Following the KISS principle

Simple pot still distillation and construction with thumpers and without..

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Following the KISS principle

Postby robint » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:43 am

:D

Namely "keep it simple stupid"

I have been browsing and viewing vids of "old baba blowhard" and what he did in the woods - what a hoot diyaam

It occured to me that I could easily source an electric 5gal SS tea urn, water boiler and use it as a mash tun and use the tap to rack off the wash. Clean out the urn and place the wash back in. Then, using the heater with suitable PID type temp controller, set the system up to run the wash at say 85C and use a copper tube into a thumper and then an air cooled worm (with computer fan?) to collect the distillate. After discarding the heads quickly, set it to low simmer at a suitable temp (I used that distilling calc tool - very instructive). It told me I could use only 100W over a 24 hour period to get 3.5L of 40% abv from original 25L :wtf:

It also seems I can use and ordinary cheap bakers yeast that might peg out a 8% rather than temperamental expensive turbo yeasts. I will still end up with 3.5L

It seems relatively easy to make your own active carbon filter with charcoal and table salt . You can test your filter with methyl orange

In KSA we used to use hickory or mesquite (hawthorn) BBQ chips for flavour, made a passable JD (if it wernt for the fusil oils)

Does anyone know a way of recording the boiler output accurately ie 78.3 @.1C intervals over 24 hrs say 1 minute intervals

What have I got wrong here? Where's my dumb newbie mistakes? If its too good to be true :mrgreen:

Perhaps I'll run that calc tool again and post the results here :think:
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby jb-texshine » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:44 am

Seems kinda involved for following the k.I.s.s. method
What ol Billy Bob did in the woods IS the kiss method.
Yes,bakers over turbo.
No to tea urn as a still unless you replace the plastic parts and seals.
Yes to urn as a water boiler.
A construction site type water cooler or even an ice chest make great mash tuns.
No on air cooled worm. An air cooled CONDENSER maybe,but water IS k.I.s.s.
Don't worry about controlling temp or even monitoring it on a pot still. Worry about controlling heat input by monitoring(VISUALLY) distillate output.

Sorry if I killed your idea,
Jbt
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby robint » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:54 am

Hi JT

I worked in Corpus while back until uncle sam tried to slap a green card on me - yeee haaa. the guys in the office nominated me to stand for mayor of oak county - why me, the other got shot.They called me Bubba and made me an onnery toadlicker. Great guys, just dont behave like an ass and you wont get your ass shot off (till I mooned in a titty bar)

pls explain

monitoring(VISUALLY) distillate output.
just looks like a trickle of water?
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby jb-texshine » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:04 am

robint wrote:Hi JT

I worked in Corpus while back until uncle sam tried to slap a green card on me - yeee haaa. the guys in the office nominated me to stand for mayor of oak county - why me, the other got shot.They called me Bubba and made me an onnery toadlicker. Great guys, just dont behave like an ass and you wont get your ass shot off (till I mooned in a titty bar)

pls explain

monitoring(VISUALLY) distillate output.
just looks like a trickle of water?

Controlling heat input to control output speed to control the amount of smearing of fractions to some degree.
Remember not to blow yourself up,you only get to forget once!


Deo Vendice

Never eat Mexican food north or east of Dallas tx!
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby robint » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:35 am

robint wrote::D

Namely "keep it simple stupid"

I have been browsing and viewing vids of "old baba blowhard" and what he did in the woods - what a hoot diyaam

It occured to me that I could easily source an electric 5gal SS tea urn, water boiler and use it as a mash tun and use the tap to rack off the wash. Clean out the urn and place the wash back in. Then, using the heater with suitable PID type temp controller, set the system up to run the wash at say 85C and use a copper tube into a thumper and then an air cooled worm (with computer fan?) to collect the distillate. After discarding the heads quickly, set it to low simmer at a suitable temp (I used that distilling calc tool - very instructive). It told me I could use only 100W over a 24 hour period to get 3.5L of 40% abv from original 25L :wtf:

It also seems I can use and ordinary cheap bakers yeast that might peg out a 8% rather than temperamental expensive turbo yeasts. I will still end up with 3.5L

It seems relatively easy to make your own active carbon filter with charcoal and table salt . You can test your filter with methyl orange

In KSA we used to use hickory or mesquite (hawthorn) BBQ chips for flavour, made a passable JD (if it wernt for the fusil oils)

Does anyone know a way of recording the boiler output accurately ie 78.3 @.1C intervals over 24 hrs say 1 minute intervals

What have I got wrong here? Where's my dumb newbie mistakes? If its too good to be true :mrgreen:

Perhaps I'll run that calc tool again and post the results here :think:


herewith the calc tool results

http://homedistiller.org/index.php?mn=c ... 0&timeti=0

so I get 1.5L of hooch @40% after 5 hours is that right?
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby still_stirrin » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:52 pm

100W over a 24 hour period??? Are you going to sit there and watch it for 24 hours? Oh, and DON’T say you’re going to automate the boiler...we don’t approve unattended boilers here for safety’s sake.

I think you’ve been watching too much Youtube. Instead, invest your time here reading. And start with the Spoon Feed link in my signature.

Bottomline...you’re waaaay off basis here. Read and learn why!
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby NcHooch » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:52 pm

I think most would agree that KISS = simple pot still with a water cooled worm, heated over a propane (turkey fryer) burner.
Last edited by NcHooch on Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby jb-texshine » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:44 pm

NcHooch wrote:I think most wood agree that KISS = simple pot still with a water cooled worm, heated over a propane (turkey fryer) burner.

Close but I vote liebig for ease of construction
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Never eat Mexican food north or east of Dallas tx!
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby Truckinbutch » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:51 pm

jb-texshine wrote:
NcHooch wrote:I think most wood agree that KISS = simple pot still with a water cooled worm, heated over a propane (turkey fryer) burner.

Close but I vote liebig for ease of construction

Either one in preference to the OP's approach . I also vote liebig .
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby robint » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:35 am

Hi Shiners
I was thinking of using an electric boiler tea urn 20L and control the heat input with a triac. Need to blank of the tap and find a suitable sealing method for the lid (tygon tubing?)

I dont really want to go down the reflux column route cos of space and conspicuousness

I found I can get ready coiled copper tubing say 12mm od x 3m with the flat coil being ca 600mm od down to 300 mm id. Looks neat. So I though I could expand the coil pulling it out from the centre like a spring. Then plumb this into the lid so that the coil drains naturally back down into the boiler. This would make a kind of reflux action, I think

Is this a fruitfull line to pursue? Ive seen lots of pix of shine stills using horizontal coils of copper tube
Surely someone must have tried this already

Is it stoopid?

Bubba
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:10 am

robint wrote:....control the heat input with a triac.
A triac circuit will work great...that’s what I used to build mine...all 3 of them.

robint wrote:...Need to blank of the tap and find a suitable sealing method for the lid (tygon tubing?)
No...rubber tubing of any sort is BAD.

robint wrote:...I found I can get ready coiled copper tubing say 12mm od x 3m with the flat coil being ca 600mm od down to 300 mm id. Looks neat. So I though I could expand the coil pulling it out from the centre like a spring. Then plumb this into the lid so that the coil drains naturally back down into the boiler. This would make a kind of reflux action, I think.
It would work for a worm, although 3 meters is a little short. I’d suggest at least twice that, preferably 9-10 meters. Then, use a bucket or plastic barrel for the flake. But in fact, I would suggest building a Liebig product condenser...they work better and are easier to store when not in use.

As to your “reflex” question, I don’t really understand what you’re proposing. If you want to use a coil of copper tubing as an “air cooled” reflux condenser, they probably won’t work very well because once copper tubing comes up to “working temperatures” (the vapor temps), you’ll need some method to extract the heat out of the copper. If relying simply on convection, you’d need a lot of copper with a large surface area (preferrably with fins) and a means to enhance the convection, ie - cooling fans. All this would be way more conspicuous.

robint wrote:...Is this a fruitfull line to pursue? Ive seen lots of pix of shine stills using horizontal coils of copper tube
Surely someone must have tried this already...Is it stoopid?
Not really stupid really...but definitely under-educated. Reading the site, especially the construction forums will help you learn a lot. Spend your time wisely and save your money for the proper way to build when you have the knowledge how to do it.
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby robint » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:44 am

Thanx for your input SS

I cant realistically use flowing water as we are on an expensive water meter. Next spring I could fit up a large rainwater but to harvest the stuff for cooling
i certainly agree to being underinformed, but there is a helluva lot to take on board especially when there are so many competing opinions and I daresay they all have a degree of merit but choosing a route is daunting. You seniors have been furtling around for many years and have your pet theories

I take the point that rubbers/plastics of any sort are completely frown upon even those that are designed specifically for pharmas and to be chemically inert - like Tygo, but I guess I'll make up a flour paste instead

It does bother me that there doesnt seem to be enough emphasis on the dangers of leaking boiler vapour. In KSA a guy blew the roof off his villa cos of cooling failure. Not enough attention to instruments and alarms (which was my speciality in Petrochem - retired)

I was thinking that the vertical worm would perform a similar reflux duty as a column. I can calc the inner surface area to compare with a 1m x 50mm colum with SS scourer packing, but I am not a chemical engineer who could probably point out that its like comparing a welcome mat with a football pitch

Would I be right inassuming that Bubba's pot still without the thumper would be very inefficient and wasteful on energy?
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:57 am

robint wrote:Would I be right inassuming that Bubba's pot still without the thumper would be very inefficient and wasteful on energy?

Wrong...you’d be wrong.

A potstill is not very innefficient. And it is not wastefull of energy. It’s a matter of how you tranfer the heat into the wash...and then extract that same heat from the vapors when you want it to condense again...into your drinking cup.

If you want to improve efficiency of the boiler...insulate it. If you want to conserve cooling power and waste heat...get a big reservoir and use the “warmed up water” to bathe in. Your water meter goes “round and round” whether you distill or not. So, make up your mind which battles are worth fighting.

It’s all a matter of how much you’re willing to spend to save a little....
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby NcHooch » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:46 pm

robint wrote:Hi Shiners
I was thinking of using an electric boiler tea urn 20L and control the heat input with a triac. Need to blank of the tap and find a suitable sealing method for the lid (tygon tubing?)

Bubba


I think you'll find that nobody uses electric tea urns because it's easier to find an old stainless snake keg and fashion an "easy flange" for the flange on top, set it on the turkey fryer and you're good to go. If you wanna go electric , punch a 1.25" hole near the bottom and insert a water heater element.
Sanke kegs come in 20L, 30L , and 60L sizes.
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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby jb-texshine » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:48 pm

NcHooch wrote:
robint wrote:Hi Shiners
I was thinking of using an electric boiler tea urn 20L and control the heat input with a triac. Need to blank of the tap and find a suitable sealing method for the lid (tygon tubing?)

Bubba


I think you'll find that nobody uses electric tea urns because it's easier to find an old stainless snake keg and fashion an "easy flange" for the flange on top, set it on the turkey fryer and you're good to go. If you wanna go electric , punch a 1.25" hole near the bottom and insert a water heater element.
Sanke kegs come in 20L, 30L , and 60L sizes.

Or even a cheap ass walmart stainless stock pot...
Remember not to blow yourself up,you only get to forget once!


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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby The Baker » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:39 am

I use natural gas (the wok burner on my grill) so could not insulate the boiler (insulation would catch on fire probably).
So I made a shield; cut the bottom from an old preserving (canning) boiler. Works well.

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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby Shine0n » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:56 am

Just to add my .02

I have a worm condenser and absolutely love it, I don't have to break down and store it so it's not of concern but I had too I could easily compress the coil and use zip ties to hold securely "if needed"
My worm is in a 55 gal blue barrel and has only been filled once and it takes a little bleach once a month to control any build up of yuk. It's 40 ft lg and 5/8" ID and I can't run the still hard enough to make all the water hot and more than effective at cooling the vapor.

If space is a problem then I'd definitely go with a liebig and use a large cooler for the cooling water, you can always have some frozen jugs of water to keep the water optimal for condensing vapors.

There are quite a few here that use 5 gal pot stills and can make some fine product as well, I would suggest to "if room permits" have a 2-2.5 Gal thumper, if not make sure to make enough wash to fill the boiler 3 times and that should allow you enough low wines at 40% or less for a spirit run and get a decent yield of aging stock.

You are correct when you say there are quite a few differences of opinion on what to run, Now you need to take a good look through the threads and come to a conclusion of what you need for your own personal needs.
Potstill w/liebig= multiple stripping runs and a single spirit run
potstill w/thumper and liebig= single run or more wash for a stripping run
potstill /thumper and worm= a little more room for set up but the plus is that you don't need a continuous running source of water for cooling. You still can get away with a single run for a decent drop.
Gas or electric heating...? so many opinions on that as well so like I suggested, take some time to read through the forums and see what you'll need to meet your specific needs.

It's better to do it once rather than rebuilding, mocking up new ways for an old setup, and having to do multiple cleaning runs if or when you do decide to upgrade.

KISS=do it the right way the first time! :thumbup:

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Re: Following the KISS principle

Postby markieb » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:50 pm

im surprised noone has mentioned a mini bokakob keep packing in for reflux or remove packing for pot.
il say the same as i was advised by hounddog when i first came here if your going to do it read learn then decide whats best id already decided a reflux his and many others advice was work out whats the best size for you do it right the first time it saves double the costs and you wont regret it 6 months down the line when you feel like you need to spend out and go bigger again!
i went with a 3" 1.5mtr bokakob on a 50ltr sanke keg with an internal element only thing i regret is the wiring to my controler sucks (the mrs keeps pulling it off shes got clown feet!)so a minor adaption but cheap easy fix.
i sourced the keg from a scrap merchants for £5 i brought a reel of lead free solder for water pipes the copper column was the expensive part but worth saving for it wouldnt of been too bad if i hadnt ordered from china and never recived it i ended up going to jtmplumbing 3" 1.5mtr pipe £72.the rest is pretty easy and cheap to source from ebay.
if you cant afford to do it this week save and do it in 2 or 3 weeks time read and learn take in the processes these guys have learnt the wrong ways so we dont have to.id say a liebig condenser would work better in your favour.dont worry about meter costs for water ours is 2p a cubic meter a run works out about £1.50-£2.
if i add up costs and savings ive done roughly 55 litres of 40% say its £10 a bottle £550.parts water and electric say £250 for parts including what didnt turn up water say £15 electric £40 total = £305 the rest now is just savings and better quality alcohol no more build costs so the costs vs the build just keep coming down the more i make.
from fermenting to distilling i can get roughly 10 litres 40% at £1.50 a bottle.
dont give up give it some thought do it right the first time or keep paying out until you eventually decide to do it right because once you make your own shop stuff doesnt really compare!
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