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3468Re: [new_distillers] Which Still to build

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  • John Vandermeulen
    Apr 3, 2002
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      B13013ob@... wrote:

      > John wrote: << The packed column reflux still is in my view the simplest
      > to understand; but the design as given in the website requires some changes
      > in the cooling system. The S/N still appears to be superb for acquiring pure
      > neutral spirits (I have the former.) You should note that both these stills
      > produce a pure or near pure product. They are NOT schnapps/whisky stills! For
      > that you want a potstill. >>
      > Howdy John V, I have the still mentioned above and wonder --- why won't
      > this still become a simple pot still if the packing is removed? Few if any
      > theoretical plates, minor reflux action (cooling tubes are operational due to
      > condenser needing cooling) and the thermometer is waiting for vapor to caress
      > it's bulb. Anybody try this? Tips or tricks? If it all flopped, re-running
      > with scrubbers should clean it up...bob...

      Hello Bob,
      sorry, for not getting back to you immediately. Your question is a good one -
      why not convert refrlux column to pot still? There is almost zero written about
      pot-still design, either from experience or theoretical. So I am going for it by
      trial and error.
      I sketched out a design, that has a ~24"x2" column, ~18" lyne arm, and 18" jacket
      condenser - passed it around on this list for comments. Tony A. thought that it
      should work, as did others. I ran it a week ago and right off got ~80%abv
      product!! Way too high for what I wanted. I suspect that the column is far too
      long - so I am shortening it to maybe 12" and will try again.

      In hindsight that in fact seems very reasonable. With the potstill we want a
      fairly wide range of compounds going over, i.e. no refluxing. Which really means
      that we want that heated vapor going directly to the condenser, with no
      refinements along the way. I.e. v. short column.
      This scheme forms the basis for a 'pot still' shown in Tony's A. site (look under
      building potstill). I can't remember whose it is, but it consists of a large
      paint can with a flat metal lid. From the center of this lid emerges a length of
      (small gauge) copper tubing which arches over into a coil-type condenser. NO
      The same thing is seen in photos of illegal moonshine stills which have NO
      column, except for an oddly shaped 'chamber' sitting on top of the boiler (viz.

      I got carried away, please excuse the rant. I will post my results from my
      modified potstill as soon as I've run it.
      John V
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