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Quinta Essentia Alchemy

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Quinta Essentia Alchemy last won the day on September 19 2017

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  1. Hi Sudzie. I just stumbled across this by accident. I wonder if the differences you are seeing are due to a longer optimal steeping time of the corn grist that will allow for more complete hydrolization of starches, thereby making for a more rapid early ferment? Assuming that there are still viable enzymes in the finished mash, which there should be if you're using exogenous enzymes, there is a continuation of the saccharification process during fermentation. Over the course of four days this would even out between the two processes, but perhaps you're "front-loading" more available sugars in scenario "B". Your enzyme manufacturer should have a chart of ideal pH & temp that "B" process may be more aligned with than "A". Just a thought.
  2. Yes, and thanks to all for that. This post is meant to aggregate peoples' experience and preference for one type of condenser, not to be antagonistic or assert that one is superior. I have personally found that coils are safer, but there are compelling arguments to be made for both styles and I want to hear them. In most of the comments above, the superiority of one style over the other has to do with the traditional materials used; copper vs. stainless. Eliminating that variable we get: Tube in Shell Pros: Compact size Less surface area contact time (also a Con for certain spirit types such as Cognac or Scotch when a longer temp gradient is desirable) Less chance of occlusion or blockage (though, as I mentioned earlier, occlusion of the condenser should never be an issue) Coil Pros: Better control of thermal gradient, especially important when using a reactive material such as copper. Safety. Totally anecdotal, I admit. I haven't seen this topic addressed on these forums before and want to understand all of the subtleties at hand. Thanks again for everyone's input.
  3. @JustAndy, I finally had a moment to read that link, thank you. Excellent insight into the quality considerations of various condenser styles and operation. I am genuinely looking for input and insight I am lacking. For something to have become the de facto industry standard, there almost certainly is a reason beyond size or manufacturing ease. I don't know what that is. The article @JustAndy linked points out that quality was seen to suffer at certain facilities in Scotland after a changeover to tube in jacket (copper construction, no less). So if manufacturing is simpler and construction materials can be the same why was one adopted over the other?
  4. Right, and I bet you've seen that first-hand, right (no need to answer :~). This is what prompted the question. Assuming all other things are equal (coolant temp, contact surface area, distillation running time, condenser material) is there any other specific advantage to a tube in jacket over a coil in tub? I see a whole lot of dangerous condenser designs (imo) and very few manufacturers that are willing to even admit that this design is problematic. I think that this mainly comes down to lack of actual distilling experience, but without a serious failsafe system like @Southernhighlander installs standard, these condensers are woefully under equipped. I even see designs that are meant to be hooked up to a garden hose!
  5. I'm going to just bump the original question a bit here. The question of copper on the cooling side has been conflated a bit with condenser design. I appreciate the dialogue regarding copper precipitates, but the original question was regarding intrinsic design qualities. Copper in not intrinsic to coil condensers, even though it probably constitutes 90% of beverage alcohol still design of that style. I have seen the word "efficiency" used here quite a bit, but I am not sure it is being properly used. A condenser will condense the vapor it is fed and require the same thermal capacity to do so. Some stills may be designed to run over a much longer period of time and have an appropriately-sized condenser tube that reflects that, but that is still design, not an intrinsic deficiency in the coil design itself. Could someone with more insight expand on this?
  6. This is a major quality argument for coils. Theoretically, this could be achievable with a stainless coil, but the reactivity of the copper in many brandy styles is seen as intrinsic to quality. I'm not sure I agree with this, but I also realize that they know far more than I do on the subject.
  7. What do you mean by "efficiency"? Assuming cooling fluid type and temp being the same, both condensers would run just as efficiently, i.e. require the same thermal capacity to condense the same vapor. Tube in jacket are certainly smaller pieces of equipment, but when you're talking about equipment that routinely exceeds 10' in overall length, the difference between a 12" dia. and 36" dia. condenser is negligible. Multiple vapor paths would reduce risk of occlusion, but if there is occluding material in your condenser, it's not going to be the thing to save you; you're already screwed. I have never seen a still that does not dramatically reduce the vapor path at least once and usually multiple times before it reaches a condenser (lyne arms, columns, vapor baskets, etc.). I have seen a few tequila/mescal still earthenware designs that take spirit directly into a condensing apparatus of some sort, similar to an Alquitar, but still there was significant restriction of the vapor path going in. I agree that most products should not see copper on the cooling side of vapor, however, Cognac, Armagnac and plenty of other traditional producers are adamant that this impacts flavor and aroma positively, so I'm in no position to doubt them. And I think it has much more to do with quality than tradition or primitive machining. They make changes to process in other areas; impingement burners as opposed to wood fire, for instance. Your last statement may be true for illicit distillation, but many, many distilling processes both traditional and modern employ them and for good cause. One of which is intrinsic safety. Again, I have never seen a coil release vapor. If you've been distilling with a tube in jacket for any length of time, I would bet that you have, no?
  8. Because the coolant volume and ratio to vapor in a water bath is significantly higher than in a tube in jacket. When a tube in jacket overheats the coolant, it takes mere minutes to get to a release of vapor. On the other hand, I have never seen a water bath even come close to overheating.
  9. I have been chewing over a question for nearly a decade now and, frankly can't come to a balanced conclusion. I would like to hear others' input on this: What is the benefit of a tube-in-jacket condenser system over a traditional worm/coil and tub setup? I have worked hands-on in dozens of distilleries over the years and beyond a doubt over-boil vapor release situations, that being where a loss of water pressure or similar coolant flow event, have been the most common and dramatic safety issue I have seen. I would bet that any distillery operating for more than 6 months has seen a vapor release of some sort due to the design of tube-in-jacket systems. I have brought this to numerous manufacturers and have been met with both incredulity and acknowledgement of the problem. A few have even offered reasonable, low-cost safety backup systems such as external vapor venting as a standard feature (looking at you, @Southernhighlander). For the most part, however, I don't see any system redundancy or failsafes in the vast majority of distilleries I visit or manufacturer designs I see. So back to my original question. What, if any, specific and unique benefit does tube-in-jacket have over a coil designed with the same throughput rate? Let's do this, nerds.
  10. Excellent post here, Odin. I just wanted to second this point and also add that all spirits require some "aging" time (yep, even Vodka) and for precisely the reasons you recount here. The process of distillation is one of separation and segregation (or fractioning) of molecules followed by a very rapid and abrupt reassembly. It does not end at the cut. Which is why a rest period should be built into your production model for all spirits. 5 weeks is nothing if you've planned for it and, if you're willing to really pay attention to the spirit, the change will be dramatic. Thanks for making this point.
  11. If the manufacturer is willing to support the equipment, by all means get the best deal you can. To be clear, though I am not really talking about calibration (which I assume you are paying for), but warranty support and service. I have had numerous issues with a scale I bought years ago and the only salvation was that I could hold the manufacturer accountable. Caveat emptor.
  12. I agree with every single part of your posts. Distillers would be well advised to take this advice to heart. Volumetric measurements are useless other than for anecdotal information. Weight is the only way to go and, as Silk City points out, three scales for various functions around the distillery are imperative. Thanks for posting. I would caution against buying consequential equipment from eBay or Amazon, especially those that the TTB considers gauging instruments. As stated above, scales need to be calibrated and, occasionally serviced. Unless it is explicitly stated by the manufacturer, it is less than likely that you will have the level of service and support necessary to maintain this equipment. Buy from the manufacturer or dealer with good warranty coverage and service.
  13. I was the Chief Distiller at Tuthilltown for over 7 years and can confirm that there is no Solera style system in place.
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