Potato Farmer Wanna Go Still!

Hi,

I've been searching on this forum for information about making vodka from potatoes and if there are any other potato farmers that have started up a distillery making vodka from their own potatoes but couldn't find what I was looking for.

Does anyone have experience with this or any advise to give?

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Comments

  • Look up chase distillery in the UK

  • What kind of information are you looking for?

    Advice is cheap here.

    Potato yield is way lower than anyone thinks.

    It's messy, you'll need to wash, peel, mill, and cook.

    Enzymes and nutrients are your friends.

    Starch content varies, water content varies - as a result you'll need to run test batches on your own crop.

    IMHO - need a lot of plates with potato, flavor can be very, very strong.

  • An ignorant question, ... why would you want to peel. Surely you want everything in.

  • edited February 25

    Potat-O, POT-ato, try it both ways.

    I found the flavor far less neutral with skin.

    Lots of the "craft" potato vodka that's actually mashed and distilled these days is from processed flake, because it's far easier.

  • Well I'm looking for all advice there is. I have tried doing some potato alcohol in a smaller scale. But I'm wondering what kinda still I need is one. I was thinking a 500 l still to start with but then how many plates I should have and so on. If I have more than one column is heating needed in them?

  • Maybe start with a small cheap still and sugar washes so you are not trying to learn two difficult theories and practices at once?

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  • edited February 25

    Hats off to anyone who works with fruit and other raw ingredients that require processing and complex handling. It’s not easy, ever. We talk about scaling challenges all the time - here’s an example where what works for 10 gallons once in a while, doesn’t at all work for 100 gallons every day.

    Grain, sugar, and molasses - easy peasy compared to bulk bins of fruit.

  • Don't tell Richard that. He makes cider i seem to recall.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited February 26

    Unfortunately we closed our cider business some years ago. Was not financially viable with such high input costs.

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  • I think if you break the process requirements down into 4 parts you’d start to get a handle on the costs involved to scale it and deal with the quantities you have available and need to process to be profitable.

    • cleaning and peeling (maybe heavy brushes???) and cutting or crushing
    • cooking and conversion to sugars
    • fermenting at volume
    • stripping and spirit runs.

    I’m thinking you’d want to do a two column 30 plate continuous for the still. That way it’s be more energy and time efficient.

    As for cleaning and crushing I think high pressure water spray system with maybe a tumbling drum with stiff brushes to scrub the skin off would be cool.

    For cooking I wonder if the only way to do it affordably is a batch system due to the dwell times required for starch conversion. That said, a continuous cooking system would be awesome.

    Fermenting could be a continuous system or just some big ass 3000-5000l tanks.

    Don’t forget your pumps and hoses required for moving that cooked goo around.

    My impression is that you’d want to go big or not do it. You could play around with a small setup and do batch runs, but my first thought is “why isn’t anyone else doing it?”

  • SamSam
    edited February 26

    Chase distillery use 48 plates for their potato spirits.

    I would send William Chase an email as he seems very approachable. He has a wonderful back story with starting Tyrrells Crisps then selling it and a few years later losing the contract to supply the potatoes, that's when he went into spirits.

    He does say in interviews he got frustrated with people not helping him when he started out so is always happy to help.

  • edited February 27

    @CuO said: I've been searching on this forum for information about making vodka from potatoes

    Do you want to make vodka or do you want to use your potatoes?

    If the former, the joke I always tell people that ask if our vodka is made from potatoes is that I'd only use potatoes if I had absolutely nothing else.

    If the later, you have some good advice above to start with.

  • Can probably buy dehydrated bag goods a lot less than it would cost to set up a legitimate potato processing operation.

    Wouldn't touch em unless I was already a potato farmer.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Hahha he is a potato farmer.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • @punkin said: Hahha he is a potato farmer.

    Hey,,,,oh!! Well then I'd touch em....

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I would take a trip to Aspen, CO, USA and visit Woody Creek Distillers... I can drink their $90/bottle reserve vodka by the pint... heirloom strobrawa potatoes grown in the valley that 100 years ago grew more than the entire state of Idaho. The potatoes go from in the ground to in the bottle in 14 days.... 7 or 8 years ago on our wedding trip, we got a little impromptu tour, they sent whole (assuming peeled from what I remember) through a macerator, which just looked like a combination of a meat grinder and a garbage disposal from what I saw.. from there it was heat, enzymes and yeast.. they had twin side-by side Mueller 500gal stills, but last time I went they had a stainless continuous column that must have been 36" across and 45' tall... I also heard a lot of CO potato vodka was made from flakes produced locally...

  • Wonder if you can make vodka from stale potato chips.

  • @grim said: Wonder if you can make vodka from stale potato chips.

    If you have enough.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • The kicker for me is someone like Chopin vodka, who is a peel-on shop. Wonder how many plates those guys are running.

  • edited March 2

    Should have googled it first...

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  • @punkin said: Maybe start with a small cheap still and sugar washes so you are not trying to learn two difficult theories and practices at once?

    Well I've been brewed beer for some time and I've also made potato spirits in smaller amounts. So it's really just the destilling process where I have less knowledge and knowledge about stills and such.

  • I also tohught of building a still with 20 plates but then maybe that is to little? Or I have to destill it two or more times?

  • That's continuous, 15 plates on the beer stripper, 10 in rectification.

  • edited March 2

    @grim said: That's continuous, 15 plates on the beer stripper, 10 in rectification.

    Low wines on ours is around 51%.

    Factoring in any kind of reflux ratio, I wonder what the abv is on the injection plate after she finds her rhythm?

    I also wonder on the single column design, if the stripper has to be more specifically calibrated to not out work the spirit column?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • 10 plates for vodka? Nah.

  • if yer on a continuous, and the first 15 are putting out 140 proof or more and the continuous is dropping all tails out with the bottoms, 10 might be enough... I bought a bottle of the Chopin family reserve for the wife, it is almost as good as the woody creek reserve...

  • CuO
    edited March 22

    Hey you guys! I've been looking to buy a still from {name removed by the forum admin}. Does someone have any experience with them?

  • @CuO said: Hey you guys! I've been looking to buy a still from {name removed by the forum admin}. Does someone have any experience with them?

    You can not seriously ask something like this here, with the StillDragon® Community Forum in sole support of the StillDragon® Organization!

    FYI The company you mentioned is a copycat rip-off which stole every single idea from StillDragon® and is trying to market these as their own. They have no experience with distilling at all and are just trying to make the quick money.

    Your Place to be >>> www.StillDragon.org <<< Home of the StillDragon® Community Forum

  • Car salesman ?? :))

  • @richard said: Car salesman ?? :))

    The worst kind of! b-(

    Your Place to be >>> www.StillDragon.org <<< Home of the StillDragon® Community Forum

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