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Re: [new_distillers] Bruheat or Plastic Mash boilers?

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  • John Vandermeulen
    Hello James, I have been following your postings on filtering , and am puzzled over your objective. Are you trying to clean up a wash before or after
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 6, 2002
      Hello James,
      I have been following your postings on 'filtering', and am puzzled over your
      objective. Are you trying to clean up a wash before or after distillation?

      Here is my use of carbon - activated charcoal or carbon. 1. I use activated
      carbon/charcoal to remove an undesirable flavour from the distillate,
      specifically the 95% variety.
      2. I use it occasionally to 'tone down' one of my dry gins when the
      herb/spice taste is far too strong.
      3. I never use it on a whisky or an eau de vie, as it will remove the whisky
      or brandy flavour that I have worked so hard to achieve.

      Back to 1) I use activated charcoal primarily when making neutral 95% spirit
      from a Turbo/sugar wash, or from a redistillation of feints or other
      left-overs. An example of the latter is the distillation, in reflux, of a
      batch of homemade wine that turned out far to dry. I distilled it, and ran
      the clear 95% distillate through some activated charcoal.

      How? I store my neutral spirits in glass 1-qt canning jars, usually as 60%
      or so. And add several tablespoons of activated charcoal. Shake or turn
      over several times a day, for however long you can stand it. [You will have
      some very fine charcoal dust going through the cotton plug. Filter that out
      by running the spirit through a paper coffee filter. That will work.]

      As for 2). To 'tone down' a harsh gin, I pour it through a 100mL funnel,
      plugges with a bit of cotton and filled with activated charcoal. Depending
      on how much I want to tone down the flavour I may do that several times.

      N.B. Activated charcoal is not ordinary run-of-the-mill charcoal. You can
      make your own charcoal but it won't be 'activated', and won't do much for
      you.
      I do re-use my activ'd charcoal, after 6 - 8 runs, by cleaning it up. First
      boil/simmer in water in a pan on the stove. After air drying, spread it out
      on a sheet of aluminum foil on a metal cookie sheet, in the oven, and heat to
      around 450-500F. Do NOT put it in the oven straight from 'filtering', as the
      alcohol in the wet carbon will ignite.]

      John V
    • James Bain
      I saw that some of the New Zealanders have got commercial stills made out of fermentation buckets and built-in elements. Does anyone have any experience with
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 6, 2002
        I saw that some of the New Zealanders have got commercial stills made
        out of fermentation buckets and built-in elements.

        Does anyone have any experience with these?

        I'd like to use a heavy gauge bucket with water heater elements as my
        boiler and while the Brits with their Cordon Brew Bruheats and some
        homemade plans from elsewhere exist, I just want to know if these
        things would stand up well to hot alcohol.

        Messing up a 20$ bucket would be a lot easier for me to do than mess
        up an almost antique milk pail.

        A couple plugs, a 4500W element and a condenser and I've got a fairly
        cheap and fairly large potstill.

        Build in a nice Updraft carbon filter and I'm in production!

        TIA,

        James.
      • waljaco
        See one example in: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/5937 The used 60l drum cost about $US10! The lid needs reinforcing with a metal flange to
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 6, 2002
          See one example in:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/5937
          The used 60l drum cost about $US10! The lid needs reinforcing with a
          metal flange to give adequate support. The drum itself is thicker
          than plastic electic jugs and is not effected by alcohol.
          Polypropylene is the best for heat resistance. HDPE is adequate for
          the homedistiller.
          Wal
          --- In new_distillers@y..., James Bain <orgulasmaggot@y...> wrote:
          > I saw that some of the New Zealanders have got commercial stills
          made
          > out of fermentation buckets and built-in elements.
          >
          > Does anyone have any experience with these?
          >
          > I'd like to use a heavy gauge bucket with water heater elements as
          my
          > boiler and while the Brits with their Cordon Brew Bruheats and some
          > homemade plans from elsewhere exist, I just want to know if these
          > things would stand up well to hot alcohol.
          >
          > Messing up a 20$ bucket would be a lot easier for me to do than
          mess
          > up an almost antique milk pail.
          >
          > A couple plugs, a 4500W element and a condenser and I've got a
          fairly
          > cheap and fairly large potstill.
          >
          > Build in a nice Updraft carbon filter and I'm in production!
          >
          > TIA,
          >
          > James.
        • Darryl Ward
          Yes, I have been using one of these for 10 years.... replaced the element onCe ( I think) and the thermometer twice (because I broke it). It cost $200 when it
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 6, 2002
            Yes, I have been using one of these for 10 years.... replaced the element
            onCe ( I think) and the thermometer twice (because I broke it).

            It cost $200 when it come out... steel pot stills were $250. Reflux stills
            were not commercially available yet.

            It is a 20 litre food grade polypropylene pail, identical to the ones I brew
            my wash in, with a jug element near the bottom, and a domed steel lid with a
            small hole for the thermometer, and a larger one in the middle for the
            condenser.

            See attached jpg.

            Despite my misgivings about plastic, it has worked fine, and even though I
            am tempted to upgrade to a reflux (one day) for vodka, I will be using this
            plastic pot still for some time yet.

            btw, I just finished preparing a batch of vodka a few minutes ago, and
            following suggestions on this list, even I watered it down from 60% to 45%,
            I used distilled water instead of tap water, so I will be interested to see
            the difference.

            I used the same still to distill the water this morning... but if you are
            going to distill tap water, ONLY use a pot still. I recently saw a reflux
            still that had imploded after somebody tried to use one to distill water....

            Cheers

            Darryl


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "James Bain" <orgulasmaggot@...>
            To: <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2002 9:20 AM
            Subject: [new_distillers] Bruheat or Plastic Mash boilers?


            > I saw that some of the New Zealanders have got commercial stills made
            > out of fermentation buckets and built-in elements.
            >
            > Does anyone have any experience with these?
            >
            > I'd like to use a heavy gauge bucket with water heater elements as my
            > boiler and while the Brits with their Cordon Brew Bruheats and some
            > homemade plans from elsewhere exist, I just want to know if these
            > things would stand up well to hot alcohol.
            >
            > Messing up a 20$ bucket would be a lot easier for me to do than mess
            > up an almost antique milk pail.
            >
            > A couple plugs, a 4500W element and a condenser and I've got a fairly
            > cheap and fairly large potstill.
            >
            > Build in a nice Updraft carbon filter and I'm in production!
            >
            > TIA,
            >
            > James.
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > new_distillers-unsubscribe@onelist.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • peter_vcb
            James, 4500W is a lot especially for a pot still, have you got a 3-phase supply?. i ran mine as a pot still at 5600W but my liebeg couldnt cool it enough, the
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 7, 2002
              James,
              4500W is a lot especially for a pot still, have you got a 3-phase
              supply?. i ran mine as a pot still at 5600W but my liebeg couldnt
              cool it enough, the water coming out of the liebeg was very hot too,
              vapor came out of the liebeg (dangerous!). when i ran it as a compund
              still it was ok at 5.6 though. my new fermenter is a 60l HDPE
              container with a screw on lid about 3inch diameter. i was wondering
              about making it into a still myself. i was considering cutting it in
              2 and putting elements in. then plastic welding it back together with
              a heat gun. the column could go into the screw on lid. i got my
              fermenter in a photo developing shop. it was full of 28% acetic acid
              (vinegar). no real worries about sealing like a bucket type
              container. i wouldnt bother with an updraft carbon filter, just let
              it sit on carbon, put your design energy into making a reflux column
              if anything.
              as for carbon filtering Vs carbon treatment they are both really the
              same. carbon filtering is filtering out the taste smell, but not
              filtering out particles. spirit which is carbon "filtered" will have
              to be filtered again to get the carbon out of it. i would use the
              term carbon filtered to describe spirit flowing through a carbon
              filter, carbon treatment as carbon left sitting on carbon in a bottle
              and later decanted off.





              --- In new_distillers@y..., James Bain <orgulasmaggot@y...> wrote:
              > I saw that some of the New Zealanders have got commercial stills
              made
              > out of fermentation buckets and built-in elements.
              >
              > Does anyone have any experience with these?
              >
              > I'd like to use a heavy gauge bucket with water heater elements as
              my
              > boiler and while the Brits with their Cordon Brew Bruheats and some
              > homemade plans from elsewhere exist, I just want to know if these
              > things would stand up well to hot alcohol.
              >
              > Messing up a 20$ bucket would be a lot easier for me to do than
              mess
              > up an almost antique milk pail.
              >
              > A couple plugs, a 4500W element and a condenser and I've got a
              fairly
              > cheap and fairly large potstill.
              >
              > Build in a nice Updraft carbon filter and I'm in production!
              >
              > TIA,
              >
              > James.
            • orgulasmaggot
              ... I plan to run my potstill as hot as I can to get it up to the ca 75C range and then drop back to ca 1500W and process at that wattage. What I have now (5L
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 7, 2002
                --- In new_distillers@y..., "peter_vcb" <viciousblackout@y...> wrote:
                > 4500W is a lot especially for a pot still,

                I plan to run my potstill as hot as I can to get it up to the ca 75C
                range and then drop back to ca 1500W and process at that wattage.

                What I have now (5L stovetop thingy) takes three hours to run through
                and I'd like something a bit faster. Since output is more or less
                automatically going to be filterd, fast fast shouldn't be too bad.

                > i wouldnt bother with an updraft carbon filter, just let
                > it sit on carbon, put your design energy into making a reflux column
                > if anything.

                Ha! Thanks for your confidence in my abilities!

                I looked into it, but too many tools and weird bits to buy.

                I might just buy a column commerically done and move it from boiler to
                boiler until I get it right.

                If I take the packing out, it's pretty much automatically a potstill
                with a very long neck.

                My condensor is now just a small bucket in icewater job. Fine size for
                my 5L baby here.

                I think a liebeg condensor would be best for anything larger and can
                almost imagine actually building one myself, though I could buy a
                sturdy S/S one already made for ca 45$.

                How much water per minute does one normally pass through one of these?

                > spirit which is carbon "filtered" will have to be filtered again to > > get the carbon out of it.

                Putting a ceramic clearing filter after the updraft would get rid of
                the dust, but since the destination of most of this is to be
                redistilled to a higher degree for possible absinthe-making, the second
                and third (much much faster) distillations would clear all the carbon
                out.


                > i would use the
                > term carbon filtered to describe spirit flowing through a carbon
                > filter, carbon treatment as carbon left sitting on carbon in a bottle
                > and later decanted off.

                That sounds reasonable! That's what I'll start using.

                Thanks,

                James.
              • Reima
                spirit which is carbon filtered will have to be filtered again to get the carbon out of it. Not if you use Munktell Filter Paper ... From: peter_vcb To:
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 7, 2002
                  spirit which is carbon "filtered" will have
                  to be filtered again to get the carbon out of it.
                  Not if you use "Munktell Filter Paper"
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: peter_vcb
                  Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2002 11:39 PM
                  Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Bruheat or Plastic Mash boilers?


                  James,
                  4500W is a lot especially for a pot still, have you got a 3-phase
                  supply?. i ran mine as a pot still at 5600W but my liebeg couldnt
                  cool it enough, the water coming out of the liebeg was very hot too,
                  vapor came out of the liebeg (dangerous!). when i ran it as a compund
                  still it was ok at 5.6 though. my new fermenter is a 60l HDPE
                  container with a screw on lid about 3inch diameter. i was wondering
                  about making it into a still myself. i was considering cutting it in
                  2 and putting elements in. then plastic welding it back together with
                  a heat gun. the column could go into the screw on lid. i got my
                  fermenter in a photo developing shop. it was full of 28% acetic acid
                  (vinegar). no real worries about sealing like a bucket type
                  container. i wouldnt bother with an updraft carbon filter, just let
                  it sit on carbon, put your design energy into making a reflux column
                  if anything.
                  as for carbon filtering Vs carbon treatment they are both really the
                  same. carbon filtering is filtering out the taste smell, but not
                  filtering out particles. spirit which is carbon "filtered" will have
                  to be filtered again to get the carbon out of it. i would use the
                  term carbon filtered to describe spirit flowing through a carbon
                  filter, carbon treatment as carbon left sitting on carbon in a bottle
                  and later decanted off.





                  --- In new_distillers@y..., James Bain <orgulasmaggot@y...> wrote:
                  > I saw that some of the New Zealanders have got commercial stills
                  made
                  > out of fermentation buckets and built-in elements.
                  >
                  > Does anyone have any experience with these?
                  >
                  > I'd like to use a heavy gauge bucket with water heater elements as
                  my
                  > boiler and while the Brits with their Cordon Brew Bruheats and some
                  > homemade plans from elsewhere exist, I just want to know if these
                  > things would stand up well to hot alcohol.
                  >
                  > Messing up a 20$ bucket would be a lot easier for me to do than
                  mess
                  > up an almost antique milk pail.
                  >
                  > A couple plugs, a 4500W element and a condenser and I've got a
                  fairly
                  > cheap and fairly large potstill.
                  >
                  > Build in a nice Updraft carbon filter and I'm in production!
                  >
                  > TIA,
                  >
                  > James.


                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  new_distillers-unsubscribe@onelist.com



                  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                • pocoian2000
                  I will add yet another cautionary note to John s excellent advice re: reconstituting used carbon. DO NOT try to do this in a microwave oven. There must be
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 15, 2002
                    I will add yet another cautionary note to John's excellent advice re:
                    reconstituting used carbon. DO NOT try to do this in a microwave
                    oven. There must be trace mineral elements in carbon that cause it to
                    flare up spectacularly when nuked in a microwave!


                    --- In new_distillers@y..., John Vandermeulen <vandermeulen@n...>
                    wrote:
                    > Hello James,
                    > I have been following your postings on 'filtering', and am puzzled
                    over your
                    > objective. Are you trying to clean up a wash before or after
                    distillation?
                    >
                    > Here is my use of carbon - activated charcoal or carbon. 1. I use
                    activated
                    > carbon/charcoal to remove an undesirable flavour from the
                    distillate,
                    > specifically the 95% variety.
                    > 2. I use it occasionally to 'tone down' one of my dry gins when the
                    > herb/spice taste is far too strong.
                    > 3. I never use it on a whisky or an eau de vie, as it will remove
                    the whisky
                    > or brandy flavour that I have worked so hard to achieve.
                    >
                    > Back to 1) I use activated charcoal primarily when making neutral
                    95% spirit
                    > from a Turbo/sugar wash, or from a redistillation of feints or other
                    > left-overs. An example of the latter is the distillation, in
                    reflux, of a
                    > batch of homemade wine that turned out far to dry. I distilled it,
                    and ran
                    > the clear 95% distillate through some activated charcoal.
                    >
                    > How? I store my neutral spirits in glass 1-qt canning jars,
                    usually as 60%
                    > or so. And add several tablespoons of activated charcoal. Shake
                    or turn
                    > over several times a day, for however long you can stand it. [You
                    will have
                    > some very fine charcoal dust going through the cotton plug. Filter
                    that out
                    > by running the spirit through a paper coffee filter. That will
                    work.]
                    >
                    > As for 2). To 'tone down' a harsh gin, I pour it through a 100mL
                    funnel,
                    > plugges with a bit of cotton and filled with activated charcoal.
                    Depending
                    > on how much I want to tone down the flavour I may do that several
                    times.
                    >
                    > N.B. Activated charcoal is not ordinary run-of-the-mill charcoal.
                    You can
                    > make your own charcoal but it won't be 'activated', and won't do
                    much for
                    > you.
                    > I do re-use my activ'd charcoal, after 6 - 8 runs, by cleaning it
                    up. First
                    > boil/simmer in water in a pan on the stove. After air drying,
                    spread it out
                    > on a sheet of aluminum foil on a metal cookie sheet, in the oven,
                    and heat to
                    > around 450-500F. Do NOT put it in the oven straight
                    from 'filtering', as the
                    > alcohol in the wet carbon will ignite.]
                    >
                    > John V
                  • orgulasmaggot
                    Two points came up here that I ll answer perhaps slightly out of thread... Firstly, for all watching, I am curently running a pot still (750W element) and do
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 15, 2002
                      Two points came up here that I'll answer perhaps slightly out of
                      thread...


                      Firstly, for all watching, I am curently running a pot still (750W
                      element) and do not like the off taste of my sugar wash distillate.

                      Short of building a reflux tower, whihc I will get around to
                      eventually, I thought carbon trating/filtering would help eliminate off
                      tastes.

                      Traditionally, around here, the habit seems to be distill, dilute,
                      decant, spoon carbon in and wait.

                      Some attention has been given to actually filtring dilute alcohol
                      through some sort of filter, eithert according to Gert's model or the
                      rather nicely done up draft filter.

                      My original thought was that if the more dilute the alcohol, the better
                      it is treated by the carbon, why not carbon treat it first, pre-
                      distillation.

                      OR... Treat it immediately off the pot sill at whatver concentration
                      comes off then.

                      I wanted IMMEDIATE results, and did not want to shake gallon jugs (of
                      alcohol) for several weeks.

                      I wanted INSTANT and IMMEDIATE gratification.

                      So, filtering seemd to be the route.

                      Why not filter first? I was given quite a nice load of advice by many
                      frinedly people here that all seemed to say things to the effect that
                      the yeasties in the wash would overwhelm any filter I might hope to
                      use.

                      Why not clear the mash first? Sparkalloid or gelatine?

                      Why not?

                      That's what I'm testing now.

                      As well, the Turbo Pure yeasts that Gert has out will be intersting to
                      test as well--secret still design forthcoming or secret still design
                      not forthcoming--is only because of their promise of purity!

                      I thought to try his 14% Black Label yeast, and might still, but will
                      want to check both.

                      I have been warned off of Alcotech's products by a few people as being
                      quite messy re oils and all so, unless I hear otherwise, I will just
                      keep aiming to use the Prestige and not the Vinland products.

                      Basically, in my mind, it is a garbage in garbage out thing.

                      Having yeast COOKING in your wash while it distills, SIMMERING all its
                      marmitey/vegemitey taste out into the ethanol is not in my mind a good
                      thing.

                      Using a >cleared< AND >filtered< wash would get rid of residual fusels
                      and worse first, and go a long long way towards eliminating off-tastes.


                      The second point is namely the reuse of carbon.

                      I have a very good tray food drier and will be using that to dry my
                      carbon out, and hopefully will toast it in the oven afterwards to
                      evaporate off all the volatiles and reuse it all again and again.

                      My filter will probably be based on a liter of carbon and I'll reserve
                      the rest from my bag for topping up reloads.


                      So, that's where I'm at!

                      Thanks everyone again for all your help and advice.

                      I'll let you know how this works out.

                      I've had so much fun designing and planning tall his that I've quite
                      forgotten to drink any of the product so far except for 'checking it'.

                      Will have to fix that this weekend!


                      --- In new_distillers@y..., "pocoian2000" <ianelamacsween@s...> wrote:
                      > I will add yet another cautionary note to John's excellent advice re:
                      > reconstituting used carbon. DO NOT try to do this in a microwave
                      > oven. There must be trace mineral elements in carbon that cause it to
                      > flare up spectacularly when nuked in a microwave!



                      > --- In new_distillers@y..., John Vandermeulen <vandermeulen@n...>
                      > wrote:
                      > > Hello James,
                      > > I have been following your postings on 'filtering', and am puzzled
                      > over your
                      > > objective. Are you trying to clean up a wash before or after
                      > distillation?
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