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    Burlington, WI
  • Interests
    cider, perry, pommeau, calvados, methode champenoise

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Charles@AEppelTreow's Achievements

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  1. Setting aside the open burner for a moment, if the still is leak tight and the product is below flashpoint in temp, how do you end up with enough stray fumes to build up to the LEL? Or does at least one of those two parameter have to be violated?
  2. Apples and pears can use the same equipment. Small-ish imported grinders are available. The peaches will take something else. I've simply broken them in half by hand - the yeast will turn them to mush in short order and the pits sink to the bottom. But a half-ton later, you have severe RSI. I see that GW Kent is offering a crusher modified for stone fruit this year. Have tried it myself.
  3. You can't conduct distilling operations in the area of a bonded wine premises - and versa vice. And you can't mingle the products in production or storage. But those bonded areas may be 'adjacent'. Even under the same roof. And there may be shared area set up to 'alternate' between the two bonds/premises. I've heard stories of individual agents requiring differing degrees of segregation - but our reviewer was okay with marking the different regions with wall marking and floor paint colors/stripes.
  4. To answer sorghumrunner's question, I can tell that coolant temp, and even room temp, make a difference in my products. But my condenser is tied to lines running through the still head (a modified Col'n Wilson still) and I don't have complete control of every variable. So I live with it.
  5. We're on an open flame, so for safety purposes we have an operating rule to keep the spirit temp under the flashpoint. If it goes over the flashpoint, you must address the problem. If it goes over the flame point, shutdown immediately, period. And we have a chart on the wall of flashpoint and flame point at common operating proofs.
  6. Oh, I think this thread shows that other people do miss them. Not usually enough to speak up. The Forum's reputation management toolkit seems pretty weak. It might be nice to have a transaction hosting/arbitration service for the industry. Especially for new entrants, both suppliers and buyers. Or new relationships - use it the first few times, then work direct. Common terms, plus whatever the parties agree to. Feedback and rebuttals posted visibly and tied to specific transactions - nothing vague and generalized. Low fee for the service. Wait... I'm describing eBay, aren't I?
  7. Guy, you never did answer if this was a moderator-level reminder to members (maybe of existing policy?), or if it came by way of ADI direction. Either way, none of the pinned articles in 'Welcome', 'For Sale', 'Wanted to Buy' or 'Equipment' give notice of the policy. Those are the places I looked for Forum usage rules. Perhaps at least the one in 'Welcome' could be updated?
  8. Neutral brandy for fortification is against my religion We're you aiming for a pommeau style, or a drier royal cider? And did you know that using the scuppernong spirits will make it a formula wine? (As opposed to pommeau, which is simply a 'natural' apple dessert wine. Slightly different label requirements, too.)
  9. Eek! Please, never cook sweet cider before fermenting. Cider is a kind of wine, not a kind of beer. 5%ABV is very typical of a cider from commonly available apples. Yes, you can get up to 8% - but it's cultivar and climate dependent. Not just any apple from any place. Most people looking to raise the ABV will freeze the juice and take the rich fraction as it thaws. Or add sugar/honey. Which a bonded winery may do in the US, within certain limits, but I don't know if a DSP may. The only reason I can see for cooking juice is to kill off pectin methylesterase activity to reduce methanol in the spirit. (Some cidermakers experiment with _adding_ PME (and CaCl2) in order to clarify the juice with a traditional process called 'keeving'.) Apples have no complex carbohydrates, so any Saccharomyces strain will ferment it out. But different strains will impart subtle aroma notes. And work at different speeds. I know a few people are playing with using Brett. for the primary fermentation, but it won't behave in cider the way it does in beer. Sorghumrunner, it's my understanding that it's not so much the design of a belt press, but the age of the belt. Modern (this century) belts work a lot better than the previous generation. But you also mentioned that they were running cold-stored apples. That's a potential patulin hazard for sweet cider, but not an issue for fermented cider - the yeast eats it. But those cold stored apples might be mushy and force more belt wash cycles as they plug up the belt, reducing the brix. Plausibility isn't proof - but it's a reasonable idea.
  10. Brix is going to depend on a bunch of things: cultivar blend, post harvest storage, local climate, press technology. 10.5 is low for a decent blend of apples. I've seen it with straight Red Del. 12-ish is pretty normal for eating apples. 16 is as high as I've seen with a select blend of heirlooms. I've heard talk of 20+ from folks in dry climates (CO), who manage irrigation. If you're under 12, I'd ask about what press they are using. Old belt presses use water jets to clean the belt, and some people have them set to run too often, watering down the juice.
  11. There are precious few traditional cider apples available for sale in the US. And at 4X the cost of surplus eating apples (best case), it's even harder to justify distilling them. And mostly pointless - tannins don't go through a still. Some of them have a different aroma profile than 'red' or 'green' apples (generally called 'bittersweet' - yes, as an aroma) - but that rarity and expense puts me off distilling them. You get more bottles out of a bushel as [hard] cider, with less costs, and lower taxes. Sure, it may be less revenue per bottle - but just how much can you charge for that brandy? For distilling, I mostly use a mix of eating apples that I can get cheap. Red Del, McIntosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Gold Del, Ida Red, and various older tart cooking and eating apples. Most cultivar aroma gets clobbered by the yeast. Some varieties have aroma that gets through a little; McIntosh, Jonathan for instance. I find that with some practice, you can assemble a more floral base cider, an earthy/mineral base, or a slightly spicy base, determined by cultivar selection, [finding the blends is left as an exercise to the reader] and it makes _some_ difference on the end brandy. I believe overall ripeness and fermentation are more critical. And that's before you get to distilling equipment, technique and barrel selection.
  12. Not implying. Explicitly stating :-) Unfermented = juice, and I don't care if I'm outnumbered. I'm trying to re-educate my fellow Americans. $3.40 would still be a bit steep in the midwest, unless it's a small orchard (~10 acres), has a lot of heirloom apples (like russets), or some other feature that's worth paying more than $2.25/gal (best price I saw in 2013). But I have paid about that in a bad year (factoring in freight) and pay a _lot_ more than that for specialty cultivars. But I don't distill specialty cultivars - I drink them as cider, dry and tannic.
  13. I use older terminology. Cider = fermented apple juice. $3.80/gal for 'sweet' cider (unfiltered juice that most Americans have been deceived into calling cider) is a bit high, but not necessarily outrageous.
  14. I'm wondering of anyone else has had similar problems recently. I've had all this winter's brandy COLAs returned for correction for using the word 'spirits' in the brand name. As in 'AeppelTreow Spirits'. Which I have listed in my basic permit as one of my brand names. And it has worked fine since 2009. But now I've been getting a double hit for using a 'Class/type designation ina brnad or fanciful name' (Which is one of my own pet peeves - 'Tennesse Cider' using a wine class/type on a spirit product.) The second hit is redundant - using conflicting declarations of class and type, e.g 'Spirits' and 'Brandy'. I've gotten them all resolved by explaining that 'spirits', by itself, isn't a defined class/type. Without even making them go into the COLA public registry and pulling up all the COLAs that use 'spirits' in the brand name. Hundreds. Per year. But I have had to do it more than once. Perhaps more than one new reviewer joining the ALFD? Charles AEppelTreow Cider & Spirits (whoops - there's that pesky class/type again) AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery.
  15. Runner, how are you measuring VA? .15 g/L is moderate. Above the detectable in water, but threshold in wine. Acetic acid isn't supposed to be detectable until .7g/L. Your association of the smell with ammonia confuses me a bit. What's the sulfite level, and do you know free and total?
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