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RE: [Distillers] Still design

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  • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
    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 1 of 13 , Aug 2, 2001
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      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
    • Shane Kirkman
      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 2 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
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        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 , thanks in advance Shane .




        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!
      • abbababbaccc
        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 3 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
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          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 design
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/files/OFTS/EL/Elliptical%
          20in-Line%20Overflow%20Vertical%20Condenser%20Head.PDF
          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
          > receive the better , thanks in advance Shane .
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > 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!
        • BOKAKOB
          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 4 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
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            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
            receive the better , thanks in advance Shane .


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



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

          • Mike Nixon
            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 5 of 13 , Nov 26, 2002
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              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 ,
              thanks in advance Shane .
              =========================
              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
               
            • deanthms
              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 6 of 13 , Jul 3, 2004
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                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
              • linw992003
                ... 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 7 of 13 , Jul 3, 2004
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                  > 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.
                • Robert N
                  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 8 of 13 , Jul 3, 2004
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                    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]
                  • DeanThomas
                    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 9 of 13 , Jul 4, 2004
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                      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.

                      thanks for your input

                      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
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • rodmacd2000
                      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 10 of 13 , Jul 4, 2004
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                        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.
                      • Robert N
                        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 11 of 13 , Jul 5, 2004
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                          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.

                          thanks for your input

                          Dean.




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • shinershane
                          This answers a lot of my questions :-] SS ... hurts to ... building ... Lawrence and ... wheels to ... in a ... still with ... operators that ... collection
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jul 5, 2004
                          • 0 Attachment
                            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
                            (read copy)
                            > and build my own contraption.
                            >
                            > thanks for your input
                            >
                            > Dean.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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