RE: [new_distillers] Moonshining
>Anyway is it possible to run aLife really is easier with a thermometer. If you are electronically bent,
>safe operation and get a good moonshine product by other means. As in
>throwing away the first portions and catching the middle? How do I know
>when to stop catching the alcohol being distilled?
you might fix a thermocouple to the outside of the head and get a
reasonable reading (don't know, haven't tried it myself).
Anyhow, for distilling without a thermometer (repeat - NOT RECOMMENDED)
Always toss the first 50 mL/s if refluxing, 100+ mL/s if potstilling (per
20L wash) regardless.
To get the second cut, you resort to some fairly emperical measures -
when the taste and/or smell changes, or when you see a little oil on the
surface of the distillate, or feels oily when rubbed between the fingers,
or you get a wee sun glint off the drops.
Another way is by following the %strength as it goes - eg collect your
distillate in 0.5 or 1L bottles and measure the strength of each with a
hydrometer (good investment - about US$8). This is a fairly good practice
anyhow - if you do get tails coming over, you don't end up contaminating
the whole lot. Stop keeping it for drinking when below about 25% (but keep
collecting it, and add back in to the next wash you do). Just remember to
measure at the right temperature (may need to cool the sample)
A very crude method is simply measuring the amount you have collected, and
compare it against the theoretical calculation I've got at
http://www.geocities.com/kiwi_distiller/pot_calc.htm .It would probably pay
to set the internal reflux to 10-15% if you have a real pot still. If the
volume/time stuff look ok, then all going well, so should the %purity -
again - stop when you get to about 25%. This calculation is quite rough
(its only off the top of my head) - but its a starting point for what you
can expect. If you are uncertain of the power input (say you're using gas)
- use the "time to heat up" as a bit of a measure - adjust the power until
this looks about right.
hope this helps,