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How much wash should you put into a 15.5 gal beer keg

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  • dsmith1997
    Hi, just switching to start using a half barrel beer keg. How much wash can you/should you put in it without over filling? I m using the standard keg with
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 7 3:29 PM
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      Hi,

      just switching to start using a "half barrel" beer keg. How much wash can you/should you put in it without over filling? I'm using the standard keg with the 2" opening. Want to do as much as possible without over filling. Any recommendations on max amount of wash? I'm upgrading from a 30qt boiler so I have no experience here.

      Thanks, Duane
    • tgfoitwoods
      Duane, It depends a lot on what you are distilling and how slowly and carefully you approach the boiling point. If you have a nice cleared sugar wash and
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 7 5:05 PM
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        Duane,

        It depends a lot on what you are distilling and how slowly and carefully you approach the boiling point. If you have a nice cleared sugar wash and approach the boil very carefully, you can work with a couple of inches of headroom. If you are distilling a thick rum wash and approach full boil at a dead run, then 1/3 full may be too much.

        I'd start generally about 2/3 full and approach the boil slowly, at least as you get close to the boil. With notoriously pukey washes, add some defoaming agent. I use butter.

        After you get some experience with different washes, you'll get a feel for which are the boily-pukey ones.

        Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dsmith1997" <dsmith1997@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi,
        >
        > just switching to start using a "half barrel" beer keg. How much wash can you/should you put in it without over filling? I'm using the standard keg with the 2" opening. Want to do as much as possible without over filling. Any recommendations on max amount of wash? I'm upgrading from a 30qt boiler so I have no experience here.
        >
        > Thanks, Duane
        >
      • dsmith1997
        ZB, Thanks for the insights and recommendation. I ll take my time and see how it goes. I ll just be doing sugar washes. Duane
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 8 8:03 PM
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          ZB,

          Thanks for the insights and recommendation. I'll take my time and see how it goes. I'll just be doing sugar washes.

          Duane

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
          >
          > Duane,
          >
          > It depends a lot on what you are distilling and how slowly and carefully you approach the boiling point. If you have a nice cleared sugar wash and approach the boil very carefully, you can work with a couple of inches of headroom. If you are distilling a thick rum wash and approach full boil at a dead run, then 1/3 full may be too much.
          >
          > I'd start generally about 2/3 full and approach the boil slowly, at least as you get close to the boil. With notoriously pukey washes, add some defoaming agent. I use butter.
          >
          > After you get some experience with different washes, you'll get a feel for which are the boily-pukey ones.
          >
          > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
          >
          > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dsmith1997" <dsmith1997@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hi,
          > >
          > > just switching to start using a "half barrel" beer keg. How much wash can you/should you put in it without over filling? I'm using the standard keg with the 2" opening. Want to do as much as possible without over filling. Any recommendations on max amount of wash? I'm upgrading from a 30qt boiler so I have no experience here.
          > >
          > > Thanks, Duane
          > >
          >
        • rye_junkie1
          ... how it goes. I ll just be doing sugar washes. ... carefully you approach the boiling point. If you have a nice cleared sugar wash and approach the boil
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 9 6:27 AM
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            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dsmith1997" <dsmith1997@...> wrote:
            >
            > ZB,
            >
            > Thanks for the insights and recommendation. I'll take my time and see how it goes. I'll just be doing sugar washes.
            >
            > Duane
            >
            > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" zymurgybob@ wrote:
            > >
            > > Duane,
            > >
            > > It depends a lot on what you are distilling and how slowly and carefully you approach the boiling point. If you have a nice cleared sugar wash and approach the boil very carefully, you can work with a couple of inches of headroom. If you are distilling a thick rum wash and approach full boil at a dead run, then 1/3 full may be too much.
            > >
            > > I'd start generally about 2/3 full and approach the boil slowly, at least as you get close to the boil. With notoriously pukey washes, add some defoaming agent. I use butter.
            > >
            > > After you get some experience with different washes, you'll get a feel for which are the boily-pukey ones.
            > >
            > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller


            Just want to make sure you caught that highlighted statement.  I hit my MUM with 2500 watts for a stripping run.  They are crystal clear and still foam a good bit.  I know this because there will be residue from the foam in the mixing bowl that i use for my boiler lid.  This gives me around 8" of clearance in the boiler for a 5-6 gallon wash.  I figure its about 4" of foam.  If I am stripping a Molasses(rum) wash I will heat up with a 1000 watt element. 
            Z Bob used the word "carefully" in each of the first 2 sentences of his post.  Take heed.

            Mason
          • dsmith1997
            Mason, Thanks for the additional re-enforcement. I did notice that. I m wondering now if I should put a thermometer port in the top of the keg as an easy way
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 10 11:48 AM
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              Mason,

              Thanks for the additional re-enforcement. I did notice that. I'm wondering now if I should put a thermometer port in the top of the keg as an easy way to keep an eye on things? Or is there another way to monitor the boil progress separate from the thermometer in the column?

              Thoughts?

              Duane

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dsmith1997" <dsmith1997@>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > ZB,
              > >
              > > Thanks for the insights and recommendation. I'll take my time and see
              > how it goes. I'll just be doing sugar washes.
              > >
              > > Duane
              > >
              > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" zymurgybob@
              > wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Duane,
              > > >
              > > > It depends a lot on what you are distilling and how slowly and
              > carefully you approach the boiling point. If you have a nice cleared
              > sugar wash and approach the boil very carefully, you can work with a
              > couple of inches of headroom. If you are distilling a thick rum wash and
              > approach full boil at a dead run, then 1/3 full may be too much.
              > > >
              > > > I'd start generally about 2/3 full and approach the boil slowly, at
              > least as you get close to the boil. With notoriously pukey washes, add
              > some defoaming agent. I use butter.
              > > >
              > > > After you get some experience with different washes, you'll get a
              > feel for which are the boily-pukey ones.
              > > >
              > > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
              >
              >
              > Just want to make sure you caught that highlighted statement. I hit my
              > MUM with 2500 watts for a stripping run. They are crystal clear and
              > still foam a good bit. I know this because there will be residue from
              > the foam in the mixing bowl that i use for my boiler lid. This gives me
              > around 8" of clearance in the boiler for a 5-6 gallon wash. I figure
              > its about 4" of foam. If I am stripping a Molasses(rum) wash I will
              > heat up with a 1000 watt element.
              > Z Bob used the word "carefully" in each of the first 2 sentences of his
              > post. Take heed.
              >
              > Mason
              >
            • tgfoitwoods
              Duane, If you are using a potstill with a thermometer at the head, at the start of the lyne arm, you can use that, but you must be aware that head temp vs time
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 10 3:28 PM
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                Duane,

                If you are using a potstill with a thermometer at the head, at the start of the lyne arm, you can use that, but you must be aware that head temp vs time is wildly non-linear. The first 10 degrees from ambient will take forever, and the last 10 degree change is almost instantaneous.

                The reason for that is that the wash may be heating linearly, but until vapor starts traveling up the head, head temperature changes very little. When the vapor starts traveling fast enough to register on the thermometer, you are almost at a boil, and things happen quickly, often involving puking.

                I have a remote-sensing (Polder) kitchen thermometer for head temp, and it has an alarm and a timer on it. I set the alarm so that (in Celsius) when head temp hits 40C, the alarm goes off and I turn down the gas by perhaps 1/3. As head temp approaches ~78C, I'm turning down the gas more, as appropriate. Just as distillate starts dripping, I make sure the heat is as low as it can go and still drip, for perhaps 10 minutes. Usually the worst foaming is past by then and I can turn it up, but I still distill slowly.

                I hope this helps.

                Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dsmith1997" <dsmith1997@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > Mason,
                >
                > Thanks for the additional re-enforcement. I did notice that. I'm wondering now if I should put a thermometer port in the top of the keg as an easy way to keep an eye on things? Or is there another way to monitor the boil progress separate from the thermometer in the column?
                >
                > Thoughts?
                >
                > Duane
                >

                ----snip----
              • rye_junkie1
                ... My answer on this is that you simply cannot determine the amount of foam in the boiler with a thermometer. If your still pukes on a strip run all is not
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 10 5:19 PM
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                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Duane,
                  >
                  > If you are using a potstill with a thermometer at the head, at the start of the lyne arm, you can use that, but you must be aware that head temp vs time is wildly non-linear. The first 10 degrees from ambient will take forever, and the last 10 degree change is almost instantaneous.
                  >
                  > The reason for that is that the wash may be heating linearly, but until vapor starts traveling up the head, head temperature changes very little. When the vapor starts traveling fast enough to register on the thermometer, you are almost at a boil, and things happen quickly, often involving puking.
                  >
                  > I have a remote-sensing (Polder) kitchen thermometer for head temp, and it has an alarm and a timer on it. I set the alarm so that (in Celsius) when head temp hits 40C, the alarm goes off and I turn down the gas by perhaps 1/3. As head temp approaches ~78C, I'm turning down the gas more, as appropriate. Just as distillate starts dripping, I make sure the heat is as low as it can go and still drip, for perhaps 10 minutes. Usually the worst foaming is past by then and I can turn it up, but I still distill slowly.
                  >
                  > I hope this helps.
                  >
                  > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
                  >
                  > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dsmith1997" <dsmith1997@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Mason,
                  > >
                  > > Thanks for the additional re-enforcement. I did notice that. I'm wondering now if I should put a thermometer port in the top of the keg as an easy way to keep an eye on things? Or is there another way to monitor the boil progress separate from the thermometer in the column?
                  > >
                  > > Thoughts?
                  > >
                  > > Duane


                  My answer on this is that you simply cannot determine the amount of foam in the boiler with a thermometer. If your still pukes on a strip run all is not lost. The Spirit run will clean it up. It has happened to me a couple of times with grain washes. Granted, you want to avoid it if at all possible and I think Z Bobs method makes good sense. Go put a pot of Macaroni on to boil on high and once it gets to temp it will boil over if you put enough power to it. However if you check the temp it will be right at(or near)212F. The only way to stop it or slow it down is to cut the heat back or remove the pot entirely. Cutting the heat back makes the boil less violent but the temp remains the same. Safety first always. Leave yourself 4-5 inches of head room and be reasonable with the heat and you will be fine.
                  I do like, and use, 2 thermometers in my rig no matter what column or riser is up top. If the rig pukes, or even worse, CHOKES, the boiler thermometer will show an elevated temp (think pressure cooker) and I can make a quick decision. I have never had it happen but then my pot rig is 1" from the lid to the jar. If it pukes I just unplug one of the elements, monitor it closely and cus while I'm cleaning the mess when its over. If I was running a smaller diameter tube or one of those Liebigs with the vise pinches in it then I wouldnt dream of doing anything but shutting it down immediately.

                  Mason
                • dsmith1997
                  Mason and ZB, Thanks for the additional comments. I have a wireless remote thermometer so I can apply ZB s technique and first time I think I ll go with about
                  Message 8 of 8 , Mar 11 9:23 AM
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                    Mason and ZB,

                    Thanks for the additional comments. I have a wireless remote thermometer so I can apply ZB's technique and first time I think I'll go with about 8-10 gal. of low wines in the boiler and track everything keeping a keen eye on the heat up process and time.

                    Duane


                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Duane,
                    > >
                    > > If you are using a potstill with a thermometer at the head, at the start of the lyne arm, you can use that, but you must be aware

                    Rest Snipped............
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