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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
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      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
    • 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 2 of 9 , Nov 6, 2002
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        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 3 of 9 , Nov 6, 2002
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          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 4 of 9 , Nov 7, 2002
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            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 5 of 9 , Nov 7, 2002
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              --- 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 6 of 9 , Nov 7, 2002
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                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.


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                new_distillers-unsubscribe@onelist.com



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              • 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 7 of 9 , Nov 15, 2002
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                  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 8 of 9 , Nov 15, 2002
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                    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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