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Everything posted by Spitfire

  1. Hello, When working with GNS, we found that some "rubber" material used for seals are not alcohol-proof even though the manufacturer say they are "fit" for alcohol use. There is chemically-speaking a huge difference between a 10% abv mash and 95% GNS. Based on our experience, material like nitrile, viton and teflon tape are not suitable when used with 95% alcohol for a prolonged period of time. We did a simple test by putting a small seal in a jar with a 50 ml of 95% alcohol for a week, then rectified the alcohol to 40% by using RO water. Attached is the result for nitrile, viton and teflon tape. Nitrile creates the most opaque solution. What rubber material should we go for to prevent this? We are about to do the same test with a silicon seal. Chris
  2. Spitfire

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    The last tests we did were not conclusive, we could not find any rubber material that did not introduce cloudiness into alcool when immersed for a couple of days. We changed our procedures to prevent any situation where high-proof alcohol is in contact with rubber material for a long period of time.
  3. Spitfire

    New life for used botanicals?

    Hello group, Anyone has done something interesting with their botanicals after they have been used for distilling? Like creating a spice mix by adding salt to ground botanicals ? Chris
  4. Spitfire

    Spray balls & water pressure

    Hello, We hooked up the spray ball of our 1,000L kettle to city water using 1/2 PEX tubing and found the water pressure to be very insufficient to clean the kettle inside. At first we thought we could hook up an electric pressure washer since it could deliver many more PSI, but the output is not designed to be coupled with a standard garden hose fitting or anything off-the-shelf. Any tip on how to efficiently deliver water pressure to spray balls ? Chris
  5. Spitfire

    Spray balls & water pressure

    We are assembling our still at this point, not in production yet. Can't wait.
  6. Spitfire

    Spray balls & water pressure

    Thanks. We will probably end up cleaning the kettle with an electric pressure washer unless we can find an inexpensive alternative. What do you use to push 30-45 gallons/minute into a spray ball ?
  7. Spitfire

    Gin Fragrance

    Thanks everyone, we use angelica root and oris root and noticed that our grind was too coarse. Oris root is harder than concrete and we had to switch to a new grinder. Anyone had a good experience with chamomile as a fixative?
  8. Spitfire

    Gin Fragrance

    Hello everyone, We are putting the final touch on our first compound gin these days and we’ve been asking ourselves the following question: What factors contribute to a fragrant gin ? Some gins have a good but fleeting aroma. We pour some in a glass, it smells wonderful but after 5 minutes the fragrance is almost gone. We also noticed that a fleeting aroma is not related to a weak flavour, the gin can have a bold taste but an aroma that has a short life. Other gins are much more fragrant, you can leave the glass for 20 minutes, come back and their signature aroma is still very much there. We can think of a few factors that influence the amount of fragrance in a gin: 1. Choice of method (gin basket, botanicals in kettle or compound gin) 2. Choice of botanicals Factor 1 does not seem a likely explanation, we found compound gins that are very aromatic. Factor 2 is a likely cause. Not at botanicals are created equal. Your thoughts ? Chris
  9. Spitfire

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    The goal is to design a cam lock adapter to extract small amount of alcohol, as our tote tank is on a shelf and the top opening is not easily accessible. The adapter has a second valve at the end, controlling flow to a 1/4 vinyl tubing. So when we need for instance to extract 1 liter of GNS for R&D, we open the tote tank valve, then the adapter valve, and there is a small flow of alcohol that we can put inside a beaker. What is happening is that a small amount of alcohol is alway trapped inside the adapter between the tote tank valve and the adapter valve, and after a week or this alcohol reacts with the gaskets/seals inside this adapter.
  10. Spitfire

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    A quick update on this topic, I finished another test this time with a silicon gasket and got same result although less cloudy than the other tests (see photo) I started another round of tests by washing all previously tested gaskets (nitrile, viton) and adding some fresh GNS in a small jar for a week, we'll see how it goes. Also, a new test this time with a neoprene gasket.
  11. Spitfire

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    PeteB, The gasket looked exactly the same after a week marinating in alcohol, no change of colour or appearance. Your suggestion is an excellent one, I haven't thought of that. I will re-do the experiment after washing thoroughly each gasket and let everyone knows the outcome. Chris
  12. Spitfire

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    My take on this is that everything has to be tested first, never trust blindly what the manufacturer says. Thanks to everyone.
  13. Spitfire

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    SouthernHighlander, Thank you for the reference, the chart says that nitrile, viton and teflon are rated "conditional" for grain alcohol ethanol which leads me to conclude that they don't work with pure alcohol. I will look for seals made from other material rated "excellent". Chris
  14. Hello everyone, I'm trying to determine what could be a reasonable accounting method to compute equipment depreciation and life expectancy when it comes to a distillery. My accountant tells me that general equipment is usually treated using a declining balance method where 20% of the remaining cost is shaved each year from earnings. A linear method could also be used. But then he asked me, what is life expectancy of distillery equipment? Unlike a desktop computer which is worth next to nothing after 5 years, a pot still has a long life. Stainless steel tanks are still worth something after 50 years. Some other equipment has shorter life expectancy. That being said, all this equipment must be treated as a whole from an accounting perspective. This may not sound sexy, but depreciation method and equipment life expectancy can have a significant impact on financial projection, so I'm curious to hear what methods and parameters distillery owners are using. Thanks. Chris
  15. Aaron, Thank for the tip, I contacted them and they replied quickly. Here's the essence of what they told me: - When equipment is depreciated using a declining balance method this tends to not reflect the economic reality. - For stainless type equipment, like stills, a life between 20 and 30 years is selected and it is depreciated straight line. While the stainless itself is still existing at 20-30 years, the equipment could be obsolete so 20-30 years is about the right life, generally. - For the other equipment, we will often pick a 5-10 year life for each asset depending on what’s reasonable. This makes a lot of sense to me. Chris
  16. Hello, I’m working to build a list of equipment for a business plan. My approach is to start with the still capacity, and then estimating the optimal capacity of the mashing tank, fermenters and low-wine receivers. The following numbers are based on my theoretical understanding of the whole process and observations in other small distilleries, I want to be challenged by people who own distilling equipment. Assuming I’m working with a 400 litres pot still, I’m figuring a 1200 litres mash tank would be convenient since it’s a 3-for-1 ratio. A full batch of mash with this equipment would require approx. 1000 lbs of grain. I’m estimating that this mash tank of 1200 litres would yield approximately 70% of its volume in strained mash ready for fermentation, therefore 1200 x .7 = 840 litres. Assuming that a fermenter can be loaded at 75% capacity (leaving room for bubbling), I would require 3 fermenters of 400 litres each for instance (or 2 of 600 litres, but I hear that a smaller fermenters are best). After the fermentation has been done, I would have 840 litres @ 8.5% abv for instance. The beer-stripping run would yield 25% of the original volume (840 litres x 0.25 = 210 litres @ 40-50% abv). If my low-wine receiver has a capacity of 450-500 litres, I could do 2 beer-stripping run (for a total of 400-420 litres) ready for the spirits run. Do these numbers make sense ? Thanks.
  17. Spitfire

    Ratios for mashing tank / still / fermenters

    Thanks for the input, I get from your example that the grain-to-water ratio for the mashing should be somewhere around 2 pounds per gallon of water. Would this ratio be dependent on the type of grain used, or is it pretty much the same ? I hope you had your 2nd cup of coffee by now.
  18. Spitfire

    Wanted a partner

    I'm not sure you need a chemist at this point, as the recipe for your ideal spirit is just one piece of the puzzle. You can teach yourself how to make spirits, that is not the hardest part as a lot of information exists. Let's say you learn how to make spirit and you can make some samples. You bring a nice bottle to your banker. I'm not sure the banker will give you a loan because he enjoys drinking your spirit (even if he is an alcoholic). You must understand how alcohol is being sold in your country, what are the distribution channels, what reasonable profit margin you can expect from selling a bottle, how potential customers will hear about your existence, how the legislation works and what permits you need to have. In other words, a distillery is just like any business, to convince investors to put money in your project, they must feel that you know what you are doing, even though you don't have all the answers. You can start small but you must know how to be profitable. Ask some friends with finance backgrounds or business owners to challenge your business model. If you haven't done so already, visit small distilleries in your country, talk to the owners, see how they operate their business. "Bonne chance" with your project. Chris