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reflux still style comparison?

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  • Bill Rogers
    I ve been looking on the forums and reading email threads from here. I ve googled and been doing some reading. I have some questions. Right now I am using a
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 17, 2013
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      I've been looking on the forums and reading email threads from here.  I've googled and been doing some reading.  I have some questions.

      Right now I am using a CM reflux still from mile-hi and it puts out 180  easily every time.  I like it, but I'd like to get something a bit more efficient and more controllable. From my research there are numerous types of refluxing still heads.

      http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/meCh7.html is great article about bubble cap, perforated plate, and packed columns.


      .

      I've yet to find a simple comparison chart or even a "This is the best design" type of thing.  I understand there are multiple paths to the goal of 95%, but there must be a most efficient path.

      For home distillers, say batch washes of 5-10 gallons.  what is the best, most efficient method?

      propane + boka? 
      220v + boka?

      propane + bubble cap?
      220v + bubble cap?

      ...

    • Bill Rogers
      Thanks for the response! I did look at their flute and while I like it, I think I m a bit more partial to silldragon.com version of it. Although. I do like
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 18, 2013
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        Thanks for the response!  I did look at their flute and while I like it, I think I'm a bit more partial to silldragon.com version of it.  Although. I do like the boilers that hill billy has, they look fantastic.

        my question was a bit more general about the different styles vs the different vendors.  is a bubble cap much more efficient then a simple VM ?  

        If a bubble cap is that much better then a VM then I don't mind spending the $ for one.  But if a VM that I can build for a few hundred $ is just as good as a 1500$ bubble cap then I don't mind spending the time and effort to build one.



        On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM, Ed Barcik <edbar44@...> wrote:

        Saw your post and know exactly what you mean, I started with one of those smaller units and just too time consuming so I built a 3” column which I used for about 4 years but again, my output was about 1 liter per hour, quite a bit but with a 15 gallon boiler it still took ten hours. I just recently, September 2012 purchased the 6 plate unit from Hillbilly Stills. Wow, what a difference. I bought the entire setup that comes with an electric controller but didn’t use it because I’m partial to natural gas. My new 25 gallon boiler with the 6 plate column cranks out about 3 liters per hour and I can complete a 25 gal run in less than 8 hours. It’s nice to wind up with some inventory after all the hard work. I do not do stripping runs but if I did, can only imagine cranking out that 25 gallons in less than 2 hours or so. I always get 190 and on occasion 192 but haven’t figured out the real reason.

         

        By the way, the guys at Hillbilly are really good to work with, very helpful.

         

        This is the setup that I got.

        http://www.hillbillystills.com/Turn_Key_Vodka_and_Moonshine_Still_p/hbtkv.htm

         


      • ballard_bootlegger
        Hi Bill, A reflux column packed with copper mesh probably gives you the most bang for your buck. This is especially true if you have any height restrictions.
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 23, 2013
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          Hi Bill,
          A reflux column packed with copper mesh probably gives you the most bang for your buck. This is especially true if you have any height restrictions. Bubble cap plate stills are probably overall the best, but you need 10-14 plates to get truly neutral spirit, that's tall. I'd go with the still dragon for both. The dragon bubble cap stills are modular so you can add to them as you go if you want more or less reflux. OR, You can pack 3' of stainless tube with copper mesh, add a dephlegmator and a shotgun condenser (all of which can be sourced at stilldragon.com for substantially lower prices than anywhere else I've seen) and you've got yourself a still that can sit in equilibrium indefinitely. Larry should be paying me for this shit :-)

          As far as your heat source, electricity is always going to be more efficient than propane, but you'd be hard pressed to find an electric burner that's going to give you the power you want for a reasonable price. That leaves internal heating elements which come with their own set of issues. Elements are great for spirit runs, but you can't run them if you're distilling on the grain. I use gas for my stripping still because I like to distill on the grain, and I use a 5500 watt element for all subsequent runs.

          Let us know what you end up going with!

          Drink Well,
          W.


          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Bill Rogers wrote:
          >
          > I've been looking on the forums and reading email threads from here. I've
          > googled and been doing some reading. I have some questions.
          >
          > Right now I am using a CM reflux still from mile-hi and it puts out 180
          > easily every time. I like it, but I'd like to get something a bit more
          > efficient and more controllable. From my research there are numerous types
          > of refluxing still heads.
          >
          > http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/meCh7.htmlis
          > great article about bubble cap, perforated plate, and packed columns.
          >
          > I've read the http://wiki.homedistiller.org/Boka_Reflux_Still_-_How_To_Build and
          >
          > http://moonshine-still.com/reflux-stills/
          > .
          >
          > I've yet to find a simple comparison chart or even a "This is the best
          > design" type of thing. I understand there are multiple paths to the goal
          > of 95%, but there must be a most efficient path.
          >
          > For home distillers, say batch washes of 5-10 gallons. what is the best,
          > most efficient method?
          >
          > propane + boka?
          > 220v + boka?
          >
          > propane + bubble cap?
          > 220v + bubble cap?
          >
          > ...
          >
        • Bill Rogers
          awesome information, thank you. 5500 coil + controls is 450$ :/. youch! On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM, ballard_bootlegger
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 23, 2013
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            awesome information, thank you.  5500 coil + controls is 450$ :/.  youch!


            On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM, ballard_bootlegger <whitney@...> wrote:
             

            Hi Bill,
            A reflux column packed with copper mesh probably gives you the most bang for your buck. This is especially true if you have any height restrictions. Bubble cap plate stills are probably overall the best, but you need 10-14 plates to get truly neutral spirit, that's tall. I'd go with the still dragon for both. The dragon bubble cap stills are modular so you can add to them as you go if you want more or less reflux. OR, You can pack 3' of stainless tube with copper mesh, add a dephlegmator and a shotgun condenser (all of which can be sourced at stilldragon.com for substantially lower prices than anywhere else I've seen) and you've got yourself a still that can sit in equilibrium indefinitely. Larry should be paying me for this shit :-)

            As far as your heat source, electricity is always going to be more efficient than propane, but you'd be hard pressed to find an electric burner that's going to give you the power you want for a reasonable price. That leaves internal heating elements which come with their own set of issues. Elements are great for spirit runs, but you can't run them if you're distilling on the grain. I use gas for my stripping still because I like to distill on the grain, and I use a 5500 watt element for all subsequent runs.

            Let us know what you end up going with!

            Drink Well,
            W.

            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Bill Rogers wrote:
            >
            > I've been looking on the forums and reading email threads from here. I've
            > googled and been doing some reading. I have some questions.
            >
            > Right now I am using a CM reflux still from mile-hi and it puts out 180
            > easily every time. I like it, but I'd like to get something a bit more
            > efficient and more controllable. From my research there are numerous types
            > of refluxing still heads.
            >
            > http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/meCh7.htmlis
            > great article about bubble cap, perforated plate, and packed columns.
            >
            > I've read the http://wiki.homedistiller.org/Boka_Reflux_Still_-_How_To_Build and
            >
            > http://moonshine-still.com/reflux-stills/
            > .
            >
            > I've yet to find a simple comparison chart or even a "This is the best
            > design" type of thing. I understand there are multiple paths to the goal
            > of 95%, but there must be a most efficient path.
            >
            > For home distillers, say batch washes of 5-10 gallons. what is the best,
            > most efficient method?
            >
            > propane + boka?
            > 220v + boka?
            >
            > propane + bubble cap?
            > 220v + bubble cap?
            >
            > ...
            >


          • GGB
            ballard_bootlegger wrote: add a dephlegmator and a shotgun condenser I ve seen the term dephlegmator couple of times. What s the difference please between
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 23, 2013
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              "ballard_bootlegger" wrote: "add a dephlegmator and a shotgun condenser"

              I've seen the term dephlegmator couple of times. What's the difference please between one of those and a coiled wound condenser sitting in the top of a boka or mason reflux column? I can appreciate one of these is a liquid management type, how does a dephlegmator type work?

              Thanks
              Paul
            • donna ricketts
              Im sorry I caught this in my email and there was a statement in there about Still Dragon shit I got my butt chewed out for even saying there name.....just
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 23, 2013
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                Im sorry I caught this in my email and there was a statement in there about Still Dragon shit I got my butt chewed out for even saying there name.....just saying ChefSteve
                 
              • Becool Stayslinky
                If I could offer a suggestion that has worked well for me. If you figure out the wattage range that you will be running, you can split the load into two
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 23, 2013
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                  If I could offer a suggestion that has worked well for me.  If you figure out the wattage range that you will be running, you can split the load into two elements.  You can run one at full power and control the other element with a variac such as the one pictured below, currently listed on ebay for $100 plus shipping.  I have two of these, one at 120 volt 25 amps, and one at 240 volt 10 amps.  With these two variacs and a selection of elements I can run just about any combination up to 4500 watts on my VM keg still and they are cheap and simple.  Or you can run the whole load with a bigger unit - 5000w goes for about $170 plus shipping

                  Cheers

                  BC




                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Bill Rogers wrote:
                  >
                  > awesome information, thank you. 5500 coil + controls is 450$ :/. youch!
                  >
                  >
                  > On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM, ballard_bootlegger <
                  > whitney@... wrote:
                  >
                  > > **
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Hi Bill,
                  > > A reflux column packed with copper mesh probably gives you the most bang
                  > > for your buck. This is especially true if you have any height restrictions.
                  > > Bubble cap plate stills are probably overall the best, but you need 10-14
                  > > plates to get truly neutral spirit, that's tall. I'd go with the still
                  > > dragon for both. The dragon bubble cap stills are modular so you can add to
                  > > them as you go if you want more or less reflux. OR, You can pack 3' of
                  > > stainless tube with copper mesh, add a dephlegmator and a shotgun condenser
                  > > (all of which can be sourced at stilldragon.com for substantially lower
                  > > prices than anywhere else I've seen) and you've got yourself a still that
                  > > can sit in equilibrium indefinitely. Larry should be paying me for this
                  > > shit :-)
                  > >
                  > > As far as your heat source, electricity is always going to be more
                  > > efficient than propane, but you'd be hard pressed to find an electric
                  > > burner that's going to give you the power you want for a reasonable price.
                  > > That leaves internal heating elements which come with their own set of
                  > > issues. Elements are great for spirit runs, but you can't run them if
                  > > you're distilling on the grain. I use gas for my stripping still because I
                  > > like to distill on the grain, and I use a 5500 watt element for all
                  > > subsequent runs.
                  > >
                  > > Let us know what you end up going with!
                  > >
                  > > Drink Well,
                  > > W.
                  > >
                • Becool Stayslinky
                  Sorry the pic didn t load but you can see it here (maybe): http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-AUTOTRANSFORMER-20A-0-140V-V-60Hz-variac-/32
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 23, 2013
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                    Sorry the pic didn't load but you can see it here (maybe):

                    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-AUTOTRANSFORMER-20A-0-140V-V-60Hz-variac-/321059511139?pt=Educational_Toys_US&hash=item4ac0a35b63

                    Lots of others to choose from.

                    BC


                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Becool Stayslinky" wrote:
                    >
                    > If I could offer a suggestion that has worked well for me. If you
                    > figure out the wattage range that you will be running, you can split the
                    > load into two elements. You can run one at full power and control the
                    > other element with a variac such as the one pictured below, currently
                    > listed on ebay for $100 plus shipping. I have two of these, one at 120
                    > volt 25 amps, and one at 240 volt 10 amps. With these two variacs and a
                    > selection of elements I can run just about any combination up to 4500
                    > watts on my VM keg still and they are cheap and simple. Or you can run
                    > the whole load with a bigger unit - 5000w goes for about $170 plus
                    > shipping
                    >
                    > Cheers
                    >
                    > BC
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [http://i.ebayimg.com/t/NEW-AUTOTRANSFORMER-20A-0-140V-V-60Hz-variac-/21\
                    > /%21B%29RK4ngEWk%7E$%28KGrHqMOKjcEwhT4I7tjBMM%29%21O0%21pQ%7E%7E_3.JPG]
                    >
                    > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Bill Rogers wrote:
                    > >
                    > > awesome information, thank you. 5500 coil + controls is 450$ :/.
                    > youch!
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM, ballard_bootlegger <
                    > > whitney@ wrote:
                    > >
                    > > > **
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > Hi Bill,
                    > > > A reflux column packed with copper mesh probably gives you the most
                    > bang
                    > > > for your buck. This is especially true if you have any height
                    > restrictions.
                    > > > Bubble cap plate stills are probably overall the best, but you need
                    > 10-14
                    > > > plates to get truly neutral spirit, that's tall. I'd go with the
                    > still
                    > > > dragon for both. The dragon bubble cap stills are modular so you can
                    > add to
                    > > > them as you go if you want more or less reflux. OR, You can pack 3'
                    > of
                    > > > stainless tube with copper mesh, add a dephlegmator and a shotgun
                    > condenser
                    > > > (all of which can be sourced at stilldragon.com for substantially
                    > lower
                    > > > prices than anywhere else I've seen) and you've got yourself a still
                    > that
                    > > > can sit in equilibrium indefinitely. Larry should be paying me for
                    > this
                    > > > shit :-)
                    > > >
                    > > > As far as your heat source, electricity is always going to be more
                    > > > efficient than propane, but you'd be hard pressed to find an
                    > electric
                    > > > burner that's going to give you the power you want for a reasonable
                    > price.
                    > > > That leaves internal heating elements which come with their own set
                    > of
                    > > > issues. Elements are great for spirit runs, but you can't run them
                    > if
                    > > > you're distilling on the grain. I use gas for my stripping still
                    > because I
                    > > > like to distill on the grain, and I use a 5500 watt element for all
                    > > > subsequent runs.
                    > > >
                    > > > Let us know what you end up going with!
                    > > >
                    > > > Drink Well,
                    > > > W.
                    > > >
                    >
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