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Re: Distillation Time?

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  • cartierusm2004
    I m using a still I made from moonshine-still.com, the first one (not the Nixon style). I use a stainless keg as my boiler with a clover clamp fitting and have
    Message 1 of 25 , Jul 28, 2006
      I'm using a still I made from moonshine-still.com, the first one
      (not the Nixon style). I use a stainless keg as my boiler with a
      clover clamp fitting and have 2 elements. One is a 3500watt 220V and
      the other is a 1500 watt 120v hooked up to a router speed controller
      to regulate the power. The column is insulated and once up to
      boiling I unplug the 220v element. I use ice in my recirculating
      water to keep it cool but not freezing. I usually have a sugar wash
      with 18% ABV. Now if I watch the temp and keep it at 174 degree F it
      takes forever to collect. Like I said before from start to finish
      about 14 hours and then I could even start collecting more the next
      day. Oh, I use copper mesh packing almost the entire way up the
      column, until it's touching the reflux cooling lines running through
      the column. Column is about 1 meter and 2" in diameter. I don't have
      the reflux cooling line going through the bottom of the still like
      in the moonshine-still one, I've got them going through the top.

      Should I not watch the thermometer and just run it hot and see what
      kind of ABV percentages I get? I would love to collect 8 liters in 3
      hours!!

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > I'm puzzled. Your column is acting as if it has less than
      3 "theoretical plate equivalents,"
      > which is pretty hard to believe if all 5 feet are packed well with
      scrubbers. Can you post a
      > picture of your equipment? What %ABV are you getting after the
      first gallon? What are you
      > distilling?
      >
      > Other things being equal, if you add forced reflux with a
      condensor on top of the column,
      > you will get more TPEs, so better separation. But in your case,
      it's probably worth figuring
      > out why the column's performing so poorly without reflux first.
      >
      > Phil
      >
      >
      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@>
      wrote:
      > >
      > > My colum is 2" copper pipe 5 feet long with copper scrubbers as
      > > packing. I get about 2 gallons of 60% in 3 hours after a 1 hour
      warm-
      > > up. i have no inside condenser to make the vapors reflux.
      Essentially
      > > its just a pot still with a long packed colum. Are you saying
      that
      > > even if i add a condenser inside to initiate reflux, i still
      won't
      > > have a good seperation of heads/tails? If so, how can i fix this?
      > >
      > > -Tyler
      > >
      > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
      wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Ignoring boil up time, 8 liters in 2.5 hours is 53.3ml /
      minute, or
      > > 42.1 grams per minute.
      > > > LHV of ethanol is 204 calories/gram, so that's 8595
      calories/min.
      > > A Watt is 14.3 calories/
      > > > minute, so you'd need 600W to produce ethanol at that rate.
      Not
      > > unreasonable.
      > > >
      > > > This only works if your column has enough theoretical plates
      to
      > > produce 90% without
      > > > forced reflux. The HETP calculator on homedistiller.org
      estimates
      > > that, at 600W, you need
      > > > about half a meter of 2" column packed with scrubbers to get
      there.
      > > >
      > > > Now, if you're trying to produce neutral spirits, you probably
      > > won't be happy with a
      > > > column like that, because it won't give good separation of
      heads
      > > and tails. For that, you
      > > > want a design that can produce 95%+. You can get there
      without
      > > compromising takeoff
      > > > rate by using a taller column and/or more efficient packing.
      Or,
      > > you can sacrifice takeoff
      > > > rate and use induced reflux and/or reduced heat. The
      compromise
      > > that works best is for
      > > > you to decide.
      > > >
      > > > For practical reasons, many here settle on a design with about
      > > meter of 50mm column and
      > > > good packing. Such a design can produce your 8 liters in 2.5
      > > hours at close to 95% with
      > > > modest induced reflux. The quality might or might not be what
      > > you're after, depending on
      > > > the quality of the wash, carbon or other treatments, and your
      > > personal taste. It works best
      > > > to do heads collection at reduced heat and greater reflux.
      > > >
      > > > In any case, you should be able to do much better than a
      gallon of
      > > 93% in 14 hours.
      > > > Conservatively, say an hour for boil up, two hours for column
      > > equilibration, an hour to
      > > > remove 250ml of foreshots/heads, and 4-6 hours to collect 95%
      > > hearts and minimal tails.
      > > > This assumes the meter of packing in a 50mm column. Folks
      here can
      > > help you get there,
      > > > but you have to tell us more about your still design and
      current
      > > operating procedures.
      > > >
      > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "cartierusm2004"
      <htcustom@>
      > > wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > I've been re-reading nixon's book on distillation and it
      says
      > > with the
      > > > > reflux still you can get 8 liters, 90% purity in 2 1/2
      hours.
      > > > > Uhhh..have I been doing something wrong. I get maybe a
      gallon of
      > > 93%
      > > > > purity in like 14 hours and my boil up time is only 45
      minutes. I
      > > > > think though last time I ran my reflux still I noticed if I
      ran
      > > it hot
      > > > > it came out with the same purity as if I ran it slow. Any
      answers?
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • tyler_97355
      i m distilling vodka. starting alcohol is atround 12%. It distills around 60-75%. I have a picture of my still in the Photo area of this site, or it was the
      Message 2 of 25 , Jul 28, 2006
        i'm distilling vodka. starting alcohol is atround 12%. It distills
        around 60-75%. I have a picture of my still in the Photo area of this
        site, or it was the distillers site. I have modified it a little
        since the picture. It now has a water jacketed condenser onthe
        outlet, instead of running a coil into a bucket of water. i also run
        a 1500 watt water heater element, with no voltage control. that might
        be part of the problem.

        -Tyler




        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@...> wrote:
        >
        > I'm puzzled. Your column is acting as if it has less than
        3 "theoretical plate equivalents,"
        > which is pretty hard to believe if all 5 feet are packed well with
        scrubbers. Can you post a
        > picture of your equipment? What %ABV are you getting after the
        first gallon? What are you
        > distilling?
        >
        > Other things being equal, if you add forced reflux with a condensor
        on top of the column,
        > you will get more TPEs, so better separation. But in your case,
        it's probably worth figuring
        > out why the column's performing so poorly without reflux first.
        >
        > Phil
        >
        >
        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@>
        wrote:
        > >
        > > My colum is 2" copper pipe 5 feet long with copper scrubbers as
        > > packing. I get about 2 gallons of 60% in 3 hours after a 1 hour
        warm-
        > > up. i have no inside condenser to make the vapors reflux.
        Essentially
        > > its just a pot still with a long packed colum. Are you saying
        that
        > > even if i add a condenser inside to initiate reflux, i still
        won't
        > > have a good seperation of heads/tails? If so, how can i fix this?
        > >
        > > -Tyler
        > >
        > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
        wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Ignoring boil up time, 8 liters in 2.5 hours is 53.3ml /
        minute, or
        > > 42.1 grams per minute.
        > > > LHV of ethanol is 204 calories/gram, so that's 8595
        calories/min.
        > > A Watt is 14.3 calories/
        > > > minute, so you'd need 600W to produce ethanol at that rate.
        Not
        > > unreasonable.
        > > >
        > > > This only works if your column has enough theoretical plates to
        > > produce 90% without
        > > > forced reflux. The HETP calculator on homedistiller.org
        estimates
        > > that, at 600W, you need
        > > > about half a meter of 2" column packed with scrubbers to get
        there.
        > > >
        > > > Now, if you're trying to produce neutral spirits, you probably
        > > won't be happy with a
        > > > column like that, because it won't give good separation of
        heads
        > > and tails. For that, you
        > > > want a design that can produce 95%+. You can get there
        without
        > > compromising takeoff
        > > > rate by using a taller column and/or more efficient packing.
        Or,
        > > you can sacrifice takeoff
        > > > rate and use induced reflux and/or reduced heat. The
        compromise
        > > that works best is for
        > > > you to decide.
        > > >
        > > > For practical reasons, many here settle on a design with about
        > > meter of 50mm column and
        > > > good packing. Such a design can produce your 8 liters in 2.5
        > > hours at close to 95% with
        > > > modest induced reflux. The quality might or might not be what
        > > you're after, depending on
        > > > the quality of the wash, carbon or other treatments, and your
        > > personal taste. It works best
        > > > to do heads collection at reduced heat and greater reflux.
        > > >
        > > > In any case, you should be able to do much better than a gallon
        of
        > > 93% in 14 hours.
        > > > Conservatively, say an hour for boil up, two hours for column
        > > equilibration, an hour to
        > > > remove 250ml of foreshots/heads, and 4-6 hours to collect 95%
        > > hearts and minimal tails.
        > > > This assumes the meter of packing in a 50mm column. Folks here
        can
        > > help you get there,
        > > > but you have to tell us more about your still design and
        current
        > > operating procedures.
        > > >
        > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "cartierusm2004"
        <htcustom@>
        > > wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > I've been re-reading nixon's book on distillation and it says
        > > with the
        > > > > reflux still you can get 8 liters, 90% purity in 2 1/2 hours.
        > > > > Uhhh..have I been doing something wrong. I get maybe a gallon
        of
        > > 93%
        > > > > purity in like 14 hours and my boil up time is only 45
        minutes. I
        > > > > think though last time I ran my reflux still I noticed if I
        ran
        > > it hot
        > > > > it came out with the same purity as if I ran it slow. Any
        answers?
        > > > >
        > > >
        > >
        >
      • PhilipWilson
        Tyler, Your setup seems fine, except I suspect you re right - 1500W is too much power for the column with no forced reflux. It would be interesting to try
        Message 3 of 25 , Jul 29, 2006
          Tyler,

          Your setup seems fine, except I suspect you're right - 1500W is too much power for the
          column with no forced reflux. It would be interesting to try half the power, and see what
          happens to the purity. Or alternately, you could go ahead and add a reflux condenser and
          compound still head; for vodka that's probably where you want to be anyway.

          Let us know what you learn!

          Phil


          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...> wrote:
          >
          > i'm distilling vodka. starting alcohol is atround 12%. It distills
          > around 60-75%. I have a picture of my still in the Photo area of this
          > site, or it was the distillers site. I have modified it a little
          > since the picture. It now has a water jacketed condenser onthe
          > outlet, instead of running a coil into a bucket of water. i also run
          > a 1500 watt water heater element, with no voltage control. that might
          > be part of the problem.
          >
          > -Tyler
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@> wrote:
          > >
          > > I'm puzzled. Your column is acting as if it has less than
          > 3 "theoretical plate equivalents,"
          > > which is pretty hard to believe if all 5 feet are packed well with
          > scrubbers. Can you post a
          > > picture of your equipment? What %ABV are you getting after the
          > first gallon? What are you
          > > distilling?
          > >
          > > Other things being equal, if you add forced reflux with a condensor
          > on top of the column,
          > > you will get more TPEs, so better separation. But in your case,
          > it's probably worth figuring
          > > out why the column's performing so poorly without reflux first.
          > >
          > > Phil
          > >
          > >
          > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@>
          > wrote:
          > > >
          > > > My colum is 2" copper pipe 5 feet long with copper scrubbers as
          > > > packing. I get about 2 gallons of 60% in 3 hours after a 1 hour
          > warm-
          > > > up. i have no inside condenser to make the vapors reflux.
          > Essentially
          > > > its just a pot still with a long packed colum. Are you saying
          > that
          > > > even if i add a condenser inside to initiate reflux, i still
          > won't
          > > > have a good seperation of heads/tails? If so, how can i fix this?
          > > >
          > > > -Tyler
          > > >
          > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
          > wrote:
          > > > >
          > > > > Ignoring boil up time, 8 liters in 2.5 hours is 53.3ml /
          > minute, or
          > > > 42.1 grams per minute.
          > > > > LHV of ethanol is 204 calories/gram, so that's 8595
          > calories/min.
          > > > A Watt is 14.3 calories/
          > > > > minute, so you'd need 600W to produce ethanol at that rate.
          > Not
          > > > unreasonable.
          > > > >
          > > > > This only works if your column has enough theoretical plates to
          > > > produce 90% without
          > > > > forced reflux. The HETP calculator on homedistiller.org
          > estimates
          > > > that, at 600W, you need
          > > > > about half a meter of 2" column packed with scrubbers to get
          > there.
          > > > >
          > > > > Now, if you're trying to produce neutral spirits, you probably
          > > > won't be happy with a
          > > > > column like that, because it won't give good separation of
          > heads
          > > > and tails. For that, you
          > > > > want a design that can produce 95%+. You can get there
          > without
          > > > compromising takeoff
          > > > > rate by using a taller column and/or more efficient packing.
          > Or,
          > > > you can sacrifice takeoff
          > > > > rate and use induced reflux and/or reduced heat. The
          > compromise
          > > > that works best is for
          > > > > you to decide.
          > > > >
          > > > > For practical reasons, many here settle on a design with about
          > > > meter of 50mm column and
          > > > > good packing. Such a design can produce your 8 liters in 2.5
          > > > hours at close to 95% with
          > > > > modest induced reflux. The quality might or might not be what
          > > > you're after, depending on
          > > > > the quality of the wash, carbon or other treatments, and your
          > > > personal taste. It works best
          > > > > to do heads collection at reduced heat and greater reflux.
          > > > >
          > > > > In any case, you should be able to do much better than a gallon
          > of
          > > > 93% in 14 hours.
          > > > > Conservatively, say an hour for boil up, two hours for column
          > > > equilibration, an hour to
          > > > > remove 250ml of foreshots/heads, and 4-6 hours to collect 95%
          > > > hearts and minimal tails.
          > > > > This assumes the meter of packing in a 50mm column. Folks here
          > can
          > > > help you get there,
          > > > > but you have to tell us more about your still design and
          > current
          > > > operating procedures.
          > > > >
          > > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "cartierusm2004"
          > <htcustom@>
          > > > wrote:
          > > > > >
          > > > > > I've been re-reading nixon's book on distillation and it says
          > > > with the
          > > > > > reflux still you can get 8 liters, 90% purity in 2 1/2 hours.
          > > > > > Uhhh..have I been doing something wrong. I get maybe a gallon
          > of
          > > > 93%
          > > > > > purity in like 14 hours and my boil up time is only 45
          > minutes. I
          > > > > > think though last time I ran my reflux still I noticed if I
          > ran
          > > > it hot
          > > > > > it came out with the same purity as if I ran it slow. Any
          > answers?
          > > > > >
          > > > >
          > > >
          > >
          >
        • tyler_97355
          This is something i m going to try. Going to modify my still so that i have some more relux capabilities. tell me what you think.
          Message 4 of 25 , Jul 29, 2006
            This is something i'm going to try. Going to modify my still so that i
            have some more relux capabilities. tell me what you think.

            http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/photos/view/616e?b=4

            -Tyler
          • Harry
            ... that i ... b=4 ... This concept has been (still is) used in the past. It works, BUT... The biggest problem is that there s no independent control of
            Message 5 of 25 , Jul 29, 2006
              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > This is something i'm going to try. Going to modify my still so
              that i
              > have some more relux capabilities. tell me what you think.
              >
              > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/photos/view/616e?
              b=4
              >
              > -Tyler
              >


              This concept has been (still is) used in the past. It works, BUT...
              The biggest problem is that there's no independent control of
              coolant flow to each condenser. The setup as shown has one inlet
              and one outlet. Consequently, the coolant that exits the final
              condenser is already warm when it enters the reflux condenser. This
              is inefficient in terms of heat transfer capability, and requires a
              faster flow (more volume per second). This unregulated faster flow
              then enters the reflux condenser at too high a velocity and you get
              too much reflux, & little product.

              A much better setup is to split the inlet with a "Y" connector and
              run them through inline taps/valves. This way you can adjust the
              flow to each condenser, independent of the other. Much better
              control, particularly for adjusting reflux ratios, as your setup is
              basically a vapour management type, which requires very little
              coolant flow in the reflux condenser to achieve reflux, while
              allowing 'some' vapour to pass to product recovery. The outlets can
              also be a "Y" to a single drain.

              Whenever multiple condensers are used in a rig, it's always best to
              have complete control over each, independent of the other.


              Slainte!
              regards Harry
            • PhilipWilson
              I would try running at a full 1500W and measuring your takeoff rate. In principle, 1500W vaporizes 105 grams / min of ethanol, or 7.98 liters / hour of
              Message 6 of 25 , Jul 30, 2006
                I would try running at a full 1500W and measuring your takeoff rate. In principle, 1500W
                vaporizes 105 grams / min of ethanol, or 7.98 liters / hour of liquid. You're returning
                some to the column as reflux; when you know your actual takeoff rate at 1500W, you can
                calculate your reflux ratio. I'd guess you'll collect 90%+ ABV running that way.

                Note how much you collect before heads finish, and also when tails begin. Then you
                might try a run collecting heads more slowly with lower heat. You should be able to get
                better separation, i.e., collect a smaller volume of more concentrated heads. Once heads
                are finished, you can turn up the heat and run faster.

                From your observation that you need to run at very low heat to keep the hed temperature
                at 174, it sounds like you're not getting much reflux. It would be good to measure to be
                sure. If that's true, you might try modifying your still to force more reflux.

                Let us know what you find!

                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "cartierusm2004" <htcustom@...> wrote:
                >
                > I'm using a still I made from moonshine-still.com, the first one
                > (not the Nixon style). I use a stainless keg as my boiler with a
                > clover clamp fitting and have 2 elements. One is a 3500watt 220V and
                > the other is a 1500 watt 120v hooked up to a router speed controller
                > to regulate the power. The column is insulated and once up to
                > boiling I unplug the 220v element. I use ice in my recirculating
                > water to keep it cool but not freezing. I usually have a sugar wash
                > with 18% ABV. Now if I watch the temp and keep it at 174 degree F it
                > takes forever to collect. Like I said before from start to finish
                > about 14 hours and then I could even start collecting more the next
                > day. Oh, I use copper mesh packing almost the entire way up the
                > column, until it's touching the reflux cooling lines running through
                > the column. Column is about 1 meter and 2" in diameter. I don't have
                > the reflux cooling line going through the bottom of the still like
                > in the moonshine-still one, I've got them going through the top.
                >
                > Should I not watch the thermometer and just run it hot and see what
                > kind of ABV percentages I get? I would love to collect 8 liters in 3
                > hours!!
                >
              • PhilipWilson
                As Harry says, decoupling the water supplies for the reflux and product condensers is a good idea in your proposed design (which I would argue is cooling
                Message 7 of 25 , Jul 30, 2006
                  As Harry says, decoupling the water supplies for the reflux and product condensers is a
                  good idea in your proposed design (which I would argue is cooling management, not
                  vapor management.) You're controlling reflux rate by how cool the reflux condenser is,
                  but in your design, the product condenser gets the most coolant when it needs it least,
                  i.e., when reflux is highest.

                  Also, you don't want the reflux to run down the column walls, bypassing the packing.
                  There are various designs which channel the reflux to drip into the center of the packing.
                  Easiest might be to install a reducing coupling under the reflux condenser to act as a
                  funnel.

                  Otherwise, looks good. But do try a reduced power run with the current setup to see what
                  the improvement in sepoaration / purity is like.

                  Cheers,

                  Phil




                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > This is something i'm going to try. Going to modify my still so that i
                  > have some more relux capabilities. tell me what you think.
                  >
                  > http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/photos/view/616e?b=4
                  >
                  > -Tyler
                  >
                • Harry
                  ... product condensers is a ... management, not ... Phil, I won t argue semantics, but I would like to offer my reasons for not promoting the coolant
                  Message 8 of 25 , Jul 30, 2006
                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > As Harry says, decoupling the water supplies for the reflux and
                    product condensers is a
                    > good idea in your proposed design (which I would argue is cooling
                    management, not
                    > vapor management.)


                    Phil,
                    I won't argue semantics, but I would like to offer my reasons for
                    not promoting the 'coolant management' moniker.

                    Liquid Management takes the condensed liquid and splits it into two
                    streams, one of returned liquid to the column (reflux), the other to
                    outlet (product).

                    Vapour Management takes the ascending vapours and splits them into
                    two streams, one to be liquefied & returned to the column (reflux),
                    the other to outlet (product).

                    In both cases it is the solvent being 'managed', which would appear
                    to be what we are aiming for in distillation.

                    The term 'Coolant Management' does indeed refer to manipulating the
                    coolant flow, but shouldn't that be just another form of 'operations
                    procedure' to achieve separation?

                    If so, then it falls into the same set of operating procedures
                    as 'Electricity Management', or 'Gas Flame Management'. If not,
                    then why don't we have distinctive terms for those management
                    procedures?

                    Personally, I think there's only two distinct 'management' concepts;
                    that of managing solvent liquid, or solvent vapours. How you do
                    that 'management' is purely a consequence of still design and
                    operations procedure.

                    Of course, if 'Coolant Management' is a term that one is comfortable
                    with, then that's fine by me. Call it anything you want, so long as
                    others can understand the intended meaning. That's what language &
                    communication is all about. :-)


                    Slainte!
                    regards Harry
                  • Lindsay Williams
                    Problem with your categorisation, Harry, is that you lump my excellent VM with bloody awful CM. How is anyone to know how my still works if we call both
                    Message 9 of 25 , Jul 31, 2006
                      Problem with your categorisation, Harry, is that you lump my excellent
                      VM with bloody awful CM. How is anyone to know how my still works if
                      we call both methods VM? We would have to apply a sub-category to VM.
                      VM with coolant throttle and VM with physical vapour splitting. Nah, I
                      like LM, VM, and CM. Call me old fashioned if you like!!

                      Cheers,
                      Lindsay.

                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > As Harry says, decoupling the water supplies for the reflux and
                      > product condensers is a
                      > > good idea in your proposed design (which I would argue is cooling
                      > management, not
                      > > vapor management.)
                      >
                      >
                      > Phil,
                      > I won't argue semantics, but I would like to offer my reasons for
                      > not promoting the 'coolant management' moniker.
                      >
                      > Liquid Management takes the condensed liquid and splits it into two
                      > streams, one of returned liquid to the column (reflux), the other to
                      > outlet (product).
                      >
                      > Vapour Management takes the ascending vapours and splits them into
                      > two streams, one to be liquefied & returned to the column (reflux),
                      > the other to outlet (product).
                      >
                      > In both cases it is the solvent being 'managed', which would appear
                      > to be what we are aiming for in distillation.
                      >
                      > The term 'Coolant Management' does indeed refer to manipulating the
                      > coolant flow, but shouldn't that be just another form of 'operations
                      > procedure' to achieve separation?
                      >
                      > If so, then it falls into the same set of operating procedures
                      > as 'Electricity Management', or 'Gas Flame Management'. If not,
                      > then why don't we have distinctive terms for those management
                      > procedures?
                      >
                      > Personally, I think there's only two distinct 'management' concepts;
                      > that of managing solvent liquid, or solvent vapours. How you do
                      > that 'management' is purely a consequence of still design and
                      > operations procedure.
                      >
                      > Of course, if 'Coolant Management' is a term that one is comfortable
                      > with, then that's fine by me. Call it anything you want, so long as
                      > others can understand the intended meaning. That's what language &
                      > communication is all about. :-)
                      >
                      >
                      > Slainte!
                      > regards Harry
                      >
                    • tyler_97355
                      well, lets say that i m trying to distill a 50 gallon wash. i would be running 2400 watts most likely. In that case i would imagine that i would have to force
                      Message 10 of 25 , Jul 31, 2006
                        well, lets say that i'm trying to distill a 50 gallon wash. i would
                        be running 2400 watts most likely. In that case i would imagine that
                        i would have to force reflux by using a condenser. I'm not going to
                        sit around for 20 hour while my still is trickling out liquor running
                        on 600 watts. would this be a good assumption?

                        -Tyler


                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Lindsay Williams"
                        <lindsay.nz@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Problem with your categorisation, Harry, is that you lump my
                        excellent
                        > VM with bloody awful CM. How is anyone to know how my still works if
                        > we call both methods VM? We would have to apply a sub-category to
                        VM.
                        > VM with coolant throttle and VM with physical vapour splitting.
                        Nah, I
                        > like LM, VM, and CM. Call me old fashioned if you like!!
                        >
                        > Cheers,
                        > Lindsay.
                        >
                        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@>
                        wrote:
                        > >
                        > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
                        > > wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > As Harry says, decoupling the water supplies for the reflux and
                        > > product condensers is a
                        > > > good idea in your proposed design (which I would argue is
                        cooling
                        > > management, not
                        > > > vapor management.)
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Phil,
                        > > I won't argue semantics, but I would like to offer my reasons for
                        > > not promoting the 'coolant management' moniker.
                        > >
                        > > Liquid Management takes the condensed liquid and splits it into
                        two
                        > > streams, one of returned liquid to the column (reflux), the other
                        to
                        > > outlet (product).
                        > >
                        > > Vapour Management takes the ascending vapours and splits them
                        into
                        > > two streams, one to be liquefied & returned to the column
                        (reflux),
                        > > the other to outlet (product).
                        > >
                        > > In both cases it is the solvent being 'managed', which would
                        appear
                        > > to be what we are aiming for in distillation.
                        > >
                        > > The term 'Coolant Management' does indeed refer to manipulating
                        the
                        > > coolant flow, but shouldn't that be just another form
                        of 'operations
                        > > procedure' to achieve separation?
                        > >
                        > > If so, then it falls into the same set of operating procedures
                        > > as 'Electricity Management', or 'Gas Flame Management'. If not,
                        > > then why don't we have distinctive terms for those management
                        > > procedures?
                        > >
                        > > Personally, I think there's only two distinct 'management'
                        concepts;
                        > > that of managing solvent liquid, or solvent vapours. How you do
                        > > that 'management' is purely a consequence of still design and
                        > > operations procedure.
                        > >
                        > > Of course, if 'Coolant Management' is a term that one is
                        comfortable
                        > > with, then that's fine by me. Call it anything you want, so long
                        as
                        > > others can understand the intended meaning. That's what language
                        &
                        > > communication is all about. :-)
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Slainte!
                        > > regards Harry
                        > >
                        >
                      • Harry
                        ... running ... 50 gallon boilers are getting a bit beyond hobby distilling. You d need something a good deal bigger than a 50mm (2 ) diameter column, and a
                        Message 11 of 25 , Jul 31, 2006
                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > well, lets say that i'm trying to distill a 50 gallon wash. i would
                          > be running 2400 watts most likely. In that case i would imagine that
                          > i would have to force reflux by using a condenser. I'm not going to
                          > sit around for 20 hour while my still is trickling out liquor
                          running
                          > on 600 watts. would this be a good assumption?
                          >
                          > -Tyler



                          50 gallon boilers are getting a bit beyond hobby distilling. You'd
                          need something a good deal bigger than a 50mm (2") diameter column,
                          and a better heat source.

                          There's a few basic principles you need to get your head around.
                          Bigger capacity boilers don't mean faster output. The output is
                          governed by the capacity of the COLUMN to process a given volume of
                          vapour. Sure, you can pour more vapour into the column, but you will
                          immediately suffer quality loss (less % alc) in the resulting
                          distillate.

                          A given boiler size requires a certain amount of energy input to reach
                          boiling point, and to maintain that point. You could (in theory) boil
                          Sydney harbour if you had perfect (no loss) insulation, but putting
                          the resulting vapour up a 50mm column wouldn't work.

                          For larger scale distilling, the design scenario goes like this:
                          Decide how much distillate you want to collect per hour (1, 2, 10
                          gallons, whatever).

                          Then use calculations or computer software to construct a column that
                          will do just that.

                          Then match a boiler and heat source that will supply the volume of
                          vapour necessary to feed the column.

                          Then again use calcs or software to design a condenser/heat exchanger
                          system to liquefy the separated solvent vapour the column produces.

                          See how the COLUMN is the pivotal element in all this? Not the boiler
                          size? Same is true for hobby stills, but far easier, because we
                          already know how much vapour a 50mm column can handle "efficiently"
                          (don't forget that word).

                          A boiler with a max capacity of ~20 litres is easily a good
                          compromise. Much more (like your 50 gallons in one hit) and you run
                          into trouble with preventing heat losses, or it takes forever to boil,
                          or you pour in the heat and overdrive the column.

                          Much less (like 5 litres) and you're forever boiling, emptying,
                          recharging the boiler, and the time stretches out. However a 5 litre
                          charge 'will' make enough rocket fuel in one go for a 40oz bottle of
                          spirits. How much do you need to float your liver? Large
                          quantities 'always' makes authorities think "hah, commercial
                          operation!".

                          So the onus is on you as to which way you want to jump, but the bottom
                          line is..."build a column to handle the desired production rate, then
                          match the other bits to the column's capacity.


                          Slainte!
                          regards Harry
                        • PhilipWilson
                          Harry, I have no passion for taxonomy, and certainly am not trying to pick a fight - I was just following the convention in Nixon & McCaw. Your reasons are
                          Message 12 of 25 , Jul 31, 2006
                            Harry,

                            I have no passion for taxonomy, and certainly am not trying to pick a fight - I was just
                            following the convention in Nixon & McCaw. Your reasons are logical. But VM with a gate
                            valve and VM with 'cooling management' seem as physically and operationally different as
                            either is to LM with a needle valve. And to paraphrase Lindsay, one is decidedly more
                            elegant than the other :-). So it seems nice to have short names to distinguish them,
                            though I don't claim to get to choose them!

                            Cheers,

                            Phil





                            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
                            ...
                            > I won't argue semantics, but I would like to offer my reasons for
                            > not promoting the 'coolant management' moniker.
                            >
                            > Liquid Management takes the condensed liquid and splits it into two
                            > streams, one of returned liquid to the column (reflux), the other to
                            > outlet (product).
                            >
                            > Vapour Management takes the ascending vapours and splits them into
                            > two streams, one to be liquefied & returned to the column (reflux),
                            > the other to outlet (product).
                            >
                            > In both cases it is the solvent being 'managed', which would appear
                            > to be what we are aiming for in distillation.
                            >
                            > The term 'Coolant Management' does indeed refer to manipulating the
                            > coolant flow, but shouldn't that be just another form of 'operations
                            > procedure' to achieve separation?
                            >
                            > If so, then it falls into the same set of operating procedures
                            > as 'Electricity Management', or 'Gas Flame Management'. If not,
                            > then why don't we have distinctive terms for those management
                            > procedures?
                            >
                            > Personally, I think there's only two distinct 'management' concepts;
                            > that of managing solvent liquid, or solvent vapours. How you do
                            > that 'management' is purely a consequence of still design and
                            > operations procedure.
                            >
                            > Of course, if 'Coolant Management' is a term that one is comfortable
                            > with, then that's fine by me. Call it anything you want, so long as
                            > others can understand the intended meaning. That's what language &
                            > communication is all about. :-)
                            >
                            >
                            > Slainte!
                            > regards Harry
                            >
                          • abbababbaccc
                            Few points to Harry s excellent post. 200 liters boilers are not unheard of in hobby circles, although the common sizes tend to be from 25 to 100 liters. Some
                            Message 13 of 25 , Aug 1, 2006
                              Few points to Harry's excellent post.

                              200 liters boilers are not unheard of in hobby circles, although the
                              common sizes tend to be from 25 to 100 liters. Some like to make more
                              at one go. It's also beneficial to have some headspace in your
                              boiler, especially if processing malt mashes. For a 25 liters malt
                              mash you can very well use 50 liters or even 75 liters boiler and the
                              foaming won't bother you much. This is especially usefull when doing
                              quick stripping runs using high power.

                              You can use several heating elements to achieve quick warmup and
                              slower distillation matched to your column size.

                              The 2" column is NOT the only choice we have. I know many examples of
                              2.5" and 3" columns and even some 4" columns. The quality tends to
                              suffer some as we go for larger columns, but there are ways to fix
                              that as well. There's also the possibility of using multiple 2"
                              column to handle increased vapor production.

                              Cheers, Riku

                              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
                              wrote:
                              > 50 gallon boilers are getting a bit beyond hobby distilling. You'd
                              > need something a good deal bigger than a 50mm (2") diameter column,
                              > and a better heat source.
                              >
                              > There's a few basic principles you need to get your head around.
                              > Bigger capacity boilers don't mean faster output. The output is
                              > governed by the capacity of the COLUMN to process a given volume of
                              > vapour. Sure, you can pour more vapour into the column, but you
                              will
                              > immediately suffer quality loss (less % alc) in the resulting
                              > distillate.
                              >
                              > A given boiler size requires a certain amount of energy input to
                              reach
                              > boiling point, and to maintain that point. You could (in theory)
                              boil
                              > Sydney harbour if you had perfect (no loss) insulation, but putting
                              > the resulting vapour up a 50mm column wouldn't work.
                              >
                              > For larger scale distilling, the design scenario goes like this:
                              > Decide how much distillate you want to collect per hour (1, 2, 10
                              > gallons, whatever).
                              >
                              > Then use calculations or computer software to construct a column
                              that
                              > will do just that.
                              >
                              > Then match a boiler and heat source that will supply the volume of
                              > vapour necessary to feed the column.
                              >
                              > Then again use calcs or software to design a condenser/heat
                              exchanger
                              > system to liquefy the separated solvent vapour the column produces.
                              >
                              > See how the COLUMN is the pivotal element in all this? Not the
                              boiler
                              > size? Same is true for hobby stills, but far easier, because we
                              > already know how much vapour a 50mm column can handle "efficiently"
                              > (don't forget that word).
                              >
                              > A boiler with a max capacity of ~20 litres is easily a good
                              > compromise. Much more (like your 50 gallons in one hit) and you
                              run
                              > into trouble with preventing heat losses, or it takes forever to
                              boil,
                              > or you pour in the heat and overdrive the column.
                              >
                              > Much less (like 5 litres) and you're forever boiling, emptying,
                              > recharging the boiler, and the time stretches out. However a 5
                              litre
                              > charge 'will' make enough rocket fuel in one go for a 40oz bottle
                              of
                              > spirits. How much do you need to float your liver? Large
                              > quantities 'always' makes authorities think "hah, commercial
                              > operation!".
                              >
                              > So the onus is on you as to which way you want to jump, but the
                              bottom
                              > line is..."build a column to handle the desired production rate,
                              then
                              > match the other bits to the column's capacity.
                              >
                              >
                              > Slainte!
                              > regards Harry
                              >
                            • Allan DeGroot
                              Don t use a voltage control. You are FAR better off using a cyclic switching control, basically a bi-metallic element operating a switch contact. Simply put,
                              Message 14 of 25 , Aug 3, 2006
                                Don't use a voltage control.

                                You are FAR better off using a cyclic switching control, basically a
                                bi-metallic element operating a switch contact.

                                Simply put, you are better off switching the element on and off than
                                running it at reduced voltage.

                                AllanD


                                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > i'm distilling vodka. starting alcohol is atround 12%. It distills
                                > around 60-75%. I have a picture of my still in the Photo area of
                                this
                                > site, or it was the distillers site. I have modified it a little
                                > since the picture. It now has a water jacketed condenser onthe
                                > outlet, instead of running a coil into a bucket of water. i also
                                run
                                > a 1500 watt water heater element, with no voltage control. that
                                might
                                > be part of the problem.
                                >
                                > -Tyler
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > I'm puzzled. Your column is acting as if it has less than
                                > 3 "theoretical plate equivalents,"
                                > > which is pretty hard to believe if all 5 feet are packed well
                                with
                                > scrubbers. Can you post a
                                > > picture of your equipment? What %ABV are you getting after the
                                > first gallon? What are you
                                > > distilling?
                                > >
                                > > Other things being equal, if you add forced reflux with a
                                condensor
                                > on top of the column,
                                > > you will get more TPEs, so better separation. But in your case,
                                > it's probably worth figuring
                                > > out why the column's performing so poorly without reflux first.
                                > >
                                > > Phil
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@>
                                > wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > My colum is 2" copper pipe 5 feet long with copper scrubbers as
                                > > > packing. I get about 2 gallons of 60% in 3 hours after a 1 hour
                                > warm-
                                > > > up. i have no inside condenser to make the vapors reflux.
                                > Essentially
                                > > > its just a pot still with a long packed colum. Are you saying
                                > that
                                > > > even if i add a condenser inside to initiate reflux, i still
                                > won't
                                > > > have a good seperation of heads/tails? If so, how can i fix
                                this?
                                > > >
                                > > > -Tyler
                                > > >
                                > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
                                > wrote:
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Ignoring boil up time, 8 liters in 2.5 hours is 53.3ml /
                                > minute, or
                                > > > 42.1 grams per minute.
                                > > > > LHV of ethanol is 204 calories/gram, so that's 8595
                                > calories/min.
                                > > > A Watt is 14.3 calories/
                                > > > > minute, so you'd need 600W to produce ethanol at that rate.
                                > Not
                                > > > unreasonable.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > This only works if your column has enough theoretical plates
                                to
                                > > > produce 90% without
                                > > > > forced reflux. The HETP calculator on homedistiller.org
                                > estimates
                                > > > that, at 600W, you need
                                > > > > about half a meter of 2" column packed with scrubbers to get
                                > there.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Now, if you're trying to produce neutral spirits, you
                                probably
                                > > > won't be happy with a
                                > > > > column like that, because it won't give good separation of
                                > heads
                                > > > and tails. For that, you
                                > > > > want a design that can produce 95%+. You can get there
                                > without
                                > > > compromising takeoff
                                > > > > rate by using a taller column and/or more efficient packing.
                                > Or,
                                > > > you can sacrifice takeoff
                                > > > > rate and use induced reflux and/or reduced heat. The
                                > compromise
                                > > > that works best is for
                                > > > > you to decide.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > For practical reasons, many here settle on a design with
                                about
                                > > > meter of 50mm column and
                                > > > > good packing. Such a design can produce your 8 liters in
                                2.5
                                > > > hours at close to 95% with
                                > > > > modest induced reflux. The quality might or might not be
                                what
                                > > > you're after, depending on
                                > > > > the quality of the wash, carbon or other treatments, and your
                                > > > personal taste. It works best
                                > > > > to do heads collection at reduced heat and greater reflux.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > In any case, you should be able to do much better than a
                                gallon
                                > of
                                > > > 93% in 14 hours.
                                > > > > Conservatively, say an hour for boil up, two hours for column
                                > > > equilibration, an hour to
                                > > > > remove 250ml of foreshots/heads, and 4-6 hours to collect 95%
                                > > > hearts and minimal tails.
                                > > > > This assumes the meter of packing in a 50mm column. Folks
                                here
                                > can
                                > > > help you get there,
                                > > > > but you have to tell us more about your still design and
                                > current
                                > > > operating procedures.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "cartierusm2004"
                                > <htcustom@>
                                > > > wrote:
                                > > > > >
                                > > > > > I've been re-reading nixon's book on distillation and it
                                says
                                > > > with the
                                > > > > > reflux still you can get 8 liters, 90% purity in 2 1/2
                                hours.
                                > > > > > Uhhh..have I been doing something wrong. I get maybe a
                                gallon
                                > of
                                > > > 93%
                                > > > > > purity in like 14 hours and my boil up time is only 45
                                > minutes. I
                                > > > > > think though last time I ran my reflux still I noticed if I
                                > ran
                                > > > it hot
                                > > > > > it came out with the same purity as if I ran it slow. Any
                                > answers?
                                > > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                              • Harry
                                ... I m getting mighty tired of explaining to people why cyclic bi- metallic controls don t work in ethanol distilling. Anyone else care to run with the ball?
                                Message 15 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Allan DeGroot" <adegroot@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Don't use a voltage control.
                                  >
                                  > You are FAR better off using a cyclic switching control, basically a
                                  > bi-metallic element operating a switch contact.
                                  >
                                  > Simply put, you are better off switching the element on and off than
                                  > running it at reduced voltage.
                                  >
                                  > AllanD




                                  I'm getting mighty tired of explaining to people why cyclic bi-
                                  metallic controls don't work in ethanol distilling. Anyone else care
                                  to run with the ball? You know, collapse of distilling action in the
                                  column, time-lag, etc, etc. Point our friend in the right direction,
                                  please.


                                  Slainte!
                                  regards Harry
                                  Moderator
                                • allan degroot
                                  [Moderator s Note] Long on theory (much of it incorrect), and obviously short on practice. Argumentative, confrontational, hmmm...I m beginning to smell
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                                    [Moderator's Note]

                                    Long on theory (much of it incorrect), and obviously short on practice. Argumentative, confrontational, hmmm...I'm beginning to smell "Troll".

                                    If you're interested in doing distilling right, then read and absorb http://homedistiller.org
                                    then do some research in the archives.

                                    If you just want to engage in cerebral gymnastics and confuse the hell out of distilling newbies, do it elsewhere. It ain't gonna happen on my watch.

                                    I will not accomodate you in a 'battle of wits', as I refuse to fight with an unarmed opponent.

                                    [End Note]



                                    Harry,

                                    I think that would depend on factors not discussed.

                                    I think the issue is non-technical people working with technical things,
                                    thermal mass and hysteresis can be used to cancel each other out.

                                    And the larger the boiler the smaller the effect of delay/hesteresis/lag

                                    You can also use multiple elements and have one powered full time.

                                    you may be moderator, but don't be condecending and call for someone else
                                    to discuss it, if you don't agree with me defend your position yourself.
                                    because frankly I don't care if you are "mightly tired or not"
                                    if you cannot defend your opinion yourself....

                                    My main point is that resistive heating elements aren't designed
                                    to be operated on varying voltage.
                                    I suspect that you are using a very crude thermostatic control
                                    (one adjustment?) the "huge money of $17 I spent on a controller
                                    I've used previously had THREE adjustments (High, Low and "swing")on it
                                    and could without much effort be adjusted to maintain temp with a 4degree
                                    (centigrade) swing.

                                    The other thing is that I strongly suspect that anyone who's had problems
                                    with a thermostatic control was likely trying to maintain TOO LOW a boiler temp
                                    trying to maintain temp in the boiler much below 200'F is IMCO pointless

                                    If you maintein a temp BELOW that of boiling water you won't need to do
                                    much more.

                                    If you had a collapasing vapor column I have no doubt of this.
                                    better to have too much heat in the boiler and use just a little more
                                    reflux cooling water than try to reduce the heat to an utter minimum.

                                    you are always going to loose heat as the vapor rises in the column (If
                                    nothing else from the increase in gravitational potential energy(LOL:)

                                    I have sucessfully used a simple "one adjustment" controller
                                    (that someone else installed on their homebuilt rig)
                                    and the only thing I needed to do to make it function predictably
                                    was to adjust it higher than the owner had been trying to operate it
                                    were you tryng to run your boiler at minimum temp?

                                    I'd really like you to "explain" yourself to understand what was going on.
                                    But frankly I don't automatically believe anyone's analysis until I've heard
                                    the whole story, I don't know you, but most people who've had a problem
                                    move on to some other method too soon without understanding why
                                    things didn't work as expected.

                                    My main thing against voltage control is that I doubt anyone out there is
                                    using inductive voltage control (a variac) and using a resistive method is
                                    wasting power
                                    by simply generating the heat somewhere else...

                                    It is inefficient. Inefficient commits the highest crime any engineer
                                    can imagine "Failure to be elegant" :)

                                    Lighten up!

                                    AllanD
                                  • stevolate
                                    Hi Allan If you had been reading old posts you would of found 105 posts alone about variac and 136 posts about triac. If you do a search on what you want
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                                      Hi Allan
                                      If you had been reading old posts you would of found 105 posts
                                      alone about variac and 136 posts about triac. If you do a search on
                                      what you want first, you will save giving miss information to a lot of
                                      people.
                                      Link below type in - triac or variac - This will give you plenty to read.
                                      Rather than stating "I doubt anyone out there is using inductive
                                      voltage control (a variac) and using a resistive method is wasting power"
                                      Just type in what you want in below link.
                                      http://tinyurl.com/qkz9p

                                      Happy drinking

                                      Stevo


                                      > My main thing against voltage control is that I doubt anyone out
                                      there is
                                      > using inductive voltage control (a variac) and using a resistive
                                      method is
                                      > wasting power
                                      > by simply generating the heat somewhere else...
                                      >
                                      > It is inefficient. Inefficient commits the highest crime any engineer
                                      > can imagine "Failure to be elegant" :)
                                      >
                                      > Lighten up!
                                      >
                                      > AllanD
                                      >
                                    • stevolate
                                      Hi Allan You can search distillers also and get another 250 results for triac and 104 for variac. Link below. http://tinyurl.com/h5nh4 Happy drinking Stevo
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                                        Hi Allan
                                        You can search distillers also and get another 250 results for
                                        triac and 104 for variac. Link below.
                                        http://tinyurl.com/h5nh4

                                        Happy drinking

                                        Stevo
                                      • Harry
                                        ... for ... You haven t seen all the other messages from it that were blocked. Trust me on this, Stevo. It s a troll. Don t feed it. Slainte! regards Harry
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Aug 4, 2006
                                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "stevolate" <stevolate@...>
                                          wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Hi Allan
                                          > You can search distillers also and get another 250 results
                                          for
                                          > triac and 104 for variac. Link below.
                                          > http://tinyurl.com/h5nh4
                                          >
                                          > Happy drinking
                                          >
                                          > Stevo
                                          >


                                          You haven't seen all the other messages from it that were blocked.
                                          Trust me on this, Stevo. It's a troll. Don't feed it.

                                          Slainte!
                                          regards Harry
                                        • marquee.moon
                                          In response to Harry s request a few post back to explain AGAIN why it s not good idea to use a bi-metalic switch. From one idiotic newbie to another, my way
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Aug 11, 2006
                                            In response to Harry's request a few post back to explain AGAIN why
                                            it's not good idea to use a bi-metalic switch.

                                            From one idiotic newbie to another, my way of imagining it-

                                            A bi-metallic switch is what electric cookers use (at least, mine
                                            does).
                                            I put some pasta on to boil at maximum. It comes to the boil easily
                                            and I turn it down to a lower setting for a simmer. It goes off the
                                            boil totally, the pasta goes rubbery and tough and all sticks
                                            together in a big clump. Then a few minutes later, it starts to boil
                                            vigorously and the water spills all over the cooker. Then it switches
                                            off again, and I'm left with lumps of tough pasta, swearing at the
                                            messy cooker again.
                                            My pasta pan has never achieved that cook-book "steady simmer", not
                                            for want of trying. Its not achieved the simmer because the ring is
                                            either full on or totally off. That's bi-metallic switches for you.
                                            For the still to reach equilibrium, you need a steady simmer.

                                            By the way, thank you to Harry & other experienced members here for
                                            previously explaining this (and other things) many times, and
                                            providing the resources for people like me to learn from. I raise a
                                            glass to you all.
                                          • Jan Wouter
                                            Well, let me try to explain it in another way. Excuse me if my english is a bit off, since it is not my mother tongue. When you heat a liquid, it starts to
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Aug 11, 2006
                                              Well, let me try to explain it in another way. Excuse me if my english is a
                                              bit off, since it is not my mother tongue.
                                              When you heat a liquid, it starts to boil when it reaches its boiling point.
                                              No matter how much energy you put into it, it will stay at the boiling
                                              point. When your liquid is a mixture of alcohol and water the boliling point
                                              will change when the alcohol evaporates from your liquid.
                                              That means that the boiling point will rise in temperature.
                                              There is no way you can adjust a bi-metalic switch (thermostat) to this,
                                              because that will only switch between off or on, or boil or no boil.
                                              That is why you need to adjust the amount of energy you add to your wash,
                                              because that allows you to adjust the amount of vapour that is coming from
                                              your wash.
                                              That is what you can and want to control, and not the temperature.
                                              I have been distilling for over a year now, and while it is still on mjy
                                              wishlist, I still don't have/use a thermometer, but look at the process and
                                              use my sense and senses.

                                              Regards
                                              Jan Wouter


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