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Everything posted by PeteB

  1. PeteB

    Barrel Head Space

    For efficient use of your barrels I suggest filling within 1/2 inch of full. If the barrel is completely full then I have found some spirit can "wick" out around the bung. I have heard that barrels only partially filled can mature more quickly, which might help with the Fire Marshall's calculations. I don't know if it would help, but point out to him that older barrels have lost angels share. Mature barrels have typically lost about 30% of their volume.
  2. PeteB

    Hopped whiskey??

    If a hopped beer is distilled in the US then aged in new barrels etc. is it allowed to be called Whiskey? There is a bit of a discussion on this subject in Australia at the moment. Thanks for any comments
  3. PeteB

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    What was the result when/if you re-tested the gaskets?
  4. PeteB

    Changes to CFR

    As an Australian I am not particularly interested in TTB regulations, but age statements can be misleading. For example I have some barrels of 9 year old brandy in my distillery. Still quite young when compared with some from Europe. I think a purchaser would expect a reasonable product but still not with the age characters of some older ones. This brandy is totally undrinkable. It is waaaay over-oaked . It is in 50 litre barrels and has been stored in Australian dry and temperature fluctuating conditions. The 3 year old barrels are very drinkable. Is a customer going to buy the 9 year or the 3 year if they know nothing else?
  5. PeteB

    Rye fermentation yield

    A refractometer has the same problems as a hydrometer when trying to measure anything that is not a simple mixture of just 2 compounds. A refractometer and hydrometer can measure accurately the amount of sugar dissolved in water, or just alcohol plus water, but when you have 2 or more compounds in varying amounts, plus water, they don't measure well. OG and FG as well as original and final refractometer readings assume that it is only the sugar that has been turned into alcohol, and no other compounds have been altered.
  6. PeteB

    Rye fermentation yield

    The final gravity reading is not measuring sugars only. It is measuring all sorts of soluble compounds. In my experience rye has a lot of dissolved compounds that are not fermentable sugars, and I assume these also have something to do with the high viscosity. 1.008 could be as low as it is possible to go with rye. In my opinion each different grain will have a different original and final gravity.
  7. PeteB

    How to Pressure Test a still?

    To check the pressure release valves the safest way is to remove them as Tom suggested. Screw them onto a manifold along with pressure gauges off the still and check them against an accurate gauge. I would play it a bit safer with HedgeBird's suggestion by filling the still with water to at least normal operating level, or even safer fill as far as practical before adding compressed air. If there is a large amount of compressed air in the still and it ruptures then there could be quite a BANG but if there is mostly water then there will be far less excitement in your day.
  8. PeteB

    Continuous Column Distillation

    I haven't forgotten you Jedd. Can't work out how to get photos off my phone to this forum. Have a guy who can probably show me tomorrow.
  9. PeteB

    Continuous Column Distillation

    The overflow pipe starts at the bottom of the conical boiler so it purges solids before they build up.
  10. PeteB

    Continuous Column Distillation

    The bottoms kettle is the boiler, I am feeding the column with flavour filled steam, not with clean steam. I am making whisky, not neutral spirit. The kettle overflows and gravity feeds through tube in shell heat exchanger to re-claim the heat. The outflow does surge a little but I don't think it is a problem.
  11. PeteB

    Continuous Column Distillation

    Thanks for the suggestions guys. The problem I have experienced with centrifugal pumps is if there is still some CO2 in the beer they cavitate especially if trying to push to a reasonable height ie. with back pressure. The flow control valve and column height would cause back pressure. Also any solids in the feed could obstruct the control valve. The centrifugal would be fine if no residual CO2 or solids. I think the rubber type impeller pump which is a positive displacement type would be far less likely to have problems, Jo Dehner suggested the same. Can you give me a lead about where I can buy these with VFD? I have 240vAC or 12v DC. Ideally I want to connect it to a temperature activated PID controller Cheers
  12. PeteB

    Dephleg hotter than column

    Thanks for those translations Paul. My confusion was Jen said "The second column won't get up to temp unless I overheat the still and then it pukes." but later he said in a reply to me "I do not have antifoam in the pot and haven't seen any foam build up at all." It doesn't matter now because it appears he has it running. As I said above, I know very little about the type of still Jen has. I learnt quite a bit from this thread but don't understand why the dephleg could be hotter than the column?
  13. PeteB

    Continuous Column Distillation

    I have changed my settings, hope PM will work no but not convinced. or email me pbignell@belgrovedistillery.com.au Except for a file for CNC cutting of simple plates the rest of the plans are in my head
  14. PeteB

    Continuous Column Distillation

    I designed it myself with 5 main things in mind. 1 to make whisky 2 cheap 3 easy to build 4 energy efficient 5 throughput of about 2,000 litres in 8 hours. I had some help from meerkat with calculating number of plates, and have spent a bit of time talking to Dehner. It runs on waste fryer oil, doesn't need any cooling water, in fact at the end of the day I have well over 1,000 litres of hot water at about 90 deg C To date I have not run it for full 8 hours. Still playing with correct pump to control feed rate.
  15. PeteB

    Sediment in finished bottles

    Firstly I am not concerned about the Flocc or whatever it is. Jim Murray's Whisky Bible has scored 7 of my whiskies Liquid Gold in the last 4 years including best whisky in Southern Hemisphere this year. I don't plan to change my production methods. That is not quite right because I am continually developing new products. I was intrigued when Bluestar said the flocc was caused by barrels only, but from what he said since, I think the reason I get Flocc in white spirits is because I cut further into tails than most people. I have not tested the pH of my rainwater, but whatever it is I doubt that I will attempt to correct it because if it "aint broke dont fix it" Thanks for the discussion, we should never stop learning. Pete
  16. PeteB

    Dephleg hotter than column

    Maybe we speak a different language in Australia, to me what you have described is foaming in the still pot that rises up into the helmet then eventually into the column, but in your reply you said no foaming in the pot. What do you mean by "puke"? With all these tests you are running I assume you have alcohol in the pot and not just water? I know very little about this type of still but wondering if trays will fill with just water. How much heat are you putting into your pot? Too few Kw. could cause some of the symptoms you have.
  17. PeteB

    Sediment in finished bottles

    Thanks Bluestar. Sorry about slow reply I have been travelling. (visiting distilleries and marketing in Japan) I dilute with carbon filtered rain water that has been stored in an old large concrete tank. I have a simple pot still and do run feints quite late when compared with some. Especially for rye, peated and the ginger.
  18. PeteB

    Dephleg hotter than column

    Do you have antifoam in your pot? Are they digital thermometers? Is column reading deg C and the dephleg F? Does the water exiting the dephleg feel VERY hot? Post photos of your setup
  19. PeteB

    Sediment in finished bottles

    I describe Flocc as clumps of cloudiness that very gradually settle to the bottom of the container. I describe Louching as looking like a small amount of milk tipped into water. It does not clump or settle out but will vanish when adding high strength alcohol. Are we talking about the same thing? I make an unaged rye spirit. I dilute with rain water to 40%abv then leave in a settling tank for about 6 weeks. A white substance precipitates to the bottom of the container then I filter the clear top into bottles. For aged whiskies I do the same procedure and a very similar substance settles on the bottom of the tank, usually, but not always, when below 45%abv. I also distil a product made with ginger root. I dilute that to 50%abv and it also forms what I call Flocc. By shining a torch into the settling vat I see little "clouds " forming that very gradually sink to the bottom.
  20. PeteB

    reusing feints

    Thanks for that link, interesting information indeed.
  21. PeteB

    Checking if maceration is complete

    The only way I know of reliably measuring what you are asking is with very expensive laboratory tests such as gas chromatography and mass spectrometery. Big distilleries develop recipes this way. Once the recipe is sorted they revert to measuring weights and time. The measuring techniques you are suggesting just don't give you enough information. After a time your nose and pallet will be able to give you a very good indication of how your extractions are progressing. Great taste and smell is what you are trying to produce so those are the instruments you, as a craft distiller, should be using. Also as mentioned in a post above, macerate and distil your botanicals separately then blend the spirit afterwards. This is a far easier way to get the flavour you want. Different sources of the same botanicals can release different amounts of flavours and also as you suggested, macerating at different times of the year.
  22. PeteB

    Best way to neutralize a barrel

    plus 1 for the steam extraction. I have some ex-cider barrels that are a bit skanky, that might fix them.
  23. PeteB

    Feeling very pleased with my efforts

    Thanks Iliasm, time is getting scarce but still doing the occasional sand and ice sculptures. I have a whisky event coming up where I will turn up early and do a whisky related ice sculpture for show then present my whiskies.
  24. I have been posting on this forum for many years, initially asking for help, in fact still asking for help occasionally, and I hope I have helped others with their questions as well. I have attended and spoken at 2 ADI conferences and at Tails in NOLA. I am a big fan of Bill Owens and the people in the US craft distilling industry. Now for my announcements Whisky Magazine "Icons of Whisky" has awarded me Australian Craft Producer 2019 which means I am now in the World Finals. Also Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2019 has scored my Peated Rye Whisky 96.5/100 Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year. Very proud and humbled, and thanks for your help from forum members. PeteB = Peter Bignell
  25. PeteB

    reusing feints

    What do you mean by "hydro separation"?