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Re: [Distillers] Re: Calculating my stills purity

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  • Jeremy Lang
    hello Harry, Thanks for you quick response. I am new to this forum and wasent sure what to expect. also, in the future do i need to repond in the postings,
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 1, 2006
      hello Harry,
      Thanks for you quick response. I am new to this forum and wasent sure what to expect. also, in the future do i need to repond in the postings, or will any email sent automaticly be posted for all to read?
      Upon reading your reply it dawned on me that you are correct, i hadnt realized i wasent collecting reflux, just adding a slight re-distilation to the whole thing. Good point. I was going to go with a larger colum when i was building it, but figured this would be ok because, i would get some benefit of reflux while keeping the flavour of my wash. not to mention i'm a bum on a budget, and two inch copper pipe here is about $40-$50 for a length.
      Even so, is there a simpe equation to see what percent my current still collects at? By dividing something or multiplying something? so i will know what to expect when i am fermenting my wash?
      cheers!

      Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote: --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "porscheguy902"
      <porscheguy902@y...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello all, i was wondering what the calculation is to see excatly
      what
      > percent alcohol my still will collect from the wash. Recently i
      > collected 68% heads that i discarded (methanol) and the next was
      62%,
      > then 55%, then 50% then 40%, then 35%. i sepeated my distalate in
      this
      > fashion, first 250ml discard, then in 750ml fractions. My wash was
      > 10.5%. Its a reflux still that can be used as a pot still as well.
      A
      > 29L pony keg with a 12"x 1" copper reflux colum that i packed with
      > copper scrubbers. my condenser angles down at a 45 degree . it is
      22"
      > a 1/2" pipe with a 1" water jacket. i have it configured so i can
      > unscrew my reflux colum and just use the condenser on the keg for a
      > pot still. according to the homedistiller.org site, my 10.5% wash
      > should have collected a 56.4% vapour and i collected a higher level
      > than that. I probly have given way to much info, but i figured the
      > more the better. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I plan on
      > running some 14.7% potato vodka wash through it tomorrow.
      > thanks- huckelberry
      >



      Ok, we need to clear up a couple of things.

      1) 'Reflux' is evaporated and recondensed liquid that returns back
      down the column. Think of water condensation from the warm air in
      your house running down a cold window pane. You get the idea?
      That's reflux.

      2) A true reflux still has a mechanism for controlling the amount
      of reflux returned to the column for reboiling. This is usually via
      overhead condenser, dam/weir and valve control.

      3) You do not have a reflux still as such. You have a potstill
      with a small packed column that will produce 'some' uncontrolled
      reflux via the copper packing and losing heat to the atmosphere.

      Almost all potstills with columns/towers/swan-necks produce 'some'
      reflux. Some of the larger commercial ones 'try' to control the
      reflux via external water jackets (not very successfully, I might
      add).



      Now that we've got that sorted out, let's look at your design.

      A 1" x 12" 'column' on a 29 litre boiler is virtually useless. It
      would be more suited to a pot of ~5 litres capacity, IOW SMALL runs,
      to suit the small column.

      Look at the volume of the column.
      Vol = Pi x Radius squared x Height
      In your case, Vol = 3.1416 x 0.25" x 12" gives 9.4 cubic inches.

      This volume will do almost no separation nor reflux, and will run
      strictly as a standard potstill. You would only get refluxing if
      the power input is somewhere below about 600 watts. That would make
      for a very slow distillation of a 20 litre wash (read days).
      Running at higher power will give you exactly the results you are
      now getting, in terms of abv% and volume collected from the wash.

      So, how to improve on that?
      1) Double the column diameter: This alone will give you a column
      volume thus:
      3.1416 x 1" x 12" gives 37 cubic inches.
      That is FOUR (4) times your existing column volume (not double as
      you would at first think).

      Just by doing this, you will allow for either higher wattage input,
      or slower vapour speed, or a combination of both (desirable). In
      any case it will be a vast improvement on your current setup and the
      quality of your potstill product.

      2) Double diameter + double height column i.e 2" x 24".
      Vol = 3.1416 x 1" x 24" gives 75 cubic inches.

      This size of column is much more suited to your potstill with a 29
      litre boiler. Also, it's a good starting point for a true reflux
      still. all you need do is put an overhead condenser, dam & takeoff
      valve on top. You could make this removable and interchangeable
      with your existing Liebig condenser. Then you've really got the
      best of both worlds, a true Reflux still for vodka-type pure spirits
      (95.6%) and a true potstill (~80%) for flavoured spirits.

      Don't worry about the small coupling to the pony keg. Just fit a 2"
      to 1" reducer. It won't affect the vapour getting into the larger
      column.


      HTH

      Slainte!
      regards Harry
      Moderator






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    • Harry
      ... sure what to expect. also, in the future do i need to repond in the postings, or will any email sent automaticly be posted for all to read?
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 1, 2006
        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Jeremy Lang <porscheguy902@y...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > hello Harry,
        > Thanks for you quick response. I am new to this forum and wasent
        sure what to expect. also, in the future do i need to repond in
        the postings, or will any email sent automaticly be posted for all
        to read?


        .........Emails and web postings will appear in the lists. There's
        not much point in having a list unless others can benefit from the
        questions & answers. I don't often reply to private emails, for
        that reason.



        > Upon reading your reply it dawned on me that you are correct, i
        hadnt realized i wasent collecting reflux, just adding a slight re-
        distilation to the whole thing. Good point. I was going to go with
        a larger colum when i was building it, but figured this would be
        ok because, i would get some benefit of reflux while keeping the
        flavour of my wash. not to mention i'm a bum on a budget, and two
        inch copper pipe here is about $40-$50 for a length.
        > Even so, is there a simpe equation to see what percent my
        current still collects at? By dividing something or multiplying
        something? so i will know what to expect when i am fermenting my
        wash?
        > cheers!



        ........No two stills or operating conditions are identical.
        Best advice I can give is...buy an alcometer. Available at homebrew
        suppliers or over the 'net.


        Slainte!
        regards Harry
      • Jeremy Lang
        Harry, I have a alcometer and i take readings from every fraction. What i m asking is, Is there a formula to calculate my stills ability to convert 100% of
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 2, 2006
          Harry,
          I have a alcometer and i take readings from every fraction. What i'm asking is, Is there a formula to calculate my stills ability to convert 100% of the washes alcohol content. its efficiency . If i start with a wash that is 10.5%abv and my still produces 68%abv heads does my still collect @ 68% purity? how do i calculate my purity?? thats all i really want to know.
          -cheers
          Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote: --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Jeremy Lang <porscheguy902@y...>
          wrote:
          >
          >
          > hello Harry,
          > Thanks for you quick response. I am new to this forum and wasent
          sure what to expect. also, in the future do i need to repond in
          the postings, or will any email sent automaticly be posted for all
          to read?


          .........Emails and web postings will appear in the lists. There's
          not much point in having a list unless others can benefit from the
          questions & answers. I don't often reply to private emails, for
          that reason.



          > Upon reading your reply it dawned on me that you are correct, i
          hadnt realized i wasent collecting reflux, just adding a slight re-
          distilation to the whole thing. Good point. I was going to go with
          a larger colum when i was building it, but figured this would be
          ok because, i would get some benefit of reflux while keeping the
          flavour of my wash. not to mention i'm a bum on a budget, and two
          inch copper pipe here is about $40-$50 for a length.
          > Even so, is there a simpe equation to see what percent my
          current still collects at? By dividing something or multiplying
          something? so i will know what to expect when i am fermenting my
          wash?
          > cheers!



          ........No two stills or operating conditions are identical.
          Best advice I can give is...buy an alcometer. Available at homebrew
          suppliers or over the 'net.


          Slainte!
          regards Harry





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        • Harry
          ... What i m asking is, Is there a formula to calculate my stills ability to convert 100% of the washes alcohol content. its efficiency . ...........No.
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 2, 2006
            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Jeremy Lang <porscheguy902@y...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Harry,
            > I have a alcometer and i take readings from every fraction.
            What i'm asking is, Is there a formula to calculate my stills
            ability to convert 100% of the washes alcohol content. its
            efficiency .



            ...........No. Because you can never convert 100% of any wash, no
            matter how efficient your still appears to be. There is always
            losses.


            If i start with a wash that is 10.5%abv and my still produces 68%
            abv heads does my still collect @ 68% purity? how do i calculate my
            purity?? thats all i really want to know.



            ...........I honestly don't know what it is you're asking. Use
            your alcometer, add up the results, then you tell me how efficient
            your still is.


            Slainte!
            regards Harry
          • Jeremy Lang
            Harry, My still religiously makes 65-68% heads then dropped off to about 40% when i start to notice off smells. Does this mean that my stills efficiency is
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 15, 2006
              Harry,
              My still religiously makes 65-68% heads then dropped off to about 40% when i start to notice off smells. Does this mean that my stills efficiency is 65-68%?
              or do i take a average?
              cheers
              Jeremy

              Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote: --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Jeremy Lang <porscheguy902@y...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Harry,
              > I have a alcometer and i take readings from every fraction.
              What i'm asking is, Is there a formula to calculate my stills
              ability to convert 100% of the washes alcohol content. its
              efficiency .



              ...........No. Because you can never convert 100% of any wash, no
              matter how efficient your still appears to be. There is always
              losses.


              If i start with a wash that is 10.5%abv and my still produces 68%
              abv heads does my still collect @ 68% purity? how do i calculate my
              purity?? thats all i really want to know.



              ...........I honestly don't know what it is you're asking. Use
              your alcometer, add up the results, then you tell me how efficient
              your still is.


              Slainte!
              regards Harry





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            • Andrew Bugal
              In other words mate, what is being said here is that once on the boil, purity is out of your hans unless you do something silly like open your boiler once the
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 17, 2006
                In other words mate, what is being said here is that once on the boil, purity is out of your hans unless you do something silly like open your boiler once the action is happening.

                In a reflux still, the separation of the good stuff occurs at around 78 degrees Celsius to upwards of around 80 to 81 degrees Celsius. The heat will hold until the good stuff has boiled away and you have collected it. Then, you are on your way to boiling water. If you have a reflux still and have packing in the column, you will get a higher abv if you allow the reflux to be in equilibrium (boil/condense/drip back/reboil).

                Physics rules here. Bad still design=bad output. In other words if you have a badlydesigned still then your output will not be great.

                Regards,bwyze

                Jeremy Lang <porscheguy902@...> wrote:
                Harry,
                My still religiously makes 65-68% heads then dropped off to about 40% when i start to notice off smells. Does this mean that my stills efficiency is 65-68%?
                or do i take a average?
                cheers
                Jeremy

                Harry wrote: --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Jeremy Lang

                wrote:
                >
                > Harry,
                > I have a alcometer and i take readings from every fraction.
                What i'm asking is, Is there a formula to calculate my stills
                ability to convert 100% of the washes alcohol content. its
                efficiency .



                ...........No. Because you can never convert 100% of any wash, no
                matter how efficient your still appears to be. There is always
                losses.


                If i start with a wash that is 10.5%abv and my still produces 68%
                abv heads does my still collect @ 68% purity? how do i calculate my
                purity?? thats all i really want to know.



                ...........I honestly don't know what it is you're asking. Use
                your alcometer, add up the results, then you tell me how efficient
                your still is.


                Slainte!
                regards Harry





                Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
                FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org



                SPONSORED LINKS
                Management team Culture club Organizational culture Culture

                ---------------------------------
                YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS


                Visit your group "Distillers" on the web.

                To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                Distillers-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


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