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44131Re: [new_distillers] RE: Heat control

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  • Brian McGill
    Sep 2, 2013
      Johnsmith...when you do your stripping runs what is the maximum abv for your low wines you use on your spirit run or does it matter?

      Brian J. McGill

      On Sep 2, 2013, at 10:33, <johnsmith24668@...> wrote:


      I have an 8g pot still with  1500w element. I've only done a few runs, but I've been reading for quite a while. I'm interested in pot stills, so I don't know if what I'm about to say applies to reflux stills, and Brendn/Brian don't mention what you're designing.

      My element has a "thermostat" dial which basically toggles it on or off -- no ability to set it at, say, 50% power like you'd be able to with a controller. With 4g, it takes around an hour to heat up. A run takes an additional 2-3h. I get a thin to medium stream through the heads, hearts, and most of the tails. Around 30% and down, it begins to sputter a bit more.

      It'd be nice to be able to run faster on a strip run, but I'd need a larger element for that, and as I don't have access to 220V, I'm not sure the 15-30m difference a 2000w element would offer is really worth it. It'd be nice to be able to back off a smidge on a spirit run, and for that I'd need a controller as you've figured out.

      Why would you want to control drip rate? My understanding is that if you run a pot still too fast during a spirit run (strip runs don't matter, as long as your condenser can knock down the vapor), you can start to "smear" the fractions together i.e. hearts start to come over with heads, and tails start to come over earlier than you'd want and mix with hearts. This happens anyway with pot stills no matter what (see http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=13261), but from what I gather too much heat can make the situation worse.

      I've also seen it suggested that too slow a rate may leave some desired flavors behind. This doesn't make sense to me, if you're making cuts by using multiple containers, as I think they'd be captured somewhere and you can blend them in later. If you're making cuts on the fly, though, and not collecting multiple jars I can see where this would be a problem. At any rate, a thin pencil lead stream seems to be the recommended balance between not spending forever collecting drip by drip and running too fast.

      As for controlling rate with condenser size... I'm not quite as up on design principals, but I thought the rate of flow is primarily controlled by the heat input into the still (again, pot still -- reflux may be different, I don't know). As long as the condenser is big enough and adequately cooled to handle the volume of vapor produced, I don't understand how switching to a larger diameter condenser will make a difference in flow rate. Perhaps someone with more experience can offer some insight on this point?

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, <bmcgill930@...> wrote:

      Good deal...I appreciate the response...got a few buckets bubbling as we talk...2 All grain to fill my little barrel and 2 corn sugar wash for general drinking...what yeast have you had the best success with?


      Brian J. McGill

      On Aug 31, 2013, at 19:39, TODP <danimae@...> wrote:

      I control mine by the rate of condenser cooling water flow.. I get on average one pt or 500ml every 12-14min of time @ 185+proof... sometimes everyone makes WAY too much out of this whole SIMPLE process!! It ain't quite rocket science!! Heck they been doing it fer hundreds of years before any of us got interested!! Think about it.. you heat a wash or mash after fermentation.. you evaporate the ethanol from the batch.. how hard can it be??? Just watch and taste the heads when it starts till you like it then run batch till yo get to about 205F and keep track of taste.. run till you don't like as tails.. sometimes I like the tails better for taste and mix with hearts to get what I like pending what I made for a ferment.. you really can't go wrong IF you stick to basics... Ya all put way tooo much thought into all of it fer just a simple process!  RELAX! Try one or two batches and LEARN... like the rest of us as well our fore fathers did!! Without failure you gain NO experience to become expertise... besides, ya get to try your failures!!  ENJOY!!!

      On Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 4:33 PM, Brian McGill wrote:

          I understand that...but how do you control the rate of spirit drip?

      Brian J. McGill

      On Aug 30, 2013, at 12:20, TODP < danimae@...> wrote:


      If you run a 1500W 110V element you don't even need a controller as it will barely warm up 8gal milk can in 2 hours for a run to the required 193F to distill.. it will then take another 2-3 hours to finish it off to the 206F for the tails!!!   I do it all the time.. leave it on high till temps are reached and run is done! The control is useless for a 1500W system!!

      On Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 11:44 AM, Brendan Keith wrote:

          Get a  1500W, 120V element and one of these http://www.harborfreight.com/router-speed-control-43060.html

      Brendan Keith

      -----Original Message-----
      Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013    3:36 PM
      Subject: [new_distillers] Heat control

        Can anyone help with Ideas on immersion element heat control? I am    converting a 7 gallon keg and will use a 2000w heat source(hot water tank    element). A regular dimmer switch is only rated for 600w. The 2000w element is    210v. I am not that techy so any help would be great!

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