Blue Spirit


Sometimes the spirit may get a slight blue tinge to it. This is usually a sign that you've used too much nutrient in the wash. Mike explains ...
    I [previously] replied, saying it was probably due to copper salts coming from acid wash. I WAS WRONG!!!!

    In fact, I've learned that it is just the opposite! Acid washes do not corrode the condenser (unless, perhaps, they've been allowed to sit far to long and have gone acetic), but neutral to alkaline ones DO. Heating an ALKALINE wash, particularly one with lots of nitrogen-containing compounds that have been put in as nutrients, liberates ammonia, which corrodes the heck out of reflux coils and dyes the distillate a distinct greenish blue.

    The Upshot: if the WASH is turning blue, it's probably due to acid wash corroding a copper sheathed element or a copper boiler, but if the collected DISTILLATE is blue, (and probably ammoniacal, but not always), the wash should be acidified!

    Turbos contain a lot of nitrogen-containing compounds, and at neutral to high pH, these can liberate free ammonia. At low pH, they are bound up with the acid as salts, and do not liberate ammonia. So, by adding nutrients to an already nutrient rich turbo, you can inadvertently push the mix over the line and get ammonia with your distillate.


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