Observations on erecting Distilleries.
Those who are about to erect distilleries, have a handsome subject for consideration; the advantages, and the probable disadvantages that may arise from building on a particular site, or seat. The contiguity[Pg 136] to a chopping mill is a material consideration—Wood forming an important article, should be taken into view—Grain merits also a great share of attention. The water which forms, by no means, the least important ingredient should be well analyzed; and a share of thought is due to the subject of a market for the whiskey, spirits and pork, produced from the establishment.—And should the water then prove good, soft and proper for fermentation, can be bro't over head, and the chopping mill is not very inconvenient, and wood convenient and cheap, and grain plenty and at reasonable prices, and a market within one hundred miles, I have little doubt but that with proper economy and observance of system, the establishment will prove very productive; and may be progressed in with cheerfulness, and a reasonable hope of a fair retribution to the owner.
A proper seat being fixed on, with sufficient fall to bring the water over head, for it is very material, and an immense saving of labor—material, because it prevents a loss, in running the stills, from pumping or want of water in the cooling tubs. The size of the house follows, as requiring some more than usual calculation—houses are generally made too small, giving great inconvenience, and preventing that nice attention to[Pg 137] cleanliness, which forms a very important item in the process of distilling. I would recommend a size sufficiently large for three stills, and to mash six hogsheads per day—one of col. Anderson's patent improved stills, I would consider, in many situations, as most desirable; at all events, I would recommend the preparation of room enough for three stills, if even it should be the intention of the owner to erect but two—for it is very probable, that after some experience, he may determine to pursue the business more extensively, and add the patent still.
The size then established, I would recommend the lower story to be 10 feet high, this will leave room for the heated, or rarefied air to ascend in the summer above the cooler, and more necessary air in the warm season of the year, and prevent the unpleasant effect of a too warm air on the mashing hogsheads, and the sowing of the stuff in fermentation—and moreover, prevent the unpleasant effects of smoak on the distillers eyes. But it is important that the house should be erected on level ground with doors opposite each other, with plenty of windows to afford a draft and recourse of air, at pleasure, during the warm season; and so that in the winter it may be closed and preserved perfectly warm—to which[Pg 138] end it is most expedient the lower story should be well built with stone and lime, and neatly plastered—the windows well glazed, with shutters &c. Thus provided, and a thermometer placed in the centre of the house, a proper temperature may be kept up in the air of the house—for there is a certain degree of warmth which exceeds for fermentation—this degree of heat, then correctly ascertained by the distiller, he may by a close attention to his duties, fires and the thermometer, always keep the air of the house in nearly that same and most approved state; and even by a well timed observation guard against storms and casualties. To effectuate this grand and important object, some have divided the stills, placing the boiler at one end, and a singling and doubling still at the other; this mode will ensure, in cold weather, the success of the measure more fully—others have placed all the stills in the centre of the building—a plan that will do better in the winter than in the summer, and one I think less favourably of than that of dividing them.
During the winter, the north or northwest side of the house should be kept quite close, permitting the house to be lighted from the more temperate southward exposure. To calculate the window sashes to open by[Pg 139] hinges, or to be taken entirely out in the summer, at pleasure, is in my mind advisable.
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