Flute Whiskey

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Flute Whiskey

Postby NattyBoh » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:14 am

Question for the flute runners who make whiskey and bourbon...can you share how you run your stills (speed, amps, amount of reflux,etc). I've read all of Flute Talk, most flute build threads. And MRs Dispelling the Myth thread and still could use some help. I have a 3 plate, 4" flute with single 3 way valve. I've had some successful runs but am wondering if I'm refluxing too much. I've read to run faster to get smearing similar to pot distilling. I'm also curious how you all do your cuts (I've read the pot distilling cut thread)...since the tails are so compressed, should I collect in even smaller jars once I hit tails. Lots of questions I know, and my flute does seem to react quickly to subtle changes (valve changes, heat). Any advice is appreciated.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby Bushman » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:27 am

I go slow through the first part of the heads then speed up the production. I also collect in smaller containers with heads and tails and larger containers through the hearts. For me it makes blending and cuts easier. Every still is slightly different and you just need time to figure out what is best for you.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby NattyBoh » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:36 am

Thanks Bushman. When you say slow, broken stream or steady (like 15 minute quarts)? Also, when I speed up through the hearts, should I still have all 3 site glasses full and bubbling or more like pot still mode at that point?
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby Saltbush Bill » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:07 pm

All of the plates should be loaded at all times.
NattyBoh wrote:with single 3 way valve.

Not exactly sure what that is, a Needle Valve is the preferred method of adjusting water to the dephlegmator.
NattyBoh wrote:and my flute does seem to react quickly to subtle changes (valve changes, heat). Any advice is appreciated.

You need very fine adjustment or they can be finicky to run. Hence why the needle valve is a better option.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby NattyBoh » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:26 pm

Thanks SBB. I use a single 3 way valve like Olddog had on his flute design. Fine adjustments can be a little tricky but I'm managing.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby WIski » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:05 am

Natty, I agree with Saltbush that all plates should be loaded throughout the run. (you will lose some plates at the end of the run) You will be able to adjust the level of the liquid and how violent each plate is by adjusting your heat input and your reflux rate. These two things are where you need to learn your rig and find out what you like as far as abv and flavor coming out the pipe. As mentioned, and I fully agree, a needle valve that is fed with a steady water supply(pressure and temperature) is critical to the fine adjustments I find necessary to get differing products consistently. You may also want to consider running fewer plates to experiment with what your final product result is. These bits of advise given here and above will expedite your journey learning your rig and product resultant but you are going to have to do many runs with many variables to find your sweet spots. YMMV :eugeek:

Also, looking back at your question, I heat from room temp slowly to boil, full relux for about an hour to stack shit at top, take off painstakingly slow drips for another hour, then increase drips for another hour, then broken stream throughout the rest of the run (3-4 qaurts/hr). As the abv in the boiler changes I adjust reflux and heat slightly to keep things in balance. YMMV :eugeek:
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby Saltbush Bill » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:17 am

Your bottom plate will start to dry up or the window will fog at about the time tails are coming through, with some stills it will be both.
WIski wrote:These two things are where you need to learn your rig and find out what you like as far as abv and flavor coming out the pipe.

:thumbup:
WIski wrote:full relux for about an hour to stack shit at top, take off painstakingly slow drips for another hour,

You really dont need to do that , you can start drawing off fores slowly after a few minutes, try it and see.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby bluefish_dist » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:50 am

Like most said above, adjust the number of plates to get what you like, on my still, that is two plates. I pull off about 130 proof. I use a vm, so water temp is not an issue.
For me I stabilize for 20-30 min. I find that fewer plates take less time to stabilize. In fact the head temp will usually go up 1 deg after stabilizing. The opposite of what happens when running vodka. I reduce power and take off to start as it helps with foaming and is more stabil. Then add power and open it up after heads come off. It can help to slow down again at the tails as more heat pushes the tails up the column. Odin has made a couple of posts about speed and how it effects smearing. You can see this yourself by getting close to the tails and reducing power. You will probably find that the head temp will decrease. So power and reflux rate both influence when and how much the tails come across.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby thecroweater » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:14 am

Plates only dry up with perfs, I use gate valves which is as bad as it gets and prolly not as accurate as even kinking a hose but once ya know ya still ya know ya still. Smearing is smearing its also a mistake, don't smear. If you think it is to light cut down ya RC rather than smear with more vapour speed than the plates can stack fractions with and shit ya product up with to much entrainment. Three way valve should work OK and I was nearly going to go that way myself but decided I was better off separating all the coolant. I haven't regretted that but gate valves do suck arse and are a tricky thing to work with without flow meters. Every still is different, you will find what works best for you.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby NcHooch » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:25 am

Basically, start heating slow, stack the plates, and reflux for 20.
Take the fores slow, heads a little faster, and then for the hearts, try and balance the take-off with the ABV you're lookin for (I usually shoot for 80%) All this while keeping all the plates loaded.
helps to have a big cooling reservoir too.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby raketemensch » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:02 am

If you’ve got a steady coolant flow to your RC, then it’ll tell you when you’re getting into Tails, even if you don’t notice the plates unloading, because your stream will start to shrink.

At this point I’ll sometimes go back into reflux for a bit to try to squeeze more out. I’m still experimenting with this.
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby NattyBoh » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:39 am

Thanks for all of the responses. I have steady coolant...I hook a hose from my sanitary sink to the PC (which then feeds the RC).
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Re: Flute Whiskey

Postby raketemensch » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:02 pm

NattyBoh wrote:Thanks for all of the responses. I have steady coolant...I hook a hose from my sanitary sink to the PC (which then feeds the RC).


I thought that would work very well, until my wife started doing laundry...
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