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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Scaling experimental batches

Looking to purchase a small still for recipe development. When it comes to scaling up experimental batches to production scale, have any of you found certain batch sizes to be too small to be indicative of the product produced on a larger still?

To be specific, would a batch created on a 3 liter still be too small to bring up to a 400 L still?

What size stills do you use for experimentation?

Thanks for the help.


Reply:

Product is very important to this question. If it's barrel-aged for example, the volume is very important. If it's a vodka, less so. Infusions, gins, etc. figure somewhere between.

Also, just because it doesn't scale up perfectly doesn't mean there's no value in the experiement. Something that's awful at 1 gallon won't be great at 100.


Reply:

We use a 3 liter still for experiments, then scale up to 350 liter and 1300 liter. Take really good notes. It will help when distilling on the larger still but won't really give you enough info to effect your decisions on fermentation and aging/blending after.


Reply:

Thanks for the insights on this. Pressure9pa, how do you mean the volume is more important for barrel aged spirits? Are you saying, it's far more difficult to scale up small experimental batches of recipes that will be barrel aged? If you could expound on that a bit, I'd appreciate it.


Reply:

well if you will test the aging itself; surface ratios and volumes will have a great impact on the process ... if you just want to develop your base before aging then it is less important. Smaller barrels will age alcohol much faster then the larger batch ones.


Reply:

LTC hit what my statement was supposed to convey. I wouldn't trust any gin or infusion to be a perfect replica either. If you're testing to see if you like an ingreedient, it's probably ok. If you're trying to scale X tablespoons at 3L to 100X tbl at 300L, you'll be in the ballpark but not exact.