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hope found at the bottom of the bucket

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  • Saul Sabia
    cast a glance over at the heads/tails bucket the other day and decided that 5 gals was quite enough, it was time to try for a bit of reclamation. setup is a 6
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27 3:27 AM
      cast a glance over at the heads/tails bucket the other day and decided that 5 gals was
      quite enough, it was time to try for a bit of reclamation.

      setup is a 6 gal keg, 2000W heater element, 54 x 1.5" column, condensor is a bucket of
      ice-water. column was fully packed with marbles, stainless steel scrubbers, some chopped
      up copper capillary tubing... ummm.... and more stainless scrubbers. one unique feature
      of the still is a small whisper fish tank air pump running a tube into the keg through
      a stopper in the side. the heater element is wired into a cable but we have access to
      both a 220V outlet and a 120V outlet.

      1st run was 5 gals of 20% heads/tails and failed beer =). forgot to turn on air pump, so
      made it a stripping run... about a gal and a half of 73% iirc at 220V (full wattage).

      2nd time around heated up with the 220, but switched to the 120 as soon as liquid started
      coming out. the mash was a wine with the results of the previous run added. a couple of
      bottles of crappy year-old liquer went in there, too. the alcometer said 40%, but we think
      it might've been thrown off by the sugar in the liquers. anyways, 5 gals of 40% at least.

      this time turned the air pump on and kept it at 120. took the longest of any run i have
      yet done (been using the smaller 40-some-inch column with half-packing, so it's a big diff).
      the heads were crap, but after that the mash cleared up, stabilized at low 170s, and produced
      two good fifths of azeotrope (95% give or take .5%)! put those aside, and collected a good
      half-gallon more of 93% before the purity started dropping pretty fast. taste is very
      subtle, so it's not quite neutral, but it's being bubbled and sitting on activated carbon
      right now.... a few hours with a little bubble wand takes out a bit of flavor... some good,
      some bad, helps the liquor smooth out a bit.

      so i would like to thank everyone who has contributed all the wonderful advice, but as
      happy as i am that i have achieved one of a distiller's goals (the precious 95% mark) the
      achievement is cramped slightly by the realization that now i'm going to have to find
      something to _do_ with it!!! =) thanks guys, i'll have almost as much fun planning its
      demise as i've had making it! (cackles) =)


      Saul



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