Dreaming of Enhanced Taste …

Introduction

So here is the third post about me dreaming about … well, maybe about some future innovations that may benefit the Craft Distilling Industry. The first one was about magic potions. The second one about magic machines that combine the advantages of continuous distillation (bulk processing capacity) with batch distillation (cuts management). And sometimes I get inspiration from other industries. Like cooking …

Cryovac cooking

How that came along? Well, I happened to have dinner at a place where the chicken just tasted a-ma-zing! I called for the chef and he told me it was made “sous vide” or “under vacuum”-style. “Cryovac” is the name most often used name in the Anglo-Saxon world, I have been told.

Anyhow, I asked the chef about the procedure. And I asked him about the advantages.

The procedure is basically as follows:

  1. Vacuum seal the food;
  2. Because of the vacuum, you can now boil the food at much lower temperatures than the regular 100 Celsius.

As to the why, the chef told me that he personally found that especially more fragile and volatile flavors are better preserved, using cryovac cooking methods. Which made me think …

Don’t we need cryovac distilling?

After doing some more research, and after talking to some of our customers, here is what I learned:

  • Cryovac distilling could potentially help gin (and aquavit and flavored vodka) distilleries in harvesting subtle and volatile tastes;
  • By creating flavor essences out of substrates that would otherwise (at higher boiling temperatures) denature too rapidly;
  • Glass vacuum stills exist (for example Rotavacs). They are within the budget of the Craft Distiller, but are in general too small for efficient professional production procedures;
  • Bigger vacuum stills (20 to 50 liters) exist. They are suited for efficient professional production protocols, but come at a very high price: investments of 200 K to 500 K are the norm.

In conclusion I found that especially gin distillers would love to add cryovac distilling capacity, but the ones they can afford are usually too small. The ones they need are too expensive.

“Can we make cryovac stills bigger AND at the same time a less costly investment?” That would be the design challenge I’d put in front of my engineering team. Based on gut feeling and intuition as much as on the feedback our customers gave me, I’d say a size of 100 liter would be the goal, together with a 50% cost price reduction, for distilleries to be able to reap the benefits of cryovac distilling. But that’s just my take on it. What is yours?

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How to Make single Malt Whiskey (1)

Here is a video on how to make single malt whisky. Not just any whisky, no, on the Islay Style: smokey and peaty. And not just on any machine, no. We’ll use the iStill 500. For mashing, for fermenting, and for distilling!

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This first video is an introduction into the whisky making process in general and on mashing. The next one is about fermenting and distilling. The third one? Well, hold your horses! Let’s start with part one …

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iStill Workshop in Utah!

Here are a few pictures of the 4-day iStill Distillers Workshop we just held at the New World Distillery in Eden, Utah! Next class in Utah will be early September … a special one: it’s going to be all about making whiskey! For more info, please reach out to Veronika@iStillMail.com.

Group photo …

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Let’s talk booze …

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Learning how to make cuts by smell and taste …

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The 3 quart heads cut on a 500 gallon finishing run …

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Doing the maiden run on New World Distillery’s all new iStill 2000 …

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Testing, testing …

We are currently testing the new iStill 5. The unit has not been insulated yet and we are still working on a stainless steel version of the column, but first tests show the unit performs as it should. We are also testing new software for the iStill 100. Here are a few pictures!

iStill 5 …

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iStill 100 …

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Innovation: Vapor Speed Optimization!

Introduction 

Control over vapor speed is essential to achieve perfect taste concentration and separation,  while distilling. Vapor Speed Optimization, the latest innovation we are working on, takes things a big step further. Based on real-time air pressure measurements, the iStill will not only checks the actual ethanol boiling point, and compensates cuts for changes in air pressure, but it will very soon also automatically compensate for air resistance.

Examples

If you live – for example – near the sea, then air pressure has a tendency to change quickly. Higher air pressure creates higher air resistance, and higher air resistance results in (slightly) lower vapor speeds.

Or imagine your distillery is at an elevated location, say in the mountains, 2000 meters above sea level. Now you are faced with much lower air pressure, resulting in higher vapor speeds, due to lower air resistance.

Approach and Status

Based on a newly designed and PLC-integrated air pressure measurement device, our teams are currently developing the software to make your iStill check air pressure every minute … and – when changes are detected– adapt the needed energy input automatically and within one second. This new iStill innovation will be launched in the second half of 2018.

Always reach your goal with iStill Vapor Speed Optimization …

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Meanwhile at the iStill University …

Doing interesting stuff at the iStill University! First, we are designing a vodka for a customer. Second thing we are currently busy with, is making beer, using the iStill 500 and the iStill Extractor. Here are a few pictures:

Willem working with a glass laboratory iStill …

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Digitally analyzing the vodka run …

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Heads stabilization …

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William making 300 liters of beer …

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Mashing and Beer Making with the iStill Extractor!

Yes, we can mash with the iStill Extractor! Another addition to its already amazing versatility. How? Well, put your cracked grains in the Extractor, then heat-up the water in the boiler of (in this case) the iStill 2000. Next step? Put the pump on and start extracting and converting those starches and tastes from the Extractor to the boiler.

When extraction is done, all (now converted) sugars are assembled in the boiler. Cool the wort, pitch the yeast, and start fermenting. Or … boil the wort, add hops, crash cool, and then add the yeast. Right, you can use the iStill Extractor now for the production of distillers beer as well as consumers beer! Here’s a short video of how it works. A video of us using a new pump to help us to further automate mashing / extracting procedures.

Mashing in the iStill Extractor …

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