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Everything posted by glisade

  1. Vodka would be tough without knowing product vapor temperature. If you're trying to get 190+ proof then you need to know proof coming out and that's where the exit vapor temp comes in because you'd have to adjust coolant flow to dephs to create enough reflux to get to 190+. So if you can't monitor your exit proof then you won't know if you're making vodka or not. Gin is all about the flavor as there is no proof requirement so not knowing exit vapor temp is not as critical but can still be very helpful. I would seriously look into a way of adding a port to add a probe after deph.
  2. I would completely agree with FijiSpirits but you're not SOL. First though, what product are you making an how many times do you want it distilled (or what proof do you want it to come out)?
  3. Our rye fermentations foam alot, Fermcap helps but still some foam over but nothing to worry about other than a little loss of product due to foam. Though we also pitch at about 70F and hold fermentation to usually under 80F. Fully attenuates in about 5 days. Other than foaming everything runs fine during distillation for us. Does your wash boil at the right temperature based on calculated or measure wash ABV?
  4. I see, thanks for the update. A smaller still would be ideal to practice with dephlegmator operation but overall it's pretty straight-forward. I could send you some info on basic deph operation if you'd like.
  5. I'm not sure I understand the point of using plates without using the dephlegmator. You are creating some passive reflux with the plates but it's not controllable and you can't really do any sort of heads compression. Also, why would you add water to reduce wash proof but then add passive plate reflux to increase the output proof; couldn't you have not diluted your wash and then ran your still as a pot still and gotten a similar outcome?
  6. So for 1. if you're charging with 300 gallons at ~25 proof and want 135 proof off the still? With two plates your hearts should start above 170 proof according to water-ethanol equilibrium curve. One plate should give you a start of about 160 proof. I distill with a starting wash of 8% ABV and use one plate and my total hearts proof is about 130 proof.
  7. I think every distiller should know and understand how to use the water-ethanol equilibrium curve. This alone can be used to answer many of your questions...especially for a column still.
  8. Sorry everything is social media now but here's a couple photos in whiskey and gin basket configuration. Both use same pot, condenser and mantle.
  9. I built a modular 2 liter glass lab still that has a "whiskey" reflux column, gin basket, etc.. from components from: https://www.avogadro-lab-supply.com/category/Distillation_Glass/c105 and using the heating mantle from: https://pelletlab.com/product/heating-mantle/
  10. Not enough sugars and "sweet" congeners extracted from barrel aging? Many people relate sweetness to smoothness. I've done this with a blind vodka tasting: the more sugar you add (up to the legal limit for vodka) the "smoother" they said it was. Nobody actually said it tasted sweeter but it was smoother.
  11. For partly this reason is why we don't macerate but put all botanicals in the kettle during distillation. Seasonal affects will be minimal with this method. Have you considered going with this method instead? Of course using a gin basket will get rid of seasonal affects as well but I doubt you could do that with your alembic still.
  12. glisade

    Pink vodka/Gin

    I had a pink gin at a previous distillery. It was a gin aged in a used red wine barrel.
  13. I've used both the Xpress volumetric fill and (currently) the enolmaster. I like the enolmaster over the xpress fill. I find the biggest advantage is you don't have to fill 4 bottles at a time. So you can constantly bring bottles in and out of the enolmaster. Since I usually bottle alone this helps keep a consistent flow because you can also increase or decrease pressure. And when you get down to the bottom of the bottling run you can just use it to bottle one at a time until you finish. I also like the stainless steel filters it comes with...and it's inherently explosion proof since it uses a vacuum pump so no product goes through the pump. I can fill, add closure and shrink wrap about 100 bottles/hour by myself with the enolmaster.
  14. This is one of the cheapest places I have found for stainless steel sanitary drums, I assume you mean drum and not barrel (as in wood barrel). They are local to us so no shipping needed. I can't comment on the lining but would be suspicious and wouldn't use it until I really knew that it would not affect my spirit. http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/catalog/stainless-steel-drums-and-accessories
  15. We've had something similar happen when we said our Malt Whiskey was finished in used beer barrels. They rejected that and said I needed a formula. I submitted a formula for a Malt Whiskey finished in used beer barrels and FONL came back and accepted the formula BUT said now it's a DSS and the statement of composition should say: Malt Whiskey finished in used beer barrels. From my experience, anytime your product goes slightly outside the typical Class definition then they want it to be DSS. You may get stuck with a DSS but maybe you can write the statement of composition as "xxxxx Liqueur finished in whiskey barrels" So maybe "xxxx Liqueur" may get you close to the original liqueur name. But now you'll also need a fanciful name.
  16. I use PBW and bring it back up to near boil and let it soak for a bit. It's always taken everything out. But I've also done something similar to Silk City but used rice and it works pretty good too.
  17. Finding adequate help is a common complaint, at least here in TN, when the distiller's guild members meet. Most distilleries I know are operated by the owners themselves until they can grow enough to hire someone or find someone worth hiring. You should learn as much as you can whether you work in production or not. That way you'll know if someone is actually good or just full of BS.
  18. I would LOVE that! Please do it and photograph the evidence..the only problem is it would cost you thousands on the "pappy black market" to even get the bottles.
  19. glisade

    Bulk Juniper

    herbco.com sfherb.com mountainroseherbs.com
  20. We use two 330 gallon totes as fermentors and put cooling coils into them to help keep temps relatively stable. These coils from Bubbas Barrels will fit inside the standard opening: http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/cooling-coil I had Bubbas sell me just the coil with straight stainless lines, no triclamp or hose barb. The coils sit in the tote with the stainless lines poking through the tote screw lid then I run lines to a glycol chiller in parallel. I added an exit CO2 port in the back of each tote and temp gauges on each. I also added a thermowell to the back of one and put an Inkbird temp sensor into the thermowell and have the glycol chiller turn on and off based on the Inkbird temp sensor point. We go into the fermentors at about 75F and the wort usually doesn't get much higher than the lower 80s...BUT we also have some A/C in the distillery and keep it about 78-82. So it's a combination of the two that keeps it stable. The coil alone is very undersized for this amount of wort..coil is 3-4 bbl and it sits in 10bbl of wort. But we're not trying to make a 68F ale.... Silk City is right though and to me this should only be a startup/temporary solution.
  21. glisade

    Gin Cloudiness

    Two things you should try first before filtering (and I'm surprised a particle filter would even remove the oils): 1. Increase the proof - add more (neutral) base back into it until it clears. 2. Dilute with the same proof base - this will keep the same proof but may dilute more flavor I make gins with a lot of botanicals and flavor that are sometimes on the edge of louching but you'd be surprised how little flavor loss you can have through dilution or increasing the proof. Of course what indyspirits says is quite valid as well, though I take a very small heads cut with my citrus forward gin since most of the big citrus flavor comes out early.
  22. Did you submit with the latin name? Always submit with the latin name. If you did, at least for Sarsaparilla (Smilax aristolochiaefolia Mill.) it's on the FDA Gras list. If you give the common name, they don't really know what it is or what part of the plant or species. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.510
  23. You should run it until you are sure you got all alcohol out i.e. the vapor temperature is reading 212F. Then maybe run a little longer in case your temp probe is not accurate. Also use some boiling stones, they can sometimes help with solids burning.
  24. All you are trying to do when you re-distill your spirit is to separate the alcohol in the spirit from any solids. Your main goal is to distill ALL the ethanol from the spirit and leave only solids and water behind in the proofing still. Once you extract the ethanol then you add only pure water to your distillate to get back to your original volume that you distilled (before adding any extra water to rinse the flask). Then you can take the proof with hydrometers and that will tell you the proof of your original spirit. The extra water to rinse the flask will not change the amount of ethanol you will distill. Example: Start with 500ml of your sweetened spirit. Assume all volume and proof readings are taken at 60F! Make sure all 500ml gets into the still and use XXml of rinse water if needed. Distill until you have collected all ethanol, (until still temp is at 212F). Stop distillation and add XXml of water to get the distillate volume back to 500ml exactly. Now you've effectively replaced the solids in the spirit with just water but it has the same ethanol content and volume as your original sample. Proof distillate with hydrometers. The key is to make sure you get all the ethanol out so you must make sure all the spirit gets into the proofing still and you also don't lose any through evaporation while distilling or you'll be under proof.
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