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RE: [Distillers] Questions

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  • Tony & Elle Ackland
    ... Its not the surface area of the pot thats important, but the diameter of the column vs the amount of heat that you put into it. For example, a 300mm pot
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 3, 2001
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      > My question is this. If it was on the edge of flooding
      > before? what will it do now with a larger surface area.

      Its not the surface area of the pot thats important, but the diameter of
      the column vs the amount of heat that you put into it. For example, a
      300mm pot and a 600mm pot will both give basically the same performance if
      they both have the same elements in them, but double the amount of heat and
      you might get into trouble.

      If you think it was almost flooding (eg the output was spluttering, or even
      stops & you start building up pressure in the pot), then either reduce the
      amount of heat slightly, or use a packing that takes up less space. Eg
      marbles fill up about 66% of the space, not leaving much room for the
      vapour & liquid, but scrubbers appear to take up about 20% of the space,
      leaving heaps more room.

      > I hope at some time to use s/s pot scrubbers. Where can I get enough
      > pot scrubbers to fill the tower 150mm dia * 600mm long cheap enough.
      > Does it make much difference if you use budget or 3M scrubbers.

      Try the bulk/budget shops - like "Bin Inn" or "Silly Solleys" or the
      "Warehouse" etc.
      The brand doesn't matter - as long as it wont rust, and is the sort that
      looks like little springs, not fine wool.
      You might have some problems due to the large (150mm) diameter of your
      column. You're approaching an industrial size, where you need to ensure
      that (a) the packing won't fall out, and (b) that the liquid and vapour
      distribute themselves evenly over it (as well as (c) - you'll need a hell
      of a lot of them. You might need to go to a more structured style of
      packing, or help support it & have redistribution plates. See the photos at
      http:\\homedistiller.org\photos-reflux.htm - "Phil's still" for how Phil
      has built a wee wire cage to hold his in place.

      > I have been reading about
      > copper pot scrubbers, Where do I find them, I don't think you mean
      > goldilocks scrubbers.

      Yeah - some are brass, which you're not after. If they're copper, they'll
      usually say so on the packaging.
      Woolworths supermarkets sells them - search for "scrubber" at

      > The final 91%abv was after carbon treatment certainly allot cleaner
      > tasting than the bad tasting 75%abv I was getting from the old store
      > bought still. I only realise this now after reaching this higher
      > plane so to speak. I read that people getting no smell and no taste
      > in their 90 plus abv.(It can't taste like water surely) Although the
      > ethanol has very little smell It has what I would call not strong,
      > but clean taste of alcohol or ethanol.When you take a sip, after
      > about 10 mins your mouth feels dry. Does this make sense and has it
      > come out right?

      Yeah - sounds right. Its a hard thing to describe. Fantastic that you've
      got the good purity happening !! Well done.

      >I have been told that carbon sucks up the ugles for 2 days
      > then starts spitting them out again. Does this make sence?

      Nope - no reason for them to be "spat out". If the carbon is full up it
      won't take in any more, but it won't start unloading them. I leave it on
      carbon for months at a time.

      > Your article the other day Tony was brilliant, probably something a
      > lot of us newbys come to slowly understand but needed someone to tell
      > us what we already thought we knew.
      > "What you wanted to know about how to run a still but were too afraid
      > to ask".

      Thanks !

      > I do have one question though, what could happen if you cut off the
      > cooling water before the temperature gets down to 60 deg.

      Its just the small chance of some vapour getting out. No real risk - given
      that you'll probably be opening up the whole still to clean it soon anyhow,
      and you get a fair amount of vapour coming out then !

      > One last question for this session, I would like to store the alcohol
      > in glass. But how do you feel about storing it in stainless steel. I
      > have 2 * s/s 60 ltr LPG cylinders I could use for this.

      I don't really know. Like glass, you have to know the history of the
      vessel, and whats been in it. If theres the risk that there is still some
      petroleum fractions present (eg some of the waxes etc coated on the inside)
      then you woudnt want to risk it. Ethanol is an excellent solvent, and will
      disolve any residues left, passing them straight back on to you. But if
      the containers are virgin condition, then I don't see why not.

      > Thanks in advance,
      > Hans.

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