Turbo 500 Still.

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Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:41 am

OK calm down I know it's a shop bought still and not as good as building your own, however, the purpose of this topic is to share experiences with the T500.

I started out a few weeks ago with the ceramic saddles as packing and couldnt drink the stuff it was that bad, so I pulled them out and am now doing a spirit run that looks n smells perfect.

Currently it's running at 78.5c at the top and 54.4c at the water outlet, I'm getting 1500mls an hour @ 94%.

If any others are out there with experience using this type of still (or similar) wants to give me any tips on how they run there's or any improvements I can make to it I would really appreciate it.

The last wash I put through it tasted like dogs piss, hence getting rid of the ceramic saddles as packing.

Cheers, Al.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby kiwistiller » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:02 am

What have you replaced the packing with? Aside from that, you've just got to be aware that your still is a few % less than ideal - not a big drama, just take the standard precautions when you're trying to make a good neutral. Stripping runs and PH treatment of low wines will help a lot. Use nice clean washes - no turbos, let it settle and rack it a few times to keep the sediment out of your boiler. Make proper cuts, not what the instruction book says. Just the usual :D

Thanks for sharing your experiences with it, I'm sure someone will find that helpful down the line.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby marc83 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:30 am

Firstly i use a "store bought" jobby also,but while reading your post wondered what wash you used.Turbo or not?may be a good start.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:51 am

The first couple of turbo's I put through it turned out ok, but the DWWG I ran the other day was horrible, even though I've done the same DWWG wash's through the little blue Essencia still that turned out great.

I got the T500 at a garage sale for $50 so thought why not give it a go, but the results I'm getting arent as good as the little Essencia still ????

I'm hoping the copper mesh packing in the T500 will cure it, otherwise it's going on ebay... :lol:

Cheers, Al
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby snark92 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:53 am

Hi,
glad to see a page on still I recently bought.
I have only run 2 birdwatchers washes through this & am mighty impressed.
Sounds like my cats piss tastes better than your dogs piss
Could you elaborate on what you altered or are you just going to sell it.
What did you us before?
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:19 am

Hi Snark,

I'm going to try and get this thing right, it's been bastardised by it's previous owner and needs to go back to being simple I think, my other still is an little blue Essencia super reflux still that I bought before I found this forum, it's been good to me and provided some really nice hooch but I want better :D

The T500 seems ok but I'm not that impressed so far, however I'm only learning the ropes so it could be user error.

Are you using the ceramic saddles & do they stink?

What ABV are you getting from it?

I'm just waiting for a BW wash to clear and not sure if I should use the T500 or the Essencia still for it.

Let me know how you go.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby manu de hanoi » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:10 am

Austin Nichols wrote:OK calm down I know it's a shop bought still and not as good as building your own, however, the purpose of this topic is to share experiences with the T500.

I started out a few weeks ago with the ceramic saddles as packing and couldnt drink the stuff it was that bad, so I pulled them out and am now doing a spirit run that looks n smells perfect.

Currently it's running at 78.5c at the top and 54.4c at the water outlet, I'm getting 1500mls an hour @ 94%.

If any others are out there with experience using this type of still (or similar) wants to give me any tips on how they run there's or any improvements I can make to it I would really appreciate it.

The last wash I put through it tasted like dogs piss, hence getting rid of the ceramic saddles as packing.

Cheers, Al.

1- at 78.5 C I believe you should get quite lower than 94%, could be the thermometer or could be that you didnt adjust the temp for the hydrometer reading
2- is there any kind of reflux condenser on top of the T 500 ?
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby rad14701 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:04 am

The T500 is just a pot still with packing in the extended column... There is no reflux condenser nor any CM reflux tubes...
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby snark92 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:49 am

Hi again,
yes I used the ceramic rings as they were almost the same as the raschig rings recommended in the plans I had for making a still and no they don't smell at all- small side story- while waiting for the first birdwatchers to complete fermentation, I sat there looking at the turbo & a batch of brewed beer, still in fermenter. Could I, should I, would I? Of course curiosity got the better of me and I did. Distilled about 800mm from the coopers beer brew at 93%. Anyway, even after that they still don't stink. Have just been flushing them out after every use.
And 93% has been consistent for the birdwatchers.
Rad, if you say this is basically a pot still could I, in the future when I get into it more, start using grains etc to make a wash? I am under the understanding that it is pointless doing these washes if you are using a reflux as all tastes etc are stripped during the process & might as well stay neutral.
P.S. Now that I think about it, the beer being distilled couldn't be any worse than the tomato juice being distilled. And there was no trace of either in the finished product.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby rad14701 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:55 am

For flavored spirits I'd recommend removing the column packing, or at least half of it... And if you do use some packing I'd pack the lower half of the column rather than the top half in order to retain more flavor component... Packing the bottom retains more while packing the top strips more...

As for distilling beer, it depends on the beer as to whether it turns out alright or skanks up the still... There are a few real nightmare accounts of nasty beer distillations here in the forums...
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby kiwistiller » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:59 pm

rad14701 wrote:The T500 is just a pot still with packing in the extended column... There is no reflux condenser nor any CM reflux tubes...

.... Think you might have have overlooked something. it is a CM still. long CM lines in the column. Or maybe I'm thinking about a different turbo500 :oops:
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby rad14701 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:31 pm

You may be correct, kiwistiller... I tried hunting around for different picture angles but couldn't find any that showed those black column connectors better... There may well be a reflux tube up the center... If so, that would definitely make packing the column a bit difficult...
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:19 pm

There's a smallish dia. very short coil in the top of it, I've filled this with copper saddles from the brew shop & then stuffed the rest of the column with copper scrubbers.

The spirit run I done the other night actually turned out ok, not perfect but I'm letting it air for a few days and the smell is almost gone.

Now that I've rechecked the ABV at 20c it's telling me 93% so thats pretty good I guess.

Al.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby rad14701 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:43 pm

Hey, Austin Nichols, any chance you could post some detailed photos of that still so we have them for future reference...??? We quite often run into situations such as this one where we are attempting to give support for rigs we haven't physically laid our hands on and perhaps seen only a single photo... Any additions to our knowledgebase helps us more readily assist members in need...
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Teddysad » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:58 pm

Better still(!!) here is the manual etc off the manufacturers website
Attachments
SS_T500_Manual_A4_version_2.pdf
Manual etc for SS Turbo 500
(233.43 KiB) Downloaded 1721 times
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby rad14701 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:51 pm

Teddysad wrote:Better still(!!) here is the manual etc off the manufacturers website

That is the same PDF manual that I already have but it doesn't give a good overview of the construction... In fact I don't even think the components are labeled properly... I'm pretty sure components C & E are mixed up... And I also think there are tubes that are not visible, hence my request for detailed pictures...
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:37 pm

rad14701 wrote:Hey, Austin Nichols, any chance you could post some detailed photos of that still so we have them for future reference...?


Yeah no worries I'll get some pics in the next couple of days, I was going to see if I could pull it apart to give it a really good clean anyway.

Al.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:51 pm

DSC_0711.JPG
Here is the still pulled apart.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:53 pm

DSC_0712.JPG
The coil
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby rad14701 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:20 am

Perfect... Thanks... That helps a lot...
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby snark92 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:31 am

Well done AN, didn't realise you actually used one. Would be a little nervous about doing what you have done with all that plastic involved.
So it does have a cooling coil and whatever I run may as well be neutral?
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:11 am

G'day Snark,

Yep it produces a pretty good neutral, I get usually about 92 to 93% from the half dozen runs I've done with it.

Pulling the thing apart and putting it back together is quite easy really, probably could do it in under half an hour all up now I've done it once.

One thing not shown in the pics is there's a long copper sleeve inside the still, and I've packed the coil and column with copper scrubbers instead of the ceramic saddles that were in it and the alcohol is much smoother from it now.

AL.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby snark92 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:21 pm

AN, you sure about the copper making it better?
I'm going to run one tomorrow & if you reckon it's worth it I'll give it a go.
Did you leave the copper saddles in or replace the lot.
I think you said you bought it second hand. Do you use the small ceramic rings in the urn to help a smoother boil?
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby LWTCS » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:48 pm

snark92 wrote: you sure about the copper making it better?


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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:12 pm

snark92 wrote:AN, you sure about the copper making it better?
I'm going to run one tomorrow & if you reckon it's worth it I'll give it a go.
Did you leave the copper saddles in or replace the lot.
I think you said you bought it second hand. Do you use the small ceramic rings in the urn to help a smoother boil?


Yep can taste the difference for sure, much smoother and less smell in the alcohol.

I replaced the lot, loosely packed inside the coil & and around it with the scrubbers too, but dont go above the coil.

Yep bought it cheep from a garage sale.

Good luck :D
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Kentucky shinner » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:05 pm

Austin Nichols wrote:
snark92 wrote:AN, you sure about the copper making it better?
I'm going to run one tomorrow & if you reckon it's worth it I'll give it a go.
Did you leave the copper saddles in or replace the lot.
I think you said you bought it second hand. Do you use the small ceramic rings in the urn to help a smoother boil?


Yep can taste the difference for sure, much smoother and less smell in the alcohol.

I replaced the lot, loosely packed inside the coil & and around it with the scrubbers too, but dont go above the coil.

Yep bought it cheep from a garage sale.

Good luck :D

A man just never knows what he'll find at a garage sale now days..... I love it.... A still column at a garage sale..
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby snark92 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:11 am

AN,
as you saw on the other discussion, I did a birdwatchers & was very pleased with the results.
No, I didn't use the copper scrubbers as the local store didn't have any.
But I will next time, one week away, & see if it makes any difference to mine. Might be new to this, but what I have at the moment, I wonder how it could get much better. Smooth, hardly any smell, but I think a substance like this must have some aroma naturally. When put on your tongue it makes a warm feeling. Not burning but a warm sensation on the tongue. Hope that normal?
How the thermometers on your's.
Mine have always been 2 deg apart from each other. Pretty lousy for "digital thermometers"
Will tell you how the scrubbers go as I have them now.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby Austin Nichols » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:57 am

G'day Snark,

I'm not sure if the heat thing is good or not, I wet my tongue with uncut 90% and it did the same, I will let someone with more experience answer that one :wink:

My thermometers do the same as yours when the still is cold and not being used, however they seem to be spot on once upto operating temperatures.

How did your ABV% end up before you diluted it?

AL.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby snark92 » Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:01 pm

AN
The alcohol level was 93% when settled to 20deg. Before distilling the SG was 888.
Reading everything else that seemed pretty low so I left it overnight and it still read the same next day.
Tested it with water & was 1.000. Birdwatcher suggested .995 was ready, so it must have been well done.
I batch it with the beer which is a standard 2 week process for me, guess it can't hurt as everything in this forum & others is time & patience, the more of both the better.
Who knows?
Hopefully we will after another 100 batches or so.
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Re: Turbo 500 Still.

Postby kronikbud » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:57 pm

Hi im also new to this, i bought a T500 and have used it three times so far. I use a 25L wash made of 6kg dextrose sugar and a turbo yeast wich takes roughly 5-6 days to drop the special gravity reading down to .990. Im pretty happy with it so far, im getting around 3-3.5L of 93-95%alc which i dilute to 40% then carbon treat it. I havent had any problems with off tastes or bad smells as yet. Im just a rookie so only using store bought essences at this stage, i have just put a few litres away with some oak chips so fingers crossed that will turn out ok... I am keen to hear of any good ideas/recipes on flavouring, ive heard of infusion but not quite sure on what to use just yet. I want to make some good single malt whiskey, some gin and some nice smooth vodka if anyone has any ideas that would be much appreciated... :D
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