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Bokakob 50" Reflux - Hot Water on the Outflow from Condenser

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  • Rick Hall
    I have finally completed my 50 Bokakob still. This evening I did a run with water. The coil turned all the steam into droplets, but the cooling water on the
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 27, 2013
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      I have finally completed my 50" Bokakob still. This evening I did a run with
      water. The coil turned all the steam into droplets, but the cooling water on
      the outflow of the (double helix) coil was about 170 degrees! I added a
      parrot with a condenser built in it. I had planned on using the coolant from
      the outflow then route it to the parrot. I'm now a bit concerned that the
      coolant may be too hot. Has anyone tried this before? I realize water takes
      more cooling "energy" to cool than ethanol, but will it be enough to keep
      the condenser tool AND the parrot? The pump I'm using is a 330gph pond pump,
      plenty powerful. Condenser is made of about 11 feet 1/4 inch tubing, 13
      coils outer on 13 coils inner.

      This thing's much more complex than my pot still...!

      Is this going to be a problem or will things be better when distilling
      ethanol? I really don't want to put a separate cooling line for the parrot
      condenser, but don't want to boil alcohol in the parrot either. What do you
      guys think?

      Ahandyman59
    • Jim Graves
      I have a reflux still I made several years ago and I have to put ice in the water bucket that I use to cool with other wise its just gets too hot and will not
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 27, 2013
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        I have a reflux still I made several years ago and I have to put ice in the water bucket that I use to cool with other wise its just gets too hot and will not condense the steam.  I used to use the garden hose and put the exit hose under a tree to water the tree, but now I have the still in the house so I need to put ice in it.  I freeze several milk containers and I ran ten gallons of wash yester day and two ice containers worked ok for the entire day.  My pump is even smaller then yours, its a 196 gph but seemed to keep up ok once the ice was put in.  Hope this helps, it was only .02 cents worth! 
         
        James D. Graves
        Ravenwood Solutions, llc.
        251-533-8569

        From: Rick Hall <rdh2059@...>
        To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 3:20 AM
        Subject: [new_distillers] Bokakob 50" Reflux - Hot Water on the Outflow from Condenser

         
        I have finally completed my 50" Bokakob still. This evening I did a run with
        water. The coil turned all the steam into droplets, but the cooling water on
        the outflow of the (double helix) coil was about 170 degrees! I added a
        parrot with a condenser built in it. I had planned on using the coolant from
        the outflow then route it to the parrot. I'm now a bit concerned that the
        coolant may be too hot. Has anyone tried this before? I realize water takes
        more cooling "energy" to cool than ethanol, but will it be enough to keep
        the condenser tool AND the parrot? The pump I'm using is a 330gph pond pump,
        plenty powerful. Condenser is made of about 11 feet 1/4 inch tubing, 13
        coils outer on 13 coils inner.

        This thing's much more complex than my pot still...!

        Is this going to be a problem or will things be better when distilling
        ethanol? I really don't want to put a separate cooling line for the parrot
        condenser, but don't want to boil alcohol in the parrot either. What do you
        guys think?

        Ahandyman59



      • tgfoitwoods
        First the disclaimer: I do not own, not have I ever operated a Bokakob still, but I ve spent a lot of time talking with Bok operators and owners. Having said
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 27, 2013
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          First the disclaimer: I do not own, not have I ever operated a Bokakob still, but I've spent a lot of time talking with Bok operators and owners.

          Having said that, all that's really important about cooling the main reflux (your double helix) condenser, is that it condenses all of the vapor rising up the column. If you don't see vapor rising past the reflux condenser, and your exiting cooling water temperature is under 172F (170's cutting it a bit close), then your reflux operation is working just fine, condensing that (hopefully) 95% ethanol vapor it the top of the column.

          As for the distillate temperature being high, of course it is; the basic Bokakob design did not use a separate product cooler (not a condenser in a Bok, although it's built like one) so your distillate is barely condensed 172F vapor, so it's very close to that 172F.

          It sounds like your cooled parrot is working fine in place of the common Bok product cooler, but there's no way it can, or should have to, cool your distillate with output water from the reflux condenser, especially when, as in your case, the power you are applying to the wash is very close to the maximum your reflux condenser-water supply can knock down.

          Just out of curiosity, may I ask how much power you are applying to the boiler? You're pretty close to over powering your reflux condenser, and if your source of cooling water ever warms a bit, you may fill your stilling area with a lot of explosive ethanol vapors.

          Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller Making Fine Spirits

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Rick Hall" wrote:
          >
          > I have finally completed my 50" Bokakob still. This evening I did a run with
          > water. The coil turned all the steam into droplets, but the cooling water on
          > the outflow of the (double helix) coil was about 170 degrees! I added a
          > parrot with a condenser built in it. I had planned on using the coolant from
          > the outflow then route it to the parrot. I'm now a bit concerned that the
          > coolant may be too hot. Has anyone tried this before? I realize water takes
          > more cooling "energy" to cool than ethanol, but will it be enough to keep
          > the condenser tool AND the parrot? The pump I'm using is a 330gph pond pump,
          > plenty powerful. Condenser is made of about 11 feet 1/4 inch tubing, 13
          > coils outer on 13 coils inner.
          >
          > This thing's much more complex than my pot still...!
          >
          > Is this going to be a problem or will things be better when distilling
          > ethanol? I really don't want to put a separate cooling line for the parrot
          > condenser, but don't want to boil alcohol in the parrot either. What do you
          > guys think?
          >
          > Ahandyman59
          >
        • ahandyman59
          I did a run with the new reflux still today and have to say I m impressed with it. With very little tweaking, mostly just adjusting the outflow level (thereby
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 27, 2013
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            I did a run with the new reflux still today and have to say I’m impressed with it. With very little tweaking, mostly just adjusting the outflow level (thereby increasing the reflux), I was able to get several pints of 95+%. Cooling is indeed an issue, but it was doable and is something I’ll work on improving. For a 5 gallon run, I ended up with 8 pints (2.5 pints of that tails). I had the burner on pretty low, just maintaining heat, after the initial heat-up. I am impressed with the parrot. It gives you pretty quick visibility of any changes that occur. One issue I noticed is that I need to put a fitting to drain the parrot. I didn’t think about that until after it filled up with high grade distillate.

             

            Back to the cooling issue… I went through 3 bags of ice and the equivalent of 1 more bag of ice from my freezer, then kept juggling 5 gallon buckets of cold water for the last hour. It would not be a problem at all to use water from the hose to cool things down, but I like the idea of recycling the water. Since this whole project is an adventure in learning and exploring, I think I’m going to look into ways of cooling a container of water and keeping it cool during a run. This should be interesting…

             

            In closing, I am certain now that my still is working normally for a boka reflux. Works very well and produces great neutral spirits. I think I’m going to have to dust off those old liqueur recipes and try a few with my home stuff…;-)

             

            Thanks all…

             

             

            From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of tgfoitwoods
            Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 3:39 PM
            To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Bokakob 50" Reflux - Hot Water on the Outflow from Condenser

             

             

            First the disclaimer: I do not own, not have I ever operated a Bokakob still, but I've spent a lot of time talking with Bok operators and owners.

            Having said that, all that's really important about cooling the main reflux (your double helix) condenser, is that it condenses all of the vapor rising up the column. If you don't see vapor rising past the reflux condenser, and your exiting cooling water temperature is under 172F (170's cutting it a bit close), then your reflux operation is working just fine, condensing that (hopefully) 95% ethanol vapor it the top of the column.

            As for the distillate temperature being high, of course it is; the basic Bokakob design did not use a separate product cooler (not a condenser in a Bok, although it's built like one) so your distillate is barely condensed 172F vapor, so it's very close to that 172F.

            It sounds like your cooled parrot is working fine in place of the common Bok product cooler, but there's no way it can, or should have to, cool your distillate with output water from the reflux condenser, especially when, as in your case, the power you are applying to the wash is very close to the maximum your reflux condenser-water supply can knock down.

            Just out of curiosity, may I ask how much power you are applying to the boiler? You're pretty close to over powering your reflux condenser, and if your source of cooling water ever warms a bit, you may fill your stilling area with a lot of explosive ethanol vapors.

            Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller Making Fine Spirits

            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Rick Hall" wrote:
            >
            > I have finally completed my 50" Bokakob still. This evening I did a run with
            > water. The coil turned all the steam into droplets, but the cooling water on
            > the outflow of the (double helix) coil was about 170 degrees! I added a
            > parrot with a condenser built in it. I had planned on using the coolant from
            > the outflow then route it to the parrot. I'm now a bit concerned that the
            > coolant may be too hot. Has anyone tried this before? I realize water takes
            > more cooling "energy" to cool than ethanol, but will it be enough to keep
            > the condenser tool AND the parrot? The pump I'm using is a 330gph pond pump,
            > plenty powerful. Condenser is made of about 11 feet 1/4 inch tubing, 13
            > coils outer on 13 coils inner.
            >
            > This thing's much more complex than my pot still...!
            >
            > Is this going to be a problem or will things be better when distilling
            > ethanol? I really don't want to put a separate cooling line for the parrot
            > condenser, but don't want to boil alcohol in the parrot either. What do you
            > guys think?
            >
            > Ahandyman59
            >

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