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starting over from scratch

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  • Zapata Vive
    Hey there distillers. Thought I might ask for some thoughts on my new setup. A little background, I ve run a pot still rig: Keg boiler, propane fired, 1.25
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 2, 2008
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      Hey there distillers.  Thought I might ask for some thoughts on my new setup.  A little background, I've run a pot still rig:  Keg boiler, propane fired, 1.25 inch "column", glass thumper jar, liebig condenser.  Alas this wasn't actually my still and now it has moved away from me.  I've also been a steady reader here, in new distillers, Tony's site, Harry's library, and of Pure Corn Whiskey.  My interest is primarily in flavored spirits, but do plan on making some neutral.  Since I've lost "my" still, I'm starting everything over.  New equipment is going to mean new methods too, so I'd like some input on some things.
       
      I have in my possession a 40 gallon water heater, a 32" piece of 2" copper, and a 36" piece of 2" copper.  I was thinking I'd use the 32" piece for an elliptical slant plate bokakob and use this for whiskey, use some packing, but not run it at reflux (or per Smiley, at a little reflux).  I'm thinking I could just add the 36" column in with a coupler for neutral runs.  I'll probably toy around with adding ARC to the head somehow for neutral runs.
       
      1.  Does anybody have a better idea for a convertible flavor positive / neutral setup?  What would you do with the given pipe / water heater, and desire for both flavor and flavorless?
       
      2.  I love the bokakob designs, anybody have a reason for going with one of his other designs over the slant elliptical plate?  Maybe the two cups design, I like it, but haven't heard much buzz about it?
       
      On column length, how big should each one be? If the condenser is 12", Then my short still could have a 20" column.  I could add on the full 36" piece for an almost 5' tall column for neutral runs, but is that overkill?  Done the other way the short one could be 24" column, and adding up to 32" in addition to that.  Or, option three would be having the head separate, and just putting it on the 20 inch column or the 36" inch column.  Oh, decisions, decisions.....
       
      Now, since I've acquired this water heater, I'm thinking of switching over to electric.  I have a few questions here.
       
      3.  This is a huge boiler compared to the keg I'm used to.  When making flavored spirits like whiskey, should I bother to continue to do beer stripping runs?  Why not just do 30 gallon batches and make the cuts from there?  Will it not work that way?  Should I change where I've been making my cuts?  (btw wash is usually 8-10% if that matters).
       
      4.  I don't want to get into power regulation devices.  I'd rather just change the heating element.  What wattages do you suggest for whiskey/rum runs on the short stubby 2" column, and for a 3-4 foot tall reflux column?  A higher powered element if I want to do stripping runs?
       
      5.  How much wattage can the standard 25' condenser coil handle if I were doing stripping runs with the short still?  Or in other words, what should my limit be based on?  2" column?  length of condenser coil?  I can't go higher than about 4500 watts due to my available electricity, but could I go that high for stripping runs?  I could make a longer condenser coil if it would be helpful for faster stripping...
       
      As I said, I'm relatively experienced with what I've been doing, but starting over from scratch makes me realize how much methods and equipment depend on each other.  Thanks for any input.
       
      -Zapata
      ¡Tierra y Libertad!
    • abbababbaccc
      If I were you I d do two separate heads. Potstill/stripper with coil (as suggested by Ian Smiley) that can take 3-4kW and a separate VM or ARC still head for
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 2, 2008
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        If I were you I'd do two separate heads. Potstill/stripper with coil
        (as suggested by Ian Smiley) that can take 3-4kW and a separate VM or
        ARC still head for neutral alcohol.

        40 gal boiler is great for stripping smaller (10-20 gals) mashes that
        tend to foam.

        For reflux operation and 2" column you should use 1kW and for other
        purposes 2-4kW, depending on the foaming situation and your condenser.

        Cheers, Riku

        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Zapata Vive" <zapatavive@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hey there distillers. Thought I might ask for some thoughts on my
        new setup. A little background, I've run a pot still rig: Keg
        boiler, propane fired, 1.25 inch "column", glass thumper jar, liebig
        condenser. Alas this wasn't actually my still and now it has moved
        away from me. I've also been a steady reader here, in new distillers,
        Tony's site, Harry's library, and of Pure Corn Whiskey. My interest
        is primarily in flavored spirits, but do plan on making some neutral.
        Since I've lost "my" still, I'm starting everything over. New
        equipment is going to mean new methods too, so I'd like some input on
        some things.
        >
        > I have in my possession a 40 gallon water heater, a 32" piece of 2"
        copper, and a 36" piece of 2" copper. I was thinking I'd use the 32"
        piece for an elliptical slant plate bokakob and use this for whiskey,
        use some packing, but not run it at reflux (or per Smiley, at a little
        reflux). I'm thinking I could just add the 36" column in with a
        coupler for neutral runs. I'll probably toy around with adding ARC to
        the head somehow for neutral runs.
        >
        > 1. Does anybody have a better idea for a convertible flavor
        positive / neutral setup? What would you do with the given pipe /
        water heater, and desire for both flavor and flavorless?
        >
        > 2. I love the bokakob designs, anybody have a reason for going with
        one of his other designs over the slant elliptical plate? Maybe the
        two cups design, I like it, but haven't heard much buzz about it?
        >
        > On column length, how big should each one be? If the condenser is
        12", Then my short still could have a 20" column. I could add on the
        full 36" piece for an almost 5' tall column for neutral runs, but is
        that overkill? Done the other way the short one could be 24" column,
        and adding up to 32" in addition to that. Or, option three would be
        having the head separate, and just putting it on the 20 inch column or
        the 36" inch column. Oh, decisions, decisions.....
        >
        > Now, since I've acquired this water heater, I'm thinking of
        switching over to electric. I have a few questions here.
        >
        > 3. This is a huge boiler compared to the keg I'm used to. When
        making flavored spirits like whiskey, should I bother to continue to
        do beer stripping runs? Why not just do 30 gallon batches and make
        the cuts from there? Will it not work that way? Should I change
        where I've been making my cuts? (btw wash is usually 8-10% if that
        matters).
        >
        > 4. I don't want to get into power regulation devices. I'd rather
        just change the heating element. What wattages do you suggest for
        whiskey/rum runs on the short stubby 2" column, and for a 3-4 foot
        tall reflux column? A higher powered element if I want to do
        stripping runs?
        >
        > 5. How much wattage can the standard 25' condenser coil handle if I
        were doing stripping runs with the short still? Or in other words,
        what should my limit be based on? 2" column? length of condenser
        coil? I can't go higher than about 4500 watts due to my available
        electricity, but could I go that high for stripping runs? I could
        make a longer condenser coil if it would be helpful for faster
        stripping...
        >
        > As I said, I'm relatively experienced with what I've been doing, but
        starting over from scratch makes me realize how much methods and
        equipment depend on each other. Thanks for any input.
        >
        > -Zapata
        > ¡Tierra y Libertad!
        >
      • morganfield1
        Hi Zap, My dumb opinions are interspersed. ... positive / neutral setup? What would you do with the given pipe / water heater, and desire for both flavor and
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 2, 2008
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          Hi Zap,

          My dumb opinions are interspersed.

          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Zapata Vive" <zapatavive@...>
          wrote:
          >
          >>
          >
          > 1. Does anybody have a better idea for a convertible flavor
          positive / neutral setup? What would you do with the given pipe /
          water heater, and desire for both flavor and flavorless?

          How tall is the water heater? Most 40 gal heaters I've seen are
          around 5' high already. Tack on another 3 or 4 feet of column and
          we're talking about some serious height here!
          >
          > 2. I love the bokakob designs, anybody have a reason for going
          with one of his other designs over the slant elliptical plate? Maybe
          the two cups design, I like it, but haven't heard much buzz about it?

          I like his designs, also. I'm not familiar with the two cup design.
          The only thing about the Mini-Still that I'm not really fond of, is
          that the slanted plates can make taking the packing out (for flavored
          runs) more difficult. You have to "hook" them out.
          >
          > On column length, how big should each one be? If the condenser is
          12", Then my short still could have a 20" column. I could add on the
          full 36" piece for an almost 5' tall column for neutral runs, but is
          that overkill? Done the other way the short one could be 24" column,
          and adding up to 32" in addition to that. Or, option three would be
          having the head separate, and just putting it on the 20 inch column
          or the 36" inch column. Oh, decisions, decisions.....

          Again, this is JMSO, but this is a liquid Management still, so if
          you're using it as a pot still, a 20" column is plenty. Then, for
          neutral spirits, just add put your 36" (scrubber impregnated) piece
          between the present column and the boiler, and you're shinin' with
          the best of 'em.
          >
          >>
          > 3. This is a huge boiler compared to the keg I'm used to. When
          making flavored spirits like whiskey, should I bother to continue to
          do beer stripping runs? Why not just do 30 gallon batches and make
          the cuts from there? Will it not work that way? Should I change
          where I've been making my cuts? (btw wash is usually 8-10% if that
          matters).

          That is a good question, there are opinions both ways.
          >
          > 4. I don't want to get into power regulation devices. I'd rather
          just change the heating element. What wattages do you suggest for
          whiskey/rum runs on the short stubby 2" column, and for a 3-4 foot
          tall reflux column? A higher powered element if I want to do
          stripping runs?

          I think you're going to run into problems with the upper element!
          Remember, the elements MUST remain submerged during the boil. Adding
          another element at the bottom might be tough, because the water
          heater is probably glass lined. With only one element, I think you're
          looking at power control, or waiting for a long boil up.

          Another thing, if you're making flavored spirits, you're going to
          have to clean that boiler once and a while. Either you've got long,
          skinny arms, or you're going to have to hire a pigmy.
          >
          > 5. How much wattage can the standard 25' condenser coil handle if
          I were doing stripping runs with the short still? Or in other words,
          what should my limit be based on? 2" column? length of condenser
          coil? I can't go higher than about 4500 watts due to my available
          electricity, but could I go that high for stripping runs? I could
          make a longer condenser coil if it would be helpful for faster
          stripping...

          I've heard of stills running as high as 4500 watts, but not many.
          There are formulas on "Homedistillers" and the library that will help
          you figure out how much coil you'll need for X amount of power, but
          the Mini-Still is just that, a MINI still. It was designed for a 5
          gal (or so) batch, and the power required to heat that amount.

          Another thing, pushing vapor up an empty 2" pipe is one thing,
          pushing it thru packing, now you have to match power to packing
          hieght.
          >
          >HTH,
          Tip one, Morgan
        • Robert N
          Personally I would cut the 32” piece off at 16”. The 16” is to be used as a stripping/flavour “tower” and the other half is used as the “Head”
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 2, 2008
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            Personally I would cut the 32” piece off at 16”. The 16” is to be used as a stripping/flavour “tower” and the other half is used as the “Head” and the condenser “shell”. Procure several couplings or something to enable you to join and separate the boiler, tower, head and shell at will. use the 36”piece as the neutral spirit tower.

             

            For the Head Use 12” as the shell, this should leave you with 4” to use to make a Bokokob EL or slanted plate design head (I do), it will only require about 4” of pipe to make the head. However given that those figures are flexible, any excess pipe you could use on the bottom of the head to lengthen the towers. Ie stuff some scrubbers etc into the bottom of the head up to but not touching the bottom plate. Now you are probably thinking why do I need that extra bit. Well you don’t. However it will give you extra purity on the Neutral tower and provide some reflux in the flavour/stripping tower. It’s your call, you could always shorten it by that much if you need to.

             

            As to wattage, well I have 2 boilers, one with an 1800 watt x 240volt element for neutral spirit and the other has a 2400 watt x 240volt element for stripping. The 2400 watt element is getting close to flooding if I use a 2” tower with the stainless steel scrubbers that I use. The limit of heat used is how much vapour will physically travel up the tower per second, before it floods. The stills that I have read about from memory that use 4500 watt elements, usually have larger diameter or multiple towers.

             

            From memory, the wattage of the element is the same no matter the voltage, so please check, i.e. an 1800 watt 240 volt element produces the same heat as an 1800 watt 110 volt element.

             

            Personally I would stick with kegs as they are a good size, their tough, last a lifetime, you are able to modify as needed and their easy to clean.

             

            30 gallons of wash is quite heavy and will take a long time to even strip approximately 18 hours with a 240 watt element. Then you have to collect and store the output.

             

            Unless you have an abundant water supply, you also should think about the water you use. Think about Harry’s design especially for the condenser, which from memory is on his site. As to the answer to No 5 the answer is “it depends on the flow rate of the water you push through it. However I was able to cool 2400 watts, just with a flow rate of 2 litres(~0.5us gallon) per minute.

            Fact is this sort of flow rate using plastic garden hose connectors will see water leaks. Hence the reason for a decent pump and screw fittings.

             

            Finally these decisions are worthy of some serious thought, due to the cost of changing things later on. So make sure you build in ways of modifying easily, i.e. always use the same fittings for the tower connectors, the same size hose and connectors etc.

             

             

            Cheers

             

            Robert

             

            From: Distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Zapata Vive
            Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 7:02 AM
            To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Bulk] [Distillers] starting over from scratch

             

            Hey there distillers.  Thought I might ask for some thoughts on my new setup.  A little background, I've run a pot still rig:  Keg boiler, propane fired, 1.25 inch "column", glass thumper jar, liebig condenser.  Alas this wasn't actually my still and now it has moved away from me.  I've also been a steady reader here, in new distillers, Tony's site, Harry's library, and of Pure Corn Whiskey.  My interest is primarily in flavored spirits, but do plan on making some neutral.  Since I've lost "my" still, I'm starting everything over.  New equipment is going to mean new methods too, so I'd like some input on some things.

             

            I have in my possession a 40 gallon water heater, a 32" piece of 2" copper, and a 36" piece of 2" copper.  I was thinking I'd use the 32" piece for an elliptical slant plate bokakob and use this for whiskey, use some packing, but not run it at reflux (or per Smiley, at a little reflux).  I'm thinking I could just add the 36" column in with a coupler for neutral runs.  I'll probably toy around with adding ARC to the head somehow for neutral runs.

             

            1.  Does anybody have a better idea for a convertible flavor positive / neutral setup?  What would you do with the given pipe / water heater, and desire for both flavor and flavorless?

             

            2.  I love the bokakob designs, anybody have a reason for going with one of his other designs over the slant elliptical plate?  Maybe the two cups design, I like it, but haven't heard much buzz about it?

             

            On column length, how big should each one be? If the condenser is 12", Then my short still could have a 20" column.  I could add on the full 36" piece for an almost 5' tall column for neutral runs, but is that overkill?  Done the other way the short one could be 24" column, and adding up to 32" in addition to that.  Or, option three would be having the head separate, and just putting it on the 20 inch column or the 36" inch column.  Oh, decisions, decisions.....

             

            Now, since I've acquired this water heater, I'm thinking of switching over to electric.  I have a few questions here.

             

            3.  This is a huge boiler compared to the keg I'm used to.  When making flavored spirits like whiskey, should I bother to continue to do beer stripping runs?  Why not just do 30 gallon batches and make the cuts from there?  Will it not work that way?  Should I change where I've been making my cuts?  (btw wash is usually 8-10% if that matters).

             

            4.  I don't want to get into power regulation devices.  I'd rather just change the heating element.  What wattages do you suggest for whiskey/rum runs on the short stubby 2" column, and for a 3-4 foot tall reflux column?  A higher powered element if I want to do stripping runs?

             

            5.  How much wattage can the standard 25' condenser coil handle if I were doing stripping runs with the short still?  Or in other words, what should my limit be based on?  2" column?  length of condenser coil?  I can't go higher than about 4500 watts due to my available electricity, but could I go that high for stripping runs?  I could make a longer condenser coil if it would be helpful for faster stripping...

             

            As I said, I'm relatively experienced with what I've been doing, but starting over from scratch makes me realize how much methods and equipment depend on each other.  Thanks for any input.

             

            -Zapata

            ¡Tierra y Libertad!

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