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Whiskey Taichou

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  1. You need to do some research, as this can be a big headache. Check out: The Brewers Association's Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery (Paperback) http://www.amazon.com/Brewers-Associations-Guide-Starting-Brewery/dp/0937381896 It has a great article on flooring, from epoxy to concrete and even wood. Are you making whiskey and brewing your own beer, or are you just making white spirits like gin and vodka? If you are making whiskey the brewer's association guide will really be useful. There are problems to all of these solutions. I would recommend talking to other brewers and distillers as 'flooring pros,' unless an old friend, is more about selling you something than about giving you the best advice. Just be skeptical and ask people who actually use it for distilling. My 2 cents: there are several flooring issues specific to Breweries and Distilleries. 1) Weight: Water weighs 8 lbs per gallon, so two 1000 gallon tanks will weigh 16,000 lbs without the weight of the tank itself. These are usually sitting on small legs, which put a lot of pressure on the floor. Cracking is very common in brewery/distillery floors making them harder to clean and giving a place for wild yeast to live. 2) Deflection: Moving large amounts of liquid from one tank to another on the other side of the room can cause deflection in the slab or if wood, then beams, due to the change in weight. This can cause toppings like an epoxy flooring to pop off the sub base or cause more cracks in a something like a slab. Thicker slabs as well as more control joints are usually money well spent. ‘Moist curing’ during the first 7 days of a concrete cure can result in more strength as well as higher psi concrete. 3) Heat shock: Moving 212 degree water right next to a line that contains cold water or chilled glycol results in rapid expansion and contraction. Of course a topping like epoxy will expand more than something below it like concrete potentially causing the bond to break between these elements. Wood can of course expand and contract dramatically based on moisture and heat. 4) Physical abuse: dropping a steel valve onto a topping can puncture a hole in it. Once this happens water can work into it and begin to compromise the entire coating. Usually coatings are applied much thicker than they would normally be applied. 5) Drainage: For every 1 gallon of beer produced, 8-10 gallons of water will be consumed. You just cannot have enough floor drains. Beer is acidic and brutal on floors, spirits like whiskey are worse. Cleaning agents and chemicals are also hard on floors. Getting these off the slab as quickly as possible is important and is also key for sanitation. Fruit flies, the bane of wineries and breweries everywhere, will appear wherever spilt beer is not cleaned up and will carry wild yeasts with them. 6) Perimeters: Perimeters can be problematic. At my facility, the concrete is very cracked and black from mold that will not clean. I have wasted a lot of time squeegying the floors due to no slope and no drains. I almost put a perimeter of 2 block high CMU and am kicking myself for never doing so, instead I put cheap wood trim. Every time I have a large spill which is pretty much every weekend, hot water shoots across the floor to wood trim over drywall. The wood is of course now all warped. The drywall is slowly disintegrating. If I had thought about a perimeter containment system, either a small concrete wall or a cmu wall covered with a topping or epoxy, I would have saved myself a lot of heartburn. There is a story about a brewery built on wood flooring, they eventually had to move the brewery equipment, rip out all wood and pour an elevated concrete slab. I hate to be a wet blanket, I just would hate to see you get an unexpected set of costs down the road that you never expected. If you are distilling mostly white spirits, it is probably not that big a deal, if you are making whiskey it could be a real nightmare. I'm not saying its impossible, just be aware going in of the headaches. Good luck!!!
  2. I recommend you read: Whisky: Technology, Production and Marketing (Handbook of Alcoholic Beverages) (Hardcover) by Inge Russell (Author) You can buy it on amazon. I also recommend you read Bill Owens book "Craft Whiskey Distilling" available on the main site. http://www.amazon.com/Whisky-Technology-Pr...319&sr=8-15
  3. Not sure if anyone saw this article. I believe people should pay their taxes but sending this guy to jail is pretty silly. Shouldn't the government be more focused on finding Osama Bin Laden and terrorists. Aren't there more dangerous criminals out there who need to come to justice? WT http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/01/28/popcor...d-to-the-pokey/ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Popcorn Sutton, Legenday Moonshiner, Headed to the Pokey Popcorn Sutton, Legenday Moonshiner, Headed to the Pokey Popcorn Sutton, Legenday Moonshiner, Headed to the Pokey Posted by Nathan Koppel With the economy now reminiscent of the Great Depression, we bring you some legal news straight out of Prohibition. Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, a legend of Appalachia, is headed to prison for moonshining and weapons charges. (In case you couldn’t guess, he’s the fellow in the hat in this AP photo.) Last year, Sutton pleaded guilty to illegal production of distilled spirits and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. A federal judge Monday sentenced him to 18 months in prison, the Asheville Citizen Times reports. “I’m a very sick man,” Sutton told the paper. “I’d like to die at home instead of in a penitentiary.” Sutton was arrested in March for allegedly running a moonshining operation that produced hundreds of gallons of the hard stuff. The defendant was well known thanks to his book “Me and My Likker,” along with Internet videos and cable TV documentaries on how to make moonshine. Robert Reeves, a federal prosecutor, introduced several of the videos Monday in court, claiming they showed that Sutton “flaunted criminal activity.” “Your moonshining is a violation of the law,” the judge told Sutton. “I don’t care how it is glamorized on the History Channel or the Discovery Channel.” We have to imagine that Popcorn is a fan of George Jones, a/k/a “The Possum,” one of the legends of country music. Here are lyrics from his classic, “White Lightning” Well in North Carolina, way back in the hills Me and my old pappy had a hand in a still We brewed white lightnin’ ’til the sun went down Then he’d fill him a jug and he’d pass it around Mighty, mighty pleasin, pappy’s corn squeezin’ Whshhhoooh . . . white lightnin’ http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/01/28/popcor...d-to-the-pokey/
  4. Have you ever read "Redhook: A Microbrew Success Story?" In it they talk about their stock offering and trials and tribulations. In a nutshell they raise money and get much larger. However they lose some control to the investors and feel the company loses some of the 'soul' of what they loved about it in the first place. They also sell part of the company to Budweiser and lose more and more of that soul. There is nothing new about this conundrum but being a microbrewery it feels similar to what we are all going through as microdistillers. It's also a great book to read as you see their struggles so similar to ours. The amazon link is below. I can even mail it to you if you pinky-swear to mail it back. The brooklyn brewery book "Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery"talks a lot about their fundraising, stock, and ownership issues of that company's growth as well. http://www.amazon.com/Redhook-Microbrew-Su...2895&sr=8-1 Good luck!!! WT
  5. Thanks for the photo, I am fascinated by the vacuum still concept. If you have any more photos please post them as well. Thanks again.
  6. Interesting article from San Francisco Chronicle: Move over sake, here's shochu Just when sake is becoming trendy in the Bay Area, the Japanese are already onto the next big drink -- shochu. Shochu is now outselling sake in Japan -- phenomenal for a spirit that less than 20 years ago was considered the tipple of alcoholics and the impoverished. Stylish restaurants now flaunt the breadth of their shochu selections, and people are paying more than $200 a bottle on auction Web sites for a popular limited-production brand that retails for less than $25. read more at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...WIG3885SLM1.DTL
  7. Sensei, First of all I would say my ultimate goal is still whiskey. The market for shochu is tiny here, but thats ok. Learning to make sake has made me a better beer and winemaker with more tools to solve more types of problems. I believe learning how to make shochu will make me better at making other spirits. There are some interesting techniques used in making shochu that could inform other types of spirit making. For example, the low pressure still is said to capture more flavor. Is there an opportunity to make better whiskey or rum here? These stills often tend to be more power efficient, hence more economical, and therefore greener. Power is an expense for any distillery. Is there something to learn here that can make a rum or bourbon better? The koji's ability to churn out such a high alcohol wash is pretty amazing. Astor Wines carries shochu made from rice, barley, carrot, sweet potato, potato, buckwheat, cantalope, dates, and wheat. Could the versatile Aspergillus also break down starches in corn or rye? When I first began studying the process I thought, your using barley, why not just malt some and use that to convert your starches? I thought, "What's wrong with these guys?" Maybe the joke is on us, because the taste of these products is amazing. With white, black, and yellow kojis out there, all with different flavor profiles, there is a lot of room to make distinctive products. At the same time, we are starting to see more and more barrel aged shochus, maybe they are being influenced by the boom in whiskey drinking in asia? There are several shochus now aged in cedar barrels, either exclusively or double woods aged in oak as well. What does this do to the flavor? Cedar is important in traditional sake making, I am curious what effect cedar barrels have on the final maturation. What interests me in microdistilleries is what interests me in microbrews: creativity and trying new things. The creativity of the microbrews has been exciting and has elevated the entire market. I don't think Budweiser would have ever come up with Rogue's "Old Crustacean Barleywine" or "Chocolate Stout" which I think is amazing. The big whiskey makers also tend to be fairly conservative and traditional, and not prone to a lot of experimentation. Buffalo Trace now has a microdistillery, but that's it among the really big boys. Last time I toured the Jack Daniels Distillery, I was amazed to learn that when the family sold the distillery, one clause in the contract was that the new owners could not change the recipe. No wonder they are so traditional. I am looking for new ways to expand my craft, that's where my interest in shochu comes from. As more people try it maybe there will be a market for it here in the states way off in the distance. Even small grocery stores here in the middle of nowhere Tennessee, far outside Memphis or Nashville, now carry sushi stations. I would have never guessed would happen 10 years ago. But if not, no big deal. As I said my interest in shochu is in making me a better distiller. Maybe one day I will also learn a thing or two from pisco, arrak, baijiu, etc. that will broaden my own spirits' horizons. Best regards, WT
  8. cookinaz, We have some serious challenges as microdistillers that a microbrewer does not. The amount of government red tape can add an extra 6 months to your initial timeline or more before you can even begin distilling. Many of our products unlike beers, have to be aged, and have enormous restrictions. This industry is not for the impatient.
  9. I thought a similar bill got killed 4 or 5 years ago? It would be great to see this go through. Cheers to Representative Stupak.
  10. Although it was not a huge event, the Indy Spirits Expo at Astor Wines in downtown Manhattan drew a large crowd for such a small space. Tequilas, Cachacas, Whiskeys, Rums, Vodkas, Gins, and even a Pisco were all represented. The pleasant Astor staff wore shirts asking us all to 'save the daiquiri' or a variety of other cocktails. The crowd was mostly young, hip, and genuinely excited about artisan spirits. The term mixology felt over used in general discourse and marketing materials. There were some amazing mixed drinks on hand though an it was overall a good time, though I would say only 20-25 distilleries were represented. I personally enjoyed getting to taste the new castries peanut rum cream www.castriescream.com, all the Tuthilltown products, bluecoat gin, and the St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The crowd was enthusiastic and despite the small space, I would say 500-600 people came. You can see pictures at this link: http://www.livethelushlife.com/content/indy-spirts-expo Anyone else from this group go or plan on going next year? The Astor director of events really wants to grow this over the next few years.
  11. Sensei, I can't find the link anymore but there was a college in I believe North Carolina doing an oral history preservation project on old time moonshiners throughout appalachia who would probably want to interview your relatives. I am from Tennessee but the part of my family involved with moonshine were really rum runners, I guess they were the distributors of their time. That was 4 generations ago and they are all long, long gone. We are rapidly losing a lot of this old time knowledge, and it is such a shame. I have a friend who just got back from Bonnaroo, where he bought a small mason jar of shine for 5$. It tasted awful and he has seen a huge decline in quality since he first started going to the festival as it has grown in popularity. I guess money ruins everything. I am in Nashville and you cannot get it here anymore, the best shine now is supposedly outside Knoxville. Good luck with everything, I hope you do open a distillery at some point and make your grandparents proud. WT
  12. Greetings distillers, I'm the second half of a small two man team starting up a microdistillery in the mid south. Andrew, who has been posting here longer than myself, is my compatriot in this venture. I am originally from Tennessee, lived in Manhattan for ten years, and just recently moved back to Tennessee. As my wife is from outside the city, we go back up there a lot to see friends and family. We just went to the "Indy Spirits Expo" at Astor Wines and Spirits near the East Village and I recommend it next year wholeheartedly. We will first produce a gin. My own passion is with whiskey, bourbon, and shochu, which are a ways off for obvious reasons to anyone who has written a start up distillery business plan. I am also passionate about cream liqueurs and my wife can attest I have already worn out the motor on several blenders experimenting with several irish cream style beverages. If anyone has a used homogenizer in their garage gathering dust they want to sell, CALL ME. Vendome copper built our still and I cannot say enough good things about them. I love the beautiful Carl and Holstein stills, but it was important for us to work with someone not too far away. Going to their facility and and getting to see first hand an ocean of gorgeous copper didn't hurt either. Best regards, WT
  13. Coop, that is really cool you guys built your own cooling tower( no pun intended). Just out of curiosity, did you use a crossflow or counterflow? How tall was it and what kind of fan did you use or did you use ambient air flow?
  14. Vendome Copper, http://www.vendomecopper.com/, told us we could actually use tomato products, like tomato ketchup or sauce. It's cheap, food grade, and readily available. Acids in the tomato are why.
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