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I am a soon to be startup in Winnipeg, MB Canada and am doing my final sizing on equipment.  I have settled on a 200 gal still (budget and volume fit) and while I had planned to match my mash tun I am interested to hear if many have doubled the size of the mash tun (eg 400 gallon) and split the mash into 2 fermentation tanks to be distilled one day after the other?

I will be understaffed and think this might save me doing a mash for each batch for the still.  The fermentation tanks will be jacket cooled so I can drop the temperature a bit to keep contamination to a minimum.

Thanks in advance for any comments.

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I just ordered a double sized mash tun w/ 2 double sized fermenters as opposed to a MT and 4 ferms sized the same as the still. Like you, we are under-staffed. Generally a 1 man show, 2 if my brother gets bored! Seems to make sense for a future expansion and time...cook twice per week and run the still 5 days per week (strip/spirit). We HOPE to get our equipment soon. I'll let you know how it goes!

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Currently, we have been splitting the mash into 3 fermenters the size of the still. But we are going to try a single fermenter next, and we will have to draw off 3 times for strips, until we get a new stripping still. If that works, we could consider doubling the size of the mash tun for the same reason.

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We went with a 500 gal cooker and 1500 gal fermentors for a 250 gallon still. Tanks double the size are rarely twice the price, and this allows us to plan for a new still in the future. 

Right now we cook 2 or 3 days a week to stock an entire week of distilling. It keeps our water hotter between cooks and lowers setup and cleaning time each week. Keep in mind if you do grain-in fermentation and distillation settling will occur depending on your fermentation time, so you might have some real thin still runs early on in the week, and a real thick mess at the end of the week unless you agitate. The larger the fermentor the greater this effect will be, we find it to be a minor annoyance with 2 cooks in a tank (4 still runs) but it can be a pain with 3 cooks (6 still runs).

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We are also mashing and fermenting at double the distillation volume (530g mash, 530g ferment, 265g distill)  If you are mashing at twice the volume, it doesn't make sense to split the ferment into two tanks.  After all, one larger tank is going to be a more efficient use of space, and usually more cost effective.  Also provides a little bit of future-proofing as you can double your still volume in the future and still make use of the equipment.  If you are an on-grain shop, you probably want to have a mechanism to agitate before pulling off half the volume, or your first batch will be heavy on the grain.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

 If you are an on-grain shop, you probably want to have a mechanism to agitate before pulling off half the volume, or your first batch will be heavy on the grain.

 

 

Rather than having a flange added to our conicals to  accomodate a agitator, we  "pump over" our grain in ferments for about three mins -- out from the bottom drain and then into the manway on top. 

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