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Reverse planning


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Friends, Romans and Countryman,

Can you help with a bit of reverse planning? here please.

The plan has been to open a distillery primarily focusing on scotch whisky, with some gin and vodka production to round out the offering.

I have found a great stone building near the town centre, and it looks like a Scotsman built it just for me to setup a distillery in. The perfect site to pickup the passing tourist trade and with room for a tasting room and seating etc.

I want to start with a barrel (60 gal) per day capacity (4 days per week). A wash still, one spirit with the option of running a plated column for Gin and vodka production.

What I am not clear on is what size/capacity these stills need to be in relation to the required 60 gal output?

Once I know these capacities I can then work out fermentation vat dimensions, mash tun size, and then my floor area requirements and if this building will actually be suitable.

Thank you for your patients

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Hello fellow Countryman.

Just a technicality, you cannot make "Scotch Whisky" in Australia, even if a Scotsman built your distillery.

I assume you mean a "Malt Whisky", similar to a Scotch.

Firstly most of the posters on this forum talk in US gallons which are smaller that the Imperial gallons we used long ago.

To use the same technique used in traditional Scottish distilleries you will need 2 pot stills for the output you want.

A large "wash" still and a smaller "spirit" still.

Doing the "Reverse" calculations

To fill a 60 gallon US barrel ( with say 60% abv , each still needs to hold at least 36 gallons (136 litres) of 100% abv.

Depending on how you run the still, the wash still will yield "low wines" of around 25% (keeping numbers low to make sure stills are large enough)

136 liters of pure alcohol in 25% abv gives a total volume of 544 litres. But with cuts that won't end up in the barrel, your SPIRIT STILL will need to be at least 25% larger than this, say 700 litres to round it up, that is now 175 litres of 100% abv

If you use the traditional Scotch lautering and fermentation your wash could be as low as 7% abv so you will need 2,400 litres of wash to produce 175 liters of 100%abv (assuming 100% yield efficiency) Your wash still needs to be larger than this to allow for foaming and inefficiencies.

In conclusion, as a rough guide only, your WASH STILL needs to be 3,000 litres and your SPIRIT STILL 700 litres.

In the above post MASH suggested 600 gallons ( approx 2,300 litres) then if you allow for foaming we aren't too far apart.

Modernity, if you want any tips on dealing with Australian Excise to obtain your licences, phone me 0409 144 560


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PeteB, thank you.

We are planing a Tasmanian research trip in March, and you are on my visit list. I love what you do and look forward to talking further. I will be in contact in due course. At this point our plans are to push the go button before the middle of 2014, to be open by mid 2015.

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