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Re: [Distillers] Rum!

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  • Matt
    ... heh de-tuning a still, nice usage. well i can t think of any, steady as she goes. the reflux should give you a high level of control over the run. use
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 1, 2002
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      On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 11:57:50PM -0000, mattdistiller wrote:
      > Distilling in a Nixon-Stone design still. Planning on 'de-tuning'
      > slightly to increase flavour coming over, and distilling a lot faster
      > than normal. Has 2 internal elements.

      heh de-tuning a still, nice usage. well i can't think of any, steady as
      she goes. the reflux should give you a high level of control over the
      run. use the Smiley hints on cuts and tasting. inspect your elements
      after the run to see if they've carbonized any residual sugars/gunk.
      let us know what happens..good luck!

      -matt in SF

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      psibercom.org: doing pretty much nothing for the net since 1994!
    • mattdistiller
      Hi all, Well, I finished distilling my new rum wash, and it all worked well! A reminder of the wash: 6.4 kg mollasses, made up to 26L with water, champagne
      Message 2 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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        Hi all,

        Well, I finished distilling my new rum wash, and it all worked well!

        A reminder of the wash: 6.4 kg mollasses, made up to 26L with water,
        champagne yeast pitched, fermented for 14 days at 20 degrees C,
        settled two days at 4 degrees C, transferred to another fermenter,
        settled a further 2 days 4 degrees C, and then distilled. I also
        added 902 mL of 90% vodka head/tails as an adjunct, to increase the
        total rum yield.

        I distilled the wash in my Nixon Stone still, set up as normal. When
        the head reached temperature, it settled at 78.1 degrees C. After
        120 mL of foreshots, the temp increased to 78.4. I then collected
        820mL of 'heads' at 1 drop/sec, which I have kept to add to the next
        run. I then increased the flow rate to 250mL/15 minutes, which I
        kept constant for the remander of the run. I then collected a little
        over 1750mL of 95% alcohol. The tmperature at the start of the
        middle run was 78.5 and stayed constant for the first 1000mL or so.
        The temp then slowly started creeping up, and the flavour also. I
        stopped collecting when I felt the flavour was too 'acrid', which
        equated to around 79-80 degrees C. I then collected a further 162mL
        of tails up to 90 degrees C. As far as making the 'cut' goes, I
        basically followed the description Ian Smiley has in the corn whiskey
        book - and it worked well!

        After washing out the still, I was pleased to find the internal
        elements had no burnt muck on them - in fact, they were cleaner than
        when I started! So waiting until the ferment had finished
        completley, and then the settling time and ferment vessel change
        seems to have done the trick! I was also pleased to see that
        the 'scum line' up the side of the boiler was only at about the 45L
        mark, so the froth didn't fill the headspace of my 60L boiler - thats
        good. It also lets me know not to distill more than 25-30L of 'high
        foam potential' wash in my boiler!

        The flavour is very noticable, quite comparable to bought white rum
        (but I would say a little smoother) and my wife says 'yummy' - so I
        guess thats a winner. I have cut it to 50%, and now have a bit over
        half soaking on toasted and untoasted american oak chips. The other
        portion I am keeping as white rum.

        Whilst toasting the oak, I had a fun little episode - I wrapped the
        oak chips in foil, and put them in the oven at 240 degrees C - the
        same as I have in the past. However, in the midway turn, I somehow
        ripped the foil with the tongs I was using. I didn't notice at the
        time, but noticed abour 4 minutes later when they burst into flames!
        A quick fold up with the tongs stopped the flames, and into the sink
        with some water finished it off. It did smell good though..... ;-)

        Anyway, it has been another succesfull distilling experience, and I
        can't wait to try the rum 'properly'!

        Thanks to everyone for the help!

        Matt (Bris)
      • Matt
        ... Matt, thanks for the war story, this is excellent info. Did you go ahead with your de-tuning of the still first? If so, what exactly did you do?
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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          On Sun, Mar 03, 2002 at 08:21:53AM -0000, mattdistiller wrote:
          > Well, I finished distilling my new rum wash, and it all worked well!
          >
          > equated to around 79-80 degrees C. I then collected a further 162mL
          > of tails up to 90 degrees C. As far as making the 'cut' goes, I
          > basically followed the description Ian Smiley has in the corn whiskey
          > book - and it worked well!

          Matt, thanks for the war story, this is excellent info. Did you go ahead with
          your "de-tuning" of the still first? If so, what exactly did you do? Interesting
          that your elements were so clean, your settled wash must have been nice and clear.
          Although, the large adjunct of vodka thrown in could have helped some, too :)

          -matt SF
          --
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          Matthew @ psibercom
          psibercom.org: doing pretty much nothing for the net since 1994!
        • mattdistiller
          ... ahead with ... do? My column is 1.2m x 50mm, and I usually fill it all the way up to the top with scrubbers - 18 large ones. For this run, I only put in
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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            > Matt, thanks for the war story, this is excellent info. Did you go
            ahead with
            > your "de-tuning" of the still first? If so, what exactly did you
            do?

            My column is 1.2m x 50mm, and I usually fill it all the way up to the
            top with scrubbers - 18 large ones. For this run, I only put in 12,
            the same as when I did my citrus run. The other part of the 'de-
            tuning' is the running at constant collection speed. For a vodka
            run, I reduce the speed towards the end to ensure the head temp
            doesn't rise, and I get pure vodka. Obviously thats not what I
            wanted here! So by collecting at a constant speed throughout
            distillation, towards the end the head temp increased slowly, and as
            I said, the flavour came accross nicely!

            > Interesting
            > that your elements were so clean, your settled wash must have been
            nice and clear.
            > Although, the large adjunct of vodka thrown in could have helped
            some, too :)

            I'm sure the adjunct helped a little! The wash wasn't really 'clear'
            as such, it was still VERY black, and had a lot of scum on the top
            after the wash finished. However, the settling did remove a lot of
            the suspended particles, so I guess it was a nice 'black clear'? ;-)

            I forgot to mention in my 'war story' the way I transferred the wash
            to the still. Because of the foaming I was getting, I used the
            priciple of a protein skimmer for aquaculture systems. I used an ice
            cream container with holes cut around the middle about halfway up the
            sides. In the middles of the inside of the ice cream container, I
            had a takeaway container raised up to be level almost with the top of
            the ice-cream container, with holes cut in the bottom, and a course
            coffee filter sat in very roughly - the coffee filter wasn't to
            filter the wash, rather to slow the ravel through the holes in the
            bottom. I sat the fermenter up high on the bench, and opened the tap
            at the bottom. The wash pours into the takeaway container/coffee
            filter and froths up, and the liquid drains from the bottom, so the
            froth and particles stay on top. The liquid draining through falls
            into the ice cream container, and again froths up, and as it rises up
            the side and above the holes, again the froth stays on top and the
            liquid runs out the holes. At the end, there is a fair bit of froth
            and gunk in the two containers, and hopefully less in the wash!

            This worked very well, and now I am going to build a proper protein
            skimmer to be used with the wash as it is transferred to the still.
            I'll let you know how it goes.

            Matt
          • raja_aho
            Would it stop the foaming by using a tube from fermenter to the bottom of your boiler, same as transfering beer from fermenter to a keg? Then putting a few
            Message 5 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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              Would it stop the foaming by using a tube from fermenter to the
              bottom of your boiler, same as transfering beer from fermenter to a
              keg?
              Then putting a few drops of olive oil on top before heating might
              stop it foaming during the run?
              Reima
              > I forgot to mention in my 'war story' the way I transferred the
              wash
              > to the still. Because of the foaming I was getting, I used the
              > priciple of a protein skimmer for aquaculture systems. I used an
              ice
              > cream container with holes cut around the middle about halfway up
              the
              > sides. In the middles of the inside of the ice cream container, I
              > had a takeaway container raised up to be level almost with the top
              of
              > the ice-cream container, with holes cut in the bottom, and a course
              > coffee filter sat in very roughly - the coffee filter wasn't to
              > filter the wash, rather to slow the ravel through the holes in the
              > bottom. I sat the fermenter up high on the bench, and opened the
              tap
              > at the bottom. The wash pours into the takeaway container/coffee
              > filter and froths up, and the liquid drains from the bottom, so the
              > froth and particles stay on top. The liquid draining through falls
              > into the ice cream container, and again froths up, and as it rises
              up
              > the side and above the holes, again the froth stays on top and the
              > liquid runs out the holes. At the end, there is a fair bit of
              froth
              > and gunk in the two containers, and hopefully less in the wash!
              >
              > This worked very well, and now I am going to build a proper protein
              > skimmer to be used with the wash as it is transferred to the
              still.
              > I'll let you know how it goes.
              >
              > Matt
            • mattdistiller
              ... Reima, What you say is true, but I my idea isn t to actually stop the foaming as such, but remove the agents/impurities/susspended solids that cause the
              Message 6 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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                --- In Distillers@y..., "raja_aho" <raja_aho@y...> wrote:
                > Would it stop the foaming by using a tube from fermenter to the
                > bottom of your boiler, same as transfering beer from fermenter to a
                > keg?
                > Then putting a few drops of olive oil on top before heating might
                > stop it foaming during the run?

                Reima,

                What you say is true, but I my idea isn't to actually stop the
                foaming as such, but remove the agents/impurities/susspended solids
                that cause the foaming. As I described my 'test' system, it was only
                that - I had the idea about 10 minutes before I was going to distill,
                and my aparatus took me that long to make!

                However, what I want to achieve is better than that. I am a
                freswater and marine ecologist, and so have a very good knowledge of
                these types of things - i just can't believe I haven't put this
                thought train together sooner!

                Foaming is typically caused by very small particles and dissolved
                organic particles which work as a protein 'detergant' to make the
                foam. Now while the foam is annoying, thats isn't my main concern -
                I have enough head space in my boiler to cope with it. My concern is
                the undesirable 'burnt' and 'off' flavours that can result. Enter the
                protein skimmer.

                Protein skimmers are used in marine sytems to remove these small
                particles, proteins and dissolved organics. They are very simple in
                design - basically an airstone creates hundreds if bubbles in a long
                tube as the liquid flows the opposite dirrection to the bubble
                stream. The bubbles pick up all the small particles and dissolved
                organics by making the foam, which goes to the top of the tube, and
                so is removed from the liquid. Simply, it is fractional foam
                seperation of small particles and dissolved organics. For a little
                more info there is heaps on the web, such as:
                <http://saltaquarium.about.com/library/weekly/aa101701.htm>

                Now, to apply it to a wash to be distilled, a protein skimmer will
                hopefully help remove any small particles (such as yeast and non-
                fermetable solids) as well as any dissolved organics. I can only see
                this as a good thing.

                To take it even simpler, I figure you could actually use the
                fermenter as the protein skimmer as follows.

                1. Ferment as normal, and let settle as normal. For me, this mean 2
                days settling at 4 degrees C, change the fermenter leaving behind
                settled deposit, and repeat again.
                2. At this stage, I would normally then transefer to the boiler,
                again leaving behind the deposit. However, rather than doing this, I
                would now transfer it to another fermenter (the first one cleaned
                out!), leaving behind the deposit.
                3. Now we turn the fermenter into a protein skimmer. The way I see
                to do this, is insert a couple of limewood airstones into the wash,
                and let it bubble furiously, The foam will go to the top. You will
                need some weights to keep the airstones on the bottom - some
                stainless steel would be perfect. After 30 minutes or so, the bottom
                valve on the fermenter gets opened, and the wash goes into the
                boiler. As the water level drops, we have the water flow going th
                opposite way to the bubbles, so have the proper effect. Hopefully,
                all the foam stays up the top, and we therefor have less in the
                wash. Anyway, I will try it next wash!

                Any thoughts/ideas/questions anyone?

                Matt (Bris)
              • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
                ... Just don t strip too much of the alcohol out of the wash with the air. It probably wouldn t be much loss in such a short time period anyhow. Could even
                Message 7 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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                  > 3. Now we turn the fermenter into a protein skimmer. The way I see
                  > to do this, is insert a couple of limewood airstones into the wash,
                  > and let it bubble furiously, The foam will go to the top. You will
                  > need some weights to keep the airstones on the bottom - some
                  > stainless steel would be perfect. After 30 minutes or so,

                  Just don't strip too much of the alcohol out of the wash with the air. It probably wouldn't be much loss in such a short time period anyhow. Could even minimise it by "recycling" the air - eg have your air intake from above the wash, and keep the lot basically still under cover.

                  Tony
                • mattdistiller
                  ... Definitley - I would do it the same way I airate a wash before pitching the yeast - The fermenter lid is on tight, and the air hose goes through the
                  Message 8 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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                    > Just don't strip too much of the alcohol out of the wash
                    > with the air. It probably wouldn't be much loss in such
                    > a short time period anyhow. Could even minimise it by
                    > "recycling" the air - eg have your air intake from above
                    > the wash, and keep the lot basically still under cover.

                    Definitley - I would do it the same way I airate a wash before
                    pitching the yeast - The fermenter lid is on tight, and the air hose
                    goes through the grommet which holds the airlock - that way there is
                    minimal losses through the tiny hole - and the air pump sits straight
                    on the lid, so therefor pumps the alcohol vapour back in anyway!

                    So what do you think of the idea as a whole?

                    Matt (Bris)
                  • AuntyEthyl
                    Matt, Thanx for the excellent rum posts.. Just one more question... (There s always one) De-Tuning. When you went from 18 to 12 scrubbies in the column, did
                    Message 9 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
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                      Matt,

                      Thanx for the excellent rum posts..

                      Just one more question... (There's always one)
                      De-Tuning. When you went from 18 to 12 scrubbies in
                      the column, did they get placed in the bottom, top or
                      spread throughout the column.?

                      And yet another sneaky question.. any thoughts on what
                      difference it would make having the scrubbies at top,
                      bottom or spread out through the column, would make to
                      the product.?

                      AuntyEthyl



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                    • mattdistiller
                      ... One? Or two? ;-) ... They were packed as normal, so there was an empty space at the top doing not much . ... Um.... Tony? ;-) My guess... If the
                      Message 10 of 19 , Mar 4, 2002
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                        > Just one more question... (There's always one)

                        One? Or two? ;-)

                        > De-Tuning. When you went from 18 to 12 scrubbies in
                        > the column, did they get placed in the bottom, top or
                        > spread throughout the column.?

                        They were packed as normal, so there was an empty space at the top
                        doing 'not much'.

                        > And yet another sneaky question.. any thoughts on what
                        > difference it would make having the scrubbies at top,
                        > bottom or spread out through the column, would make to
                        > the product.?

                        Um.... Tony? ;-)

                        My guess...

                        If the scrubbers were spread over the whole column, I think the
                        purity would be higher than if they were packed as 'normal', and so
                        leaving an empty space. My logic for this,is that there is still a
                        good surface area for reaction, and hence no 'wasted' space. In the
                        normal packing, while the surface are is more per unit volume, it
                        doesn't have the height.

                        The empty space at the top or bottom in the 'normal' packing
                        density.... I think the gap would be better at the top. At the
                        bottom it becomes just a part of the boiler in effect, so therefor
                        doesn't do anything. When the space is at the top, while there is
                        no 'reaction' occuring at the top, there is space for the purified
                        vapours to sit, and so I feel would be more use for it at the top
                        than the bottom.

                        That all said, I don't really know - Feel free to diagree with me!

                        Matt (Bris)
                      • Tony & Elle Ackland
                        ... likewise, I d just be guessing. The theory doesn t help here. Can t really say whether the gap would be better top or bottom - you can dream up arguments
                        Message 11 of 19 , Mar 4, 2002
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                          > Um.... Tony? ;-)

                          likewise, I'd just be guessing. The theory doesn't help here. Can't
                          really say whether the gap would be better top or bottom - you can dream up
                          arguments for either case.

                          I'd rather that the remaining scrubbers were instead spread out more
                          sparsely, to fill the volume. Its likely to give a lesser efficiency than
                          a properly packed column, but might (??) be better than a half-n-half
                          version, as its still encouraging the liquid to drip from spot to spot,
                          rather than doing a big rush through the unpacked space. It also just
                          gives a bit more physical space for any different species / concentrations
                          to stay apart from each other.

                          Coupled with this though has to be how much you've decreased the reflux
                          ratio by - for an example, if you dudn't remove much packing, and kept the
                          reflux rate high, you may not notice much "detuning". When I run my still
                          for rum, I keep the same packing in it, but really knock back the reflux
                          ratio heaps - like you - into the high 70's (C)

                          Tony
                          http://homedistiller.org
                        • AuntyEthyl
                          Hi again Matt, Thanx yet again for an excellent reply. I agree with what you said as far as de-tuned packing placement is concerned. I just had *one* more
                          Message 12 of 19 , Mar 4, 2002
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                            Hi again Matt,

                            Thanx yet again for an excellent reply.

                            I agree with what you said as far as de-tuned packing
                            placement is concerned.

                            I just had *one* more question..

                            As column packing height has a direct correlation to
                            the number of theoretical plates, what was the height
                            of your packing in your 50mm column.?

                            Cheers
                            AuntyEthyl

                            --- mattdistiller <distiller@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > Just one more question... (There's always one)
                            >
                            > One? Or two? ;-)
                            >
                            > > De-Tuning. When you went from 18 to 12 scrubbies
                            > in
                            > > the column, did they get placed in the bottom, top
                            > or
                            > > spread throughout the column.?
                            >
                            > They were packed as normal, so there was an empty
                            > space at the top
                            > doing 'not much'.
                            >
                            > > And yet another sneaky question.. any thoughts on
                            > what
                            > > difference it would make having the scrubbies at
                            > top,
                            > > bottom or spread out through the column, would
                            > make to
                            > > the product.?
                            >
                            > Um.... Tony? ;-)
                            >
                            > My guess...
                            >
                            > If the scrubbers were spread over the whole column,
                            > I think the
                            > purity would be higher than if they were packed as
                            > 'normal', and so
                            > leaving an empty space. My logic for this,is that
                            > there is still a
                            > good surface area for reaction, and hence no
                            > 'wasted' space. In the
                            > normal packing, while the surface are is more per
                            > unit volume, it
                            > doesn't have the height.
                            >
                            > The empty space at the top or bottom in the 'normal'
                            > packing
                            > density.... I think the gap would be better at the
                            > top. At the
                            > bottom it becomes just a part of the boiler in
                            > effect, so therefor
                            > doesn't do anything. When the space is at the top,
                            > while there is
                            > no 'reaction' occuring at the top, there is space
                            > for the purified
                            > vapours to sit, and so I feel would be more use for
                            > it at the top
                            > than the bottom.
                            >
                            > That all said, I don't really know - Feel free to
                            > diagree with me!
                            >
                            > Matt (Bris)
                            >
                            >


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                          • mattdistiller
                            I replied, but the email seems to have got lost in the ether, so I will try again. ... No problems - I am only shooting from the hip though! ... Just one? ;-)
                            Message 13 of 19 , Mar 5, 2002
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                              I replied, but the email seems to have got lost in the ether, so I
                              will try again.

                              > Thanx yet again for an excellent reply.

                              No problems - I am only shooting from the hip though!

                              > I just had *one* more question..

                              Just one? ;-)

                              > As column packing height has a direct correlation to
                              > the number of theoretical plates, what was the height
                              > of your packing in your 50mm column.?

                              Normally, for vodka, my column is packed to 1.2 m with 18 large
                              scrubbers. For the 'de-tuned' run, it is 0.9m with 12 scrubbers.

                              I think not only is the packed height important, but also the packed
                              density. If it is assumed that all s/s scrubbers have similar thread
                              sizes, this can easily be calculated by weighing the scrubbers, and
                              calculating the volume of the packed height. Density=weight/volume.
                              If the assumption that all s/s scrubbers have similar thread sizes is
                              true, then the density is directly proportional to the surface area,
                              but a lot easier to calculate!

                              My scrubbers weigh 14.1g each (I just weighed them all and divided it
                              out), so 18 scrubbers weigh 0.2546kg and 12 scrubbers weigh 0.1697kg.

                              The volume of the 50mm column is easy = pi * r^2 * height
                              1.2m - volume=0.002356 m^3
                              0.9m - volume=0.001767 m^3

                              So the density=weight/volume:
                              1.2m with 18 scrubbers = 108.1 kg/m^3
                              0.9m with 12 scrubbers = 96.1 kg/m^3

                              So, in my case, the 1.2m packing height, whilst being higher packed,
                              is also more densely packed (=more surface area) - I guess because
                              the weight of the scrubbers compress the ones below? Whatever the
                              reason, the difference is over 10%, so there could definitely be an
                              effect.

                              I see a really neat experiment that could be done here, with the same
                              packed height column, and different densities (=surface area) of
                              scrubbers. There has to be an optimal packing density (=surface
                              area), which would probably be fairly easy to work out through
                              experimentation.

                              OK. Enough from me. I hope that answers your question in a long
                              handed way!

                              Matt (Bris)
                            • Tony & Elle Ackland
                              ... Hurray ! something a bit more precise than the breath through test Tony
                              Message 14 of 19 , Mar 6, 2002
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                                > I see a really neat experiment that could be done here, with the same
                                > packed height column, and different densities (=surface area) of
                                > scrubbers. There has to be an optimal packing density (=surface
                                > area), which would probably be fairly easy to work out through
                                > experimentation.

                                Hurray ! something a bit more precise than the "breath through" test

                                Tony
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