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Silk City Distillers

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  1. Silk City Distillers

    Outlet size on mash tun

    We have 1.5" drain on a dairy tank converted to a mash tun. We use a reducer to step up to a 2" valve, as we've found that a 1.5" butterfly is fairly restrictive compared to the port alone. We do all on-grain, no lautering, and for the most part the 1.5" drain works fine as long as we use that 2" butterfly, otherwise we see the mash start self-lautering, and the liquid drains faster than the grain. This is especially so with heavy husk loads in the tun (roller milled whole oat husk is can be a headache, it would lauter just fine, with no screen at all). Also worth noting, we use a displacement/lobe pump, so it can pull serious suction. I would say 2" really should be the bare minimum. If you are milling to flour, I don't see why you wouldn't at least try a 1" port. Keep a few buckets handy otherwise, or pump out of the manhole/access.
  2. Silk City Distillers

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    I think I want to know. 😂
  3. Silk City Distillers

    Canadian-Made Equipment

    If repurposing tanks is an option as well, and if you are dead set about Canada manufacture, DeLaval has been making beautiful sanitary dairy tanks, blend tanks, jacketed pasteurizers, etc for decades. Bulk Tanks are easily repurposed as jacketed fermenters. As a bonus, they are usually insulated as well. Larger steam jacket pasteurizers are easily converted into mash tuns. Most all of their tanks are heavy gauge stainless and will probably last a century, no tinfoil-thin stainless here. Just a thought.
  4. Silk City Distillers

    Whiskey Hypothetical

    I mean, I've blown this thing so off topic, I'll just let it ride. The increase in amino acids in the mash are key for higher alcohol (read: FUSEL) production. Higher alcohols are key in ester formation. Esters formed from Ethanol are pretty boooooring, it's the high alcohol esters that are where the flavor is at. The metabolism of Valine by yeast results in Isobutanol, the metabolism of Leucine results in Isoamyl alcohol, Isoleucine to amyl alcohol. Look at Table IV above. Leucine for example, metabolized to Isoamyl Alcohol, interesting, now throw in Acetic Acid, those two as an ester is Isoamyl Acetate. That's the big banana bomb you get with some bourbons. Look at the low Leucine levels you get mashing with only fresh water, you'd likely never get a banana aroma without utilizing backset or finding an alternative way to increase amino acids in the mash. Just as a hypothetical, you might need to get to the 4th generation of recycling before you hit that level.
  5. Silk City Distillers

    Whiskey Hypothetical

    Here is a good, easy to read primer on the impact of utilizing stillage, long term. A little context, this was during the 1970s energy crisis, and the cost of evaporating stillage for feed was getting cost prohibitive. So distilleries were dewatering and pushing liquid stillage reuse (sour mashing) to new levels. In this distillery, they went from 40% backset to 70-80% backset. Can you imagine? 80% backset? Take a good look at Table 3 - It clearly illustrates the increase in fusel oil and H2S with long-term sour mashing. You can also see the significant increase in ethanol yield, making the accountants real happy. In addition, you can see the significant increase in amino acids, many of which are flavor and alcohol (good and bad) precursors. Like I said above, sweet mashes make clean whiskey.
  6. Silk City Distillers

    Whiskey Hypothetical

    Having done both, it’s very hard to differentiate between backset sour mash and acidified and nutrient-dosed sweet mash. The differences are subtle. I don’t know about non-acidified mashes, because, well, why would you? I’ll leave bacterial souring out for a moment. I’ll say you can distill a cleaner whiskey from a properly mashed and fermented “sweet mash” base, this is a fact. Backset adds 4 major components to a mash: Acid - primarily carboxylic acids and primarily acetic and lactic within that category. Also propionic, butyric, etc. Nutrient - Backset is very high in nitrogen and yeast derived nutrient. High-boiling Alcohols - This is going to be the Propanols, Butanols, Isoamyl Alcohols. Water - Worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning the origin has nothing to do with hokus pokus, and everything to do with saving money. Use less water, save money on acid, utilize nutrient that would otherwise require costly wastewater processing, gaining yield along the way. From the accountant view, it’s a win win. Except, we are adding a greater amount of high boiling alcohols and carboxylic acids that would typically exist. Put those together and you get lots of ester-based flavors. Some good, some bad, but most definitely more flavors than would exist otherwise. So running tight cuts and greater separation on a Backset sour mash is going to bring you closer to sweet mash, running loose in the sweet will get you closer to sour. Bacterial sour mashing, in particular late lactic souring will result in a similar increase in carboxylic acids and corresponding esters as dosing Backset would, so realize there is a pretty interesting relationship across all these. We haven’t even touched on Backset ratios, which vary wildly across producers. I’ll look back through my literature but I believe it’s wider than 5% to 30%. So do you like 5% sour mash or 30% sour mash? Would you even know? Likewise, wooden fermenters that many of those producers use, full of bacteria, primarily lacto. So you can’t even pigeonhole these guys into one approach, because it’s both. There is no black and white here.
  7. Silk City Distillers

    Whiskey Hypothetical

    The most interesting part of this hot buttered popcorn, corn-on-the-cob flavor, is that it actually has absolutely nothing to do with the corn. It's diacetyl, a fermentation byproduct, while yeast an produce it, in a sweet mash, it's more likely going to come from lactobacillus and pediococcus. This is further amplified by short fermentation timeframes. While a lot of diacetyl is a fault (though maybe not in corn whiskey), a little bit can really emphasize flavors of butterscotch, toffee, caramel, butter, as well as enhance mouthfeel.
  8. Silk City Distillers

    Whiskey Hypothetical

    You could sour with bacteria - typically lactobacillus.
  9. Silk City Distillers

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    We have two approved bourbon colas that explicitly state finishing in used casks. Both included discussions with labeling for clarifications. One is a bourbon finished in an IPA secondary fermentation cask - that took a little bit more discussion. The other is a rum cask that was previously a new bourbon cask.
  10. Silk City Distillers

    Is it worth using sugarcane in rum production ?

    Yeah curious how the TTB allows sorghum syrup distillate to be called whiskey.
  11. Silk City Distillers

    Lessons in Barrel Aging

    If you were going to leave it sit for 2 years, why wouldn't you use something like a 25g or 30g?
  12. Silk City Distillers

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    Non-distiller producers would meet the requirements?
  13. Silk City Distillers

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    Ironically, they don't designate a minimum age?
  14. Silk City Distillers

    American Single Malt Whiskey

    Excuse the mansplainin. Just to be clear here, the "Single" in "Single Malt' doesn't have anything do to with the Malt. Single designates that the distillate was produced in a single distillery, and thus not a blend. There is almost no direct equivalent of this designation in US law/regs. You could argue that Bottled-In-Bond might actually be the closest designation, since it requires the distillate to be produced by a single distillery in a single season, but then BIB adds other requirements that are not similar to "Single Malt". Thus, a Bottled-In-Bond Malt Whiskey would be the actual closest comparison to a Single Malt whiskey under the rules of the Scotch Whiskey Association, EU rules, etc etc.
  15. Silk City Distillers

    Chilling Needs on Mash Tank

    I concur with MG, with 75 degree water supply it's difficult to get below 100 degrees without wasting hundreds of gallons of water. More water than you could ever realistically save, reuse, etc. That's with full jacket tanks. We use both water and chillers for cooling. Cooling from approximately 200f to 150f (corn gelatinization to malt addition) for example, city water is very efficient. Big delta T. Very fast. From 150f to 100f, much slower. From 100f to 80f, brutal, we use chillers here. And we're up here in the Northeast. Hell, I bet we could make a business case for shutting down production in July and August, just because of the increased cost of cooling. In the depths of winter, with 50f temp on the water supply, it's amazingly efficient, and very easy to recover cooling water.
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