hope found at the bottom of the bucket
- 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) =)
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