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Re: Boiler (From Mike)

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  • rye_junkie1
    ... The two pots (Boilers) I built where from s/s pipes, one is 16 for the gas burner, and the other is 12 with 3 electric elements (1400 watts each). I
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 1, 2009
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      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "edbar44" <edbar44@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Anyone know a source for a 10-15 gallon boiler, having a problem locating one.
      > >
      > > Ed


      The two pots (Boilers) I built where from s/s pipes, one is 16" for the gas burner, and the other is 12" with 3 electric elements (1400 watts each).
      I simply welded the end. The tops are flat, with 2" threaded fittings for easy changing of columns.

      Bought the pipe from a scrap yard for less then $20.00 each
      These are made of thick wall, so heat retention is great (but heavy).

      I'm not sure if you have access to a welder, but this sure worked great for me.

      Mike
    • ke5ufg
      ... If you are in the USA i got my Keg off of Craigslist for $40.00 then got a try clamp and O ring from brewhause. If nothing is on Craigslist, have a keg
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 1, 2009
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        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "edbar44" <edbar44@...> wrote:
        >
        > Anyone know a source for a 10-15 gallon boiler, having a problem locating one.
        >
        > Ed
        >
        If you are in the USA i got my Keg off of Craigslist for $40.00 then got a try clamp and O ring from brewhause.

        If nothing is on Craigslist, have a keg party and keep the keg after your party is over. I asked the local bottle shop about this and they said they did not care if the keg is returned or not. they just keep your deposit.
      • Ed Barcik
        Those are some good suggestions and I know many use the stock pot, I found these fusti containers that look very interesting. What do you think?
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 3, 2009
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          Those are some good suggestions and I know many use the stock pot, I found these fusti containers that look very interesting. What do you think? http://www.oliveoilsource.com/storage.htm

           

        • M W
          For Boilers and so on one possibility near here is http://www.govlink.org/hazwaste/business/imex/ or the like, it s an industrial Materials Exchange where
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 3, 2009
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            For Boilers and so on one possibility near here is http://www.govlink.org/hazwaste/business/imex/ or the like, it's an "industrial Materials Exchange" where you can find materials that could be recycled; IDK about you but I don't care if a boiler was used for some other food-type use before I got my hands on it. I'd think most area have something like that; it's not well known here.

            Also Craigs List and your local Goodwill etc. are possibles.

















            Those are some good suggestions and I know many use the
            stock pot, I found these fusti containers that look very interesting. What do
            you think? http://www.oliveoilsource.com/storage.htm

             
          • tgfoitwoods
            Don t know why I didn t think of it, but I ve made a couple of stovetop stills from small pressure cookers from Goodwill. I know no-one wants to recommend
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 3, 2009
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              Don't know why I didn't think of it, but I've made a couple of stovetop stills from small pressure cookers from Goodwill. I know no-one wants to recommend aluminum, but it's easy to drill and tap a hole for copper tubing fittings. Plug all the holes for the other devices in the lid with corks (also good as pressure -relief valves) and you're ready to go.

              Sometimes you can find stainless pressure cookers at Goodwill, but they are harder to machine. I've made a lot of spirits in aluminum boilers with copper heads and condensers, and I see no down side to it in terms of safety and flavor.

              Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, M W <rd232d@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > For Boilers and so on one possibility near here is http://www.govlink.org/hazwaste/business/imex/ or the like, it's an "industrial Materials Exchange" where you can find materials that could be recycled; IDK about you but I don't care if a boiler was used for some other food-type use before I got my hands on it. I'd think most area have something like that; it's not well known here.
              >
              > Also Craigs List and your local Goodwill etc. are possibles.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Those are some good suggestions and I know many use the
              > stock pot, I found these fusti containers that look very interesting. What do
              > you think? http://www.oliveoilsource.com/storage.htm
              >
              >  
              >
            • Zapata Vive
              My state has surplus goods auctions throughout the state, and online. Large stockpots, stainless drums, water heaters and even jacketed boilers can often be
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 6, 2009
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                My state has surplus goods auctions throughout the state, and online.  Large stockpots, stainless drums, water heaters and even jacketed boilers can often be found.  Prisons, universities, military bases etc gotta get rid of stuff somehow, and we know they just love buying new stuff when the old stuff works just fine.
                 
                Lucky you if you live near one of the warehouses so you can actually check out the goods without driving an hour or two.  I'd bet most states have them, and if mine is online, I'd bet most states are now too.
                 
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: M W
                Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 12:05 PM
                Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Re: Boiler


                For Boilers and so on one possibility near here is http://www.govlink. org/hazwaste/ business/ imex/ or the like, it's an "industrial Materials Exchange" where you can find materials that could be recycled; IDK about you but I don't care if a boiler was used for some other food-type use before I got my hands on it. I'd think most area have something like that; it's not well known here.

                Also Craigs List and your local Goodwill etc. are possibles.

                Those are some good suggestions and I know many use the
                stock pot, I found these fusti containers that look very interesting. What do
                you think? http://www.oliveoil source.com/ storage.htm

                 

              • canadianguy236
                Mason and Group, Your last reply to my post cloudy spirits regarding the boiler and the 1500 watt hotplate got me wondering if perhaps I m not running the
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 15 7:29 PM
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                  Mason and Group,
                  Your last reply to my post "cloudy spirits" regarding the boiler and the 1500 watt hotplate got me wondering if perhaps I'm not running the boiler correctly? I just received "Ian Smiley's" book and something caught my eye in it. He mentioned that he brings it to a full boil. I'm not doing this. Maybe you can help me out and tell me what I may be doing wrong and or right? I'm running the PDA-1 with column extension packed as well)

                  First I heat the boiler (10 gallon) on the stove up to say 140 degrees then take it to where I have the hotplate turned up to full.(It's has 2 hotplates, 1500w)I turn the thermometer on and it will site around 78 degrees to start off with. Then in about an hour and a half or so it starts to climb pretty fast. When it hits around 160 degrees I turn the plate down to about half. It sometimes shoots up to 180 degrees but then settles down to the 173 degree, the mark that I shoot for. Then I start collecting the first 100ml, then 300ml, then the rest in 500ml jars. I will normally collect at around 2-3 drops per second with the valve fully open. When it slows down to say a drop per second I will turn the heat up a little more, and so on, and so on up to the 186 degree shut down point. Now I can collect faster I suppose if I turn the heat up lot more at a time, more then I have been I guess. But I have this thing in my head to go slow and easy and collect more then fast and get less? I'm not really sure at this point. All I know it take a good part of the day to do a 10 gallon reflux run. But hey, its hobby right! I hope you can give me some words of wisdom to help in the this enjoyable hobby. Well, back to the book of Ian Smiley's to learn something else I didn't know, and perhaps find a good whiskey recipe :).

                  Thanks again,

                  Smowman
                • rye_junkie1
                  ... In general most of us dont like to use the word Boil . In this hobby it can be a confusing term. In the cloudy spirits thread you did not mention that
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 15 8:33 PM
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                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "canadianguy236" <hawklinemfg@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Mason and Group,
                    > Your last reply to my post "cloudy spirits" regarding the boiler and the 1500 watt hotplate got me wondering if perhaps I'm not running the boiler correctly? I just received "Ian Smiley's" book and something caught my eye in it. He mentioned that he brings it to a full boil. I'm not doing this. Maybe you can help me out and tell me what I may be doing wrong and or right? I'm running the PDA-1 with column extension packed as well)
                    >
                    > First I heat the boiler (10 gallon) on the stove up to say 140 degrees then take it to where I have the hotplate turned up to full.(It's has 2 hotplates, 1500w)I turn the thermometer on and it will site around 78 degrees to start off with. Then in about an hour and a half or so it starts to climb pretty fast. When it hits around 160 degrees I turn the plate down to about half. It sometimes shoots up to 180 degrees but then settles down to the 173 degree, the mark that I shoot for. Then I start collecting the first 100ml, then 300ml, then the rest in 500ml jars. I will normally collect at around 2-3 drops per second with the valve fully open. When it slows down to say a drop per second I will turn the heat up a little more, and so on, and so on up to the 186 degree shut down point. Now I can collect faster I suppose if I turn the heat up lot more at a time, more then I have been I guess. But I have this thing in my head to go slow and easy and collect more then fast and get less? I'm not really sure at this point. All I know it take a good part of the day to do a 10 gallon reflux run. But hey, its hobby right! I hope you can give me some words of wisdom to help in the this enjoyable hobby. Well, back to the book of Ian Smiley's to learn something else I didn't know, and perhaps find a good whiskey recipe :).
                    >
                    > Thanks again,
                    >
                    > Smowman
                    >

                    In general most of us dont like to use the word "Boil". In this hobby it can be a confusing term. In the cloudy spirits thread you did not mention that you cut the heat back to half. The PDA from what I understand is a 2" diameter column. It will handle the whole 1500watts. Keep in mind that you are loosing some 200-300watts through the hot plate and boiler if not insulated. I run 1440watts with my 2" just fine.
                    What you want to do is run the thing full power with the valve open to see what your max output is. This is best done with low wines in the boiler. Water will give you a false number to go by. If you can get 100ml/min then you will want to close the valve down to 10ml/min to get the proper reflux ratio. Play around with it. You may find that you can get a faster takeoff rate. Cutting it back to 10% is a good place to start. You also dont mention letting the column Equalize. This is important and you will read about it in Ians book. Keep the valve closed for at least 45 min to 1 hour. Then open it to about 1 drip per second. I will generally collect foreshots and heads at a painfully slow rate. Usually in the 300ml/hour time frame. Then when my senses tell me the hearts are coming through I open it up to 800-900ml/hour. Packed correctly that give me azetrope alcohol. Reflux ratio can get confusing. Say you run a heat setting(say 1500w) that has a max output of 100ml/min. To get a 10% reflux ratio you would need to take off 10ml/min. Now when you cut the heat back to half(say 750w) your max takeoff is say 50ml/min. So to get the same RR you now have to close the valve to 5ml/min. Of course you get to a point of diminishing returns. You wouldnt want to put 2000watts to that column. The nasties would flow freely even with 10%RR. Ian wrote one hell of a book and it sits 2 feet from me. This whole reflux deal started making more sense though when I purchased "the compleat distiller". Hope that helps.

                    Mason
                    Bedtime
                  • canadianguy236
                    Mason If I keep the hotplate on HIGH would not the temperature go up to high at the condenser head? Should I be concerned? I would think so NO? Should I not
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 15 9:10 PM
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                      Mason
                      If I keep the hotplate on HIGH would not the temperature go up to high at the condenser head? Should I be concerned? I would think so NO? Should I not keep it in the 173 degree range?

                      I'm going to add a large aluminum plate to the bottom of the boiler to help offset the on and off of the hotplate and it's fluctuation of heat. I'm thinking this would help in more even heating.

                      Snowman
                      > >
                      >
                      > In general most of us dont like to use the word "Boil". In this hobby it can be a confusing term. In the cloudy spirits thread you did not mention that you cut the heat back to half. The PDA from what I understand is a 2" diameter column. It will handle the whole 1500watts. Keep in mind that you are loosing some 200-300watts through the hot plate and boiler if not insulated. I run 1440watts with my 2" just fine.
                      > What you want to do is run the thing full power with the valve open to see what your max output is. This is best done with low wines in the boiler. Water will give you a false number to go by. If you can get 100ml/min then you will want to close the valve down to 10ml/min to get the proper reflux ratio. Play around with it. You may find that you can get a faster takeoff rate. Cutting it back to 10% is a good place to start. You also dont mention letting the column Equalize. This is important and you will read about it in Ians book. Keep the valve closed for at least 45 min to 1 hour. Then open it to about 1 drip per second. I will generally collect foreshots and heads at a painfully slow rate. Usually in the 300ml/hour time frame. Then when my senses tell me the hearts are coming through I open it up to 800-900ml/hour. Packed correctly that give me azetrope alcohol. Reflux ratio can get confusing. Say you run a heat setting(say 1500w) that has a max output of 100ml/min. To get a 10% reflux ratio you would need to take off 10ml/min. Now when you cut the heat back to half(say 750w) your max takeoff is say 50ml/min. So to get the same RR you now have to close the valve to 5ml/min. Of course you get to a point of diminishing returns. You wouldnt want to put 2000watts to that column. The nasties would flow freely even with 10%RR. Ian wrote one hell of a book and it sits 2 feet from me. This whole reflux deal started making more sense though when I purchased "the compleat distiller". Hope that helps.
                      >
                      > Mason
                      > Bedtime
                      >
                    • rye_junkie1
                      ... This is a common misconception with folks that are new to the Hobby. The Distiller does NOT control the the temp in the boiler or column. The amount of
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 16 7:47 AM
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                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "canadianguy236" <hawklinemfg@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Mason
                        > If I keep the hotplate on HIGH would not the temperature go up to high at the condenser head? Should I be concerned? I would think so NO? Should I not keep it in the 173 degree range?
                        >
                        > I'm going to add a large aluminum plate to the bottom of the boiler to help offset the on and off of the hotplate and it's fluctuation of heat. I'm thinking this would help in more even heating.
                        >
                        > Snowman


                        This is a common misconception with folks that are new to the Hobby. The Distiller does NOT "control" the the temp in the boiler or column. The amount of ethanol in the wash does. As the concentration of Etho gets weaker the temp rises on its own and as the Etho to water ratio changes. Take for instance when you strip a fermented wash in a pot still. Product really does not start flowing until you get into the (F)190's. Take those low wines and rerun them at the same heat input and the temp will now run in the 180's for most of the run because the etho concentration is higher. Run it a third time and the better part of the run will be in the mid 170's.
                        Now for a reflux rig like you have things work a tad different. As vapor works its way to through the packing to the top of the column there is a lot happening. The vapor hits the cool packing and it condenses. As the packing gets hot it lets vapor by and this continues until it finally reaches the top of the column and then you get that sudden and rapid rise in temp. The vapor at the top is high octane now. Then the vapor hits the coil and is condensed and drips back to the top of the packing(Reflux) With the valve closed this allows the column to equalize. The most volatile compounds will concentrate at the top and as you slowly take product off, this reflux action keeps the temp at 172F and the abv near 95%. You have to balance heat input and also takeoff rate. To much heat(2000w) and your vapor speed will be too fast and you will be pushing nasties through. Same with taking product too fast(in a reflux rig). This causes the reflux ratio to become too high and purity suffers. Just try it. Run it full power. Let the column equalize for 30 minutes and then start pulling off foreshots and heads very slowly(litterally 1 drop/sec. Once the Acetone and then fruity smells diminish open the valve to a measured rate of 10-12ml/min.

                        Mason
                      • burrows206
                        Hi Snowman, The PDA is a superb still and is more than capable of handling 1500 watts for your wash condensing just like the way Mason tells it. There is also
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 16 8:23 AM
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                          Hi Snowman,
                          The PDA is a superb still and is more than capable of handling 1500 watts for your wash condensing just like the way Mason tells it. There is also a fundamental mis-understanding about the dreaded "boil" word again just like Mason says. Water will boil at 100 C.
                          Our ethanol and water mix (for the hearts) will boil at 78.5 C. Your boiler temperature will stay at 78.5C (for however long it takes 3,4 or 5 hours to take all the hearts alcohol out of your wash (the low boiling alcohols come out first fore shots then heads, higher boiling alcohol tails after the hearts).
                          If you are giving it the full 1500 watts and your PDA will easily knock all the hearts alcohol out of the column vapour mix at your condenser at 78.5 C. You are making the mistake of frigging about with gas knobs and electric triacs' trying to keep the water ethanol mix at 78.5 C.
                          With the power you are feeding it the wash will only go up to 78.5 C (the hearts boiling temperature and that's where it will remain) that's the temperature we want if you're going for neutral, and the temperature will only start to go higher when you are at the end of the hearts run (and the hearts that we want is nearly all gone). Then you are into tails (old soggy, wet cardboard smell) of the higher boiling alcohols.
                          Let me try once again to simplify the concept because I couldn't get my head around it at the start.
                          When you boil water you don't try to keep it at 100 C you just give it full power and the water stays at 100 C because that's the boiling point of water at sea level. Mercury is a metal that's already boiling point at average atmosphere temperatures. You have to stop thinking of things boiling as 100 C.
                          Now I would get boiling mad if someone pinched my hard made booze and my body temperature wouldn't be anywhere near 100 C. you see my point?
                          HTH
                          Geoff


                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "canadianguy236" <hawklinemfg@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Mason
                          > If I keep the hotplate on HIGH would not the temperature go up to high at the condenser head? Should I be concerned? I would think so NO? Should I not keep it in the 173 degree range?
                          >
                          > I'm going to add a large aluminum plate to the bottom of the boiler to help offset the on and off of the hotplate and it's fluctuation of heat. I'm thinking this would help in more even heating.
                          >
                          > Snowman
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > In general most of us dont like to use the word "Boil". In this hobby it can be a confusing term. In the cloudy spirits thread you did not mention that you cut the heat back to half. The PDA from what I understand is a 2" diameter column. It will handle the whole 1500watts. Keep in mind that you are loosing some 200-300watts through the hot plate and boiler if not insulated. I run 1440watts with my 2" just fine.
                          > > What you want to do is run the thing full power with the valve open to see what your max output is. This is best done with low wines in the boiler. Water will give you a false number to go by. If you can get 100ml/min then you will want to close the valve down to 10ml/min to get the proper reflux ratio. Play around with it. You may find that you can get a faster takeoff rate. Cutting it back to 10% is a good place to start. You also dont mention letting the column Equalize. This is important and you will read about it in Ians book. Keep the valve closed for at least 45 min to 1 hour. Then open it to about 1 drip per second. I will generally collect foreshots and heads at a painfully slow rate. Usually in the 300ml/hour time frame. Then when my senses tell me the hearts are coming through I open it up to 800-900ml/hour. Packed correctly that give me azetrope alcohol. Reflux ratio can get confusing. Say you run a heat setting(say 1500w) that has a max output of 100ml/min. To get a 10% reflux ratio you would need to take off 10ml/min. Now when you cut the heat back to half(say 750w) your max takeoff is say 50ml/min. So to get the same RR you now have to close the valve to 5ml/min. Of course you get to a point of diminishing returns. You wouldnt want to put 2000watts to that column. The nasties would flow freely even with 10%RR. Ian wrote one hell of a book and it sits 2 feet from me. This whole reflux deal started making more sense though when I purchased "the compleat distiller". Hope that helps.
                          > >
                          > > Mason
                          > > Bedtime
                          > >
                          >
                        • nonamedistiller
                          Loven it Mason.. Man I understand more and More everytime I read a post like this one. One question though, This is using a Vapor management system right.
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 16 8:24 AM
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                            Loven it Mason..
                            Man I understand more and More everytime I read a post like this one.
                            One question though, This is using a Vapor management system right. What about using Liquid management. Same deal or concept. I think I am saying that right..
                            I have the Ps2 Column deal the High capcity one. really wanting to build me something smaller for test batches. I liked what you said the other day about having something fermenting always weather its a gallon or two.:)
                            I reckon its time to build a small something. But I would love to beable to run as you just stated. And possibly love to be flexable to. Nameless
                            >
                            >
                            > This is a common misconception with folks that are new to the Hobby. The Distiller does NOT "control" the the temp in the boiler or column. The amount of ethanol in the wash does. As the concentration of Etho gets weaker the temp rises on its own and as the Etho to water ratio changes. Take for instance when you strip a fermented wash in a pot still. Product really does not start flowing until you get into the (F)190's. Take those low wines and rerun them at the same heat input and the temp will now run in the 180's for most of the run because the etho concentration is higher. Run it a third time and the better part of the run will be in the mid 170's.
                            > Now for a reflux rig like you have things work a tad different. As vapor works its way to through the packing to the top of the column there is a lot happening. The vapor hits the cool packing and it condenses. As the packing gets hot it lets vapor by and this continues until it finally reaches the top of the column and then you get that sudden and rapid rise in temp. The vapor at the top is high octane now. Then the vapor hits the coil and is condensed and drips back to the top of the packing(Reflux) With the valve closed this allows the column to equalize. The most volatile compounds will concentrate at the top and as you slowly take product off, this reflux action keeps the temp at 172F and the abv near 95%. You have to balance heat input and also takeoff rate. To much heat(2000w) and your vapor speed will be too fast and you will be pushing nasties through. Same with taking product too fast(in a reflux rig). This causes the reflux ratio to become too high and purity suffers. Just try it. Run it full power. Let the column equalize for 30 minutes and then start pulling off foreshots and heads very slowly(litterally 1 drop/sec. Once the Acetone and then fruity smells diminish open the valve to a measured rate of 10-12ml/min.
                            >
                            > Mason
                            >
                          • Harry
                            ... vapor works its way to through the packing to the top of the column there is a lot happening. The vapor hits the cool packing and it condenses. As the
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 16 2:41 PM
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                              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Now for a reflux rig like you have things work a tad different. As vapor works its way to through the packing to the top of the column there is a lot happening. The vapor hits the cool packing and it condenses. As the packing gets hot it lets vapor by and this continues until it finally reaches the top of the column and then you get that sudden and rapid rise in temp. The vapor at the top is high octane now. Then the vapor hits the coil and is condensed and drips back to the top of the packing(Reflux) With the valve closed this allows the column to equalize. The most volatile compounds will concentrate at the top and as you slowly take product off, this reflux action keeps the temp at 172F and the abv near 95%. You have to balance heat input and also takeoff rate. To much heat(2000w) and your vapor speed will be too fast and you will be pushing nasties through. Same with taking product too fast(in a reflux rig). This causes the reflux ratio to become too high and purity suffers. Just try it. Run it full power. Let the column equalize for 30 minutes and then start pulling off foreshots and heads very slowly(litterally 1 drop/sec. Once the Acetone and then fruity smells diminish open the valve to a measured rate of 10-12ml/min.
                              >
                              > Mason
                              >

                               

                              One 'small' correction.  The packing is only cool at initial startup. 

                               So the first lot of vapours coming up the column will partially condense on the initially cooler packing surface.  But this is not the way a reflux column works when in full operation.  Once the packing, column walls and any other internals are heated by the rising vapours, proper column processing starts to take effect. 

                              Packed reflux columns should be insulated for maximum efficiency.  The principle role of the packing is to allow a LOT of surface area for wetting and liquid / vapour contact.  It is the liquid reflux and the vapour which exchange heat.  In the process the lower BP elements (the alcohol) is released from the descending liquid reflux.  As you go further up the column the alcohol collects into higher & higher concentration.  While as you go down the column toward the boiler the water collects in higher & higher concentration.  Thus there are really two (2) products of a refluxing column, top product (your alcohol) and bottoms product (your pot-ale).

                              A secondary role of packing (if it is copper mesh) is to initiate sulfides reaction.  Any hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas)  present will be removed.  There's a good article about sulfides & their removal from wines here...
                              http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/h2s.htm

                               

                              For a more 'in-depth' study and better understanding of tray and packed columns, see my article "Understanding Stills: Columns...
                              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/45421

                              Slainte!
                              regards Harry

                            • canadianguy236
                              Mason and ALL Thanks for the great information! I m really looking forward to the weekend now to see how it works when it s being run correctly! I may even let
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 16 6:31 PM
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                                Mason and ALL
                                Thanks for the great information! I'm really looking forward to the weekend now to see how it works when it's being run correctly! I may even let out a little giggle...lol I'll let you know how it goes.

                                Smowman
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@>
                                > wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Now for a reflux rig like you have things work a tad different. As
                                > vapor works its way to through the packing to the top of the column
                                > there is a lot happening. The vapor hits the cool packing and it
                                > condenses. As the packing gets hot it lets vapor by and this continues
                                > until it finally reaches the top of the column and then you get that
                                > sudden and rapid rise in temp. The vapor at the top is high octane now.
                                > Then the vapor hits the coil and is condensed and drips back to the top
                                > of the packing(Reflux) With the valve closed this allows the column to
                                > equalize. The most volatile compounds will concentrate at the top and as
                                > you slowly take product off, this reflux action keeps the temp at 172F
                                > and the abv near 95%. You have to balance heat input and also takeoff
                                > rate. To much heat(2000w) and your vapor speed will be too fast and you
                                > will be pushing nasties through. Same with taking product too fast(in a
                                > reflux rig). This causes the reflux ratio to become too high and purity
                                > suffers. Just try it. Run it full power. Let the column equalize for 30
                                > minutes and then start pulling off foreshots and heads very
                                > slowly(litterally 1 drop/sec. Once the Acetone and then fruity smells
                                > diminish open the valve to a measured rate of 10-12ml/min.
                                > >
                                > > Mason
                                > >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > One 'small' correction. The packing is only cool at initial startup.
                                >
                                > So the first lot of vapours coming up the column will partially
                                > condense on the initially cooler packing surface. But this is not the
                                > way a reflux column works when in full operation. Once the packing,
                                > column walls and any other internals are heated by the rising vapours,
                                > proper column processing starts to take effect.
                                >
                                > Packed reflux columns should be insulated for maximum efficiency. The
                                > principle role of the packing is to allow a LOT of surface area for
                                > wetting and liquid / vapour contact. It is the liquid reflux and the
                                > vapour which exchange heat. In the process the lower BP elements (the
                                > alcohol) is released from the descending liquid reflux. As you go
                                > further up the column the alcohol collects into higher & higher
                                > concentration. While as you go down the column toward the boiler the
                                > water collects in higher & higher concentration. Thus there are really
                                > two (2) products of a refluxing column, top product (your alcohol) and
                                > bottoms product (your pot-ale).
                                >
                                > A secondary role of packing (if it is copper mesh) is to initiate
                                > sulfides reaction. Any hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) present will
                                > be removed. There's a good article about sulfides & their removal from
                                > wines here...
                                > http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/h2s.htm
                                > <http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/h2s.htm>
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > For a more 'in-depth' study and better understanding of tray and packed
                                > columns, see my article "Understanding Stills: Columns...
                                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/45421
                                > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/45421>
                                >
                                > Slainte!
                                > regards Harry
                                >
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