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Re: stills

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  • Tarvus
    In the past 14 years, I ve used both electric and propane. Having done both, I ll stick with propane and never go back to electric. Arguments can be made
    Message 1 of 40 , Dec 6, 2007
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      In the past 14 years, I've used both electric and propane. Having
      done both, I'll stick with propane and never go back to electric.

      Arguments can be made either way, but usually are made by those who
      have only ever used one or the other. My suggestion is try them
      both, then decide.

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sn_cur" <sn_cur@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sonum norbu" <blanik@>
      wrote:
      > >
      > > Jeff
      > > Same here in Oz - the land of milk and honey, now that Bonsai has
      gone.
      > >
      > > blanik
      > >
      >
      > Good riddance to him. Well and truly overstayed his welcome.
      >
      > But back to the subject at hand, propane v. electricity:
      >
      > Folks, don't know where you get the idea electricity isn't capable
      of very fine adjustment, it
      > is at least as fine and accurate as propane, if you have a good
      controller. A zero switching
      > circuit (aka a burst fire module) can move in steps of 1% (in a
      50Hz supply), and I doubt
      > any standard control valves for propane could do better than that.
      A phase switching
      > circuit like Pinto's can adjust output to an almost arbitrarily
      fine resolution, way finer than
      > propane.
      >
      > Electric heat is also VERY stable, it doesn't surge (again, given a
      good controller, not the
      > standard controllers found in stoves or room heaters). Propane is
      subject to wind and
      > breezes, and seeing as you need to use it outside, or at least in a
      well vented space, that is
      > always a potential problem, though a wind shield can usually fix
      this. Also, as mentioned,
      > if you don't have a regulator than the pressure changes in a
      propane tank mean the
      > occasional adjustment is necessary, not that this is a big problem.
      Once I set the burst-fire
      > controller on my still for a run it is rock solid and I never have
      to adjust it.
      >
      > The flame from propane also makes it harder to insulate the boiler,
      so electric heating is
      > probably a fair bit more efficient (in a well insulated boiler).
      >
      > The response time of modern electric elements is only a bit slower
      than propane, and it
      > isn't particularly relevant for our purposes as we don't change the
      heat setting often
      > during a run, if at all, and anyway we don't need an ultra fast
      response.
      >
      > True, you do have to make sure the element is always covered with
      liquid, but that is not
      > hard to do, and you don't have the worries of a naked flame, or
      damaging the bottom of
      > the boiler if it runs dry (even stainless steel doesn't last
      forever).
      >
      > Propane does have the advantage of being able to do small batches,
      my 50 litre keg boiler
      > needs a minimum of about 11-12 litres liquid to safely cover the
      element. But that doesn't
      > mean much more than I might have to dilute a small charge a bit
      with water. No big deal.
      >
      > Don't agree there is less overall risk of explosion/fire with
      propane, as it has the naked
      > flame issue (and a bottle of propane nearby as extra bomb fuel if
      there is an explosion/
      > fire). Electric elements also don't put out CO2 and CO into your
      stilling area. But elements
      > do have the risk of electrocution (mixing electricity and liquid
      always needs to be handled
      > carefully).
      >
      > Propane can reduce the risk of scorching if used properly, but you
      still need to clear the
      > wash well, as heating yeast (whether with electricity or propane)
      splits it open and releases
      > unwanted flavours. Using a low density element seriously reduces
      the risk of scorching.
      > And you can always filter out the solids from the wash first.
      >
      > Depending on the set-up, propane usually gives a shorter boil up
      time, but I don't think
      > that is a huge advantage for hobby distillers. I can boil up 40
      litres of water in about 75
      > minutes with my 2400 w element, not exactly a long time, and just
      about the right amount
      > of time to set everything else up (column, coolant supply, etc).
      >
      > Propane does work during power outages, but it can also run out if
      you forget to keep
      > your tanks filled, besides which modern electric power grids don't
      go down that often, and
      > rarely for very long.
      >
      > Electricity is more easily available, I can plug in at any house,
      anytime. Propane can only be
      > obtained from a limited number of locations, and not anytime.
      >
      > I don't know what any cost difference might be, that probably
      varies a fair bit from place
      > to place. But I only still once or twice a month, so it doesn't
      really matter to me, and
      > electricity is pretty cheap in my area anyway.
      >
      > I am not arguing for or against either of them. Both have their
      pros and cons, and work
      > well and safely when used properly. Six of one, half a dozen of the
      other. Given my
      > particular circumstances, I just find electricity more convenient.
      But it is not necessarily
      > the best option for everyone. The choice boils down to what is best
      for your particular
      > circumstances, and personal preference.
      >
      > "The point I was trying to make is that using a naked flame to
      check for etho leaks doesn't
      > seem all that sensible to me."
      >
      > Fair point, no argument there.
      >
      > [End Rant]
      >
      > Cheers
      > sn
      >
    • jamesonbeam1
      PS. Heres a nice little calculator for figuring out the length of condenser needed for your exact requirements from Home Distillers..
      Message 40 of 40 , Jan 15, 2008
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        PS. Heres a nice little calculator for figuring out the length of
        condenser needed for your exact requirements from Home Distillers..

        http://homedistiller.org/cond_calc.htm

        Jim.
        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, arthur doremus <sumerod04@>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi Jim,
        > > Thanks for the info. Finally got the time and all the parts.
        > Using a 16 qt (15.14 L) SS pot, 1/2 OD flexible copper pipe and
        > compression fittings. I have 6 gal of wash (cider and raisins), so
        > doing two 3 gal runs, and depending on how it works, probably a run
        > using the distilate from the first two. I plan on the tubing
        > verticle from the pot about 10-12" then up at 30 degrees for about
        2
        > feet (to get some reflux) then drop to the condenser. Question is-
        > how long a run should I use for the condenser coil? With the
        > material I have, I was planning about 60" in a 7"-8" dia. coil.
        Too
        > much? too little? I'd appreciate your suggestions.
        > > Art
        > > jamesonbeam1 <jamesonbeam1@> wrote:
        > > Hi Art,
        > > Welcome to the wonderful, exciting , thrilling - sometimes
        > chilling world of distilling.
        > > Above all, do not - repeat DO NOT try the ice water / bath /
        wok
        > approach. I wasted a month on that damn thing. After getting my
        > chit together, I went an made me a simple, simple pot still from
        > household equipment, and it still works to this day.
        > > The most simplest design to start with is something like this:
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Some short cuts i have found is using old 5/8" pieces of garden
        > hose to make flexible couplings. (fits perfectly around 1/2"
        copper
        > pipe for air tight fit.
        > > Also if your to lazy to make a coiled "worm" for you condenser,
        > just get an old 5 - 6 gallon beer cooler and drill a 1/2" hole at
        > bottom and 1/2" hole at top. Then run a straight through "shotgun"
        > 1/2" copper pipe through from top to bottom and seal with plummers
        > putty. Fill with Ice Water every so often - and volia - a
        > condenser...
        > > Just dont make the same mistake I made mon ami.
        > > PS> an old trick i learned from making apple jack is to put it
        > first in 1 gallon jugs and freeze it. Then turn them upside down
        in
        > a can till ice is clear. This makes your must / wort about twice
        as
        > strong - then distill :):):).
        > >
        > > Vino es Veritas and Good Luck,
        > > Jim.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sumerod04" <sumerod04@>
        > wrote:
        > > >
        > > > I am a real newbie. Been making wine for about 5 years, ready
        for
        > the
        > > > next level. Thought I would start with applejack. Have 23L
        > > > cider+raisins mash almost through the secondary fermentation. I
        > have
        > > > been reading, reading and READING. I plan to try the ice-water
        > wok
        > > > bucket still (the still that isn't a still) modified with a
        > funnel and
        > > > piping to an outside collector and heating element from
        Partyman
        > that
        > > > is supposed to hit 45-50C. It's simple and cheap but could take
        3-
        > 5
        > > > days. Supposedly, you can't separate out the methyl using this.
        > > > Amazingstill.com seems to indicate this isn't a problem. An
        > option
        > > > would be higher temperature allowing the alcohols to separate.
        Or
        > > > would it be smarter starting with a more traditional pot still.
        > At
        > > > this point I'm mainly interested in making applejack, maybe
        > schnappes
        > > > maybe rum. I would appreciate any advice.
        > > > Art
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ---------------------------------
        > > Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with
        Yahoo!
        > Search.
        > >
        >
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