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Heat sensing top or bottom

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  • cyberfox95
    Just a question about the temp of wash & temp of vapour. I have only run my still once and was a bit confused when I did my shake down runs with water only how
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 2, 2002
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      Just a question about the temp of wash & temp of vapour. I have only
      run my still once and was a bit confused when I did my shake down
      runs with water only how much the temp changed when cooling water to
      condensor was applied.As this is an internal reflux still with
      cooling tube passing through column atbottom, into condensor then
      back through column at top this knocks the temp of vapour down at
      least 20-30deg. So with thermomentor at top of column reading below
      that of the temp of wash, wouldnt it be better to have a thermomentor
      reading temp of wash and go by that when collecting alchohol. I hope
      this makes sense .
      Dennis
    • cyberfox95
      Just an add on to last question. Should have read thermomentor in wash as well as in top.
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 2, 2002
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        Just an add on to last question. Should have read thermomentor in
        wash as well as in top.
      • Tony & Elle Ackland
        ... As with your design there is very little control over the reflux, then maybe the product out the top is only an outcome over which you have little control,
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 2, 2002
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          >So with thermomentor at top of column reading below
          > that of the temp of wash, wouldnt it be better to have a thermomentor
          > reading temp of wash and go by that when collecting alchohol. I hope
          > this makes sense .

          A thermometer in the wash will tell you the temperature/purity of the wash,
          whereas the one at the top of the column will tell you what you're about to
          collect. The two can & will be very different. Its possible to collect 95%
          out the top, when the pot may only have 2% alcohol in it.

          You want to know what it is at the top of the column, so that you can
          adjust the reflux & hence keep the purity that you're aiming for.

          The one in the wash will tell you that the wash is running out of alcohol,
          and that it might be time to stop soon before hitting the tails.

          Both are useful, and it depends on what & how you want to run your column.

          As with your design there is very little control over the reflux, then
          maybe the product out the top is only an outcome over which you have little
          control, and it will do its own thing anyway. Thus yes, for you, the top
          one may not help much.

          But in other designs, with greater control over the reflux ratio, the top
          one really does help.

          Some other posts a few months back even suggested that monitoring the
          temperature part way up the column was off good use - as it showed the
          movement of the purity stages, and hence they could be
          counteracted/controlled before they came out the top as substandard
          product.

          Tony
        • voodoo_klan
          I have always struggled with this theory and would like to know if Tony or anyone could clarrify it for me. I built a modified reflux column (diagram available
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 5, 2002
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            I have always struggled with this theory and would like to know if
            Tony or anyone could clarrify it for me.


            I built a modified reflux column (diagram available in under files
            still.jpg) that has three cooling tube running through the top of th
            e column. The coulmn is 4' tall 2" dia and the cooling tubes run
            through the top 18" of the column 9" apart, i draw my cooling water
            from a modifiied ice chest and rv pump with a two valved system (one
            for cooling tubes and the other the shotgun condenser(always runs
            wide open)). I have ran the still twice using SS scubers (thats a
            pain packing, still loking for a good alternative) and have used both
            cooling tubes once and the last just one. I have a two lead digital
            thermometer with one lead in the pot and the other at the top of the
            column.

            As a am only interested in purity i loose alot of yeild and start
            collecting late and end collecting early (I determine this by my
            bottom lead). I feel safe that way, but this also lies in the fact
            that im worried that while i am adjusting temp and cooling flow. That
            i am changing the steam temp at the top to get a constent 78.4. Well
            wouldn't this continue even after all the eth has been boiled out,
            wouldn't i be able to hold the steam temp steady? I already
            constintly make adjustments throughout the process. I wouldn't want
            to do this and continue the distillation process thinking im
            collecting 78.4 steam thats pure when actually it is contaminated.

            Could you please clarify for me or should i just be happy with the
            yeild loss. Or have a overlooked and forgotten something that is so
            obvious that i cant remember anymore.

            Voodoo
          • klcampbell
            G day Voodoo klan,try not using any of the through tubes and only use the shotgun condenser,then ignore the temperature in the wash and monitor closely the
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 6, 2002
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              G'day Voodoo klan,try not using any of the through tubes and only use the shotgun condenser,then ignore the temperature in the wash and monitor closely the vapour temperature at the top of the tower.Providing your heat source is closely controlled you will know when the heads appear and also when the good stuff starts to take over,watch the thermometer and when and only when it settles down to a steady reading ,are you collecting the top percentage material.Do not rush and always remember that if you are not happy with the results tip it back into the still and run it again.The alcohol is never lost until you tip it down the drain.Regards,Ken.  
              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Wednesday, 6 February 2002 7:14
              Subject: [Distillers] Re: Heat sensing top or bottom

                I have always struggled with this theory and would like to know if
              Tony or anyone could clarrify it for me.


              I built a modified reflux column (diagram available in under files
              still.jpg) that has three cooling tube running through the top of th
              e column. The coulmn is 4' tall 2" dia and the cooling tubes run
              through the top 18" of the column 9" apart, i draw my cooling water
              from a modifiied ice chest and rv pump with a two valved system (one
              for cooling tubes and the other the shotgun condenser(always runs
              wide open)). I have ran the still twice using SS scubers (thats a
              pain packing, still loking for a good alternative) and have used both
              cooling tubes once and the last just one. I have a two lead digital
              thermometer with one lead in the pot and the other at the top of the
              column. 

              As a am only interested in purity i loose alot of yeild and start
              collecting late and end collecting early (I determine this by my
              bottom lead). I feel safe that way, but this also lies in the fact
              that im worried that while i am adjusting temp and cooling flow. That
              i am changing the steam temp at the top to get a constent 78.4.  Well
              wouldn't this continue even after all the eth has been boiled out,
              wouldn't i be able to hold the steam temp steady? I already
              constintly make adjustments throughout the process. I wouldn't want
              to do this and continue the distillation process thinking im
              collecting 78.4 steam thats pure when actually it is contaminated.

              Could you please clarify for me or should i just be happy with the
              yeild loss.  Or have a overlooked and forgotten something that is so
              obvious that i cant remember anymore.

              Voodoo


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            • Tony & Elle Ackland
              Voodoo ... The first point to consider is that the product of a sugar-wash, thats been through a happy healthy fermentation, should be just about all ethanol,
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 10, 2002
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                Voodoo

                > im worried that while i am adjusting temp and cooling flow. That
                > i am changing the steam temp at the top to get a constent 78.4. Well
                > wouldn't this continue even after all the eth has been boiled out,
                > wouldn't i be able to hold the steam temp steady? I already
                > constintly make adjustments throughout the process. I wouldn't want
                > to do this and continue the distillation process thinking im
                > collecting 78.4 steam thats pure when actually it is contaminated.

                The first point to consider is that the product of a sugar-wash, thats been
                through a happy healthy fermentation, should be just about all ethanol, and
                very little else.

                Next, of the other potential impurities, not too many will be present
                around 78C. When the tails do start to come through, the still really
                struggles to hold its temperature, despite you dialling up heaps of
                reflux. You'll see this as fluctuations in the temperature, and quite a
                decrease in the collection rate.

                Lastly - when collecting tails, your nose will let you know that they're
                there.

                Experiment with your next batch a little. After you've collected what you
                normally do, start collecting the next lot in some smaller collection
                containers. As long as you can hold the temperature nice and low, you'll
                find that the product is still very clean & able to be kept. As the
                temperature keeps trying to rise, increase your reflux ratio to try and
                keep the product pure. At somepoint, you'll find that you're down to
                collecting very little. If you can get sufficient reflux happening, this
                will still be quite pure & OK to keep. If however you max out on the
                amount of reflux, there will come a point where the temperature will begin
                to rise, regardless. Keep periodically sniffing/tasting this material.
                Initially it wont be too tainted, and ok to keep as is. As it gets
                stronger in impurities, you may want to collect this in a jar labelled
                "redistill later". At this point, i usually decrease the reflux ratio, and
                take this next bit off in a hurry - the temperature will rise heaps, and
                the purity drops. I'll collect it up to around 96C.

                This "redistill" stuff gets added to the next batch - so the ethanol it
                contains is never lost, but just got to a little later.

                By stopping at 96, it means that the real heavy impurities get to stay in
                the boiler. That way they don't get to accurmulate / increase from one
                run to the next - you simply cream off the ethanol, and leave the major
                impurities to be thrown away down the sink each time. You're only ever
                collecting up to a low threshold concentration.

                By doing this experimenting in small collection volumes, you dont risk
                ruining your major batch of high quality spirit. Any that doesnt taste too
                good to drink simply gets redistilled and cleaned up next time. That way
                your yield doesnt have to suffer, it is only slightly delayed.

                Tony
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