Cooker for large volume of Simple Syrup

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by fr ewing, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Hi All

    I just joind this forum.  I'm a liqueur maker about go commercial and begin production.  I am looking for suggestions and equipment recommendations for cooking large volumes of simple syrup - 30 to 50 gallons per batch -  cooking for about 5 minutes per batch. Because I am working in an enviorment with Alcohol,  I need something that does not use gas or an open heat source.  I also do not have access to a steam source for a large steam kettle.  One suggestion I've received was for a Southbend countertop 20 gal electric kettle which seems  OK for my application.  Does any one have any suggestions or recommendations and also sources for this type of equipment?  

    Thanks

    Dick Garofalo

    Garofalo Artisan Liqueurs, Inc.
     
  2. nicholas beebe

    nicholas beebe

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    There are many brands of steam jacket kettles that have a self-contained boiler. You add distilled water to it once, and you should not have to add any again unless you are doing other mainenance to it. In fact, I don't think I have ever used one that required an outside source of steam. Most of my experience has been with smaller Groen kettles of around 40 quart capacity. I like the brand, but I haven't seen any larger Groen kettles. I am sure you could find a fine 30-50 gallon electric beast. Even with smaller amounts, a steam jacket kettle will be fairly efficient, as it will retain heat well. Dump out the existing batch, give it a quick wipe, pour in the new batch, and the kettles already hot.
     
  3. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Thanks for the Groen reference and your experience.   Do you have any idea how quickly these electric kettles can bring a full pot to boil?  I know it depends on the size  but any experience you have with them is helpful to me undertanding what I'll be facing. 
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  4. nicholas beebe

    nicholas beebe

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    The last one that I used would completely fill a 22 qt. Cambro (22 qt. marked, they're actually more like 24 qt) when it was 3/4 full. So it was 30 qt, maybe a little more. When I cranked it to the max full of water, I could walk away and chop the parsley for the day, come back, and it would be boiling. I'd say it was about 10-20 minutes. Sorry I can't be a little more exact. It's been a while since I used that one and what I used it for changed from day to day, and I would hate to be misleading.

    One of the great things about these kettles besides their even heating is their heat retention. This'll only be relevant if you're making multiple batches one after the other. When I had to make multiple sauces in a day, I would dump the kettle and clean it out as fast as possible. The heat that gets retained in the jacket would make the next batch of whatever I was making heat up significantly faster, maybe taking half the time to reach a simmer.

    If you are not going to be doing multiple batches at a time, the benefits of the steam jacketed kettle drop off a lot. Yeah, they'll heat more evenly, but that has not usually been a big issue with me for cooking syrups.
     
  5. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Good information,  My liqueur runs require about 50 gallons syrup per run.  So your comment about heat retention is very relevant.  I now know I can cook a full run ( say 5 batches)  in a couple of hours.  That's amazing.  Now I need to fiqure out how to cool  the syrup to about 60 degrees so I can blend with the alcohol.  You have been extremely helpful. 
     
  6. nicholas beebe

    nicholas beebe

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    Wort chiller or cold paddle. I don't know which one is faster, but I'd wager that a good wort chiller would be the fastest method. If you have a sink large enough, you can put the liquid into a large metal pot or cambro (pot will conduct faster but have less space economy), and stick it into a sink full of ice and salt-water. As long as it gets stirred pretty regularly it'll chill really fast. Stick a cold paddle in the middle and it'll chill even faster.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Electric is no good for you either with the alcohol fumes it could ignite it. I would suggest a Groen 40 gal steam kettle. If not a kettle a Groen Tilting Brassier.  If you dont have steam it can be hooked up to a steam generator which could be outside of buildig or another room. Southbend, and I believe Hobart may still make them.  I assume you are making cordials.
     
  8. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Thanks    I'll check out the wort chiller
     
  9. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Hi  thanks for the reply and the references.  Yes I'm making cordials.  Any recommendations for a steam generator?  I also need to chill to about 70 degrees before I can mix and blend.  Any thoughts there?  From you profile, you appear to have worked with high volumes
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

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    You may not find a chiller big enough for your use and may have to break things down to smaller quantities . But you could consider a blast freezer which in most cases are bigger.
     
  11. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Thanks -  appreciate your ideas
     
  12. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Had another question.  Can theses lettles be used to brew coffee -  like a french press?  In addition to simple syrup.  I need to brew 50 to 100 gals per each batch of one of my products.   I'm looking at using a bunch (3 to5)  of 6.25 gallon Westbend coffee urns and brewing enough batches to achieve the 50 to 100 total I will need.  I can't find a more inexpensive way to do it but if the kettle can be used I double the use.  Your thoughts?

    Dick  
     
  13. nicholas beebe

    nicholas beebe

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    I'm wondering why not electric? Most electric stove/cookers don't throw sparks unless something is wrong. Even a spark is fairly unlikely to catch it on fire I think. It's even harder to catch booze on fire with just a spark than an open flame, and stuff as high as 90 proof won't catch until you get it simmering before you take your Bic to it. You'll either need that pot at a rolling boil for lower alcohol contents to burn, or have something like everclear to get it to burn at a low temperature. If there's not booze in the pot itself, or hot and sitting right next to it, I see no problem. On the off chance that there's booze in the pot that catches, you put a lid on it to put it out, and the alcohol content for that batch is screwed. Everybody in the family's getting cordials for Christmas.

    I might have a good idea for the coffee, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to say for sure if it's good or not. An experiment is in the works. In the meantime, do you have equipment to work with yet, or are you starting from scratch?
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Any pot of hot water can be used to make coffee. In the military they used to put coffee in apron or cheesecloth and put in boiling water. Or throw grinds in then strain. As far as multible coffee pots, sure you can do it but plugging all of them in you will probably blow your circuit breaker .. They draw a lot of amperage. If used constantly, the elements will need to be replaced aout every 8 monthes to a year. The elements in water rot them out.
     
  15. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Hi Nicholas,  I think you misunderstood the problem with alcohol explosion.  I am not cooking with alcohol.  I am mixing 190 proof Grain Alcohol with the syrup and flavors I have derived from mascerating fruit etc.  The volumes are 50 plus gallons for each component.  So once I have the flavor and syruop mixed,  I them pour in the alcohol into 100 gallon tanks.  The alcohol is stored in 55 gallon drums.   In this environment fumes from the alcohol are in highj volume and accumulate into what is called an alcohol cloud.  This cloud if not ventillated correctly will explode -  and possibly cause a fire to break out.  This can happen with the tinyest spark coming from a switch being turned on.  We in the spirits beverage business are very much aware of the dangers of alcohol fumes.  If you visit any place where alcohol or booze is stored in barrels or drums you will note it is in well ventillated wharehouses or old barns with open windows and spaces between the wooden boards making up the outside walls to amke sure no cloud exists. 

    Re:  Equipment.  I am now in a startup mode for my company and am in the process of identifying the equipment needed.    Look forward to your ideas on the coffee and hearing about your experiment. 
     
  16. fr ewing

    fr ewing

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    Chefedb,  thanks for the note about the military and coffee.  I figured I could use the kettle if I had some way to contain the coffee grinds or a way to easily separate the grounds for disposal.   The circuit breaker issue is a real one and I will be installing 240 60 in the site for other purposes so I guess I'll be OK.  Thanks for the heads up about the elements.  I use distilled water so I'll probably get longer service from the pots. If not,  the urns are inexpensive enough to replace.   If I use the kettle,  I won't have to be concerned about that.  I'd really like to use the kettle. 
     
  17. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    You can make coffee all sorts of ways.  You can make good coffee in significantly fewer ways.  There are a lot of things to control, perhaps as many as making good liqueurs.  By way of a few examples, the grind relative to the brew method is very important, as is the type and freshness of the roast relative to the brew method, and as is the dwell time the water spends in the grounds (for a given brew method).

    Urns and other sorts of percolators do not and cannot make for a good brew.  Cooked, recirculated coffee is no better than it sounds.  If you're running a twelve step program, a soup kitchen, a church social or a prison cafeteria -- forget what I said and go with the urn.

    GI coffee was not good.  If you remember differently, you were even more totally FUBAR than I was.

    Handling large quantities quickly is very nice and all, but sorry, there are no shortcuts to quality. 

    Coffee should be a pleasure, not a penance. 

    All things considered you may be a good candidate for one of the cold brew methods.  They take awhile, but the resulting "essence" preserves a lot of the coffee's nuances, allows a range of dilution, and can be stored refrigerated for a relatively long time -- which ought to take some of the pressure off your operation.

    I've been following the thread, and find it interesting even in my complete ignorance.  I thought liqueur making was more one-thing-at-a-time, spread out and... well... zen-like. and don't grasp the importance of doing so many different things at the same time and in the same place.  What gives?

    Blissfully,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  18. chefedb

    chefedb

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    ! IF you are a one man operation , you will work a lot less harder with a kettle.. With your interest in coffee and cordial making you would not be making a Kaluha type beverage or Tia Maria  would you ??
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  19. nicholas beebe

    nicholas beebe

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    So I can't get the grounds to sink. I was thinking along the same lines as BDL with the cold brew coffee. I haven't done it a lot lately, so I wanted to make a batch to make sure I was getting it right. My original thought was to try to get everything to sink which would make it a lot faster and easier to get the good part in less steps. Couldn't get it without the french press.

    I'd say, if you can find enough storage room to cold-brew, that would be ideal. Throw some course ground coffee into a large container(s) and let it sit overnight. You could probably get something drinkable just straining through a chinois, however, I would imagine there would be a little sediment that would settle. As was already stated, it kinda depends on what you're using. I notice that when I use something like a french press or other device with a metal screen, I usually get some sediment. Let it sit again overnight and use a racking cane or build yourself a larger version of one of those self-racking bottling buckets to decant the coffee.

    I noticed that the grounds tend to float, so it might be possible to scoop the grounds from the top, and then decant it once the grounds are removed. Sort of like making clarified butter.This would prevent you from having to let it settle in between steps. I might try this one out tomorrow, I spaced out on it this morning, not having any uppers in my system yet.

    Doing it in the kettle will make the coffee faster, but I think you'll be hard pressed to make it as good as the cold brew variety. Cold brew probably won't add a lot of man hours though, most of the time involved is just letting it sit and do its own thing. Doing it in the kettle will tie up the kettle for the whole time you're making coffee. The equipment is also pretty cheap. I take it you'll have some fifty-five gallon drums laying around?

    Here's one of the buckets I'm talking about, as I don't know if everyone calls them the same thing.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  20. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Are you mishuginah?  The good  ways to make cold-brew all involve slow filtration.  You don't need to reinvent the wheel, steal a 5 gallon plastic bucket from the garden, or get involved in other kludges.  I'm not sure how many commercial cold-brew systems there are, a few probably.  Here's one of the good ones.  Affordable, too. 

    As to making coffee in a kettle, take a look at Romans 12:19.

    For heaven's sake, have some respect for the ingredients.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011