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Silk City Distillers

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  1. Explosion proof issues aside - I’ve seen these little guys everywhere, usually located close to a still.
  2. Why wouldn't you just use something like of Hoffman Watchman returning to a larger condensate tank? Or directly back to the boiler if it's the only condensate generating device (it doesn't have a water feeder, not ideal). It's about 6" off the deck, or you could plumb a tee into the lower drain port, which is at ground level.
  3. We drilled a hole in the steel condensate receiver tank and welded on a ferrule. Even with that, we have about 5 or 6" of "lift". Glad I'm not the only person here that has been ticked off by that. I know of a few stills in operation that have a few feet of lift, using steam back pressure to return condensate. I know of one going back to the stand-mounted Fulton condensate return - that's not sitting on the floor, but about 3ft up. I can't imagine a few inches is any real problem, even at very low pressures, but higher amounts of lift could cause condensate to be pushed over to the receiver in bigger slugs.
  4. We use low pressure DSI. Usually sub 12 pounds. It’s remarkably efficient.
  5. The brewer next door to us tells us that we could severely underpitch and be just fine. He's got a few buckets of Hornindal ready for us. Waiting on the molasses shipment and we'll get a ferment or two in before it gets really cold.
  6. We don't use any feed water chemicals. We use DSI through a sanitary filter. We realize that it will ultimately destroy the boiler, that's what happens to boilers. Look at the big systems, Vendome mash tuns - DSI. Vendome continuous stills - DSI. Between these two processes, you are talking about the majority of steam not being condensed and returned, huge feed water use. My water guy tells me that he's seeing reverse osmosis boiler feeds becoming more common for food-contact use. Preferable and simpler than dealing with lots of chemicals. If you are already spending money on water treatment systems, why feed your boiler tap water? If you are returning *ALL* condensate to the boiler, and are not losing steam to the atmosphere - realize this reduces your need to blow down. If you are blowing down every day on a boiler that isn't losing steam, you are destroying your boiler prematurely.
  7. You only need minimal filtration to account for any stray particulate that might enter the product due to handling (tanks, hoses, pumps, etc), as the distillate itself should be nearly free of any particulate contamination. If you keep your process clean, even a small in-line filter as part of your bottling process should be more than sufficient. Nothing elaborate here. Realistically, you don't really even need a very small micron filtration - since it's most likely that you'll be dealing with stray dust as the primary contaminent. For gin specifically, I wouldn't want to expose it to too much oxygen, nor would I want to expose it to too much filtration media (especially something like cellulose media, which might absorb oils). If you are doing a good job with handling and processing, and rinsing out tanks, lines, filling machines prior to bottling - you might be able to get away with no filtration at all.
  8. We did a bourbon with 51% corn, 49% whole oat with husk. The whole oat was roller milled. Boy was that ever a challenge - that self-lautered in the mash tun without a screen. Oat husks are huge, if you crack the oat and leave the husk intact, it blooms like a flower. Had to pump back and forth with heavy agitation in the tun to transfer it all. Post fermentation it was a little bit easier to deal with. Dewatering post distillation was a breeeeeeze.
  9. Might be some truth to that. I've had some bottles on display here at home that have had floc, that I'd shook to remove. Just going through the cabinet this morning after reading that comment, I'm not seeing a ton of floc. One of the bottles I know I shook (one of my batch 1 bottle 1) - appears a little "dusty" at the bottom, but no floc. Makes me wonder if the structure is somewhat crystalline - and for some reason, won't re-form in the same way once disturbed. But playing devil's advocate - being transported is going to shake bottles up pretty well - from bottling, to packaging, to palletizing, delivery, forklifts, etc.
  10. Crash cool in your fermenters to encourage flock and settling.
  11. Looking to import for a blended project, ideally Jamaican rums. Tote or less-than-tote volumes. Anyone have a recommendation?
  12. Logistically, seems like way more work than just pumping out. You've got to pull the barrel rack, set it down, pick up the individual barrel, transfer it, drop it, dump. Seems far easier to just pull the rack, set it down, and pump out. We use a small 1" PD pump, works like a charm.
  13. I've never found cane spirit to be truly neutral, even commercially sold neutral, or even cane vodkas. Seems to always retain that rummy top note as a characteristic signature. Always seems to come across as a very very light rum. Not saying this is a bad thing, plenty of other neutrals retain distinctive flavor or aroma based on the fermentable. Other than further processing of your cane spirit, additional distillation, carbon, you'll likely need to find a way to adjust the botanical profile to play nicely with the base spirit. What comes to mind for me, is a warmer profile gin vs a cooler/citrus gin. Might be fun to experiment with some of the warmer botanicals used in a spiced rum (cinnamon, allspice, clove, cubeb, anise, vanilla, etc) - as many of these work very very well with a rum profile. I've been dying to try a falernum-inspired gin, lime, ginger, almond, clove, allspice - a cane spirit base would be ideal here. Gin basket is the fix for delicate botanicals - if you are still feeling you are getting stewed flavor profiles as part of a basket, the next step is really complicated - vacuum distillation. We felt this to be the case with cucumber, even in a basket it's impossible to get a clean, crisp cucumber - to me it always seemed muddled - sure, cucumber, but not like biting into a cucumber on a summer day. Vacuum distillation? On boy. Talk about botanicals in high fidelity.
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