Configuration and run time

Reflux still design and discussion

Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Sam. » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:29 am

Copper mesh packing is preferable as it has the largest surface area which will give you more theoretical plates.

For the cost versus the pain in the arse of cutting up copper I would go with the mesh. It’s easy to clean with citric acid too :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Professor Green » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:29 am

:text-+1: Not sure why you wouldn't go with a tried and trusted "off the shelf" solution.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby woodduck » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:52 pm

Why don't you like copper mesh?

Copper pipe cut up will leave you with a lot of wasted space. Mesh is much tighter and will mix the condensation and vapor much better. Oh and rolling some mesh is waaaay easier than cutting hundreds of little pipes. You'll spend more on cutting discs than you would on mesh or give yourself rsi with a tube cutter :laughing-rolling:
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby db1979 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:06 pm

The posts in the other thread were about getting a small amount of copper into a reflux column that already had stainless packing. The discussion talked about not replacing the stainless, but instead, adding copper for the purpose of removing compounds containing sulphur from the vapour. Only a small amount of copper is needed for this purpose, especially in a reflux still since the sulphur in the vapour has a good opportunity to react with the copper, more so than a pot still. Hence the suggestion to cut up some cheap pieces of copper instead of going for complete copper packing.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby bluc » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:11 pm

Out of interest how much copper does it take to pack a 500mm 4" section? :-B
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:32 am

I know ,I know. I’m a bit stubborn some times. I know the tried and true method. It’s tried and true...I was thinking that the pipe which is free ,would have more weight / density to knock down the vapour ,maybe better,maybe not ..the pipe cuts in minutes on a band saw and debured in a rock tumbler , it’s almost easier than going out to get or order mesh. If it’s only a mater of a small amount of copper to react with the vapours to enhance flavours ,I could just add a few cuts of pipe into my marbles as I’m very happy with the system I have now . I really appreciate your guys feedback
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Andrew » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:30 am

bluc wrote:Out of interest how much copper does it take to pack a 500mm 4" section? :-B


At least 5 x 1kg rolls, did the exercise here the other day with a customer who asked the same question.
You don’t really need to fill the whole 500mm
1 roll is enough, then use stainless scrubbers for the rest
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:31 am

Hi guys ,it’s go time today. Got the machine purring
Got 14 gallons of 48% striped sugar wash going
I have both condensers at 100%
And heat at just above half of a normal run for me
I noticed right away that the vent on my parrot is not venting gas as it usually does and the product stream is an intermittent stream that comes and goes from few drops a second to almost a stream.
I’ve got a 4 litre jug on there to collect the heads.( fore’s already in the lamp) I’m timing the fill ,then I will divide by 4 and start using the jars.
( because I don’t have enough jars) when the jars are gone I’ll use another 4 l jug to finish it. I’ve only got about 16 jars. I think (hope) I’ll capture all the hearts
I expect to get more heads and tails as I used the ones from my last run,if I was smearing the run there should be some hearts to retrieve from it.
I’m using the advice that I should get 70 % of the 48% of the 14 gallons. The cuts will be very interesting this time around as I am breaking from the usual routine :-B :happy-partydance: :music-deathmetal:
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:04 am

Update.. got her tuned to 22 minutes per litre. That’s 7 min longer than my normal run
I’m on litre 12 now. Many to go.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:55 am

Litre 13 took 25 min. I checked the % and it’s at 92.5%. I did not take a reading at the beginning ,I assumed it would come out higher with a slower run .. is it possible it’s coming out cooler and giving a more accurate reading ? I’ve never done the temp correction for the alcometer. I turned the heat up a bit for litre 14 to bring time down ,I suspect I’ll be into tails now that the time has changed.? If I get 2-3 more litres I’ll expect a 50% hearts from the run which would be 8 litres. ( weird if it’s the same as my usual spirit run?) we’ll see how many more litres I get at 92%. Then the cuts will tell tomorrow
I’m thinking I’ll get 4.5 gallons of 92%
I think I prob condensed my heads and tails to the max on this run so I would be adding them to future runs.
What is a typical volume of heads on a 15 gal run of 40% ? I’m concerned that I added 4 litres of heads and it looks like I’ll only get 4 ish litres of heads on this run. Condensed?
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby MickJ » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:24 pm

I have just started to run my 3" copper packed column and am running the 5th spirit run today.....
I did many Teddy's strips and collected 5 litres of 48% and had over 100 L stored in 50 L beer kegs.....

It took a few reruns and some reading to get the still running right..
In "the Distillers Library " section page 2 there are 2 Pdf's on " Activated Carbon " and on page 3 a book called
Making Pure Corn Whiskey viewtopic.php?f=47&t=1837
Distillation Principles page 69 is all about fractionating stills, but the best part for beginners are the calculated volumes..

This is a Guide For Beginners and you must use taste and smell for the final cuts

So my 23 L of 40% has 9.684 L of 95% alcohol "(23000 x .40 ) /.95 = vol of 95% alc in the still..
Fores 3.1% = 300ml
Heads 17.4% = 1685ml = total of 1984ml so discard 3 off 700ml wine bottles down the sink
Hearts 57.1% = 5529ml
Tails 22.4% = 2169ml

So start still
Reflux starts at about 83*c reflux for 30 minutes
Collect 700ml reflux 15 minutes another 700ml reflux 15min 3rd 700ml
Collect 6 jars of 250ml than 2000ml of the middle Hearts than another 7 jars of 250ml
Total at last jar is 7350ml just short of the Tails
All about 95% ABV
Water temp out between 37*c to 40*c
And the boiler is at 83*c at start and 93*c at last jar

But my runs are for Neutral
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:59 pm

Thanks Mickj
That’s great info.
I’ll use that % to start my cuts. I will do 25% heads ,50% hearts and 25% tails.
I will use the 5% either side of hearts to make some tinctures like the ancient Tibetan garlic cure , hemp oils ,and other ones my wife has discovered now that there is extra high proof to use

Does anyone have any insight into using late heads and early tails for tinctures ? Most call for 80% alchohol.
There are literally thousands of ancient tincture remedies and I believe in old free cures more than modern cures that cause other illness

I’m on litre 17 now. Will probably be the last as it will be at 40 ish minutes.

I’ll post my cut results tomorrow.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby db1979 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:54 pm

Calculating how much heads, hearts and tails you'll get can make a nice academic exercise but the makeup of the boiler contents won't always be the same. Additionally, the still may not perform perfectly every time.
Take cuts by smell and/or taste and whatever you get, is whatever you get. If you expect a certain amount and you don't get it, knowing how much you could have got is more likely to make you to want to dip into your heads or tails to make up for it.

If you're making other things out of your product, why not use hearts? Sounds like your making enough. Why use dodgy heads or tails?
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby MickJ » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:45 pm

Did you read the bold type

This is a Guide For Beginners and you must use taste and smell for the final cuts
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby dans.brew » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:59 pm

:text-+1:
I would have to agree with db.
If your looking for a spirit that makes the tastebuds sing, what better way to try and achieve this than by taste and smell.
There are so many things that can effect how a still functions, so getting identical runs at a hobby level in my opinion would be a big ask.
As a newbie wouldnt it be better to get cuts down pat before trying other methods to complicate things... when tasting ones cuts it doesnt take long to learn where to stop and start. This is what ive found to be the go for me anyway. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby db1979 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:12 pm

MickJ wrote:Did you read the bold type

This is a Guide For Beginners and you must use taste and smell for the final cuts

I did, but my reply was meant for Tin chucker's statement about cuts:
Tin chucker wrote:I’ll use that % to start my cuts. I will do 25% heads ,50% hearts and 25% tails.

I guess I didn't make it obvious enough.

Besides, I think it's bad advice for beginners. While it's not easy to dissern heads from hearts as a beginner, there is plenty of info on here that can help the learning process. Telling a beginner that you can go off percentages just encourages them to be lazy and make bad product. This hobby can be daunting to the beginner and many are likely to take easy options. Hence the turbo line of products.

Sure, it's nice to know a ballpark figure, but I think it can create more problems than it solves.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby woodduck » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:32 pm

Well said db :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:59 pm

I think it’s irresponsible not to do cuts by nose and mouth. Calculating is a good start. Then confirming by smell
With the av % given ,it gives a good starting place to start tests. I alway find the cut and take one extra out to ensure
Good hearts. I call them heads and tails but the reality is they are mostly hearts . This is what i would use for tinctures
These tinctures are taken by the drop,not by the glass and flavoured by the herb you are using. Which is why i thought someone may have input on using late heads or early tails in this way. And fyi..when i run my sugar wash the way i usually do its always 1/3,1/3,1/3. And thats with an extra 1.5 l removed on either side of hearts and it is very accurate for my system. With key indicators along the way like starting gravity ,finish gravity,volume (charge size in boiler) heck even if its a few deg cooler outside. (This adds time to fill jars)

Last nite i got 19 jars. ( i had a stall ferment prob in one batch ) i atribute that to getting a few jars less this run but im expecting 6-8 litres of hearts.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Professor Green » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:30 am

I would have thought you would want only the purest neutral hearts for tinctures so you’re only picking up the flavours of whatever you’ve steeped in them. Late heads and early tails would surely colour the results.
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Re: Configuration and run time

Postby Tin chucker » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:24 pm

Ideally hearts would be the way to go. But... I’m just wondering about making use of a product that took a considerable amount of energy to produce. I’ve done everything from using it in my car,lawnmower ,fire pit, fuel lamp,tiki torches ,cleaning ....... I haven’t dabbled in tinctures and thought hey, another almost free hobby. I’ve been reading about charcoal filtering the tails ,I think I’ll give that a go. These tincture things are eye dropper doses of 1 to 20drops. And can’t imagine that a garlic one would taste good any how. I’ll let you know how it goes . It takes 3weeks.

Aaaanyhow... I did my cuts tonight and ended up with 5 litres of great hearts. Should have been 7. But the one before and after was ever so slightly different. So I ended up with less than normal. I’ll have to try again because there were factors like a ferment stalled ,I got it going but it was abnormal to typical for me. I also added the heads from last run which may have been condensed because I’ve added heads and tails to every past run. I put 6 litres of heads and 6 litres of tails in this run. I got 8 litres of heads and 6 tails. This is also an odd result as I usually get within 1 of equall jars. And finally. It was difficult to do smell test for my wife and myself. I ended up doing a taste test to determine. The wife was cooking up chicken pies and the house smelt great. I’m thinking that’s what threw the nose out of joint ,or I was using tap water to mix not distilled like usual. . So I’m now making water to mix down and filter. Once the good stuff is polished ,I’ll put the tails through and see if it helps. If not I’ll water down to 20% and let the oils separate and keep for next run,as I was reading somewhere ..the tails will burn .im thinking of fabricating a small stainless ethanol fire place with a fan and heat exchangers in it. Basically a small scale fire place to turn all the heads into heat.
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