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44007Re: [new_distillers] aluminum pot

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  • marcornantel
    Jul 27, 2013
      Great post! Enough with the witchhunt,!
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      From: Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...>
      Sender: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2013 17:16:16 -0700
      To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com<new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
      ReplyTo: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [new_distillers] aluminum pot



      Sorry to be slow chiming in here, but yes, I do advocate the use of aluminum pressure cookers (not stock pots, they're way too flimsy) as a beginner's still boiler. Just for the record, I've heard Tony Ackland, the original founder of these 2 lists and a renown authority, also admit that he used aluminum boilers with no adverse effect, although he evidently took a lot of crap from other distillers, pretty much the same as now.

      As far as corrosion resistance goes, with no pH fiddling whatsoever, I used my first 5-gallon aluminum boiler still for years, with no apparent changes in the condition of the metal, although I'll admit it was slightly rough when I started using it (and also when I finished). The only surface deterioration I experience was due to the fact that during a move, the boiler got put away for a few years with a spent wash inside, and because it was a gasketless design which sealed by forcing 2 conical sufaces together, those conical surfaces sort of seized to each other, not allowing the lid to be removed.

      After a few days of applying boiling water and a rubber mallet, the lid came free. After cleaning everything up with a Brillo pad, I put that still into use for another couple of years before I sold it, thinking I would no longer be a distiller. When I started up again a few years later, I used another 5-gallon aluminum pressure cooker, and I've made a couple more for friends.

      As far as flavor, the best bourbon I've ever made was made on an aluminum-boiler still (which is now in service with a satisfied friend), and that bourbon beat a lot of the big names you'd respect in blind taste testing, so you'll never convince me that the flavor is bad. If someone got bad-flavored distillate from an aluminum boiler, I'm guessing one of the nasty-tasting turbos was at fault, not the aluminum

      One reason that aluminum is good as a boiler is that in distillation, only the volatiles come through the output condenser, and aluminum does not form volatile compounds except in lab-curiosity reactions, not in heated wash, so no aluminum comes through the still. Admittedly, I do not not, and would not, brew beer in aluminum, because beer-making does not separate out the non-volatiles from the wort/wash.

      Is stainless "better" than aluminum for a boiler? Probably, and I'm guessing that platinum would be even better, but unless you're driving nothing but Bugattis, you're probably sensitive to the cost-benefit curve, as many of us are, and aluminum pressure-cooker boilers make a fine beginner's low-cost still.

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

      To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
      From: last2blast@...
      Date: Sat, 27 Jul 2013 02:20:38 -0700
      Subject: Re: [new_distillers] aluminum pot


      I have been eyeing an All American aluminum pressure canner as a still, and I have heard a number of adverse things about using aluminum.  What you wrote gave me an idea to test an aluminum pot.  If acidity might cause erosion, why not decrease acidity before running your wash.  You need wash to be about 5 ph to ferment properly, so it would be easy to increase your to 8 ph just before a stripping run.  Just a thought

      From: Zapata Vive <zapatavive@...>
      To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 11:51 PM
      Subject: Re: [new_distillers] aluminum pot

      Pretty sure ZBob has made a lot of booze in aluminum pressure cookers and noted no faults, nor the oft cited pitting, unless something has cropped up in the last year or two.

      I  just read a journal article "Corrosion characteristics of aluminum alloy in bio-ethanol blended" .  They found corrosion in up to 20% ethanol (highest percentage tested) after 24 hours at pressure and 100*C.  Lower temps showed no corrosion.  I imagine something more exciting is going to happen if you get a pressure cooker still with a 20% ABV charge up to 100*C

      I think at least so far as corrosion goes it would be sufficient to not let setback sit around in your cooker and rinse it out when your done.

      So far as off tastes go, I have no idea, but Zbob didn't mention it in Making Fine Spirits, where he endorses aluminum pressure cookers.

      All that being said, I've often eyeballed my 10 gallon All American 1941X and thought it'd make a fine boiler, but no way would I take even the smallest chance in a $700 pot!  Been meaning to try it for myself on one of my smaller PCs to work out fine details on test size batches, but I have trouble motivating myself to put in the hard work of small tests.

      So have ya'll actually tried it and seen pitting/gotten off tastes, or just heard about it?

      On Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM, Jim Graves <jimbull34@...> wrote:
      The alcohol reacts with the aluminum and gives a very, VERY bad taste to it plus it errodes the pot!  Don't use, old pressure cooker were cast steel, the new ones ore cast aluminum, don't use 'um.

      From: captndan78 <captndan78@...>
      To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 9:05 AM
      Subject: [new_distillers] aluminum pot

      What's the big deal with using an aluminum pot for a still? It is NSF approved. Pressure cookers are aluminum.

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