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Re: First Still

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  • jamesonbeam1
    Hi Toswho, Sounds like you have a very interesting setup with that 30 gallon steam jacketed kettle. Before you decide on what type of head to use, I would
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 23, 2010
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      Hi Toswho,

      Sounds like you have a very interesting setup with that 30 gallon steam jacketed kettle.  Before you decide on what type of head to use, I would consider a few things here.  First, you really need to figure out what you want to make.  If your into the brown *aged flavored stuff like brandy, whiskey, rum, etc., then I would first go with a simple pot still design and learn from there.  However, if all you want to do is make neutral alcohol primarily (ie. vodka which can be flavored), then the Boka is a good beginner still to start with.   A 2 inch riser might work with such a big boiler, but my concern is first the limited head space you have and secondly, im not familiar with your type of boiler that is regulated by psi pressure and not a constant heat source.  Refluxing requires a very constant heat source (versus pot stills) to operate efficiently.

      Maybe one of the tech gurus around here (Harry - Riku)? could help out.  But again, figure out what you primarily want to make and then take it from there.  Not saying you cant make the brown stuff in a reflux Boka, but you would be just de-refluxing it and running it like a pot still to begin with....

      Anyways, sounds like you have a really decent sized boiler, so make some decisions and then we can help ya from there.

      Welcome Aboard and Be Safe.

      JB.


      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "toswho" <toswho@...> wrote:
      >
      > Got a tip for this summary:
      > http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=14972
      >
      > Which basically say I should pick either a pot still or a Bokakob still.
      >
      > Bokakob:
      > http://www.homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=13598
      >
      > I haven't found a link for a state-of-the-art pot-still yet, but I'm sure someone will recommend one.
      >
      > With the Bokakob I have one significant concern:
      > If I have a max wash size of 120L, I'm reading that the Bokakob can't handle that with a 2" pipe. That's a problem since I've just acquired a 2" pipe. What size pipe do I really need? What small disaster am I avoiding by moving up to a larger size?
      >
      > Thanks
      >
      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "toswho" toswho@ wrote:
      > >
      > > I'm an experienced homebrewer trying my hand for the first time. I've collected most of the parts to build an Internal Reflux still, only to find out through limited research that that might not be a particularly good design. I'm not looking to rehash the age old conversation of which still is best unless you feel like having it again. I'd be perfectly happy to have someone point me to an existing thread.
      > >
      > > I'm starting with an unusual setup, so there may be valid reasons to have a new thread. I've been lucky enough to acquire a 30-gallon steam-jacketed boil-kettle, and a supply of steam to operate it. Depending on the PSI settings I can go from just below water boil to well above water boil. The boiler would create steam, turn off when the PSI was hit, then turn back on when enough steam has condensed to water and been drained away.
      > >
      > > Above my dome I have 45.5" to the first (minor) obstruction, 46.5" to the floor-joists, or up to 54" if I go all the way to the sub-floor (between the joists). The boil-kettle is on wheels, so the height chosen will limit maneuverability. Currently this is a problem as the boiler doesn't recirculate it's water and has to be manually refilled a few times before any give project is done, but I'm working on a way to eliminate that roadblock.
      > >
      > > The kettle is 304 stainless and the dome is a 25" copper firepit that fits rather well, but may be limited in the amount of weight it can support.
      > >
      > > I have no idea what product I want to make, this all being a theoretical discussion of course, but assume the best single still design to be adequate for any need.
      > >
      > > I'm glad to have found you guys and look forward to hearing your suggestions.
      > >
      >

    • Harry
      The very first thing you should do is decide if you want to be a hobbyist or a commercial artisan. A 120 litre batch charge will produce minimum 30 bottles of
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 23, 2010
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        The very first thing you should do is decide if you want to be a hobbyist or a commercial artisan. A 120 litre batch charge will produce minimum 30 bottles of drinking strength spirits per each batch. I'm pretty good, but I can't drink that much in 6 months.

        Second thing... Steam boilers are dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. If you don't know how to distill yet, leave them well alone. There's a good commonsense reason why you have to licence a steam boiler AND the operator.

        Start with a 2" bokakob column to make neutral. Put it on a 20 litre or so boiler. After a few runs, when you know how to make good neutral spirits, try a pot still for flavoured brown spirits. If either of these fill your needs, sell the steam rig to a bigger outfit & use the money to perfect your HOBBY.

        If you still wanna be commercial, the steam rig will need considerable expert re-working to turn it into a true eau-de-vie still. Really it's only a heat source. The still proper is in the riser (bubble plated column, packed column or scotch type swan-neck).

        Either way you finally decide, at least you'll know how to distill, without risking your all.



        Slainte!
        regards Harry
      • Sid Rains
        Hi Tos, One point of clarification on column diameter. Column diameter is not really related to a pot size but the amount of power you stick into the pot. More
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 24, 2010
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          Hi Tos,
          One point of clarification on column diameter. Column diameter is not
          really related to a pot size but the amount of power you stick into
          the pot. More power == more vapour (pot size doesn't matter). More
          vapour traveling up a column == high vapour speed == less time for
          contact between vaoupur and reflux == lower quality product.
          If you already have the tube you could always look at put a number of
          2" columns on top of your pot. This could be a nightmare to operate
          depending on how you set it up. Given the monster of a pot you have it
          would be worth spending to time to design.

          Cheers,
          Sid.

          P.S. I prefer biggish (40+ litre) runs as it makes the cuts a lot
          easier (more room for error), but if I were you I'd look at building a
          smaller still, say 20-50 litres (using the 2" tube) to start/learn
          with. You won't get much practice with 120 litres washes without
          drowning in a flood of booze. Assuming vodka (15% mum wash), I'd
          expect to get about 30 litres of good booze out of that size run, not
          counting the 10l @ 50% of fients you would put in the next batch :)
        • Harry
          First question then is, is this the kind of steam you were envisioning?  Is there a danger here I ve overlooked? That s 2 questions.    (just kidding) Ok
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 25, 2010
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            First question then is, is this the kind of steam you were envisioning?  Is there a danger here I've overlooked?

            That's 2 questions.    (just kidding)
            Ok you have a low pressure boiler and you know how to run it to heat things.  That's good.

            Second, I wasn't envisioning making 20 bottles.  One of us has mis-interpreted quantities here (likely me).  I'm thinking I start with 30-gallons of corn mash, then end up with considerably less product.  If I estimated correctly after some research, about 3-4 gallons.  True, that's quite a bit to drink, but it's nowhere near commercial and takes up a lot less space than beer.

            What strength do you envisage your 30-gallon corn mash to be?  If you think 3-4 gallons of product yield, then you must be reckoning on 10-13% potential for the 30-gallons.  That's about right as that's what most folks start with by upping the gravity with a bit of sugar.  An all-corn mash without added sugar has low gravity (5%?) and it's a lot of work (and risk of infection) for little yield.  So, say you end up with 3-4 gallons of alcohol.  That alcohol is at 80% abv or better.  Cut it to drinking strength and you now have 6-8 gallons of 40% abv.  Let's say 7-gallons to make figuring easy.  7-gallons is 35 "fifths" or bottles.  All from one batch.
             
            My friend, that IS commercial production, albeit the smaller artisan end of the scale.
             
            What I'm trying to point out to you is... that's not the sort of size or setup a learner at distilling should begin with.  You need a small still, and small test batches.  Perfect your distilling first, then advance from there.
             
            As to your question, yes, I am seriously considering becoming a 1Bbl/week nano-brewery and have already scoped out two available retail outlets for my product, both with their own complications and costs.  The logical step after that would be to start distributing spirits, but I'm in for a 2-year learning curve and tons of paperwork before I would consider going commercial.  If I did, the same retail outlets that I used for beer should be translate.

            Better check out all the licencing regulations/requirements here...

            TTBGov  

            This is the 'Welcome to TTBGov'; page. It has brief announcements and links to all the main pages withing TTBGov.

            Forms  
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            One thing they're NOT gonna let you do is make beer products and distilled products on the same licence OR SAME PREMESIS

             
            Slainte!
            regards Harry 
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            --- On Fri, 26/11/10, toscrawford <toswho@...> wrote:

            From: toscrawford <toswho@...>
            Subject: Re: First Still
            To: "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
            Received: Friday, 26 November, 2010, 12:26 AM

            I don't think we're talking about the same kind of steam.

            My home had two steam boilers, about 105,000 BTU.  We converted the home to hot-water heat, and one of the boilers.  The spare steam boiler sat around unused for 10-years until I got lucky and received a 120L steam jacketed boil-kettle from a factory that closed.  I've used it to make 6-batches of beer in the 7-15 gallon range without incident, though there has been a learning curve.

            The boiler has a proper hartford loop and working low-water cutoff.  The steam generated travels through black pipe to a radiator hose to black pipe to the steam-jacket.  The kettle is welded 304 stainless and is 40psi pressure rated.  There are two 15psi pressure relief valves with pressure gauge and a return hose to the boiler.  At max it's never gone above 10psi so the pressure relief has never triggered.  At the bottom of the kettle is a steam trap where the condensed water escapes and heads down the drain.  My next upgrade is to rig it with an auto-water feed, which should improve both convenience and safety.

            First question then is, is this the kind of steam you were envisioning?  Is there a danger here I've overlooked?

            Second, I wasn't envisioning making 20 bottles.  One of us has mis-interpreted quantities here (likely me).  I'm thinking I start with 30-gallons of corn mash, then end up with considerably less product.  If I estimated correctly after some research, about 3-4 gallons.  True, that's quite a bit to drink, but it's nowhere near commercial and takes up a lot less space than beer.

            With beer I would never start with 30-gallons of wort, it would boil over and I'd spend the next week cleaning the floor.  I don't know if wash boils over, but I had the impression it would not because it would mash well below boil.

            My mash tun for all-grain beer are coolers that can hold 30-45 pounds of grain, plus steeping water.  That would be enough for 31 gallons (1Bbl) of regular beer, less of something stronger.  Fortunately I also have a source of 1Bbl fermenters.  The question here is should I be using the same mash tun for wash as wort?  Probably.  I can scale up my mash tun way easier than my boil kettle.

            As to your question, yes, I am seriously considering becoming a 1Bbl/week nano-brewery and have already scoped out two available retail outlets for my product, both with their own complications and costs.  The logical step after that would be to start distributing spirits, but I'm in for a 2-year learning curve and tons of paperwork before I would consider going commercial.  If I did, the same retail outlets that I used for beer should be translate.

            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
            >
            > The very first thing you should do is decide if you want to be a hobbyist or a commercial artisan.  A 120 litre batch charge will produce minimum 30 bottles of drinking strength spirits per each batch.  I'm pretty good, but I can't drink that much in 6 months.
            >
            > Second thing... Steam boilers are dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.  If you don't know how to distill yet, leave them well alone.  There's a good commonsense reason why you have to licence a steam boiler AND the operator.
            >
            > Start with a 2" bokakob column to make neutral.  Put it on a 20 litre or so boiler.  After a few runs, when you know how to make good neutral spirits, try a pot still for flavoured brown spirits.  If either of these fill your needs, sell the steam rig to a bigger outfit & use the money to perfect your HOBBY.
            >
            > If you still wanna be commercial, the steam rig will need considerable expert re-working to turn it into a true eau-de-vie still.  Really it's only a heat source.  The still proper is in the riser (bubble plated column, packed column or scotch type swan-neck).
            >
            > Either way you finally decide, at least you'll know how to distill, without risking your all.
            >
            >
            >
            > Slainte!
            > regards Harry
            >



             
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