration to ensure alcohol isn't remaining in the system. This will require some trial and error to understand what proof level you'll need to compensate for pre and post-purge. Always target a final filtration proof slightly above bottling proof, and do your final gauge/proof after filtration to ensure hitting target proof with no issues.
  5. Can't imagine how upset the OP will be when some kid becomes a multi-millionaire overnight by rebubbling GNS into CBD Vodka.
  6. There is a beautiful thesis published by Victoria Green a few years back that looked at Bundaberg in Australia, it contains a wealth of fantastic information, and touches on the topic of bulk molasses storage quite a bit. This is absolutely a must-read paper. http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:36385/SOURCE02?view=true
  7. We're mostly talking about cereal mashes of unmalted grains here - rye, corn, etc. There is no enzyme to denature, causing non-fermentable sugars. Malt and Enzymes are added after the cereal mash has been cooled to temperatures (and pH adjusted) to convert all the gelatinized starch to fermentable sugars. Using something like Glucoamylase, the potential for non-fermentable sugar is just about nil. When we're talking about cereal mashes, realize that unmalted grain generally requires higher gelatinization temperatures than unmalted grain - and be careful referring to brewing literature that doesn't specify, often times they are mainly referring to malted grain, or even pre-gelatinized adjunct. Also realize, the higher the temperature, the faster the gelatinization process. There are large commercial distilleries that use pressure cookers, or inline jet cookers, to heat the mash far above 212F (boiling point) - which results in near instantaneous gelatinization of starch.
  8. Usually most mash tun/stripping combination are jacket heated, so why bother lautering? Even with a lauter tun, a mash bill of predominantly wheat, with low barley, may have challenges lautering without adding rice hulls, as wheat has no husk. I think it's easier to separate after distillation, not to mention your yields will likely be better.
  9. Never tried it, who wants to submit a recipe and see what happens? Keep in mind, Ethanol+Water is not the only azeotrope that exists in beverage distillation, it's just the one that's most obvious to us. There are probably dozens of different two and three component azeotropes that can impact the character of distillate.
  10. We've been following a routine very similar to @JustAndy, we gel much higher than 158, which IMHO, is far too cool for unmalted rye. I'll echo the double BG additions as well, we've been doing a 30 minute glucan rest at the start, and then we add again during the cool down. Prior to this, we risked erupting out of the top of our fermenters, since we started this, we haven't had any issues. During our first rye mashes, where we didn't use BG, and were a little bit light on the High Temp Amylase - we ran into issues during cool down. Our jacketed mash tun simply refused to cool rye mash. The agitator was not effective, and you needed to scrape away the sides of the tun with a paddle. From what I could tell, the sticky rye was gelling/solidifying near the edges and acting as an insulator. Taking it up to the 180-190f level makes the mash process much quicker. Sounds similar to what you might have been experiencing in the still, rye mash acting as an insulator to prevent heating.
  11. Yeah, while the approach here is inline starch cooking, it's still very much a batch mash and fermentation process. Ideally, we're running the inline starch cook around 5-10psi, where we can push the inline temperature to the 220-240 range, above atmospheric boiling, where starch gelatinization is essentially instantaneous.
  12. We've run the rig a few dozen times now, and are now using it on every mash. We're slowly moving to build the permanent setup. We were a little bit hesitant to pull the trigger on building until we knew we had the kinks worked out. We ran into an issue last mash, by trying to run the water injection temperature higher than usual (120f) - this caused us to gum up before the steam injection - bad news. Now we know, the top temperature for water injection is around 80f. We were mashing oat and corn, and oat has a fairly low gelatinization temperature. I'll post some pictures later this afternoon of what the current plumbing looks like. It's not pretty, but R&D sometimes isn't. I am very, very happy. Zero dust, even when milling to flour - this was the primary goal. As a result, our batch yield is through the roof compared to the coarse crack we were using to keep the dust down. We've probably cut a half hour to an hour off our mashing start-to-finish-time. Running a hammer mill, indoors, with no dust - it's magic.
  13. Is this a beverage being made for consumption? Some of the high nutrient sugar wash techniques that are distilling-focused might not yield an ideal "beer". Absolutely none of the techniques we're talking about yield an intermediate "beer" that anyone would want to drink.
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