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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http://www.iStill.com

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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http://www.iStill.com

pH-Controlled Fermentation!

Introduction

In our quest to make distilling easier, we turned our attention to fermenting. Where the actual distillation steps in the spirits production business are about concentrating and selecting the right alcohols and flavors, fermentation is its precursor. Fermentation is where the actual alcohol and (most of) the flavors are created.

Current craft distilling take on fermentation

If fermentation is that important, why does it take the back seat with most (almost all) distillers? It certainly doesn’t for wine and beer makers, but for distillers it somehow does. Weird. I guess it has to do with the focus (to much so) on the nice and shiny stills. And with an (incorrect) understanding as fermentation being an alcohol rather than flavor production process. A shame, since craft distillers should compete with Big Alcohol on flavor, ’cause they never can on economies of scale.

Future craft distilling paradigm on fermentation 

Anyhow, we try and change that perception. One day of our 4-day iStill Certified University workshops deals with fermentation, and how you can manipulate it to create the alcohols and esters you – as a craft distiller – are looking for. Instead of seeing fermentation as a passive process, mostly the bottle-neck of your distillery, I propose a change: see it as the heart of your distillery. It is – after all – where your flavors are made, where you lay the foundation of what will become your rum, brandy, vodka or whiskey.

Fermentation control

If you place fermentation center stage, the next thing that becomes obvious is that you want to control this most important step. Control grants you influence on flavor development. Control allows you to reproduce your drink – at its highest quality level – time and again.

Just as fermentation is key to top shelf beverage production, so is control key to a quality ferment. Hence, when we (at iStill) think about helping you distill better products, we think about how we can provide you that control.

iStill’s solution

The result of that thinking? The iStill Fermenters, available in sizes of 2000 and 5000 liters, come with SG and pH and temperature control. And they are made out of 4 and 5 mm thick stainless steel. If fermentation is key to successful craft distilling, only the best is good enough.

Calibration of the pH probe is done at iStill HQ …

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Testing the iStill pH probe in a pH 7.0 solution …

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Testing the iStill pH probe in a low pH sugar ferment …

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The iStill pH probe …

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http://www.iStill.com

 

Another Dispatch Day!

Another busy day, here, at iStill HQ in the Netherlands. We just put five stills on transport. Here is an overview:

  • iStill 500 and iStill Mini to a customer from the USA;
  • iStill 2000 to a customer from Cyprus;
  • iStill 500 to a French customer;
  • iStill 5000 for a leading wine and spirits manufacturer from Australia.

Pictures? Here we go:

In goes the iStill 5000 …

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Next? The iStill Mini and two iStills 500 …

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With the iStill 2000 added, the truck is basically full …

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http://www.iStill.com

SG-Controlled Fermentation!

In our quest to make distilling easier, we turned our attention to fermenting. Where the actual distillation steps in the spirits production business are about concentrating and selecting the right alcohols and flavors, fermentation is its precursor. Fermentation is where the actual alcohol and (most of) the flavors are created.

If fermentation is that important, why does it take the back seat with most (almost all) distillers? It certainly doesn’t for wine and beer makers, but for distillers it does. Weird. I guess it has to do with the focus (to much so) on the nice and shiny stills. And with a (incorrect) understanding as fermentation being an alcohol rather than flavor production process.

Anyhow, we try and change that. One day of our 4-day iStill Certified University workshops deals with fermentation, and how you can manipulate it to create the alcohols and esters you – as a craft distiller – are looking for. Instead of seeing fermentation as a passive process, mostly the bottle-neck of your distillery, I propose a change: see it as the heart of your distillery. It is – after all – where your flavors are made, where you lay the foundation of what will become your rum, brandy, vodka or whiskey.

If you place fermentation center stage, the next thing that becomes obvious is that you want to control this most important step. Control grants you influence on flavor development. Control allows you to reproduce your drink – at its highest quality – time and again.

Just as fermentation is key to top shelf beverage production, so is control key to a quality ferment. Hence, when we (at iStill) think about helping you distill better products, we think about how we can provide you that control.

The result of that thinking? The iStill Fermenters, available in sizes of 2000 and 5000 liters, come with SG and pH and temperature control. And they are made out of 4 and 5 mm thick stainless steel. If fermentation is key to successful craft distilling, only the best is good enough.

iStill SG Control …

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http://www.iStill.com

iStill to Revolutionize Craft Brewing?

Introduction

Was it only six years ago that iStill made a big splash into the craft distilling industry? Only six years ago that craft distillers finally got access to 21st century tools to make distilling great again? It was. And in those six years we have not just made a big splash, entering the industry, but we have established ourselves as the lead player for distillery equipment, education, product development, and contract distilling. Now the question arises: “Will we do the same to the craft brewing industry?”

Craft brewing

Why ask that question? Well, because over the last year, more and more craft brewers have reached out to us, asking for our help and/or equipment in furthering the growth of their businesses.

As you are well aware of (or should be), craft brewing is well ahead of the craft distilling game. Their growth, shelf space, has preceded craft distilling by 10 to 15 years. Mature brewers have established themselves in any major and minor city in both North America and Europe.

More and more, it seems, those successful to craft brewing look for ways to increase their presence, highlight their uniqueness. And what’s easier to add to your brewery than a still, right? Just chew out some beer and turn it into vodka, whiskey, and gin.

Wrong. The problem – up until now – has not been buying the still, but learning how to operate it. Most stills out there are based on 18th century technology and hard to drive, let alone manipulate into doing the right thing. The craft brewer can’t just add a still to his brewery line-up and be done with it, no, he also needs to hire a distiller to go with it, probably a team of two, if he wants to make any significant impact. Guess what? That is about to change!

iStill for craft brewers

If you are a craft brewer, interested in adding distilling to your portfolio, you’d want to use 21st century technology. Just as you are using in your brewery. Stainless steel equipment, automatic programs with remote management and control, automated cleaning programs, etc. With iStill becoming available to craft brewers, that is just what you will get.

Our equipment can mash, ferment, pot distill and column distill. It can help make you whiskey, vodka, and gin at the touch of a button. The automation and robotization is so advanced, you will not need an additional distillers team. Yes, you will need some training. Please know we provide that as well.

To support craft brewers into expanding into distilling, we organize a special 4-day workshop. We’ll train you in the noble science of distilling. We’ll train you in making base beers for vodka and whiskey. How to mash and how to ferment and how to distill. We’ll train you in gin making. In fact, the course is so hands-on, that you will make your own whiskey, vodka, and gin yourselves!

Interested? Visit our stand at the Craft Brewing Convention 2019 in Denver. Or reach out to Jason@iStillmail.com. Jason is the North American iStill representative.

iStill at the Craft Brewing Convention in Denver …

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http://www.iStill.com

Irish Whiskey now GI!

The European Commission has confirmed geographical indication (GI) status for Irish whiskey as well as Irish cream liqueur and Irish poitin.

For more reading, please see:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2019/04/european-commission-approves-irish-whiskeys-gi-status/?fbclid=IwAR1JzutcCoxJQUU8dOJk5cBJ1_Lji-Ltf3pDGw3bPluVVolKXAuIqYnX1VA

iStill 5000 Copper: the ultimate Irish whiskey still …

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http://www.iStill.com