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Still design

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  • Matthew O'Brien
    Hi again, OK - I ve downloaded, printed and read the How to make pure corn whiskey book - and read it twice now! Its definitely a great book - thanks for
    Message 1 of 18 , Aug 26, 2001
      Hi again,

      OK - I've downloaded, printed and read the "How to make pure corn whiskey"
      book - and read it twice now! Its definitely a great book - thanks for the
      recommendation.

      In the book, its suggests a 750 watt element, and a 1 1/4" column, 1140mm
      tall.

      This doesn't seem quite big enough compared to other stills I have read
      about - I was thinking about increasing it to 1400 watt element (x 2 during
      the heat up), 2" column, 1150mm tall. Can anyone see any problems with
      that? I would also then increase the pipe diameter for the condenser to 2"
      as well - but should I then also increase the height of the condenser as
      well to ensure it can cope with the increased vapour volume? Or should the
      extra diameter be enough?

      Also, on materials.... I plan to make the boiler and column out of stainless
      steel, and the head (condenser and pipes) out of copper. Does this sound
      OK? I want to ensure there is enough copper in the system.

      Thanks again for the help,

      Matt
    • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
      Matt I run my 1800W element against a 1.5 column, so 2 and 1400W should be very OK. With mine, only the lower 1/2-1/3 of the condenser actually does any
      Message 2 of 18 , Aug 26, 2001
        Matt

        I run my 1800W element against a 1.5" column, so 2" and 1400W should be very
        OK. With mine, only the lower 1/2-1/3 of the condenser actually does any
        work, so I don't think it needs making any larger (just make sure that you
        stuff the center of the coil with 1/2 a scrubber, so as to encourage the
        vapour to go past the coil moreso)

        Tony
      • mobrien@zoology.uq.edu.au
        ... should be very ... does any ... that you ... encourage the ... Thanks Tony, I thought as much - but thought checking would be the wise option! Another
        Message 3 of 18 , Aug 29, 2001
          --- In new_distillers@y..., "Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)"
          > I run my 1800W element against a 1.5" column, so 2" and 1400W
          should be very
          > OK. With mine, only the lower 1/2-1/3 of the condenser actually
          does any
          > work, so I don't think it needs making any larger (just make sure
          that you
          > stuff the center of the coil with 1/2 a scrubber, so as to
          encourage the
          > vapour to go past the coil moreso)

          Thanks Tony,

          I thought as much - but thought checking would be the wise option!

          Another question for you (see, you don't get off that lightly!)

          A lot of designs Of reflux still's that I have seen have the column
          inserted into the top of the boiler via a reduction fitting (i.e. 1-
          1/4" down to 3/4" or similar). It would seem this is only to make
          use of an existing fitting in the top of the would be boiler, so if
          making a custom boiler, it would make sense just to have a fitting
          the same size as the column - Or, does the reduction in size serve a
          purpose in creating an extra HTEP, or reducing possible vapour
          pressure/volume within the column, or simply stops the packing
          falling out?

          On the topic of rum making , and 'replumbing' a reflux still to use
          it as a pot still (as mentioned in recent posts), wouldn't just
          removing the packing from the column leave the still functioning as a
          tall pot still? And that being the case, would it produce slightly
          more pure product, due to the extra 1/4 or 1/2 HTEP via the walls of
          the column? Or am I missing something here?

          So many questions!

          Thanks,

          Matt
        • Tony & Elle Ackland
          ... Yes, no, no, yes The restriction doesn t assist the HETP, so theres no point putting it there regardless. But often the smaller fittings are cheaper.
          Message 4 of 18 , Aug 30, 2001
            > A lot of designs Of reflux still's that I have seen have the column
            > inserted into the top of the boiler via a reduction fitting (i.e. 1-
            > 1/4" down to 3/4" or similar). It would seem this is only to make
            > use of an existing fitting in the top of the would be boiler, so if
            > making a custom boiler, it would make sense just to have a fitting
            > the same size as the column - Or, does the reduction in size serve a
            > purpose in creating an extra HTEP, or reducing possible vapour
            > pressure/volume within the column, or simply stops the packing
            > falling out?

            Yes, no, no, yes

            The restriction doesn't assist the HETP, so theres no point putting it
            there regardless. But often the smaller fittings are cheaper. Also, like
            you point out, they're good for holding in the scrubbers (you'd still need
            a mesh or something if using looser packing). But you'll also need to
            ensure that its not unstable, and can support the weight of the column
            above. So - it comes back to the answer of just using whats best for you.
            Mine has smaller fittings because I had the head & boiler lid built to
            suit a 1" column, then put in a 1.5" one.

            The constriction and then bulb in the top of some pot stills is said to
            induce a small amount of vapour to be deposited. This may be of benifit in
            their design, where a small amount of reflux is desired (maybe 5-10% of the
            total vapour), but only to attain the characteristic of that traditional
            spirit. When using a reflux still we are talking about such a greater
            amount of desired reflux (eg 80-90% of the vapour) that this sort of
            feature is very minor, and its better to control the reflux by other means
            (eg a deliberate cooling coil)

            > On the topic of rum making , and 'replumbing' a reflux still to use
            > it as a pot still (as mentioned in recent posts), wouldn't just
            > removing the packing from the column leave the still functioning as a
            > tall pot still? And that being the case, would it produce slightly
            > more pure product, due to the extra 1/4 or 1/2 HTEP via the walls of
            > the column? Or am I missing something here?

            Yes, yes, no.

            The point is that a pot still does have some reflux action via its lid &
            lyne arm. I estimate it to be like 5-10%. Thats why their domes are
            traditionally so bulbous (to provide heaps of surface for cooling), and
            some are 14-20 foot tall. By angling the lyne arm the "heaviness" of the
            spirit can be adjusted too - tilt it up (so that much of the condensate
            will run back into the pot), and it will strip more of the flavour and have
            more recycling & create a lighter spirit. Tilt the arm immediatly down
            into the recieving vessel, and you'll get a heavier spirit.

            But thats also the point too - each different spirit is relying on a
            different amount of this minor reflux happening. If your replumbed reflux
            has quite a different amount of surface area and natural reflux happening
            vs the spirit you're trying to make, then you may get a different result.
            This is where the stories of "hammering the old dents into new stills"
            come from - the need to replicate the old surface area exactly.

            Some distillers place their bets each way. Look at the pot stills
            commercially used - I've got a couple of them at
            http://www.geocities.com/kiwi_distiller/commercial.htm - note particularly
            those from Laphroig (http://www.laphroaig.com ) where they use quite a few
            different styles & shapes to craft their brew.

            Tony
          • mobrien@zoology.uq.edu.au
            Tony, Thanks a heap! That helps greatly. Now another question! (are you really suprised?) - But I think (??) that last before it gets built. I m finalising
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 2, 2001
              Tony,

              Thanks a heap! That helps greatly.

              Now another question! (are you really suprised?) - But I think (??)
              that last before it gets built.

              I'm finalising the still head design, and have two similar but
              different designs. I've uploaded the designs here:
              <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/files/Matt/stillhead.jpg
              >

              In the corn whiskey book (from which I'm getting the basic design),
              the still head used is the one on the right labeled B. However,
              looking around on the net, it would seem that more people have heads
              that look like A. (The only difference between the two is the
              reservoir created by using a T junction under the condenser instead
              of a 90 degree bend.)

              Now the question. Which is best? Do you need the reservoir to be
              able to control the Reflux volume? (i.e. will there always be more
              reflux without the reservoir, because a volume will always flow
              around the 'intake'?)

              Comments anyone?

              Thanks,

              Matt

              P.S. This is all going to be made from 50mm copper pipe, the
              condenser coil from 5mm, the out take from 20mm. 1.2 meter column.
            • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
              Matt, ... Mine was a A because the guy building it only had T junctions on hand, and we couldn t be bothered getting an elbow. I would have prefered a B -
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 2, 2001
                Matt,

                > In the corn whiskey book (from which I'm getting the basic design),
                > the still head used is the one on the right labeled B. However,
                > looking around on the net, it would seem that more people have heads
                > that look like A. (The only difference between the two is the
                > reservoir created by using a T junction under the condenser instead
                > of a 90 degree bend.)
                >
                > Now the question. Which is best? Do you need the reservoir to be
                > able to control the Reflux volume? (i.e. will there always be more
                > reflux without the reservoir, because a volume will always flow
                > around the 'intake'?)

                Mine was a 'A' because the guy building it only had T junctions on hand, and
                we couldn't be bothered getting an elbow. I would have prefered a 'B' - the
                wee volume there is a hassle, particularly when trying to run the still at
                total reflux at the beginning of a run - I would much prefer that the liquid
                in the reservoir at that point in time were back in the column getting
                nicely purified, rather than sitting around. It probably is, eg being
                washed out fairly frequently, but its a nagging thought. I don't know about
                if a 'B' runs out of liquid or not - haven't heard of it happening.

                Tony
              • mobrien@zoology.uq.edu.au
                Tony, Thanks - that s kinda what I was thinking.... ... I can t imagine that occurring either - I figured it was better to ask the question and risk looking
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 2, 2001
                  Tony,

                  Thanks - that's kinda what I was thinking....

                  > I don't know about if a 'B' runs out of liquid or not
                  > - haven't heard of it happening.

                  I can't imagine that occurring either - I figured it was better to
                  ask the question and risk looking silly, rather than wishing I'd
                  asked later on.

                  And besides, 90 degree bends are cheaper than T's!

                  Thanks again Tony - Now I'm onto building it! I'll post some photos
                  when its done! (and then no doubt start asking questions about
                  fermentation and distillation! - That's a warning in advance!)

                  Matt

                  P.S. I won't actually start putting it together till the end of the
                  week, so if anyone can see any glaring holes in my proposed design,
                  or has some insight into head design etc, please shout now!
                • Cuichulain Setanta
                  I ve become pretty interested in distilling as a sort of intellectual challenge, although the end product was a motivation too! I ve been putting together a
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 22, 2005
                    I've become pretty interested in distilling as a sort of intellectual
                    challenge, although the end product was a motivation too!

                    I've been putting together a still from bits and pieces I have...
                    ahem... aquired from working in various labs. I'd figured out most of
                    the hurdles before I found this excellent group, which helped me
                    polish off a final design. I thought I'd better run it past more
                    experienced eyes before having a stab at it.

                    http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/771c15c8/bc/Still+Des
                    ign.jpg?bfpZ6GCBIPDXN1J9

                    Sorry for the poor quality, I had to bash it off in MS Paint.

                    The problems, as far as I can see, are a small distillation vessell (a
                    mere 3 litres) and a narrow condensing column (probably only 30-40mm),
                    but I should be able to reduce the power quite easily.

                    I was also wondering about other factors too... I have a dropper
                    funnell on the distillation flask which means I'll be able to add
                    fresh wash, without stopping the distillation. Would this add an
                    unacceptable about of methanol, though?

                    Also, I was thinking of wrapping the outlet pipe of the Liebig
                    condenser around the top of the air condenser in order to improve the
                    reflux ratio. Is this a good idea?

                    Oh yes, and the packing will be pot scrubbers.

                    Thanks guys... any comments, suggestions or howls of derision will be
                    much appreciated.
                  • Harry
                    ... intellectual ... .......................I d imagine that would be some pretty schmick gear, Robert. Just don t tell Dr. Bridger you ve got it. :-)) I d
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 22, 2005
                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Cuichulain Setanta"
                      <thephantombatterpuddinghurler@y...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > I've become pretty interested in distilling as a sort of
                      intellectual
                      > challenge, although the end product was a motivation too!


                      .............Medico's & booze don't mix (but it's fun anyways). :-)


                      >
                      > I've been putting together a still from bits and pieces I have...
                      > ahem... aquired from working in various labs.




                      .......................I'd imagine that would be some pretty schmick
                      gear, Robert. Just don't tell Dr. Bridger you've got it. :-))





                      I'd figured out most of
                      > the hurdles before I found this excellent group, which helped me
                      > polish off a final design. I thought I'd better run it past more
                      > experienced eyes before having a stab at it.
                      >
                      > http://us.f1f.yahoofs.com/bc/771c15c8/bc/Still+Des
                      > ign.jpg?bfpZ6GCBIPDXN1J9


                      ......................Can't access it.


                      <snip>
                      >
                      > Thanks guys... any comments, suggestions or howls of derision will
                      be
                      > much appreciated.


                      ............Post the pics here in photos. Then we'll howl or
                      otherwise. ;)

                      Slainte!
                      regards Harry
                      Moderator
                    • Cuichulain Setanta
                      ... Well... bare with me a second while I recover from this coronary. That s rather knocked the wind out of my sails, to say the very least! [Blanket denial]
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 23, 2005
                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Cuichulain Setanta"
                        > <thephantombatterpuddinghurler@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > >
                        > > I've been putting together a still from bits and pieces I have...
                        > > ahem... aquired from working in various labs.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > .......................I'd imagine that would be some pretty schmick
                        > gear, Robert. Just don't tell Dr. Bridger you've got it. :-))
                        >

                        Well... bare with me a second while I recover from this coronary.

                        That's rather knocked the wind out of my sails, to say the very least!

                        [Blanket denial]
                        Not from this lab, obviously! Heaven forbid, couldn't be farther from
                        my thoughts, so on and so forth... far too much respect for the
                        university for that kind of petty larceny
                        [/Blanket denial]

                        How? How did you know? I'm really in a quandry... if your attempt was
                        to soundly do me over, you have succeded, and in fine style too, may I
                        say. Who are you, though? It's not fair to leave me in the dark after
                        such a shock! :)


                        Anyways, I shall try and post my picture to the photos segment after
                        I've had a little something for the shock


                        _______________
                        The now-unmasked Robert...
                      • Harry
                        ... wrote: ... was ... may I ... after ... after ... Welcome to the groups, Robert. I could have fun with this
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 23, 2005
                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Cuichulain Setanta"
                          <thephantombatterpuddinghurler@y...> wrote:
                          <snip>
                          >
                          > How? How did you know? I'm really in a quandry... if your attempt
                          was
                          > to soundly do me over, you have succeded, and in fine style too,
                          may I
                          > say. Who are you, though? It's not fair to leave me in the dark
                          after
                          > such a shock! :)
                          >
                          >
                          > Anyways, I shall try and post my picture to the photos segment
                          after
                          > I've had a little something for the shock
                          >
                          >
                          > _______________
                          > The now-unmasked Robert...



                          Welcome to the groups, Robert.
                          I 'could' have fun with this for days. Mental visions of you
                          peering over your shoulder at lectures, wondering just who the hell
                          is watching. But I won't do that. I've had my fun :-))

                          I'm on the other side of the world to you. Cairns Qld Australia.
                          Harry, Groups Moderator, at your service. :)
                          There's a wee bio on my website, the alcohol library...
                          http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/


                          Slainte!
                          regards Harry
                        • Cuichulain Setanta
                          ... I managed to get that much from the site listed in your profile... I also realised that I had, very stupidly, listed a site containing my name in my own
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 23, 2005
                            > Welcome to the groups, Robert.
                            > I 'could' have fun with this for days. Mental visions of you
                            > peering over your shoulder at lectures, wondering just who the hell
                            > is watching. But I won't do that. I've had my fun :-))
                            >
                            > I'm on the other side of the world to you. Cairns Qld Australia.
                            > Harry, Groups Moderator, at your service. :)
                            > There's a wee bio on my website, the alcohol library...
                            > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                            >
                            >
                            > Slainte!
                            > regards Harry


                            I managed to get that much from the site listed in your profile... I
                            also realised that I had, very stupidly, listed a site containing my
                            name in my own profile. Rank, unforgivable stupidity... in my defense,
                            the site didn't contain my name when I added it to my Yahoo profile.

                            The only thing I didn't get is how you came up with the name Dr.
                            Bridger? It is possible to get a staff list from my uni site, but it's
                            been difficult when I've tried to get the email address of lecturers.
                            Also, you'd have to know what departement I'm in... there's not many
                            that would give me access to labs, but it was still a good guess, I
                            thought.

                            Anyway, fair play to you... you certainly gave me a damn good fright!

                            And it's Rob, btw... another thing that confused me! Who would know me
                            well enough to know my lecturers but still call me Robert!?


                            Anyways, what do you reckon to the still? It's now listed under 'Still
                            design' in the photos section. Likely to kill me?


                            Rob
                          • Harry
                            ... wrote: ... it s ... lecturers. ... many ... fright! ... know me ... under Still ... Yep, it s a straight-out
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 23, 2005
                              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Cuichulain Setanta"
                              <thephantombatterpuddinghurler@y...> wrote:
                              <snip>

                              >
                              > The only thing I didn't get is how you came up with the name Dr.
                              > Bridger? It is possible to get a staff list from my uni site, but
                              it's
                              > been difficult when I've tried to get the email address of
                              lecturers.
                              > Also, you'd have to know what departement I'm in... there's not
                              many
                              > that would give me access to labs, but it was still a good guess, I
                              > thought.
                              >
                              > Anyway, fair play to you... you certainly gave me a damn good
                              fright!
                              >
                              > And it's Rob, btw... another thing that confused me! Who would
                              know me
                              > well enough to know my lecturers but still call me Robert!?
                              >
                              >
                              > Anyways, what do you reckon to the still? It's now listed
                              under 'Still
                              > design' in the photos section. Likely to kill me?
                              >
                              >
                              > Rob


                              Yep, it's a straight-out column & liebig setup. Fill the column
                              with copper pot scrubbers. Check 'em with a magnet & penknife, some
                              are coloured plastic. That will give you very good separation and
                              virtually eliminate nasties. The copper reacts with them. Adjust
                              your power input downward if the head temp isn't stable at about 78
                              to 79°C. 900w is adequate for your rig.

                              re your other questions....check you email a/c at uni. :)

                              Slainte!
                              regards Harry
                            • Cuichulain Setanta
                              ... My pot scrubbers are stainless steel, I don t actually have any copper. How important is it to have it? I ll keep a look out but I don t remember seeing
                              Message 14 of 18 , Feb 23, 2005
                                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@y...> wrote:

                                > Yep, it's a straight-out column & liebig setup. Fill the column
                                > with copper pot scrubbers. Check 'em with a magnet & penknife, some
                                > are coloured plastic. That will give you very good separation and
                                > virtually eliminate nasties. The copper reacts with them. Adjust
                                > your power input downward if the head temp isn't stable at about 78
                                > to 79°C. 900w is adequate for your rig.
                                >
                                > re your other questions....check you email a/c at uni. :)
                                >
                                > Slainte!
                                > regards Harry



                                My pot scrubbers are stainless steel, I don't actually have any
                                copper. How important is it to have it?

                                I'll keep a look out but I don't remember seeing any copper scrubbers
                                round here
                              • suitcase1499@aol.com
                                In a message dated 2/23/2005 11:15:52 PM Eastern Standard Time, thephantombatterpuddinghurler@yahoo.co.uk writes: I ll keep a look out but I don t remember
                                Message 15 of 18 , Feb 23, 2005
                                  In a message dated 2/23/2005 11:15:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                                  thephantombatterpuddinghurler@... writes:

                                  I'll keep a look out but I don't remember seeing any copper scrubbers
                                  round here



                                  If you are closetoa Bi-Lo or Ingles Supermarket they carry Brawny Copper pot
                                  scrubbers 100% all copper.

                                  Suitcase


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • brandymaker12
                                  We have a column still, 2 inch column about 3ft long.its a good still and runs like it should for that size. My question is to have a higher out put still
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Feb 22, 2012
                                    We have a column still, 2 inch column about 3ft long.its a good still and runs like it should for that size.
                                    My question is to have a higher out put still would it be better to go to a 3,4 inch column or a taller 2 inch? Would a larger condenser make a big difference?
                                    2nd question, what can I insulate the column with that won't burn?

                                    Thanks!
                                  • Harry
                                    Wider give more capacity. Taller gives better separation (purity). Bigger condensers handle more heat transfer (cooling). Slainte! regards Harry
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Feb 24, 2012
                                      Wider give more capacity. Taller gives better separation (purity). Bigger condensers handle more heat transfer (cooling).


                                      Slainte!
                                      regards Harry
                                      =============================

                                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "brandymaker12" <brandymaker12@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > We have a column still, 2 inch column about 3ft long.its a good still and runs like it should for that size.
                                      > My question is to have a higher out put still would it be better to go to a 3,4 inch column or a taller 2 inch? Would a larger condenser make a big difference?
                                      > 2nd question, what can I insulate the column with that won't burn?
                                      >
                                      > Thanks!
                                      >
                                    • grandview06 tds.net
                                      Thanks Harry, for the information!
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Feb 24, 2012
                                        Thanks Harry, for the information!

                                        On 2/24/12, Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
                                        > Wider give more capacity. Taller gives better separation (purity). Bigger
                                        > condensers handle more heat transfer (cooling).
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Slainte!
                                        > regards Harry
                                        > =============================
                                        >
                                        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "brandymaker12" <brandymaker12@...>
                                        > wrote:
                                        >>
                                        >> We have a column still, 2 inch column about 3ft long.its a good still and
                                        >> runs like it should for that size.
                                        >> My question is to have a higher out put still would it be better to go to
                                        >> a 3,4 inch column or a taller 2 inch? Would a larger condenser make a big
                                        >> difference?
                                        >> 2nd question, what can I insulate the column with that won't burn?
                                        >>
                                        >> Thanks!
                                        >>
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
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