Alcoengine reflux possible as a pot still?

Reflux still design and discussion

Alcoengine reflux possible as a pot still?

Postby Turrets » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:30 pm

Hi all,

Did my first sacrifical alcohol run with an alcoengine reflux still yesterday. I believe this is a small, LM reflux still. I've removed most of the stainless steel packing and replaced it with copper mesh. It is fairly easy to remove all the packing except for some right at the top, around the condensor.

Problem is, on the outlet pipe, it has to be connected to a control valve on the still with one of two flow restrictors: a 1mm diameter or a 0.6mm diameter.

Can I use this still as a pot for the purposes of doing rapid stripping runs? I understand I'd need to remove all the packing first and then run it with the condensor on wide open from the start - have I got this correct? Would trying to find some pipe insulation to wrap the column in be of any help? Is the 1mm restrictor going to be too narrow to effectively operate this as a pot still for a rapid stripping operation?
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Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:26 pm
equipment: Alcoengine reflux (FM)

Re: Alcoengine reflux possible as a pot still?

Postby PeterC » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:08 pm

I had a 2" LM reflux still and it used similar plugs with small holes drilled in them to give a fixed takeoff rate. I replaced this with a small 1/8" needle valve so I could run it at any speed I wanted and so could strip. The take off was still warm so I had to do some extra cooling with a small condenser. My production rate to get an acceptable neutral in a spirit run was 1 litre and hour. So 3 strip runs of 25L washes combined into a spirit run would take 10 hours plus, including heat up and pack away. This was too slow for my liking so I eventually went up to a 4" bubbler.
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Location: Perth WA
equipment: An 18gall. (80L) keg with 2x2000W elements. A 4 plate, 4 inch glass column + 500mm packed section just learning to drive. Plus other bits.

Re: Alcoengine reflux possible as a pot still?

Postby RC Al » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:09 pm

Its what we call a boka design, you could strip with it, but as you need to keep the water running on the top coil, you will still get some reflux without the packing, to use it as a stripping still use the 1mm bush or even make a new one with a slightly bigger hole - peterc's valve idea is a good one, replaces some of the brass in the system too, you would then have to be careful not to exceed the cooling as you would end up with vapour out the spout :think:

Of course by the time you start doing mods, it would be simpler to knock up a liebig condenser and just make a dedicated pot for stripping
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equipment: Old SS Reflux
2" Potty on 50l keg Uber burner

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