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Re: Technical Observations: Expert Advice Neded

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  • Harry
    ... coil ... of ... circulates ... top ... with ... warm ... the ... a ... water ... pure ... the ... Right, that answers the condenser & water question. Now,
    Message 1 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
      --- 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 2 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
        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 3 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
          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 4 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
            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 5 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
              --- 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 6 of 20 , Mar 3, 2008
                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 7 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
                  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 8 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
                    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 9 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
                      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 10 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
                        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 11 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
                          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 12 of 20 , Mar 4, 2008
                            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 13 of 20 , Mar 5, 2008
                              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 14 of 20 , Mar 5, 2008
                                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 15 of 20 , Mar 5, 2008
                                  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 16 of 20 , Mar 6, 2008
                                    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 17 of 20 , Mar 6, 2008
                                      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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