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we are assembling a still for production of neutral spirits. Our proposed system is:
We will produce our own neutral and then run through again with a basket in the vapor path for gin.
Looking for feedback on the heating power used by others with this column and expected run off rates.
I think 24kw is more than adequate to run the 8" ProCaps, you may want more heat up power to reduce time, but it will work...
I do not think you will make clean neutral on 8 plates without using a lot of reflux and wasting energy. My personal belief is that you need more than 16 plates minimum, and I use 30 8" plates to make my neutral. I keep some of my 8-plate around from 5 years ago to compare, and it is great tasting, but way too much flavor. It is 'moonshine' or 'light whiskey' by comparison...
I think you should upgrade to a 4" PC, and I use a 4"x1-meter for my column.
How many kW are you putting in to your 30 plate system? We are predominantly making gin and want a little bit of carry over flavor as we are fermenting on grain and want a little bit of that to come through, we aren't looking for vodka neutral just clean enough for some gin. Worst case we might need to run through twice however budget dictates 6 x plates at the moment. We have all the components for a 6" PC that we will weld out once time permit's so the 3" we currently have will have to suffice for now. It's actually 2 x 3" PC's as we have a buffer tank cooling section and then a glycol cooling section so confident it will work but eventually will run 6" PC off buffer tank only is the goal.
I use 18kw to heat a 400l & cut back to 12kw to run through 4 plates. works well. More power on heat up is definitely needed to reduce the run time. One think I've been doing lately is preheating the wash by recovering heat from the product condenser - that also cuts down heat up time for subsequent runs.
I agree, a bigger product condenser will allow you to do more.
I have about 24kw (it is a 380L), and I cut back to about 15kw for the run and I get 15-20l/hr of 190+(real 190.0, temp corrected with NIST calibrated glass 189-200 proof hydrometer an NIST thermometer) This is if I am controlling the RC flow with a PID and using 30 plates.. I can double the rate at 183 proof for our silver rum from 100% blackstrap...
With 6 plates, I do not believe you will not make neutral. In my experience, even running it 2,3,4,5 times is not that same as more plates in the real world. I have been there, done that, got the experience first hand...
I really hope you run it and post your experience back on this thread!
Thanks for the info. Thinking I may have to reconsider the planned run times and change to 5" column instead of the 8" and use the $ differential to order more plates. This would afford me 12 plates. What I'm hearing is that even to run gin, 12 x 5" plates would be the recommendation here?
5" will be a lot slower compared to 8".
Alternately instead of making your own neutral, buy it in. Both Manildra & Wilmar make great juice. Use the 8" plates for making dark spirits. For a purely economic perspective, buying GNS in and using it to make gin will provide you with a much larger gross margin vs making it from scratch. you can always start with GNS, generate some income and use that to buy more 8" plates so you can make from scratch if that's your thing.
Do the numbers is my biggest recommendation. Making from scratch may be your ideal, but what's it do to the cost base of the end product & hence where does it put it on the shelf? IMO, it's likely to be at a price point that most punters won't pay. Do the numbers again using GNS as the input spirit so you can compare the own made to making with GNS, you'll be surprised at the difference! After all you need to generate an income instead of going bankrupt following ideals.
I'm not trying to squash your idea or ideals, rather want you to look at the realities of production and the market. After all at the end of the day, regardless of what you make, you still need to sell it and ideally generate repeat business. There are very few customers who will pay over $100 for a bottle of gin (regardless of how it's made). Those that do are more likely to savour their expensive purchase instead of buying another $70-80 bottle every fortnight or month. I'd much rather sell 12 -24 bottles annually at the lower price than 1 bottle at the higher price.
I'm in Sydney & am commercially making a range of product. Happy if you want to PM me to ask anything.
5" is a good recipe development size. But it can't produce enough juice to pay much more than your fixed costs. If that. Unless you don't have any overhead that is.
Imo putting yourself in the best position to be able to make money right out of the gate will provide the best return on your investment.
Need to work the numbers backwards and find out how much juice needs to be made in order to pay for the costs. And also allow you enough time to execute your marketing. You're just not going to have enough time to distill all day everyday, then sell, then get home at night for dinner. Especially if you are going to hang on to your day job.
We have a run speed calculator that can help you make some determinations about production volumes etc.
StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America
yes, 5" too small to make any money in my honest opinion. Running it twice uses labor and electricity that will cost more than the extra plates in just a few months... Labor costs are the very reason that bigger equipment is actually cheaper for production equipment. If a run is only 8 hours from walking in the building to leaving at night, you are very lucky, and depending on country, just two or three of those 8-hour day labor labor costs pay for one extra plate assembly. Add in Electricity, and 8 extra plates is paid for in 2 months.