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Tom Lenerz

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Tom Lenerz last won the day on April 21 2017

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About Tom Lenerz

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  1. Explosion venting

    If you hit the LEL you will already know you have a problem as the discomfort from vapor in the air will make it painful to breath. We have our alarm set to 1% which you should still be able to notice, but earlier detection and notification is always best.
  2. Inexpensive Pump for Hot Water/Backset

    Seems like a good job for a centrifugal pump, I'm assuming you are referring to just liquid backset.
  3. Topping off barrels

    That is how I've always interpreted it.
  4. Topping off barrels

    I'm glad we are on the same page. I wasn't trying to argue for Blue Star's position, just reiterate that that it was the point of debate. Per finishing, here is an example COLA of a finished whiskey. https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicDisplaySearchBasic&ttbid=11046001000153 If you look at the bottle it just kind of looks like it is Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but if you look at the COLA you can see it is indeed a whiskey specialty and requires a formula. Which is a type and class I am not familiar with and cannot find the specifics of. I'm not sure if age statements are even allowed for a specialty. I am more in line with this view point, the barrel remains in it's 'new' state until it is emptied or in the event the barrel has some spirit added.
  5. Pikesville Rye Closures (t-tops)

    Most likely Amorim Cork. They supply most of the ultra-premium cork for spirits and wine worldwide.
  6. Topping off barrels

    I take no offense, and I too did not mean to offend. I am just trying to illustrate while often used interchangeably in our industry, maturating and aging are different as one has a legal definition. Below is how the TTB defines age, 5.11. Age. The period during which, after distillation and before bottling, distilled spirits have been stored in oak containers. “Age” for bourbon whisky, rye whisky, wheat whisky, malt whisky, or rye malt whisky, and straight whiskies other than straight corn whisky, means the period the whisky has been stored in charred new oak containers. It is the definition of age with regards to these types of whiskey and new cooperage that are specifically being debated. Blue Star had argued that expanding the bourbon in the barrel with water was the same as putting bourbon into a barrel that has already been used because the water is now causing the bourbon to cover used barrel. Hence, ending the aging process (not maturation) in the eyes of the TTB per this definition. This is the central point that is being debated in this thread.
  7. Topping off barrels

    I think you might be conflating aging with maturing. Legally and practically speaking, aging is time spent in the barrel, so yes the 23 year old spirit is more aged. Is it more mature? That is up for debate. The question here is strictly how does the TTB define aging in regards to this one specific practice. With brandy and rum there is no concern, because there definition of age is not tied to type of cooperage, simply time in any cooperage. Bourbon and Rye and other Straight whiskies require time in new cooperage, and any sort of finishing or process that takes them out of new cooperage changes their type and class from Straight Bourbon or Rye to something else. It appears the TTB did answer one question - does adding water to a barrel in storage change the spirit from Straight whiskey to something else? The answer was it "does not require formula". They did not clearly answer the question - does adding water to a barrel in storage stop the clock on aging? My guess is not, because that would be consistent with brandy and rum, but that doesn't mean that's the how they will enforce the regulations.
  8. Topping off barrels

    https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=f722e5eefe1b4eee15f709476f2159d8&node=pt27.1.19&rgn=div5#sg27.1.19_1325.sg38 The CFR (19.326) specifically calls out this practice for brandies and rums, however it does not state anything regarding straight whiskeys. Keep in mind, brandies and rums do not have cooperage requirements outside of time in cooperage, which is different than straight whiskeys. "(e) Fruit brandies distilled from the same kind of fruit at not more than 170° of proof may, for the sole purpose of perfecting such brandies according to commercial standards, be blended with each other, or with any blend of such fruit brandies in storage. Rums may, for the sole purpose of perfecting them according to commercial standards, be blended with each other, or with any blend of rums." The thing that stands out here to me is "according to commercial standards", meaning that they are recognizing that this is a common activity, and that there is no issue with it. Since it isn't really a traditional practice in the American whiskey industry they don't spell it out. Does that mean it is not allowed/effects the age statement or has it just never came up so they haven't taken a written stance?
  9. Topping off barrels

    Not this exact scenario, but something similar happens sometimes with brandy/cognac production. They often dump and blend barrels, add water and refill the original barrels to slowly cut over a number of years.
  10. Buying Ingredients from Local Farms

    Yes this is something easy to run into, and it can affect how hard it is on your mill as well.
  11. Buying Ingredients from Local Farms

    We work with two main local farmers to provide us with what we need. One is a family friend who is planting things per our request. Since these farms are close, I used to go over with my pickup and fill up a buckhorn box at a time at the farms from the bins. One farmer installed a few smaller used bins to store rye and wheat in for us. The other has a leg (bucket elevator system) connected to his bins so I had to coordinate with him to pick it up. So for us they allowed us to get smaller batches at a time, year round. However, I've found most farmers don't have a lot of storage around us for things like rye and wheat, and try to get it all sold shortly after the harvest. For this reason we installed a silo onsite to increase our storage abilities beyond boxes and bags. It is really going to depend on the farmer you are working with, we offer our main farmers a slight premium over market rates because of our hassles. Around here prices are per bushel, typically with standard sizes, not adjusted per test weight. Corn (56 pounds) is currently around $3.50, we pay our farmer $4 cleaned and delivered. Rye (54 pounds) is $8 to $10, we pay $11 for cleaned and delivered. Wheat (60 pounds) goes for around $4, we pay $5 clean and delivered. I got raw barley once from a buddy (48 pounds) for $10 delivered. Local markets are going to make big swings in the prices. Seed cleaning; you will want clean grain, so finding farmers who can clean it for you is best. If you talk to farmers who deal in seed, they will be more likely to clean it, and possibly bag it (bulk or 50 pounds) for you. This all depends a lot on your local market. Know their year, when things get planted, when they get harvested, that way you know when they want their bins empty or when they will have more, but most importantly when is a good time to call and ask about things or ask them to deliver. Work with your farmers, their margins are razor thin, (if they even exist) and hours are long. We never debate asking price and we work around there schedule. It is a lot simpler to just grow corn and beans and send it off to an elevator or ethanol plant by the semi than deal with growing things for small distillers who are buying 40 or 50 bushels at a time.
  12. Barrel Costs

    Not all new American Oak is the same, and not all cooperages are the same. The biggest factors on price are going to be seasoning times and the scale of the Cooperage. Is it kilted dried or yard seasoned for 3 yrs? Is it water bent staves or firebent? What kind of QC do they have in regard to sorting and inspecting staves before construction? The factors go on and on, picking a barrel for a product is a really personal thing, and I recommend everyone gets to know how their coopers do business and what kind of quality you can expect to see from products aged in them before committing to a supplier.
  13. Hopped Whiskey(?)

    Not to completely derail the thread here, but what about making bourbon mash with a hop extract in small amounts for antiseptic properties as some have discussed? Is it an ingredient or processing aid, and if that is a processing aid at what point does it become an ingredient?
  14. grain cleaner

    DON and Mycotoxin levels vary a lot by region. If the area is historically low, local farmers who buy feed probably don't test for DON, or may not even be familiar with it. Regions like the American northeast struggle with it on a lot of small grains, where as the areas that traditionally grow small grain (by traditionally I mean the last 50 years), like the Dakotas and the American/Canadian northwest have significantly lower, if not non-existent levels. That is why they grow these grains in these areas, the climate is just better suited for it. Maltsters test for it not primarily because of toxicity, but because even a small amount can lead to gushing in beer. It is simply to avoid recalling and destroying an extremely large volume of low margin product.
  15. grain cleaner

    It sounds like you have farmers up around you that should have a cleaner. We ask all of our farmers to clean before delivery. Most farmers around me don't have a cleaner, so we asked a seed farm to do it for our farmers.