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Ned

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About Ned

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    http://http:/www.NewEnglandDistilling.com

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    Portland, Maine

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  1. Direct Fire Heat Up Problem

    Wow! That was a good call to follow up with the insulation manufacturer. I'm sure the wood is slick and would be fine for an internally heated steam or even electric still but with direct fire it's just not the right material. If you're pulling the wood, you could expand the brick base up the side of the still and maybe even set your vent up closer to the shoulder to take advantage of more heating surface.
  2. Direct Fire Heat Up Problem

    I'd be pretty concerned about the wood cladding as well. Just to give you an idea of temps, with our jet burner we see heating surface temps of around 900-1000F at the bottom of the still, the ignition temp of wood is 375-500F. A hassle for sure but you might really want to consider swapping out that wood for something non combustible like brick. Because you have insulation on the sidewalls you are limited to only heating the bottom of the still and because of the cladding I would think you'd want very near flame contact and then have something like your power vent idea to draw out all the excess heat and bring in enough combustion air to feed the burner. If you're going to keep the wood cladding I would use some ceramic wool insulation to seal and insulate between the fire bricks/side of fire box and the bottom of the still so very little heat escapes near the wood so the still would sit on an insulating gasket essentially, not sure how well that would do it but something to keep the heat away from the wood. Related to the air, those jet burners really suck a lot of air. ours is in an open stack of bricks from floor to the base of the still where we tighten the stack up to hold onto the heat. The power vent might be able to draw in enough air for good combustion, it'd be nice to test the idea somehow before dropping the coin one. I'd also make sure the vent pipe is large enough diameter, I doubt 4" pipe is going to do it. Good luck!
  3. Direct Fire Heat Up Problem

    Still_Holler, when you say the sides of the still are insulated, do you mean the still itself is insulated (double walled)?
  4. Use of Thumper vs. 2nd pot still run.

    We use thumpers and really like the flavor profile they yield. You're definitely not going to skip a second run though, they're just not that efficient. Our stripping runs will yield about 30-40% abv, then we'll yield about 75% on our low wines run. You can absolutely use them to add flavors to your distillate, we run two thumpers in series and use the second thumper as a kind of gin basket for our botanicals. They're definitely not as efficient as a couple of plates and you'll be hard pressed to do a single pass anything but we've found them to be very versatile, and provide a flavor profile that we love. As with a lot of things in distilling, they're not THE way to make tasty product but they certainly are A way and if it fits with how you like to distill and yields a product you like then go for it.
  5. Direct Fire Heat Up Problem

    We've got a similar set up, we've been running an X-44 under one of our stills for the past 5 years. On agitation, you're definitely going to want it. The easiest/cheapest way is what Southernhighlander describes; braze in like a 1" a pipe either tangential to the outer wall or (easier) running down from the top of the still to just above the bottom, throw a ball valve, on it and then a 1" PT to tri-clamp adapter. You probably have a centrifugal process pump, you just need hi temp hose, and you can recirculate out of the drain valve and back into the recirc pipe while you're boiling, works great. On the burner, get a welding tip cleaner kit and carefully ream out the jets, if they were starved for O2 before they may be carbed up and aren't putting out what they could, this is good regular maint.. I think what's happening on heat up time is the change from brick to combustion chamber. The brick holds in a lot of heat and really helps with the boil, but you need the bottom of the stack open enough to let in plenty of combustion air. The combustion chamber resolves the air issue at the expense of holding onto the heat, the vast majority of the heating is now limited to the bottom of the still, so you're not getting any heating to speak of on the sides of the still. Finally, in order to provide enough combustion air, you've got a stack on the combustion chamber which as it heats up drafts, which pulls heat out of the combustion chamber reducing it's efficiency. This is just my take on it but what I would do with your current set up is 1) ad the recirc pipe and recirc for all the reasons mentioned by previous posters 2) ditch the vent pipe 3) put some kind of spacer between the combustion chamber and the still (1" square bar?) so the heat vents up the side of the still rather that out the stack 4) I'd play with the bricks again, try a loose stack at the bottom to allow plenty of air flow, tighten up when you get to still height and keep them maybe 3-4 inches away from the still so the heat and combustion air can get out. The idea is make a sweater, hold the heat close to the still but let it flow. Good luck!
  6. Hemacytometers: how cheap is too cheap?

    We found that the problem with the cheap ones online is that there is no contrast so you cannot see the grid in the counting chamber which essentially turns it into any old slide and cover slip. you can get a good used bright field hemocytometer on ebay and will be much better off.
  7. Getting Molasses out of 55 gallon drums

    Haven't worked with the drums before but it seems to me I've seen folks lift the drum up on it's side, drain valve toward the bottom and then put a little compressed air into the breather port on the top of the drum lid. That would assume there are two ports on the drum lid, one larger than the other. be careful to only put enough air to establish and maintain flow, you don't want to put the spurs to the drum and blow the lid or seam. again, never done it but ought to work. good luck
  8. Maine Distilleries!?

    Hey man! We'd love to have you stop by on your way through Portland. Give a call when you think you'll be passing through, 207-878-9759.
  9. What makes bourbon bourbon?

    I hear you man, I got a bit nappy myself looking over it this morning!
  10. What makes bourbon bourbon?

    The BAM accounts for what you're referring to under the blended whiskey type. The BAM type description for bourbon whiskey states that it must be produced "from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn". Once it leaves your production account, you note the type (in Part III) and what raw material you used to produce it (in Part VI) on the Production Report. If you then take varying whiskies from your storage account and mix them to produce another whiskey in your processing account you must label it blended bourbon whiskey (if it's bourbon) as described in the BAM "Blended whisky produced in the U.S. containing not less than 51% on a proof gallon basis (excluding alcohol derived from added harmless coloring, flavoring or blending materials*) straight bourbon whisky". I read the New Riff excerpt as referring to grain entering the brewing process not finished whiskey entering the distilling process or bottling process.
  11. Bung Removal

    The whaling option is highest effort for the lowest return for sure. The others are all dependable.
  12. Bung Removal

    On the super-slick end of the spectrum there is the Bung Puller from Stortz Tools: cool, remove/reuse, bit spendy sure but cool http://www.stortz.com/OnlineStore/ProductDetail/ProductID/13162/bung_puller.aspx Easy/cheap/fast/1x use = just split the bung right down the middle with a flat head screw driver and pop out both sides of the bung You can also take a deadblow mallet and whale on the barrel (not on the bung) on either side of the bung until it loosens up and then just pluck it out
  13. Whiskey Stones wholesale?

    We get ours from Hammerstone's Whiskey Disks. http://www.whiskeydisks.com/ They make a great product, customizable, and Jesse Billin is fantastic to work with.
  14. Another Craftsman Copper still under construction

    very cool, loved following the last project, looking forward to this one!
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