Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

VM CM LM Flutes Plate

Moderator: Site Moderator

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby SMiTH » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:14 pm

If I plan to stop my run half way through to attend it at a later date I keep the cooling water pumping for around 20 min, just to keep whatever is in the steam in the unit and not coming out the condenser. I haven't had any smells to date from stopping a run.
User avatar
SMiTH
Novice
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 4:06 am
Location: Coastal NSW Australia

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby Kiwi-lembic » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:49 pm

great stuff once again Kiwi
User avatar
Kiwi-lembic
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:50 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:43 pm

Cheers Kiwi - i just got a variable rate immersion pump to use with my still spirits super reflux and modified it as you have suggested. I will now be able to flick the still and pump off and just run the condensor if i choose, or turn the cooling jacket right down. I'm trying it on DWWGW at the moment :mrgreen:
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:
User avatar
frozenthunderbolt
Distiller
 
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:01 am
Location: North island of New Zealand

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby Crunched » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:07 pm

I've got one of these still spirits super reflux condensers and I've just started doing a stripping run after taking out the packing and re-jigging my water lines. My question is - for a stripping run, do I really need to run any cooling water at all? If it's operating in pot still mode, can't I just not run the water and collect everything (down to a point). And then when I go to reflux mode, put the water lines back the way they were and run water through then?
Crunched
Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:52 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:18 pm

Crunched wrote:I've got one of these still spirits super reflux condensers and I've just started doing a stripping run after taking out the packing and re-jigging my water lines. My question is - for a stripping run, do I really need to run any cooling water at all? If it's operating in pot still mode, can't I just not run the water and collect everything (down to a point). And then when I go to reflux mode, put the water lines back the way they were and run water through then?

Yep you do. you have to have it running through the jacketed worm to condense the vapour. You can however bypass the parasitic reflux cooling band which is on the 'collumn'. If you run no water you get high temp alcohol vapour and steam pissing out everywhere this is a NOT GOOD THING. Alcohol vapour + spark = BOOM :thumbdown:
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:
User avatar
frozenthunderbolt
Distiller
 
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:01 am
Location: North island of New Zealand

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby Crunched » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:40 pm

frozenthunderbolt wrote:
Crunched wrote:I've got one of these still spirits super reflux condensers and I've just started doing a stripping run after taking out the packing and re-jigging my water lines. My question is - for a stripping run, do I really need to run any cooling water at all? If it's operating in pot still mode, can't I just not run the water and collect everything (down to a point). And then when I go to reflux mode, put the water lines back the way they were and run water through then?

Yep you do. you have to have it running through the jacketed worm to condense the vapour. You can however bypass the parasitic reflux cooling band which is on the 'collumn'. If you run no water you get high temp alcohol vapour and steam pissing out everywhere this is a NOT GOOD THING. Alcohol vapour + spark = BOOM :thumbdown:


Ah yep, now I get it. I was actually just watching it (off sick today and have no energy, so sitting watching the still is actually easy today) and noticed the steam when I stopped the water flow. So I've got the water flowing through just enough to keep any noticeable steam/vapors down.

Cheers for the quick reply.
Crunched
Novice
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:52 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:09 pm

Crunched wrote:
frozenthunderbolt wrote:
Crunched wrote:I've got one of these still spirits super reflux condensers and I've just started doing a stripping run after taking out the packing and re-jigging my water lines. My question is - for a stripping run, do I really need to run any cooling water at all? If it's operating in pot still mode, can't I just not run the water and collect everything (down to a point). And then when I go to reflux mode, put the water lines back the way they were and run water through then?

Yep you do. you have to have it running through the jacketed worm to condense the vapour. You can however bypass the parasitic reflux cooling band which is on the 'collumn'. If you run no water you get high temp alcohol vapour and steam pissing out everywhere this is a NOT GOOD THING. Alcohol vapour + spark = BOOM :thumbdown:


Ah yep, now I get it. I was actually just watching it (off sick today and have no energy, so sitting watching the still is actually easy today) and noticed the steam when I stopped the water flow. So I've got the water flowing through just enough to keep any noticeable steam/vapors down.

Cheers for the quick reply.


You may want to try a cold glass test: poke your outlet pipe up close to the inside of a cold glass if you are getting a significant amount of condensation on the inside of the glass, as well as your stream of booze, you may want to run your cooler a bit harder as it means that there is still a reasonable amount of vapour escaping. :)

FWIW. with a decent recirculating pump and water barrell (with ice jugs in perhaps) you can usually complete a run without dropping too much water. Note: i havent yet done this successfully - im saving up for a bigger pump so i can run it faster and with a bigger water container my 10L was way too small. Need at least the volume of the still + a bit i recon. I'm sure someone can be more precise than myself though - i've just dipped my toe in the water (so to speak) with relation to this aspect of opperation.

Edit to add: I tried a 250L per hour pump max headf 70cm. This is less than half the recomended rate of 10L per min, not even taking into account the internal friction of the pipes on the water, and the pumps problems with head height. Get something decent, it'l lsave money longer term.
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:
User avatar
frozenthunderbolt
Distiller
 
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:01 am
Location: North island of New Zealand

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:15 pm

Just an update:
Plumbed in my 2000LpH immersion pump (with some custom modified hose fittings!) And i have had 76.5 for almost all my strip run only just gone up to and sitting on 77 now. (using a 1/2 filled bath as my reservoir - has barely warmed)
High water flow makes a huge difference - i think i'm going to have to remove more packing to get the flavor i want in my rum et al. Cant wait to try this mod out in my next neutral run - i got about 450ml sharp as fores and heads before i switched over to my collection jar ( i run way into tails for rum) but the temp just isn't climbing!
With these stills forget running from the tap, or with a little pump - boost the speed of you water :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:
User avatar
frozenthunderbolt
Distiller
 
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:01 am
Location: North island of New Zealand

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby Goose » Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:42 pm

Great post Kiwi, I wish I'd found this place before my impulse buy of one of these Essencia units about 6 months ago. I've since also got my hands also on a 2" x 4 ft LM column but the Essencia CM still has its uses. I just thought I'd share my experience and opinion here if anyone is smarter and less impuslive than I was and reads this place first...

I bought their starter pack kit which included a twin element 3kw version of their boiler and some very useful stuff like graduated 5l, 1l and 250 ml pitchers, 3 alcohol hydrometers, a fermentation bucket, heating pad and 2x5 litre flagon bottles, along with a couple of packets of the dreaded turbo (super 6) yeast, some finings, a little bottle of antifoam, and a selection of their essences including a packet of bourbon chips and of course a happy instruction booklet which tells you how to do it all. Also in there was their filter setup, which is a two chamber unit, the first is a ceramic filter which then feeds into a carbon chamber. Am sure everyone here knows what these things look like.

The first thing that hits you is the apparent economy they have used in construction. The boiler is literally like a fliptop lid thin walled trashcan kind of cylinder with a 27 litre capacity that does allow a full 25 litre wash to be run. The biggest issue I have with it is that they've been too mean to weld on a couple of handles, which means that after you have racked in the wash there is no grip to properly lift the boiler and its contents to wherever you want to do your run. It really is scarey to lift and move. The thermocouple they supply is cheap and nasty, its precision is only 1 deg C and has no on/off switch, so that you have to remove and store the battery after each use which is another pain in the backside. Of course the instructions supplied say you can only replace the battery with a "Essencia" battery, complete nonsense as they are commonly available button batteries.

Other than the above gripes, the unit actually does what it is designed to do. With sufficient cooling water flow, I can get around 90% abv for the hearts from a 14% abv wash, but its only of a quality that requires carbon filtering or subsequent distillation in a tall column reflux still. The other gripes / pitfalls of its design are described accurately by Kiwi.

Despite these pitfalls I decided to keep the unit as a stripper, and for that I can at least sing some praise. Its twin 1.5 kw elements can strip a 25 litre wash to give me 3.3 litres at a pretty decent 85% abv in around 90 mins. So now for my washes I do 3 x 25 litre birdwatchers to a 14 % abv which I then do 3 back to back stripping runs to give me around 10 litres of "low wines" ( "low" even though they are 85%). I then dilute these to a shade over 40% using tapwater to 20+ litres and then do a stripping run in the 2" reflux column to give me 96% abv product which I have to say I am pretty proud of.

In conclusion, if you have one of these, dont chuck it, it does have its uses... ;)
The Power of Positive Drinking
User avatar
Goose
Novice
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:17 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby Alair55 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:54 pm

Well done.....And thanx for this informative post.
Alair55
Novice
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby guysmiley54 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:06 am

Great info on here Kiwi! I have just finished my second stripping run (Odin's Cornflake Whiskey) using the still in pot mode.

I removed all the packing and disconnected the hose that runs the cooling water from the condenser back up to the reflux condenser and run the cooling water back out from there, bypassing the reflux altogether:

Image

I am getting a good speed on stripping runs (around 2L per hour) and am ready to do a spirit run. I have a power controller being assembled by an electrician to make it easier to do my cuts on the spirit run.

One problem though... I am experiencing lots of surging during distillation. The still will alternate between a fast drip and then a fast trickle for most of the run... Any ideas what I can do to improve this? I am using a pump for my cooling water so I know that the flow rate is consistent. The power at this stage is consistent (it will be after installing my controller too! :p ) so it shouldn't be that... I have the waste water running down the drain and fresh water coming into the laundry sink so the water temp is consistent also...

Don't know how to fix it! Will this surging issue give my quality issues with my spirit run? :?
guysmiley54
Novice
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:29 pm

guysmiley54 wrote:
One problem though... I am experiencing lots of surging during distillation. The still will alternate between a fast drip and then a fast trickle for most of the run... Any ideas what I can do to improve this?


That's because your column isn't straight.
Grab a builders level and gently push your column until it is level.
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

Every new member should read this before doing anything else:
User avatar
frozenthunderbolt
Distiller
 
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:01 am
Location: North island of New Zealand

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby guysmiley54 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:42 am

Doh, it is too! :P I did my first spirit run today and all things considered it went pretty well.

It is interesting to note that the higher the ABV of the charge inside the still the less surging I experience. Early in the run there was very little surging, but as the run continued I had similar surging to what I experienced during stripping runs. Will straighten her up before the next use.

I'm currently airing out 17 x 300ml jars waiting for my first blending session tomorrow night (maybe the night after...) I'm just hoping that the surging I did experience didn't smear the cuts too much.

Thanks frozenthunderbolt :thumbup:
guysmiley54
Novice
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby mcgugrah » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:21 am

I have a CM with an 18" full length water jacket on the reflux column. I am wondering if a 3/8" ball valve will be sufficient control over the cooling in the jacket to get some decent reflux happening. Last run I believe I basically used it as a pot still as the temperature slowly increased over the run (was never actually stabilized at any particular vapor point). I still got like 7L of hearts out of 3 x 25 L washes, which is not bad for a first try.
mcgugrah
Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:47 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby greggn » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:51 pm

> I am experiencing lots of surging during distillation. The still will alternate between a fast drip and then a fast trickle for most of the run... Any ideas what I can do to improve this?


Significantly reduce the water flow to your product condenser.
________________

I drank fifty pounds of feed-store corn
'till my clothes were ratty and torn
greggn
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:59 am

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby kimbodious » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:56 pm

greggn wrote:> I am experiencing lots of surging during distillation. The still will alternate between a fast drip and then a fast trickle for most of the run... Any ideas what I can do to improve this?


Significantly reduce the water flow to your product condenser.


+1 search on the term "huffing", look for videos of examples of huffing
kimbodious
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby mcgugrah » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:51 am

mcgugrah wrote:I have a CM with an 18" full length water jacket on the reflux column.

\I am wondering if a 3/8" ball valve will be sufficient control over the cooling in the jacket to get some decent reflux happening.

Last run I believe I basically used it as a pot still as the temperature slowly increased over the run (was never actually stabilized at any particular vapor point). I still got like 7L of hearts out of 3 x 25 L washes, which is not bad for a first try.


Bump
mcgugrah
Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:47 pm

Re: Better Operation of a Brew Shop CM Still (novice guide)

Postby kimbodious » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:45 am

Give it a try. i started with a ball valve but ended up using a needle valve for the required fine adjustments.
kimbodious
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Previous

Return to Column Builds



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests