First of all, thanks to all those who take the time to answer the
I have finally built my 2" offset head still. It has about 800mm of
copper mesh packing. The first run was just water, and at full speed
I was getting a temp of 100.6 at the top of the reflux column. This
will possibly explain why my temps were a bit out during my first
The first proper run was with about 16 litres of sugar wash of
unknown strength. It took about an hour to get up to temperature.
At first the temp was varying between 73C and 78C with the cooling
water running. I wasn't sure what to do next so I increased the heat
and it finally stabilised (full reflux) at 79.5C. I was pretty happy
at this point. I slowly ( 1 to 1.5 drops per sec) took off 160ml as
heads to be safe . I expected the temp to stay a bit lower until I
took off the heads. As it sort of went straight to 79.5 and stayed
there, I was concerned that I wasn't properly separating the
methanol and other nasties.
At about 80C i started collecting the first jar. After about 2 hours
it crept up to 81.4. I had collected about 1.3 litres (over
threejars) when the temp climbed to 88C over 9 minutes. I changed to
the next collection jar about half way through this period. It kept
rising and I stopped the run it at 95C. Throughout, i kept the
reflux ratio fairly high. The take off was kept at less that 3 drops
per sec and the reflux flow was a constant stream. The whole thing
once heated took about 3.5 hours.
I have just tasted some that has been maturing with juniper berries,
coriander and cardoman seeds for about 5 minutes ;-). It came from
the 3rd jar. It tastes just like what I would buy from the shop so I
guess it all worked out well. There weren't bad after tastes.
The second jar doesn't smell as 'sweet' as the third jar (only a
small difference). I haven't tried it yet. I am worried that I
didn't separate the heads out properly. Should there be a small temp
rise after the heads are taken off or have I done it ok.
The dramatic rise at the end would have been easy to spot if I was
watching. Does it matter if I change jars at the end of the temp
rise or should it be at the start?