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Big fermenter logistics help

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Big fermenter logistics help

Postby CoolCat » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:23 am

Tired of messing with buckets so I'm upgrading to a 30 gallon fermenter but this seems to cause logistic issues of its own. How do you cook that much at once?
I have 2 5 gallon pots to boil in.. will I be able to invert and dissolve 50lbs of sugar in those? I'm guessing not as 25lbs seems like it would almost fill the pot even without water. How many pounds of sugar can you dissolve in a gallon of water?

So presuming i would have to make two separate cooking runs with my 2 pots.. that gives a day delay for them to cool down before I would want to pour it into a plastic fermenter much less pitch yeast. So the first day's product would sit for 24 hours in the fermenter before I was ready for the next... wouldn't there be a concern about bacteria taking hold?

The best solution I can come up with so far is to buy 2 more pots to boil in.. I have a 4 burner stove. The problem with that is they barely fit as it is... to get one of these 5 gallon pots on the back burners is to shoehorn it as they don't have the clearance as the front burners do...would suck trying that when they're full, not to mention I wouldn't be able to stir them. So I would have to rotate my pots around to keep them stirred.

Any other ideas? How do you guys heat your large batches? Not keen on buying a giant vessel to do it in as then I would also be buying a special cooker to do it on as well and it would probably have to be outside. Not to mention now I'm needing pumps.. it just goes on and on.

TIA
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby bigfoot » Tue Sep 27, 2016 5:47 am

I have a 140l ferment drum and 50l still.
For neutral washes, I Place sugar in fermenter, Boil the water in still(not sure how big you are)...and then hit it with the drill to dissolve sugar. I do this twice (100litres) and then use cooler water (25-30) litres to bring temp down to a happy yeastie hunting temp.
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby CoolCat » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:59 am

Thanks Bigfoot-- yeah, i was thinking of that.. my boiler is 30 gallons.. but don't you worry about something burning to the element? I presuming you'll run it with all the yeast and sediment in there? Doesn't that also contribute to off tastes?
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby S-Cackalacky » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:10 am

You only need to boil the water in the still and then move it to the fermenter to dissolve the sugar. You only need enough hot water to dissolve the sugar and then add cool water to top it off in the fermenter. Does your still boiler have a drain valve? If so, you're golden. If your fermenter is HDPE, it will handle the temp of boiling water.
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby Tassie Tiger » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:27 am

Could try fitting a drain tap to the lower side of your boil pots if you don't use them for any other purpose.
Another alternative is use a small long handled pot to scoop out your sugar wash into the fermenter vessel but make sure to use a small baking tray to catch any drips so as not to end up with a sticky floor to mop up.
Hope that gives you some alternative ideas to give thought too.
Cheers TT
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby bigfoot » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:17 am

CoolCat wrote:Thanks Bigfoot-- yeah, i was thinking of that.. my boiler is 30 gallons.. but don't you worry about something burning to the element? I presuming you'll run it with all the yeast and sediment in there? Doesn't that also contribute to off tastes?

I only do this for neutrals and UJSM type washes.
If you talking about cooking grains - different story.
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:03 am

SCackalacky's method is what we use, but with careful choice of whether you're diluting with cool water or hot, you can try to get the correct final SG AND pitching temperature simultaneously. Time and energy efficient.

Of course, we have 163F(73C) water out of the faucet, so mashing grain is also a piece o' cake.
Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller http://www.kelleybarts.com/zymurgy-bob-books/making-fine-spirits/

You can make whisky in a reflux still, you can make vodka in a potstill,
and you can eat chicken noodle soup with a crescent wrench. But..
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby CoolCat » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:34 am

Thanks for the suggestons

I think I'm going to go with 3 pots.. that's 17 lbs of suger per which sounds doable. The first time I try it I'll have an extra pot handy just in case.

I'm not keen on using my still boiler as that causes its own headaches.. having to double rack to get rid of the sediments.. I have a spigot on it, but would need a pump. Plus I don't have to worry about burning something in my pristine still boiler.

With the 30 gallon fermenter on the counter I'm able to just gravity fill to the still on the floor.
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby rgreen2002 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:16 pm

System 1.jpg


One word: STEAM!

If the fermenter is HDPE like SC mentioned then you could easily steam it out! Once you go steam...you never go back... :laughing-rolling:

But seriously following S-Cak's logic you could steam heat some of the water to dissolve the sugar and then top it off with cool water to volume and pitch temp.





OK...maybe I just really like steam nowadays. :mrgreen:
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby the Doctor » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:34 pm

all washes are 1000 litres here...they are hydrated using rain water passed through a Bosch instantaneous heater to 67 * C. Could not be simpler.
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby hudsonbay distillers » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:16 am

if your mashing with tap water it will be plenty hot enough to dissolve sugar , agitate with a drill and paint mixer if need be , if you need to store your sweet water and are worried about it getting infected store it in a air tight containers filled to the very top with no air bubbles . if you capture and store the co2 off of previous ferments your barrels can be purged with c02 and then sealed the co2 will force out all the oxygen giving you the same protection as a open top ferment er has . jus for fun next time you ferment a batch tape a empty clear garbage bag onto your air lock u be shocked how fast it fills up lol .
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Re: Big fermenter logistics help

Postby RefluxEd » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:22 pm

I use a 200 litre plastic olive barrel to ferment in. First I put about 30 litres of cold rainwater in and then do 3 lots of dissolving 17 Kg of sugar in a 30 litre pot. A magnetically driven mash pump is used to pump the hot syrup to the fermenter. Once that is done for a TPW I then mix 4 Kg of tomato paste in 15 litres of water and put that in. Then there's DAP and Epsom salts. I then fill up to a bit below the top to allow space for foaming. I then use an air pump pushing air through a bubbler ring to aerate the wash for one hour. At this point the temperature of the wash is a bit below 30C which is ideal for pitching the yeast. :handgestures-thumbupright:
Using a 50 litre beer keg as the boiler, I do 4 stripping runs that give me around 45 litres of strip which is then put through the 13 plate bubbler for the final spirit run. The run is turned off when the parrot reads 85%. Any lower than this and the run gets tails so you have to do it again. If done properly his results in 23 litres of really clean 92% spirit that can be used for vodka, gin or absinthe.
2 inch BOKA/LM/VM
Bubbler with 14 4x3x4 inch tees and 15 bubble plates under a 4 inch section under the dephlagmator (RC).
2 inch Pot still.
2 inch to 4 inch Gin head.
2x 1.2 mtre Leibig condensors.
2 inch x 800 mm shotgun condenser.
Love it!
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