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Re: [Distillers] Re: Theoretical plates in a whisk(e)y still?

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  • zapatavive@suddenlink.net
    Now that was exactly what I wanted to read! Thank you once again kind sir!
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 5, 2009
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      Now that was exactly what I wanted to read! Thank you once again kind sir!

      ---- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:

      >
      > Heh, ya dinna hae ta tell me twice! :)
      >
      > First let me say this...the Scotch pot stills of today are a far cry
      > technically from their ancestors, even though they appear similar to the
      > eye. Modern innovations like gas-fired steam heating (replacing
      > 'direct' firing) and electronic monitoring, plus 'shell & tube'
      > condensers replacing the old 'worm' condensers, and GC analysis makes
      > for a far more precise product than ever before.
      >
      > Couple this with the modern taste for 'blended' malts like Ballantyne's
      > (requires 42 different single malts) and you have a myriad of variables
      > to get your head around.
      >
      > But that doesn't answer your question. So I'll give you an extract from
      > a recent collaborative paper between Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay
      > in Scotland, and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-2200, USA.
      >
      >
      > <extract>
      >
      >
      > Still Construction and Shape:
    • waljaco
      Most scottish whisky stills are ex-gin stills from England. Most whisky is blended whisky i.e. pot still (malt whisky) and Coffey (column) still (grain whisky)
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 5, 2009
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        Most scottish whisky stills are ex-gin stills from England. Most whisky is
        blended whisky i.e. pot still (malt whisky) and Coffey (column) still (grain
        whisky) products. Most grain whisky goes to english gin manufacturers. Use
        abv output as your guide for a pot still.
        wal
        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Zapata Vive" <zapatavive@...> wrote:
        >
        > Actually I'm wondering about whiskey and whisky stills, not pot stills. Yes, a
        pot still = 1 plate, pretty much by definition. But a huge copper pot, only half
        full, with an exaggerated tapering top, no insulation, and a lyne arm that
        sometimes slopes up, does not make a simple pot still. Maybe the "theoretical
        plates" are less than 2, but surely more than 1. If not, why don't they just use
        flat topped perfectly insulated boilers with just enough headspace to keep the
        foam under control?
        >
        > You're a pro though, so I won't pull any quotes that discuss the reflux that
        occurs in whiskey stills, as I'm sure you've read more than I have on the
        subject. But none of the literature that I've read gives any indication for how
        much reflux occurs in commercial whiskey stills, just that some does, and the
        amount varies from still to still and distillery to distillery.
        >
        > So, any ideas how much reflux is going on in those big whiskey stills?
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Harry
        > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:17 AM
        > Subject: [Distillers] Re: Theoretical plates in a whisk(e)y still?
        >
        >
        > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Zapata Vive" <zapatavive@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Anybody have any idea how how many theoretical plates there are in
        > whisky or whiskey stills? There is some reflux going on in those
        > beautiful pots and lynes, but just how much? Any good guesses out
        > there?
        > >
        >
        > Column stills = however many physical plates are put in them (more than
        > 10)
        >
        > Brandy stills (eau-de-vie) = 3 to 5 physical plates
        >
        > But you were referring to pot stills, yes?
        >
        > Pot still = 1 plate
        >
        > Pot still + 1 thumper = 2 plates
        >
        > Pot still + 2 thumpers = 3 plates
        >
        > Getting the pattern?
        >
        > Whiskies are usually charged to the spirit still (2nd still) at 27-30%
        > a/v. Then given a single distillation, which yields potable spirit at
        > around 70+% a/v.
        >
        > Use Tony's site to get a handle on this.
        > Try the first calculator at 30% and 1 plate.
        > http://homedistiller.org/refluxdesign.htm
        >
        > Slainte!
        > regards Harry
        >
      • Harry
        ... Are you talking pot stills or columns, Wal? 50% of all Scottish pot stills are built by Forsyth s of Rothe. Pot stills require the boiler to be replaced
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 5, 2009
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          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "waljaco" <waljaco@...> wrote:
          >
          > Most scottish whisky stills are ex-gin stills from England.


          Are you talking pot stills or columns, Wal?

          50% of all Scottish pot stills are built by Forsyth's of Rothe. Pot
          stills require the boiler to be replaced each 25 years, the upper
          parts each 10-15 years.
          http://www.thewhiskystore.de/experts/copper.htm

          For a good description of the birth in 1955 (and subsequent demise in
          the 1980's) of the experimental Lomond still of Hiram Walker, see
          here...
          http://tinyurl.com/7m48ta


          "There are two main types of Scotch whisky, which in turn can be
          combined to give further types. Malt whisky can contain no grain
          other than malted barley, and is almost always distilled in batches
          in traditional distilleries in pot stills. Grain whisky can be made
          from unmalted barley or other malted or unmalted grains like wheat
          and maize. It is usually distilled in industrial-scale continuous
          column stills called Coffey Stills. There are currently around 100
          active malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, with several more being
          planned or built. This compares with just seven grain distilleries in
          Scotland, though each of these has an output far larger than most
          malt distilleries."
          [Source:
          http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usscotfax/ent/whisky.html%5d

          Slainte!
          regards Harry
        • waljaco
          When gin drinking was suppressed in England the frugal Scots bought up the pot stills - some have/had a limited reflux in the manner of a Moor s Head still.
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 7, 2009
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            When gin drinking was suppressed in England the frugal Scots bought
            up the pot stills - some have/had a limited reflux in the manner of a
            Moor's Head still.
            The frugal Scots also use second-hand barrels to store their product!
            wal
            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "waljaco" <waljaco@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Most scottish whisky stills are ex-gin stills from England.
            >
            >
            > Are you talking pot stills or columns, Wal?
            >
            > 50% of all Scottish pot stills are built by Forsyth's of Rothe. Pot
            > stills require the boiler to be replaced each 25 years, the upper
            > parts each 10-15 years.
            > http://www.thewhiskystore.de/experts/copper.htm
            >
            > For a good description of the birth in 1955 (and subsequent demise in
            > the 1980's) of the experimental Lomond still of Hiram Walker, see
            > here...
            > http://tinyurl.com/7m48ta
            >
            >
            > "There are two main types of Scotch whisky, which in turn can be
            > combined to give further types. Malt whisky can contain no grain
            > other than malted barley, and is almost always distilled in batches
            > in traditional distilleries in pot stills. Grain whisky can be made
            > from unmalted barley or other malted or unmalted grains like wheat
            > and maize. It is usually distilled in industrial-scale continuous
            > column stills called Coffey Stills. There are currently around 100
            > active malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, with several more being
            > planned or built. This compares with just seven grain distilleries in
            > Scotland, though each of these has an output far larger than most
            > malt distilleries."
            > [Source:
            > http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usscotfax/ent/whisky.html%5d
            >
            > Slainte!
            > regards Harry
            >
          • justin webster
            hello people, didn t get any bites on the newdistillers list so I m hoping one of you chaps will have some ideas on this: I recently inherited a hand
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 8, 2009
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              hello people,
              didn't get any bites on the newdistillers list so I'm hoping one of
              you chaps will have some ideas on this:

              I recently inherited a hand refractometer which I excitedly put to use
              on several brews.
              I was hoping that a combination of SG and Brix would give me a better
              estimation of alcohol content in the beer.
              what I have noticed is that my calculations of sugar/alcohol content
              using the refractometer readings are quite different from those using
              specific gravity.
              of course I expected there to be a difference but not to such an extent.

              here are some numbers from a recent rum batch:
              calc Brix by volume 25
              actual Brix start 23
              actual Brix end 7
              SG start 1.090
              SG end .994
              potential ABV (vol) 14.7
              potential ABV (Brix) 13.53
              actual ABV (SG) 12.384
              actual ABV (Brix) 9.411

              now I am aware that I have not been fermenting out all sugars
              (slightly lazy with temperature and Ph management) but I think the SG
              numbers seem about right.
              it sure seems like I can never get a brix reading under 7 or 8. this
              was true with palm sugar washes as well as my recent rum batches.
              I'm wondering if all the other by-products of fermentation (yeast in
              particular) would bias the brix reading to a greater extent than the SG.

              both hydrometer and refractometer seem to be calibrated correctly and
              I'm pretty sure my math is solid.

              so can a refractometer be trusted?

              justin
            • harisaki2004
              Justin, I have tried using a refractometer for wine, but is inaccurate because you are dealing with sugar and alcohol based liquid. Stick with hydrometers this
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 8, 2009
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                Justin,

                I have tried using a refractometer for wine, but is inaccurate because
                you are dealing with sugar and alcohol based liquid. Stick with
                hydrometers this is what the industry uses.

                Refractometers are OK for mono liquids not binary liquids.

                regards

                Hari.


                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, justin webster <mail@...> wrote:
                >
                > hello people,
                > didn't get any bites on the newdistillers list so I'm hoping one of
                > you chaps will have some ideas on this:
                >
                > I recently inherited a hand refractometer which I excitedly put to use
                > on several brews.
                > I was hoping that a combination of SG and Brix would give me a better
                > estimation of alcohol content in the beer.
                > what I have noticed is that my calculations of sugar/alcohol content
                > using the refractometer readings are quite different from those using
                > specific gravity.
                > of course I expected there to be a difference but not to such an extent.
                >
                > here are some numbers from a recent rum batch:
                > calc Brix by volume 25
                > actual Brix start 23
                > actual Brix end 7
                > SG start 1.090
                > SG end .994
                > potential ABV (vol) 14.7
                > potential ABV (Brix) 13.53
                > actual ABV (SG) 12.384
                > actual ABV (Brix) 9.411
                >
                > now I am aware that I have not been fermenting out all sugars
                > (slightly lazy with temperature and Ph management) but I think the SG
                > numbers seem about right.
                > it sure seems like I can never get a brix reading under 7 or 8. this
                > was true with palm sugar washes as well as my recent rum batches.
                > I'm wondering if all the other by-products of fermentation (yeast in
                > particular) would bias the brix reading to a greater extent than the SG.
                >
                > both hydrometer and refractometer seem to be calibrated correctly and
                > I'm pretty sure my math is solid.
                >
                > so can a refractometer be trusted?
                >
                > justin
                >
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