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Waterurn as a still?

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  • mrtlad
    I m about to build my first still and just wanted some expert input before I go and spend money on something that mightn t be suitable.My idea was to just get
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 21 2:06 PM

      I'm about to build my first still and just wanted some expert input before I go and spend money on something that mightn't be suitable.My idea was to just get an 30l water urn and stick a 5m coil and a thermometer on it.

      In my head it makes sense as it already has a heating element in it and you can adjust the temp as suitable with the knob that's on it

      Does anyone know of any reasons why this wouldn't be as good or better than a plasticstill or inded  a potstill?


      Oh and my goal is to make Whiskey after a few runs of vodka for practice

      Cheers

    • Zapata Vive
      The knob is useless for for adjusting the temp. You can t adjust temp in distilling. In distilling, you need to boil the liquid. And that liquid has a
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 22 11:53 PM
        The knob is useless for for adjusting the temp.  You can't adjust temp in distilling.  In distilling, you need to boil the liquid.  And that liquid has a certain boiling point, it is against the laws of physics to make it any hotter.  So, too low a temp and it doesn't boil, too high a temp and you destroy the universe.  (BTW, the same is true for the temp of the vapor, you can't change it, it is what it is)  The thermometer is just there for you to watch what it does, not affect what it does.

        When we regulate the power we throw at a still, it isn't to adjust the temp.  It is to adjust the rate at which we are making distillate.  These change need to be steady though.  Meaning if you want to distill with 1000 watts, it needs to be a constant steady 1000 watts.  Giving the pot 2000 watts for 30 seconds and 0 watts for 30 seconds is not good for distilling.  It is fine for water urns though, and so that is how the knob on water urns works.  To use these types of devices as stills, you will need to run it at full power, preferably by by-passing the control knob.

        So with the knob recognized as useless, you'll have to look at the rest of the urn to decide if it's useful.  Is it a good size?  Can you seal it up and open it up where you want?  Is it a good size?  Is the element of an acceptable power?

        My guess is that it could be made to work.  I personally wouldn't bother.  Could it be as good as a plastic still?  Probaby, although I can't say I'd use one of those.  How about a pot still?  Well it will BE a pot still, so yeah.  I suspect the element is a lot lower power than what I would put on a 30 l pot still, and if whiskey is your goal, 30 l is pretty small. 

        It might take a little more work, maybe cost a bit more, but IMHO a 15 gallon keg or similar is the place to start for whiskey.
      • mrtlad
        Thanks Here I was hoping that it would be a great shot cut, not overly confident in adapting a pot (never mind Keg) with the elements. I suppose it was too
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 23 2:21 PM
          Thanks 
          Here I was hoping that it would be a great shot cut, not overly confident in adapting  a pot  (never mind Keg) with the elements.
          I suppose it was too good to be true :)

          Size wise I feel 30 l is on the big side,  I live in a town house so space is scarce and could not brew in the garden either as we have no dividing wall to next door.

          Any suggestions on other "shortcuts"?




          ---In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, <zapatavive@...> wrote :

          The knob is useless for for adjusting the temp.  You can't adjust temp in distilling.  In distilling, you need to boil the liquid.  And that liquid has a certain boiling point, it is against the laws of physics to make it any hotter.  So, too low a temp and it doesn't boil, too high a temp and you destroy the universe.  (BTW, the same is true for the temp of the vapor, you can't change it, it is what it is)  The thermometer is just there for you to watch what it does, not affect what it does.

          When we regulate the power we throw at a still, it isn't to adjust the temp.  It is to adjust the rate at which we are making distillate.  These change need to be steady though.  Meaning if you want to distill with 1000 watts, it needs to be a constant steady 1000 watts.  Giving the pot 2000 watts for 30 seconds and 0 watts for 30 seconds is not good for distilling.  It is fine for water urns though, and so that is how the knob on water urns works.  To use these types of devices as stills, you will need to run it at full power, preferably by by-passing the control knob.

          So with the knob recognized as useless, you'll have to look at the rest of the urn to decide if it's useful.  Is it a good size?  Can you seal it up and open it up where you want?  Is it a good size?  Is the element of an acceptable power?

          My guess is that it could be made to work.  I personally wouldn't bother.  Could it be as good as a plastic still?  Probaby, although I can't say I'd use one of those.  How about a pot still?  Well it will BE a pot still, so yeah.  I suspect the element is a lot lower power than what I would put on a 30 l pot still, and if whiskey is your goal, 30 l is pretty small. 

          It might take a little more work, maybe cost a bit more, but IMHO a 15 gallon keg or similar is the place to start for whiskey.
        • Robert Hubble
          Will you be cooling that coil with water or air? Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com Date:
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 23 8:49 PM
            Will you be cooling that coil with water or air?

            Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller


            To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
            From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:06:51 -0700
            Subject: [new_distillers] Waterurn as a still?

             

            I'm about to build my first still and just wanted some expert input before I go and spend money on something that mightn't be suitable.My idea was to just get an 30l water urn and stick a 5m coil and a thermometer on it.
            In my head it makes sense as it already has a heating element in it and you can adjust the temp as suitable with the knob that's on it

            Does anyone know of any reasons why this wouldn't be as good or better than a plasticstill or inded  a potstill?

            Oh and my goal is to make Whiskey after a few runs of vodka for practice

            Cheers

          • mrtlad
            Well since posting this question I ve read so much more, initially I thought about having an air cooled coil on it.But now I m having two (very loose) designs
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 25 2:47 AM
              Well since posting this question I've read so much more, initially I thought about having an air cooled coil on it.But now I'm having two (very loose) designs in mind.

              1, For sugar mash, so vodka runs. I want to stick a column ( about 50mm * 600-700mm) packed with ss wool and a Leibig condenser to cool down the vapor.

              2. For the whiskey runs I  would have the same set up without the ss wool as I read that to much reflux  would remove lots of the flavours that I'm after for whiskey.

              Would that be doable or would I need a second column interchangeable column for the whiskey runs?

              And the heating elements are about 2.5 to 3 kw in the the water urns i've been looking at, from what I've read that should suffice. "Just" need to bypass the thermostat and autocut off to get it to a continues boil and was going to stick a dimmer on the cord to be able to adjust the output if needed.


            • Paulo Jurza
              I should probably set a new column, because it is a kind of difficult to draw the wool out, put it back, out, in... And in the new colum, I should put a bend
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 26 1:16 PM
                I should probably set a new column, because it is a kind of difficult to draw the wool out, put it back, out, in...

                And in the new colum, I should put a bend neck, to condense the flavours...

                A schem of lock/unlock device should be the best for you.

                About using a water urn with inside element to heat, sometimes the mash could be burnt in the element. 

                The wash must be as clean as possible to avoid such problem.

                Cheers,




                2014-08-25 6:47 GMT-03:00 jptlindberg@... [new_distillers] <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>:
                 

                Well since posting this question I've read so much more, initially I thought about having an air cooled coil on it.But now I'm having two (very loose) designs in mind.

                1, For sugar mash, so vodka runs. I want to stick a column ( about 50mm * 600-700mm) packed with ss wool and a Leibig condenser to cool down the vapor.

                2. For the whiskey runs I  would have the same set up without the ss wool as I read that to much reflux  would remove lots of the flavours that I'm after for whiskey.

                Would that be doable or would I need a second column interchangeable column for the whiskey runs?

                And the heating elements are about 2.5 to 3 kw in the the water urns i've been looking at, from what I've read that should suffice. "Just" need to bypass the thermostat and autocut off to get it to a continues boil and was going to stick a dimmer on the cord to be able to adjust the output if needed.



              • mrtlad
                Cheers thanks for all the help!
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 29 12:16 AM
                  Cheers thanks for all the help!

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