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UAHJoe

Mash Separation Senior Design Project

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I am currently a Senior in the mechanical engineering program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and my senior design team has been assigned a local distillery as our customer.  We are tasked with creating the most optimal mash-alcohol separator for any small medium  sized distillery, we would love to hear your feedback! Below are questions regarding functions, performance, and characteristics of the ideal mash separator being designed to fit your needs. Certain questions may not be applicable to you. You do not have to answer any questions that you are not comfortable answering or that does not pertain to you or your distillery. We appreciate you for sharing your input and helping us to create a useful and reliable product!

Demographics

1. What is your age group?
a. 0 – 24
b. 25 – 34
c. 35 – 55
d. 55 or older


2. What is your gender?
a. Male
b. Female


3. Do you have trouble lifting more than 35lbs?
a. Yes
b. No


4. Is your distilling process “Off the grain”?
a. Yes
b. No

5. Do you currently have a process in place to extract alcohol out of
the grains prior to distillation?
a. Yes
b. No


6. If yes for question 5, what is your current process? (I.e. press,
strainer, pump, auger, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                  
Product Specifications


7. Would your mash separator need to be mobile?
a. Yes
b. No


8. Would your mash separator need to be put away for storage?
a. Yes
b. No


9. Would you prefer the separator to process 55-gallon drums or 5-
gallon buckets?
a. 55 Gallon Drums
b. 5 Gallon Buckets


10. Would you prefer the containment barrels and buckets to be
composed of stainless steel or food grade plastic?
a. Stainless Steel
b. Food Grade Plastic

Product Performance

11. Would this product be more beneficial to you if it were fully
automated or manual?
a. Automated
b. Manual


12. How long does it normally require for you to extract distillers
beer or alcohol from your mash?
                                                             
13. What is the preferred time frame expected to fully clean this
product?


a. 5 – 10 minutes
b. 10 – 15 minutes
c. 15 – 30 minutes
d. 30 minutes or longer


14. After extracting free floating alcohol, how many gallons of
alcohol do you expect to retrieve out of the remaining grains?
a. 1 – 2 gallons
b. 3 – 4 gallons
c. 5 or more gallons

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8 hours ago, UAHJoe said:

5. Do you currently have a process in place to extract alcohol out of
the grains prior to fermentation?
a. Yes
b. No

There isn't any alcohol in the grains before fermentation. Do you mean liquid separation? Are you developing a device to dewater grains? 

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5. should have read prior to distillation not fermentation.  I've edited the original 

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So part 2 of that is that most distilleries, if they ferment on the grain distill on the grain. They wouldn't lauter off at that point.  They either go grain off after mashing or go through the entire distilling process grain on. 

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4 hours ago, Foreshot said:

So part 2 of that is that most distilleries, if they ferment on the grain distill on the grain. They wouldn't lauter off at that point.  They either go grain off after mashing or go through the entire distilling process grain on. 

Yeah our customer is definitely in the minority as far as "off the grain" distilling goes.  We like the process we've designed thus far but market research is not only helpful but a required part of the course.  Thanks for your responses 

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4 hours ago, UAHJoe said:

Yeah our customer is definitely in the minority as far as "off the grain" distilling goes

I dont know of a single large distiller that lauters except for single malt. Of those that do, 100% are direct immersion.  There's no value in lautering if you dont have to OR if the product quality suffers because of not doing it.

 

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Y'ALL.

Help the guy build his project and answer the damn survey.  It doesn't matter if his customer is doing it wrong - he still needs a grade.  Just imagine a hypothetical world where you're lautering after you ferment.

That said - @UAHJoe - can you give us a little more information about what grains your customer is using and what the final product is?

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Sorry not trying to beat him up, just making sure he understand that the problem he's trying to solve is an edge case, not something that is common.

UAHJoe I'll PM my reply.

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