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Re: Technical Observations: Expert Advice Neded

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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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