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Re: Does Temperature Really Correspond to Heads, Hearts and Tails?

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  • Pete H
    There are many places on the web where the temperature of volatiles is discussed. Here is one site: http://www.alembics.co.nz/temperature-reading/ It also
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 2, 2010
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      There are many places on the web where the temperature of volatiles is discussed. Here is one site:

      http://www.alembics.co.nz/temperature-reading/

      It also answers your question regarding the location of the thermometer. I think that knowing the "boiler"chamber temp is far less significant, if significant at all, than the temp in the vapour chamber.

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      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "wannabedistiller" <wannabedistiller@...> wrote:
      >
      > Details from my first ever distillation:
      >
      > I have a 20 liter copper pot still which my wife picked up for me in Portugal. (Nice wife, I know.)
      >
      > Aside from the 20 liter pot, the still head is a traditional onion shape which is connected to a small condenser by a slighly curved arm.
      >
      > Instead of a hot plate or propane, I opted for wood fired (which, surprisingly, has worked out a lot better than I thought it would).
      >
      > The wine I started with: 55 gallons of untreated catawba wine (13%).
      >
      > Based on limited reading, I decided on a beer stripping run.
      >
      > During the beer stripping run, I separated nothing - combining all the resulting distillate into two 5 gallon gas carboys. The resulting distillate was about 37% abv.
      >
      > Emptying the first of 2 carboys into the still, yesterday I began a second distillation. Painstaking as it was, I collected the resulting distillate into 46 individually numbered pint sized mason jars.
      >
      > The still itself has a basic thermometer that inserts into the head of the still.
      >
      > Throughout most of the beer stripping run (it was actually multiple runs since it took awhile to get through 55 gallons of wine), once the thermometer would hit 79 degrees Celcius, distillation would faithfully begin.
      >
      > Getting through the last 10 or so gallons of wine, I noticed that the thermometer was off since distillate would start to run at temperatures before or after the 79 degree mark.
      >
      > It's probably important to note that aside from the inaccuracy of my thermometer, there were also relatively large fluctuations in outside temperature (between 16 and 0 degrees Celcius).
      >
      > Because I read a lot about the importance of regulating the heat (never allowing the wash to boil), I had a leather glove handy for yanking wood from the fire in order to keep a relatively constant temperature during the run.
      >
      > Direct fire is tricky but what was intersting is that the still seemed to prefer a relatively constant temperature somewhere above 79 degrees but not a huge amount past that.
      >
      > In fact, whenever I allowed the temperature to climb to 90-95 degrees Celcius during a run, the still "puked" on me a couple of times and/or threated to puke.
      >
      > After this experience, instead of pushing the still, I endeavored to find "the sweet spot" and let the still run. (Note: I was very careful to not overfill the pot.)
      >
      > Having read in books that temperature corresponds with different parts of a run (i.e., foreshots, heads, hearts, tails), I am wondering if such temperature variations really only can be seen when using reflux/column stills? Or perhaps I need a better thermometer or more exact outdoor temperatures.
      >
      > If I didn't say it previously, my thermometer is very basic - and yes, I distill outdoors because my heat source is wood.
      >
      > Either way, it's important to say that I noticed different smells/tastes from the resulting distillate when comparing the beginning, middle and end of the run. This despite the fact that the thermometer remained steady throughout all runs (within a couple of degrees).
      >
      > Is the lack of temperature fluctuation surprising? Despite this, do I have what amounts to foreshots, heads, hearts and tails?
      >
      > It should be noted that based on my collection method during the second run (46 mason jars), there are percetable differences in the distillate in terms of smell and taste as I move through the jars from beginning to end.
      >
      > Can anyone more experienced that me explain?
      >
      > Thanks in advance for your time and consideration,
      >
      > W. B. Distiller
      >
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