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Re: Rum!

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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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