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Silk City Distillers

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Everything posted by Silk City Distillers

  1. Mash Tun Cooling: Part Deux

    Sometimes when it’s really hot or I’m in a rush, I’ll fill the target fermenter up with some cold water and set the setpoint low the night before. Then during mashing, use the cold water fill a bit to get to malt mash-in temp, and after conversion is done, pump in the rest. If I combine this with the jacket cooling, I can usually cut an hour off the start-to-pitch time. The other benefit is pumping cold water in from the fermenter, vs using the fill tap, is I can pump at 10x the speed of the water filler. I can also drop the water temp to way below tap temp. You’ll be dealing with a pretty heavy mash if you do this. Looovvvve mashing in the winter.
  2. Fruit flavoured Gin

    If you *really* want pink. Consider vapor distilling the strawberry and use a stable commercial carmine for coloring (with label disclosure). Color is an important part of the experience and enjoyment of eating and drinking. You can control the color to get exactly what you want, and will better batch consistency. You would be using all natural products to do it. This isn't any less artful or craft, in fact I would argue it's even more so. It'll yield a better product, with a better perception and experience of the product, with better long-term stability, and happier customers. Why? It's probably going to be easy for you to keep it red on the store shelf, but it's going to go brown in the liquor cabinet at home. I don't know about you, but I tend to keep bottles around a while. A consumer that buys a premium product only to find it's gone brown? Sorry that's not appealing, it's "gross" and it "went bad". Probably not going to be a repeat buyer. It's one thing to be able to sell it out of your tasting room, and explain to the customer that the product contains no natural color stabilizers, needs to be kept cool and dark, and consumed as quickly as is reasonable, but you have zero control once that product leaves your hand. I wouldn't want someone judging me based on a muck-water brown spirit in a bottle, because someone left it in a hot car in the sun for a week.
  3. Fruit flavoured Gin

    Yeah, that's a sticky wicket. Stabilization of natural colors is a tough problem without simple solution. This isn't just in distilled beverages, this is across all food and beverage products. Find a simple solution to make natural colors as true, bright, and lasting as artificial, and you'd be a billionaire. The red in strawberries is because of a class of chemicals called anthocyanins, attached a paper that has good background with some strategies on how to extend shelf-life. Cortez_et_al-2017-Comprehensive_Reviews_in_Food_Science_and_Food_Safety.pdf Probably the easiest is going to be ensuring absolutely minimal oxygen exposure, which is going to require you to purge tanks and bottles with CO2 or Nitrogen. Eliminate all exposure to light. Store as cool as possible. Use small amounts of Citric or Lactic acid to drop pH and enhance stability. EDTA as well, but now you are getting into the realm of needing a food scientist to help develop a protocol. I've heard red is particularly challenging, since it's so unstable and easily goes from pleasing red to off-putting brown in just a few shades. Alcohol does nothing to preserve the color. Cochineal/Carmine used to be the go-to natural red, but even that's got a negative connotation these days (apparently people don't like to eat bugs). If you've ever eaten a packaged food product with red strawberry puree in it (think strawberry yogurt), you've eaten strawberry puree that used carmine to enhance the color and provide longer-term color stability. Starbucks strawberry frappucino? For a long time it was carmine - until people flipped out. I'd rather eat bugs than artificial red dye, but that's just me.
  4. what's typical or actual elapsed time from concept to actual launch?

    About two years, zoning issues and state licensing delays were the two main factors. We paid rent for nearly a year with no income. Be sure to budget for delays like this, I'm glad we did.
  5. Totes for grain disposal

    Caveat, this assumes you have some way to separate liquid from solid.
  6. Totes for grain disposal

    Depending on your volume, Rubbermaid Brute trash cans work well. The nice thing is they stack up well, so they don't take up a ton of space. Lots of our local breweries are using these. Two people can comfortably lift them into and out of a pickup. Good for smaller farmers who don't necessarily have forklifts, or reconfigure their bucket loaders to take off totes. They have lids, which is nice, but they tend to go flying off the back of a pickup. The handles are sturdy and they seem to hold up to pretty rough abuse. We also use smaller poly barrels with locking rings, these were used food grade drums that we procured pretty cheap. This is really useful during the warmer months, as you can lock them down air-tight. If you need to store your spent grain indoors, it helps to have a way to not have to deal with the issues of open tops (stink and fruit flies). Our farmer loves these in the summer - since with the lock rings they tend to stay a little fresher longer, but hates these in the winter, since when it starts to freeze, it's impossible to get out (the barrels taper to the top).
  7. Anyone have experience w/ Affordable Distillery Equipment LLC??

    Was down in Springfield last week for a couple days, down through Branson and down to Harrison. I would have loved to stop in, but probably too far west.
  8. Anyone have experience w/ Affordable Distillery Equipment LLC??

    Paul, we share the same mindset. If I was in a shed in the middle of nowhere trying to run a big electric still, I'd get it running. I'd fire up my TIG and weld up a couple hundred hp motor to a tractor PTO, and I'd have it running. But, at the same time, you've got to acknowledge the practicality and the poor long-run TCO of batch electric. There is an upper limit, beyond which practicality falls off, and the long-run TCO is simply worse than most other alternatives. If another manufacturer is going to set a limit, that's their prerogative and they probably have a good reason for why they think that's a limit. My point was simply that if one was hell bent on running electric, and they had 480v service, they should consider themselves very fortunate, as it makes things much easier at that scale. It's along the same lines of walking into your potential location and seeing an adequate sprinkler system already installed, It's like money in the bank. But greenfield? In my neck of the woods dropping adequate power into a commercial building would cost north of $25k, and with electric rates nearly 4-5x the cost of gas, it simply doesn't make sense. If you've got a building in the styx and need to make it work, well, I guess you gotta do what you gotta do to make it work. I think the real game changer for those who are space, cost, or power constrained (or all 3) is a reasonably priced smaller scale electric stripping still that can handle solids and grain-in wash. Trade off time for lower power requirements, assuming that said still can run with only needing monitoring through the run (no fiddling). Now you go from needing that monster 600g to a much more reasonably sized finishing still, and with immersion elements, very affordable.
  9. High Acid or Low Acid?

    Interesting stuff, I'd love to do more work with apples. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5253989/
  10. Anyone have experience w/ Affordable Distillery Equipment LLC??

    600 gallons on electric? Hope you have 480v service.
  11. Bourbon Mash and Malt (DP)

    Yeah we were using malt barley, malt rye, and malt wheat in our 4-grain mashbill initially. We shifted to unmalted rye when we were able to secure a local grower for us.
  12. Bourbon Mash and Malt (DP)

    You aren't missing anything, with unmalted primary grains, even a very high 250 DP distillers malt is going to be low at 5%. Mashing that low will lead to very low conversion and low yield, and exogenous enzyme would likely be required for full conversion. You can mix both techniques, there are other reasons for adjunct malt beside enzyme contribution (flavor, nutrition, etc).
  13. 100% Flaked Grain Mash

    First - your enzymes are a bit mixed up, second your temps are mixed up. Your yield on this is probably very poor. Bioglucanase GP is a Beta-Glucanase Enzyme - this is to break down the sticky glucans common in Rye and Wheat (not very common in Barley and Corn). You'll want to use your Bioglucanase FIRST, at about 110-120F. Amylo 300 is a Glucoamylase. You'll want to use this THIRD, add it during cool down, no higher than 130F. You appear to be using no High Temperature Alpha Amylase. You look like you are using enzymes from BSG or similar - so you'll want to ask for Hitempase. This is what you want to use SECOND, on the heat up. Add it cool, it works it's magic as you heat. If you stay below around 200, it will not denature quickly. Keep your pH around 5.2 through the process. If you add additional water, grain, etc - you need to recheck. The purpose here is not to allow your enzymes to accidentally denature if add them and your pH is way off. If you add Amylo 300 to 150F mash, it will probably denature in about 15 minutes. Same thing with the Bioglucanase, too hot at 140, will denature in minutes. Summary: Bioglucanase, 110-125F (at the start of mash) - This will denature during the heat up. High Temp Alpha Amylase - Add it anytime during the heat up, after the beta glucanase. If you do get up to a boil, you can add a second dose of HTAA during the cool down, usually 180F is a safe temp, this way you ensure your enzyme stays active in full dosage. Amylo 300 - BELOW 130F - You do not want this to denature, especially if you are fermenting on the grain - as this will provide additional conversion during the fermentation process. In all cases, if you stick around 5.1-5.2 you should be fine.
  14. Steam Boiler

    Usually, when someone calls it a "steam generator", they are usually trying to disguise the fact that it's a boiler (that probably doesn't meet code/reqs).
  15. 100% Flaked Grain Mash

    You got your enzyme protocol all messed up. I’d type up a suggestion but too painful to do on a phone.
  16. Mash Tun Cooling: Part Deux

    I’m talking single tube in shell.
  17. Mash Tun Cooling: Part Deux

    Tube in tube is widely used in sanitary food production, for years this was nearly the de facto standard for milk cooling.
  18. Mash Tun Cooling: Part Deux

    Surface area of the tube-in-tube is only part of the story, no? I would imagine, coolant flow rate through the shell, coolant temperature, product flow rate through the tube, and product temperature, all need to be known before determining if the surface area of the heat exchanger is sufficient. This is a system problem, not a component problem. Not achieving a low enough product exit temp? Increase cooling flow , decrease product flow until you hit your target. Not to mention that the heat exchanger isn't really determining your flow rate, your chiller/coolant is. My big 2" pump does around 70 gallons a minute, from 145 to 80 that's something like 200 tons needed to cool. 200 tons? I don't care how long that snake is, it ain't gonna swallow if you don't have that cooling capacity. Let's say you only have 2 or 3 tons of cooling capacity, now you are looking at something like 1 gallon per minute of product through the tube, length probably more than sufficient.
  19. Women in distilling

    Women are way better blenders and distillers than men. Just sayin' is all.
  20. California Fires

    Heartbreaking, these photographs are just awful. Hope you guys and gals are safe, prayers go out to you all. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4969206/Californians-return-destruction-wildfires-kill-17.html
  21. Looking for GNS made from rice

    Most of us are US manufacturers, pretty sure there are a number of distillers here that could supply you directly.
  22. dephlegmator water temp

    Split product condenser and dephlegmator is easier to operate as changes in power input don't impact the dephlegmator set point. One caveat though, if your coolant is very, very cold, split feed can create a situation where the dephlegmator is a bit more difficult to operate, as very small changes in flow rate can create very large changes in the reflux rate.
  23. Fixatives / Citric Acid

    Citric is a mild antioxidant, so it might offer some protection against oxidation, but that is different from fixatives whose aim is to reduce volatility and slow evaporation of highly volatile aromas.
  24. PP body for spirit transfer pump

    Yep. No matter what you use, you should flush and rinse with water, including hoses. It’s just best practice and will ensure long life with minimal degradation of seals.
  25. TTB Application Consultants - worth the money $$ ??

    Dave Dunbar worth every penny.