# Production question

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I'm trying to get a grip on our production schedule and planning. Is it realistic to get two distillations per shift? How many runs a week is realistic to expect from a small operation (1-2 people)? We're looking at a 300g still and supporting equipment.

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How long does it take to run a single batch on your 300 gal still?

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How long does it take to run a single batch on your 300 gal still?

According to the (potential) manufacturer 4 hour run. While it seems like an obvious answer I feel like I"m missing something though. 1 hour warm up is a figure i'm commonly seeing, and a 1 hour "cooldown" between each run (forgot what it's called). 10 hour days would be daunting. but doable to make this work. How feasible this is as we get off the ground with only 2 people max...that's the big question.

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300 gal x8% wash = 24 gallons of 100% = 48 proof gallons potential. Estimate 75% real yield = 36 expected proof gallons = 45 gallons of bottle proof (40%ABV) = 225 bottles per day x \$22- per bottle x 5 day week = \$25,000- per week production x 50 weeks = \$1,250,000 X two runs per day = \$2,500,000 per year production with two guys ? I think you're gonna need a bigger boat.

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Four hours for a 300 gallon run?? No way. Is that including the hour heatup and hour cool down? Give us some details -- pot? column? what product? if column what diameter? how many trays? what type (and how much) of heat? process loop for cooling or muni/well supply?

I'm really suspicious that you could get an hour cooldown. Using Roger'ss example you're going to have around 225 gallons of very hot backset which you're going to need to cool to 140 before dumping. I'd plan on a single run per day or you're going to end up burning out after a few weeks. Or a bigger boat (and crew).

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Thank you everyone for your responses thus far.

More detail: The prospective equipment is a 300 G hybrid still, 4 plate 12" whiskey column with an attached 12" 16 plate vodka column and gin basket. Steam heat jacket w/ agitator. I was assuming the times included heatup but not cooldown which is why I was able to convince myself we could get two runs in one shift. At this point I have a nagging sense that this isn't the case. It's probably 1 hour warmup, 4 hour distillation, and 1 hour min cooldown before it can be vacated and charged for a second run (shorter warmup?).

I don't know where I got it in my head we could squeeze two runs per shift. Luckily we aren't too far into this process and relatively little money is committed yet. It's back to the drawing board for us, however.

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Someone please explain to me the cool down before dumping? All the way to 140? Are there specific conditions where this is needed as it was not the practice in many distilleries I've seen? Doesn't this depend on whether your drains are metal or plastic, if you are pumping into containers to transfer stillage to a farmer etc? Just curious what the rationale is here.

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Schedule 40 PVC really starts to lose structural rigidity above 140F. I suspect if the piping was embedded in concrete, you wouldn't necessarily notice it readily.

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+1 on what james said. near boiling liquid + PVC or ABS plumbing= quick failure of your plumbing

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So, the short answer seems to be no. BUT, I will tell you that have been able to do two strip runs in a shift with a small 60 gallon still, likely because cool up and down are pretty fast and we dump relatively hot (just cool enough for the PVC). BUT, only one spirit run in a shift.

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Check with your local sewerage authority as well, they will typically have limits on pH and temp as well.

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Perty easy to have a cool down tank that you can pump the hot stuff into, get another run going, dump em both in the morning. Just a little floor space is all that's needed. Anybody ever look at PVC or abs's resistance to caustics? Not so good!

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• 2 weeks later...

Perty easy to have a cool down tank that you can pump the hot stuff into, get another run going, dump em both in the morning. Just a little floor space is all that's needed. Anybody ever look at PVC or abs's resistance to caustics? Not so good!

The simplest and most obvious answer. This should easily facilitate two stripping runs per shift all else being equal. Thanks for the input!

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Hello all, I don't mean to hijack rtshfd's post, just had a question on figuring out production. Like rtshfd I'm planning on doing a stripping run then distilling and I'm trying to forecast time and yield.

My question is this, does anyone know a good reference book that has formulas for figuring out production levels for various scenarios? ie.. starting with a certain type of grain, weight of grain, using grain-in mashing vs wort after lauter, then grain-in distilling vs just wort, ect?

Regards,

C.J.

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The simplest and most obvious answer. This should easily facilitate two stripping runs per shift all else being equal. Thanks for the input!

I hate to rain on your party but 4 hours per run on a 300 glad still? You would need more heat than what is in HELL, making the devil very cold.

No way 4 hours! never! it would help massively if you could heat exchange the hot water off the condenser, and off the spent mash.

- My smallest still of only 36 gallons has a lag time of only 25min in between runs when alcohol is not coming out. As a matter fact with this design I don't even have to run the condenser. The vapor comes out of the top of the column and goes through a coil of 40 feet of 1 inch stainless tubing that passes through a vessel that is holding the next batch. In that vessel it heats up to approximately 150 - 160°f. when the run is done on the still it's only 25 minutes for me to drain the still and fill the still and then alcohol is coming back out of the parrot.

- I believe that you could incorporate some sort of heat exchanger and your fermentation tank where the water coming off the condensers could heat up your next batch that way you would cut down on the heat up time for the next batch massively.

- work smarter not harder.

P.S. why the would you ever buy a 800 gallon stripping still? what a waste of money. I could strip that much in half the time doing what I just said above. Give me any 200-250 still and I would smoke you. Saving time and energy. I am not trying to be mean, so sorry if I come off that way. But please don't be foolish with your time and money. I want to see everyone make it. Remember, bigger still bigger everything......steam boiler, tanks, money!

Dehner out.............

take care.

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I hate to rain on your party but 4 hours per run on a 300 glad still? You would need more heat than what is in HELL, making the devil very cold.

No way 4 hours! never! it would help massively if you could heat exchange the hot water off the condenser, and off the spent mash.

- My smallest still of only 36 gallons has a lag time of only 25min in between runs when alcohol is not coming out. As a matter fact with this design I don't even have to run the condenser. The vapor comes out of the top of the column and goes through a coil of 40 feet of 1 inch stainless tubing that passes through a vessel that is holding the next batch. In that vessel it heats up to approximately 150 - 160°f. when the run is done on the still it's only 25 minutes for me to drain the still and fill the still and then alcohol is coming back out of the parrot.

- I believe that you could incorporate some sort of heat exchanger and your fermentation tank where the water coming off the condensers could heat up your next batch that way you would cut down on the heat up time for the next batch massively.

- work smarter not harder.

P.S. why the would you ever buy a 800 gallon stripping still? what a waste of money. I could strip that much in half the time doing what I just said above. Give me any 200-250 still and I would smoke you. Saving time and energy. I am not trying to be mean, so sorry if I come off that way. But please don't be foolish with your time and money. I want to see everyone make it. Remember, bigger still bigger everything......steam boiler, tanks, money!

Dehner out.............

take care.

Are your referencing me? We have no intention of running a stripping still yet so I don't quite understand the point of your comment. The idea about retaining condenser heat as an input to heating the next wash is interesting. I need to get off the ground before we can toy with efficiencies. Our manufacturer quoted us 4 hours for their 300 G still and I wasn't sure if that included warm-up time. Still waiting on word back from them, but at this point I'm certain that's actual run time not including warm-up.

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rtshfd - sorry don't think I was referencing you. Sorry for the miss understanding.

1 hour heat up time seams super fast to me. You'll need massive amounts of heat and a fast agitator running about 800-1100 rpms with a good prop to help pull the heat of the steam jacket. depending on % of alcohol I would say it will be longer than 4 run time easy.

I would ask for references when they make this sort of claim from your still manufacture.

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rtshfd - sorry don't think I was referencing you. Sorry for the miss understanding.

1 hour heat up time seams super fast to me. You'll need massive amounts of heat and a fast agitator running about 800-1100 rpms with a good prop to help pull the heat of the steam jacket. depending on % of alcohol I would say it will be longer than 4 run time easy.

I would ask for references when they make this sort of claim from your still manufacture.

no problem.

We have a huge boiler thats well oversized for our current equipment so heat availability is a non-issue. We are hesitant about their numbers but they're pretty clear that they're correct. We're being managed by reps now that have actual equipment experience and we're going to visit them to see first hand.

BTW, our plans have been to expand into a 1200 G stripping still to complement our 300 G spirit still. I just haven't spoken about those plans here yet so thats why I was surprised by your comment. Do you want to expand on why you wouldn't suggest a beer/stripping still? The way I see it it allows us to get two things done at once. Strip to low wines and do spirit runs much more often.

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I designed our 500 gallon stripping still to heat up in one hour. Admitadly we're going to be running 550 MBTU through it during that heat up. In fact we're runing a 1MMBTU boiler that is designed to bring both our stills up to temp in one hour with 550 through our stripping still (200 gallon) and 220 MBTU. The cost for the boiler is only 20K installed so a 1 hour heatup is not unreasonable for large stills.

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no problem.

We have a huge boiler thats well oversized for our current equipment so heat availability is a non-issue. We are hesitant about their numbers but they're pretty clear that they're correct. We're being managed by reps now that have actual equipment experience and we're going to visit them to see first hand.

BTW, our plans have been to expand into a 1200 G stripping still to complement our 300 G spirit still. I just haven't spoken about those plans here yet so thats why I was surprised by your comment. Do you want to expand on why you wouldn't suggest a beer/stripping still? The way I see it it allows us to get two things done at once. Strip to low wines and do spirit runs much more often.

The two still idea is just fine. I have a continuous still for stripping and a finishing still my self. My question to you is have you ever seen a 1200 gallon still? That my friend is a BIG boy. I am thinking a 600 gallon still set up correctly would be a smarter and faster choice. But thats just me.

Personal I'd put in a large continuous still and run it at 4-7 gallons a minute. You would be done before noon time.

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with an appropriately sized steam boiler 1 hour heat up is easily doable.

if the steam jacket has been designed appropriately, you should have no problem pushing more steam for a faster heat up.

i reccommend 1000 btus, or approximately 1 lb/hr steam flow per gallon of capacity. for a 1 hour heat up.

its a simple rule of thumb but has proven out many times over.

I have a client with a 1.2 million btu steam boiler and is able to bring his 300 gallon kettle to boil in near as makes no difference 15 minutes. but this is with low wines, you may have some issues pushing a grain mash this hard.

it would be typical in a spirit run to decrease steam input to between 1/2 to 1/3 of the 1lb/hr/gallon flow rate, however a stripping run you run as hard as your product condenser can handle. and if it is built correctly it should easily handle 1lb/hr/gallon or more.

to correct something posted earlier, a 200RPM agitator, with correct blade and pitch, will handle a 1 hour heat up with a heavy grain in mash, quite nicely. with the caveat that if it includes rye you have dealt with your betaglucan during your mash process.

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I get the 200 rpm thing. it really depends on the blade and how many times you can turn the tank over. The more times you can turn the tank over the more heat your pulling off of the steam jacket, the faster the distilling time.

I have seen in real life instances where peoples variable frequency drive have broke and they hook the motor direct and they cut their distillation time down by half by more than quadrupling the speed of the motor. I have seen people go from 200-300 rpms to 900-1000rpms and cut a 14-15 hour distilling time in half.

Everybody's situation is different, find out what works best for you.

take care.

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i would say in that instance the agitator is too small for the application,

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I usually stay pretty busy, so I don't get on here a whole lot and so I am just now reading this whole thread. rtshfd I don't know exactly who you are but that is the run time on my stills, so I think that you may be one of my customers. Here are the run times for my Pro Series Ultra Pro Vodka System.

heat up = 45 minutes to 1 hr,

stripping = 3 hrs

whiskey run through the Scotch column = 3hrs at 130 proof average

Whiskey through the scotch and 4 plate = 4 hrs at 150 proof average

Vodka = 8 to 10 hrs. for 192 proof

This system will produce them all: Moonshine, Bourban, Whiskey, Vodka, Rum and Gin.

I have a customer in VA who has been in operation for about 1 yr now and his distiller has really tightened up his run times with good results. He does 2 stripping runs per day that take 2 hrs each, then he does a spirit run to 130 proof that also takes 2 hrs.

I was in the sawmill business for over 20 yrs. I know the necessity of production. My distilling equipment, from fermenter to vodka column, is built to maximize my customer's production (if that is what they want). I can give my customers the ability to do 2 stripping runs and 1 spirit run per day in the same still which means that my customers have twice the production of many of my competitors. We have configurations with stripping stills and combi vessels that will give you even more production. I am sure that ASD can give you that kind of production, but my stills are almost 1/2 the price of his and just as pretty. I have to admit that Steve's web site is much fancier than mine, but I am all about keeping my overhead low so that I can maintain my incredible prices. Check it out, my pricing is right out in the open on my web site. http://distillery-equipment.com/300_gallon_still.htm If anyone is interested in my equipment just give me a holler at 417-778-6908 If you would like to see one of my 300 gallon stills do a 2 hr stripping run and a 3hr spirit run just let me know and we will make you an appointment to go have a look. Our 800 gallon stills heat up and run times are very similar to the 300 gallon.

Something else everyone should know, my mash cookers have a built in cooling system that does not involve a coil in the boiler. You don't need an expensive heat exchanger with a pump and the cooling time is very short. Also my cooling design does not increase the cost of my Mash Tuns. If there are any questions email me paul@distillery-equipment.com

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i would say in that instance the agitator is too small for the application,

I don't know what size of prop they are running so I can't really say.

I would just really look at how many times you can turn a tank over every minute with a specific prop. The rep from "lighting mixers" was over and was teaching me all about it. It was a great lesson! That is what they do and they are good at it.

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