Re: First Run - Experiences
- Hi Adam,
Its a nice feeling isn't it... :) It sounds like your first run
was pretty successful. After stripping the wash you ended up with
about 3600 mls of alcohol (in your 6 liters @ 60%) so you probably
tossed away about 1 liter when you did the stripping run - I
wouldn't worry about it, I have never worked it out but I probably
waste about the same during stripping runs.
Anyway I wouldn't have thought that not cleaning the still after the
stripping run wouldn't leave that much residual taste behind (I
might be wrong here) I think the hot volatile vapour would flush all
the crap back into the boiler or be taken as heads. The only thing I
can comment on is that next time I would leave the column to
stabilize by this I mean when the wash starts boiling leave the
still at 100% reflux (like you did- but for longer) I find after the
wash boils and everything gets up to temp and has been left at 100%
reflux the temp drops down a fraction - this is the higher alcohols
(alcohols with lower boiling points) collecting in the top of the
column. I usually leave it for about 60 - 90 minutes just to make
sure I'm getting all the nasties and then slowly take off the heads
the amount I take can vary but I just keep sniffing away until I'm
sure I'm into the main body of the run (one idea is to just collect
everything slowly in smaller jars and deal with the separations
later). I normally have a rough idea how much alcohol is in my wash
so when I start to get near the end I watch the temperature like a
hawk until the temp changes as soon as it changes I start collecting
tails. Some good advice someone gave me was to watch for the change
of temperature not the actual figure.
This works for me but I'm sure everyone has a slightly different way
of running their still.
I hope this has been of some help!
**you should probably also know that I have never used a El still**
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "The Ooz" <theooz@h...>
> I thought I'd share my first run experience so that others canlearn from
> it, and so that I can get some more tips to improve my procedure.The still
> The Gear
> I have built an EL still as per the plans on homedistiller.org.
> has a power controller (Sutronics) and the boiler is a 20Litre urn.at 18
> The Process
> After some stuffing around, I ended up with a 25 litre sugar wash
> percent. I decided to do a stripping run first based onsuggestions made in
> this group. I put about 18 litres in and ran my still at highpower (2.4kW
> element) until I had about 3 litres of clear liquid. I then ran itagain
> with the remaining part of the wash thrown in as well.have had
> I ended up with 6 litres of spirit (I'm not sure how much I should
> at this point, but any advice appreciated). I was fairly vague inmy
> settings but decided to stop the run when my thermometer was atabout 98
> degrees. I measured the alcohol in the clearer liquid and it wasat 60%.
> The next day (and not having cleaned my still) I put the 6 litres
> litres of tap water in my boiler and started again. This time Iwas very
> fussy with my temperature and had the still running at exactly 78degrees
> for 10 minutes before starting to draw off the spirit. I collectedabout
> 100ml of foreshots and set them aside (my mate wants it for somereason). I
> then collected the heads but was unsure of when I should make thecuts so
> just smelt each container as I went through. Everything seemed tosmell the
> same to me.products was
> When the temperature was at about 86 degrees, and not much
> coming out of the tap, I decided to stop the run. I think I hadabout 3
> litres of 95 percent spirit. This run took around 5 hours. Thespirit smelt
> a little like the wash had that I started with. I think this isbecause I
> hadn't cleaned the still after the stripping run and all of thecrap was
> caught in the scrubbers. After the run I cleaned everything out.Can anyone
> comment on this?thought it would
> The final spirit was okay, but not as neutral in smell as I
> be. Is this due to the lack of cleaning?stripping run -
> I wasn't sure how much product I should have gained from the
> is there a way that I can know this before proceding next time?use based
> I wasn't sure when to take the cuts - is there a calculation I can
> on the quantity at hand?they taste
> I found that using some 'Top Shelf' liquer essences was great and
> fine. I used a scotch essence and found that I could smell theodour from
> the wash that I mention. So I think it was almost all out, but Iwas not
> quite there.
> Any advice or questions welcome.
> Hot chart ringtones and polyphonics. Go to
- Mate congradulations....!
Firstly as an introduction, i am pretty fussy about getting pure
spirit, as well as being REALLY lazy.. ;-)
What i normally do is make two lots of wash ie 50L do two lots of
stripping then one final run. (I have a 60L drum which i add 8kg of
sugar one table spoon of tomato paste (food for the yeasties) and
ONE packet of turbo yeast, stir vigoursly... try and get lots of air
into the water. Leave the lid off and come back the next day and
add another 6Kg of sugar and give it another stir and then seal the
Stripping runs straight into a flagon or a mash bucket.
Then when i am taking the main run i put a old 700ml bottle in a 2L
container (that way if i miss it doesn't matter), take it 700ml at a
time. I usually stop around 85-90c.
This way i have less hassel in cleaning also i find the first couple
of bottles have a slight contamination i dont like so i dont use
them for my spirits. I also dont use the last 2 or 3 bottles.
Some add them back to the next run to get out the "little" extra bit
of ethanol... Eventually you will end up with 10L of heads/tails
like me that you finally through away, or add blue dye and hand out
as window cleaner, or use in a dual fuel stove etc etc.
I never need carbon these days and overall am very happy with the
Ohhhh and if your into the flavours like me try buying some of the
oak chips and add it... After 4 weeks drink and go WOW...!
- Ohhh how embarrasing...
I forgot, after the stripping runs and before the main run i give it
a thorough clean.
I used to use dishwashing power, leave it overnight worked REALLY
well, but got concerned that it might leave some nasties, so have
switched to vinegar.
- That's great, which Still R U using, is it the Vapour Management Still?
and do you also treat the packing with vinegar? are you using the
structured copper packing?
----- Original Message -----
From: "dark_taet" <ndistillers@...>
Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 4:42 PM
Subject: [new_distillers] Re: First Run - Experiences
> Ohhh how embarrasing...
> I forgot, after the stripping runs and before the main run i give it
> a thorough clean.
> I used to use dishwashing power, leave it overnight worked REALLY
> well, but got concerned that it might leave some nasties, so have
> switched to vinegar.
> New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
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- I bought a Still Spirits boiler 25L with a 1380W element, then
thanks to a VERY nice guy added a Sutronics controller do my run at
My column etc is the PDA-1, i have tried all sorts of
alternatives... I REALLY love VM particularly for new people, the
downfall i see is when trying to get flavours etc to come through.
The PDA-1 gives me the flexibility to play with flavours and it
packs into a sexy case etc. The price tag is pretty scarey, but i
was more than happy to pay considering the effort the two mikes put
--- In email@example.com, "Laurens W" <lwildebo@b...>
> That's great, which Still R U using, is it the Vapour ManagementStill?
> and do you also treat the packing with vinegar? are you using the
> structured copper packing?