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About zwithers

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  1. Been working on setting up a small farm distillery for a couple years now and ran across a hoga still that seems like a potentially good fit for what I want to eventually do (brandy mostly) The still appears to have a steam coil in the jacket and the original posting listed the heat source as a steam coil but when I spoke with the owner she said they were planning on bricking it in and running direct flame. Two main questions: is their increased risk with running direct flame under a pot with a jacket and a coil in it? Would it even work? My gut says yes and no, but maybe I'm off.
  2. Im not entirely sure but I have heard of something they call mal du bois (wood sickness) in normandy that is a fairly common. Off flavors in young brandies that supposedly fix themselves over time. See Calvados: Spirit of Normandy: http://www.amazon.com/Calvados-Spirit-Normandy-Charles-Neal/dp/061544640X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438099400&sr=8-1&keywords=calvados Some of the producers I spoke to while i was there said that most of their barrels, especially the younger barrels (and in that region any barrel that was made while you were alive is considered young). They said it can
  3. I worked for a company that got sued by a neighbor who claimed our farm distillery would pose an 'exponential threat' to his berry bushes. He used the Kentucky story to get a lot of people riled up and it turned into a huge fight. We had to bring in expert witnesses and all sorts of nonsense. Took almost a year and over 100K. In the end it got thrown out but it was a huge pain and the EPA did get its nose in the middle and make us come up with some pretty intense monitoring regiments for how much ethanol we were putting out with definitive caps on how much we could store, which will eventually
  4. I worked for Whistle Pig for the first few years they were going, and I have to say as much as I wish that people did, the average consumer does not really care who is making the booze. Even while the rest of the company was avoiding addressing the issue that we were selling canadian rye I was having no problem telling everyone exactly what we were doing, and really no one cared. People got pissed when they had been told that it was made in Vermont and found out it was not later. But as long as I was straight with them from the get go there were zero sh##s given. Now they will actually have a
  5. Red Pig, you misunderstood me. Thats liters absolute, not proof liters. 350 liters of 200 proof alcohol out of every metric ton of rye. ADL. I want to know how to do that.
  6. I was recently traveling in SE Asia and met a guy from SF who was making some killer absinthe on a small island. He bought rice wine from the locals which came in at over 20%abv and distilled it into a base spirit then infused some of his botanicals and finished through a small finsihing still with a gin basket for another layer of botanicals then did a final infusion for the coloring and the last bit of flavor. It was awesome. Has anyone ever tried fermenting and or distilling rice? I have some friends who have a farm on a river and there is a nice piece of land in the flood plane that they
  7. Thanks for all the feed back. I will definitely try shooting for a lower OG and seeing if I can get a dry ferment. Should I still expect a 5-7 day ferment? Ive been doing a half dose at around 150f and holding for 30-60 then adding the rest at 175 (per the instructions on the particular enzyme I have). Really not sure this is the best way to go about it. Lots of extra chilling time and seemingly little better results then just doing a single rest at 150ish. Really any wisdom on the best way to use enzymes would be very welcome. What I know I have pieced together from forums and old chemistr
  8. I've been wrestling with figuring out how efficient we are being on our mash/ferment/strips. According to your average home brew calculator we are doing really well, but compared to industry standards we are doing really poorly. Right now we are getting about 65 pg on the strip from 1280lbs of grain (flaked corn, 6 row malt, and rye), which breaks down to about 2.8 proof gallons/bushel. We get about 1.085-90 OSG and it goes down to around 1.017-18 over 5-7 days. I know that major producers are getting almost twice as much (5 pg/bushel). I've played with longer cook times and different rest
  9. I don't have infinite years of wisdom, but we make enough beer for two stripping runs every time we mash (2x250 gal fermenters) which makes life a lot easier. Our still can take 350 but we rarely fill it up all the way cause its a very long day with 350 in. We will fill a 53 gallon ss drum on the stripping run off one 250gal fermenter. Sometimes more than 1. Then we fill a 300gal low wine tank and run it. We use the same portable 53s for collecting hearts and tails (heads go into a cambro and get used to clean the floor). We have a separate 100 gal tank for blending, proofing, and barreling.
  10. Im in pretty much the same boat. I have been working hourly at closet to full time and have been there since the day they fired up the still. We will do about 1000 cases next year. I do have some prior experience but not with the distillation part (sales, aging, etc). They got me going with the basics but I pretty much had to teach myself the rest. Now I run most of their production and they want me to come on full time, salaried. I need to figure out what market value really is for this type of position so I can negotiate either more money or more flexibility or some additional room to expe
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