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1st run of the still!

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  • joeyalbertus
    Very happy day yesterday as I ran my reflux still for the first time without many hiccups! Couple of questions though to tweak the process: What power
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 12, 2011
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      Very happy day yesterday as I ran my reflux still for the first time without many hiccups! Couple of questions though to tweak the process:

      What power aquarium pump has worked well for others for the cooling water? (GPH?)

      Has anyone had experience using salt or baking soda on the second run for a smoother alcohol?

      How do you clean the keg after your done? Just a good general washing with soap and water or steam/sanitize?

      What methods have worked for others for using activated carbon on a neutral spirit? I.e., let it sit and strain it out after a while (duration?), or some sort of in-line filter? Brita?

      I did a poor job soldering my copper column together and have some small leaks, anyone had success patching holes without tearing it all apart and re-soldering everything?

      Thanks in advance for any feedback!
    • tgfoitwoods
      Joey, Congratulations on your first run! The power of aquarium or pond pumps is not as critical as the liquid head, the height the pump must lift the water
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 12, 2011
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        Joey,

        Congratulations on your first run!

        The "power" of aquarium or pond pumps is not as critical as the liquid head, the height the pump must lift the water to the condenser. Many of these little pumps just won't lift that water very far. Much of this problem can be solved my moving your water-supply container up to where its level is about the same as the condenser. I've got a little stovetop still that I cool from a 5-gallon bucket, and all my water supply problems go away when I raise that bucket to counter heights.

        I've never heard anything I could believe about salt in the low wines, but sodium carbonate or bicarbonate (in low wines only) helps suppress ester (harsh flavors) formation. The amount is not critical, but a tablespoonful per gallon works wonders.

        Boiler cleaning need not be involved. Usually a good water rinse is fine. You just don't want anything stuck or scorched on.

        I've only ever filtered one batch of neutral, so I'm sure no expert. I've got a big aluminum pitcher with a needle-valve output on the bottom. I drop some wet coffee filters over the pitcher bottom and fill with carbon (not-very-well-rinsed carbons as it turned out). I fille the pitcher with neutral, wait an hour or two, and then set the needle-valve to drip out at a slow rate.

        Once I got the finest carbon out of my (gray) vodka, it was very good.

        Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "joeyalbertus" <joeyalbertus@...> wrote:
        >
        > Very happy day yesterday as I ran my reflux still for the first time without many hiccups! Couple of questions though to tweak the process:
        >
        > What power aquarium pump has worked well for others for the cooling water? (GPH?)
        >
        > Has anyone had experience using salt or baking soda on the second run for a smoother alcohol?
        >
        > How do you clean the keg after your done? Just a good general washing with soap and water or steam/sanitize?
        >
        > What methods have worked for others for using activated carbon on a neutral spirit? I.e., let it sit and strain it out after a while (duration?), or some sort of in-line filter? Brita?
        >
        > I did a poor job soldering my copper column together and have some small leaks, anyone had success patching holes without tearing it all apart and re-soldering everything?
        >
        > Thanks in advance for any feedback!
        >
      • Harry
        ... Just a quick note re the carbon. Another site and poster has brought to our attention that there are varying degrees of carbon for various jobs. The
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 12, 2011
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          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:

          > I've only ever filtered one batch of neutral, so I'm sure no expert.
          > I've got a big aluminum pitcher with a needle-valve output on the
          > bottom. I drop some wet coffee filters over the pitcher bottom and fill
          > with carbon (not-very-well-rinsed carbons as it turned out). I fille the
          > pitcher with neutral, wait an hour or two, and then set the needle-valve
          > to drip out at a slow rate.
          >
          > Once I got the finest carbon out of my (gray) vodka, it was very good.
          >
          > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller


          Just a quick note re the carbon. Another site and poster has brought to our attention that there are varying degrees of carbon for various jobs. The poster was a professional distiller so I assume he's to be believed. I'm guessing our hobby suppliers don't even stock the right stuff (fishtank filter stuff probably).

          Anyways, the pro distiller gave a link to where to get correct carbon, so here 'tis...
          http://www.norit-ac.com/english/products.asp

          Use the food filter
          Select alchohol(malt) or Rum or Vodka
          go from there

          There's different carbons for different beverages and also for removal of colour or smell/taste.

          Cost & pack size etc. you'll have to contact the company (facility on the site).


          Slainte!
          regards Harry
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