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Re: [Distillers] Re: Rum!

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  • 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 1 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
      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
      --
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
      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 2 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
        > 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 3 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
          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 4 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
            --- 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 5 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
              > 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 6 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
                > 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 7 of 19 , Mar 3, 2002
                  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 8 of 19 , Mar 4, 2002
                    > 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 9 of 19 , Mar 4, 2002
                      > 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 10 of 19 , Mar 4, 2002
                        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 11 of 19 , Mar 5, 2002
                          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 12 of 19 , Mar 6, 2002
                            > 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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