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Everything posted by PeteB

  1. I have found the answer to the unexpected results, the lab stuffed up. I sent another sample of the same batch without telling them it was the same and the result came back at 44.7%, I think that is also wrong. the first test report was 43.1% that's a 1.6% variation. We have labelled and packed up a pallet for an international order with the wrong ABV. We will have to re-label the bottles when we find the correct ABV. A lot of time and expense to fix and I won't be paying for it.
  2. Golden Beaver are those barrels varnished or is it a trick of the lighting?
  3. I have an Anton-Parr Snap 41. I tested the ABV of a diluted 3 year barrel aged whisky and it reads right on 44% as expected. Extracts dissolved from the barrel could possibly cause obscuration but I would not have expected much in 3 years. I would also expect any dissolved substances to increase the density of the whisky which would cause the Anton to give a lower reading than the true reading. I sent a sample off to be tested by distillation method at a certified Lab and their result was 43.1%. As mentioned I would have expected the lab reading to be higher. I did a re-calibration of the Anton and still got same answer and also measured several commercial whiskies and got the expected readings. Any ideas about the unexpected readings?
  4. If you want very cheap green energy, good options are waste fryer oil burners. I have 4 of them in my distillery for direct flame heating stills, and steam and hot water production. About to install 2 more. Used engine oil also works in these burners, it is not so green but maintenance is easier. With the waste oil burners you need a boiler that has a firebox that is easy to clean out, the waste motor oil makes a bit of white ash and the veg oil eventually causes a crusty build-up on the heating surface. My electricity bills are very small.
  5. I have seen this topic discussed quite a few times on this forum over the years (I have been on this forum for a long time, I think this is my post 1,000 I am reasonably sure it is caused tiny amounts of oils in the spirit that float to the top and forms a thin film on the glass. The oil doesn't allow the spirit to spread out as it evaporates and condenses on the glass, so droplets form. I recently experimented with a wide neck bottle of Ailsa Bay Scotch that had condensation inside the neck. I wiped half the inside of the neck with a paper towel where the droplets were, upended the bottle for a moment and all the condensation vanished as expected. Some time later the condensation re-appeared but not on the area I wiped. I assume it was a thin film of oil I removed with the paper towel. Oils contain a lot of flavour, lots of spirits from all around the world have condensation in the neck, don't worry about it
  6. I did read somewhere, possibly on this forum many years ago, that silicon based antifoam will coat the copper surface and reduce interaction with sulfur !! Does anyone know if this is true?
  7. PeteB

    Explosive limits

    Thanks for the above advice. I have purchased a personal monitor RK GP-03 for AU$400. It has been set for initial alarm at 5% LEL then a second level 10% LEL. I sat it in the lowest point of my bond store this morning and it read ZERO. There is a small amount of natural ventilation in there. For the rest of the day it sat on the floor next to the still while it was doing a stripping run. It read zero all day except when we poured a small amount of the output onto the floor to mimic a spill and it indicated 1% of LEL for a minute or so. Very encouraging results. My still is direct flame heated, burning waste fryer oil. The burner has a reasonably large fan to assist correct air mixture so it continually removes volatiles from the still area and into the fire box. I did lower the sensor into the air space in a drum of 45% whisky. The alarms sounded at 5% and 10% as I gently lowered it. When it was almost on the surface of the whisky the readout was 88% LEL. Very interesting observations. I will probably end up purchasing one for each of my employees to wear. They are designed to clip onto clothing.
  8. I do add extra water the flask after the 250 mL but maybe not as much as you have suggested. I will try with more water and see what happens. My condenser does not usually become contaminated as long as I switch off heat soon after that cloudy distillate stage. One time I measured the ABV of a cloudy sample of distillate, then re-distilled it and the distillate was clear and the apparent ABV increased.
  9. PeteB

    Explosive limits

    Our state Workplace Regulations says 5% of the LEL. That is 5% of 3.3% = 0.165% I would assume without further tedious reading that that means anywhere workers are going to be. Our National Regulations says the same 5% but that is only in cool stores (where there is almost no ventilation) I am quite sure I will need to get a alcohol meter to do tests, possibly one with a logger so I can record what happens over a period of time. Any suggestions on buying one that won't cost too much?, I have a very small operation.
  10. PeteB

    Explosive limits

    My distillery is being audited by our Australian work-safe government agency. A report I was given says I must not allow the alcohol vapour to be greater than 5% of the LEL (lower explosive limit) I have seen on this forum that in USA that is 25% of LEL. Is that correct?
  11. I did miss a step. I studied this subject at University nearly 50 years ago, but as expected some details don't come back spontaneously. I felt there must be something missing and that is why I posted for help. Cheers Pete
  12. I have been asked by a neighbouring distillery for some numbers he can use to counter a ridiculous request from our local authority regarding build-up of ethanol fumes in his bond store. I haven't read all this thread recently, it is late here in Australia and I need to get to bed. My conclusion is similar to Silk's conclusion, except I don't believe alcohol vapour will pool in a hot distillery because of dilution with air by thermal air currents.( probably discussed earlier on this thread.) ................................................ My calculations and response to my neighbour The lower explosive or flammable limit for ethanol air mix is 3.3% at 25 deg C. This number found on several internet sites. Your floor area is 360 square metres times height of 4.5m giving an air volume of about 1,600 cubic metres 3.3% of 1,600 is 52.8, say 53 cubic metres or 53,000 litres of ethanol The whisky in the barrels is about 64% ethanol So about 82,000 litres of whisky would need to evaporate and all of it remain sealed in the shed before it could potentially catch fire and probably explode. You say it is at capacity with 100,000 litres in the bond shed. Maybe I am misunderstanding the 3.3%. IS THAT 3.3 LITRES OF ETHANOL LIQUID EVAPORATED INTO 100 LITRES OF AIR ?? (please feel free to check my maths, I am wondering why people get so worried about the vapours. Spilled liquid is much more dangerous) Also, Ethanol fumes are often quoted as being 1.5 times heavier than air so it will sink and follow drains and low areas and possibly find an ignition source, then flash back to its source. 1.5 is Vapour density, it is ethanol vapour with no air present. But ethanol vapour very easily mixes with air and becomes diluted. The air/ethanol mix is only very slightly heavier than air and is dispersed and diluted by even slight air turbulence. PLEASE SHOW ME WHY IF YOU THINK I AM WRONG.
  13. Most spirits need copper contact in the still. If built from all stainless you will most likely need to put a lot of copper inside, main reason is to react with sulfur that would otherwise cause a turnipy note
  14. Below are some extracts from TTB requirements. I make a coffee liqueur which has very much in excess of 600 mg of solids per 100 mL I distill off 250 mL in a glass lab still, if I boil off any more than about 70% of the original volume I find that my condensate goes cloudy and the apparent ABV readings start dropping. I assume that solids are being evaporated as the boiling point increases, and are condensed into my collection flask so re-obscuring the true ABV. My understanding is 30.32 (c) says the sample must be distilled until there is only 1 or 2 mL left in the flask, but it does not mention the size of the sample. If the original sample was 250 mL<which is quite common, that 1 mL would be charcoal. § 30.32 Determination of proof obscuration. (a) General. Proof obscuration of spirits containing more than 400 but not more than 600 milligrams of solids per 100 milliliters shall be determined by one of the following methods. .................. (b) Evaporation method. ........................ (c) Distillation method. Determine the apparent proof and temperature of the sample of spirits and then distill a carefully measured sample in a small laboratory still, and collect a quantity of the distillate, 1 or 2 milliliters less than the original sample. The distillate is adjusted to the original temperature and restored to the original volume by addition of distilled water. The proof of the restored distillate is then determined by use of a precision hydrometer and thermometer in accordance with the provisions of §13.23 to the nearest 0.1 degree of proof. ................ § 30.31 Determination of proof. Return to Top (a) General. The proof of spirits shall be determined to the nearest tenth degree which shall be the proof used in determining the proof gallons. (b) Solids content not more than 600 milligrams. Except as otherwise authorized by the appropriate TTB officer, the proof of spirits containing not more than 600 milligrams of solids per 100 milliliters of spirits shall be determined by the use of a hydrometer and thermometer in accordance with the provisions of §30.23 except that if such spirits contain solids in excess of 400 milligrams but not in excess of 600 milligrams per 100 milliliters at gauge proof, there shall be added to the proof so determined the obscuration determined as prescribed in §30.32. (c) Solids content over 600 milligrams. If such spirits contain solids in excess of 600 milligrams per 100 milliliters at gauge proof, the proof shall be determined on the basis of true proof determined as follows: (1) By the use of a hydrometer and a thermometer after the spirits have been distilled in a small laboratory still and restored to the original volume and temperature by the addition of pure water to the distillate; or (2) By a recognized laboratory method which is equal or superior in accuracy to the distillation method. ........................................
  15. I don't recall ever seeing Liebig condensers hooked up in series. To me it seemed logical that is the way to get the the "coolant" to a very high temperature and at the same time get the condensate output cold enough. Surely I am not the first person to figure that out!!
  16. Paul, you make me think I should patent my design, but I am sure it must be used elsewhere. The condensers on my continuous stills are as described 5 posts above, a long set of Liebig condensers in series. The coolant for the condensers is the feed stock(wash, beer, wine or whatever) The cold (room temperature) wash travels in the opposite direction (counterflow) to the vapour and condenses it, by the time the wash reaches the height of the still it is almost to boiling point, then it drops into the top of the stripping column. With enough length of Liebig and adjusting the feed rate there is no need for any extra cooling. If the feed wash is hotter than the desired temperature of alcohol output then a short section of Liebig could be added the the output end of the condenser and run a small volume of external coolant through it. Let me know if any readers are having trouble visualising this and I will do rough sketch this weekend.
  17. If anyone has an issue with enough economical cooling water I suggest you consider a continuous still, at least for the stripping run. With the correct simple design they need NO = ZERO = ZILCH cooling water and no chiller unit. Continuous stills sound complicated and expensive but a stripping one is very basic and should be much cheaper than a pot of similar output. And they use way less heat energy and so are much cheaper to run.
  18. Paul, I am not quite sure, I think you are describing what I know as shotgun condensers, many tubes inside one shell. My condensers are Liebig, just one tube inside one slightly larger tube, like the ones you have on your very small stills. If the image attached, this is like what I am talking about. I have them in 10 foot lengths, the vapour travels along the inside tube, for my 2,000 litre stills the first internal tube (copper) is 2 1/2 inch inside. There are 8 lengths that are connected together in series, for convenience they attached to a wall in a zig zag pattern. The diameters for each section is reduced because the vapour velocity reduces as condensate is formed. The outside tubes are insulated to retain the heat picked up, so I get almost boiling water output for later use. If the input cooling water is a bit warm then add a few more sections of Liebig
  19. Here is an interesting article by Cowdry who was, maybe still is, on this forum, that he wrote back in 2011 http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/buffalo-trace-demonstrates-another-way.html This is the way I have been souring my mash for the last 11 years, it is possibly the sour dough bread method mentioned earlier in this thread. I only occasionally add some of the previous fermentation. Also mentioned above is using 100% backset, I tried that about 4 years ago in a single malt. It produced a huge amount of very interesting flavours. It is still maturing in barrels, probably for another year. I will decide then if I bottle it as a 100% sourmash or blend it with regular single malt whisky.
  20. Hi Paul, what design are your condensers that you use to end up with the hot water? I build most of my own equipment. (I am in Australia) My condensers are tube in tube counterflow and are insulated on the outside. The water I get out of the end of the condensers is almost boiling, at least 95degrees C, 203F. If the available cooling water is a bit warm, then you just need longer condensers and, as you have said, possibly a very small chiller. With a long enough condenser a 500 gallon still charge will only need 500 gallons of cooling water and you end up with 500 gallons of water at close to 200F (assuming good insulation)
  21. There is apparently a method that combines refractive index with density that can directly measure ABV containing sugars (obscuration) As most would know the density increases with addition of sugar but decreases with addition of alcohol making hydrometers useless. But refractive index increases with the addition of both sugar and alcohol. Using both measurements and smart math the ABV can be calculated. BUT as far as I am aware the method is not government approved. The link below is for a device that apparently does the job. Looks expensive unless you are doing thousands of samples. http://scisol.com.au/product/alcotest/?fbclid=IwAR3MHrF2p0nMHVwilPnbQW10wgv-SGZZdP7sTWEQ3o_igLBqE6BGOAphZmk
  22. I did some very interesting distillation of sulfured wine a couple of months ago. Some bulk wine was double distilled at another distillery using simple pot still. The sulfur fumes on the first run were very strong. Calculated additions of H2O2 were made during the run to help knock it out. More H2O2 was added during the spirit run. I did the stripping run of my share of the wine through my continuous copper stripping column. No H2O2 added. Very surprisingly there was no sulfur smell and a test of the sulfur level in the low wines was low. We did add some H2O2 during the spirit run to clean it up a bit more. The hot feed wine splashes down over copper plates, and vapors move up over the plates in the stripping column. Maybe the sulfur in the hot liquid feed wine reacts much better with the copper. In a regular pot still the sulfur/copper contact would mainly be vapor.
  23. Interestingly I had a private tour, about 10 years ago, of the very large Scottish Cameronbridge grain distillery. They pressure cooked their grain whole, said they didn't need to mill it.
  24. Apologies, I didn't know you were in Canada. Thanks for the 600V info, I didn't know it existed. That motor appears to be a single voltage otherwise it would have 2 different HP ratings. Delta produces more HP than Star. I don't understand 2 POLE, some motors have more. That might be why it can only be wired Star. All the 3 phase heating elements I have seen have 3 separate elements and can be wired star or delta. Delta gets you way more heat but if the individual elements are only designed for Star = 346V in your situation, they won't last long if you wire them Delta = 600 V The voltage should be stamped on them somewhere. Conversely if your 10Kw elements are wired Star but are stamped 600V they will heat up much slower. I have come across that mistake 3 times in the last few years. (I am not a qualified electrical engineer, I just learn stuff because I have been around the block quite a few times, might retire one day but what would I do?)
  25. I would like to be educated. I understand 3 phase in Australia but the USA system is more complex. From what I know your regular voltage line to line as you call it (phase to phase I call it ) is 210 V or 120 v phase to neutral. You also might have access to line to line in some places of 480 Volts and the line to neutral will be 277 V. STAR wiring gives you the lower voltage DELTA gives higher voltage. Check the voltage on the plate of the appliance. I can't find any information about 600 Volts, it may be a special transformer fitted for a previous industry at your site. DO NOT USE ANY OF MY INFORMATION ABOVE without consulting with a licensed electrical contractor
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