mini still advice please

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Coxey999
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mini still advice please

Post by Coxey999 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:43 am

My original plan was to build a modular 50l keg still for mainly Wiskeys and Rums. this is going to be on the back burner due to not being able to get right materials at this time (££££) however i want to get going into this wonderful hobby and was given some 35mm (1 1/2") I have a 1600W 10 litre urn boiler, a pwm arriving today and trying to source a bowl for the head for the still that fits the recess for the original lid, will make a ptfte gasket as per OD??? but before I order fittings what type of column should choose and against my constrictions
[*]foot print needs to be small (limited space)
[*]height max 2.20M
[*]cost
[*] not obvious to the outside world no windows fortunately
[*] must be able to be used as an urn when not in a run (for time being will be only source of hot water in the brew house
[*] low water usage, I have a large external canister aquarium filter that has flow control, thinking filling the filter beds with reusable ice cubes, small freeze packs etc and cold water to charge the system for the condenser and as a wort chiller as required

When the excising elements fail I intend to re purpose with kettle type as this type of urn dose not have replaceable elements.

some direction would be greatly appreciated so I can use my limited funds very wisely

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still_stirrin
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Re: mini still advice please

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:37 am

Coxey999 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:43 am
... mainly Wiskeys and Rums...what type of column should choose...

[*]foot print needs to be small (limited space)
[*]height max 2.20M
[*]cost
[*] not obvious to the outside world no windows fortunately
[*] must be able to be used as an urn when not in a run (for time being will be only source of hot water in the brew house
[*] low water usage, I have a large external canister aquarium filter that has flow control, thinking filling the filter beds with reusable ice cubes, small freeze packs etc and cold water to charge the system for the condenser and as a wort chiller as required.
First off, a “potstill” is what you need, and that does not require a “column”, just a “riser” tall enough for the spout to be convenient to change the jars. Also, the potstill is the most economical still solution too.

Trying to “double purpose” an urn for service as a kettle (for brewing) and a boiler (for distillation) will, or can be, a challenge. Sealing a large opening for containment of hot alcohol vapors will be difficult, although not insurmountable. Some here have used flour paste to accomplish this successfully. But, it may ultimately be a “point design” requirement instead of multi-utility. Good luck with that.

And as you’ve noted, coolant management is a concern, especially if limitations are imposed. The energy necessary to distill the wash must be recovered in the condenser and that can overwhelm a small water reservoir. Typically, supplementing the coolant with ice is not the best (most economical) solution, although it has been used by some. A larger reservoir is a better solution if you can leverage it.

You’ve made an interesting start into the hobby. I suggest reading more here before progressing too fast, so you better understand all of the implications....it’ll save you effort in the future.

Good luck. Be safe, responsible, and discrete.
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Demy
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Re: mini still advice please

Post by Demy » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:39 am

Hello, "pot still" is still very useful but look for a way to possibly connect a column using the same pot / lid, so that you can use the same kettle, simply changing the column (pot still - reflux). I use a system with a screw connection. I also run small quantities. A greeting!

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Corsaire
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Re: mini still advice please

Post by Corsaire » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:21 am

I wouldn't bother using a 10l boiler for a column still.

It should make a good pot still. Just make a liebig, then look how high your riser needs to be.

As for cooling, a 50l recirc tank should be good, you can always use another bucket in a brew house ;-)

Edited typo

Mash master
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Re: mini still advice please

Post by Mash master » Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:36 am

A larger reservoir is a better solution if you can leverage it.

What would you class as a large reservoir? 200L?

newdistiller
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Re: mini still advice please

Post by newdistiller » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:12 pm

Try this and the ones that appear on this page's bottom.

amazon.com/VEVOR-Water-Alcohol-Distiller-Thermometer/dp/B078C7C111

This will give you a larger water boiler if you need it.

zapata
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Re: mini still advice please

Post by zapata » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:52 pm

I'm curious why low water usage is a goal? The only water usage you can reduce is the coolant used for transferring energy. We don't really care if it is specifically water, just that it effectively moves energy around as needed. In order to reduce it you need a large enough reservoir to hold all that energy which will be slowly released back to the environment between runs, but that doesn't fit with your small footprint goal. OR you can use other electrical energy sources to supplement a smaller quantity of water IE ice, ice packs, pumps or fans and radiators. There's really no other way, it's one volume of water, or a smaller volume and electricity to make up for it.

Sure it's a little wasteful to use perfectly good potable water just to flush some energy down the drain, but it is no less wasteful to use a nuclear power plant to run a freezer to make ice to do the same thing.

A 10 L pot still can use as little as 20 L of cooling water per run (based on 1kwh power and 60*F tap water). That's 1/3 of a shower. Or you could use 5 L of water and about 1.5 kilowatts of electricity making ice and running pumps. BTW, if you live somewhere with real water restrictions, you don't have to "waste" the water. Run it from the tap through the condenser and into a bucket, then you have a bucket of hot water to use however you might need. Or let it cool and use it however you use water. At your scale it's literally a bucket. You could water the houseplants, do the dishes, or take a really small bath.

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