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OldSpye last won the day on November 16 2016

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  1. Ponds are cheap. Legal fees are expensive. I'd love to do a pond since we actually have the room to do it. I just can't get my head around the hoops we'd have to jump through to get it approved.
  2. I lucked out. The space that we're going into comes (courtesy previous occupant) with more steel pallet racks than we could ever use. They're ideal for barrels. They're free.
  3. The DISCUS companies are making every effort to co-opt the term "craft" because, to them, it's just another marketing opportunity. Absent some kind of explicit rulemaking, nothing will stop them from doing so. The only thing that will differentiate "true" craft products from just another batch of Sazerac spirit in a different barrel is the consumer. Educating consumers within your immediate market reach should be part of any good business plan.
  4. This topic comes up often enough that it should find its way into some sort of FAQ. Basically, everything James said is spot-on. I personally like the idea of barrel fermentation, because I'm retro like that.
  5. I don't really have a dog in this fight (I like the idea of wood, I'll probably play around with wood, but frankly will also do most of my fermenting in HDPE), but... Is MGP really where we want to set any kind of bar in the context of this discussion? To me, that's kinda like engineers from Ferrari and Lamborghini arguing over whether or not they should do something because "That's what Honda does". My 2 cents.
  6. Our fire guy asked for an exhaust hood as well, but insists that it be suppressed - you might hear the same thing from your guy.
  7. Yes. Something "very very wrong happened". What happened was that some genius clogged the column. Intentionally. As I said, I'm fine with PRVs. I think they're just super. But I expect that we reasonably acknowledge the fact that anybody who is going to stuff a column full of glass marbles and create a +125psi pressure condition is probably going to find some way to blow himself up, PRV or otherwise. In 30 years as a licensed pilot I've seen all kinds of people die from stupidity. In 20 years as an EMT I've seen all kinds of people die from stupidity. Frankly, if it weren't for stupidity we'd have a pretty serious overpopulation crisis in this world. You're never going to be able to idiot-proof the world. There's been some good dialog in this thread. But it's also been a little overbearing.
  8. While I respect anyone trying to give potentially lifesaving advice, I feel compelled to point out that henpecking a single piece of the puzzle is rarely a sound strategy. To that end, I would point out two things: First, a still - especially a pot still - is, as we know, not a "pressure vessel" during normal operation. Well-maintained and properly cared for, there's no risk of extreme pressures building inside the boiler. To that end, and with respect to the Silver Trails incident - while pressure relief mechanisms are fine, it should also be pointed out that the first thing to not do would be to not pack the column with 20 lbs. of glass marbles, thereby creating a pressure vessel where one should not exist. Context. It's super important, always.
  9. Are you sure it's mold and not algae? The latter would make more sense in a pure liquid environment. Assuming it's algae, there are a number of fixes. You can add some salt to the water. You can also add about 1 tsp of bleach per gallon of fill water. Either way, you're going to want to do a quick rinse-out prior to use, but it will be less work than trying to eradicate the scum.
  10. It's actually a little more complicated than that. The salt in the salt water will, in relatively short time, draw all of the moisture out of the cells in the wood, effectively desiccating them. Any salt in the wood isn't actually going to be "in" the wood, it's going to be "on" the wood, i.e. on the surface. So if you pour spirit into the barrel, two things will happen. First, the spirit will absorb salt from the surface of the wood. Second, the wood itself, being almost completely dried out, will absorb a lot more spirit than normal and the routine aspiration that produces aging will be effectively reduced. All in all, it seems like this would be counterproductive. What it all seeks to replicate, of course, is the effect of aging spirit-filled barrels in a salt air environment. My feeling is that you can't really replicate that, faithfully, by simply treating either the wood or the spirit. Sometimes, you just can't fool Mother Nature.
  11. I've done that. It works. With only 10% malted barley you're going to need some additional enzymes to convert the corn.
  12. If your flow from the "tip the barrel" method doesn't match your patience, go to Target and get a good, old-fashioned electric blanket. Wrap the blanket around the drum, bungee it in place for a few hours on "medium" and then tip it.
  13. I think crowding in the market is a relative thing. There are far fewer distilleries than craft breweries and far fewer, still, than wineries. For the most part, a well-run operation in any of these genres will be productive and profitable. Will any of them ever be the next Diageo? No. The vast majority of them won't even be the next Tito's. But for many of us, that's not the goal. The goal is to make good spirits and gain enough localized market share to make a decent living while doing something we love. Given that, I also wonder about the allure of craft distilleries with regard to outside investment groups.
  14. My read of it would score you correct on all counts, although it also seems as if the deceased was more seriously burned because he was hit with an exploding bottle. Apparently the initial explosion was near enough to a number of cases of stock so as to light off a bunch of secondaries. So another lesson learned, there - if at all possible, segregate your flammable stock from any incendiary source. I do have one question that keeps nagging at me, though... What's the zoning on this facility? Per the narrative, the distillery was operating in a pole barn that was built on a residential property. On its face, that would be a no-no. I suppose the property could be zoned Agricultural, as the map view suggests a farm.
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