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Everything posted by Skaalvenn

  1. Skaalvenn

    Boiler Installation Costs

    That's why, they probably do a lot of public jobs. You're better off finding the old guy who's been doing boilers for 20+ years, who doesn't advertise (gets all his business off referrals), and who only has a couple employees.
  2. Skaalvenn

    Boiler Installation Costs

    Just call a different company and get another quote. Businesses overbid projects all the time, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes because they think the job is going to be a PITA, or just not worth their time. Sometimes because they are already busy and want jobs that really bring in the cash, sometimes because they just want to sub it out. The list goes on. Does this business do boilers of this size/scope regularly, or are they putting boilers in +million square foot buildings?
  3. Skaalvenn

    steady take off rate

    Let me guess, it runs smoother very late in the run when the liquid level is lower? It is a lot worse when running low wines? Likely due to the heat being applied lower in the pot. This means the nucleation site is lower in the liquid, and under more pressure when the still is full. Once it finally breaks a boil, all that slightly superheated liquid also boils and the temperature drops below the boiling point at whatever pressure is in the lower part of the still where the heating elements are. The process then repeats itself again and again. When the liquid level inside the still is lower, this no longer occurs and you get a nice even boil. Agitation can make it better, or worse. Sometimes it will all level out on its own and run smoothly. I advise to not turn on an agitator when the still is hot as you'll possibly cause a very rapid boil which has a number of dangers associated with it (pressure, producing steam faster than the condenser can condense). It seems to be a very common problem with baine Marie. It has nothing to do with the air pressure inside the still as I have duplicated it with boiling water and an open manway.
  4. Skaalvenn

    Genio vs. iStill

    I have a Genio 250. Pro: Makes a great vodka. Inexpensive. Con: doesn't seem like the company is interested in updating the firmware, there's a lot to be desired with it. Run times are longer than they state on the website. In it's factory form it will use ridiculous amounts of water each day. Automated heads cut is basically garbage from my experience, I do it manually. Would I buy one again? If I was on the same budget as before, yes. Today? Probably not.
  5. Skaalvenn

    Thermal fluid system for still heating(?)

    Other than initial price I can't think of a single advantage that baine Marie has. I've been running electric baine marie for almost 4 years, initially with heating oil but now with propylene glycol, which seems to work better. It got me started, it has made some fine spirits, but the slow startup time and high cost to run ($900 monthly electric bills) mean that it's time that I suck it up and upgrade to steam.
  6. Skaalvenn

    Fork lift or not fork lift

    We're a little higher than that. Empty glass is about 1200 for our bottles, bagged grain is about 2,000, and a super sack can get up to 3,000.
  7. Skaalvenn

    Fork lift or not fork lift

    I have used a 2,000lb rated Big Joe stacker for the last 2 years, but I was previously in a dock-height space and am now on ground level. It's been a life saver, but it can also be a real headache outdoors while loading and unloading semis. Pallet Stacker Pros: Much smaller size and turning radius than a sit down forklift Inexpensive Can be manually pushed around a little bit (great for when you need to nudge it an inch or two) Pallet Stacker Cons: 2,000lb limit means it's really struggling at 1900lbs, and at 2,000lbs you are worried if it will even lift. a 3500lb triple mast forklift is rated to lift 3500lbs all the way up. It is meant for indoor use on flat concrete, if you have a heavy pallet in the air it will stall or get hung up on any dips or rises in the surface. Gravel? not a chance. Nearly zero torque. You can not push heavy pallets that extra nudge into a truck, nor can you drag one out of a truck. No tilt or side shift. If you grab a pallet out of a truck it needs to be perfectly centered on the stacker or else the pallet will hit one of the forward legs on the way down. Much slower to load/unload semis than a sit down forklift. Thankfully my next door neighbors have a big forklift, and I have a key to their space. My expense to use it is a couple cases of beer each month.
  8. Skaalvenn

    InsuranceMan 2.0

    Glad to see you back, and I can't wait to have you be my insurance man again! I've been with Aaron since the day I called him up saying "I'm thinking of starting a distillery but want to know how much insurance might be?". He's always been there for us when I had a question or issue.
  9. Skaalvenn

    Anton Paar Products

    Correct. You'll get a slip of paper with the hydrometer that states what the correction you need to apply is. I've had some come back saying they are as much as 1/10 of a proof off.
  10. Skaalvenn

    confined space entry

    You need a permit. No question about it (my job in the Air Force involves responding to HAZMAT incidents, as well as identifying and entering confined spaces--so I'm fairly well versed). A fermentation vessel indeed Has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere (CO2). There is really no arguing against that, and it's very unlikely you'll win that argument against an OSHA inspector. These rules are carefully written and spelled out clearly as to avoid interpretation which could result in deaths. http://halmapr.com/news/crowcon/2013/07/22/co2-gas-hazards-in-the-brewing-industry/ https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3138.html https://www.brewersassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Confined-Space-Power-Hour.pdf
  11. I think we can all agree that your grain costs and I'll go up, heh, significantly, if you don't use malt or enzymes. Don't take it as an insult; but it's like asking if your still will be cheaper to run if you don't heat it.
  12. Skaalvenn

    Wanted: Used Bottle Filler

    We might be selling a 4 spout Xpressfill in a few weeks. It's not gravity, but figure I'd toss it out there. PM me if interested.
  13. Skaalvenn

    Used Genio/iStill 50L or 100L wanted

    I don't have one for sale, but I do have a Genio. It's a nice unit for making vodka, but they don't seem to have much interest in firmware updates to allow greater functionality and/or user control--which is frustrating. If you get one be advised that you will want water re-circulation or some other option other than tap water. Due to the (IMO poorly designed) head and condenser, the 250L unit requires around 80GPH of water during the run, and a run can take 10-11 hours. It runs really really slowly during the first few hours and there's no manual control to speed that portion up. If you were running it 5 days a week on tap water, you would easily use over 15,000 gallons of water in a month just for cooling a 65 gallon still.
  14. Skaalvenn

    GNS Cost and Availability

    We recently switched our aquavit from redistilling GNS, filtering and then flavoring/aging to just filtering then flavoring aging Why? I was never able to get a single drop of heads or tails out of it even when my still produces just under 192 @ 60 degrees on a calibrated and certified hydrometer. I don't have much experience with GNS but at least with the stuff I use there are no heads or tails. It's 2018 and we are all well aware that we should be conserving energy--not wasting it. I saw running GNS through the still as a waste of natural resources and think doing so to put "distilled" on the label rather than "produced" is one of the most ridiculous and wasteful things one could ever do. (note: I totally understand the requirement to redistill GNS for any type of vapor or pot infused product.)
  15. Skaalvenn

    grain/liquid separation

    The biggest challenge you'll face is finding a reliable farmer who picks up when he says he'll pick up. Not only does it spoil, but it can bring your entire operation to a halt if you can't even empty out your still. If you're in the city this becomes harder since there's less local farmers and they have more places looking to get rid of grain. Just within a few miles of us there's about 50 different breweries and distilleries who are trying to get rid of it, not to mention all the grocery stores and food salvage companies who are also looking for farmers to take their expiring produce.
  16. Skaalvenn

    Issues with a small equipment supplier

    I just timed myself on how long it takes me to go from standing at the man way of the still to pressing the emergency stop button at a brisk walking pace (not running). Distance: 34 feet, 6" from the manway to the control panel emergency stop. Control: 7.5 seconds to turn 90 degrees and casually walk over and hit the stop button Test 1: 4.7 seconds (face still, 90 degree turn to panel) Test 2: 4.5 seconds (face still, 90 degree turn to panel) Test 3: 4.9 seconds (facing away from panel, 180 degree turn to panel) And after realizing that I was not going to get an absurd amount of time to the panel... Test 4: 5.2 seconds (standing on one leg facing still, 90 degree turn while hopping on one leg to panel) If there's an emergency and the still is spewing hot steam or fire, I would imagine that time to decrease by a good second and I'd be going towards the exit of the building at the same time I'm hitting the emergency shutoff. If the time difference of 1 or 2 seconds extra is catastrophic, you probably don't want to be spending any bit of time near the still to attempt to hit the emergency stop button (it's not like someone is going to get caught up and wound into a machine requiring a close stop button). At least to me, saving a life is most important so I'll stick with my panel being further away so that myself or an employee is less likely to be harmed in the event of catastrophe. One could "what if" all day and say that "what if that 4 extra seconds was the difference?" Well, we can play that game until the end of time.
  17. Skaalvenn

    Issues with a small equipment supplier

    I guess I don't see why people put their control panel right next to the still? I had that in our old space and didn't like the idea of it so in our new space the panel is about 35 feet away, next to the exit door. Stills should be monitored close enough that vapor percentages in the explosive range is nearly impossible to reach. And if that happens, would you really want the panel with emergency stop button to be right next to the device with a bunch of fire around it? I'm working on wiring up a simple automatic shutoff into my still and panel. Output temp after the condenser hits X degrees and the panel shuts off and has to be manually reset. Looking in to how I can accomplish the same thing with pressure to shut it down before a pressure valve would ever have to do its job.
  18. If you are selling bottles the customers can not pass through the bonded area when they leave as tax paid alcohol would be passing into a tax unpaid area. For samples only it's probably OK, but the TTB will not allow bottles to be sold in such a configuration.
  19. Skaalvenn

    HAZ EX/OP Area - Mobile/ Cell Phones

    Interestingly enough, today I got a private tour of an ethanol plant which makes over 50 million gallons of pure ethanol each year--cell phones were most definitely allowed.
  20. Skaalvenn

    Rum Man

    2400sq feet is a decent start. We started in 1800 square feet with restrooms in a common area. The less expensive overhead of 2400 square feet dedicated nearly entirely to production allowed us to feel comfortable expanding into the 6,000 square feet we have today.
  21. Skaalvenn

    T Top (Bartop) issue

    It sounds like you'll need to either switch your bottles, or your corks. Cork company A will have cork sizes with a +/- tolerance. Bottle company B will have a bottle neck with a +/- tolerance If cork company A averages too small, and bottle company B averages too large, you will have problems and vice versa. Some manufacturers are just going to be far too tight or too loose.
  22. Skaalvenn

    Grain in mash pump

    Good to know. Thanks!
  23. There's also the fine line of having equipment sized so that it's affordable, allows you to earn profits, and allows you to grow. A 26 gallon still only meets the affordable part, and pretty soon you'll realize that you're spending a lot of time staring at the still and not making very much money. If you're spending a lot of time staring at the still that is going to cut into the time you could spend growing your business. You only make money after product leaves the door, so spend as little time as possible mashing, fermenting, and distilling because those phases cost money, not earn it.
  24. Skaalvenn

    Grain in mash pump

    To be clear, I do wish I had a FIP pump as the centrifugal can be a bit tricky to work with. Examples being: Getting that last little bit out of the fermentation tank Vortexing when draining a tank (including CIP re-circulation) due to pump speed Getting an air bubble out of the pump head (I just learned a trick from a brewer to put a 3 way valve on the outlet to burp the air) Not having the ability to blast out a plug in the line (this only happens when we pump out our spent grain to the farmer's truck which has been settling in tank for a few days). I just hook an air line or water line to the end of the hose to blast it clear One way pumping. I'd like a reversible pump so I can just have a valved T for puimping in/out of the still without having to reconfigure hoses I can't remember what I spent on the pump, but it was used from a brewery and with motor and cart I think it was only $400 to $700. I'd really like a FIP, but I'd rather invest the extra money towards making even more money rather than solving a rather minor headache. That being said, if anyone has a used one from a reputable brand who still provides parts and service, let me know.
  25. Skaalvenn

    Grain in mash pump

    I've been using a 1.5" -> 1.5" centrifugal for wheat mashes for 3 years without issue. I just hit the mixer beforehand so that I'm not trying to pump settled grain.