Further Professionalizing iStill Support!

Introduction

This post dives into how we support you at being a successful distiller and iStill user. Of course, you, as the craft distiller, are responsible for the actual mashing, fermenting, and distilling that you perform. And, in order to do so correctly, you are also responsible for obtaining the right amount of training and learning, via your own research and reading, via traineeships, with the help of forums or consultants, or via peer advice. We chime in and help you out along your path. Here’s how.

iStill University Course

We offer a 4-day course, where we bring you up to date on the latest science regarding mashing, fermenting, distilling, and aging. It is a great way to learn about distilling, to learn how to develop a recipe, and to experience how the iStills work. With a score of 9.8 on a 10-point scale, it is considered the best course in the craft distilling industry and that’s a great way to get started and find out if craft distilling is meant for you.

iStill Mini

Did you fall in love with distilling in general, and our amazing theories and technology specifically? Then it may be time to take the next step and purchase the iStill Mini. Our product development still helps you finalize recipe formulation, while you gain hands-on distilling experience.

iStill Support

Buying a production size iStill (like the iStill 100, 500, 2000, or 5000) automatically gives you access to four hours of consultancy. Use it to bridge the time, size, and experience gap between the course and the reality of you opening up, between the small-size semi-manual iStill Mini and the big size automated production unit!

Here’s how:

  1. Use one hour of support to have us help check your assembly of the iStill, to upload the latest software, and to talk to you about cleaning protocols.
  2. Use the second hour to inform us about the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) you want to use for your mashing. Let us check it, before you use it.
  3. Use the third hour to inform us about the SOP you want to use for fermenting. Again, let us check it. Four eyes see more than two.
  4. Use the fourth hour to share your distillation SOP. Use our experience to help make sure your first distillation run is going to be the success you deserve!

Procedure

  1. After you assembled your iStill, send an email to Support@iStillmail.com and name it “Assembly done”. Our support employee will give you a date and time slot for the check to take place, to update you to the latest software, and to instruct you on cleaning protocols.
  2. When you want to start mashing in the foreseeable future, send an email to Support@iStillmail.com, name it “First Mash Support”, and include your SOP. As before, our support employee will give you a date and time slot for feedback.
  3. When you are planning to start your first fermentation, send an email to Support@iStillmail.com, name it “First Fermentation Support”, and include the fermentation Standard Operating Procedure. Our employee will contact you.
  4. Almost ready to distill? As before, send an email and name it “First Distillation Support”, and include your SOP. Our support employee will propose a time and date to help check and give his feedback.

Disclaimer

The runs are your responsibility. Mashing, fermenting, and distilling, even with automated equipment, can be challenging, so make sure that you know what you are doing. The machines we produce have no brain, so you better learn how to use yours! It is among your tasks to make sure you are equipped with the required knowledge and experience to do your runs professionally and safely. Using iStill Support does not take anything away from that responsibility.

Create more control with iStill Support …

images.jpg

http://www.iStill.com

Yeast Nutrition Protocol!

The importance of yeast

If you want to produce brandy, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey, there are various steps to the manufacturing process. Mashing is where the starches, present in grains, are converted into fermentable sugars. During the second step, fermentation, we have yeast cells consume these sugars and produce both alcohol and flavor molecules. When fermentation is done, we can distill the resulting wine or beer into a stronger spirit.

Yeast cells are the living organisms that, during fermentation, create alcohol and flavor. And since they are living organisms, well, the environment in which they perform their magic needs to be such that they can perform optimally. What “optimal performance” means? That’s easy: the development of the right flavors, while maximizing alcohol yield, in the shortest time frame possible. So … how do we create that environment?

Yeast happy environment

Without diving in too deep, yeast, depending on the specific variety, needs a warmer or colder, and a more acid or more alkaline environment to perform optimally, and create the right flavors and a good amount of alcohol.

Yeast also needs nutrients. In the first phase of the fermentation, when there is still oxygen present, yeast cells grow and multiply. They need energy, vitamins, and minerals for proper propagation. During the second phase of the fermentation, when oxygen is depleted, the yeast cells also need energy, vitamins, and minerals in order to keep up the good work of turning sugars into alcohol and organics into flavor molecules. What nutrients they need? Good question!

Research

Together with students and professors of the renowned Leyden University, our laboratory manager Willem Brakenhoff has performed extensive research on yeast nutrition. The goal was not just to create the best formula for the yeast to be “happy” and productive, efficient and effective, but to do it in such a way that esterification (the formation of flavor molecules) is not in any way negatively affected.

Over a period of over half a year, Willem and his team, working both in the iStill Laboratory and at Leyden’s facilities has achieved these goals. It results in a nutrient formula that will improve any fermentation. Faster fermentation, higher yield, identical or even improved esterification.

Towards better fermentations worldwide

In order to help craft distillers create better tasting spirits, and increase their yield, while minimizing fermentation times, we have decided to make the yeast nutrition information available. We want to give you the tools to bring the battle to Big Alcohol. And professional yeast treatment and management are essential for success.

What that means? It means you can now order the formula via our new eLearning Webpage, that is part of the iStill University Educational Programs. To help cover (at least partially) the costs of our research, we ask a mere EUR 25,-. You can order and pay online, and what you will get is a simple formula of the chemicals, vitamins, and minerals for you to order and mix to (further) improve your fermentation results. You will get an email with a PDF. The formula, an example for a 1,000 liter fermentation, and the procedure of how and when to add the nutrient are all in the PDF.

Here is the link to the formula: http://www.iStill.com/elearning

And here is a picture of our laboratory manager Willem (without lab coat) …

IMG_2729

http://www.iStill.com

Myth Busters: Milling and Particle Size!

Introduction

The “Myth Busters” series are posts where we look at distilling lore and anecdotical industry wisdom. Is the topic at hand based on truth? On knowledge? Or is the question at hand merely a myth that needs busting?

The structure of this “Myth Buster” post is twofold. First, we’ll explain the (generally accepted) wisdom. Secondly, we’ll dive in deeper and give you the science behind it. Or at least our opinions. We’ll share as many facts as possible as well as our opinion. The goal is threefold: let’s get rid of misconceptions (1), allow you to make better informed decisions (2), in order to become a better craft distiller (3).

Anecdotical wisdom

The industry’s wisdom teaches us that distillers should prefer to mill grains to a fine flour, before mashing, because it creates a higher yield. What do you think? False or true?

Facts

A fine grain has a bigger surface are. Potentially, a bigger surface are makes it easier for water to contact the starch, that lies hidden inside the grain. In reality, this can create a faster conversion of starch to fermentable sugar, but it comes at various costs:

  1. Creating a flour, usually by applying a hammer mill, creates dust;
  2. Increased dust levels ask for more intense cleaning protocols;
  3. Dust is explosive;
  4. Dust harbors microbiological infections that float freely through your distillery;
  5. Dust is very unhealthy and can cause severe problems to the respiratory system ;
  6. Flour clumps easily, potentially infecting you wash while lowering yield.

Opinion

In our experience a flour, when compared to a more coarsely roller-milled grain, does not create a higher yield of fermentable sugars. In the best case, it only converts quicker. But is a 15 to 30 minute time gain worth the associated risks of dusting the place up, putting your health at risk, and potentially infecting the wash you are working with?

We don’t think so and therefore advice you to do as brewer’s do: coarsely crack your grains, by applying a roller mill, and mash a little bit longer.

Traditional roller mill …

1136950.jpg

http://www.iStill.com

 

 

Teslaquila Cybertruck by iStill!

Introduction

A year and a half ago Elon Musk was found passed out against a Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquila” bottles. Later, Elon filed a “Teslaquila” trademark and promised us he’d release the spirit soon. But what is soon in Elon-Time? To help bring Teslaquila to the market sooner, iStill, the world’s leading manufacturer of distillation equipment, decided to join the party and create both a recipe and distillery set-up to help Elon out, using the Tesla Cybertruck platform.

Elon passed out on Teslaquila …

download.jpg

Cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck is a futuristic truck that runs on electricity. It is expected to have a battery pack of 250 to 300 kWh and fully autonomous driving. With its ground clearance and advanced 3-motor, 4-wheel drive system it can take you anywhere.

Guess what fits perfectly in the Cybertruck’s bed …

fryyc36bs1go_800.jpg

iStill

The iStill 2000 is a 21st century technology distillery that runs on electricity, and is up to 90% more efficient than traditional distilling solutions. With its advanced column design, automation and robotization it can make any drink to perfection, time and again, fully autonomous, including Teslaquila.

In order to create Teslaquila, all that is needed is agave syrup, yeast, and water. The iStill 2000, powered via the Cybertruck’s batery pack will do the rest. The Teslaquila Cybertruck can make up to 625 bottles of booze in one run, using no more than 200 kWh in the process.

With iStill technology the Cybertruck can make Teslaquila on autopilot …

0.jpg

Tesla + iStill = Teslaquila Cybertruck

The Teslaquila Cybertruck can be ordered as of January 1st 2020. First deliveries will take place early 2021. The price of the Cybertruck/iStill hybrid that can make Teslaquila as well as any other spirit you are interested in will start at $ 150,000.

iStill’s Teslaquila Cybertruck …

cybertruck-istill-4.png

With column configuration …

unnamed.png

On the road …

unnamed-1.png

http://www.iStill.com

Evi’s Easy Egg Punch!

Introduction

Here is an easy recipe for an amazing Christmas Liqueur. Developed by Evi, and now it’s here for you to try. A bit late? Yes, so rush to the shop and buy the ingredients. Shopping will take longer than actually making it. Here is a recipe for 1.2 liters of Evi’s Easy Egg Punch!

Evi is celebrating Xmas …

c126267a-4122-4408-8419-46805b1820c7.jpg

Ingredients

  • 0.25 liter of vodka;
  • 0.5 liter of whole milk;
  • 0.25 liter heavy cream (the stuff you make whipped cream from, not yet whipped);
  • 5 egg yolks;
  • 250 gram sugar;
  • vanilla pod;
  • pinch of cinnamon.

But not after making enough of her favorite Xmas drink …

21157c1f-a388-4601-a6dd-0d5ea439a42b.jpg

Procedure

  • Mix the milk with the heavy cream and 150 grams of sugar and add the vanilla pod;
  • Bring it to a boil, then turn off the stove;
  • Take out the vanilla pod;
  • Now, mix the egg yolks with the remaining 100 grams of sugar (separately!);
  • Add the milk/cream/sugar mix very, very slowly to the egg yolk/sugar mix;
  • Like really slowly, and mix it in … really slowly as well;
  • If you do it too quickly, the hot milk will boil the egg yolk, and we don’t want that;
  • So add the milk mix drip by drip, hand-mixing with a fork; that’s the the way forward;
  • Where the hot milk mix does not boil but does pasteurize the eggs;
  • When all is mixed, let the concoction cool down a bit more, then add the vodka;
  • And a pinch of cinnamon;
  • Now bottle it;
  • And put the bottles in the fridge;
  • Leave it for 12 to 24 hours before consumption;
  • A bit longer is better, but Xmas is around the corner!

This recipe will stay good, in the fridge for around two weeks easily. Never happened to us, because it is simply too good!

Now enjoy Evi’s Easy Xmas Liqueur …

35e6f9ed-c4c1-4936-abb9-129b5e1b08ef.jpg

http://www.iStill.com

 

iStill Brewstillery Calculator!

After having taken over craft distilling by storm, in the last 6 1/2 years, iStill is now focussing on making distilling easier for … brewers. The iStill Brewstillery Calculator is a concrete result. It is a tool that helps the brewer calculate how much spirits he can make, what it would cost in terms of energy to make these spirits, and what size (Plug & Play) iStill is needed for the actual spirit production.

If you are a brewer, please use the iStill Brewstillery Calculator to see how your current brewhouse set-up translates to the easy production of beer brandy, vodka, or whiskey via clicking on the link underneath:

iStill Brewstillery Calculator

hooghoudt-premium-oude-graan-jenever-kopstoot-american-pale-ale.9aa666a2.png

http://www.iStill.com

The World’s Best Distilling Training is coming to Australia!

The iStill University organizes another training! This time we’ll visit Australia. The course takes place from January 20th till 23rd in Carrington, NSW, at the beautiful Earp Distilling Corporation. We are opening up for registrations!

Earp Distilling Corporation …

During the 4-day course, we’ll train you in:

  • Odin’s amazing theory of distillation;
  • Fermentation;
  • Mashing;
  • Aging;
  • Bottling, marketing, and sales;
  • Still design and distillery set-up.

During the class you will learn how to make whiskey, gin, rum, vodka and liqueur. And not just the theory! The course consists of theory that is then put to practice: you will distill your own drinks and work on your own recipes, using the iStill Mini.

The iStills Mini will be used for recipe development and training …

dca7363f-1af5-4789-9370-8b0d71d8ac3a.jpg

While you are being trained, the Earp Brothers will run the iStill 5000 to make their own gin and rum recipes.

The Earp Brothers named their iStill 5000 “Zeus” …

71534892_133411501369024_3502673931582570496_o.jpg

The course is aimed at people who want to start a distillery as well as experienced distillers. There is place for only 15 students, and many tickets have already been sold. So if you want to participate, please go to https://www.istilluniversity.com/ or reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com. For more information on the course and curriculum, please contact our Australian representative Sarah Gunn at Sarah@iStillmail.com.

iStill University = Theory + Practice …

Do you want to learn how our students rate our distilling training and what feedback they give? Please check it out via the link underneath:

https://istillblog.com/2019/11/28/the-best-distilling-education-in-the-world/

Another iStill University Workshop!

As we speak another iStill University Certified Distilling Workshop takes place at iStill HQ in the Netherlands. Fourteen new distillers (or distillers new to iStill) get trained in mashing, fermenting and distilling top shelf product. From the Netherlands, the UK, USA, Denmark, Norway, Bosnia and Israel.

Please know that we are organizing new classes for 2020. We’ll be in Australia in January. After that another course takes place in the Netherlands. Then one or two in the United States. Check the planning out over here: https://www.istilluniversity.com/

Learning how to distill equals learning how to create recipes …

2884faa4-7d91-4497-bb65-11b56379d0d540d43243-2ff2-4e9b-8c4e-4500f891d09f

http://www.iStill.com

Distilleries, not just stills!

Introduction

People have a general tendency to compartmentalize what they see and experience. By breaking up the world in smaller bits and pieces, it becomes easier to understand at least some of the parts that matter. It is a trait of human evolutionary psychology that makes perfect sense. When you see a lion hunting you, you run. Contemplating the nature of the circle of life, and trying to understand it all, while the lion is sprinting towards you, well, you might figure it out, but wouldn’t the price to pay be a little too steep?

Even though compartmentalization has huge (survival) benefits, one of the deficits is “mental entrenchment”, where the parts one understands start to define the world. This is an entrenchment, that now blocks a wider, more creative view of that world. It hampers learning and innovation. In context of the evolutionary example: if you have been successful at evading the lion multiple times, maybe it is time to consider moving camp to a safer location, instead of trying to out-run or out-climb what hunts you?

Mentally entrenched distilling

Craft distilling was a perfect example of mental entrenchment. The thousands of little distilleries that existed around the globe at the end of the 19th Century were wiped off the face of the earth due to World War I and prohibition.

When, some 15 years ago, craft distilleries started to be re-emerge, there was no direct line with these distilleries of old. Knowledge and experience had gone to waste, and all that remained were old textbooks and anecdotical stories.

The lack of understanding the bigger picture resulted in a mentally entrenched take on craft distilling. A focus on some of the parts that could be made sense of, like mashing, fermenting, and stripping and finishing. These parts, individually, could be understood. Heck, there were even  tools and machines available to help you perform each and everyone off these steps! And that compartmentalized view on the world of distilling gave a false sense of understanding the process, while – in fact – it was this focus on the parts, instead of the whole, that helped most craft distillers miss seeing the bigger pictures of their trade.

Root cause analysis

iStill’s founder, Odin, was not educated as a distiller. Instead, he has studied Business Administration and specialized in change management. When distilling sparked his interest, he immediately wanted to understand the underlying processes and building blocks. Just like a change manager would, when saving a company, he would analyse his way to get to the true building blocks of the value creation process, and re-organize and optimize them immediately after. Odin very soon realized that mental entrenchment had stifled innovation in the distilling industry and went to work his change management magic.

Reflux equals re-distillation

One of the first things Odin realized is that reflux equals re-distillation. In a world that held the firm belief that double distillation procedures were needed, in order to finish a spirit, that was a complete paradigm shift.

Traditionally, a bigger still would strip a fermented beer or wine into a 25 to 30% low wines. These low wines, smaller in size, but more concentrated in alcohol, would then be distilled again in a secondary, smaller finishing still to bring proof to 120 to 130.

Odin realized that, by returning (refluxing) some of the low wines directly back into the column they were made on, a distiller could achieve the same results. And more, since the more of the product you reflux, the more re-distillations you could get.

The results of this new look at distilling were twofold. First, the difference between a stripping still and a smaller finishing still seized to exist. If one still can do a double or triple or quadruple distillation in one go, there is no more need for a stripping still or finishing still anymore, and these terms and the associated definitions start to loose their value.

Secondly, by upping the reflux factor, the reflux still could make any drink, from whiskey to rum to brandy to gin and even vodka. The result? The craft distiller needing to have multiple stills for multiple spirits stopped being relevant, because one still (yes, the first generation of iStills) could now strip and finish in one go, and make any kind of spirit.

Mashing, fermenting, and distilling are physically the same processes

The fresh look on distilling helped change the industry in two ways. First, a new technology became available that made it much easier (and less capital intensive) to start a craft distillery. Secondly, rocking the boat opened the blinders and decreased the industry’s mental entrenchment significantly.

Having redesigned how stills work, Odin now went to work on mashing and fermenting. He woke up one morning with what felt like an epiphany moment: that mashing, fermenting, and distilling were – from a physical perspective – basically controlled by the same processes.

Here is his thinking:

  1. Mashing takes place in a boiler and is all about heating and cooling;
  2. Fermenting takes place in a boiler and is all about heating and cooling;
  3. Distilling takes place in a boiler and is all about heating and cooling.

iStills are distilleries, not just stills

With this base concept in place, he started designing the second generation of iStills: the iStills NextGen. The iStill NextGen product line is designed with the goal to bring that vision to life: that mashing, fermenting, and distilling are controlled by the same cooling and heating processes, and can therefore be integrated.

The take-away? When you buy an iStill, you do not just buy a still. Depending on how you spec your unit, you basically buy a complete distillery. The result? The craft distilling scene has found its footing again, and is innovating and changing into a vibrant industry, capable of taking on Big Alcohol. Let the fact that iStill is now the world’s biggest manufacturer of distilling equipment, with over 700 distilleries in operation, be testimony to that.

Drew and his iStill 2000 in New Jersey …

83e74a2f-2c7d-4357-b433-45157a70d3e8.jpg

http://www.iStill.com