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I have been consulting on builds for 5 years and collecting buying and selling/trading distillation equipment for about 3 years. I have a warehouse that is literally full of equipment, I probably have 3 full distilleries worth of equipment in there plus some (5-6 stills, dozens of fermenters, heat exchangers, etc.)

 

Anyways, I have always wondered why people are so enamored with CARL stills? Their service absolutely blows, but beyond that their equipment just isn't that high quality. I was just looking at a plate section of a 25 inch diameter column I am restoring and I couldn't help but be disgusted by how shitty the welds are. The machine welds are machine welds, but ALL of the pipe welds have issues. Sugared, not fully penetrated, things that are only sealed on one side, absolutely not sanitary. I have never actually seen. super polished good looking carl still. The outsides usually look fine presentable or beautiful but once you start looking at the details. Not sanitary welds.

 

Yeesh. Anyways no real questions here, just seeing if anyone has noticed what I have?

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I can get you a quick ship on a chiller for your cooling needs as well. Either 230/3/60 or 460/3/60 new, some factory reconditioned with partial warranty.

I have drycoolers and hybrid coolers if all you are looking for is crash cooling. these are built from scratch. 

Mike G 678-773-2794

 

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On 11/13/2020 at 10:06 AM, adamOVD said:

That's disappointing, I've never run one or closely inspected one. Who would you recommend as the gold standard?

So I have been stressing on how exactly to answer this question, primarily because I don't want to piss anyone off that I need service from, but also I am here to perpetuate and further our industry, so that is what I must do.

     I think the first thing to keep in mind is, 99.9% of the time we (the industry) is purchasing equipment from manufacturers who didn't design the products themselves and aren't familiar with the specific application of the product to our industry. Usually we are stuck working with people who know how to work with copper, who may or may not be the person who actually designed the still you're purchasing. If you go through these forums you will see so many example of Paul Hall fixing other companies equipment issues. Thats because anyone who works with copper or has the right machines to bend steel a certain way can for sure make these things, especially with what are essentially injection molded copper components from china, but at the end of the day do they know anything about tray depth needs? reflux rates? Thermal Efficiency? Paul does! But a lot of these small equipment providers selling Chinese rigs don't. I guess that doesn't matter if you know. But do you?

      Every still made has its individual characteristics, just like a human. There are manufacturing imperfections which can end up being beautiful in and of their own right. And then there are really preventable accidents that can occur from someone in china, or contracting someone in china, to rip off a design that they saw elsewhere. What if your reflux pumps don't run fast enough? What if your column diameter is too big for your kettle because they'd didnt realize that picture they saw was an insulated column? What if your piping is sized too small for your kettle? Yikes! Kablooey?!?!?! hope not! 

     At the end of the day gotta inspect not expect. Maybe I'll try putting it this way: any copper manufacturer in the world will build Aeneas Coffey's still design for you, but he doesn't work for any of those manufacturers and never did, no matter how old they are and have been around. Just something to keep in mind. Vendome didn't invent the hybrid pot still. nor did they invent the Column. They're spectacular at making them, but it's not their invention. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy from them, but maybe we shouldn't put all of these people up on pedestals! We're all just humans trying to make a buck at the end of the day, and sugared welds from Bavaria are more profitable than true craftsmanship from Bavaria, at least for the Bavarians. 

 

Anyways, just my $.02. Cheers mate.

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@SlickFloss Thanks for the $.02. I wasn't trying to get you to trash talk anyone. Coming from the brewing industry there were a handful of brewhouse fabricators that built highly engineered beautiful brewhouses at a premium cost. Both German and US based. In the distilling industry I seem to hear more horror stories than anything else. Like Corson, or the Chinese copper fabricators you mentioned, building stills with stolen designs they don't really understand. My equipment is mostly built in house, and the only equipment I've purchased has been from Paul, who has always stood by his equipment, and fixed any problems I've had. It seems like his target customer is building workhouse equipment for small to midsized distilleries though, not the mid to large sized distilleries. Distilleries I've been to with 'unlimited' budgets seem to mostly be running Carl or Vendome. I assumed equipment from those two would be immaculate with tons of support. Makes me feel better about my bootstrapped equipment though, and this is all just conjecture anyways, as I don't have a budget for anything high end anyways.

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On 1/26/2021 at 3:24 PM, adamOVD said:

@SlickFloss Thanks for the $.02. I wasn't trying to get you to trash talk anyone. Coming from the brewing industry there were a handful of brewhouse fabricators that built highly engineered beautiful brewhouses at a premium cost. Both German and US based. In the distilling industry I seem to hear more horror stories than anything else. Like Corson, or the Chinese copper fabricators you mentioned, building stills with stolen designs they don't really understand. My equipment is mostly built in house, and the only equipment I've purchased has been from Paul, who has always stood by his equipment, and fixed any problems I've had. It seems like his target customer is building workhouse equipment for small to midsized distilleries though, not the mid to large sized distilleries. Distilleries I've been to with 'unlimited' budgets seem to mostly be running Carl or Vendome. I assumed equipment from those two would be immaculate with tons of support. Makes me feel better about my bootstrapped equipment though, and this is all just conjecture anyways, as I don't have a budget for anything high end anyways.

We are a large facility with a high throughput, I’m contracting Paul for work on my CARL still, just to show you how much I value his input vs their shitty customer service. I know you weren’t asking, I was just trying to make sure I didn’t in the process of answering! Cheers brother! 

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We have have two copper Pot-Column stills from Carl.   Cannot fault the workmanship or quality, they can be a little slow in terms of support but genuinely we have found them to be excellent.  They do configure things in a very eccentric way occasionally but once you understand why they do certain things it does make sense.  Zero issues after 7 years with their kit so I can strongly recommend them.

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Being from the Refining industry where we have every weld xray'd, scanned and then reheatreat the metal.  I'm always amazed at what I see others get away with.  But being in industry for 38 years means I've seen it all.  Stainless was never what was stated until the guns came out reading the metal.  When we first got one we sent a lot of materials back that were finished product ready to be installed with the wrong metals used but still labeled as the right metals.  And fitting were also always wrong.  

When a small producer that buys materials from someone else states what their product is made out of.  I always cringe.  Knowing that if they don't have the abilities to check, someone is probably screwing them over.

 

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On 2/14/2021 at 6:26 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

"Hey, Mr. Manufacturer, why is this 304 rusting?"  

"It's not 304, you are reading the markings upside down, it's marked h0E, we never said it was 304."

Yer a hoe... 

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On 2/10/2021 at 7:17 PM, navenjohnson said:

@SlickFloss I am looking for a freestanding product condenser with a parrot set up. 6-8" diameter and 48" tall condenser and a 5 foot stand. Do you ahve anything comparable in your warehouse? Please email me at nathan@steamboatwhiskeyco.com

 

No but Paul halls got you for sure. Also, if Corben works for you he has my number and contact me directly whenever! 

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On 2/14/2021 at 5:26 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

"Hey, Mr. Manufacturer, why is this 304 rusting?"  

"It's not 304, you are reading the markings upside down, it's marked h0E, we never said it was 304."

lolol this reminds me of the Haneys with that chinese 304 stainless pipe rusting on their booth at ADI a few years back

 

oh how I long for the days, I never thought Id say I can't wait to go to another ADI again but here I just said it to a jr

 

weird days

cheers

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On 2/13/2021 at 10:21 AM, Mverick160 said:

Being from the Refining industry where we have every weld xray'd, scanned and then reheatreat the metal.  I'm always amazed at what I see others get away with.  But being in industry for 38 years means I've seen it all.  Stainless was never what was stated until the guns came out reading the metal.  When we first got one we sent a lot of materials back that were finished product ready to be installed with the wrong metals used but still labeled as the right metals.  And fitting were also always wrong.  

When a small producer that buys materials from someone else states what their product is made out of.  I always cringe.  Knowing that if they don't have the abilities to check, someone is probably screwing them over.

 

Coming from bartending for the trades for years none of what you have said surprises me, but a shiver just ran down my spine

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On 2/10/2021 at 8:19 AM, LordOfGin said:

We have have two copper Pot-Column stills from Carl.   Cannot fault the workmanship or quality, they can be a little slow in terms of support but genuinely we have found them to be excellent.  They do configure things in a very eccentric way occasionally but once you understand why they do certain things it does make sense.  Zero issues after 7 years with their kit so I can strongly recommend them.

I appreciate your honesty on the service but have you looked very deep on your column? The stainless welds on the inside of column/trays on ours are sugared. none of the interior or exterior stainless welds are sanitary. very little is ground down appropriately. The copper welds on areas that are eye level are pretty well done and neat, but higher up the pot (ours is about 16-18 feet tall) where eyes usually aren't the quality isn't either. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if they take more time and pride on pieces that are staying close to home but this thing I got has 1 match in the whole world and Ive used that too and it was pretty similar. I can post pictures if I can get a jr to show me how to do its not my flippant somewhat inflammatory redneck ass just saying shit you're supposed to believe

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7 hours ago, SlickFloss said:

I appreciate your honesty on the service but have you looked very deep on your column? The stainless welds on the inside of column/trays on ours are sugared. none of the interior or exterior stainless welds are sanitary. very little is ground down appropriately. The copper welds on areas that are eye level are pretty well done and neat, but higher up the pot (ours is about 16-18 feet tall) where eyes usually aren't the quality isn't either. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if they take more time and pride on pieces that are staying close to home but this thing I got has 1 match in the whole world and Ive used that too and it was pretty similar. I can post pictures if I can get a jr to show me how to do its not my flippant somewhat inflammatory redneck ass just saying shit you're supposed to believe

I think everyones experience will be different but I put all of our stills together and have had most parts of them apart for cleaning/maintenance and genuinely cannot find any issues.  I'm from a precision engineering background so would flag it if I wasn't happy or thought the workmanship was poor.

It could be as simply as a different operator working on part of the still or pipework and it was missed.

Your not being inflammatory if there is in issue btw!

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