Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Reflux still design and discussion

Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby moonshineman99 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:56 pm

Hi guys,
When i bought my Turbo 500 still i was given the same instructions as everyone else on how to use it based on the dvd supplied. After reading this forum it seems i have been mislead as to how i should be distilling. My question is a little lengthy but if you bare with me your feedback will be extremely helpful.
I understand alot of you will be reading this and rolling your eyes but i have read countless pages of literature on distillation and every source varies dramatically. :angry-banghead:
Therefore i am opening it up to you guys as i cannot find an explanation for my problem.
If we agree that the alcohols in the wash come off at specific temperatures.
• Acetone 56.5C (134F)
• Methanol (wood alcohol) 64C (147F)
• Ethyl acetate 77.1C (171F)
• Ethanol 78C (172F)
• 2-Propanol (rubbing alcohol) 82C (180F)
• 1-Propanol 97C (207F)
• Water 100C (212F)
• Butanol 116C (241F)
• Amyl alcohol 137.8C (280F)
• Furfural 161C (322F)
Then my understanding is that anything collected between 78-82C is Ethanol.
So when i turn on my Turbo 500, alcohol begins to drip out usually at 65-68C, by the time i collect 50ml my temperature gauge at the top of my condenser (as it is the original T500 it has 2 temperature gauges) is 78C and my water outlet temperature gauge is at 60C. I collect about 150ml total and discard this, which from the table above would be considered Aceton/Methanol/Ethyl Acetate and now my still is running at 78C, the correct temperature for me to be collecting Ethanol.
I then continue to run my still at these temperatures until the Ethanol coming out slows dramatically and switch of the still. It never goes above 80C at the top of the condenser, nor 60C at the water outlet gauge. Therefore i have not let the temperature get hot enough to collect Propanol 1 or 2 Nor anything above that.
So in theory i should have 3-4 liters of Ethanol without any heads/tails???
Why then is it necessary for me to do an initial stripping run, then re-run the same alcohol taking 200ml cuts and allow the temperature to go higher and lower than what is listed above. Dont i already have 3-4 litres of pure ethanol??
Thanks for any advise you can lend! Cheers :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Azza76 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:05 pm

Maybe you should just try it and make your own decisions based on the results :think:
Lots of posts on the subject here or on most other distilling forums just do some reading
I am yet to try it with a reflux but have done on a pot and it pisses all over the way the hbs says to do it
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Doubleuj » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:18 pm

Hey moonshine, no eyerolling here, we all started somewhere and most (including me) came here for answers :handgestures-thumbupleft:
I think you're confusing boiling temps with outlet temps, both are different things.
In the end you'll find that temp doesn't mean much at all.
I only just posted this today but maybe it'll help
http://www.aussiedistiller.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=10483
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Plumby » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:22 pm

I never made cuts with my hbs turdbo shit, started on the tpw with cuts, huge difference. There is reason its done this way.
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby DaveZ » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:51 pm

I don't believe it's quite as black and white as the temp chart would indicate. There's always a smearing of each substance into the next, so it's more of a transition from one to the other, rather than a hard cutoff. Temp gauges are rarely accurate so they are a guide at best. Do your cuts, smell and taste each one, walk away and come back in ten minutes if you can't notice a difference, keep at it, there's a huge difference between the first jar, the middle jar, and the last jar.

I also started with a T500 :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Dave.
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Bobsyauncle » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:38 am

not sure if this helps but this has helped me understand the different cuts/fractions so far
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Zak Griffin » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:10 am

The mirror in the bathroom fogs up when you have a shower, but the shower isn't running at 100°c ;-)
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby ed9362 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:34 am

I think in the real world it just isn't that simple.

you are always going to have smearing through your product to some degree regardless of your still and cuts. the main thing is to get the cuts as pure as possible to enhance the drinkability of your booze.

i think if you ran TWP hearts produced at Azero, and then ran it through an ADA (automated distilling apparatus) it would show a surprisingly wide boiling range, (only my opinion i have not tested it)

where i work we have a full laboratory and i have toyed with the idea of bringing in a sample of my neutral to run through a gas chromatograph and see what we are actually drinking, unfortunately there is a strict policy when it comes to drinkable alcohol on site and they are not keen on bending rules.
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Minpac » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:16 am

Hi,
I'm a newbie myself - based on my reading, while the boiling points are separated like that and would work if they were the only chemicals in the system, when you add all of those together, it becomes a complex system in which you get a mix of those coming off in different ratios at different times and temperatures.
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Sam. » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:37 am

Some good answers there :clap:
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby azzman » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:54 pm

moonshineman99 wrote:Hi guys,
When i bought my Turbo 500 still i was given the same instructions as everyone else on how to use it based on the dvd supplied. After reading this forum it seems i have been mislead as to how i should be distilling. My question is a little lengthy but if you bare with me your feedback will be extremely helpful.
I understand alot of you will be reading this and rolling your eyes but i have read countless pages of literature on distillation and every source varies dramatically. :angry-banghead:
Therefore i am opening it up to you guys as i cannot find an explanation for my problem.
If we agree that the alcohols in the wash come off at specific temperatures.
• Acetone 56.5C (134F)
• Methanol (wood alcohol) 64C (147F)
• Ethyl acetate 77.1C (171F)
• Ethanol 78C (172F)
• 2-Propanol (rubbing alcohol) 82C (180F)
• 1-Propanol 97C (207F)
• Water 100C (212F)
• Butanol 116C (241F)
• Amyl alcohol 137.8C (280F)
• Furfural 161C (322F)
Then my understanding is that anything collected between 78-82C is Ethanol.
So when i turn on my Turbo 500, alcohol begins to drip out usually at 65-68C, by the time i collect 50ml my temperature gauge at the top of my condenser (as it is the original T500 it has 2 temperature gauges) is 78C and my water outlet temperature gauge is at 60C. I collect about 150ml total and discard this, which from the table above would be considered Aceton/Methanol/Ethyl Acetate and now my still is running at 78C, the correct temperature for me to be collecting Ethanol.
I then continue to run my still at these temperatures until the Ethanol coming out slows dramatically and switch of the still. It never goes above 80C at the top of the condenser, nor 60C at the water outlet gauge. Therefore i have not let the temperature get hot enough to collect Propanol 1 or 2 Nor anything above that.
So in theory i should have 3-4 liters of Ethanol without any heads/tails???
Why then is it necessary for me to do an initial stripping run, then re-run the same alcohol taking 200ml cuts and allow the temperature to go higher and lower than what is listed above. Dont i already have 3-4 litres of pure ethanol??
Thanks for any advise you can lend! Cheers :handgestures-thumbupleft:


Ive been doing some reading and well it Looks to me that experienced people are trying to help you and your still on your high horse. Here to learn like me? or to argue?
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Sam. » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:58 pm

I don't think he has argued anything that has been said :think:
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby azzman » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:06 pm

sorry, i was looking at his other thread the other day about how plastic was better than stainless steel for filters or something. i had a lough after reading the newbies corner lol.

i thought this was a continuation from that

my bad 8-}
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Minpac » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:48 pm

I've done a bit more reading to try and understand it for myself - There are other things as byproducts of the ferment that come out too. You have one of the primary esters up there- ethyl acetate, but there are a bunch of others produced by yeast(which will vary based on type of yeast, stresses, feedstock), and other esters from fermentation feedstock reactions with produced ethanol.

will keep reading...
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby moonshineman99 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:42 pm

Azzman - It had nothing to do with being on a high horse, I am trying to discuss what i'm being told on this forum against what I have been reading, so I am not making mistakes and am doing things the right way!! how else do you learn??
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby moonshineman99 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:46 pm

Cheers guys for the clarification and advise :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Azza76 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:18 pm

No worries moon the guys here are a welth of knowledge most of them have been where we are or will be :)) it is a great place to throw ideas out there most times someone else has already done it or doing it :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby davesims » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:20 pm

moonshineman99 wrote:Why then is it necessary for me to do an initial stripping run, then re-run the same alcohol taking 200ml cuts and allow the temperature to go higher and lower than what is listed above. Dont i already have 3-4 litres of pure ethanol??
Thanks for any advise you can lend! Cheers :handgestures-thumbupleft:

I can speak for the stripping run,

I have run my T500 copper version 5 times, once with a Turbo wash (tasted like metho) did not strip 2 x TPW washes a fair bit better than the Turbo did not strip, once with a Kale wash that came out nice did not strip, The i stripped the last wash i did and i will say for my the outcome was night and day.

I have samples from my last 4 runs and the stripped Kale is my FAR the smoothest i have done to date, i then ran it through the carbon filter and damn i am happy
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby Pugdog1 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:07 am

Hi moon

I also have a t500 with the temp probe on top and water outlet. What the guys say is true, cuts do give you a better product.

It is hard initially to part with the quantity but for me I'd rather the quality over the quantity and the cuts have taken my neutral up that one or two notches that satisfies me. Even if I only use a syrup for flavouring from the home brew shop it still makes it a lot nice to drink. Also makes for lovely drinks when macerated with fruits.

Initially I found it quite hard to discern the difference between the cuts but it turns out I was sniffing to many at once and not letting them air long enough beforehand as well

Hope that helps

Regards Ben
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Re: Why is it necessary to take cuts using a reflux still??

Postby warramungas » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:37 pm

Pure substances have specific boiling points. Not mixtures of substances. They have a 'range' somewhere between the lowest and the highest.

Ed9362. Why don't you whack a whopping great handful of pure sodium chloride into a small sample of your grog when you get out of your car at the lab to 'denature' it and then take it in for the gas chromatograph? Just disregard any Na and Cl hits. Shouldn't affect any of the alcohol components too much short term.
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