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RobertS

Barrel Filling

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We are working on moving the distillery to a new location, and our new city is asking for established industry practice for safely filling barrels. I don't know of any special precaution or equipment one would use. What we currently do and what I've seen from every video of small distilleries I could find is just having someone watch and stand by with a hand on the valve to stop product flow when the barrel is full. Is there some fancy tool I'm missing out on or a good answer to give the inspectors as to why hand filling is considered good practice?

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It isn't necessarily industry standard, but you could consider filling barrels over a containment pit, to capture leaks or overfills. Other stuff worth looking at is Intrinsically Safe scales and load cells, EXP lighting and other electronics around spirits holding tanks and in use for barrel filling. Also appropriately rated forklift and pump. Check out the DISCUS fire safety manual for details on what is recommended for industry 'best practices'. 

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some folks use a modified gas dispensing nozzle for filling barrels. They automatically shut off when full.

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That's certainly clever. Any food grade concerns with the nozzle material?

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http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=ZL-120L+nozzle&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=ZL-120L+nozzle&_sacat=0

The product description, in regards to material, on these is a bit confusing so I emailed to ask if all wetter surfaces are stainless.

They emailed back quickly with the following info:

" The fluid will come in contact with just stainless steel and the viton seal that connects the nozzle together. Hope this helps. "

I just purchased one and can share more info on how well it works once it arrives.

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On 1/23/2017 at 3:02 PM, HedgeBird said:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=ZL-120L+nozzle&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=ZL-120L+nozzle&_sacat=0

The product description, in regards to material, on these is a bit confusing so I emailed to ask if all wetter surfaces are stainless.

They emailed back quickly with the following info:

" The fluid will come in contact with just stainless steel and the viton seal that connects the nozzle together. Hope this helps. "

I just purchased one and can share more info on how well it works once it arrives.

Just wanted to let everyone know that we got this nozzle and its been working pretty well for us.  The first one we received would not automatically shut off when the receiving container was full; emailed the manufacturer and they shipped us a new one, and its been working good.  Nice and affordable upgrade for a small distillery like mine!

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ZL-120L ? What color did you pick, what makes sense?

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1 hour ago, Michaelangelo said:

ZL-120L ? What color did you pick, what makes sense?

Yes, the ZL-120L.  We got a green one, but not sure it matters much unless you have a filling station in your distillery!

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well those are certainly pricey.  It would be super handy though.  We fill by weight w an intrinsically safe scale by Arlyn. Gotta keep an eye towards the end though - 1# difference can mean a spill.

As for food grade - I can't speak to the Huskey that's mentioned above but most nozzles have aluminum in them which doesn't play well with ethanol.  There are a few out there made specifically for booze though. I imagine that's where this Huskey came from.

Forklifts need to be XP in the distillery (EX for electric).  I'm betting that they just want to know that you've taken safety into consideration and want to see a plan so that they can wipe their hands clean in a unfortunate event.

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Thank you for the update, HedgeBird. I am adding that fill head to my wishlist as we move.

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