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Technical Observations: Expert Advice Neded

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  • chevisn7
    First Thanks Morgan for your help, it has given me the ability to make a few tests that have lead to the following observations, deductions and questions.
    Message 1 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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      First Thanks Morgan for your help, it has given me the ability to
      make a few tests that have lead to the following observations,
      deductions and questions.

      Please everyone jump in here. Your expertise my lead to a still
      design modification that will be beneficial for all.

      First my still is the same as the still in the photo group by
      Ben_swo. Valve Reflux design 36 inches tall able to hold 24 inches of
      structured copper packing. It has a 14 inch double row condenser with
      packing and seems to be able to achieve very good condensation of the
      vapor with no vapor loss.

      I ran the follow tests with the Packing out and with the Packing in.
      The reflux valve was completely closed and the collection valve wide
      open. Additional tests were made with the packing in and in reflux
      mode.

      Packing in or Packing out made no difference in the Boiler or column
      head temperatures. The only difference noted was in the amount of
      distillate produced. And then only by a slight difference. The taste
      and smell were very close to being the same. Again very little
      difference.

      I also ran the same tests on a second and third stripping run. The
      temperatures recorded were the same. The only difference noted was in
      the amount of time it took the wash to boil and the amount of
      distillate produced. Doing a second and third stripping run did clean
      up the taste of the distillate but only by a little. How ever it
      drastically reduced the amount of alcohol collected.

      I used a 12 gallon batch of sugar wash split in half to make two 6
      gallon tests. Yeast was EC-1118 final abv was 17%
      A 6 gallon sugar wash at 17% abv produced just less than 5 qts of
      distillate on the first run at 80 to 85% abv
      The first run had a moderate oily smell and an oily after taste. The
      early part of the run tasted and smelled the best.

      The second run produced 4 qts at 85 to 90%abv
      Lighter smell and less oily taste (Better) Again the early part of
      the run smelled and tasted the best.

      The third run produced 3 qts at 92%abv
      The first two qts. were the best of this run. They still had a slight
      taste and smell of oil but drinkable. The third qrt. had a heavy oily
      smell and after taste.

      Collection Temps for all the runs were held at 81C 179 degrees F.
      This is the only vapor column head temp where product is produced.

      The column head tempetature was never allowed to go over 81C / 179
      degrees. No tails above this temp were collected.

      I put a thermometer in my boiler so I could monitor the boiler wash
      temperature.

      To start the test, I set my Boiler liquid temperature to exactly 174
      degrees. After about 10 minutes the column head temperature rose to
      160 degrees and held at this temp. I held this temperature for 30
      minutes to see what would happen. Only a couple of drops of
      distillate was produced. I removed the thermometer from the Boiler
      to observe the amount of steam being produced within the Boiler.
      Steam was being produced but there was very little steam pressure.
      The stean smelled like cleaning solvent.

      I increased the temp of the wash in the boiler to 178 degrees. The
      column head temperature rose to 170 degrees and remained at 170
      degrees. I held this temperature for 30 minutes and was able to
      collect about 200ml of product that smelled of cleaning solvent. The
      wash in the boiler started to smell cleaner more like alcohol.
      Production stopped after 200 ml of product. Threw this product away.
      No further product was produced or collected at these temps.

      I had to increase the tempetature in the boiler to 185 degrees to get
      production to start again. As soon as the temp in the Boiler started
      to rise above 180 the column head temperature immediately rose to
      81C / 178 degrees and held at this temperature. Distillate
      production started but very slowly about 1 drop per second. I held
      this collection rate for 30 minutes to see if it would change. No
      change occurred. The distillate had a very slight taste of light oil
      like part of the tails was being mixed in. When the thermometer was
      removed form the Boiler to check for steam pressure the steam had an
      alcohol smell with the off smell like vinella or like motor oil.

      I had to increase the tempetature of the Boiler to 190 degrees to get
      decent production of distillate. 4 drops per second. The head
      tempetature held at 81C 178F. The collected product has a slight
      taste and smell of oil. I also checked the collecttion in both in
      reflux and non reflux mode. Packing in and packing removed. There was
      little change in the smell or taste of the product no matter what I
      did.

      Here is the question.
      If you have to increase the temperature of the boiling liquid to a
      temperature above the temperature of pure alcohol production to get
      the vapor to rise up the column. The heads and tails are also
      vaporizing at these temperatures and are mixing with the vapor. The
      mixed vapors then rise up the column and are condensed into product
      that contains unwanted byproducts. If you use reflux to re-distill
      the product you are only removing water not the unwanted by-products
      because the collection tempetature is the same. The product is still
      contaminated with the unwanted by products.

      After completing each of the stripping runs. I noted the vapor in the
      Boiler smelled horrible. It reeked of a nasty oily smell. This
      nasty smelling vapor is going up the column with no way for it to be
      removed so it seams to reason that it will end up in the product
      being collected.

      Granted some may want this off taste based on the type of wash
      originally created and the taste buds of the creator. Never the less
      removal of unwanted by-products by percise temperature control of the
      vapor would seem to be more desireable and produce a better product
      no matter what kind of wash was used.

      Questions:
      Am I doing something wrong that is producing this un wanted taste and
      smell. I have tried three different batches now and they have all
      turn out the same.

      Is there a cure for what I have described?

      Is there a way to only clean product (Around 174 degrees) to rise up
      the column? Keeping the trash where it belongs in the Boiler.

      Do I need to change the design of the still or use a different type
      of still to produce a cleaner product?

      Would a shorter vapor column be the answer so the lower temperature
      vapors do not have so far to travel before reaching the condenser?

      In my reasearch I noted that professionaly designed pot stills have a
      very short vapor column and a very large vapor collection head. I
      also noted the PDA-1 has a very short vapor column????? Is there a
      reason for this?

      My goal is to produce a sweet clean pure product with no aftertaste
      and no taste of oil byproducts.

      Any guidance would be appreciated.
      Chuck
    • Harry
      ... of ... with ... the ... in. ... wide ... column ... taste ... in ... clean ... The ... slight ... oily ... 174 ... The ... away. ... get ... started ...
      Message 2 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > First Thanks Morgan for your help, it has given me the ability to
        > make a few tests that have lead to the following observations,
        > deductions and questions.
        >
        > Please everyone jump in here. Your expertise my lead to a still
        > design modification that will be beneficial for all.
        >
        > First my still is the same as the still in the photo group by
        > Ben_swo. Valve Reflux design 36 inches tall able to hold 24 inches
        of
        > structured copper packing. It has a 14 inch double row condenser
        with
        > packing and seems to be able to achieve very good condensation of
        the
        > vapor with no vapor loss.
        >
        > I ran the follow tests with the Packing out and with the Packing
        in.
        > The reflux valve was completely closed and the collection valve
        wide
        > open. Additional tests were made with the packing in and in reflux
        > mode.
        >
        > Packing in or Packing out made no difference in the Boiler or
        column
        > head temperatures. The only difference noted was in the amount of
        > distillate produced. And then only by a slight difference. The
        taste
        > and smell were very close to being the same. Again very little
        > difference.
        >
        > I also ran the same tests on a second and third stripping run. The
        > temperatures recorded were the same. The only difference noted was
        in
        > the amount of time it took the wash to boil and the amount of
        > distillate produced. Doing a second and third stripping run did
        clean
        > up the taste of the distillate but only by a little. How ever it
        > drastically reduced the amount of alcohol collected.
        >
        > I used a 12 gallon batch of sugar wash split in half to make two 6
        > gallon tests. Yeast was EC-1118 final abv was 17%
        > A 6 gallon sugar wash at 17% abv produced just less than 5 qts of
        > distillate on the first run at 80 to 85% abv
        > The first run had a moderate oily smell and an oily after taste.
        The
        > early part of the run tasted and smelled the best.
        >
        > The second run produced 4 qts at 85 to 90%abv
        > Lighter smell and less oily taste (Better) Again the early part of
        > the run smelled and tasted the best.
        >
        > The third run produced 3 qts at 92%abv
        > The first two qts. were the best of this run. They still had a
        slight
        > taste and smell of oil but drinkable. The third qrt. had a heavy
        oily
        > smell and after taste.
        >
        > Collection Temps for all the runs were held at 81C 179 degrees F.
        > This is the only vapor column head temp where product is produced.
        >
        > The column head tempetature was never allowed to go over 81C / 179
        > degrees. No tails above this temp were collected.
        >
        > I put a thermometer in my boiler so I could monitor the boiler wash
        > temperature.
        >
        > To start the test, I set my Boiler liquid temperature to exactly
        174
        > degrees. After about 10 minutes the column head temperature rose to
        > 160 degrees and held at this temp. I held this temperature for 30
        > minutes to see what would happen. Only a couple of drops of
        > distillate was produced. I removed the thermometer from the Boiler
        > to observe the amount of steam being produced within the Boiler.
        > Steam was being produced but there was very little steam pressure.
        > The stean smelled like cleaning solvent.
        >
        > I increased the temp of the wash in the boiler to 178 degrees. The
        > column head temperature rose to 170 degrees and remained at 170
        > degrees. I held this temperature for 30 minutes and was able to
        > collect about 200ml of product that smelled of cleaning solvent.
        The
        > wash in the boiler started to smell cleaner more like alcohol.
        > Production stopped after 200 ml of product. Threw this product
        away.
        > No further product was produced or collected at these temps.
        >
        > I had to increase the tempetature in the boiler to 185 degrees to
        get
        > production to start again. As soon as the temp in the Boiler
        started
        > to rise above 180 the column head temperature immediately rose to
        > 81C / 178 degrees and held at this temperature. Distillate
        > production started but very slowly about 1 drop per second. I held
        > this collection rate for 30 minutes to see if it would change. No
        > change occurred. The distillate had a very slight taste of light
        oil
        > like part of the tails was being mixed in. When the thermometer was
        > removed form the Boiler to check for steam pressure the steam had
        an
        > alcohol smell with the off smell like vinella or like motor oil.
        >
        > I had to increase the tempetature of the Boiler to 190 degrees to
        get
        > decent production of distillate. 4 drops per second. The head
        > tempetature held at 81C 178F. The collected product has a slight
        > taste and smell of oil. I also checked the collecttion in both in
        > reflux and non reflux mode. Packing in and packing removed. There
        was
        > little change in the smell or taste of the product no matter what I
        > did.
        >
        > Here is the question.
        > If you have to increase the temperature of the boiling liquid to a
        > temperature above the temperature of pure alcohol production to get
        > the vapor to rise up the column. The heads and tails are also
        > vaporizing at these temperatures and are mixing with the vapor. The
        > mixed vapors then rise up the column and are condensed into product
        > that contains unwanted byproducts. If you use reflux to re-distill
        > the product you are only removing water not the unwanted by-
        products
        > because the collection tempetature is the same. The product is
        still
        > contaminated with the unwanted by products.
        >
        > After completing each of the stripping runs. I noted the vapor in
        the
        > Boiler smelled horrible. It reeked of a nasty oily smell. This
        > nasty smelling vapor is going up the column with no way for it to
        be
        > removed so it seams to reason that it will end up in the product
        > being collected.
        >
        > Granted some may want this off taste based on the type of wash
        > originally created and the taste buds of the creator. Never the
        less
        > removal of unwanted by-products by percise temperature control of
        the
        > vapor would seem to be more desireable and produce a better product
        > no matter what kind of wash was used.
        >
        > Questions:
        > Am I doing something wrong that is producing this un wanted taste
        and
        > smell. I have tried three different batches now and they have all
        > turn out the same.
        >
        > Is there a cure for what I have described?
        >
        > Is there a way to only clean product (Around 174 degrees) to rise
        up
        > the column? Keeping the trash where it belongs in the Boiler.
        >
        > Do I need to change the design of the still or use a different type
        > of still to produce a cleaner product?
        >
        > Would a shorter vapor column be the answer so the lower temperature
        > vapors do not have so far to travel before reaching the condenser?
        >
        > In my reasearch I noted that professionaly designed pot stills have
        a
        > very short vapor column and a very large vapor collection head. I
        > also noted the PDA-1 has a very short vapor column????? Is there a
        > reason for this?
        >
        > My goal is to produce a sweet clean pure product with no aftertaste
        > and no taste of oil byproducts.
        >
        > Any guidance would be appreciated.
        > Chuck
        >


        You need to tackle your problems one at a time, beginning with the
        still operations procedure.

        If reflux/no reflux and packing/no packing produce little change as
        you say, then it's obvious that your reflux isn't working or
        happening at all, or very little. The usual reason for this is the
        water feed to the coil is hooked up the wrong way around, allowing
        the coil to run out of coolant through gravity drainage. Water feed
        needs to be fed to the bottom of the coil, pass upwards in the coil
        windings and exit at the top, and it needs to be fed at a rate that
        will actually remove the latent heat and transform the vapour back to
        a liquid.

        Get this sorted first before worrying about volatiles that may be
        distilling over.

        Slainte!
        regards Harry
        http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
      • chevisn7
        Hi Harry Thanks for the imput. I am running a double condenser coil. 30 foot of 1/4 inch copper coil with a 1/8th inch separation in the coils to allow for
        Message 3 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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          Hi Harry
          Thanks for the imput.
          I am running a double condenser coil. 30 foot of 1/4 inch copper coil
          with a 1/8th inch separation in the coils to allow for vapor
          circulation. The outer set of coils actually touch the inner edge of
          the condenser pipe and the inner coil of the condenser is lightly
          packed with copper mesh to increase the surface area and increase
          vapor condensation. The water enters the top of the coil circulates
          down to the bottom coil and back up to the top coil and exits the top
          coil at any rate I want it to. The water source is a garden hose with
          a constant flow of water. You can feel the heat transfer in the
          external condenser pipe from hot at the vapor cross over "T" to warm
          to cold the last 4 inches at the top. No vapor escapes the top of the
          condenser coil when the coil is turned on. A great deal of vapor
          escapes when it is turned off. I can boil water with no vapor loss
          and a very high rate of condensation. When boiling water I can get a
          constant full flow of condensate out the collection valve. The water
          exiting the condenser is warm. Additionally I have made note that
          when my wash is at a tempetature of 174 degrees. The temp where pure
          alcohol is suppose to vaporize vertually no vapor comes out the top
          of the condenser pipe even with the water turned off. Increase the
          heat a little and a lot of vapor comes out. Turn the water on and the
          vapor instantally stops and condensate is produced. What more can I
          do?
          Chuck

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > First Thanks Morgan for your help, it has given me the ability to
          > > make a few tests that have lead to the following observations,
          > > deductions and questions.
          > >
          > > Please everyone jump in here. Your expertise my lead to a still
          > > design modification that will be beneficial for all.
          > >
          > > First my still is the same as the still in the photo group by
          > > Ben_swo. Valve Reflux design 36 inches tall able to hold 24
          inches
          > of
          > > structured copper packing. It has a 14 inch double row condenser
          > with
          > > packing and seems to be able to achieve very good condensation of
          > the
          > > vapor with no vapor loss.
          > >
          > > I ran the follow tests with the Packing out and with the Packing
          > in.
          > > The reflux valve was completely closed and the collection valve
          > wide
          > > open. Additional tests were made with the packing in and in
          reflux
          > > mode.
          > >
          > > Packing in or Packing out made no difference in the Boiler or
          > column
          > > head temperatures. The only difference noted was in the amount of
          > > distillate produced. And then only by a slight difference. The
          > taste
          > > and smell were very close to being the same. Again very little
          > > difference.
          > >
          > > I also ran the same tests on a second and third stripping run.
          The
          > > temperatures recorded were the same. The only difference noted
          was
          > in
          > > the amount of time it took the wash to boil and the amount of
          > > distillate produced. Doing a second and third stripping run did
          > clean
          > > up the taste of the distillate but only by a little. How ever it
          > > drastically reduced the amount of alcohol collected.
          > >
          > > I used a 12 gallon batch of sugar wash split in half to make two
          6
          > > gallon tests. Yeast was EC-1118 final abv was 17%
          > > A 6 gallon sugar wash at 17% abv produced just less than 5 qts of
          > > distillate on the first run at 80 to 85% abv
          > > The first run had a moderate oily smell and an oily after taste.
          > The
          > > early part of the run tasted and smelled the best.
          > >
          > > The second run produced 4 qts at 85 to 90%abv
          > > Lighter smell and less oily taste (Better) Again the early part
          of
          > > the run smelled and tasted the best.
          > >
          > > The third run produced 3 qts at 92%abv
          > > The first two qts. were the best of this run. They still had a
          > slight
          > > taste and smell of oil but drinkable. The third qrt. had a heavy
          > oily
          > > smell and after taste.
          > >
          > > Collection Temps for all the runs were held at 81C 179 degrees F.
          > > This is the only vapor column head temp where product is
          produced.
          > >
          > > The column head tempetature was never allowed to go over 81C /
          179
          > > degrees. No tails above this temp were collected.
          > >
          > > I put a thermometer in my boiler so I could monitor the boiler
          wash
          > > temperature.
          > >
          > > To start the test, I set my Boiler liquid temperature to exactly
          > 174
          > > degrees. After about 10 minutes the column head temperature rose
          to
          > > 160 degrees and held at this temp. I held this temperature for 30
          > > minutes to see what would happen. Only a couple of drops of
          > > distillate was produced. I removed the thermometer from the
          Boiler
          > > to observe the amount of steam being produced within the Boiler.
          > > Steam was being produced but there was very little steam
          pressure.
          > > The stean smelled like cleaning solvent.
          > >
          > > I increased the temp of the wash in the boiler to 178 degrees.
          The
          > > column head temperature rose to 170 degrees and remained at 170
          > > degrees. I held this temperature for 30 minutes and was able to
          > > collect about 200ml of product that smelled of cleaning solvent.
          > The
          > > wash in the boiler started to smell cleaner more like alcohol.
          > > Production stopped after 200 ml of product. Threw this product
          > away.
          > > No further product was produced or collected at these temps.
          > >
          > > I had to increase the tempetature in the boiler to 185 degrees to
          > get
          > > production to start again. As soon as the temp in the Boiler
          > started
          > > to rise above 180 the column head temperature immediately rose to
          > > 81C / 178 degrees and held at this temperature. Distillate
          > > production started but very slowly about 1 drop per second. I
          held
          > > this collection rate for 30 minutes to see if it would change. No
          > > change occurred. The distillate had a very slight taste of light
          > oil
          > > like part of the tails was being mixed in. When the thermometer
          was
          > > removed form the Boiler to check for steam pressure the steam had
          > an
          > > alcohol smell with the off smell like vinella or like motor oil.
          > >
          > > I had to increase the tempetature of the Boiler to 190 degrees to
          > get
          > > decent production of distillate. 4 drops per second. The head
          > > tempetature held at 81C 178F. The collected product has a slight
          > > taste and smell of oil. I also checked the collecttion in both in
          > > reflux and non reflux mode. Packing in and packing removed. There
          > was
          > > little change in the smell or taste of the product no matter what
          I
          > > did.
          > >
          > > Here is the question.
          > > If you have to increase the temperature of the boiling liquid to
          a
          > > temperature above the temperature of pure alcohol production to
          get
          > > the vapor to rise up the column. The heads and tails are also
          > > vaporizing at these temperatures and are mixing with the vapor.
          The
          > > mixed vapors then rise up the column and are condensed into
          product
          > > that contains unwanted byproducts. If you use reflux to re-
          distill
          > > the product you are only removing water not the unwanted by-
          > products
          > > because the collection tempetature is the same. The product is
          > still
          > > contaminated with the unwanted by products.
          > >
          > > After completing each of the stripping runs. I noted the vapor in
          > the
          > > Boiler smelled horrible. It reeked of a nasty oily smell. This
          > > nasty smelling vapor is going up the column with no way for it to
          > be
          > > removed so it seams to reason that it will end up in the product
          > > being collected.
          > >
          > > Granted some may want this off taste based on the type of wash
          > > originally created and the taste buds of the creator. Never the
          > less
          > > removal of unwanted by-products by percise temperature control of
          > the
          > > vapor would seem to be more desireable and produce a better
          product
          > > no matter what kind of wash was used.
          > >
          > > Questions:
          > > Am I doing something wrong that is producing this un wanted taste
          > and
          > > smell. I have tried three different batches now and they have all
          > > turn out the same.
          > >
          > > Is there a cure for what I have described?
          > >
          > > Is there a way to only clean product (Around 174 degrees) to rise
          > up
          > > the column? Keeping the trash where it belongs in the Boiler.
          > >
          > > Do I need to change the design of the still or use a different
          type
          > > of still to produce a cleaner product?
          > >
          > > Would a shorter vapor column be the answer so the lower
          temperature
          > > vapors do not have so far to travel before reaching the
          condenser?
          > >
          > > In my reasearch I noted that professionaly designed pot stills
          have
          > a
          > > very short vapor column and a very large vapor collection head.
          I
          > > also noted the PDA-1 has a very short vapor column????? Is there
          a
          > > reason for this?
          > >
          > > My goal is to produce a sweet clean pure product with no
          aftertaste
          > > and no taste of oil byproducts.
          > >
          > > Any guidance would be appreciated.
          > > Chuck
          > >
          >
          >
          > You need to tackle your problems one at a time, beginning with the
          > still operations procedure.
          >
          > If reflux/no reflux and packing/no packing produce little change as
          > you say, then it's obvious that your reflux isn't working or
          > happening at all, or very little. The usual reason for this is the
          > water feed to the coil is hooked up the wrong way around, allowing
          > the coil to run out of coolant through gravity drainage. Water
          feed
          > needs to be fed to the bottom of the coil, pass upwards in the coil
          > windings and exit at the top, and it needs to be fed at a rate that
          > will actually remove the latent heat and transform the vapour back
          to
          > a liquid.
          >
          > Get this sorted first before worrying about volatiles that may be
          > distilling over.
          >
          > Slainte!
          > regards Harry
          > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
          >
        • Harry
          ... coil ... of ... circulates ... top ... with ... warm ... the ... a ... water ... pure ... the ... Right, that answers the condenser & water question. Now,
          Message 4 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Hi Harry
            > Thanks for the imput.
            > I am running a double condenser coil. 30 foot of 1/4 inch copper
            coil
            > with a 1/8th inch separation in the coils to allow for vapor
            > circulation. The outer set of coils actually touch the inner edge
            of
            > the condenser pipe and the inner coil of the condenser is lightly
            > packed with copper mesh to increase the surface area and increase
            > vapor condensation. The water enters the top of the coil
            circulates
            > down to the bottom coil and back up to the top coil and exits the
            top
            > coil at any rate I want it to. The water source is a garden hose
            with
            > a constant flow of water. You can feel the heat transfer in the
            > external condenser pipe from hot at the vapor cross over "T" to
            warm
            > to cold the last 4 inches at the top. No vapor escapes the top of
            the
            > condenser coil when the coil is turned on. A great deal of vapor
            > escapes when it is turned off. I can boil water with no vapor loss
            > and a very high rate of condensation. When boiling water I can get
            a
            > constant full flow of condensate out the collection valve. The
            water
            > exiting the condenser is warm. Additionally I have made note that
            > when my wash is at a tempetature of 174 degrees. The temp where
            pure
            > alcohol is suppose to vaporize vertually no vapor comes out the top
            > of the condenser pipe even with the water turned off. Increase the
            > heat a little and a lot of vapor comes out. Turn the water on and
            the
            > vapor instantally stops and condensate is produced. What more can I
            > do?
            > Chuck


            Right, that answers the condenser & water question. Now, if slightly
            raising your power input gives lots of vapour, then that tells me
            your thermometer is not precisely correct (they rarely are). So,
            just use your existing steady reading as the benchmark (80 degC
            wasn't it?).

            Now as to the oils or whatever it is being distilled over, there
            could be a dozen things to consider there. Residual crud in the
            still from the build (may need a thorough cleanout. Steam it out
            with vinegar. see archived posts), less-than-ideal fermentation
            causing yeast to make nasties, choice of fermentation ingredients,
            overdriving the still beyond its design capabilities. These are just
            a few things to check, and fix/eliminate one by one.


            Slainte!
            regards Harry
            http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
          • morganfield1
            Hi Chuck and Harry, Chuck, I think one thing you are doing wrong, and Harry, correct me if I m wrong, is you are trying to control the temp of your boil so
            Message 5 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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              Hi Chuck and Harry,

              Chuck, I think one thing you are doing wrong, and Harry, correct me
              if I'm wrong, is you are trying to control the temp of your boil so
              that only "pure ethanol" is vaporized and only that goes up the
              column. It may have been mentioned here before, once or twice, that
              the wash will produce steam at the temp determined by the % of
              ethanol in the wash. Adjusting the heat only serves the purpose of
              controlling "the amount of vapor" the boil produces, the more heat
              applied, the more vapor up the column, and the more vapor the reflux
              condensor has to condense. The mash may begin to boil at 180 degress,
              but as the alchohol is removed (lower boiling point components come
              of first), the boiling temp slowly rises. The head temp may stay the
              same, as reflux action (even with no packing) concentrates lower temp
              vapors at the top of the column. HTH. I have to go, SWMBO has just
              called me for dinner.

              Tip one, Morgan
            • chevisn7
              Thanks Harry and Morgan I did the wash out from the build with vinegar twice for over an hour each time. Once to initially clean out the unit. I then ran a
              Message 6 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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                Thanks Harry and Morgan
                I did the wash out from the build with vinegar twice for over an hour
                each time. Once to initially clean out the unit. I then ran a
                stainless steel scrubber through the unit on my drill to polish the
                inside and did the vinegar clean out again. I will try that once more
                time just to be sure I did not miss anything.

                The first mash I did was with cracked corn, sugar and Turbo 48
                yeast. The second mash I did was with Sugar. Grape Juice, Orange
                Juice, Rice Krispies and Turbo 48. The third wash I did was with
                Sugar, Grape Juice, Orange Juice, Rice Krispies and EC-1118. The
                second and third batch had less off flavors than the batch made with
                corn and Turbo 48. But the off flavors were still there.

                I have three thermometers, Two are glass industrial grade and one is
                digital rated in .10 (one tenth of a degree increments) All read the
                same head temperatures. 81C / 179 degrees as the constant to produce
                condensate.

                Each batch has had a abv of around 16 to 17% alcohol.

                I am trying to follow what Morgan said in his reply. What I do not
                understand is this.
                If pure alcohol is said to vaporizes at 173 degrees. I would expect
                to see alcohol vapor in the column when the mash reaches this
                temperature. This is where I may be wrong and where part of my
                problem lies.

                If the wash begins to boil at 180 degrees then I would expect
                everything that vaporizes below this point to be mixing in the steam
                that is going up the column. Again I may be wrong and missing a point
                or two of the process.

                I understand that when the still is in reflux mode the condensed
                liquid is cooler than the vapor coming up the column. This cooled
                liquid cools the vapor rising up the column
                causing the higher temp vapors to return to the pot to be boiled off
                again. But if the column head temp remains at 81C / 179 degrees then
                everything entering the condenser is still mixed and has no way of
                being separated. Again I may be missing something here.

                Yes I was trying to control the head temperatures by varying my heat
                to the Boiler. I did this because the head temp was above what I read
                it needed to be. I also did it because I read the temp would level
                off at around 170 degrees and slowly rise every 15 minutes or so.
                This did not happen. The temp stayed at 170 and would not go up. When
                the heat was slightly increased the head temp instantly went to 81C /
                179F. Again I may be doing something wrong or not understanding the
                entire process.

                Chuck

                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "morganfield1"
                <morganfield1@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Chuck and Harry,
                >
                > Chuck, I think one thing you are doing wrong, and Harry, correct me
                > if I'm wrong, is you are trying to control the temp of your boil so
                > that only "pure ethanol" is vaporized and only that goes up the
                > column. It may have been mentioned here before, once or twice, that
                > the wash will produce steam at the temp determined by the % of
                > ethanol in the wash. Adjusting the heat only serves the purpose of
                > controlling "the amount of vapor" the boil produces, the more heat
                > applied, the more vapor up the column, and the more vapor the
                reflux
                > condensor has to condense. The mash may begin to boil at 180
                degress,
                > but as the alchohol is removed (lower boiling point components come
                > of first), the boiling temp slowly rises. The head temp may stay
                the
                > same, as reflux action (even with no packing) concentrates lower
                temp
                > vapors at the top of the column. HTH. I have to go, SWMBO has just
                > called me for dinner.
                >
                > Tip one, Morgan
                >
              • C D
                You never mentioned what ABV % you re getting and at what temps. That could certainly help diagnose the problems. Oil-e-ness is too subjective to quantify. I
                Message 7 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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                  You never mentioned what ABV % you're getting and at what temps. That
                  could certainly help diagnose the problems. Oil-e-ness is too
                  subjective to quantify.

                  I built a valved reflux with 2"x28" column filled with 1 liter of
                  rashig rings. I boiled 3 runs of some off-tasting grape wine. Once I
                  set the output valve and reflux valve correctly, I could no longer
                  taste any grape-e-ness once the ABV% reached 75 or above. Everything
                  collected below 75% from prior runs was run through again at almost
                  max reflux. I certainly got a clean 90% ABV product. I could have
                  gotten higher but didn't want to spend the time. 180 proof was good
                  enough.
                • Trid
                  ... You hit it right on the head. You need to discard the idea that you re to control the boiler temperature. What vaporizes is not pure ethanol...ever.
                  Message 8 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...>
                    > I have three thermometers, Two are glass industrial grade and one is
                    > digital rated in .10 (one tenth of a degree increments) All read the
                    > same head temperatures. 81C / 179 degrees as the constant to produce
                    > condensate.
                    >
                    > Each batch has had a abv of around 16 to 17% alcohol.
                    >
                    > I am trying to follow what Morgan said in his reply. What I do not
                    > understand is this.
                    > If pure alcohol is said to vaporizes at 173 degrees. I would expect
                    > to see alcohol vapor in the column when the mash reaches this
                    > temperature. This is where I may be wrong and where part of my
                    > problem lies.

                    You hit it right on the head. You need to discard the idea that
                    you're to control the boiler temperature. What vaporizes is not pure
                    ethanol...ever. Because ethanol is 100% miscible with water, they
                    both vaporize together. You can never get one without the water.

                    Remember, water will evaporate at any temperature above freezing, it's
                    just that the hotter you make it, the faster it evaporates. The same
                    is true with ethanol. Because they're both present in the wash,
                    they'll both be evaporating at a certain rate based on the
                    temperature. Once you hit boiling, the temperature will not rise, but
                    the rate of evaporation will continue to increase if you were to add
                    more heat. What happens is that the mix of two liquids of differing
                    boiling temperatures causes the actual boiling temperature to be
                    somewhere between them...higher than the lower boiling liquid, but
                    lower than the higher boiling liquid. This temperature is related to
                    the ratio of the mix.

                    > If the wash begins to boil at 180 degrees then I would expect
                    > everything that vaporizes below this point to be mixing in the steam
                    > that is going up the column. Again I may be wrong and missing a
                    > point or two of the process.

                    See where this theory breaks down? Even though it is boiling at 180,
                    that which has a boiling temperature below as well as that which has a
                    higher boiling temperature will be present in the rising vapor. As
                    the ratio of those components change, the boiler temperature will
                    rise...all by itself.

                    > I understand that when the still is in reflux mode the condensed
                    > liquid is cooler than the vapor coming up the column. This cooled
                    > liquid cools the vapor rising up the column
                    > causing the higher temp vapors to return to the pot to be boiled off
                    > again. But if the column head temp remains at 81C / 179 degrees then
                    > everything entering the condenser is still mixed and has no way of
                    > being separated. Again I may be missing something here.

                    Almost. The cool condensate does partially condense the higher
                    boiling liquids out of the rising vapor, but it goes both ways. The
                    vapor reheats the liquid coming down and releases the lower boiling
                    liquids from the falling condensate. The packing in your column
                    raises the surface area in which the vapor and liquid make contact
                    which makes it more efficient in doing so.

                    As such, the vapor rising to the top should be cooler than your boiler
                    temperature. The measure of this is the head temperature. If it's
                    higher than the alcohol/water azeotrope, then you're not getting
                    complete separation (more vapor going up the column than the falling
                    condensate can separate in the space of your column given the amount
                    of surface area your packing provides). If it's less than your
                    boiler temperature, that means your reflux is working too hard and
                    you're condensing all of your ethanol back to the boiler and only the
                    more volatile components are getting past (acetone and such).

                    > Yes I was trying to control the head temperatures by varying my heat
                    > to the Boiler. I did this because the head temp was above what I
                    > read
                    > it needed to be. I also did it because I read the temp would level
                    > off at around 170 degrees and slowly rise every 15 minutes or so.
                    > This did not happen. The temp stayed at 170 and would not go up.
                    > When
                    > the heat was slightly increased the head temp instantly went to
                    > 81C / 179F. Again I may be doing something wrong or not
                    > understanding the entire process.

                    You're catching up. Actually, you're giving us clear enough
                    indications to spot exactly where you can improve. Where you increase
                    your boiler input (more heat) it instantly goes up to the saturation
                    temperature of the alcohol/water azeotrope (plus or minus very
                    little). This is a good thing. What you do at this point is to
                    settle on a particular heat input and leave it there. Quick
                    question...are you using a propane/gas or electric? If it's electric
                    and you're using a traditional thermostatic switch to control
                    temperature, this will have to be fixed before anything else will be
                    of use. If not, nevermind...on to the next step.

                    To maintain the head temperature (the measure of your product purity)
                    you'll adjust your output valve instead of your heat input. Remember
                    that your reflux cools your vapor on its way down to the boiler. If
                    it's running too hot, adjust your valve to send more back to the
                    boiler (this increases your reflux ratio). Conversely, if your head
                    temperature is too cool or your takeoff rate is low, adjust your valve
                    to take more product off and thus reduce your reflux ratio. Keep the
                    heat input constant regardless of what the temperature of the boiler.

                    If, for example, you can take off 1 liter per hour doing a
                    zero-reflux, no packing stripping run, then a 0.5 liter per hour
                    reflux run would indicate you're refluxing at 50% (or 1:1). Play with
                    your rig in a couple different situations and record the results of
                    each (takeoff rate, temperatures, no reflux, full heat, and so on) and
                    see how they differ. Playing with it will really tune you in to the
                    particulars of your rig (no two are exactly alike, so figures quoted
                    are only estimates, anyway). Then work out how well it performs for a
                    given heat input with no reflux, with 50% reflux, with 75% and so on.
                    You'll get it dialed in before you know it.

                    Trid
                    -getting withdrawals because my rig is packed up for moving
                  • morganfield1
                    Hello again, Chuck, I also want to apoligize for mis-classifying your rig. That is not a CM, that is a valved reflux LM rig, and as such should give you very
                    Message 9 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
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                      Hello again, Chuck,

                      I also want to apoligize for mis-classifying your rig. That is not a
                      CM, that is a valved reflux LM rig, and as such should give you very
                      good results. If I had looked at the pictures you offered earlier, I
                      could have avoided the mis-information I gave you.
                      But, back to the point, History Channel may have "aluded" to the
                      ability to extract alchohol from a mash by "holding" the temperature
                      at 172 deg.'s, that is not how it works. I think that Harry will
                      agree, this is one of the hardest things for beginners to get their
                      head around, and many keyboards have been worn out trying to explain
                      this. But, here 'goes. It's not rocket science (it's bio-chemical
                      science!!)
                      There are three kinds of basic elemental conditions (combinations of
                      stuff); solutions, mixtures, and compounds. A solution is a
                      combination of two or more things that once combined, will seperate
                      out of each other if they are let to set for a time (such as oil and
                      water). A mixture is a combination that once mixed, they will stay
                      mixed unless a physical energy is exerted upon them. Sugar and water
                      is such a combination. Water is the most common solvent, it will mix
                      with just about anything (except oil). A compound is combination
                      formed at the chemical level, which can only be seperated by chemical
                      means, super collider, or a really big hammer. Scratch the really big
                      hammer!
                      The other most common solvent is our friend, ethanol. Mix etho and
                      water together, you have a mixture. The physical energy applied to
                      seperate them is distillation. By the way, an oil refinery is a big
                      distillery, but that's another topic. Ethanol vaporizes at 172 deg.,
                      water vaporizes at 212 deg. Now here's the important part, a mixture
                      of etho and water will vaporize (boil) somewhere between the two
                      temperatures depending on the percentage of one to the other. Over on
                      the "distillers" group, Sherman has posted a graph showing the
                      relationship between boiling temps and vapor temps and the
                      corresponding temps and percentages of both. Fantastic job,by the
                      way, Pint, very nice. OK, you did good, too, Harry. I would strongly
                      suggest you wonder on over there and check it out.
                      OK, now at this point, Harry would give you the facts and figures,
                      but I'm going to let you do your own research (because I'm lazy).
                      Let's say your wash started to boil at 180 degrees, the vapor is a
                      mixture of methanol, ethanol, propanol and a few other things
                      (yummy), but.... the stuff with the lower boiling temps will come off
                      first, and that is what makes up MOST of what is in the vapor, and
                      that is what collects at the column head. You have also noticed, no
                      doubt, that the top of the column remains cool for awhile after the
                      wash has started boiling. This is because the sides of the column (in
                      a un-packed column) are still cool and condensing the vapor as it
                      rises, and the liquid falls back down the column. It takes about 20
                      min. for my column to heat up.
                      OK, back to the point. As the run continues, the amount of etho in
                      the wash slowly diminishes. As this happens, the temperature of the
                      boiling wash will increase (because there is more and more water in
                      the ratio). This is not to be feared, it is just the normal physical
                      properties of the wash coming into play. It doesn't mean the
                      distillate coming off is lower quality (remember I said "wash
                      temperature). The head temperature is the one to watch. That's why I
                      said "set your heat input and leave it for the duration of the run".
                      If you have the ability, put the boots to her to get her up to temp,
                      then back her down to around 1500 wts, let the column equalize (let
                      the head temp reach a steady reading for 20 min or so, and there's
                      alot of oppinion on that), adjust your drip rate for the purity
                      you're looking for, sit back and enjoy the show.
                      Wow, I'm starting to get "Harry fingers". That's enough for one
                      night. You might want to go to the "homedistiller" site, check
                      out "still operation", I think it's under the "distilling" menu, but
                      I'm not sure. I hope this helped.

                      Tip one, Moran
                    • chevisn7
                      CD Prevous post on the ABV No Packing no reflux: first run 80+% Second Run 85 to 90% Third Run 92% With 24 inches of Packing, no reflux First Run 85 to 90%
                      Message 10 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
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                        CD
                        Prevous post on the ABV
                        No Packing no reflux: first run 80+%
                        Second Run 85 to 90%
                        Third Run 92%

                        With 24 inches of Packing, no reflux
                        First Run 85 to 90%
                        Second run 92%
                        Third run 92%

                        With Reflux 3 to 1
                        First Run 90 to 92% abv

                        Hope this helps
                        Chuck

                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "C D" <vette69@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > You never mentioned what ABV % you're getting and at what temps. That
                        > could certainly help diagnose the problems. Oil-e-ness is too
                        > subjective to quantify.
                        >
                        > I built a valved reflux with 2"x28" column filled with 1 liter of
                        > rashig rings. I boiled 3 runs of some off-tasting grape wine. Once I
                        > set the output valve and reflux valve correctly, I could no longer
                        > taste any grape-e-ness once the ABV% reached 75 or above. Everything
                        > collected below 75% from prior runs was run through again at almost
                        > max reflux. I certainly got a clean 90% ABV product. I could have
                        > gotten higher but didn't want to spend the time. 180 proof was good
                        > enough.
                        >
                      • chevisn7
                        Thanks Harry, Morgan, CD, Trid, hopefully I did not leave any one out. Your answers have been very helpful. I now have a much clearer understanding of how the
                        Message 11 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
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                          Thanks Harry, Morgan, CD, Trid, hopefully I did not leave any one out.
                          Your answers have been very helpful. I now have a much clearer
                          understanding of how the still works and how the ratio or percentage
                          of alcohol to water effects the process. You call this a hobby. Once
                          I get this mastered I am considering taking up Brain Surgery as my
                          next hobby. But I do admit, the process is not so bad once you grasp
                          the concept. Your help makes understanding the process a lot easier.
                          Thanks again.

                          I read the references you referred to, needless to say all of your
                          answers are much more understandable

                          Based on the information you provided it would seem everything is
                          working properly and the temperatures I am recording are
                          satisfactory.

                          Now my efforts will be to find out where the off taste is coming
                          from. I took the still apart again and cleaned the inside with
                          vinegar and a stainless steel scrubber mounted to a drill. The inside
                          shines like a new penny. I repeated the boil out for over an hour
                          with vinegar and steam. I also boiled the copper scrubbers in
                          vinegar and rinsed them real good. Hopefully one more possible
                          problem eliminated. If I missed something in the cleaning process
                          please let me know.

                          I will run my last batch through again with the scrubbers installed
                          using Reflux to see if the smell and taste are improved. Now that I
                          have an understanding of the process I won't be so worried about the
                          temps in the Boiler. Also have a new batch started, hopefully the
                          results will be improved.

                          I still have two questions haunting me.

                          I now understand that the boiling point of the mash is relevant to
                          the ratio of alcohol to water in the mix. On the first run my ratio
                          was between 15 and 17% abv. On the second and third stripping runs
                          the ratio was 50% abv. On the second and third run the wash did boil
                          sooner at a lower temperature. If I remember on the first run it
                          boiled at 190 degrees and on the second and third run it boiled at
                          180 degrees. But the head temperature at the top of the vapor column
                          remained the same, 81C / 179F on both runs. Is this figure correct.
                          Again I may be using mechanics rather than chemistry. Chemistry
                          wasn't my best subject. I would think it should have been lower on
                          the second and third run. Again I was messing with the Boiler heat
                          to try to lower the head temp. But 81C / 179 was where product
                          started to condense.

                          My second question. I am still having a little trouble understanding
                          how the tails are being removed from the final product during the
                          early part of the production run when the vaporization temp of the
                          Boiler and the temperature at the head of the vapor column are higher
                          than the vaporization temp of the unwanted product (The Tails). It
                          would seem the unwanted product would still be suspended in the
                          vapor. What keeps the Tails in the Boiler where they belong. You
                          may have already answered this question and I just missed the point.
                          I will read your answers again and do a little more research.
                          Possibly just a case of mental block. The fog usually clears about
                          2:oo in the morning a day or so down the road. But if I did miss
                          something thanks in advance for helping out.
                          Chuck
                        • morganfield1
                          Hi Chuck, Answeres (or feable attemps at answeres) interspersed. ... ratio ... boil ... column ... correct. ... The figure sounds about right. Remember, the
                          Message 12 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
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                            Hi Chuck,

                            Answeres (or feable attemps at answeres) interspersed.

                            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > I still have two questions haunting me.
                            >
                            > I now understand that the boiling point of the mash is relevant to
                            > the ratio of alcohol to water in the mix. On the first run my
                            ratio
                            > was between 15 and 17% abv. On the second and third stripping runs
                            > the ratio was 50% abv. On the second and third run the wash did
                            boil
                            > sooner at a lower temperature. If I remember on the first run it
                            > boiled at 190 degrees and on the second and third run it boiled at
                            > 180 degrees. But the head temperature at the top of the vapor
                            column
                            > remained the same, 81C / 179F on both runs. Is this figure
                            correct.
                            > Again I may be using mechanics rather than chemistry. Chemistry
                            > wasn't my best subject. I would think it should have been lower on
                            > the second and third run.

                            The figure sounds about right. Remember, the boiler temperature is a
                            function of the alchohol to water ratio, the head temperature is the
                            temperature of the VAPOR at the top of your still and is an
                            INDICATION of the type of alchohol there. So, let's say we start with
                            a stripped run that begins to boil at 180 deg. The head temp is 174
                            after equalization. As the alchohol is depleting, the temp of the
                            boil begins to rise, but the alchohol vapor rising up the column is
                            still ethanol, therefore the temp at the still head remains 174-178.
                            Believe me, when tails start to come thru on a stripped run, that
                            temp will shoot up like a rocket. That's the beauty of doing two runs
                            for high proof spirits, the cuts are very clear. This only applies
                            (this should draw some flak) to reflux runs. Running a pot column
                            still, the temp slowly goes up thru out the run, and cuts are best
                            made by taste, smell, and sight (you can see them on your
                            fingernail). Most reflux stillers don't even run a thermometer on the
                            boiler. The only reason I have one is it gives me an idea when the
                            boil is about to start, so I'm not running cooling water needlessly.

                            Again I was messing with the Boiler heat
                            > to try to lower the head temp. But 81C / 179 was where product
                            > started to condense.

                            Once the column has equalized, don't mess with the heater. You can't
                            control head temp by adjusting boiler heat input.
                            >
                            > My second question. I am still having a little trouble
                            understanding
                            > how the tails are being removed from the final product during the
                            > early part of the production run when the vaporization temp of the
                            > Boiler and the temperature at the head of the vapor column are
                            higher
                            > than the vaporization temp of the unwanted product (The Tails)

                            A; Temperatures aren't written in stone, each still will behave with
                            it's own temperatures. Where they start, and how far and fast they
                            rise is the important issue.

                            B; Removing tails from the lower boiling point fractions is a
                            function of the packing material. That is why it is important to keep
                            the heat constant and steady so the column remains equalized thru out
                            the run. If you're looking for high proof, clean tasting spirit, a
                            packed column is the only way to go. As the vapor, with all it's
                            impurities, rises up the column thru the packing, it comes in contact
                            with condensed liquid falling down the packing. Higher boiling point
                            vapors are condensed by the falling liquid and return to the boiler
                            (this is the short version of events, film at eleven!)while lower
                            boiling point vapors remain in vapor form and continue up the column.

                            (I hate writing these long disertations 'cause the more I write, the
                            better chance I have of screwing up and looking like an idiot! I am
                            no expert on this stuff, and I don't want to give anybody bad
                            information, besides looking like an idiot.)

                            Tip one, Morgan

                            >
                          • chevisn7
                            Morgan No chance on looking or sounding like an idiot. I have that spot reserved. For a while anyway. Your explinations make a lot of sense and have given me a
                            Message 13 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
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                              Morgan
                              No chance on looking or sounding like an idiot. I have that spot
                              reserved. For a while anyway. Your explinations make a lot of sense
                              and have given me a better understanding of what is happening so I
                              can make the proper adjustments.

                              At this point my deduction is the bad flavors were either comming
                              from trash remaining in the still after the build or the yeast I was
                              using crapped some nasties into the wash.

                              The still has been re-cleaned to the point where is shines on the
                              inside like a brand new penny and a new batch is brewing. I will let
                              you know the outcome.

                              The only question that remains is how do I break the habbit of
                              sampling the brew as it comes out of the still. Disregard. I would
                              listen to that answer about as well as a I keep New Years
                              Resolutions. Jan 2nd they are out the door.
                              Thanks
                              Chuck





                              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "morganfield1"
                              <morganfield1@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hi Chuck,
                              >
                              > Answeres (or feable attemps at answeres) interspersed.
                              >
                              > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@>
                              > wrote:
                              > >
                              > > I still have two questions haunting me.
                              > >
                              > > I now understand that the boiling point of the mash is relevant
                              to
                              > > the ratio of alcohol to water in the mix. On the first run my
                              > ratio
                              > > was between 15 and 17% abv. On the second and third stripping
                              runs
                              > > the ratio was 50% abv. On the second and third run the wash did
                              > boil
                              > > sooner at a lower temperature. If I remember on the first run it
                              > > boiled at 190 degrees and on the second and third run it boiled
                              at
                              > > 180 degrees. But the head temperature at the top of the vapor
                              > column
                              > > remained the same, 81C / 179F on both runs. Is this figure
                              > correct.
                              > > Again I may be using mechanics rather than chemistry. Chemistry
                              > > wasn't my best subject. I would think it should have been lower
                              on
                              > > the second and third run.
                              >
                              > The figure sounds about right. Remember, the boiler temperature is
                              a
                              > function of the alchohol to water ratio, the head temperature is
                              the
                              > temperature of the VAPOR at the top of your still and is an
                              > INDICATION of the type of alchohol there. So, let's say we start
                              with
                              > a stripped run that begins to boil at 180 deg. The head temp is 174
                              > after equalization. As the alchohol is depleting, the temp of the
                              > boil begins to rise, but the alchohol vapor rising up the column is
                              > still ethanol, therefore the temp at the still head remains 174-
                              178.
                              > Believe me, when tails start to come thru on a stripped run, that
                              > temp will shoot up like a rocket. That's the beauty of doing two
                              runs
                              > for high proof spirits, the cuts are very clear. This only applies
                              > (this should draw some flak) to reflux runs. Running a pot column
                              > still, the temp slowly goes up thru out the run, and cuts are best
                              > made by taste, smell, and sight (you can see them on your
                              > fingernail). Most reflux stillers don't even run a thermometer on
                              the
                              > boiler. The only reason I have one is it gives me an idea when the
                              > boil is about to start, so I'm not running cooling water needlessly.
                              >
                              > Again I was messing with the Boiler heat
                              > > to try to lower the head temp. But 81C / 179 was where product
                              > > started to condense.
                              >
                              > Once the column has equalized, don't mess with the heater. You
                              can't
                              > control head temp by adjusting boiler heat input.
                              > >
                              > > My second question. I am still having a little trouble
                              > understanding
                              > > how the tails are being removed from the final product during the
                              > > early part of the production run when the vaporization temp of
                              the
                              > > Boiler and the temperature at the head of the vapor column are
                              > higher
                              > > than the vaporization temp of the unwanted product (The Tails)
                              >
                              > A; Temperatures aren't written in stone, each still will behave
                              with
                              > it's own temperatures. Where they start, and how far and fast they
                              > rise is the important issue.
                              >
                              > B; Removing tails from the lower boiling point fractions is a
                              > function of the packing material. That is why it is important to
                              keep
                              > the heat constant and steady so the column remains equalized thru
                              out
                              > the run. If you're looking for high proof, clean tasting spirit, a
                              > packed column is the only way to go. As the vapor, with all it's
                              > impurities, rises up the column thru the packing, it comes in
                              contact
                              > with condensed liquid falling down the packing. Higher boiling
                              point
                              > vapors are condensed by the falling liquid and return to the boiler
                              > (this is the short version of events, film at eleven!)while lower
                              > boiling point vapors remain in vapor form and continue up the
                              column.
                              >
                              > (I hate writing these long disertations 'cause the more I write,
                              the
                              > better chance I have of screwing up and looking like an idiot! I am
                              > no expert on this stuff, and I don't want to give anybody bad
                              > information, besides looking like an idiot.)
                              >
                              > Tip one, Morgan
                              >
                              > >
                              >
                            • C D
                              Chuck My best guess would be that your still had crap in it causing oily taste even though you were running under reflux and getting 75% ABV. Even yeasty
                              Message 14 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                Chuck
                                My best guess would be that your still had crap in it causing oily
                                taste even though you were running under reflux and getting >75% ABV.
                                Even yeasty caused bad flavor should be distilled out at that high a
                                proof.
                              • morganfield1
                                Wait, there s more?! I noticed that you mentioned your wash was between 15 & 17%, and you re using eleven eighteen. Great yeast, but you might try backing down
                                Message 15 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                  Wait, there's more?!

                                  I noticed that you mentioned your wash was between 15 & 17%, and
                                  you're using eleven eighteen. Great yeast, but you might try backing
                                  down the fermentables a bit. A 17% wash, partiquarly one done at a
                                  temperature of 80 or 90 deg, will produce alot of nasties. Again, a
                                  good column will seperate the good from the bad, but next wash, try
                                  shooting for around 12% and see how that run turns out. Keep notes of
                                  your runs, so you have something to compare to. It has helped me alot
                                  over the years, and still does.

                                  I never asked you, you say you can adjust the heat going to your
                                  boiler, how is that accomplished?

                                  Tip one, Morgan

                                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Morgan
                                  > No chance on looking or sounding like an idiot. I have that spot
                                  > reserved. For a while anyway. Your explinations make a lot of sense
                                  > and have given me a better understanding of what is happening so I
                                  > can make the proper adjustments.
                                  >
                                  > At this point my deduction is the bad flavors were either comming
                                  > from trash remaining in the still after the build or the yeast I
                                  was
                                  > using crapped some nasties into the wash.
                                  >
                                  > The still has been re-cleaned to the point where is shines on the
                                  > inside like a brand new penny and a new batch is brewing. I will
                                  let
                                  > you know the outcome.
                                  >
                                  > The only question that remains is how do I break the habbit of
                                  > sampling the brew as it comes out of the still. Disregard. I would
                                  > listen to that answer about as well as a I keep New Years
                                  > Resolutions. Jan 2nd they are out the door.
                                  > Thanks
                                  > Chuck
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Tom Smith
                                  Chuck, I don t know if I qualify as a newbie or not as I have been experimenting for about 4yrs. I too went through what your going through and I learned a lot
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                    Chuck,
                                    I don't know if I qualify as a newbie or not as I have been
                                    experimenting for about 4yrs. I too went through what your going
                                    through and I learned a lot by trying everything. water, yeast,
                                    temps etc. what I finally found was while although knowing your temps
                                    and abv are usefull tools you can't make quality hooch by the
                                    numbers. the thing that finally improved my stuff was learning to
                                    make the cuts properly. an oldtimer told me that when making your
                                    cuts to water down the distilllate to about 20% abv. I could'nt
                                    believe how much easier I detected the heads (ethyl acetate) I think
                                    they call it and tails. I found that by taking a middle fifth cut
                                    appx. the stuff markedly improved. I also found that the best flavors
                                    seem to me at least, are just before the tails turn bitter. so I
                                    allways start using small containers when the middle run starts to
                                    lose that real sweet ethanol taste. Previously I was trying to go by
                                    the cuts on tony's site and alcohol percent in the parrot. but when
                                    trying to make corn whiskey it always had a slightly bitter after
                                    taste. I am presently working with a professor at a major university
                                    and he insists that all of the cuts can be made with a real time
                                    analysis by a gas chromatagraph. but I am yet to be convinced.

                                    sorry for being so long winded.

                                    would be interested in anything that any of the other member think of
                                    this post.

                                    Youngblood
                                  • chevisn7
                                    Hi Morgan and all of you that continue to help out with my dilemmas. All of you have been a tremendous help. Your inputs of information all add up to a greater
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                      Hi Morgan and all of you that continue to help out with my dilemmas.
                                      All of you have been a tremendous help. Your inputs of information
                                      all add up to a greater understanding of the distillation process and
                                      how to control what is going on.

                                      Morgan you asked how I adjust my heat to the Boiler. Simply I just
                                      turn down the flame. I have a good flame heat control that came with
                                      my Turkey Fryer Burner. In this case I kept turning the flame up and
                                      down every time I noticed any type of movement in my head
                                      temperature. It head temp wanted to stabalize either at 70C where
                                      nothing was procuded or it wanted to stabalize at 81C. If I raised
                                      the heat just a little the head temp jumped to 90C. So I did what I
                                      could to keep it at 81C

                                      Since I did not know what I was doing, ( See I told you I had that
                                      Idiot spot reserved) I felt if the temp went over 81C I would pick up
                                      additional nasties in the brew. So I kept fiddling with the flame
                                      every few minutes or so to keep the head temp at 81C during the
                                      entire run on every run.

                                      As I now understand it I am to run at high temp to get things warmed
                                      up then turn the heat down to where the column temp stabilizes at 79
                                      to 81C and let it run with no adjustments. When the alcohol
                                      diminishes in the Boiler the heat will automatically start to rise.
                                      Since I do not want to keep the tails at this time. When the temp
                                      starts to rise it is time to make a cut and stop the process when the
                                      taste is not what I am looking for. Simplicity at its best!

                                      I am going to switch to a double element 2000 watt electric heat
                                      source. Total 4000 watts. It is much cheaper here to use electricity
                                      than gas. One direct switched element for heat up and one on a 2000
                                      watt rheostat so I can control the amount of heat to the Boiler.
                                      Also with the increased safety of not using a flame it makes it a win
                                      win situation.

                                      I will try the EC-1118 at 12% abv as you recommend to see if it makes
                                      a difference in the taste. I can control my fermentation temperature
                                      and I have been able to keep the temperature at 77 degrees throughout
                                      the entire fermentation process. I understand the little yeasties
                                      produce far less nasties at a controlled tempetature below 80
                                      degrees.


                                      Chuck

                                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "morganfield1"
                                      <morganfield1@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Wait, there's more?!
                                      >
                                      > I noticed that you mentioned your wash was between 15 & 17%, and
                                      > you're using eleven eighteen. Great yeast, but you might try
                                      backing
                                      > down the fermentables a bit. A 17% wash, partiquarly one done at a
                                      > temperature of 80 or 90 deg, will produce alot of nasties. Again, a
                                      > good column will seperate the good from the bad, but next wash, try
                                      > shooting for around 12% and see how that run turns out. Keep notes
                                      of
                                      > your runs, so you have something to compare to. It has helped me
                                      alot
                                      > over the years, and still does.
                                      >
                                      > I never asked you, you say you can adjust the heat going to your
                                      > boiler, how is that accomplished?
                                      >
                                      > Tip one, Morgan
                                      >
                                      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@>
                                      > wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > Morgan
                                      > > No chance on looking or sounding like an idiot. I have that spot
                                      > > reserved. For a while anyway. Your explinations make a lot of
                                      sense
                                      > > and have given me a better understanding of what is happening so
                                      I
                                      > > can make the proper adjustments.
                                      > >
                                      > > At this point my deduction is the bad flavors were either comming
                                      > > from trash remaining in the still after the build or the yeast I
                                      > was
                                      > > using crapped some nasties into the wash.
                                      > >
                                      > > The still has been re-cleaned to the point where is shines on the
                                      > > inside like a brand new penny and a new batch is brewing. I will
                                      > let
                                      > > you know the outcome.
                                      > >
                                      > > The only question that remains is how do I break the habbit of
                                      > > sampling the brew as it comes out of the still. Disregard. I
                                      would
                                      > > listen to that answer about as well as a I keep New Years
                                      > > Resolutions. Jan 2nd they are out the door.
                                      > > Thanks
                                      > > Chuck
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      >
                                    • morganfield1
                                      Hi Chuck, Sounds like you re getting the idea. I can t help you much with the electric elements and rheostat, I just have my boiler sitting on top of a 1000
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Mar 5, 2008
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                                        Hi Chuck,

                                        Sounds like you're getting the idea. I can't help you much with the
                                        electric elements and rheostat, I just have my boiler sitting on top
                                        of a 1000 wt. hot plate. I can tell you that when you're dealing with
                                        power controllers, what ever style they be, you are dealing with kilo-
                                        watts, and that means heat, alot of it. And that heat has to go
                                        somewhere, either to the boiler, or to the controlling unit. What I'm
                                        trying to say is, most people attach a heat sink (of some kind) to
                                        their controller to draw off the extra heat. HTH.

                                        Tip one, Morgan

                                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Hi Morgan and all of you that continue to help out with my
                                        dilemmas.
                                        > All of you have been a tremendous help. Your inputs of information
                                        > all add up to a greater understanding of the distillation process
                                        and
                                        > how to control what is going on.
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • chevisn7
                                        Hi Morgan No Worries Mate: I have a functional knowledge of electricity and electrical components. Same principle as your stove or hot plate burner. The only
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Mar 6, 2008
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                                          Hi Morgan
                                          No Worries Mate: I have a functional knowledge of electricity and
                                          electrical components. Same principle as your stove or hot plate
                                          burner. The only difference is you are placing the element in the
                                          liquid like in an electric hot water heater.

                                          No heat sink is needed and no temperature relay switch. The reostat
                                          controls the amount of electricity supplied to the heating element.
                                          This in turn controls the amount of heat the element puts out.

                                          The lack of a tempeature over ride relay like hot water heaters and
                                          most new products have today will gives very percise control of the
                                          heat supplied to the Boiler.

                                          I have a hot plate but its cycle on and off feature caused heat up
                                          problems. And being an outside heat source much of the heat is
                                          waisted to the air. Also the new hot plates I have found are not like
                                          the like the hot plates of a few years back where you could set the
                                          temp and they would remain on.
                                          Chuck

                                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "morganfield1"
                                          <morganfield1@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Hi Chuck,
                                          >
                                          > Sounds like you're getting the idea. I can't help you much with the
                                          > electric elements and rheostat, I just have my boiler sitting on
                                          top
                                          > of a 1000 wt. hot plate. I can tell you that when you're dealing
                                          with
                                          > power controllers, what ever style they be, you are dealing with
                                          kilo-
                                          > watts, and that means heat, alot of it. And that heat has to go
                                          > somewhere, either to the boiler, or to the controlling unit. What
                                          I'm
                                          > trying to say is, most people attach a heat sink (of some kind) to
                                          > their controller to draw off the extra heat. HTH.
                                          >
                                          > Tip one, Morgan
                                          >
                                          > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@>
                                          > wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > > Hi Morgan and all of you that continue to help out with my
                                          > dilemmas.
                                          > > All of you have been a tremendous help. Your inputs of
                                          information
                                          > > all add up to a greater understanding of the distillation process
                                          > and
                                          > > how to control what is going on.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          >
                                        • morganfield1
                                          Hi Chuck, Sounds like you re on your way then, good luck, have fun, and be safe. One of the most important things to remember about this hobby is, you can make
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Mar 6, 2008
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                                            Hi Chuck,

                                            Sounds like you're on your way then, good luck, have fun, and be safe.
                                            One of the most important things to remember about this hobby is, you
                                            can make it as simple or as complicated as you like, and with a little
                                            practise, you'll get good hooch.

                                            Tip one, Morgan

                                            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "chevisn7" <chevisn7@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Hi Morgan
                                            > No Worries Mate: I have a functional knowledge of electricity and
                                            > electrical components. Same principle as your stove or hot plate
                                            > burner. The only difference is you are placing the element in the
                                            > liquid like in an electric hot water heater.
                                            >
                                            >
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