Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Newbie Intoduction

Expand Messages
  • Neil
    Hi Guys, Just wanted to say hello, I am brand new to distilling but have been brewing beer on and off for a while now, I thought I would make the switch over
    Message 1 of 22 , Oct 29, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Guys,

      Just wanted to say hello, I am brand new to distilling but have been
      brewing beer on and off for a while now, I thought I would make the
      switch over as all grain brewing takes way to long.
      I have my first suger wash bubbling away very happily, I cannot
      believe it started so soon, less than an hour. I am using the
      Prestige Turbo Pure 48. I bought the still over the internet from
      Desti-Lab a year ago, I am assuming it's a reflux from all the
      reading. now it's time to play. As I said I have been doing a lot of
      reading but there are a couple of questions I have which are
      probally really stupid!!

      1. At what temp do you turn the water on and how fast?
      2. Do you use the heat or water to regulate the temp at 78*c or both?
      3. I know about cutting it off when it hits 90*-92*c does it slowly
      go up or all at once and if I see it going up do I lower the heat or
      raise the water flow or do nothing.

      I guess 3 stupid questions are good for now, I have a lot more that
      I will share with you all soon!!
      Thanks, Neil
    • BOKAKOB
      ... Usually temperature creeps up very slowly and then suddenly it peaks to over 80*C after which, depending on the power of your condenser, it settles back. I
      Message 2 of 22 , Oct 29, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        >At what temp do you turn the water on and how fast?

        Usually temperature creeps up very slowly and then suddenly it peaks to over 80*C after which, depending on the power of your condenser, it settles back. I used to sit and wait for temperature to hit 40*C~50*C and then I would turn on the water. These days I don�t bother. I turn up the water in the beginning.




        >Do you use the heat or water to regulate the temp at 78*c or both?

        Big misunderstanding � do not use water to �regulate� boiling point of ethyl alcohol. Also, do not use heat to �regulate� boiling point of ethyl alcohol.



        I think the explanation is due for the �reflux process explained.�



        This �explanation� is my layman understands, so if something is not exactly correct, bear with me...



        The heat below and condenser on top are the antipodes. Heat sends vapors UP and condenser hurdles it DOWN after cooling vapors. In-between his majesty REFLUX is happening. In that boiling soup of condensed alcohol going down and vapors going up there is constant dance of vapors and condensing liquid. THIS IS THE REFLUX HAPPENING! The more of the column is occupied (flooded) with this mix of vapor and condensate -- the better is separation.



        By saying �flooded� I mean that there is constant exchange of vapors and liquid is going on. Vapors can physically go up and alcohol can physically trickle down the packing. There is no real flooding with gurgling sounds of dying column.



        For example, let�s say you have a column 4 feet high. The equivalent theoretical plate distance for stainless steel scrubbers is, say, 2 inches. The best number of �plates� you can achieve in the 4 feet high column is 48/2�=24 -- it is good. But, it will happen only on condition when and only when all of this column height is �flooded� back with reflux by powerful condenser.





        If you have less heat and less cooling at the top then the height of the �flooded� (read refluxed) portion is much less. If you have a column 4 feet high and a little heat in the pot plus not so powerful condenser then the height of �flooded� column is much less. If it is only 6 inches, for example, then you have only 6/2�=3 plates � it is not so good. The height of this �flooded� (reflux) column is determined by a thermometer. The lower the temperature of 78*C down along the column the more of the reflux is happening and the more �plates� are there in the column.



        That is why it is possible to receive very good results with a column of only 14�~16� only on condition when ALL height of this column is �flooded� (read refluxed). Then there would be 14/2=7 �plates� which is good.



        Please understand that the above explanation is only an analogy for me as a layman to understand.



        >I know about cutting it off when it hits 90*-92*c

        With a good reflux still you should �cut if off� at 78.5*C or something in this area because good reflux will keep 78*C to the very last moment when there is no more alcohol left in substantial volume in the boiler.



        If you don't believe me, ask someone else.




        Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
        There are no warranties of any kind
        Act on your own risk and finally...
        I can be wrong I must say
        Cheers, Alex...





        __________________________________________________
        Do You Yahoo!?
        Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
        http://mail.yahoo.com

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Neil
        Alex, Thanks for taking the time and explaining, very helpful. So what you are saying is that it will regulate itself at 78*c untill the alcohol starts going
        Message 3 of 22 , Oct 29, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          Alex,

          Thanks for taking the time and explaining, very helpful. So what you
          are saying is that it will regulate itself at 78*c untill the
          alcohol starts going down and the temp goes up??
          Is it worth collecting anything else after that and re-distilling??
          Cheers,
          Neil


          > >At what temp do you turn the water on and how fast?

          > Usually temperature creeps up very slowly and then suddenly it
          peaks to over 80*C after which, depending on the power of your
          condenser, it settles back. I used to sit and wait for temperature
          to hit 40*C~50*C and then I would turn on the water. These days I
          don't bother. I turn up the water in the beginning.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > >Do you use the heat or water to regulate the temp at 78*c or both?
          >
          > Big misunderstanding – do not use water to "regulate" boiling
          point of ethyl alcohol. Also, do not use heat to "regulate" boiling
          point of ethyl alcohol.
          >
          >
          >
          > I think the explanation is due for the "reflux process explained."
          >
          >
          >
          > This "explanation" is my layman understands, so if something is
          not exactly correct, bear with me...
          >
          >
          >
          > The heat below and condenser on top are the antipodes. Heat sends
          vapors UP and condenser hurdles it DOWN after cooling vapors. In-
          between his majesty REFLUX is happening. In that boiling soup of
          condensed alcohol going down and vapors going up there is constant
          dance of vapors and condensing liquid. THIS IS THE REFLUX HAPPENING!
          The more of the column is occupied (flooded) with this mix of vapor
          and condensate -- the better is separation.
          >
          >
          >
          > By saying "flooded" I mean that there is constant exchange of
          vapors and liquid is going on. Vapors can physically go up and
          alcohol can physically trickle down the packing. There is no real
          flooding with gurgling sounds of dying column.
          >
          >
          >
          > For example, let's say you have a column 4 feet high. The
          equivalent theoretical plate distance for stainless steel scrubbers
          is, say, 2 inches. The best number of "plates" you can achieve in
          the 4 feet high column is 48/2"=24 -- it is good. But, it will
          happen only on condition when and only when all of this column
          height is "flooded" back with reflux by powerful condenser.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > If you have less heat and less cooling at the top then the height
          of the "flooded" (read refluxed) portion is much less. If you have a
          column 4 feet high and a little heat in the pot plus not so powerful
          condenser then the height of "flooded" column is much less. If it is
          only 6 inches, for example, then you have only 6/2"=3 plates – it is
          not so good. The height of this "flooded" (reflux) column is
          determined by a thermometer. The lower the temperature of 78*C down
          along the column the more of the reflux is happening and the
          more "plates" are there in the column.
          >
          >
          >
          > That is why it is possible to receive very good results with a
          column of only 14"~16" only on condition when ALL height of this
          column is "flooded" (read refluxed). Then there would be
          14/2=7 "plates" which is good.
          >
          >
          >
          > Please understand that the above explanation is only an analogy
          for me as a layman to understand.
          >
          >
          >
          > >I know about cutting it off when it hits 90*-92*c
          >
          > With a good reflux still you should "cut if off" at 78.5*C or
          something in this area because good reflux will keep 78*C to the
          very last moment when there is no more alcohol left in substantial
          volume in the boiler.
        • BOKAKOB
          So what you are saying is that it will regulate itself at 78*c until the alcohol starts going down and the temp goes up?? The answer is “YES.” Is it worth
          Message 4 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            So what you are saying is that it will regulate itself at 78*c until the alcohol starts going down and the temp goes up??



            The answer is �YES.�







            Is it worth collecting anything else after that and re-distilling??



            It depends in what quantities. I distill (the initial first distillation � the �stripping,� hehehe sounds like a horror movie title) in small quantities. It is usually about 1.5L of 95% abv Whatever is left behind is 0.1L at most. So, I don�t bother collecting it. Besides, there is a great chance of spoiling the clean stuff with tails and ruining the 3 hour operation. If someone is getting semi-industrial runs with gallons of crude alcohol then of course it is worth collecting 2-3 Liters left behind. I would say try both and then stick with whatever you prefer.




            Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
            There are no warranties of any kind
            Act on your own risk and finally...
            I can be wrong I must say
            Cheers, Alex...






            ---------------------------------
            Do you Yahoo!?
            Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Neil
            Alex, I really appreciate all the help and I hope I am not bugging you and everyone else with too many questions. But I have more. Stripping, I have read is a
            Message 5 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              Alex,

              I really appreciate all the help and I hope I am not bugging you and
              everyone else with too many questions. But I have more. Stripping, I
              have read is a fast distill. What makes it faster, more water flow??
              over a slow distill, less water flow?? Do you collect everything,
              water it down and then distill a second time??
              Cheers,
              Neil


              > So what you are saying is that it will regulate itself at 78*c
              until the alcohol starts going down and the temp goes up??
              >
              >
              >
              > The answer is "YES."
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Is it worth collecting anything else after that and re-distilling??
              >
              >
              >
              > It depends in what quantities. I distill (the initial first
              distillation – the "stripping," hehehe sounds like a horror movie
              title) in small quantities. It is usually about 1.5L of 95% abv
              Whatever is left behind is 0.1L at most. So, I don't bother
              collecting it. Besides, there is a great chance of spoiling the
              clean stuff with tails and ruining the 3 hour operation. If someone
              is getting semi-industrial runs with gallons of crude alcohol then
              of course it is worth collecting 2-3 Liters left behind. I would say
              try both and then stick with whatever you prefer.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
              > There are no warranties of any kind
              > Act on your own risk and finally...
              > I can be wrong I must say
              > Cheers, Alex...
              > ®
            • BOKAKOB
              Striupping is the run when you are not very careful separating heads_main_tails fractions. You also open a little more the take off valve to get more flow of
              Message 6 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
              • 0 Attachment
                Striupping is the run when you are not very careful separating heads_main_tails fractions. You also open a little more the take off valve to get more flow of distillate. The cooling water and the heat level stays the same as for all runs.



                Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
                There are no warranties of any kind
                Act on your own risk and finally...
                I can be wrong I must say
                Cheers, Alex...






                ---------------------------------
                Do you Yahoo!?
                Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Neil
                Alex, The still I have didn t come with a valve, is this going to make a huge differance?? How much water would you add for the second distill?? I was reading
                Message 7 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                • 0 Attachment
                  Alex,
                  The still I have didn't come with a valve, is this going to make a
                  huge differance?? How much water would you add for the second
                  distill?? I was reading a post of yours from a month or so ago
                  (23495) about the way you double or maybe triple distill the heads,
                  middle and tails at different intevals, sounds like the way to go!!
                  Going back to the valve question, should I even worry about it or
                  would it make a differance if I slowed the flow from the exit of the
                  still or would this cause a problem with the distilate backing up??
                  Thanks again.
                  Cheers,
                  Neil


                  > Striupping is the run when you are not very careful separating
                  heads_main_tails fractions. You also open a little more the take off
                  valve to get more flow of distillate. The cooling water and the heat
                  level stays the same as for all runs.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
                  > There are no warranties of any kind
                  > Act on your own risk and finally...
                  > I can be wrong I must say
                  > Cheers, Alex...
                  > ®
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ---------------------------------
                  > Do you Yahoo!?
                  > Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • BOKAKOB
                  ... huge difference?? I don’t know. Most likely the reflux is supposed to be created not with a valve but with huge-large amount of cooling water running
                  Message 8 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                  • 0 Attachment
                    >The still I have didn't come with a valve, is this going to make a
                    huge difference??

                    I don�t know. Most likely the reflux is supposed to be created not with a valve but with huge-large amount of cooling water running through the tube somewhere on top of the column. If tubes are located at the bottom they are worthless from the reflux point of view. They do limit heating power going into the reflux area, nevertheless.

                    Tubes at the top of your reflux column are doing the same task as the condensor on top of my column.



                    >How much water would you add for the second distill??

                    Ideally you should not add water at all. In this case separation is better.





                    >if I slowed the flow from the exit of the still or would this cause a problem with the distillate backing up??

                    No, I don�t think so. It would be the same valve I have in my still.






                    Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
                    There are no warranties of any kind
                    Act on your own risk and finally...
                    I can be wrong I must say
                    Cheers, Alex...






                    ---------------------------------
                    Do you Yahoo!?
                    Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Neil
                    ... is better. I was under the impression that the 1st distall produces 85-95% alcohol, so what does the second distill do?? Sorry for all the questions!!
                    Message 9 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                    • 0 Attachment
                      >
                      > >How much water would you add for the second distill??
                      >
                      > Ideally you should not add water at all. In this case separation
                      is better.

                      I was under the impression that the 1st distall produces 85-95%
                      alcohol, so what does the second distill do??
                      Sorry for all the questions!!
                      Cheers,
                      Neil
                    • Andrew Forsberg
                      Hi Neil, I suggest you think very carefully before following the two pieces of advice from Alex below. 1) If your still has been modified to use internal
                      Message 10 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Hi Neil,

                        I suggest you think very carefully before following the two pieces of
                        advice from Alex below.

                        1) If your still has been modified to use internal elements, then please
                        make sure you have enough water covering the elements *before*
                        redistilling 90%+ alcohol. Anything else is plain silly. You do not want
                        to be dealing with an ethanol fire and/or explosion. If the element
                        becomes exposed above the liquid level (remember you're removing liquid
                        all the time) then it will quickly become red hot and ignite the ethanol
                        vapour. On the other hand, if it is still a stove top still like the
                        originals then the liquid level is less important, but it would pay to
                        be careful not to use too much power when the boiler contains high %
                        alcohol. Watering it down 50/50 is probably a good idea. As long as your
                        water is clean you're not adding any more congeners to the mix.

                        2) Your still does not operate in the same way as the type of still Alex
                        uses. Liquid management and vapour management stills are always open to
                        the atmosphere. Yours is closed except for the product output. If you
                        try to operate it like a liquid management still yours will build up
                        pressure which lowers the quality of the product, but also puts you
                        dangerously on the line for a different type of explosion. In this case
                        it'll be an explosion of superheated mash. With the pressure build up
                        you could well be looking at something far hotter than 100 deg C...

                        Instead, to control output on your sort of still you need to increase or
                        decrease the flow of cooling water to the top of the column. If you can,
                        remove the water supply to the middle of the column. If at all possible
                        also try to replace the glass rods used for packing with stainless steel
                        or copper scrubbers. Unfortunately the desti-lab still makes all three
                        of those improvements extremely difficult.

                        There have been a few posts in the past from desti-lab owners who have
                        modified their stills. Try searching for desti-lab here:
                        http://archive.nnytech.net/sgroup/DISTILLERS/

                        Matt in particular may be able to help you improve results with this
                        type of still, but it doesn't sound too hopeful:
                        http://archive.nnytech.net/sgroup/DISTILLERS/2171/
                        http://archive.nnytech.net/sgroup/DISTILLERS/2825/

                        Cheers and good luck!
                        Andrew


                        >
                        >
                        >>How much water would you add for the second distill??
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >Ideally you should not add water at all. In this case separation is better.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >>if I slowed the flow from the exit of the still or would this cause a problem with the distillate backing up??
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >No, I don’t think so. It would be the same valve I have in my still.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • bokakob
                        ... ============================================================== Lets say the initial wash contains 3% crap and 97% of good ethanol (please note the numbers
                        Message 11 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                        • 0 Attachment
                          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Neil" <britishbartender@h...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > >
                          > > >How much water would you add for the second distill??
                          > >
                          > > Ideally you should not add water at all. In this case separation
                          > is better.
                          >
                          > I was under the impression that the 1st distall produces 85-95%
                          > alcohol, so what does the second distill do??
                          > Sorry for all the questions!!
                          > Cheers,
                          > Neil
                          ==============================================================
                          Lets say the initial wash contains 3% crap and 97% of good ethanol
                          (please note the numbers are hypothetical for illustration only).

                          1st distillation.
                          1st distillation will remove 90% of crap. There would be 10% of crap
                          left in the wash. It is enough to spoil the results.

                          2nd distillation.
                          2nd distillation removes same 90% of crap because it is physical
                          characteristic of a given still. Ooops! but there is only 10% of
                          crap left from the first distillation! So, reducing whatever is left
                          10%*(1-90%)=1% In other words, after the first distillation there
                          are 10% of crap left. After the second ditillation those 10% of crap
                          are reduced again by 90% to the level of only 1%.

                          3rd distillation.
                          If you do the third distillation, those 1% of crap are going to be
                          reduced again by 90% to 1%*(1-90%)=0.1%

                          However, most of good ethanol is recovered during distillation.

                          Usually two good quality distillations are enough. I do keep reserve
                          of three times distilled spirit for much enquisitive (nousy) people
                          to whack them with quality.
                        • bokakob
                          ... of advice from Alex below. I agree 100% If you have still with liebeg type condenser it would be an invitation to disaster to close it off. Please, DON T
                          Message 12 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                          • 0 Attachment
                            > I suggest you think very carefully before following the two pieces
                            of advice from Alex below.

                            I agree 100% If you have still with liebeg type condenser it would
                            be an invitation to disaster to close it off.
                            Please, DON'T do that!

                            Regarding redistilling pure ethanol -- I've done it with throbbing
                            feelings inside. It worked fine. However, I have a stove-top still
                            which is different from immersion heater type stills. I see no
                            reason why adding a bit of clean water would be bad. Of course do
                            that too.
                          • Mike Nixon
                            Andrew Forsberg wrote: Subject: Re: [Distillers] Re: Newbie Intoduction Hi Neil, (snip) lots of good advice (snip) Watering it down 50/50 is probably a good
                            Message 13 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Andrew Forsberg wrote:
                              Subject: Re: [Distillers] Re: Newbie Intoduction


                              Hi Neil,

                              (snip) lots of good advice (snip)
                              Watering it down 50/50 is probably a good idea. As long as your
                              water is clean you're not adding any more congeners to the mix.
                              (snip) more excellent advice (snip)
                              =========================
                              My six pennorth on this particular point about watering down.
                              Quite apart from the dangerous aspects of boiling up a mix that resembles
                              gasoline (kids, do not try this at home!) there is a good reason for
                              diluting to around 40-50% before doing your final run. At that strength,
                              you get the greatest separation in the boiler when you start the run, and
                              although this will decrease as ethanol is gradually removed from the boiler,
                              it will significantly reduce the time taken to do the whole run. It will
                              also enable the most efficient separation of the heads as the cut will be
                              narrower at the beginning of the run when you want to remove them.

                              Small tip for those wanting to use a boiler with an exposed element to
                              process small quantities of liquid (following Andy's sound advice about not
                              letting that element get exposed).
                              Put stones or marbles in the boiler to reduce the amount of liquid needed to
                              cover the element ... but not so many that you bury the poor thing!!!

                              All the best,
                              Mike N
                            • Neil
                              Wow, Thanks for all the advise guys, looks like I should have done some research before buying a Desti-lab still. Andrew, thanks for the links some great info
                              Message 14 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Wow,

                                Thanks for all the advise guys, looks like I should have done some
                                research before buying a Desti-lab still.

                                Andrew, thanks for the links some great info on my still!!

                                So ss scrubbers are better than the glass rods??

                                What would disconnecting the water supply to the middle of the
                                column do?? And what does that supply of water do??

                                I am still confused over the 2nd distill, I know, I'm a slow
                                learner. Do you water it down or distill at full strength??

                                It kind of seems to me that the answer was you can if you want to!!
                                What does everyone else do??

                                Cheers,
                                Neil


                                > Instead, to control output on your sort of still you need to
                                increase or
                                > decrease the flow of cooling water to the top of the column. If
                                you can,
                                > remove the water supply to the middle of the column. If at all
                                possible
                                > also try to replace the glass rods used for packing with stainless
                                steel
                                > or copper scrubbers. Unfortunately the desti-lab still makes all
                                three
                                > of those improvements extremely difficult.
                                >
                                > There have been a few posts in the past from desti-lab owners who
                                have
                                > modified their stills. Try searching for desti-lab here:
                                > http://archive.nnytech.net/sgroup/DISTILLERS/
                                >
                                > Matt in particular may be able to help you improve results with
                                this
                                > type of still, but it doesn't sound too hopeful:
                                > http://archive.nnytech.net/sgroup/DISTILLERS/2171/
                                > http://archive.nnytech.net/sgroup/DISTILLERS/2825/
                                >
                                > Cheers and good luck!
                                > Andrew
                              • Mike Nixon
                                Neil wrote: Subject: [Distillers] Re: Newbie Intoduction Wow, Thanks for all the advise guys, looks like I should have done some research before buying a
                                Message 15 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Neil wrote:
                                  Subject: [Distillers] Re: Newbie Intoduction

                                  Wow,

                                  Thanks for all the advise guys, looks like I should have done some
                                  research before buying a Desti-lab still.

                                  Andrew, thanks for the links some great info on my still!!

                                  So ss scrubbers are better than the glass rods??
                                  [Definitely!]

                                  What would disconnecting the water supply to the middle of the
                                  column do?? And what does that supply of water do??
                                  [make one efficient column instead of two disconnected columns stacked one
                                  on top of the other]

                                  I am still confused over the 2nd distill, I know, I'm a slow
                                  learner. Do you water it down or distill at full strength??
                                  [the first strip of the fermented is done as fast as you like, it's purpose
                                  being to get rid of all solids and most of the water, but collecting all the
                                  volatile alcohols. The second run should best be started after you have
                                  adjusted the strength of the first strip down to between 40-50% .... as
                                  measured by a spirit hydrometer. Reasons already given in earlier post
                                  today]

                                  It kind of seems to me that the answer was you can if you want to!!
                                  [that's Freedom! :-) ]

                                  What does everyone else do??
                                  [just sit around all day sipping whiskey and trying to pick winners of next
                                  Tuesday's Melbourne Cup :-)) ]

                                  All the best,
                                  Mike N
                                • Andrew Forsberg
                                  ... Shucks... :) Nice idea about the marbles, btw. That would certainly help speed up the small gin distillation runs I do from time to time. I suppose you
                                  Message 16 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    >(snip) lots of good advice (snip)
                                    >
                                    Shucks... :)

                                    Nice idea about the marbles, btw. That would certainly help speed up the
                                    small gin distillation runs I do from time to time. I suppose you could
                                    also submerge botanicals etc under a few layers of marbles so they would
                                    stay in contact with the alc, but not risk burning on the elements. Not
                                    that they'd get much exposure, I suppose...

                                    Anyhow, cheers
                                    Andrew
                                  • Andrew Forsberg
                                    ... It might take a bit of time to get used to the idea, but it does make sense eventually. What Mike has said about how the central cooling tubes disrupt your
                                    Message 17 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Neil wrote:

                                      >What would disconnecting the water supply to the middle of the
                                      >column do?? And what does that supply of water do??
                                      >
                                      It might take a bit of time to get used to the idea, but it does make
                                      sense eventually. What Mike has said about how the central cooling tubes
                                      disrupt your column is true (of course! :-) ). Crudely, what happens is
                                      that the vapour leaving the boiler becomes increasingly enriched with
                                      ethanol, and cooler in temperature (i.e., closer and closer to the
                                      boiling point of 96% ethanol) as it travels up the column, coming in
                                      contact with liquids on the packing all the time. The glass rods have a
                                      low surface area for the vapour and liquid to react on, scrubbers have
                                      lots of surface area, and lots of free space for the vapour to travel
                                      through. Both of these are important characteristics of good packing. If
                                      you whack cold water through the middle of the column then you break
                                      this process and the vapour has to begin the process all over again
                                      above the cooling tubes.

                                      Unfortunately as it ships there's no way for you to control reflux and
                                      collection in your column at the top. Other stills let you choose to
                                      collect a certain percentage from the top of the column, where the
                                      vapour is richest, and return the rest as liquid down the column so it
                                      can continue to enrich rising vapour. This is the basis of a refluxing
                                      column design, and it works very well.

                                      What you can do is not supply water to the middle of your column, but
                                      leave the water connected to the liebig condenser (the arm coming from
                                      the top of your still). The liebig cools the vapour from the top of the
                                      still into liquid, so unless you like breathing your alcohol you
                                      definitely want that guy plugged in. :-) After the liquid in the boiler
                                      has started to boil run your still on the lowest power setting you can
                                      (might be hard with an electric stove to avoid surging), this should
                                      give the vapour and reflux more time together in the column before
                                      exiting the still via the liebig. Your still is now operating like a
                                      very efficient pot still, as opposed to a broken reflux still.

                                      Good luck!

                                      Cheers
                                      Andrew
                                    • pthoma_nz
                                      ... Neil, One of my stills is similar to yours. Here s what I do... You can t do a stripping run... forget that... Your first run should be relatively close to
                                      Message 18 of 22 , Oct 30, 2004
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Neil" <britishbartender@h...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Wow,
                                        >
                                        > Thanks for all the advise guys, looks like I should have done some
                                        > research before buying a Desti-lab still.
                                        >

                                        Neil,
                                        One of my stills is similar to yours. Here's what I do...

                                        You can't do a stripping run... forget that...
                                        Your first run should be relatively close to the top of the boiler
                                        (3 inches from top, add water if its not...) this still runs better
                                        (as mike says) with more water... Run your cooling through early....
                                        that means when the column first warms up at the base. Keep it at a
                                        slow run, not a trickle. Dump first 100 mls (methanol) when product
                                        starts.
                                        Collect in 500 ml increment bottles. When finished test each bottle
                                        by mixing a small amount of product with equal amount of water,
                                        smell and taste. The heads and tails should be obvious.
                                        Your main should be pretty good if its like mine.... put heads and
                                        tails into next first run, save main for second run. You should get
                                        about 50% main, 50% heads/tails.

                                        Second run ... add enough water to cover the elements by about 3
                                        inches. (or do as mike suggests and mix 50%) but if you do two first
                                        runs, you can add both to a single second run. Add first run mains.
                                        Run same as first run. You should have bugger all heads and tails
                                        collected, and mostly main.

                                        Dilute to 40% and put in bottle with some carbon, leave for 1
                                        month...

                                        hth
                                        peet
                                      • Neil
                                        Thanks for all the help guys, hopefully my first run will be painless. I am sure I will have soom more questions when it gets closer to distill day, probally
                                        Message 19 of 22 , Oct 31, 2004
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Thanks for all the help guys, hopefully my first run will be
                                          painless. I am sure I will have soom more questions when it gets
                                          closer to distill day, probally Wednesday. Wish me luck, I think I
                                          will need it!!
                                          Cheers,
                                          Neil
                                        • pthoma_nz
                                          ... If you re good with your cuts, you can get a really good result from this still. I initially had problems with mine, but after a few washes made some very
                                          Message 20 of 22 , Oct 31, 2004
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Neil" <britishbartender@h...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Thanks for all the help guys, hopefully my first run will be
                                            > painless. I am sure I will have soom more questions when it gets
                                            > closer to distill day, probally Wednesday. Wish me luck, I think I
                                            > will need it!!
                                            > Cheers,
                                            > Neil

                                            If you're good with your cuts, you can get a really good result from
                                            this still. I initially had problems with mine, but after a few
                                            washes made some very good vodka, after carbon, equal to anything I
                                            get from my reflux. It's not a bad still, it just needs a bit more
                                            monitoring...

                                            I bet you surpass store bought by your 4th run
                                            :o)
                                          • Saul Sabia
                                            ... do you ever freeze-distill your alcohol before putting it into the still? ie, if your initial run is 10% alcohol your still will have to work harder to get
                                            Message 21 of 22 , Nov 1, 2004
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              --- bokakob <bokakob@...> wrote:

                                              > ==============================================================
                                              > Lets say the initial wash contains 3% crap and 97% of good ethanol
                                              > (please note the numbers are hypothetical for illustration only).
                                              >
                                              > 1st distillation.
                                              > 1st distillation will remove 90% of crap. There would be 10% of crap
                                              > left in the wash. It is enough to spoil the results.
                                              >
                                              > 2nd distillation.
                                              > 2nd distillation removes same 90% of crap because it is physical
                                              > characteristic of a given still. Ooops! but there is only 10% of
                                              > crap left from the first distillation! So, reducing whatever is left
                                              > 10%*(1-90%)=1% In other words, after the first distillation there
                                              > are 10% of crap left. After the second ditillation those 10% of crap
                                              > are reduced again by 90% to the level of only 1%.
                                              >
                                              > 3rd distillation.
                                              > If you do the third distillation, those 1% of crap are going to be
                                              > reduced again by 90% to 1%*(1-90%)=0.1%
                                              >
                                              > However, most of good ethanol is recovered during distillation.
                                              >
                                              > Usually two good quality distillations are enough. I do keep reserve
                                              > of three times distilled spirit for much enquisitive (nousy) people
                                              > to whack them with quality.


                                              do you ever freeze-distill your alcohol before putting it into the still?
                                              ie, if your initial run is 10% alcohol your still will have to work harder
                                              to get the alcohol out than if it was freeze-distilled to 17 or 20%, right?
                                              (or be less efficient in separation, yada yada)


                                              Saul



                                              __________________________________
                                              Do you Yahoo!?
                                              Check out the new Yahoo! Front Page.
                                              www.yahoo.com
                                            • BOKAKOB
                                              No ... do you ever freeze-distill your alcohol before putting it into the still? ie, if your initial run is 10% alcohol your still will have to work harder to
                                              Message 22 of 22 , Nov 2, 2004
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                No
                                                ==============================================================
                                                > Lets say the initial wash contains 3% crap and 97% of good ethanol
                                                > (please note the numbers are hypothetical for illustration only).
                                                >
                                                > 1st distillation.
                                                > 1st distillation will remove 90% of crap. There would be 10% of crap
                                                > left in the wash. It is enough to spoil the results.
                                                >
                                                > 2nd distillation.
                                                > 2nd distillation removes same 90% of crap because it is physical
                                                > characteristic of a given still. Ooops! but there is only 10% of
                                                > crap left from the first distillation! So, reducing whatever is left
                                                > 10%*(1-90%)=1% In other words, after the first distillation there
                                                > are 10% of crap left. After the second ditillation those 10% of crap
                                                > are reduced again by 90% to the level of only 1%.
                                                >
                                                > 3rd distillation.
                                                > If you do the third distillation, those 1% of crap are going to be
                                                > reduced again by 90% to 1%*(1-90%)=0.1%
                                                >
                                                > However, most of good ethanol is recovered during distillation.
                                                >
                                                > Usually two good quality distillations are enough. I do keep reserve
                                                > of three times distilled spirit for much enquisitive (nousy) people
                                                > to whack them with quality.


                                                do you ever freeze-distill your alcohol before putting it into the still?
                                                ie, if your initial run is 10% alcohol your still will have to work harder
                                                to get the alcohol out than if it was freeze-distilled to 17 or 20%, right?
                                                (or be less efficient in separation, yada yada)


                                                Saul




                                                Whatever I wrote above is my subjective opinion
                                                There are no warranties of any kind
                                                Act on your own risk and finally...
                                                I can be wrong I must say
                                                Cheers, Alex...





                                                __________________________________________________
                                                Do You Yahoo!?
                                                Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                                                http://mail.yahoo.com

                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.