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Re: [new_distillers] Arr!! Break... something...

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  • John Vandermeulen
    Michael, what was the wort/wash that you were distilling? How did you get it at 30% to begin with? John V
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 5, 2002
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      Michael,
      what was the wort/wash that you were distilling? How did you get it at 30%
      to begin with?
      John V

      Michael wrote:

      > Okay...
      >
      > INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE
      >
      > Modified my still spirits reflux still with a 1m x 2" column and
      > disconnecting the cooling jacket. Running the old condenser at the
      > top of the 1m column, with a 2" to 15mm adapter. Run a 15mm to 2"
      > adapter from the boiler lid to the column. I think the boiler has a
      > 1800W element, although it is unmarked. Have 18 scrubbers packed
      > into my column.
      >
      > Just ran a 15L batch at 30% through it. Got 4.5L at 65%, and another
      > 4.5L at 10%. Final temp was 92 degrees Celcius. This is worse than
      > before I modified the *INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE* still. There are
      > no leaks, and there does not appear to be any leaks from the
      > condenser fluid to the condensate.
      >
      > Only good point is the 65% stuff tastes good (I am drinking this
      > right now ;) )
      >
      > For the life of me I do not understand. Heads came off in about 2
      > seconds flat (actually jumped from 25 deg to 78.5 in about 2 seconds
      > flat no shit), then it settled right on 78.5 degrees, and came off at
      > 85%. Kept like this for about an hour till it started creeping up in
      > temp.
      >
      > At 86 deg and 42% I switched to the second flagon. I had collected
      > 4.5L by this stage. I kept collecting for another 2 hours until I
      > had another 4.5L and it was at 92%.
      >
      > Ah bugger, this is frustrating... It should work...
      >
      > Does anybody have a clue what the f... *INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE* I
      > am doing wrong?
      >
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      >
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      >
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    • Michael
      Okay... INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE Modified my still spirits reflux still with a 1m x 2 column and disconnecting the cooling jacket. Running the old condenser
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 5, 2002
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        Okay...

        INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE

        Modified my still spirits reflux still with a 1m x 2" column and
        disconnecting the cooling jacket. Running the old condenser at the
        top of the 1m column, with a 2" to 15mm adapter. Run a 15mm to 2"
        adapter from the boiler lid to the column. I think the boiler has a
        1800W element, although it is unmarked. Have 18 scrubbers packed
        into my column.

        Just ran a 15L batch at 30% through it. Got 4.5L at 65%, and another
        4.5L at 10%. Final temp was 92 degrees Celcius. This is worse than
        before I modified the *INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE* still. There are
        no leaks, and there does not appear to be any leaks from the
        condenser fluid to the condensate.

        Only good point is the 65% stuff tastes good (I am drinking this
        right now ;) )

        For the life of me I do not understand. Heads came off in about 2
        seconds flat (actually jumped from 25 deg to 78.5 in about 2 seconds
        flat no shit), then it settled right on 78.5 degrees, and came off at
        85%. Kept like this for about an hour till it started creeping up in
        temp.

        At 86 deg and 42% I switched to the second flagon. I had collected
        4.5L by this stage. I kept collecting for another 2 hours until I
        had another 4.5L and it was at 92%.

        Ah bugger, this is frustrating... It should work...

        Does anybody have a clue what the f... *INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE* I
        am doing wrong?
      • Michael
        It was an old run that I was redistilling. I had distilled it twice before, and both times it had come out with a very strong acetone sort of smell. It came
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 5, 2002
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          It was an old run that I was redistilling. I had distilled it twice
          before, and both times it had come out with a very strong acetone
          sort of smell. It came out without the smell this time, but I do not
          understand why it was so much weaker than it would have been before
          my mods.

          --- In new_distillers@y..., John Vandermeulen <vandermeulen@n...>
          wrote:
          > Michael,
          > what was the wort/wash that you were distilling? How did you get
          it at 30%
          > to begin with?
          > John V
        • nanosleep
          In the heart of your run you said you got 85% output. The 1 meter column with scrubbers should be able to get this up into the 90+% range. I m not familiar
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 6, 2002
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            In the heart of your run you said you got 85% output.
            The 1 meter column with scrubbers should be able to get
            this up into the 90+% range. I'm not familiar with the
            head. Does it provide reflux back into the column? If
            not the you are only getting the 'natural' reflux from
            what recondenses inside the column. This probably is
            not enough reflux.

            With 1800watts you *could* be flooding. I run 1500watts on a
            1.5meter by 2inch column with no troubles. You might try
            packing your column less. Stretch those scrubbies out a bit.
            If possible try reducing the heat input. Don't insulate the
            boiler. When I flood my column the percent drops below 90
            and the output has a smell. The heart of your run should
            smell of alcohol only.

            Also, how fast do you draw off the distillate? You need a
            good percentage refluxed into the column to get the high
            proof output.

            I'd bet with some minor modifications you can be making 90+%

            In my still, temperature is a lousy method to determine the cut
            points. The temp at the top of my column goes from room temp
            to 170F in about 10 seconds. It will ALWAYS go to 170F even
            if I have the offtake valve closed and I'm refluxing everything.
            I use smell to determine when I'm done collecting heads. At the
            end of the run, the temp will still be rock solid on 170F but
            there will start to be a smell of tails in the output. I stop
            my main collection here and collect tails until the temp hits 190
            or 200F.

            -A

            --- In new_distillers@y..., "Michael" <god@p...> wrote:
            > Okay...
            >
            > INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE
            >
            > Modified my still spirits reflux still with a 1m x 2" column and
            > disconnecting the cooling jacket. Running the old condenser at the
            > top of the 1m column, with a 2" to 15mm adapter. Run a 15mm to 2"
            > adapter from the boiler lid to the column. I think the boiler has
            a
            > 1800W element, although it is unmarked. Have 18 scrubbers packed
            > into my column.
            >
            > Just ran a 15L batch at 30% through it. Got 4.5L at 65%, and
            another
            > 4.5L at 10%. Final temp was 92 degrees Celcius. This is worse
            than
            > before I modified the *INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE* still. There are
            > no leaks, and there does not appear to be any leaks from the
            > condenser fluid to the condensate.
            >
            > Only good point is the 65% stuff tastes good (I am drinking this
            > right now ;) )
            >
            > For the life of me I do not understand. Heads came off in about 2
            > seconds flat (actually jumped from 25 deg to 78.5 in about 2
            seconds
            > flat no shit), then it settled right on 78.5 degrees, and came off
            at
            > 85%. Kept like this for about an hour till it started creeping up
            in
            > temp.
            >
            > At 86 deg and 42% I switched to the second flagon. I had collected
            > 4.5L by this stage. I kept collecting for another 2 hours until I
            > had another 4.5L and it was at 92%.
            >
            > Ah bugger, this is frustrating... It should work...
            >
            > Does anybody have a clue what the f... *INSERT SWEARING RANT HERE*
            I
            > am doing wrong?
          • Michael
            What exactly is flooding? Is it when you get liquid forced up the column by boiling it too vigorously? If this is the case, then I had more than 10L of room
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 6, 2002
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              What exactly is flooding? Is it when you get liquid forced up the
              column by boiling it too vigorously? If this is the case, then I had
              more than 10L of room above the liquid level in my still. It also
              would not explain why I got less than 10%abv liquid condensing out of
              the still at a temp of 92deg cel right at the end of the run when the
              boiler is less than half full.

              The still spirits heads do not provide any means to reflux back to
              the column. I am relying upon the reflux from the column only. This
              gave a draw off rate at the start of 80mL/min, which then dropped to
              40mL/min in about 5 min, and dropped further to 18mL/min after
              another hour. Two hours later it was less than 5mL/min.

              I definitely think that my heating element is too large. I intend to
              install a second element at 1000W. That way I can bring to temp at
              2800W, switch to 1000W to take off heads and middles, and switch to
              1800W to take off tails.

              However this does not explain why the second batch of 4.5L was only
              10%abv and the highest temp that it came off at was 92 deg cel. I've
              got a feeling that I must have sprung a leak in my condenser and got
              water mixed into my output. This does seem to be the only logical
              explanation. Except that I have checked it several times now though,
              and this does not seem to be the case. Oh, well. I wanted to change
              it anyway. Guess I'll just have to make a new condenser.


              --- In new_distillers@y..., "nanosleep" <nanosleep@y...> wrote:
              > In the heart of your run you said you got 85% output.
              > The 1 meter column with scrubbers should be able to get
              > this up into the 90+% range. I'm not familiar with the
              > head. Does it provide reflux back into the column? If
              > not the you are only getting the 'natural' reflux from
              > what recondenses inside the column. This probably is
              > not enough reflux.
              >
              > With 1800watts you *could* be flooding. I run 1500watts on a
              > 1.5meter by 2inch column with no troubles. You might try
              > packing your column less. Stretch those scrubbies out a bit.
              > If possible try reducing the heat input. Don't insulate the
              > boiler. When I flood my column the percent drops below 90
              > and the output has a smell. The heart of your run should
              > smell of alcohol only.
              >
              > Also, how fast do you draw off the distillate? You need a
              > good percentage refluxed into the column to get the high
              > proof output.
              >
              > I'd bet with some minor modifications you can be making 90+%
              >
              > In my still, temperature is a lousy method to determine the cut
              > points. The temp at the top of my column goes from room temp
              > to 170F in about 10 seconds. It will ALWAYS go to 170F even
              > if I have the offtake valve closed and I'm refluxing everything.
              > I use smell to determine when I'm done collecting heads. At the
              > end of the run, the temp will still be rock solid on 170F but
              > there will start to be a smell of tails in the output. I stop
              > my main collection here and collect tails until the temp hits 190
              > or 200F.
              >
              > -A
            • Mike Nixon
              Michael asked: Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Arr!! Break... something... What exactly is flooding? Is it when you get liquid forced up the column by boiling
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 6, 2002
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                Michael asked:
                Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Arr!! Break... something...

                What exactly is flooding?  Is it when you get liquid forced up the
                column by boiling it too vigorously?  If this is the case, then I had
                more than 10L of room above the liquid level in my still.  It also
                would not explain why I got less than 10%abv liquid condensing out of
                the still at a temp of 92deg cel right at the end of the run when the
                boiler is less than half full.
                =================================
                Hi Michael,
                 
                No, it's when you operate the still too vigorously and too much liquid condenses on the packing to let vapor through easily.  It's not liquid bubbling up from the boiler, just lots of liquid held up in the packing and choking it.  Often obvious when it happens as it usually rumbles and shakes the whole rig around a lot.
                ===========================
                The still spirits heads do not provide any means to reflux back to
                the column.  I am relying upon the reflux from the column only.  This
                gave a draw off rate at the start of 80mL/min, which then dropped to
                40mL/min in about 5 min, and dropped further to 18mL/min after
                another hour.  Two hours later it was less than 5mL/min.
                ===========================
                That's fine ... a reflux still is almost as good as a more complicated compound still
                ===========================
                I definitely think that my heating element is too large.  I intend to
                install a second element at 1000W.  That way I can bring to temp at
                2800W, switch to 1000W to take off heads and middles, and switch to
                1800W to take off tails.
                ===========================
                This does seem to be problem.  Reducing the heat to the boiler will stop any flooding, and you will also get better separation for a cleaner and stronger product.
                ===========================
                However this does not explain why the second batch of 4.5L was only
                10%abv and the highest temp that it came off at was 92 deg cel.  I've
                got a feeling that I must have sprung a leak in my condenser and got
                water mixed into my output.  This does seem to be the only logical
                explanation.  Except that I have checked it several times now though,
                and this does not seem to be the case.  Oh, well.  I wanted to change
                it anyway.  Guess I'll just have to make a new condenser.
                ==========================
                Dunno about that one ... not without seeing the still.  See below about that condenser.
                ==========================
                --- In new_distillers@y..., "nanosleep" <nanosleep@y...> wrote:
                > In the heart of your run you
                said you got 85% output.
                > The 1 meter column with scrubbers should be
                able to get
                > this up into the 90+% range.  I'm not familiar with
                the
                > head.  Does it provide reflux back into the column?  If
                > not the you are only getting the 'natural' reflux from
                > what
                recondenses inside the column.  This probably is
                > not enough
                reflux.
                ==========================
                If 'nanosleep' was talking about a compound column then yes, it has a reflux condenser on top.  However, modify the heating to your boiler first before trying that.  You may well find that you will be pleased enough with the results at lower power and don't need to change your condenser.
                 
                Very good advice below .....
                ==========================
                 
                > With 1800watts you *could* be
                flooding.  I run 1500watts on a
                > 1.5meter by 2inch column with no
                troubles.  You might try
                > packing your column less.  Stretch
                those scrubbies out a bit.
                > If possible try reducing the heat
                input.  Don't insulate the
                > boiler. When I flood my column the
                percent drops below 90
                > and the output has a smell.  The heart of
                your run should
                > smell of alcohol only.
                >
                > Also, how fast
                do you draw off the distillate?  You need a
                > good percentage
                refluxed into the column to get the high
                > proof output.
                >
                >
                I'd bet with some minor modifications you can be making 90+%
                >
                > In
                my still, temperature is a lousy method to determine the cut
                >
                points.  The temp at the top of my column goes from room temp
                > to
                170F in about 10 seconds.  It will ALWAYS go to 170F even
                > if I have
                the offtake valve closed and I'm refluxing everything.
                > I use smell to
                determine when I'm done collecting heads.  At the
                > end of the run,
                the temp will still be rock solid on 170F but
                > there will start to be a
                smell of tails in the output.  I stop
                > my main collection here and
                collect tails until the temp hits 190
                > or 200F.
                >
                >
                -A
              • Michael
                Thanks for your help guys. Will be swapping elements this weekend and trying again.
                Message 7 of 7 , Nov 6, 2002
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                  Thanks for your help guys. Will be swapping elements this weekend
                  and trying again.
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