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More pics of Long Branch Distillery's opening:\

Long Branch Distillery, New Jersey, is opening its doors! Proud to have you guys as iStill customers!
 

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2 hours ago, Odin said:

Twenty-one iStill innovations: features, benefits, and how they compare:

https://istillblog.com/2020/02/24/comparison-istill-vs-traditional-still/

Regards, Odin.

So, I read all your posts and just want to chime in with some observations and questions.

(numbers are in reference to the list of features you linked)

1. Square boiler. A properly placed agitator on a round tank will not vortex and will achieve ideal agitation. There's a reason round is the standard and it's not because engineers weren't clever enough to think of a square.

2. I believe wide or narrow have the same evaporation rates and that it's all about BTUs transferred (someone can correct me on this).

3. As someone who spent the first 4 years on electric, I'm so absolutely thrilled that I've moved to steam.  We are not a large operation by any means, but switching our main still to steam has saved us $700 per month in electricity bills, and our new steam powered vodka still should knock another $400-500 off.  Roughly $14,000 of revenue saved each year, and we have reduced heatup times from 100a electric by about 4 hours each day.  Our steam boiler will pay for itself within just a couple years, much sooner if we consider labor and increased production capacity.  I also don't have to worry about electrical components causing a multitude of issues.

4. You say your still creates maillard reaction, but a traditional still does not. Can you back that up with science?

5. As far as I understand it, mixing speed has no effect on the rate of boil.

9. You make multiple wild claims.  1. Copper contamination.  In a properly designed still, there should be no copper contamination.  You also claim that copper rusts?  Your stills have copper, so are you saying that iStills rust and poison customers spirits?

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Thanks for sharing. Sorry if this post offended you or anyone else. That was not the goal, and maybe I should have refrained from posting this here. Not here to start a war and not here to explain myself. I'll dive into your questions anyhow, and give you explanations, but also want to make sure it does not become a "discussion". I remember how my views on copper can be perceived as antagonistic. We all make decisions based on the best info available and the feeling that something appeals to us or not. Head and heart. Same with me, when I decide to prioritize certain design specifics. So a one time answer, but no discusion. At least not from my part.

1. That is not my experience. Whenever I see what I call a traditional still with an agitator, it moves around fast, has filling levels well below 83% (nett/gross) and - if it has a sight glass - you can see the wash being thrown around so high that the sigh glass, that should be well above liquid levels is constantly washed dirty and clean with wash and grains. But if you found one that works, for you and that prevents vortex formation and violent gas bed intrusions, I am fine with that, of course.

2. Imagine X BTU being evaporated in a narrow boiler vs. a wider boiler. The boil-up will be higher in the narrow design. Yes, evaporation is the same, but the gas bed above the wider still will be more stable, less disturbed by a high boil-up. Just as with point 1 disturbance of the gas bed from which the riser or column draws is a negative. What we see as heads, hearts, tails, are components mixed into water/ethanol mix with higher or lower boiling points that correlate with higher and lower vapor speeds. The more stable the gas bed above the liquid is, the better the column can draw up gasses (via cooling by the dephlag or column or product cooler), without having to deal with interference and vapor speed variability (basically mini bursts of high/low air pressure due to aggressive mixing and/or shit flying through the gas bed from which the column draws). The more stable the gas bed, the bigger control over the smearing of heads and tails. The wider the variety in vapor speeds, the higher the (constant, additional) smearing of heads and tails will be. Since heads and tails smearing into hearts contribute to 80% of total flavor, we are not just talking hearts yield and toxicity, but also those vapor speeds (when variable) having constant (yet unmanaged) influences on flavor profile.

3. Glad to see you are happy with your steam boiler, mate. The reason why we offer an integrated (and insulated) solution, again, has to do with vapor speed and its management, since it is the key to reproducability of high quality spirits. In an uninsulated still, if you push the power there will only be a slight increase in vapor speeds. With insulation, and by integrating the heat source, we are able to turn power management directly into higher or lower vapor speeds. Since they result directly in smearing more or less heads and tails into hearts (thus affecting the flavor profile tremendously), I find the direct, integrated solution important. Again, if you are happy with your solution, there is no problem. Just explaining my thinking and reasoning here.

4. What I say is that a directly fired boiler can help create the Maillard Reaction and an indirect heating system does not. Research? Tons of it. If you find it important, may I advise you do your own? I can tell you from my own experience that it makes the trip so much more fun! Potatoes, boiled vs. fried, may be a good starting point. Or else please research how steaks are cooked to perfection.

5. Mixing does not have an influence on the rate of the boil. It has a big influence on filling levels and on the stability of the gas bed from which the column or riser draw, as specified above.

9. I do not have the habit of making wild claims. Research we do in our lab and research done by the Edinburgh University in Scotland clearly show that copper stills lead to copper particle contamination in the final drink. The less a still is used, the longer it is exposed to oxygen. The longer copper is exposed to oxygen, the more it oxidizes. Some called it copper oxidation, others call it rust, just as with iron. Research on Scottish copper potstills, that are in almost continuous use, show already high copper particle contamination in Scottish whiskies. Copper plays a potential essential part in some drinks. And in others it does not play a role at all. Gins, flavored vodka's for instance. The reason we have a copper waffle is that you can put it in or take it out, dependent if you need it. We put it at the very bottom of the column to prevent copper contamination as much as possible.

Skaalvenn, a lengthy answer, but I wanted to take the time and do the effort of explaining here what a table cannot do (without becoming unreadable). If you are interested in these topics of still design, please know that I post many articles on the iStill Blog that discuss the questions you had. For more reading: https://istillblog.com/. There is a search function that's pretty helpful!

Thanks, Odin.

 

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2 hours ago, Odin said:

Thanks for sharing. Sorry if this post offended you or anyone else. That was not the goal, and maybe I should have refrained from posting this here. Not here to start a war and not here to explain myself. I'll dive into your questions anyhow, and give you explanations, but also want to make sure it does not become a "discussion". I remember how my views on copper can be perceived as antagonistic. We all make decisions based on the best info available and the feeling that something appeals to us or not. Head and heart. Same with me, when I decide to prioritize certain design specifics. So a one time answer, but no discusion. At least not from my part.

1. That is not my experience. Whenever I see what I call a traditional still with an agitator, it moves around fast, has filling levels well below 83% (nett/gross) and - if it has a sight glass - you can see the wash being thrown around so high that the sigh glass, that should be well above liquid levels is constantly washed dirty and clean with wash and grains. But if you found one that works, for you and that prevents vortex formation and violent gas bed intrusions, I am fine with that, of course.

2. Imagine X BTU being evaporated in a narrow boiler vs. a wider boiler. The boil-up will be higher in the narrow design. Yes, evaporation is the same, but the gas bed above the wider still will be more stable, less disturbed by a high boil-up. Just as with point 1 disturbance of the gas bed from which the riser or column draws is a negative. What we see as heads, hearts, tails, are components mixed into water/ethanol mix with higher or lower boiling points that correlate with higher and lower vapor speeds. The more stable the gas bed above the liquid is, the better the column can draw up gasses (via cooling by the dephlag or column or product cooler), without having to deal with interference and vapor speed variability (basically mini bursts of high/low air pressure due to aggressive mixing and/or shit flying through the gas bed from which the column draws). The more stable the gas bed, the bigger control over the smearing of heads and tails. The wider the variety in vapor speeds, the higher the (constant, additional) smearing of heads and tails will be. Since heads and tails smearing into hearts contribute to 80% of total flavor, we are not just talking hearts yield and toxicity, but also those vapor speeds (when variable) having constant (yet unmanaged) influences on flavor profile.

3. Glad to see you are happy with your steam boiler, mate. The reason why we offer an integrated (and insulated) solution, again, has to do with vapor speed and its management, since it is the key to reproducability of high quality spirits. In an uninsulated still, if you push the power there will only be a slight increase in vapor speeds. With insulation, and by integrating the heat source, we are able to turn power management directly into higher or lower vapor speeds. Since they result directly in smearing more or less heads and tails into hearts (thus affecting the flavor profile tremendously), I find the direct, integrated solution important. Again, if you are happy with your solution, there is no problem. Just explaining my thinking and reasoning here.

4. What I say is that a directly fired boiler can help create the Maillard Reaction and an indirect heating system does not. Research? Tons of it. If you find it important, may I advise you do your own? I can tell you from my own experience that it makes the trip so much more fun! Potatoes, boiled vs. fried, may be a good starting point. Or else please research how steaks are cooked to perfection.

5. Mixing does not have an influence on the rate of the boil. It has a big influence on filling levels and on the stability of the gas bed from which the column or riser draw, as specified above.

9. I do not have the habit of making wild claims. Research we do in our lab and research done by the Edinburgh University in Scotland clearly show that copper stills lead to copper particle contamination in the final drink. The less a still is used, the longer it is exposed to oxygen. The longer copper is exposed to oxygen, the more it oxidizes. Some called it copper oxidation, others call it rust, just as with iron. Research on Scottish copper potstills, that are in almost continuous use, show already high copper particle contamination in Scottish whiskies. Copper plays a potential essential part in some drinks. And in others it does not play a role at all. Gins, flavored vodka's for instance. The reason we have a copper waffle is that you can put it in or take it out, dependent if you need it. We put it at the very bottom of the column to prevent copper contamination as much as possible.

Skaalvenn, a lengthy answer, but I wanted to take the time and do the effort of explaining here what a table cannot do (without becoming unreadable). If you are interested in these topics of still design, please know that I post many articles on the iStill Blog that discuss the questions you had. For more reading: https://istillblog.com/. There is a search function that's pretty helpful!

Thanks, Odin.

 

I'm not offended in the slightest, I just read your posts and it sounds more and more like scientific buzz words being thrown around without anything to back them up than anything.  I have one of your older istill models, and it simply doesn't do what you always claimed they did.  I know you separated from the company that used to build them, but that brings up the question of your honesty in advertising prior to doing fabrication in house. 

1.  You just need thttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj9SL6A61qoo observe the mixing of a tank designed by someone who has some knowledge about mixer design, or who has watched a 2 minute video on mixing.  A properly designed system will not have any splashing, vortexing, or dead spots.  See below:

youtu.be/Sj9SL6A61qo

3. I understand the benefit of being able to dial in and maintain an amount of heat--a properly designed steam system can do just that. To say that electric is superior is just spreading misinformation and people have figured out how to control the precise amount of BTUs with steam long ago.  I will say that electric WAS beneficial when starting since I didn't have to buy an expensive steam boiler, but any change or move with electric required thousands of dollars spent to build more control panels, install more electrical lines, and add higher amp panels to handle the load.  Going to steam eliminated basically all those costs (in addition to the previously stated benefits).

4. I am quite familiar with cooking and what the maillard reaction is, to say that this doesn't happen in a different still is quite bogus.  In fact, I'd argue that the ability to distill on the grain results in the ability to have a product with more flavors than using direct elements.

9.  I did a brief google search and found nothing from the Edinburgh University and copper levels in spirits. Can you share the article for us?

 

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There are basically two ways in which the boiler can add flavors. One is via the Maillard reaction. It adds up to 25% in flavor. The other one is on the grain (or pulp or herbs) distillation. It adds around 20% to the total taste level.

I design my stills in such a way that our customers can have both benefits. The reason we went above and beyond is that we feel that the craft distiller needs to take the battle to Big Alcohol on taste and flavor, and to have them come to the match with both options (Maillard and on the grain) is an amazing addition.

Regards, Odin.

 

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Charles from Six Dogs Distillery, South Africa, just participated at the iStill University. Here is his feedback:

“Finally back in South Africa. What a pleasure spending time with you all. Hope to stay in touch one way or another. Thank you for the inspiration – lots of possible products on the horizon. And a fantastic course, well presented by all at iStill. Without a doubt our next still. Best regards. Charles”

Regards, Odin.

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Here is a simple Excel based dilution calculator. Add the batch size (liters or gallons) and strength, dial in to what percentage you want to dilute, and the Excel sheet calculates how much dilution water you need to add and how much your total volume will be.

If you download it, and place it on your desktop, you can use it whenever you need it.

Regards, Odin.

iStill Dilution Calculator.xlsx

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I am celebrating my 51st birthday today. For anyone in our neck of the woods: drinks are on me, from 4 pm onwards. Where? Cafe de Pompier in Woerden, the Netherlands. If you can't make it, raise a glass with me to celebrate the weekend, and the amazing industry we all work in.

Regards, Odin (the guy in the middle).

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Charles, distiller from South Africa, attended the iStill University and gives his feedback:

“Finally back in South Africa. What a pleasure spending time with you all. Hope to stay in touch one way or another. Thank you for the inspiration – lots of possible products on the horizon. And a fantastic course, well presented by all at iStill. Without a doubt our next still. Best regards. Charles”

More on Charles and his Six Dogs Distillery? Please read this:

https://www.samsambutdifferent.net/post/2018/05/30/meet-the-maker-six-dogs-distillery

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Today we shipped three more stills. Two iStills 2000 are on their way to customers in Sweden and Norway. An iStill 500 with Extractor is leaving for Australia.

Regards, Odin.

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On 2/14/2020 at 4:01 PM, Odin said:

"A big invest is being made in iStill technology, a company that has some really fun ideas about “fast aging” products"

Do these stills come with a time machine or something?  No such thing as fast aging.

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3 hours ago, DrDistillation said:

Do these stills come with a time machine or something?  No such thing as fast aging.

I think that they are referring to accelerated maturation techniques. Semantics really

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Most of these techniques have been tried many times over the years by many, with no long term benefit, just short term waste of time and resources.  You can certainly speed up rest periods with moderate heat and mixing.  You can also force extraction through heat and cold as well, but I'm not sure you can call this maturation and certainly not aging.

Is it worth additional equipment cost, ongoing energy & labor costs to speed up a rest period for a white spirit from say 30 days to 5 days?

You can use heat upfront, use UV, use ozone, use ultrasound, use vacuum and pressure, etc  but they are all short term solutions and with flavored spirits such as whiskey, brandy or rum often create a worse spirit long term after it's been in a barrel for a couple of years.  You name it, been tested by all the large distilleries over the years. :)

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We created support for breweries that want to venture into distilling. A course, a calculator, an e-Book, an interview, and more. If you want to learn more, please check out the brewstillery landing page and  at:

https://www.istill.com/brewstillery

Regards, Odin.

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After over a year of development and testing, we are upgrading the iStills to a new PLC and software suite. Faster, more memory, better graphics allow for whole new dimensions to be added to our units:

https://istillblog.com/2020/03/16/istill-artificial-intelligence/

Regards, Odin.

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