From Muscovado to Molasses Rum (3)!

Today, we are finishing the Muscovado Rum in the iStill 100. We already took the heads, and are now in the process of collecting hearts. Impressions? A nice light rum in the making!

Muscovado Rum finishing run …

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So, what’s next? I’ll tell you right now! With a tote of molasses from South America that taste like heaven, we decided to whip up a new fermentation. Molasses, for a heavier, more complex rum.

Amazingly tasty molasses …

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And the yeast certainly seems motivated to work on our next batch of rum. The moment we put the water lock on, it started fermenting!

Molasse fermentation, 1, 2, 3 … go!

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Making Muscovado Rum (2)!

The fermentation finished in five days, which is pretty impressive, because it is basically a sugar ferment. Yesterday, we put 90 to 95 liters in an iStill 100 and performed a stripping run. The yield was 22 liters at 38%. That is 8,36 pure alcohol liters. 8.36 divided by the 90 to 95 liter boiler charge, results in a fermentation strength of 9%. Pretty much spot on. Conclusion? iFeed helps improve fermentation time and yield.

Still close to 100 liter of muscovado wine left …

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As mentioned above, the stripping run resulted in 22 liters at 38%. The low wines are slightly cloudy and have a nice, light rum aroma.

What’s next? Well, probably tomorrow already, we are going to put the low wines back in the boiler of the iStill 100 (after cleaning it out first). We’ll then top-up with the remaining fermentation (some 75 liters) and do a slower finishing run, making cuts for heads, hearts, and tails.

On Friday, we’ll do some tests with back sugaring to finalize a nice, drinkable recipe. If you follow the iStill Blog, we’ll keep you posted!

Stripping the muscovado rum wine into low wines …

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Making Muscovado Rum (part 1)!

Introduction

So we are having a dab at making rum. Not just any rum, but muscovado rum? What it is? Well, it is a rum made from muscovado. Let’s dive in deeper!

What is rum?

Rum is an alcoholic beverage made from sugar cane byproducts. Sugar cane is a plant that grows in the tropics and contains (the name gives it away …) high levels of sugar.

By pressing the juice out of the sugar cane stalks, a sugary liquid is obtained. When that liquid is boiled, a brown, dark sugar (sometimes called muscovado or panella) can be made.

By further refining this raw sugar, the molasses (brown, tasty) and actual sugars (whiter and sweeter) can be separated. Sugar is used, well, to sweeten up basically anything, while the molasses are a great as table top syrup, animal stock feed, or base for rum production.

The more refined the sugar gets, the more heavy the resulting molasses will be. Heavy C-grade and blackstrap molasses create heavy style rums, where the use of muscovado or panella (the original non-refined reduced sugar cane juice) creates a better yield at lower taste intensity levels. Muscovado, to conclude this paragraph, should make for a great light rum. Molasses are better for the heavier styles.

Muscovado sugar …

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Making Muscovado Rum Wine

The first batch we are making – until we get in bigger quantities – is in a simple plastic fermenter. In order to make 200 liter of rum wine (scalable):

  • Add around 150 liter of 35 degrees Celsius water;
  • Then add 34 kilo’s of muscovado sugar and stir it in;
  • Top-up with cold water to achieve a total of 200 liters;
  • Now add the appropriate amount of iFeed (iStill’s new yeast feed and fermentation stabilizer);
  • Sprinkle 125 grams of dried granulated baker’s yeast on top;
  • Close the fermenter and add the water lock;
  • Fermentation starts in a matter of hours and will take around 4 days;
  • You’ll end up with around 200 liters of 9% rum wines.

Interested in seeing how we distill it into a rum? Stay tuned. The follow up iStill Blog post will probably be up in a day or two.

Fermentation has started …

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Learn all about distilling!

Learn all about distilling at the Complete and Certified Distilling Training. We’ll cover:

  • Mashing;
  • Fermenting;
  • Distilling;
  • Aging.

You will be making:

  • Brandy;
  • Vodka;
  • Whisky;
  • Gin;
  • Liqueur.

An amazing combination of innovative, in-house developed theories and practical on-the-distilling-floor operation, where you learn how to design your own recipes and distill the spirits of your choice.

The oncoming courses take place in the Netherlands (September 2 – 5th) and Denver, CO (October 21 – 24th) and are given by some of the most knowledgeable distillers in the world:

  • Sebastiaan Smit (Course Leader, Manager iDrinks Recipe Development);
  • William Vermeulen (Manager Distillery/Assembly);
  • Willem Brakenhof (Chemist, Laboratory Manager);
  • Paul Hoogsteder (Craft Distiller);
  • Odin (CEO of iStill).

The Complete and Certified Distilling Training is considered the best distilling course in the industry. Students rate it at 9.8 out of 10, and rave about the theoretical insight shared, combined with hands-on training on actual iStills.

Some feedback? Please check this out: https://istillblog.com/2019/06/10/tom-grzelinsky/

Do you want to learn more? Do you want to participate? Please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com.

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https://www.istilluniversity.com/

Tom Grzelinsky’s Feedback!

Hi Odin, Veronika, Sebastiaan, Willem,

Firstly, sorry, I do not know William’s email address, so please just thank him for his part(s) in last week’s course.

So, I want to say thank you to you all.

The course was very, very, very good. Very intense, lots of learning. It was good to realise how much I have already learnt myself over the last two years, and then to take it to another level with your course.

I am very happy with my new knowledge of distilling theories, the history of distilling and how the iStills work. And yes Willem, I even understand why we have two thermometers near the top of the Mini column now, I think!

I view iStill as a family. Like Apple Computer was many years ago. I like the idea of being part of this family and buying in to the iStill ecosystem. I first stumbled on this person called Odin with a weird avatar character near the beginning of my learning, probably 18 months ago, but I knew nothing about iStill then. I kept coming across this person and he was very open, sharing information and helping people on many forums across the net. I still new nothing of iStill, but I appreciated how helpful he was to everyone. It was only later, about 6 months ago that I discovered he had started a company making stills. I like that his enthusiasm and openness to share information and help people was evident in all of you last week. Lastly, Odin’s theories and the hardware philosophies (and efficiencies) of the iStills make perfect, logical sense to me – this is something I want to be part of.

I would now like your help in advancing my plans…

Tom Grzelinsky:

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https://www.istilluniversity.com/

iStill University Course in the Netherlands!

Yesterday, another 4-day iStill University started. With students from India to Uruguay, and from Russia to the USA. Not to mention Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, Croatia, and Austria. A total of 16 participants in total.

Odin explaining the single distillation approach to whisky making …

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Do you want to learn all about distilling? How to ferment and create flavors? How to harvest them into your final product? The iStill University offers the best courses in the industry with an amazing 9.7 out of 10 evaluation!

The class learns about fermentation and esterification …

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We have new courses planned in both the Netherlands and the USA:

  • The Netherlands: June 17th – 20th;
  • Denver, USA: October 21st – 24th.

For more information, please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com.

Preparing the iStills Mini for another run: students making whisky …

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https://www.istilluniversity.com/

 

Cooling and Chilling!

Introduction

Cooling is an integral part to distilling. The process starts by bringing liquids to a boil, and creating vapors richer in alcohol. The process, from a scientific perspective, ends with the still cooling down those gases to liquid phase.

How cooling affects distillation is important. So let’s dive in deeper and figure out how it works, what iStill does for you, and what is the craft distiller’s own responsibility.

What you get

What you get, when you purchase an iStill, is an integral solution to distilling. Instead of buying an empty shell, that still needs a steam boiler, boiler room, and a lot of piping, the iStill comes with heaters and power management included. Well, yeah, but lets be realistic here … the heaters and power management systems only work, when you connect the iStill to the grid. Without electricity no power, without power no heating-up.

And the same holds true for cooling. Yes, the iStill comes with a column cooler and a product cooler, but if you don’t connect them to an adequate source of coolant, well, no cooling (or not enough cooling) takes place, hindering total efficiency.

What you need to do

What the craft distiller needs to do is check his mains. What is water pressure and water temperature? What does water cost? What’s the climatic conditions of the distilling location? Recirculate water or just flush it down the drain?

In hotter climates chillers are probably needed. What size and strength? Well, that really depends on your location and on what your set-up is. Do you run an iStill 500 or 2000? Do you anticipate growth? Do you need the chiller to also cool down some fermenters you ordered?

As a general (and slightly overkill) rule-of-thumb, and as far as the iStills are concerned, please look at their maximum power. An iStill 500 has 18 kW and runs, while making vodka at around 15 kW. A run may take 8 hours, which adds up to a total power input of 120 kWh. So that’s what you are looking for, when investigating chillers: a cooling system that delivers those numbers.

Do you run an iStill 2000? Then the numbers will be different. It makes vodka at 36 kW, so you need a bigger chilling system.

Our iStill Wizards can probably help you find direction, but adequate cooling, just as adequate electricity are the responsibility of the craft distiller.

Cooling made easier

In order to help customers out that live in (very) hot climates and need to rely on mains water for cooling, we added an item to our option list: the iStill Pre-Cooler. The iStill Pre-Cooler is an additional column cooler that sits under the standard column cooler and can be fed by its own coolant supply.

This addition comes especially handy for those that make vodka, since the associated high power settings as well as high vapor speeds, put more stress on the distiller’s cooling system.

The iStill Pre-Cooler comes does what the name says: it pre-cools part of the gasses offered by the column, creating an overall bigger cooling capacity for those restricted on coolant.

Pre-coolers can now be ordered via your iStill Wizard. We have designed additional pre-coolers for the iStill 100, 500, 2000, and 5000:

  • iStill 100 Pre-Cooler: EUR 500,-
  • iStill 500 Pre-Cooler: EUR 1.500,-
  • iStill 2000 Pre-Cooler: EUR 2.000,-
  • iStill 5000 Pre-Cooler: EUR 3.000,-

iStill 2000 Pre-Cooler and Column Cooler …

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Single pass whisky distillation!

We are making single malt whisky at iStill HQ! And with all the new innovations we released over the last few months, we can now distill new make spirit in one go. No longer any need for separate (and time and energy consuming) stripping runs. With iStill you can create any taste rich spirit in a single distillation run, where the unit brings the beer to barrel strength (62% in this example) automatically and maintains that ABV during the whole run.

Preparing the barrels …

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The iStill 500 is producing single malt whisky …

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The new program for single pass whisky distillation …

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