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  1. #1
    Taster
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    Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Hey, probably a trite question but my search didn't really turn up anything on this.

    Yesterday, I received an order from Shopper's Vineyard. Of interest to this post, the following were included:

    (2) 750ml PVW 20
    (1) 750ml VW lot B

    I already had one lot B, as well as a PVW 15 from a brick & mortar purchase a couple weeks ago. I noticed that the fill levels on all these bottles were different, with the bottles bought in-person appearing to be more full than those from SV. The PVW 20s both seemed to be the least-filled, followed by the SV lot B.

    The store-bought lot B and PVW 15 looked more-filled and both seemed pretty close to the same to each other. None of these were drastic differences, but noticible. Hard to for me to quantify without them in front of me, but it wasn't incredibly major - maybe the difference between the fullest-looking and the least would be a half-inch or so.

    My first thought was that perhaps the shipped bottles were upside down for an extended time in transit, and the corks soaked up enough to account for the variations? Or maybe each bottle is not 100% identical, one may be a little larger or a little thicker, and that's making one bottle look a little underfilled compared to another? Or is this a pretty routine difference that just can happen from bottle to bottle?

    Anyway, I've got nothing but a head full of questions. Anyone got anything a little more substantial

  2. #2
    Irreverent One
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Thirsty angels.

    Blame it on Diageo.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    First, many of you don't know me...I hold the title, Industrial Maintence Journeyperson at Heaven Hill Distilleries. Part of my job is legal fill-pont on every line. There are very strict guidelines that I have to follow.

    It would take too long to explain the entire process...Here's a condensed version

    Most bottles are weighed. The only time I take a bottle to the lab to measure the volume is when I suspect the proof is not right. When the weight tells me the bottle is well over the fill-point and the visual looks low, I know the proof is not right. This does not happen often but it has ocurred a time or two when ya ship out almost 9 million cases of product a year

    Example...

    For Bourbon...A 750 round should weigh 7.78 @ 5 bottles this is minus the difference of the five empties. The visual volume should be about 1/2 of the neck. Not every bottle will fill exact. The legal fill allows up to 4 points over ---or----4 points under the legal number.

    Temp. is a major factor in a legal fill-point. Headspace is a key factor and all work hand in hand. If the fill point is too high and the bottle is exposed to extreme temps without ample headspace the caps will blow, if they are not lined.

    If the temps outside have been over 95 degree's for quite awhile it's hard to keep the product cool. Heat will increase the volume so I always add a spacer of 5 points to offset the reduction in volume when the product cools.

    That's just a small glimpse into what goes on "behind the scenes" with your favorite bottle of bourbon
    Last edited by boone; 07-31-2008 at 16:34.
    Colonel Bettye Jo Boone
    Industrial Maintenance
    Technician/Journeyperson
    Heaven Hill Distilleries
    Bardstown, Kentucky

  4. #4
    Taster
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Awesome explanation! Thanks!!

  5. #5
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    I believe all the Van Winkles are filled on the Blanton line by hand. I've been in there twice, but I've never paid enough attention to see if they were using a scale or not.

    Maybe you can tell how they do it by watching the Web cam during operating hours.

  6. #6
    Guru
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Quote Originally Posted by boone View Post

    That's just a small glimpse into what goes on "behind the scenes" with your favorite bottle of bourbon
    Thanks for the post Bettye Jo.
    That is very interesting about what you said about the fill level as per proof of the bourbon.
    If I am correct in understanding what you said, if the weight says it's full but the liquid volume is low, then my question is this.
    Does that mean the proof is to high or to low.
    If one is correct then I would guess that it is to high.
    If that is the case then I say let it slide, let one of us EW fans get it.
    ovh

  7. #7
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Alcohol weighs less than water, so a bottle that weighs the right amount but has less than expected liquid in it would be low in proof.

  8. #8
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Quote Originally Posted by craigthom View Post
    Alcohol weighs less than water, so a bottle that weighs the right amount but has less than expected liquid in it would be low in proof.
    Well then, by all means pull that half full bottle of water off the line Bettye Jo!!!
    ovh

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    Quote Originally Posted by craigthom View Post
    I believe all the Van Winkles are filled on the Blanton line by hand. I've been in there twice, but I've never paid enough attention to see if they were using a scale or not.

    Maybe you can tell how they do it by watching the Web cam during operating hours.
    ?????

    Strict government rules have to be followed. The same with all distilleries. Fill-point is no exception. BT does not fill the bottles on that line "by hand" they have a small scale "in line" filler that completes the process. We have the same style of in-line filler for our Pama line


    Bottles are weighed at all distilleries! That's a fact! QC handles the fill point at BT. I asked my boss who handles that process at BT (he used to work there ) He provided me with that fact.

    When government men come calling they pick bottles (at random) in the full case warehouse. The fill-point is checked...Yes...believe it or not. They make sure the "government warning" is on the bottle and that it's the proper size. For every bottle they find without a government warning a
    $10,000.00 fine is placed! That's just one example...

    So there it is...I don't respond to things like this on a "whim". Fill-point is a "small" part of my job. I went to school for three years and 8,000 hours of documented OJT. I earned the title, Industrial Maintenance Technician, Journey person
    Colonel Bettye Jo Boone
    Industrial Maintenance
    Technician/Journeyperson
    Heaven Hill Distilleries
    Bardstown, Kentucky

  10. #10
    Virtuoso
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    Re: Fill-level variations on new bottles?

    There may be special industry terms, but surely you can understand that, when the bottle is moved by hand only all the way from empty to filled to capped to labeled to dipped to tagged to bagged to boxed, some laymen like me might consider this to be "by hand". It's certainly more "by hand" than an automated bottling line. I would still consider a piece of furniture to be made by hand even if the carpenter used a level and a ruler.

    I did not notice if there was a scale involved. That's a statement of fact regarding my observation. I made no claim about whether or not there was one, just whether or not I saw it.

    That is the line on which van winkle bourbons are bottled.

    I think that pretty much covers what I wrote.

 

 

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