## Still design

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• Im using a s/s 50liter keg with a Copper coloum that is 2 inch in diameter and 44 inchs long .I have two 7/8 copper cooling pipes that run thru the coloum for
Message 1 of 13 , Aug 2, 2001
Im using a s/s 50liter keg with a Copper coloum that is 2 inch in
diameter and 44 inchs long .I have two 7/8 copper cooling pipes that
run thru the coloum for reflux which are 5 1/2 inchs apart that are
located near the top of the coloum . Vapor run off is 1 inch copper
that is reduced into 1/2 inch and runs into the Condensor which is 27
inchs long surrounded by an outer tube which is 1 1/2 dia and 23
1/2inchs long .
The coloum is paked with 8 s/s pot scrubbers from bottom to around 1
1/2 inchs from the top .Ive also got a s/s mesh located at the bottom
of the coloum to stop the scrubbers from falling into the boiler.

If anyone could offer any info on what % i could expect from this
still or anything that i may have over looked please let me know .I
are looking at using an electric heating element in the near future
• Hayden, 44-1.5 = 42.5 inches = 108 cm of packing Assuming that the HETP for stainless steel scrubbers is around 15cm (eg every 15cm height will give us the
Message 2 of 13 , Aug 2, 2001
Hayden,

44-1.5 = 42.5 inches = 108 cm of packing

Assuming that the HETP for stainless steel scrubbers is around 15cm (eg
every 15cm height will give us the equivalent increase in purity similar to
doing another single pot distillation, this would put your column as having
the equivalent of 7.2 theoretical plates. Add one for your pot, and you've
got 8+ stages.

(I'm being a little cautious here - previously I'd put SS HETP at 10cm, but
now I figure its more like 13-15cm. Aim low, and be pleasantly surprised
when it does a lot better than expected)

Plug 8 stages into the wee diagram at the start of
http://www.geocities.com/kiwi_distiller/refluxdesign.htm and you'll see that
you're expecting about 94% purity from it (for a typical amount of reflux).

If your top tubes aren't very efficient at making the reflux liquid, then
you'll not do so good. If they're very good, and you run with quite a high
reflux ratio, then you should do better than this. But its a starting
point for what to expect.

If asked to guess, I would have initially just reckoned that it would do
95%+

What size element to run it with ? Mine does ok with 1800W in a 1.5inch
column. A 2inch column has 1.77 times the cross-sectional area, so yours
should be OK with 1.77x1800=3200W. Maybe play safe and only keep it less
than 3000W ?

Tony
• Could I have few opinions ( biased /unbiased ) on weather the Inline still or the offset head still performs better than the other in respect of efficiency
Message 3 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
Could I have few opinions ( biased /unbiased ) on weather the Inline still
or the offset head still performs better than the other in respect of
efficiency or quality / quantity / etc . Or is it just a matter of material
supply / cost / height restrictions / aesthetics etc . The more opinions I

Eat - Drink - Smoke and be good ! Shane .

http://www.yahoo.promo.com.au/hint/ - Yahoo! Hint Dropper
- Avoid getting hideous gifts this Christmas with Yahoo! Hint Dropper!
• IMHO there s no performance difference between inline or offset head designs. I started with offset head with couple of construction flaws. Then I found this
Message 4 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
IMHO there's no performance difference between inline or offset
flaws. Then I found this design
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/files/OFTS/EL/Elliptical%
and it was easier to make that than fix my old head. Instead of
having short tube on lower lip I bent it enough to make it drip to
the center of the column. Very easy to make and produces over 95%
ethanol.

Greetz, rkr

--- In Distillers@y..., "Shane Kirkman" <shanekirkman@y...> wrote:
> Could I have few opinions ( biased /unbiased ) on weather the
Inline still
> or the offset head still performs better than the other in respect
of
> efficiency or quality / quantity / etc . Or is it just a matter of
material
> supply / cost / height restrictions / aesthetics etc . The more
opinions I
>
>
>
>
> Eat - Drink - Smoke and be good ! Shane .
>
> http://www.yahoo.promo.com.au/hint/ - Yahoo! Hint Dropper
> - Avoid getting hideous gifts this Christmas with Yahoo! Hint
Dropper!
• In my opinion the shape does not matter. Both types are equal in output quality in practical terms, lest forget the theoretical molecular differences :-) if
Message 5 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002

In my opinion the shape does not matter. Both types are equal in output quality in practical terms, lest forget the theoretical molecular differences :-) if the the main parameters are same...

What matters to me is this:
- cost of materials (cheaper is better)
- ease of building and materials availability (no elaborate things is no brainer)
- interchangability and repair of parts as well as cleaning ease
- lenght of the reflux column (from 80 cm to 120 cm is reasonable)
- proper packing of the column (famous scrubbers, I tend to move to lose packing)
-  most important proper operation of the still (safety 1st, then everything else... especially running the still at "slow" speeds)

Shane Kirkman <shanekirkman@...> wrote:

Could I have few opinions ( biased /unbiased ) on weather the Inline  still or the offset head still performs better  than the other in respect of
efficiency or quality / quantity / etc . Or is it just a matter of material supply / cost / height restrictions / aesthetics etc . The more opinions I

I can be wrong I must say.
Cheers, Alex...

Do you Yahoo!?
New DSL Internet Access from SBC & Yahoo!

• Shane Kirkman wrote: Subject: [Distillers] Still design Could I have few opinions ( biased /unbiased ) on weather the Inline still or the offset head still
Message 6 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
Shane Kirkman wrote:
Subject: [Distillers] Still design

Could I have few opinions ( biased /unbiased ) on weather the Inline  still or the offset head still performs better  than the other in respect of efficiency or quality / quantity / etc . Or is it just a matter of material supply / cost / height restrictions / aesthetics etc . The more opinions I receive the better ,
=========================
Simply a matter of aesthetics and personal preference Shane.  The main work goes on inside the column, and the type of head merely determines how you manage the liquid reflux coming from the top condenser.  The offset type is easier to make if you have access to standard plumbing bends etc, but they usually cost more than home-made parts which can be incorporated in the same tubing you use for the column.

Mike N

• Hi guys, Im new to the distilling game and although i havent distilled a drop yet I have done a lot of research and am Fascinated by the hole deal. the history
Message 7 of 13 , Jul 3, 2004
Hi guys, Im new to the distilling game and although i havent distilled
a drop yet I have done a lot of research and am Fascinated by the hole
deal.
the history the process the designs ETC.
I am in the process of designing and building my first still and have
come across a reflux still design at
http://www.thickos.co.uk/brewgod.html
which sounds perfect. and it sounds relatively easy to use. Basically
it sounds like you heat the mash and control the reflux via the flow
of water through tube soldered to the reflux tower.
I am a refrigeration mechanic and dont have a problem with the
construction and from what if learnt so far the design should work
well but some guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dean.

P.S I stumbled accross Tony's site and it was the wealth of
information that got me started. thanks
• ... If you do some more reading I think you will conclude that the aforementioned design is far from optimum. Most good forced reflux designs only have
Message 8 of 13 , Jul 3, 2004
> I am in the process of designing and building my first still and have
> come across a reflux still design at
> http://www.thickos.co.uk/brewgod.html
> which sounds perfect. and it sounds relatively easy to use. Basically
> it sounds like you heat the mash and control the reflux via the flow
> of water through tube soldered to the reflux tower.

If you do some more reading I think you will conclude that the
aforementioned design is far from optimum. Most "good" forced reflux
designs only have reflux cooling at the top of the column (find
relevant discussions by Mike Nixon and McCaw and others). Indeed, most
columns are insulated to keep them hot rather than force cold water
around them. The reason for the top to bottom cooling is to allow for
a high wattage heater system. Most distillers who are after high
purity restrict the power input to remove the need to cool the column
as this design does.

My personal advice would be to keep looking! It is difficult for
someone else to pick what design you should go for but you do need to
evaluate designs which use vapour and liquid management as well as
better cooling management designs. Indeed, the thread you have replied
to is a good start!

Good luck and happy distilling.
• Hi Dean, sounds like you have been doing some reading on the subject. This along with your skills as a fridgie should see you well on the way to making a good
Message 9 of 13 , Jul 3, 2004
Hi Dean, sounds like you have been doing some reading on the subject. This
along with your skills as a fridgie should see you well on the way to making
a good product. Until I had actually done some distilling I found it hard to
understand how the process worked. The guidance that others gave me a few
years ago was the difference between frustration and a steep learning curve.

A few questions if I may; what type of material do you propose to use to
build the still? What are you going to use as a boiler? Do you want to make
a clear spirit and add shop bought essences or do you wish to make grain
wash's and make whiskey rum etc.? Or a still that you can do both on. Is
this going to be a no/little cost unit or are you willing to spend some
money on parts. These questions will allow us to better guide you on the
way. Dean I would have to second "linw992003's" message and say that there
are better designs out there than the one you pointed to in the link.

These newsgroups have been going for a number of years and people have
developed some great designs, which produce fine results every time they use
their still with the minium of fuss. Look to the designs of Nixon, Stone,
Mc'Caw, Tony Ackland, Bokokob, and others. Look through the files and photos
section of the yahoo newsgroups and you will see all sorts of creations.

Yours in Spirit

Robert

_____

From: deanthms [mailto:deanlil@...]
Sent: Saturday, 3 July 2004 8:39 PM
To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Distillers] Still design

Hi guys, Im new to the distilling game and although i havent distilled
a drop yet I have done a lot of research and am Fascinated by the hole
deal.
the history the process the designs ETC.
I am in the process of designing and building my first still and have
come across a reflux still design at
http://www.thickos.co.uk/brewgod.html
which sounds perfect. and it sounds relatively easy to use. Basically
it sounds like you heat the mash and control the reflux via the flow
of water through tube soldered to the reflux tower.
I am a refrigeration mechanic and dont have a problem with the
construction and from what if learnt so far the design should work
well but some guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dean.

P.S I stumbled accross Tony's site and it was the wealth of
information that got me started. thanks

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
• Hi Robert, at the moment ive been able to aquire the parts i need reasonably cheap much of it because of my line of work. so far i have a boiler and a lid and
Message 10 of 13 , Jul 4, 2004
Hi Robert, at the moment ive been able to aquire the parts i need reasonably
cheap much of it because of my line of work. so far i have a boiler and a
lid and two choices of column diameters either 2 1/8inch or1 7/8 inch copper
pipe. So far ive only spent \$11 au.
Im planing on useing a 50 litre keg for my boiler a stainless steel mixing
bowl for the lid and the rest will be copper.
I realise 50 litres is pretty big Ill probably only half fill it, and if a
smaller alternative becomes available change to that.
At first im planning on makin clear spirit and flavouring it. keeping things
simple to start with, but eventually id like to start playing around with
grains, ageing with Oakchips and maybe even barrels.
Oak barrels can be bought in Australia in sizes ranging down to 5 litres.
I dont want to spend to much money to start with hence the original reason
for making my own still. Ive already sussed out the store bought products
availabe and believe that i can atleast match them in qaulity ( with some
practice) and as my enthusiasm grows so does my desire to design (read copy)
and build my own contraption.

Dean.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert N" <dinks_c@...>
To: <Distillers@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 2:29 PM
Subject: RE: [Distillers] Still design

> Hi Dean, sounds like you have been doing some reading on the subject. This
> along with your skills as a fridgie should see you well on the way to
making
> a good product. Until I had actually done some distilling I found it hard
to
> understand how the process worked. The guidance that others gave me a few
> years ago was the difference between frustration and a steep learning
curve.
>
>
>
>
> A few questions if I may; what type of material do you propose to use to
> build the still? What are you going to use as a boiler? Do you want to
make
> a clear spirit and add shop bought essences or do you wish to make grain
> wash's and make whiskey rum etc.? Or a still that you can do both on. Is
> this going to be a no/little cost unit or are you willing to spend some
> money on parts. These questions will allow us to better guide you on the
> way. Dean I would have to second "linw992003's" message and say that there
> are better designs out there than the one you pointed to in the link.
>
>
>
> These newsgroups have been going for a number of years and people have
> developed some great designs, which produce fine results every time they
use
> their still with the minium of fuss. Look to the designs of Nixon, Stone,
> Mc'Caw, Tony Ackland, Bokokob, and others. Look through the files and
photos
> section of the yahoo newsgroups and you will see all sorts of creations.
>
>
>
> Yours in Spirit
>
>
>
> Robert
>
>
>
> _____
>
> From: deanthms [mailto:deanlil@...]
> Sent: Saturday, 3 July 2004 8:39 PM
> To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [Distillers] Still design
>
>
>
> Hi guys, Im new to the distilling game and although i havent distilled
> a drop yet I have done a lot of research and am Fascinated by the hole
> deal.
> the history the process the designs ETC.
> I am in the process of designing and building my first still and have
> come across a reflux still design at
> http://www.thickos.co.uk/brewgod.html
> which sounds perfect. and it sounds relatively easy to use. Basically
> it sounds like you heat the mash and control the reflux via the flow
> of water through tube soldered to the reflux tower.
> I am a refrigeration mechanic and dont have a problem with the
> construction and from what if learnt so far the design should work
> well but some guidance would be appreciated.
>
> Thanks, Dean.
>
> P.S I stumbled accross Tony's site and it was the wealth of
> information that got me started. thanks
>
>
>
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
>
>
>
> Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
> FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org
>
>
>
>
>
>
• I agree 100% with linw992003. Any still design with so-called reflux cooling tubes running through the bottom or middle of the column is a bad one done by
Message 11 of 13 , Jul 4, 2004
I agree 100% with linw992003. Any still design with so-called reflux
cooling tubes running through the bottom or middle of the column is a
bad one done by someone who doesn't understand the principles of a
fractional distillation tower.

I urge you to carefully read any or all of the following books all
available online in pdf form for about US \$10.

"The Carriage Still" by John Stone at www.gin-vodka.com

"Making Pure Corn Whiskey" by Ian Smiley at www.home-distilling.com

"The Compleat Distiller" by Nixon & McCaw at www.amphora-society.com

If you don't want to even spend \$10 then read through Tony Ackland's
terrific WEB site at homedistiller.org paying particular attention to
Tony's personal experience and recommendations.

A little time and very little money invested now before you begin
construction will save you a lot of grief later IMHO.

--- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "linw992003" <linw@x> wrote:
>
> > I am in the process of designing and building my first still and
have
> > come across a reflux still design at
> > http://www.thickos.co.uk/brewgod.html
> > which sounds perfect. and it sounds relatively easy to use.
Basically
> > it sounds like you heat the mash and control the reflux via the
flow
> > of water through tube soldered to the reflux tower.
>
> If you do some more reading I think you will conclude that the
> aforementioned design is far from optimum. Most "good" forced reflux
> designs only have reflux cooling at the top of the column (find
> relevant discussions by Mike Nixon and McCaw and others). Indeed,
most
> columns are insulated to keep them hot rather than force cold water
> around them. The reason for the top to bottom cooling is to allow
for
> a high wattage heater system. Most distillers who are after high
> purity restrict the power input to remove the need to cool the
column
> as this design does.
>
> My personal advice would be to keep looking! It is difficult for
> someone else to pick what design you should go for but you do need
to
> evaluate designs which use vapour and liquid management as well as
> better cooling management designs. Indeed, the thread you have
replied
> to is a good start!
>
> Good luck and happy distilling.
• Hi Dean, stick with the 2 1/8 pipe and the 50 litre keg. Never hurts to have too much head room in the boiler. Something to consider when building the still
Message 12 of 13 , Jul 5, 2004
Hi Dean, stick with the 2 1/8" pipe and the 50 litre keg. Never hurts to
have too much head room in the boiler. Something to consider when building
the still is how you plan to heat it. If electricity then try Lawrence and
Hansen etc for a hot water heater replacement element. Fit castor wheels to
the bottom of the keg, your back will thank you. You should build in a
failsafe device in case of pressure build up. Never design the still with
cooling tubes running through the tower, they are there for operators that
use way too much heat. A design with the condenser above the collection
point is best. This way you have direct control over the amount of reflux
that is happening.

The more heat you put into the boiler the greater the vapour velocity up the
tower and the greater the condenser has to work. For a 2" tower you can get
away with 2400 watts of energy, the downside is the amount of water it takes
to cool the vapour at the top of the tower. I run 1800 watts and find this
gives me better purity but the trade off is longer heating and running time.
Some use a big element and use a triac or similar to reduce the wattage once
the wash is boiling. One thing you are realising by now is that there is a
lot of science that goes into designing a good still.

Yours in spirit

Robert

_____

From: DeanThomas [mailto:deanlil@...]
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 6:34 PM
To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Distillers] Still design

Hi Robert, at the moment ive been able to aquire the parts i need reasonably
cheap much of it because of my line of work. so far i have a boiler and a
lid and two choices of column diameters either 2 1/8inch or1 7/8 inch copper
pipe. So far ive only spent \$11 au.
Im planing on useing a 50 litre keg for my boiler a stainless steel mixing
bowl for the lid and the rest will be copper.
I realise 50 litres is pretty big Ill probably only half fill it, and if a
smaller alternative becomes available change to that.
At first im planning on makin clear spirit and flavouring it. keeping things
simple to start with, but eventually id like to start playing around with
grains, ageing with Oakchips and maybe even barrels.
Oak barrels can be bought in Australia in sizes ranging down to 5 litres.
I dont want to spend to much money to start with hence the original reason
for making my own still. Ive already sussed out the store bought products
availabe and believe that i can atleast match them in qaulity ( with some
practice) and as my enthusiasm grows so does my desire to design (read copy)
and build my own contraption.

Dean.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
• This answers a lot of my questions :-] SS ... hurts to ... building ... Lawrence and ... wheels to ... in a ... still with ... operators that ... collection
Message 13 of 13 , Jul 5, 2004
This answers a lot of my questions :-]

SS

--- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert N" <dinks_c@y...> wrote:
> Hi Dean, stick with the 2 1/8" pipe and the 50 litre keg. Never
hurts to
> have too much head room in the boiler. Something to consider when
building
> the still is how you plan to heat it. If electricity then try
Lawrence and
> Hansen etc for a hot water heater replacement element. Fit castor
wheels to
> the bottom of the keg, your back will thank you. You should build
in a
> failsafe device in case of pressure build up. Never design the
still with
> cooling tubes running through the tower, they are there for
operators that
> use way too much heat. A design with the condenser above the
collection
> point is best. This way you have direct control over the amount of
reflux
> that is happening.
>
> The more heat you put into the boiler the greater the vapour
velocity up the
> tower and the greater the condenser has to work. For a 2" tower you
can get
> away with 2400 watts of energy, the downside is the amount of water
it takes
> to cool the vapour at the top of the tower. I run 1800 watts and
find this
> gives me better purity but the trade off is longer heating and
running time.
> Some use a big element and use a triac or similar to reduce the
wattage once
> the wash is boiling. One thing you are realising by now is that
there is a
> lot of science that goes into designing a good still.
>
> Yours in spirit
>
> Robert
>
>
> _____
>
> From: DeanThomas [mailto:deanlil@p...]
> Sent: Sunday, July 04, 2004 6:34 PM
> To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [Distillers] Still design
>
> Hi Robert, at the moment ive been able to aquire the parts i need
reasonably
> cheap much of it because of my line of work. so far i have a boiler
and a
> lid and two choices of column diameters either 2 1/8inch or1 7/8
inch copper
> pipe. So far ive only spent \$11 au.
> Im planing on useing a 50 litre keg for my boiler a stainless steel
mixing
> bowl for the lid and the rest will be copper.
> I realise 50 litres is pretty big Ill probably only half fill it,
and if a
> smaller alternative becomes available change to that.
> At first im planning on makin clear spirit and flavouring it.
keeping things
> simple to start with, but eventually id like to start playing
around with
> grains, ageing with Oakchips and maybe even barrels.
> Oak barrels can be bought in Australia in sizes ranging down to 5
litres.
> I dont want to spend to much money to start with hence the original
reason
> for making my own still. Ive already sussed out the store bought
products
> availabe and believe that i can atleast match them in qaulity (
with some
> practice) and as my enthusiasm grows so does my desire to design