Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby cranky » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:26 am

bentstick wrote:His loses he may find his OWN grove someday! Cheers

Seems like a win to me, he tried both ways and found what he liked.

This brings up some things I've been thinking about, It seems many of the hard core dedicated flute people say a whole lot of "oh yes you can make neutral with a flute" but very few actually come out and say it is better neutral than can be made with a packed column. I have seen one person say they preferred the neutral from a flute because it was less neutral than from a packed column with better mouth feel but that's it, all the rest pretty much just say "yes it is possible" and a whole lot of "cool factor" kind of comments. A few seem to try to clam they produce faster which is incorrect when you compare apples to apples. So with that said perhaps you hard core dedicated flute guys can answer a few questions.

Do you honestly feel the neutral you get from your flute is more neutral than what you would get if you just took the plates out and packed the column? or do you just believe it is better? Why?

Ignoring the "cool factor" and speed myth, why do you feel a flute dedicated to neutral is actually superior to a packed column if all a person wants to make is neutral?

And just out of curiosity are you guys singing the praises of the flute for neutral making and or selling flutes to or for others?
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby Bushman » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:21 am

I have made a few comments on this thread mainly a one time side by side run comparing taste and efficiency. This thread reminds me of the 70's when you were either a Ford man or a Chevy and you are not going to convince the other to switch. Earlier I talked about packing verses plates and the likelihood of flooding. I will list from my opinion a few other things to consider.

Positive for Packed over plates:
1. A packed column is easier to build and remove packing for various run reasons (unless flute is modular).
2. Packed column is cheaper.


Positives for flute:
1. Easier to make modular and vary still height.
2. Flute has the cool factor and let's you view what's happening during run.
3. Does not compress with weight (usually not an issue with hobby size stills).

This is just a few of my thoughts.

As was mentioned by Cranky, I will not give an opinion on taste as I think this is subjective and as Odin mentioned depends on how it is run.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby bluefish_dist » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:35 am

Odin, great info. Gave me a few things to think about. What are your thoughts of a plate under a packed column for neutrals? It seems from what you have said that a bubble cap plate would help hold the tails at the bottom. I know from past posts you felt it was detrimental when running SPP.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby Aussiedownunder01 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:21 pm

cranky wrote:
Aussiedownunder01 wrote:
cranky wrote:Personally I'm a big believer in different dedicated columns for different jobs. Stripping runs are fast with my pot head, flavored single runs with my flute which are often turned into neutral after I have blended and have what I want for flavored, the rest goes back in as low wines and for neutral I feel you can't beat a big packed column on a low wines run. Most setups can also be used as a pot still but there is something to be said for a pot still. I love watching my flute but I also have a 3.5" borosilicate column and that is every bit as cool to sit and watch and makes neutral very fast but I wouldn't try to use it to make neutral in a single run. Load it with 13 gallons of low wines and it is awesome. I personally don't feel there is any benefit to trying to make neutral from a flute when a packed column the same size does it just as well f not better. Of course some of the dedicated flute guys will and have argued with me on that but that is my opinion.


Posting same time as Refluxed

Is there any chance of a photo of your 3.5" borosilicate column

Here is the page in my build thread that actually has a video of it running. Near the bottom of the page.
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=55608&hilit=Goofy&start=270
I'll say this about it too, anybody who thinks it can't produce at an equal or greater speed with less flavor than an equal sized flute is simply wrong. I'm a believer in doing things cheap and a believer in dedicated columns for different things. I'm also a cheap bastard so I have to think and do things a little differently sometimes. I also have a disclaimer at the beginning of the thread that people should read if they are thinking about doing something like this. There are a few other members around that run borosilicate but I don't wish to name any names but I'll give you a hint, one of them looks like frylock and hosts my videos :moresarcasm:

Thanks the reason I asked I have a 6 in borosilicate glass 5 ft long and at least 1/2 in thick been wondering what to do with it
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby Swedish Pride » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:33 pm

should be fine as a packed column on a 30g boiler, would be a nice show watching the action in that glass tube.
best upload to youtube if you get it done :D
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby cranky » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:10 am

Swedish Pride wrote:should be fine as a packed column on a 30g boiler, would be a nice show watching the action in that glass tube.
best upload to youtube if you get it done :D

+1 I love to watch mine run.

cranky wrote:one of them looks like frylock and hosts my videos :moresarcasm:

I just realized, Skow doesn't look like Frylock anymore :oops:
Last edited by cranky on Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby skow69 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:47 am

That's skow with a k, there, crancy. :lol: Having visual access to your still can be very helpful at times.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby cranky » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:38 pm

skow69 wrote:That's skow with a k, there, crancy.

DOH!!!......I mean... I did that on purpose to protect your identity in case you didn't want to be revealed as having a visistill :mrgreen:
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby skow69 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:33 pm

visistill

I like it.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby bentstick » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:42 am

Do you honestly feel the neutral you get from your flute is more neutral than what you would get if you just took the plates out and packed the column? or do you just believe it is better? Why?

Never claimed the neutral out of my plated column with a pack section is "more neutral" than it being made in just a packed column! Never made any claims that what I make with a plated column and packed section is better than it being made in anyone elses column,my claim is it works,and I am happy with what it makes,be it whiskey,rum,vodka,neutal!

Ignoring the "cool factor" and speed myth, why do you feel a flute dedicated to neutral is actually superior to a packed column if all a person wants to make is neutral?


Who is claiming "superiority"? Plated column was not designed to make neutral,it has been proven that it can a will with a addition of another chunk of tube added...


And just out of curiosity are you guys singing the praises of the flute for neutral making and or selling flutes to or for others?

Not even close to selling or intenting on selling distilling gear of any sort unlike a few that have piped up for and against using plated columns for neutral!



Now with your ?'s answered from a plated column user,this will and always will be a subject of dipute (for or against ) just as with anything that is talked about weather it be vehicles,motorcycles,boats,fishing gear, people like what they have and always will,just because someone does not agree with you our anyone else dont mean they want to agrue and pick a shit fight over it.

Be a pretty sad state if everyone carried the same experinces and gear and ideals in this hobby :thumbup:
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby Bushman » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:51 am

Agree we should take pride in what we have built and made. I am guessing in a blind taste test it would be hard for most to guess if it came from plates or packing if run properly to produce the same spirit. Hence my comparison to the Chevy & Ford for us older folks that can remember back that far.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby der wo » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:06 am

The OP question:
Refluxed wrote:So, my question, are there any pros for me choosing a plate still over a packed column for neutral spirit?

The answer: You can make a fine neutral with plates.

But are there pros for a plate still?
Yes. You can make a fine neutral.

Is there anything I can do better with a plate still than with packing?
Yes. The neutral of my plate still is very good.

So why should I choose plates for neutral making?
Because you can make a fine neutral with it.

Is a plated still worth the extra money even I want only make neutral?
Yes. With a packed section over the plates you can make a fine neutral.

I have a plated still. Should I build a packed for making neutral?
No. A plated still makes a fine neutral.

:roll:
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby Opdog » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:31 am

der wo wrote:The OP question:
Refluxed wrote:So, my question, are there any pros for me choosing a plate still over a packed column for neutral spirit?

The answer: You can make a fine neutral with plates.

But are there pros for a plate still?
Yes. You can make a fine neutral.

Is there anything I can do better with a plate still than with packing?
Yes. The neutral of my plate still is very good.

So why should I choose plates for neutral making?
Because you can make a fine neutral with it.

Is a plated still worth the extra money even I want only make neutral?
Yes. With a packed section over the plates you can make a fine neutral.

I have a plated still. Should I build a packed for making neutral?
No. A plated still makes a fine neutral.

:roll:


Please refer to my post on page one.

What I can do with a plated column is run a full flavored high ABV whiskey in one run, which you really can't do well with a packed column. That wasn't what OP asked, but seems to be what you are trying to elicit. I'm not sure why.

There are many ways to skin this cat. I think the "best way" really depends on the person doing the stilling. I don't know what OP values in terms of a finished product, speed, ease of construction. I think we have given him the pros and cons of each setup if you actually go back and read the responses.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby der wo » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:46 am

I only want to point out, that for me the answers of the plates users don't answer the OPs question. They only defend the use of a plated column for neutral, not giving "any pros for me choosing a plate still over a packed column for neutral spirit".

Simple answer to the OPs question:
No, there is absolutely zero benefit of plates over packing for neutral spirit. Wasted money. The only thing is, if you already have a plated column, it depends on the purity you like, if you really want to build or add a packed column for your neutral runs.

Opdog wrote:What I can do with a plated column is run a full flavored high ABV whiskey in one run, which you really can't do well with a packed column.

Why not? I have done over 50 aromatic spirit runs with my LM in my life. I don't know, why to use plates for this. But this is off-topic.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby cranky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:05 am

bentstick wrote:Never claimed the neutral out of my plated column with a pack section is "more neutral" than it being made in just a packed column! Never made any claims that what I make with a plated column and packed section is better than it being made in anyone elses column,my claim is it works

Really? Because in your response to Spiff preferring to remove his plates and replacing them with marbles you said
bentstick wrote:His loses he may find his OWN grove someday! Cheers

Which as much as I try to see a different way to interpret this, I can only interpret as " A plated column makes a far superior neutral and he is now making an inferior one by removing and replacing them with packing" Perhaps if that is not what you meant you can enlighten us with what you did mean.

I do agree that to each his own and trying to get a consensus on which is best is like trying to herd cats but as Der Wo pointed out
der wo wrote:I only want to point out, that for me the answers of the plates users don't answer the OPs question. They only defend the use of a plated column for neutral, not giving "any pros for me choosing a plate still over a packed column for neutral spirit".

Simple answer to the OPs question:
No, there is absolutely zero benefit of plates over packing for neutral spirit. Wasted money. The only thing is, if you already have a plated column, it depends on the purity you like, if you really want to build or add a packed column for your neutral runs.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby bentstick » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:08 pm

this will be my last post in this thread!

Where is this quote of mine " A plated column makes a far superior neutral and he is now making an inferior one by removing and replacing them with packing" I have looked and can not find it!

Like you say if that is your interpretation man o mister you have me wrong,you have been on my ass almost every post on me and my plated column you have have your ways I have mine,does not mine is better or worse it is of my opinion you and the rest that dont use a plate column with a packed section will continue to try to argue at every thread involving this type of equipment!

As far me responding to Spiff, that is my opinion,if it is not up to par in your mind not my issue,it is my opinion! I have not given dangerous or hazardous info anywhere in this thread!!
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby robdouglas » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:56 pm

My 2 bob worth. I have a 1.2m 50mm packed column with an VM reflux head and make great neutral.

I also have a 100mm plate still which i use for AG whiskey.

I remove the CM reflux condenser and add half of my VM reflux packed column on top of the 4 plates and again get great neutral But faster.

Speed is the only benifit because half of my column is twice the size. I am sure you would get speed as well with a 100mm packed column.

For me the benifit is to use what you have. I would not buy a flute just to make neutral. I started this hobby with home made LM and VM columns then got a flute and can and do play arround with hybrid combinations.

What I like about a packed section on top of a flute is that you know you are starting your packed section at a known percentage 84%. My 600mm section is more than enough to get 96% clean and fast in a single run.

So one is not better just different and experimenting with All technologies makes this hobby more fun and rewarding.

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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby cranky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:20 pm

bentstick wrote:this will be my last post in this thread!

Where is this quote of mine " A plated column makes a far superior neutral and he is now making an inferior one by removing and replacing them with packing" I have looked and can not find it!

Like you say if that is your interpretation man o mister you have me wrong,you have been on my ass almost every post on me and my plated column you have have your ways I have mine,does not mine is better or worse it is of my opinion you and the rest that dont use a plate column with a packed section will continue to try to argue at every thread involving this type of equipment!
and the hard core "I must use my flute for everything" guys will continue to tell people "it can be done" rather than any valid reasons for why it should be done.

bentstick wrote:As far me responding to Spiff, that is my opinion,if it is not up to par in your mind not my issue,it is my opinion! I have not given dangerous or hazardous info anywhere in this thread!!

Don't feel I have been on your ass but if that isn't what you meant I would like to know why you feel it is Spiffs loss to find that he preferred his column packed instead of plated to produce neutral.

I'm pretty much done with this thread myself. The OP got the answer to his question and now has as much information as he needs to make his decision on what best suits him.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby The Baker » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:07 am

Hang in there Bentstick and cranky!

You would be so missed....

As to plates or LM; I need to get my baby pot going (later for gin), then the big pot.

Then maybe a LM still. Why? Well a relation has a plate still, working successfully, and another relation may get one.
And because they are bright and shiny and modular they think that is what I should have.
One of them lives just around the corner.
So without knocking the plated still I would like the LM, since many here are happy that it will do a very good job.
And also I can compare the operation of the two stills and probably learn a lot.
And probably save money, which is more important to me than to those relations...
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P. S. Though I may just stick with the pot! G.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby LWTCS » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:25 am

Here is an opinion from a commercial guy. It's a different animal for the folks that do this for a living.

"Turndown ratio- the flexibility to adjust the output purity by using the reflux ratio. All things fixed/equal, plates can operate in a wider range of conditions than a packed columns, giving the operator more flexibility into achieving the output they want. I'm not talking about adding and removing plates. I'm talking about only using the reflux/dephlegmator temperature to control the output.

Weight, logistics- Imagine a 12" by 20' column full of metal packing. It would weigh an astronomical amount. The packing might even crush under the weight of its self. At wider column diameters, liquid distribution becomes a major issue. Channeling and maldistribution significantly reducing distillation efficiency- so much so that you would now need multiple liquid redistributors. And they need to be able to carry the weight of the packing.

Cost- you hit a point at which a tray becomes less expensive than packing. Even just considering the cost of the metal alone, not even the cost of remediation the issues above.

Cleaning- when you can't dismantle a column, how effectively you can clean it becomes a real concern, especially once it starts getting large"


Just some context with which to further piss and moan about.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby WIski » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:04 am

Well put LWTCS. Sometimes peeps cant seem to get outside of the box they put themselves into. Everyone has their own set of considerations and that doesn't make them wrong or ill-informed. As long as it's safe and it makes what you want who's to say any different? JMO :eugeek: Exchanging ideas is the route that will energize the group :idea: .
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby der wo » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:07 am

LWTCS wrote:Here is an opinion from a commercial guy. It's a different animal for the folks that do this for a living.

"Turndown ratio- the flexibility to adjust the output purity by using the reflux ratio. All things fixed/equal, plates can operate in a wider range of conditions than a packed columns, giving the operator more flexibility into achieving the output they want. I'm not talking about adding and removing plates. I'm talking about only using the reflux/dephlegmator temperature to control the output. This is something I really don't understand. And for me it seems noone can explain it here. Why can a rc control a plated CM better than a packed CM? And what does a rc control offer, what a needle valve at a LM does not? And the "commercial guy": Does he rephrase what he learned in his distilling seminar or did he really run commercial scale packed columns before?

Weight, logistics- Imagine a 12" by 20' column full of metal packing. It would weigh an astronomical amount. The packing might even crush under the weight of its self. But with packing he doesn't need the same diameter like with plates for the same wattage. And not the same length for the same purity. At wider column diameters, liquid distribution becomes a major issue. Channeling and maldistribution significantly reducing distillation efficiency- so much so that you would now need multiple liquid redistributors. Yes? Did he run a packed glass column once? Something like 8" perhaps? Why should a packed column with for the size adequate packing show this behaviour, which we don't know from smaller columns? And they need to be able to carry the weight of the packing.

Cost- you hit a point at which a tray becomes less expensive than packing. Even just considering the cost of the metal alone, not even the cost of remediation the issues above. A 12" 20' packed column will cost more than the same size column with plates. But in reality it depends on how much smaller the packed column can be for the same output and purity, what is cheaper.

Cleaning- when you can't dismantle a column, how effectively you can clean it becomes a real concern, especially once it starts getting large" Only if there happened an accident. Cleaning a packed column after a puke is no fun. But the normal cleaning procedure is the same I think. And because all commercial stills have sightglasses, I don't think puke runs happen.


Just some context with which to further piss and moan about.
As you were.....

And even if everything I write is bullshit, all the arguments are off-topic. We are a hobby distillers forum with max 30gal stills. So I don't think we have many stills over 4" packing here. Mostly 2 and 3".
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby thecroweater » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:19 pm

I had little intention of posting in this thread since it started for several reasons. One the op stated that is mind was made up, prove me wrong, to me that is plain clickbait right there. Since then three pages of garbage basically taking shots at plated columns mostly by folks that have never even used on much less in a refluxing configeration. Every single one of those comments are by description uninformed opinion and pure speculation based on that.
So here are a few truths, neutral is neutral and if its not its not neutral. Azeotropic ethanol is not necessarily neutral and neutral is not necessarily azeotropic. A 4" five plate flute will deliver a spirit that can easily be around 91 to 92% abv but it won't be neutral, it will doing at close to pot still speed though.
If you put say 600 mm 100mm packed section on those five plates you are really only going to get about 3.5% more abv, somewhere around 95.63% ( I've seen higher but exposed to the atmosphere it will soon return to that) . The point being the vapour has been significantly scrubbed from wash to low wines to high wines to new make then delivered to the reflux section for rectifing . Obviously this process is going to be quick, it won't be any better then a fully packed section but by gun its going to be a shit ton faster and I'm not talking just double or triple the speed. Less time less gas/ electricity less water and a damn lot less weight.
Now I'm not knocking the hurry up and wait drip drip drip stills, hell I got one and it will pull dead on azeo all day (and takes all fucking day) . Now I no my post can't hold any sway to the OP, he was honest enough to say his mind was made up right off the bat, that's cool I couldn't care less but some of the trash talk on plated hybrids by thoses that couldn't know induced me to most where I promised myself I wouldn't.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby der wo » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:09 am

The "taking shots at plated columns" started with Odins post on page 2. The first half of the thread are shots at packed columns.
That's why Odin started to shoot back. With arguments why packing works instead of only telling that plates work.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby thecroweater » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:43 am

I don't really care a whole hell of a lot where you perceive it to have started inaccuracy and misinformation is what I was concerned with not where it started. But on that some of that started inoffensively on the first reply and really kicked off two more posts later Here and Odin chipped in a few posts latter.
What I wrote are the facts of the matter and all I'm really concerned with. As I said the OP stated that him mind was well and truly made up so my corrections of the facts are directed to the would be reader that may not have understood that many posts in this thread are pure speculation by many who would not be in a position to know how a plated packed section CM still would perform. They perform fine to the point that the end result will not be any better than any other reflux still if ran sensibly. It will produce an azeotropic neutral faster than most (not necessarily all) other reflux specific stills and the same issues with weight and stability with sized fully packed columns do not exist.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby der wo » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:05 am

Frunobulax wrote "No pros for a plated column over a packed column. Like YAK said, you will need a pot still head for stripping." Within the context of the OP (what still design for neutral alcohol), what's wrong or unfair? Of course you could go more into the details, as always.

I really would like to learn something here. But unfortunately I see only opinions and no arguments from the pro-plates writers.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby googe » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:53 am

As far as my experiences have gone, I can't get the same flavour from a packed column as I do with a plated column. I'm talking straight off the still, no blending, which is why I prefer them. And the versatility. It's hard to explain the taste from plates, it's kind of more complex, reminded kind of taste, only way to appreciate it is to experience it. That's just my view, everyone has different reasons.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby LWTCS » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:00 am

You see no arguments? Opinions?

Are you saying that you don't understand that plated columns do indeed have a wider operating range and need to see a citation ?

To be fair, I am a bit off topic since the topic is or was supposed to be within the context of neutral.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby der wo » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:20 am

googe wrote:As far as my experiences have gone, I can't get the same flavour from a packed column as I do with a plated column. I'm talking straight off the still, no blending, which is why I prefer them. And the versatility. It's hard to explain the taste from plates, it's kind of more complex, reminded kind of taste, only way to appreciate it is to experience it. That's just my view, everyone has different reasons.
But why? Perhaps you rectified too much with your packed column? Perhaps you like the inefficiency of your plates? But why you can't have the same good tasting inefficiency with packing by rectifying less?
LWTCS wrote:You see no arguments? Opinions?

Are you saying that you don't understand that plated columns do indeed have a wider operating range and need to see a citation ?
I see no arguments. Only opinions. I don't know, how the the operating range of plated columns can be wider. I don't want a citation of an opinion, but a proof or at least solid arguments.
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Re: Neutral spirit - plates vs. packing pros question

Postby guittarmaster » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:00 am

Refluxed wrote:Hi,

I want to build a still for neutral spirit. I've been doing my reading, and decided that a column with structured packing would be a better choice than something with plates. I won't be needing to pull fractions, just the purest spirit I can get out of it.

Pros for packed column:
-shorter HETP
-cheap
-Simple design, construction, and maintenance

So, my question, are there any pros for me choosing a plate still over a packed column for neutral spirit? Apart from how cool they look (why I can't stop thinking about them), I can't see any reason why I would.

Cheers


To take it back to the OPs original quistions.

As you can tell, there is a lot of opinion and pride we have on our stills and product. HOWEVER, I think i'd need more i formation.

What are you doing for your boiler?
What are you doing for temperature control?
What is your budget?
How much experience do you have?
What access do you have to tools for frabricating a still?
What are you fermenting in?
How long do you stick with hobbies?
Do you already make wine or beer?
Most importantly what is your goal!

If your just starting out and mostly interested in neutrals, build a 2" Booka! You'll make great neutral and save money on copper that you can put towards a keg boiler or more fermentation buckets. It's easy to build and all seams can be solderded with a propane torch and silver solder. If you get a needle valve thats large enough you can duel-use your still as a pot still of build another pot still with the left over copper, hell, i built three stills out of my stick of 2"!!!!!

If i started out all over again i'd have a boka, a parot, a 30gal fermentor, a keg boiler, and electric set up. Build my skills, learn to make cuts. Then after a few years when my vodka is untouhable go to the flute.
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