Re: [new_distillers] Nubie needs much advice...
- Hi Joel, You wrote...
<< I constructed the reflux still with the thru column cooling tubes and the
condenser within the cooling jacket design. >>
<< went out and bought a 170,000 BTU propane cooker >>
I believe we have the same set-up. To save everyone's time I'll be brief.
Pack the column with unraveled copper scrubbers from the very bottom up to
the vapor turn at the T on top. Remove all shrapnel attached to the
scrubbers. Use Ekco or Choreboy. Boiling is good. With this type of column
pack the center first, alternate from the top then bottom then top etc.
overlapping each layer. Breathe thru it to verify free flow of vapor.
<< have one thermometer just above the coolant input tube(lower) and another
where the condencer 'tees' off the column >>
<< the temp at the bottom of the column was a steady 10 deg COOLER than the
temp at the top throughout the process....I thought it would be the
reverse...swapped thermometers to check and got same result >>
I am baffled. I have pages of notes from every run and have never experienced
this. How close is the lower temp gauge to the lower reflux tube bisecting
the column? What I've experienced is both temps will remain the same until
towards the end of the run. The top temp, at the very top of the head, is 78C
or so while the temp from the lower center is 168-170F (because that's the
type thermometers I have - doesn't matter cuz movement is what I watch). As
the ethanol vapors come to an end, the other alcohols, oils and stuff come up
the column to raise the temp (and booger up your scrubbers) on the lower
gauge before the head gauge moves up. When the head temp rises past 78-79C
it's time to shut down. You don't want or need anything but ethanol unless
you seek flavors for your spirit. I haven't gotten that far yet, I'm still
new at this, so I'll yield to the more knowledgeable members of this forum on
<< when the temp started to rise toward the end,both thermometers began to
rise in sync. >>
I'll bet your boiler is making chugging and bumping noises also. Too much
heat. Got alot of coolant going thru the system also, huh? My last 2 runs
have used 1 L (qt) or less per min water flow and the gas burner won't light
my cigarette. The barrels in the way. But seriously, I can barely hear it
run. Amaze your friends. All you need is the ethanol, not distilled water.
It's got to the point where that design needs modification. I'll show ya
later the improvements. But don't hold yer breath, it's Summer here and I'm
now busy with other stuff. Six months on and six months off.
<< letting all the spirit escape into the atmosphere.....no biggie,as I hadnt
planned to drink any of that batch :>) >>
#:>( ALCOHOL ABUSE! Do not cast your pearls before swine! Distill
again if you don't like the flavor. Add clean water to the ick and run with
it. City folk need to let the chlorine evaporate from their water for a day
or two. Cover with cloth.
<< while rinsing the copper boiler,noticed the inside surface,from where the
wine level was to the bottom,was as shiny as a new penny >>
Low ph acid cleans copper, silver, etc. so use vinegar or a citric acid
solution to clean your column. Rinse with a baking soda/water mix to really
foam out the crud.
<< when I rinsed the scrubbs,there was a definate coppery color to the
water...is it safe to drink the distillant?...is this normal. >>
Yes and yes. Don't drink the water. Especially in Phoenix Arizona.
When I started this hobby I started with nothing. It was the good folks on
this forum who helped me. You can thank them for any help I give
- Thanks Billy....I figured out the cleaning of the copper after thinking abt it for a while...I then made a paste of flour,vinegar and salt...applied it to every external surface of the still and rinsed into a bucket,then poured the liquid thru the inside and rinsed well...unbelieveable the difference!!!Ran the distillate thru (mixed with water)again last nite...used 2 copper scrubs in the bottom and appx 1 ft of glass marbles...got more consistent temps this time and the bottom temp did rise first etc......instead of a consistent flow,I got intermittant 'squirts' ,usually preceded by a 'wigglin' motion from the still...must have had the heat too high like you mentioned...anyway,the distillate last mnite amounted to appx 4-eight oz jars which left me with 3 after tossing the first and last 4 oz....dont have any activated carbon so I didnt filter it....took appx 3 oz,added 4 oz distilled water and one Ice cube....mmmmm,it was delicious...got one heck of a buz off this amount....I am interested in your modification as I am sure my still needs something to make it more easily controlled....thanks.