Newbie head

VM CM LM Flutes Plate

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Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:53 pm

Wish I had found this site before! Hi everyone :wave:
Anyhow I did not and built my head under my own steam so I'm after some thoughts and pointers on my design.

The column is packed with ceramics and a copper scrubber at top and bottom around the water pipes.
The top is designed as a botanical basket where I can take the bung out after the heads and add a bag of botanicals The water inlet and outlet are joined between the column and condenser so I can control the output through the top and bottom of the column and the condenser independently from full flow to a drip (or even nothing).

The column is only 800mm high, should I add more length? it's easy to do (either packed or unpacked).
Was it a mistake going 28mm on the column (too small)?
Have I really just made a glorified pot still?

I have done a clean run with vinegar and a wash to clean and practice and it performed well but not done a real run yet (well, I kept the end of the cleaning run of hearts and it was very good!).

I run it in my shed on a pot over an induction hob, this gives no flame for safety and great heat control.

So here it is, would appreciate any comments or advice..... Don't laugh at my design :shock:

20170808_212457.jpg



It would have looked different if I had found you guys first but it is what it is.
Last edited by Forest_Still on Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:06 pm

Well first off...WELCOME Forest Still ! If you haven't already, please do read the nubee posts. Start with this one from cranky viewtopic.php?f=15&t=52975

Now your still head...you have a liebig condenser with the water inlet and outlet soldered to the column for support, do they uncouple or are they fixed ? It appears you went up about 20 inches in 1 or 1 1/4 inch copper pipe to a top hat that's 2 1/2 inch X 8 ? You didn't show a pic of it, but how big is your pot ? I assume you have a good sound connection between the two. How does it come apart for cleaning ? Do you have copper scrubbers inside the long neck or are they only in the large "Top Hat" ? You've already run vinegar though it, so you don't have to passivate the copper and you will have checked for leaks. You should be fine, not a bad first build...this is NOT a glorified pot still. You could remove the packing and run it as such, for low wines recovery, but I can't see anything outrageous in your design or build...that said watch, and fifty other HDers will jump all over us..." how did you not see this ? It's missing a Bla Bla Bla !" Again Welcome Forest Still, have fun, be safe !
I'll just sit quietly in the corner over here, with a tall glass of something special.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Pikey » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:26 pm

I think you will make some very tasty product with that 8)

No it's not a "pot" - the cooling lines passing through the column make it a "CM" (coolant modified) still - BUT if you don't have a coil or dephleg in the head of the column, that effect will be limited.

Your 1" uninsulated column is the same as mine and I can take 60-70% product in a single run (startingfrom decent abv wash) - with your coolant lines, you should be able to take a little more.

Run with it and learn the craft :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:32 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote:Well first off...WELCOME Forest Still ! If you haven't already, please do read the nubee posts. Start with this one from cranky viewtopic.php?f=15&t=52975

Now your still head...you have a liebig condenser with the water inlet and outlet soldered to the column for support, do they uncouple or are they fixed ? It appears you went up about 20 inches in 1 or 1 1/4 inch copper pipe to a top hat that's 2 1/2 inch X 8 ? You didn't show a pic of it, but how big is your pot ? I assume you have a good sound connection between the two. How does it come apart for cleaning ? Do you have copper scrubbers inside the long neck or are they only in the large "Top Hat" ? You've already run vinegar though it, so you don't have to passivate the copper and you will have checked for leaks. You should be fine, not a bad first build...this is NOT a glorified pot still. You could remove the packing and run it as such, for low wines recovery, but I can't see anything outrageous in your design or build...that said watch, and fifty other HDers will jump all over us..." how did you not see this ? It's missing a Bla Bla Bla !" Again Welcome Forest Still, have fun, be safe !

Pikey wrote:I think you will make some very tasty product with that 8)

No it's not a "pot" - the cooling lines passing through the column make it a "CM" (coolant modified) still - BUT if you don't have a coil or dephleg in the head of the column, that effect will be limited.

Your 1" uninsulated column is the same as mine and I can take 60-70% product in a single run (startingfrom decent abv wash) - with your coolant lines, you should be able to take a little more.

Run with it and learn the craft :thumbup: :thumbup:


Thanks guys, good to know it's not too bad a build.

The top hat is a section of 53mm tube and the cooling lines run through the column with individual flow control, the main column is 28mm (1") tube.

The copper scrubbers are top and bottom of the 28mm tube with ceramics sandwiched between them, the bottom scrubber sits on top of the bottom water pipe and the top scrubber around the top water pipe, the top hat is empty at the moment and was added so I can add a bag of botanicals for vapour infusion.

I guess I could modify the top with a cooling coil later if I want to improve performance but will have a play first.
The pot is only 12L for now which I drilled the lid and fixed a 28mm brass tank connector through, I will improve the pot later but it's OK to get me up and running.
Nothing uncouples on the build, its all fixed but I can take out the big bung off the top, empty the column and run a bottle brush through it.

Still waiting for a few more components to arrive, most importantly a hydrometer to test my product as I only have a beer making one at the moment.
Last edited by Forest_Still on Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Swedish Pride » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:17 am

I've recently seen videos online of the fella that sells em looking very similar to that one.
It's not the best of designs as the cooling lines goes through the column at a very low level and it's a very narrow column to be packed.
I'm sure you can make a nice product with it but you have to be patient, 2" seems to be the smallest most choose for a packed column and it can be slow even at that.

good news is that you made it ,so you have the skills to make a bigger version and this one will keep you in booze until you do.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:43 am

Swedish Pride wrote:I've recently seen videos online of the fella that sells em looking very similar to that one.
It's not the best of designs as the cooling lines goes through the column at a very low level and it's a very narrow column to be packed.
I'm sure you can make a nice product with it but you have to be patient, 2" seems to be the smallest most choose for a packed column and it can be slow even at that.

good news is that you made it ,so you have the skills to make a bigger version and this one will keep you in booze until you do.


Thanks for that.

Would you advise I keep the lower cooler off and run the top cooler faster?
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Re: Newbie head

Postby HDNB » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:43 am

what are you trying to make?

do you mean you can turn off the water to the bottom thru tube? and only reflux with the top thru tube? or is there something fancier inside the top?

i don't think the bottom tube will do much but slow the run...but i ain't never run a system like that. sounds like you have some experimenting to do! educate us on what happens!
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:58 am

HDNB wrote:what are you trying to make?

do you mean you can turn off the water to the bottom thru tube? and only reflux with the top thru tube? or is there something fancier inside the top?

i don't think the bottom tube will do much but slow the run...but i ain't never run a system like that. sounds like you have some experimenting to do! educate us on what happens!


Yes, because I joined the flow and return in between the column and condenser, I can adjust the output of the top and bottom "through tubes" to whatever flow rate I want, from nothing, a drip to full flow, and this will not alter the flow through the condenser at all.
The outlets from the "through tubes" are on the right side in the picture above, if the bottom one turns out to be useless I can even cap it off completely.

I was thinking that the bottom one would knock back water vapour earlier when in the hearts and the top one would knock back even more as it will be cooler up there.

I was also thinking of attaching one of those finned memory chip heat sinks to the upper "through tube" (inside the 53mm tube) to give a much bigger cold surface area, with the fins it would have a massive surface area.

Something like this:

aa heat sink.jpg


Edit: I plan on gin so I added the botanical basket on the top with removable bug for a bag of botanicals for vapour infusion.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Pikey » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:29 pm

Forest_Still wrote:
........I was thinking that the bottom one would knock back water vapour earlier when in the hearts and the top one would knock back even more as it will be cooler up there................


I think usually with a Liebig condenser, the cold water goes in at the bottom and the hottest water is drawn off at the top - gives a better cooling gradient, so you need perhaps to rethink that.

I was wondering why you ad those branches on the water flow pipes 8)

I think you need to make some repeatable washes - like UJSSSM and try these various configurations - record them and report back - we really can't say how that will run and I for one would like to know :)

[Edit - it's obviously based on a very basic CM still and I'm interested in whether you can get any meaningful reflux the way you have it, with only the two perforations and them taking up so much of the column cross section. ]
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Pikey » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:59 pm

Here's a diagram from another site showing a CM (Coolant management) still, with a reflux condenser wound in.

http://www.bryggforum.nu/viewtopic.php?t=12350

I've also seen them with just three perforations towards the top of the column and the cooling output pipe going through the perforations in a 'S' shape Here is a diagram of a 4 tube version, but you can get the idea

http://homedistiller.org/forum/download/file.php?id=11032&mode=view


What you have is basically the fourth diagram on this thread

http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=46216
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:36 pm

Pikey wrote:
Forest_Still wrote:
........I was thinking that the bottom one would knock back water vapour earlier when in the hearts and the top one would knock back even more as it will be cooler up there................


I think usually with a Liebig condenser, the cold water goes in at the bottom and the hottest water is drawn off at the top - gives a better cooling gradient, so you need perhaps to rethink that.

I was wondering why you ad those branches on the water flow pipes 8)

I think you need to make some repeatable washes - like UJSSSM and try these various configurations - record them and report back - we really can't say how that will run and I for one would like to know :)

[Edit - it's obviously based on a very basic CM still and I'm interested in whether you can get any meaningful reflux the way you have it, with only the two perforations and them taking up so much of the column cross section. ]


I will do a number of tests and report back my results, I have been running the Liebig cold with no temp gradient which allows me nice cold water for the top "through pipe", if I can increase cooling at the top of the column and cap the bottom "through pipe" I guess I am achieving close to diagram 5 in your link.

I will trial, report my findings back and probably modify to increase top cooling.

Thinking about it, I wish I had ran the off take off the top of the column uphill, while that sounds odd it would mean anything that condenses there will run back to the column and running the Liebig cold would mean more condense in this tube.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:25 am

Bit of a redesign before today's run.

I can now have a gradient on my Liebig but also have cold at the top of my column. I now have full temperature control over the Liebig, top column and bottom column all independent of each other.

20170810_091837.jpg
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:10 am

With both top and bottom running I was able to keep the vapour down bottom of column 73c / top 22c (51) temp differential.
I then shut off the bottom and took the rubbish out, through the hearts I maintained a column differential of 20c

Very nice product with only one problem, I started getting lots of Juniper oil half way through making it very yellow, I have to remove the bag and contine which was a shame as I was getting a lovely gin flavour until that point.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Pikey » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:13 am

Glad it works :D

What abv have you got ? and what did you run ?
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:25 am

Pikey wrote:Glad it works :D

What abv have you got ? and what did you run ?


This is the big problem, until my hydrometer arrives I have no idea what the abv is, I'm getting about 1L per 10L sugar wash and..... man it's good.

I had a good gradient on the Liebig, about 50c on the outlet.

During heat up both top and bottom lines on full which kept the top of the column nice and cool until I was ready to take the fores.

20170810_131240.jpg


Once I was ready to start, I turned off the bottom line , took my fores and heads and the temperature stayed steady like this:

20170810_132323.jpg


These are vapour temperatures not liquid temperature.

Without a hydrometer I was using taste and temperature alone and I stopped when the vapour rose to 92c and it started tasting a bit weak.

I am a bit wasteful with the heads and tails.

Just can't wait to test it now to see what abv I have.

I used a much finer mesh bag (in fact a fine filter bag) on the second 10L run but the same happened, about half way through the juniper oil started coming through making it yellow, the first batch I kept it out, the second I tipped it in and it's only a slight overall yellow tinge. Might tip the yellow in the first batch too as it's full of flavor. This did mean I had to take the flavour out half way through again.

Think I might ask on the gin thread for advice.
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:27 pm

Pikey wrote:Glad it works :D

What abv have you got ? and what did you run ?


The final product is 85% abv
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Pikey » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:54 pm

Forest_Still wrote:
Pikey wrote:Glad it works :D

What abv have you got ? and what did you run ?


The final product is 85% abv


You sir - have a Reflux still ! 8) :clap:

- You can certainly run it as a pot, by not cooling the column, just the Leibig, and you may be able to boost the abv by running slower and cooler. That is something you will of course try.

Keep us informed as to how high you can get :)
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Re: Newbie head

Postby Forest_Still » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:17 pm

Pikey wrote:
Forest_Still wrote:
Pikey wrote:Glad it works :D

What abv have you got ? and what did you run ?


The final product is 85% abv


You sir - have a Reflux still ! 8) :clap:

- You can certainly run it as a pot, by not cooling the column, just the Leibig, and you may be able to boost the abv by running slower and cooler. That is something you will of course try.

Keep us informed as to how high you can get :)


:)
My first batch was about 58abv with a broken stream from the Leibig, the second batch I ran at a lower temperature so I got a steady drip, I was amazed it increased the strength to 85abv.
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