Grappa still

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Grappa still

Postby Hutch- » Tue May 19, 2009 1:21 pm

Need some help trying to determine the best design for a large grappa still? Softail Spirits is up in Oregon is using the style pictured here ->http://softtailspirits.com/blogs/. Anyone familiar with the grappa stills used by Poli that appear to be steam heated wooden vessels with clamped lids? Trying to figure out how those work as I didn't notice a column or arm coming off of the boiler. I greatly appreciate any thoughts of ideas.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby blind drunk » Tue May 19, 2009 1:45 pm

Is there a link to the Poli grappa stills?

Also, if you do a search there's some good threads on grappa making.. I remember a really good one with Eurostiller, the Doctor. I think that's his handle. BD.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby Dnderhead » Tue May 19, 2009 1:55 pm

the only thing i seen was a copper pot still. nothing unusual.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby Hutch- » Tue May 19, 2009 2:09 pm

blind drunk wrote:Is there a link to the Poli grappa stills?

Also, if you do a search there's some good threads on grappa making.. I remember a really good one with Eurostiller, the Doctor. I think that's his handle. BD.


Not a great picture, but you can see a part of the still here -> http://www.poligrappa.com/images/produz_operare2.jpg

Can't get a handle on how it might work!!!

The Softail still makes sense, pot still with a large opening, can't tell how they might heat it as I don't see a steam jacket.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby blind drunk » Tue May 19, 2009 3:09 pm

Maybe it's steam distillation and there's an insert for the pomace that he's not showing? BD.

Edit: Sorry, what I meant is maybe that is the jacket and there's an insert that holds the pomace that's suspended in the boiler. Not much clearer ... :shock: . BD
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Re: Grappa still

Postby absinthe » Tue May 19, 2009 10:26 pm

i doubt they have a wooden boiler it would most likely be a jaket for steam to heat the boiler..
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Re: Grappa still

Postby blind drunk » Tue May 19, 2009 10:46 pm

i doubt they have a wooden boiler it would most likely be a jaket for steam to heat the boiler..


Not sure if this is a response to what I posted. If it is, I was meaning the soft tail still photos and not the Poli wooden barrels. BD.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby Dnderhead » Wed May 20, 2009 12:23 am

Is this what you are looking at? if so it still looks like a pot still, maybe gas fired.
http://kenmore.neighborhoodsundressed.c ... grapparia/
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Re: Grappa still

Postby HookLine » Wed May 20, 2009 3:03 am

That is a particularly nice set-up, including the bar.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrlupori/s ... 2299/show/
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Re: Grappa still

Postby Hutch- » Wed May 20, 2009 3:59 am

Dnderhead wrote:Is this what you are looking at? if so it still looks like a pot still, maybe gas fired.
http://kenmore.neighborhoodsundressed.c ... grapparia/


Those pics of the softail still show some type of manifold with blue knobs - gas or steam??? Might be steam pipes through the still as suggested earlier! Anyone know if the blue knobs are an indication? For residential use natural gas knobs are typically red or orange, don't know if this is standard.

Can't figure the poli still. Saw it on an eposide of Thirsty Traveler called "Grabba Grappa" and was intrigued. It looked like they were loading the pomace into large pressure cookers.

Trying to understand the best way to make a large still work for grappa and fruit brandies while distilling on the pomace/fruit.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby Dnderhead » Wed May 20, 2009 7:48 am

One site I was looking at I do not thank they distilled on the pumice , for they added 1/2 as much water as they took out in wine.
then cook this down , (must be like beer wort ,cooked -off to git the OG up?)(no sugar was added)
that whould be pretty thick to distill. they also added any wine that was left after filling their barrels.
it also said that a one time they added all the stems and sometimes the vines, but quit that because of methanol
they use pumice from white wine because more juice/sugar is left in it than red.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby blind drunk » Wed May 20, 2009 8:49 am

It looked like they were loading the pomace into large pressure cookers.


Hey Hutch, don't know if you saw this little video but it looks like what you're saying. BD.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10059

Also, why don't you call the guy and ask him. He might want to talk about it till the cows come home! Just a thought.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby blind drunk » Wed May 20, 2009 10:43 am

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Re: Grappa still

Postby LWTCS » Sun May 31, 2009 12:38 pm

Dnderhead wrote:the only thing i seen was a copper pot still. nothing unusual.


Would'nt those return lines on either side of the onion head be better located on the slight underside of the equatorial horizontal? Did that sound right?

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Re: Grappa still

Postby Harry » Sun May 31, 2009 2:22 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Would'nt those return lines on either side of the onion head be better located on the slight underside of the equatorial horizontal? Did that sound right?

I should be taking delivery of my 5" orb this forthcomming week. I'm still working out wher to place it and the like.





They're not "return lines". They're handles, for removal of the helmet ("onion head"). The helmet is off and behind the cauldron in the blog pic. And it's direct gas-fired. The controls, gas-line and inspection peephole are on the black plate at the front of the cauldron. The cauldron sits on a swing-stand over a large bricked-in metal-lined hole (the kiln or firebox).

The vines & stems in the italian video...these are put in the pot base before the marc or pomace as a buffer to prevent flame scorching.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby EuroStiller » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:44 am

Hutch

Sorry for the delay in response to your post. The picture is small, but it gives me many clues as to the nature of the still that is being used. It is an alembic; however, it appears to me to be in the style steam heated. That is to say that steam is forced into the pommace, heating the mixture. As stated, the top is not visible, but I would agree with all who have posted stating that the top is some variation on the typical onion shape.

If you are looking for a large still, you are going to probably have to produce some sort of licensure and what not, depending on your location. The largest still I own in the alembic style holds about 400L if filled to the top. Of course, one would never run a still, particularly an alembic, any more than 2/3 full. When using it to make grappa, never more than 1/2 full at any time. You have to run an alembic quite hot when making grappa and you risk blowing off the top, boil over, clogging the arm, etc. I did purchase a steam still, as I was in the process of opening my own distillery. If you watch/ read the news, back on April 9th a very destructive earthquake struck the town of L'Aquila in central Italy and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately I was not outside of the zone of destruction and significantly alot more damage was done to my villa than first was thought. Also damaged was the building that I had purchased and renovated and was turning into my distillery. Now that I have gone off on a tangent, back to the matter at hand. Yes, it is nice to have a large still to work with, but I tend to find it impractical. Even the largest and most popular distillers of grappa in Italy like Nardini and Nonino ferment in large batches and distill in small batches.

If you are looking to make just grappa, fruit distillates, and liqueurs, you can go with a Bain Marie type still that has the water bath already attached to the unit. This is a useful still for those who make liqueurs because the attached water bath prevents scorching of particulate matter, without having to place a screen/ plate at the bottom of the still. Take a look at these, and then compare them to a typical alembic where you would need the above-mentioned plate.
http://www.copper-alembic.com/shop/inde ... t&catId=15

Typical Alembic (Rivited is the classic, soldered in more modern)
Rivited, 3 pages, up to 500L
http://www.copper-alembic.com/shop/inde ... at&catId=4

Soldered, 2 pages, up to 500L
http://www.copper-alembic.com/shop/inde ... at&catId=6

Closing
Making grappa, palatable grappa, takes patients, time, care, and just a little know how. :wink:

If you are going into business, check out the major still producers like:
Vendome, and the link to Hoga has already been posted.
http://www.vendomecopper.com
Be sure to check out the photo section!!

Hope I was able to help somewhat. E-mail me if you have more questions and I will do my best to answer, this time in a much more timely manner!

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Re: Grappa still

Postby Hutch- » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:57 pm

Sorry to hear about the villa and distillery ES. The information has been most helpful. I was in fact thinking of opening a small distillery, but that project has been put on hold for now. The bain marie looks like the best bet, the double boiler should work well with pomace and fruit washes. I'm leaning towards Hoga or Iberian Copper as some of the other commercial stills I've looked at (CARL, Vendome, Holstein) are a bit out of my comfort zone... and price I'm sure. Best to stick to what I'm familiar with, although a steam jacketed commercial still would be nice.

They're easing up a bit on the distillation laws in my state, but distribution remains a problem for the small producer. The distributors here make the bulk of the profit by a wide margin, the retailers very little... even on a pricey bottle of booze. If I were to set a price of $20 per bottle, the wholesale price to the retailers would be roughly $34.50, with retail at $37 even. These are fixed prices, cant blame the retailer for not wanting to waste shelf space on a low volume product. They can make $2.50 per bottle at $37 for low volume, or $1.25 for a high volume bottle at $18.50. Meanwhile the distributor is making $14.50 and $7.25 respectively for those same bottles. OK rant over.
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Re: Grappa still

Postby HookLine » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:27 pm

There is some good info on the copper alembic site:

http://www.copper-alembic.com/distilling.php?lang=en

And there are some damn nice pics here:

http://www.vendomecopper.com/gallery.htm
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