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Re: newbie questions

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  • jamesonbeam1
    Sidenote: When running in de-reflux mode, I would set both elements on high till the still heats up, then adjust the heat for around 7 to 8 drops per second.
    Message 1 of 7 , Oct 12, 2010
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      Sidenote:

      When running in de-reflux mode, I would set both elements on high till
      the still heats up, then adjust the heat for around 7 to 8 drops per
      second. Cut off when the head temp gets around 190 F or the ABV gets
      down to around 10%.

      JB.


      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, joe framer framers8@ wrote:
      > >


      My question is should I run it at a
      > higher temp to try to recover more and how high a temp ?
      > Framer
      > >
      >
    • Sid Rains
      Hi Farmer, Personally I would not attempt to control head temp by adjusting the input power. Attempting to get good product by adjust both the input power and
      Message 2 of 7 , Oct 12, 2010
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        Hi Farmer,
        Personally I would not attempt to control head temp by adjusting the
        input power. Attempting to get good product by adjust both the input
        power and the take off rate is quite a juggling act given that both
        effect the reflux ratio and mass balance. I think it is far easier to
        supply a fixed about of power at the bottom and adjust product
        composition via the amount of reflux i.e. how slowly you take product
        off.
        You do need to be mindful of how much power you are going to put in
        the bottom after you have things boiling, but that is where you have
        to experiment.
        Regards, Sid.
      • joe framer
        JB, I guess the temps that the different alcohols are not as specific and happen over a broader range than I thought. If you do a stripping run I assume it is
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 13, 2010
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          JB, I guess the temps that the different alcohols are not as specific and happen over a broader range than I thought. If you do a stripping run I assume it is ok to add back water so that it covers the heating element. What is the benefit of doing a stripping run over just taking it off slowly the first time ?                                           Framer

        • jamesonbeam1
          Welp Joe, Stripping runs do just what they say - strip all the alcohol from a wash or mash. While some do not do them, this tends to make it easier to make
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 15, 2010
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            Welp Joe,

            Stripping runs do just what they say - strip all the alcohol from a wash or mash.  While some do not do them, this tends to make it easier to make your cuts in the spirits run and produces a smoother distillation.  This is especially true when working in pot still mode.  While reflux stills do multiple distillations within a single run and can produce very high ABV levels, this is at the sacrifice of flavors.  However, for smoothness, even the more expensive vodkas are distilled 2 to 3 times or more.  You might want to read about Theoretical plates at http://www.homedistiller.org/refluxdesign.htm

            Here is also a good excerpt from the Brewhaus Forum:

            A Stripping run is the best way to shed bulk amounts of water within your wash. Then do the spirit run more slowly to render your final poduct (with good cuts).

            Potstillers like blanikdog like to do single runs however. This method is very popular for insuring good flavor carry over. Run slow for good separation, but only once for good flavor carry over. Brandies are perhaps best this way.

            Lots of skill needed on making cuts this way. I hope to one day taste a good single run brandy. I usually stuff single run cuts so I prefer the sharper,crisper 2nd run cut.

            Potstillers need not be concerned with temps through the run. Temps will continue to change through the course of the run as the alcohol gets depleted from within the wash.

            You will be CONSTANTLY fiddling with your heat input if you try to control temps. Concern yourself with "input" only. Leave the temps for the reluxing units.

            *Charge your boiler 2/3 full.
            *Apply full on heat input.
            *when your column is to hot to touch mid way up it's lenth, throttle back on input just a (perhaps) tad.
            *When discharging/production begins, allow for a thick pencil lead sized stream. Some input adjustments may be needed.
            *Your condenser will determine how hard you can run(with out puking). If your condenser is knocking down all the vapor, then perhaps you can throttle your heat back up. If you are getting vapor out the discharge then throttle down your input. In a couple of runs this will become second nature.

            When distilling for flavor, you need to keep the ABV down and try to retain as much flavors as possible.  This is why we use pot stills or de-refluxed columns for non-neutral alcohols.  A single plate pot still will only bring the ABV up by a certain level based on the starting ABV of the wash or mash.  Look at this chart put out by Harry and Pint O Shine and you will understand.   

            http://www.artisan-distiller.net/photoalbum/photos/pint_o_shine/Potstill_Dilute.GIF


            As far as diluting for the spirits run, yes you should add water to keep it no higher then around 30 to 35% so as not to get the ABV too high on the second run in a pot still.  As the chart shows, at 35% ABV, a single plate pot still or de-refluxed column will produce around 150 proof ABV at the hearts, which is fine for flavored spirits.  A trick is to use the backset from the first distillation instead of water for addtional flavors.  Also make sure there is enough liquid over your heating elements.

            HTH.

            JB.

             
            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, joe framer <framers8@...> wrote:
            >
            > JB, I guess the temps that the different alcohols are not as specific and happen over a broader range than I thought. If you do a stripping run I assume it is ok to add back water so that it covers the heating element. What is the benefit of doing a stripping run over just taking it off slowly the first time ?                                           Framer
            >
          • jamesonbeam1
            Sidenote: And yes, within a solution of different alchohols, the boiling temps will tend to meld together. Here is an excerpt from
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 15, 2010
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              Sidenote:

              And yes, within a solution of different alchohols, the boiling temps will tend to meld together.  Here is an excerpt from http://www.homedistiller.org/theory.htm

              JB.

              When you have a mixture of liquids, each with its own boiling point when pure, then the boiling point of the mix will lie somewhere in the middle, and this will depend on the relative concentrations of each liquid.  Pure water boils at 100 deg C, and pure ethanol boils at 78.5 deg C, but a mixture of water and ethanol will boil at some point in between.  The major point about distillation is that when a mixture like that boils, then the vapour given off is richer in the most volatile component, and when that vapour condenses then the resulting liquid has a lower boiling point than the mix it came from.  By repeating this boiling and recondensation process up a column, using packing to hold the condensed liquid at each stage, you can separate the components more and more.  

              So if you have a mixture of liquids each with a different boiling point, then you heat the mixture, it will heat up until the new intermediate boiling point is reached.  When you first start a distilling run, the packing in the column will be at room temperature, so vapour given off by the boiler condenses on the first cool packing it reaches.  In condensing, the vapour gives up a lot of heat, and this warms that packing until the liquid on it boils again.  However, this liquid is richer in volatiles than the mix in the boiler, so its boiling point is lower. When it does boil again, from the heat given off by more condensing vapour, what you get is even richer in those most volatile components.  This process of boiling and condensing continues up the column and, because the condensed liquid is always getting richer in volatiles, the temperature gradually falls the higher you go.  The temperature at any point is governed solely by the boiling point of that liquid mix, and any attempt to interfere with that process will disrupt the separation that Nature is carrying out automatically. 
               
              In contrast, the boiling point of the mix left in the boiler will very slowly start to rise as it is left with less and less of the most volatile components. 
               
              If you started with a mixture (fermented wash) that is mostly water & ethanol, with trace amounts of methanol, propanol, etc. then the net result will be that the most volatile components will tend to rise in greater quantity up the column than their less volatile cousins, and will be found in greatest concentration at the top.  This would mean that methanol, the most volatile of the lot, will win the race and you will able to collect it and set it aside.  This continues until you have collected all of the "heads" (components that are more volatile than ethanol), and you can then collect just ethanol with a trace of water.  You cannot get rid of that small amount of water, as once you reach a mix of 96.5% ethanol/water, with a boiling point of 78.2 deg C, then you have reached a stable mix that no amount of re-boiling and re-condensation can change (at normal atmospheric pressure).
               
              Once you have collected the main bulk of ethanol, then the components that are less volatile than ethanol, such as propanol and the bigger organic molecules, will start to reach the top, and you will have arrived at the stage called the "tails".  These "tails" may be recycled in the next batch you do, for they still contain a lot of ethanol, or a proportion may be retained as they contain many of the compounds that give a spirit a distinctive flavour, like whiskey or rum.

              Note that you are not changing any part of your original brew - you're not "making" the alcohol, or converting it to something else or nasty. All you are doing is concentrating off the original brew into its various parts. There is no more methanol after you finish than what you started with. What does happen though, is that because most of the methanol comes off at once (first up), it is highly concentrated, and can damage you. You definately don't want to be sampling the first portion of distillate that you collect. But once you have thrown away this part, you have guaranteed that the remaining distillate is safe enough to partake of.

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, joe framer <framers8@...> wrote:
              >
              > JB, I guess the temps that the different alcohols are not as specific and happen over a broader range than I thought. If you do a stripping run I assume it is ok to add back water so that it covers the heating element. What is the benefit of doing a stripping run over just taking it off slowly the first time ?                                           Framer
              >

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