Re: Distillation Time?
- 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.
--- In email@example.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
> 50 gallon boilers are getting a bit beyond hobby distilling. You'dwill
> 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
> immediately suffer quality loss (less % alc) in the resultingreach
> A given boiler size requires a certain amount of energy input to
> boiling point, and to maintain that point. You could (in theory)boil
> Sydney harbour if you had perfect (no loss) insulation, but puttingthat
> 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
> will do just that.exchanger
> 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
> system to liquefy the separated solvent vapour the column produces.boiler
> See how the COLUMN is the pivotal element in all this? Not the
> size? Same is true for hobby stills, but far easier, because werun
> 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
> into trouble with preventing heat losses, or it takes forever toboil,
> or you pour in the heat and overdrive the column.litre
> Much less (like 5 litres) and you're forever boiling, emptying,
> recharging the boiler, and the time stretches out. However a 5
> charge 'will' make enough rocket fuel in one go for a 40oz bottleof
> spirits. How much do you need to float your liver? Largebottom
> quantities 'always' makes authorities think "hah, commercial
> So the onus is on you as to which way you want to jump, but the
> line is..."build a column to handle the desired production rate,then
> match the other bits to the column's capacity.
> regards Harry
- 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.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@...>
> 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
> site, or it was the distillers site. I have modified it a littlerun
> since the picture. It now has a water jacketed condenser onthe
> outlet, instead of running a coil into a bucket of water. i also
> a 1500 watt water heater element, with no voltage control. thatmight
> be part of the problem.with
> --- In email@example.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
> scrubbers. Can you post acondensor
> > 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
> on top of the column,this?
> > 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, "tyler_97355" <kd7enm@>
> > >
> > > 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
> > > up. i have no inside condenser to make the vapors reflux.
> > > its just a pot still with a long packed colum. Are you saying
> > > even if i add a condenser inside to initiate reflux, i still
> > > have a good seperation of heads/tails? If so, how can i fix
> > >to
> > > -Tyler
> > >
> > > --- In email@example.com, "PhilipWilson" <pgw@>
> > > >
> > > > 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
> > > A Watt is 14.3 calories/
> > > > minute, so you'd need 600W to produce ethanol at that rate.
> > > unreasonable.
> > > >
> > > > This only works if your column has enough theoretical plates
> > > produce 90% withoutprobably
> > > > forced reflux. The HETP calculator on homedistiller.org
> > > that, at 600W, you need
> > > > about half a meter of 2" column packed with scrubbers to get
> > > >
> > > > Now, if you're trying to produce neutral spirits, you
> > > won't be happy with aabout
> > > > column like that, because it won't give good separation of
> > > and tails. For that, you
> > > > want a design that can produce 95%+. You can get there
> > > compromising takeoff
> > > > rate by using a taller column and/or more efficient packing.
> > > you can sacrifice takeoff
> > > > rate and use induced reflux and/or reduced heat. The
> > > that works best is for
> > > > you to decide.
> > > >
> > > > For practical reasons, many here settle on a design with
> > > meter of 50mm column and2.5
> > > > good packing. Such a design can produce your 8 liters in
> > > hours at close to 95% withwhat
> > > > modest induced reflux. The quality might or might not be
> > > you're after, depending ongallon
> > > > 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
> > > 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
> > > help you get there,
> > > > but you have to tell us more about your still design and
> > > operating procedures.
> > > >
> > > > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "cartierusm2004"
> > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > I've been re-reading nixon's book on distillation and it
> > > with thehours.
> > > > > reflux still you can get 8 liters, 90% purity in 2 1/2
> > > > > Uhhh..have I been doing something wrong. I get maybe agallon
> > > 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
> > > it hot
> > > > > it came out with the same purity as if I ran it slow. Any
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
- --- In email@example.com, "Allan DeGroot" <adegroot@...>
>I'm getting mighty tired of explaining to people why cyclic bi-
> 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.
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,
- [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.
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
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
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
by simply generating the heat somewhere else...
It is inefficient. Inefficient commits the highest crime any engineer
can imagine "Failure to be elegant" :)
- 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
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.
> My main thing against voltage control is that I doubt anyone outthere is
> using inductive voltage control (a variac) and using a resistivemethod 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!
- Hi Allan
You can search distillers also and get another 250 results for
triac and 104 for variac. Link below.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "stevolate" <stevolate@...>
> Hi Allan
> You can search distillers also and get another 250 results
> triac and 104 for variac. Link below.You haven't seen all the other messages from it that were blocked.
> Happy drinking
Trust me on this, Stevo. It's a troll. Don't feed it.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]