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still evaluation

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  • Thomas Hart
    Greeting from a dry land- As I am a resident of the good old USA all of this is theoretical and a work of fiction. That being said, on with the show. I am
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 3 3:24 PM
      Greeting from a dry land-

      As I am a resident of the good old USA all of this is theoretical and a work
      of fiction. That being said, on with the show.

      I am glad to have found your group. I built my still about 6 years ago and
      have been operating as a lone ranger ever since. I have had the help of a
      few friends in the business and hunted the web for anything related, but now
      I have a source for discussion. I think I need a drink.

      I would like to describe the still I built. I had to design and build it
      myself and while it works very well, as far as I can tell, I don't know if
      there are things I can do to improve it.

      From the bottom up. I heat with a 200,000 BTU Cajun Cooker propane burner.
      It really can go, but with its needle valve control I can keep a very low
      flame. My pot is made out of a 10 gallon s/s Cornelius keg (soda canister).
      I have jacketed it with a s/s 1/4 barrel beer keg to which I attached a
      pressure relief valve and a ball valve. This set-up allows it to function
      as either a stream jacket or a water bath. This jacket goes up about half
      way on the pot. The top has a 4 inch opening to which I clamp my column.
      The column is also s/s and is 4 feet by 4 inches. Welder to the bottom
      gasket is a s/s perforated plate to hold my reflux material in. 12 inches
      from the top I have inserted a cooling loop to help make this something like
      a refracting unit. With this configuration I have 36 inches of space for
      reflux material (I most often use S/S scrubs, sometimes glass marbles).
      Additionally there is about 8 inches of head room at the very top of the
      column before everything heads off to the condenser. I have two
      thermometers in the column, one below and one above the cooling coil.

      My condenser is made of copper. The "liquor" tube is a piece of 3/4 inch
      externally flanged copper. This in jacketed in a piece of 2" tubing that
      serves as a counter flow chiller. The outlet from this loop into a piece of
      1/2 inch tubing that runs through the center of my "liquor" tube. With this
      set-up I have cooling both in and outside of my liquor.

      The water outlet from the inner cooling tube runs into a tee. One end of
      the tee has a valve and then a hose connection for discharge. The other end
      of the tee runs to another valve and then to the cooling loop at the top of
      my column. This lets me control the flow of liquid through my cooling loop
      without reducing the flow through my condenser.

      The distillate comes out a valve at the end of the condenser. I have
      attached a barb fitting and run a long plastic tube to whatever collecting
      vessel I am using.

      I have no problem getting proofs in the 190s, but often I reduce my relux
      material to retain more flavor. I like to see everything I make as an Eau
      de Vie, whether it be a rye or corn mash, fresh fruit or simple turbanado
      sugar. I have had great success with my system but would welcome ideas of
      modifications.

      I do not know anything about essences. I also don't know anything about
      carbon. Any help in these areas would be great. I also have a couple
      hundred juniper pines on my mountain property and would like further
      information on gin. I have lengthy lists of botanical ingredients and
      processes for utilizing them, I just don't have any idea of the quanity to
      use.

      I have an extensive background in brewing. I co-founded New Mexico's
      largest microbrewery about 9 years ago and serve as brew master. Before
      that I homebrewed for more then a dozen years and am a certified beer judge.

      Thanks for your thoughts, ideas and input. I look forward to future
      exchanges.

      Peace-
      the Stillpastor

      PS I am also an ordained Presbyterian minister and currently serve a
      congregation of about 1100 members. Isn't life a kick!
    • Kev
      Hi Tom, It sounds like you ve got yourself a good (fictional) set up there. For info on gin, there was recently a very good discussion on new_distillers (the
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 3 6:01 PM
        Hi Tom,

        It sounds like you've got yourself a good (fictional) set up there.
        For info on gin, there was recently a very good discussion on
        new_distillers (the sister group to this one). I'd recommend you read
        that thread for recipies and other recommendations. I'm now using the
        recipe from there, and it's absolutely great!

        If you're getting 190+ proof (85+ percent ABV) then you're not doing
        too badly. With your setup, have you got a way of returning condensed
        liquid back into the column, or do you collect everything you get?

        If I read your description of your (fictional) still correctly, you
        could increase the reflux ratio by increasing the water flow into
        your cooling coil. This would increase the purity of your collected
        product, but by far the best way is to put all the distillate back
        into the column and have it cycling around for a few hours to
        properly fractionate. Then you can draw off, slowly, the various
        constituent parts once things have had time to settle.

        Hope that help, and more power to your fictitious elbow!

        Kev
      • Pete Sayers
        As far as developement on stills go, YA-BLOODY-HOO i ve just done a wee mod to my older model Spirits Unlimited 60 litre still. Instead of having the upper
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 4 4:49 PM
          As far as developement on stills go, YA-BLOODY-HOO i've just done a wee mod
          to my older model Spirits Unlimited 60 litre still. Instead of having the
          upper portion of my tower (100mmx500mm),wrapped with plastic hose for
          cooling,i have now wrapped it with soft drawn copper pipe.I will be able to
          further modify it later, but at the moment i am able to hold the temp in the
          head of the tower at 80c.Ihavnt finished the run yet, so i'll post the
          results later.
          Pete

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Kev [mailto:hurne@...]
          Sent: Wednesday, 4 April 2001 13:01
          To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [Distillers] Re: still evaluation


          Hi Tom,

          It sounds like you've got yourself a good (fictional) set up there.
          For info on gin, there was recently a very good discussion on
          new_distillers (the sister group to this one). I'd recommend you read
          that thread for recipies and other recommendations. I'm now using the
          recipe from there, and it's absolutely great!

          If you're getting 190+ proof (85+ percent ABV) then you're not doing
          too badly. With your setup, have you got a way of returning condensed
          liquid back into the column, or do you collect everything you get?

          If I read your description of your (fictional) still correctly, you
          could increase the reflux ratio by increasing the water flow into
          your cooling coil. This would increase the purity of your collected
          product, but by far the best way is to put all the distillate back
          into the column and have it cycling around for a few hours to
          properly fractionate. Then you can draw off, slowly, the various
          constituent parts once things have had time to settle.

          Hope that help, and more power to your fictitious elbow!

          Kev





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