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Silk City Distillers

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Everything posted by Silk City Distillers

  1. Silk City Distillers

    Is it possible to get a permit for a festival site distillery ?

    It would be the most boring festival ever. Distilling is not a spectator sport...
  2. Silk City Distillers

    Aging Vodka

    Careful comparing to Starka, especially good ones. They are not distilled clean, and sometimes casked with fruit and other flavoring ingredients. There is a polish one aged on apple, pear, and a few kinds of leaves. I forget the name. Agree with @bluestar many of these are probably more accurately called light whiskey or flavored light whiskey.
  3. Silk City Distillers

    Aging Vodka

    Having tried this, and tried commercial products made like this. I feel that it makes an insipidly thin “whiskey” that lacks any interest straight or mixed. A $12 bottle of Canadian Whiskey tastes wonderful in comparison. It’s oak flavored vodka... I haven’t seen any of the commercial products that do this gain any market share over what pure novelty would command. I suspect that if you took your time and really optimized a wood and aging protocol, maybe one using ex-wine casks instead of new oak, (think staves in stainless, not barrels) you might be able to come up with something really special. Even more so if you used a fruit base distillate with some character.
  4. Silk City Distillers

    Aging Rum

    I had a bunch of old growth white oak that I threw under my deck, it was there 4 or 5 years, completely forgot about it. Cut it down, toasted it, charred it, damn it was so much better than fresh kiln dried wood from the good lumber yard. The seasoning process for the wood/stave, it really is a very important step. Get a nice piece of good quality wood, leave it outside for at least a year, a place where it will be subjected to sun, rain, weather, etc. Even longer is better. It's going to look like garbage, warped, etc. Put it through a planer to shave off just a touch of the gray ugly outside bits, revealing what looks like new wood again. THEN do whatever you want to do with it, toasting, charring, etc. I'm telling you, it's like night and day. Absolutely none of that puckering dry oaky tannin. I'd love to find some old white oak barn wood siding that was never painted, 50 years old, and make a whiskey out of an old barn.
  5. Silk City Distillers

    Forum malware?

    What happened to the new topics list on the mobile view? Now I get a bunch of ads and old articles in a graphical list that are totally irrelevant.
  6. Silk City Distillers

    30gL barrel racks

    I'm interested, sending PM.
  7. Silk City Distillers

    Yeast recommendation for honey

    Just as the title says, looking for a recommendation on a yeast strain for a honey distillate. Racking my brain over this one. If you don't want to share what strains you use successfully, please share the ones that didn't work well.
  8. Silk City Distillers

    Yeast recommendation for honey

    I ran 4 weeks at 55-60f, using a yeast that can comfortably ferment that cold. Incredible aroma preservation.
  9. Silk City Distillers

    How many of each bottle size

    We tend to do the very small batch, unique, limited volume products in 375ml to allow for more people to buy and try, whereas the mainstream products are all 750ml. We rarely, if ever, bottle the same product in both bottle sizes. I wouldn't sell the same product in both bottle sizes, side by side, in the tasting room. I'd wager a guess this would reduce tasting room sales revenue. Some specific retailers carry our 375ml, but significantly less than 750ml. Like I said above, this tends to be fairly unique product that needs to be "sold" in person, which lends itself to the tasting room, but not to retail. Bartenders HATE 375ml, especially if it's a funny bottle shape. We don't do anything in the bigger 1-1.75ml bottles, the pricing would end up being fairly high, the demand fairly low, and the cost to bring in additional bottle sizes and labels wouldn't be cost effective.
  10. Silk City Distillers

    New startup question about setting up

    This is just a pet peeve of mine, nothing personal. Just to be absolutely clear, I'm not saying 85% is "safe", I'm saying neither is "safe". The 30% safe thing is quoted so often, it's gospel, even though it's really not really accurate, worse, there is the possibility of creating a misunderstanding in someone that doesn't quite have a good grasp of things. Last thing we want is for someone to misinterpret that and let their guard down, and operate in a way that's unsafe. 30% is not safer than 85%, neither is safe, at typical operating temperatures, they are equally flammable. Here is the table I made to help better understand this:
  11. Silk City Distillers

    New startup question about setting up

    Never understood why direct element stills never used level sensors to cut the heaters should the liquid level fall below a certain level, preventing the elements from becoming a catastrophic ignition source.
  12. Silk City Distillers

    New startup question about setting up

    30% alcohol at 113 F is equally as flammable as 85% alcohol at 74 F. Once you've gotten into heat-up, there is no difference in the flammability of the two liquids, one simply contains more fuel than the other. Should a still lose it's contents at boiling temp, 30% or 85%, it will be equally as catastrophic, as the surface temperature of the now exposed element will easily ignite the vapor and liquid in either case.
  13. Silk City Distillers

    watering down low wines

    There are no safety benefits, that is a hobbiest myth. Collecting deep into tails might require the addition of water to ensure elements remain submerged, but that will depend on the still.
  14. Silk City Distillers

    Blue tint

    Unless it was contaminated, carbon will typically reduce color.
  15. Silk City Distillers

    Blue tint

    If it’s in bulk, you sure the lighting isn’t playing tricks on you?
  16. Silk City Distillers

    Hot Dry Weather

    We were playing around with humidification sprayer nozzles for the cold dry winters up in the Northeast. There are systems commercially available but they are fairly expensive. They don’t drip or make anything wet, which is a plus.
  17. Silk City Distillers

    Rye flakes entering lines when distilling.

    100% Rye? It will foam and puke like no other. Sounds like a potential puke. You'll want to give the still a good cleaning before the finish run.
  18. Silk City Distillers

    Possible Mash Infection, Need Help

    What yeast strain by the way?
  19. Silk City Distillers

    Possible Mash Infection, Need Help

    You are hitting a point at which it's becoming nearly impossible to diagnose, and you've spent too much money and time to continue speculation. Find a lab, send samples, get it ID'ed. Let us know. Or... if you are a glutton for punishment. And if you want a really crazy suggestion. Pitch a specific strain of lactobacillus known to reduce 4-VP/4-VG (Phenolics) and extend your fermentation time slightly to allow the new lacto to do it's job. Fight your "bad" bacteria with "good" bacteria in hopes of establishing it as a resident bacteria in your distillery. It's the 4-Vinyl derivatives that are creating the band-aid flavor - BUT - we don't know why they are being created in large volumes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC92463/ The most intriguing observation was that the concentrations of decarboxylated hydroxycinnamic acids were consistently lower in mixed bacterial-yeast fermentations than in pure-yeast fermentations (Fig. (Fig.6).6). The only explanation for this result is an interaction between bacteria and yeast. Perhaps the rapid substrate decarboxylation effected by the bacteria results in the 4-vinyl derivatives accumulating at an early stage, followed by reduction to the 4-ethyl derivatives by the yeast. If decarboxylation by the yeast is rate limiting in this process, mixed cultures will provide rapid transformation into the ethyl forms. Alternatively, one of the major differences between a pure-yeast fermentation and a mixed fermentation with lactic acid bacteria is a greater reduction in pH due to lactic acid production by the bacteria (2, 14). It is possible that the reduction of 4-VP occurs more favorably under these conditions.
  20. Silk City Distillers

    proofing spirits proofed with sugars

    Meerkat is awesome. Love alcodens, use it every day, can’t wait to use LQ. Indispensable.
  21. Silk City Distillers

    What ever happened to iStill?

    Once you figure out how to remove the tear-strip on a grain bag, you'll never use scissors!
  22. Silk City Distillers

    Possible Mash Infection, Need Help

    I'm stumped, phone an expert. A 2.3 pound/gallon ferment that can finish in 3 days seems fairly improbable that other microbes are outcompeting yeast, or could even get a foothold. The fact that it happened with a fully-boiled mash is fairly surprising. Unless we are missing something major here, like you are fermenting in a dirty dumpster. By the way, a sulfur fraction late heads, early hearts, this is fairly common and if it's significant is usually a sign of yeast stress or yeast nutrition issue.
  23. Silk City Distillers

    Cleaning RBFs

    The ice and salt was a tip from one of my chemistry teachers as well. Also, if your focused on flavor extraction from the boiling flask, you can hold back some of the spirit, and introduce additional spirit as you get towards the end of your extraction. This technique works well when what you are extracting is very expensive, and when your solvent is cheap (ethanol). The goal being, you finish the extraction before your solvent goes to tar. In this case you trade off additional losses for less cleaning time. You see this on some of the Rotovap units, they have an injection port to add additional solvent to the evaporation flask.
  24. Silk City Distillers

    Cleaning RBFs

    Coarse rock salt and ice cubes. Shake the hell out of it. That and shut down the distillation earlier than you might like.
  25. Silk City Distillers

    How to determine outputs/ still size

    Oh one last thing, you might want to seek out the blessing of your local fire official for using the basement for alcohol storage before you commit. Yes, it's a scary thought to proactively raise an issue with the fire inspector. But, in this case... Basement, subgrade, below grade, 'no direct exit' - these are "bad words" when it comes to fire code and storage of flammables. In some codes, in some jurisdictions, there are prohibitions and special requirements around basements - this applies to ventilation, additional sprinkler requirements, reductions in MAQs, or even outright prohibition (most don't apply to us though), etc. If you have an inspector that is going to nit-pick about the main floor, they'd be full-stop on doing anything in a basement. Keep in mind, with storage in the basement, should there be a fire, with fire fighters entering on the main level - this is a death trap, and there would be no way to even attempt to fight the fire. This would be a fairly critical piece on information for the local fire crew. You don't want to be associated with the headline that mentions 5 local guys, fathers, including one father of a newborn little girl, running into your burning building only to fall through the floor to their deaths because nobody told them they'd be standing on top of 2000 gallons of burning alcohol. I'm not trying to be overly critical, but now is the time to get the hard questions answered, not after you've signed a lease, bought a building, and started spending real money.
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