At 04:35 PM 12/12/2007, you wrote:
>I have acquired a stainless keg of 70 litre
>capacity which was owned by British Breweries. It has a threaded bronze
>cap of 12cm diameter which when removed allows me to clean it
>internally. I intend to put an internal reflux column on this
>following the plans laid out at www.moonshine-still.com. Question?
>would you learned people follow the lengths stated or increase.
Why would you increase length?
Size of the boiler only determines how much wash you can run at one time,
whether it's a 55-gallon drum or a 16-quart stock pot, and a 3 to 5 gallon
wash (no matter how large a boiler it's in) is usually most convenient to
The column, though, determines how FAST you can distill, and it's not just
length... diameter is important. With liquor, though, SLOW is GOOD. You
can get better purity and make cuts more accurately. Bigger is not
necessarily better, unless you want make fuel alcohol.
If you have workable plans already, your best bet is to follow them in
every detail. There are a lot of factors that go into determining correct
length and diameter of a column.
While it doesn't take an engineering background to figure out column
dimensions, you're best off with something that's already been engineered,
or tried and tested, by someone else.
If you have a 17-liter wash, it doesn't take as much energy to bring it up
to running temperature and keep it there as it does a 70-liter wash.
Also, when you're lifting, tipping, carrying, etc. to set things up and
take them down for cleaning, 70 liters of liquid is going to have an
For fuel alcohol, large columns on large boilers are more common, usually
extra tall, well over 3 inches in diameter, and on boilers that are
sometimes 55-gallon drums.
But the main consideration for fuel alcohol is how fast you can produce it,
since taste doesn't matter.