180 Proof From a Pot Still

Simple pot still distillation and construction with or without a thumper.

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Kugeo
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180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Kugeo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 10:04 am

So I finally got enough UJSSM saved up from three and a half stripping runs (had to toss half a run when I scorched my thumper) to do my spirit run. I charged the boiler with five gallons of 50%, and dumped in another gallon of bottled spring water to bring it down to 40%. I dumped a gallon of preheated distilled in the thumper, fired up the burner and let it heat up slowly. The run started and I tossed the first 200ml (I had tossed the first 400ml of each stripping run). The heads come on at the 170 mark and after collecting a quart, I lowered the heat just a touch. The next three 1/2 pints came over at 174. The next 1/2 pint started downward slowly as I would have expected. After about 6 hours of running low and slow, I had to interrupt the run to run out to the store. When I returned about an hour later I fired the boiler again and after a relatively quick return to producing, the next quart and a half dropped at 180 proof. Very clean smell, no heads, maybe just a very slight hint of tails smell. Proofed down in a spoon, it tasted very sweet and very smooth. So this leads me to my question... What exactly am I getting at this point? I was right in the middle of the hearts (135) when I had to shut it down. According to what I've read, once you run through the heads and into the hearts, a restart shouldn't produce any more heads (I conservatively tossed the first 100ml or so just to be safe) but at 180 I would think I'm in the first of the heads. I'm confused...

The photo shows how the run was going. The first containers are a quart and a pint, followed by half pints, then back to a quart and a pint after restarting.
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boda getta
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by boda getta » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:40 am

Did you correct those proofs for temperature?

BG

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by still_stirrin » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:04 pm

boda getta wrote:Did you correct those proofs for temperature?
My suspicion too.

180 proof off a potstill, even with a thumper would be quite outstanding. I can see getting 165-170 proof, but 180 is "wow"! Unless the off spout spirit is warm or even hot. That'd give you a false high. Hydrometers are typically calibrated to 60*F.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Ma Flodder » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:23 pm

I agree it doesn't sound right. Although I think you could build a pot still with a ridiculously long (unfilled, unisolated) column which would provide enough reflux to do this. Would need a high ceiling...

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Kugeo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:30 pm

No, but according to the Alcohol Temperature Correction calculator on the parent site, the true ABV is 89.1% (90% @ 66 deg F). I'm probably running too slow for a pot still (3-4 drips to a broken stream). But what's coming off now is carrying a strong tails flavor, but still a very high proof. Ultimately I want to know if I can use this distillate to age on oak? Or should it be poured back into a future run? Proofed down to 40%, it has a taste like a slightly watered down vodka.

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by der wo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:01 pm

Kugeo wrote:Proofed down to 40%, it has a taste like a slightly watered down vodka.
Ever tested the alcoholmeter with store bought alcohol? They are off more than 5%abv very often.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Kugeo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:00 pm

OK... I just tested my meter with a bottle of Seagrams 7, 40% ABV. My meter read 45% @ 73 Deg F (room temp). Using the parent site calculator, this shows me that my meter is high by 3%. So worst case, I'm still pulling around 87% (90 x .03 = 2.7). After about a gallon at that ABV, I think it's finally starting to drop off a little. My last 1/2 pint was 176. I expect it to nosedive fairly soon...

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by rad14701 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:13 pm

Kugeo wrote:OK... I just tested my meter with a bottle of Seagrams 7, 40% ABV. My meter read 45% @ 73 Deg F (room temp). Using the parent site calculator, this shows me that my meter is high by 3%. So worst case, I'm still pulling around 87% (90 x .03 = 2.7). After about a gallon at that ABV, I think it's finally starting to drop off a little. My last 1/2 pint was 176. I expect it to nosedive fairly soon...
Don't be so sure that it is the alcoholmeter that is off... I've tested mine with water and 190 proof Everclear and it is spot on... But when testing certain 80 proof commercial spirits it can read 86 proof or whatever that particular bottle happens to be... Just as long as the TTB gets the proper amount of tax money the bottled spirits only need to be close to what the label states... I've tested many commercial bottles and virtually none were exactly what the label stated other than Everclear...

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der wo
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by der wo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:59 pm

And with everclear you could test the higher range if the alcoholmeter too.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Kugeo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:19 pm

Thanks for all the input. I'm happy with what's going on. I'll probably end up filtering a bunch of the high proof stuff through my homemade four-stage activated carbon filer and using it as a neutral. but I still got quite a bit of hearts to put on oak. Which I will post in a new thread...

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Kugeo » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Who buys Everclear??

Kidding.. I finally got through with this after two days of running and turned the heat up.. Now it's dropped to 160.. Son of a....

So i guess I'll just proof this down, throw some oak chips in it, and let y'all know how it turns out in six months or so. If i can wait that long (I might have a patience problem with this hobby...)

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by wolf man » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:54 am

I get 150 down to 120 of good product out of a pot still.

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by LWTCS » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:12 am

Find it hard to believe anything higher than 87% without employing forced reflux.

And also find it hard to believe that ABV could be maintained for the duration of the run without forced reflux.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Bushman » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:30 am

LWTCS wrote:Find it hard to believe anything higher than 87% without employing forced reflux.

And also find it hard to believe that ABV could be maintained for the duration of the run without forced reflux.
I have a small pot still but only use it for essential oils and making gin & absinthe but have run my larger CM still in pot mode when doing a stripping run and agree I have never seen those type of results.

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by LWTCS » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:44 am

The most I could ever achieve with 4 pre charged plates and no reflux was 87%.

So my opinion is predicated solely upon a single ( though pretty versatile) system.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by skow69 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:55 am

Kugeo, How did you scorch the thumper charge?
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by nuntius01 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:07 pm

i can get 180 out of mine. but my column is over 4 feet long and 4" in diameter. also, my thumper is a sixth barrel. i have to have all my lines insulated and run exceptionally slow. if i run her normally, i hit 160-170 with the thumper. just as a pot 120-14
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post your still pics here
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 16&t=66917

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by yakattack » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:04 pm

nuntius01 wrote:i can get 180 out of mine. but my column is over 4 feet long and 4" in diameter. also, my thumper is a sixth barrel. i have to have all my lines insulated and run exceptionally slow. if i run her normally, i hit 160-170 with the thumper. just as a pot 120-14
Pics?
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Pikey » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:08 am

I wonder how this one turned out ? UJSSSM - (Sour mash ?) should come up with a nice Whiskey flavour, which would likely be drunk straight away or blended with a little heads and tails and oaked.

I'd be very sad if mine tasted like "Watered down vodka" ! - Certainly wouldn't "Oak it" - Use it to make gin, or a nice fruit flavoured liqueur perhaps ?

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by nuntius01 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:12 pm

here is my set up. working on second thumper now
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I'm just the bank and the mule

post your still pics here
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 16&t=66917

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by yakattack » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:18 pm

Ok so is your 4 inch pipe packed? I see no reflux condensor.

Take this how you like, but you could remove all.of that pipe minus just what it takes to get from one keg to the other. Runs would be faster ( much less heatup time) and more efficient. And you would.get the same end product.

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HDNB wrote: The trick here is to learn what leads to a stalled mash....and quit doing that.

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bitter
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by bitter » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:39 pm

That 90% might have be from incidental reflux with very low heat.. But I agree with Yak that packed section not really going to help you much at all and will slow things down.

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by nuntius01 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:50 pm

yes its packed. works like a modifed refux. not nearly as good as a reflux. but if i go low and slow i can get it to 180 np. however, i usually run it as a pot with the thumper.
I'm just the bank and the mule

post your still pics here
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 16&t=66917

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by yakattack » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:54 am

Do you run with it like that when your running as a pot still? If so try removing it all. It's not doing anything other than costing time and energy.
HDNB wrote: The trick here is to learn what leads to a stalled mash....and quit doing that.

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Danespirit » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:18 am

+1 Yak and Bitter.

What you have there is essentially an expensive still room heater.
Some passive reflux will occur until the system is up to temperature...that's all.
The elbow you've made on the top of it should sit directly on the top of the reducer and everything should be shortened up to match with the thumper.
Then you'll end up with an excellent pot still.

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Pikey » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:42 am

I like it - we often hear that the height of a column on a pot still makes no difference - but most of the Scotch distilleries have a 10 foot column and Glenmorangie apparently have 18 foot - Stupid buggers ! :roll: - Why not cut out all that copper, cash it in for scrap and still make product just the same as before :D

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by LWTCS » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:46 pm

Pikey wrote: we often hear that the height of a column on a pot still makes no difference

That is really intended to be for the hobby sized rigs we see here at HD.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Pikey » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:54 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Pikey wrote: we often hear that the height of a column on a pot still makes no difference

That is really intended to be for the hobby sized rigs we see here at HD.
Really ? :lol:

Well we have two here claiming 180 off pot stills on "Hobby size" - so clearly passive reflux is being achieved by them as well as the commercials. :) Clearly column size IS making a difference.

Perhaps this oft stated "column length makes no difference" is simply a case of "site dogma"

Perhaps too - it is incumbent on us to look with an open mind at this issue - irrespective of what Cognitive dissonance accepting the possibility may cause us - see what we can learn instead of just spouting the same old same old, illogical as that "same old" may be.
Edit:

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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by LWTCS » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:20 am

Not buying 180 off of a plain jane pot still. I can understand 180 for a ML or two because of the added surface area on a hobby sized rig. But a pot still at the hobby scale will not pull 180 for even 1/4 of the run.
I would need to a see video.



But to your point, Yes height / added surface area can increase attenuation. It is the hair splitting discussion over "should I make my riser 12" tall or 24" tall" that I am more specifically referring to. It makes no difference other than how it may or may not affect your collection height.
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Re: 180 Proof From a Pot Still

Post by Danespirit » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:19 pm

180 proof or 90 % from a pot still, is anecdotal at best.
I get 75-85 % Abv on a spirit run, but I'm running a bubble plate on top of that pot.

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