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filtration experience

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  • Matt
    I just completed my first filtration runs of my spirits. My product didn t smell that great to begin with, but after diluting them to 42% for filtering, they
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 26, 2000
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      I just completed my first filtration runs of my spirits. My product
      didn't smell that great to begin with, but after diluting them to 42% for
      filtering, they smelled even worse. When you drag those fusels out of
      solution in alcohol and into the water you get a real sense for how bad
      they are.

      I decided to go the percolation column route as described by Gert Strand.
      Thinking my original 89-90% spirit was mostly clean, I thought I could get
      away with a shorter pipe length than he described but I was mistaken!

      Using 1.5" PVC pipe, I cut it to 110cm in length. I affixed a 1.5" ->
      1.4" threaded end adapter to one end. My thought on this was to just get
      a sort of tapering effect making it easier for me to collect the output.
      On this threaded end, I placed one layer of PVC drain sleeve cloth that I
      obtained from the same place I bought the PVC. This is meant to be used
      in drainpipe applications, but basically it's a porous cheesecloth
      material. Then I put in a layer of filter paper from a Melitta coffee
      fiter, then another layer of the drainpipe cloth. This was secured in
      place with a simple screw-strap hose clamp.

      Using a large funnel, I added a cup or so of sand that I had washed,
      boiled, and washed several times again. Even though I was not filtering
      anything that contained sediment, I thought it might help trap particles
      loosened from the carbon. At this point, I added my activated carbon
      (used Aktivt Kol KC-06 Stenkol .4 - .85mm). Prior to adding it to the
      pipe, I had given the carbon a good bath, and then treated it with 4
      washes of boiling water, stirring it for a bit, then dumped off what
      didn't sink to the bottom of the pot.

      Pouring it down the pipe was easy with a large funnel, and several cups of
      tap water. It settled nicely in the pipe but water flowed out easily
      enough. I still had about 1/3 of the 1.7L bag of carbon left over since
      my pipe was so short. Using various bits of furniture (I really need to
      get a ladder!) I rigged up the pipe to stand in a funnel which stood on
      top of an erlenmeyer flask. I poured at least a liter of warm tap water
      through it, and waited for it to mostly stop dripping out. I then ran
      about 500ml of room temp distilled water through it to reduce the "load"
      on the carbon as they say.

      At the top of this rig, I set up a pressure-equalized addition funnel.
      Not a cheap piece of glassware by any means, but if I wanted a controlled
      addition of "dirty" spirit into the pipe, I figured this was the best way.
      Into the funnel I added 500ml of dirty spirit which I let drip down about
      3 drops/second into the pipe. It would seem that pipe of this length with
      this grit carbon holds around 150ml of water in it, so that was discarded.
      You can also see by the way the liquid flows, or by watching how the
      liquid mixes as it drips in. If you see those wavy lines characteristic
      of the mixing of liquids of diffrent densities, you know that the output
      is changing.

      Soon after, pure spirit began to emanate. After pouring off a bit into a
      wine glass and comparing it to an equal amount of diluted yet unfiltered
      spirit, the difference was incredible. My filtrate smelled like "real"
      vodka and the unfiltered spirit smelled even worse than before now that I
      had a true reference of clean material.

      some notes on my experiences:

      * I only got about 2.5 liters through it that smelled pristine: I pushed
      about one more liter through and it started to smell "off" but definitely
      improved over where it had started. This would make sense since my pipe
      was so short. After all the runs were complete, I cleaned out the pipe,
      added some more clean sand, added the remaining charcoal, and filtered the
      last liter once more. It came out just fine.

      * Gert recommends that no air ever make it into the pipe while filtering
      but also recommends your filtrate input not exceed 400ml per hour. With
      the material I had at hand, this was impossible. I suppose if one takes
      the time to rig up an airtight seal between the input funnel and the pipe,
      you could accomplish this. Ideally, one could see the input rate through
      a glass section and adjust it so that it enters at a slow pace. I tried
      to minimize the introduction of air by clamping on a piece of aluminum
      foil at the top and poking just enough tiny holes in its center to allow
      the flow to enter the pipe.

      * This was time consuming and while I realize it was my first time, it
      would be nice to have a well-designed fractional still setup that truly
      delivers 95-96% pure material. Then again, that 5% of water or so could
      very well hide fusels as my 10% did. To make anything stronger than my
      42% output (say a 47% gin) I now need to re-distill some of my cleaned up
      material to use to "proof up" my low-proof material. I guess I'll use my
      glassware distillation setup that I am going to use for the botanicals.


      Sorry for the longwinded post but I hope someone can make use of my
      experiences listed here!
      -matt
      --
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Matthew @ psibercom
      psibercom.org: doing pretty much nothing for the net since 1994!
    • Johan Hemberg
      Hi Matthew Try to attach a big funnel at the top of the pipe and pour all alcohol you want to clean there. Then add some kind of valve at the bottom of the
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 26, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Matthew

        Try to attach a big funnel at the top of the pipe and pour all alcohol you want to clean there. Then add some kind of valve at the bottom of the pipe so you can regulate the cleaning rate.
        Thats one way to have the carbon wet all the time and still not exceed the cleaning rate.
        However it's the results that matter, and if your results is good if enough, thats just fine.


        > I just completed my first filtration runs of my spirits. My product
        > didn't smell that great to begin with, but after diluting them to 42% for
        > filtering, they smelled even worse. When you drag those fusels out of
        > solution in alcohol and into the water you get a real sense for how bad
        > they are.
        >
        > I decided to go the percolation column route as described by Gert Strand.
        > Thinking my original 89-90% spirit was mostly clean, I thought I could get
        > away with a shorter pipe length than he described but I was mistaken!
        >
        > Using 1.5" PVC pipe, I cut it to 110cm in length. I affixed a 1.5" ->
        > 1.4" threaded end adapter to one end. My thought on this was to just get
        > a sort of tapering effect making it easier for me to collect the output.
        > On this threaded end, I placed one layer of PVC drain sleeve cloth that I
        > obtained from the same place I bought the PVC. This is meant to be used
        > in drainpipe applications, but basically it's a porous cheesecloth
        > material. Then I put in a layer of filter paper from a Melitta coffee
        > fiter, then another layer of the drainpipe cloth. This was secured in
        > place with a simple screw-strap hose clamp.
        >
        > Using a large funnel, I added a cup or so of sand that I had washed,
        > boiled, and washed several times again. Even though I was not filtering
        > anything that contained sediment, I thought it might help trap particles
        > loosened from the carbon. At this point, I added my activated carbon
        > (used Aktivt Kol KC-06 Stenkol .4 - .85mm). Prior to adding it to the
        > pipe, I had given the carbon a good bath, and then treated it with 4
        > washes of boiling water, stirring it for a bit, then dumped off what
        > didn't sink to the bottom of the pot.
        >
        > Pouring it down the pipe was easy with a large funnel, and several cups of
        > tap water. It settled nicely in the pipe but water flowed out easily
        > enough. I still had about 1/3 of the 1.7L bag of carbon left over since
        > my pipe was so short. Using various bits of furniture (I really need to
        > get a ladder!) I rigged up the pipe to stand in a funnel which stood on
        > top of an erlenmeyer flask. I poured at least a liter of warm tap water
        > through it, and waited for it to mostly stop dripping out. I then ran
        > about 500ml of room temp distilled water through it to reduce the "load"
        > on the carbon as they say.
        >
        > At the top of this rig, I set up a pressure-equalized addition funnel.
        > Not a cheap piece of glassware by any means, but if I wanted a controlled
        > addition of "dirty" spirit into the pipe, I figured this was the best way.
        > Into the funnel I added 500ml of dirty spirit which I let drip down about
        > 3 drops/second into the pipe. It would seem that pipe of this length with
        > this grit carbon holds around 150ml of water in it, so that was discarded.
        > You can also see by the way the liquid flows, or by watching how the
        > liquid mixes as it drips in. If you see those wavy lines characteristic
        > of the mixing of liquids of diffrent densities, you know that the output
        > is changing.
        >
        > Soon after, pure spirit began to emanate. After pouring off a bit into a
        > wine glass and comparing it to an equal amount of diluted yet unfiltered
        > spirit, the difference was incredible. My filtrate smelled like "real"
        > vodka and the unfiltered spirit smelled even worse than before now that I
        > had a true reference of clean material.
        >
        > some notes on my experiences:
        >
        > * I only got about 2.5 liters through it that smelled pristine: I pushed
        > about one more liter through and it started to smell "off" but definitely
        > improved over where it had started. This would make sense since my pipe
        > was so short. After all the runs were complete, I cleaned out the pipe,
        > added some more clean sand, added the remaining charcoal, and filtered the
        > last liter once more. It came out just fine.
        >
        > * Gert recommends that no air ever make it into the pipe while filtering
        > but also recommends your filtrate input not exceed 400ml per hour. With
        > the material I had at hand, this was impossible. I suppose if one takes
        > the time to rig up an airtight seal between the input funnel and the pipe,
        > you could accomplish this. Ideally, one could see the input rate through
        > a glass section and adjust it so that it enters at a slow pace. I tried
        > to minimize the introduction of air by clamping on a piece of aluminum
        > foil at the top and poking just enough tiny holes in its center to allow
        > the flow to enter the pipe.
        >
        > * This was time consuming and while I realize it was my first time, it
        > would be nice to have a well-designed fractional still setup that truly
        > delivers 95-96% pure material. Then again, that 5% of water or so could
        > very well hide fusels as my 10% did. To make anything stronger than my
        > 42% output (say a 47% gin) I now need to re-distill some of my cleaned up
        > material to use to "proof up" my low-proof material. I guess I'll use my
        > glassware distillation setup that I am going to use for the botanicals.
        >
        >
        > Sorry for the longwinded post but I hope someone can make use of my
        > experiences listed here!
        > -matt
        > --
        > ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Matthew @ psibercom
        > psibercom.org: doing pretty much nothing for the net since 1994!
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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