Still spirits reflux heater control

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Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby Rod » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:06 pm

Thanks to some help from others on another post ,

I now have control , Huston

I ordered my Burst- fired power controller from Sutronics

http://www.sutronics.com/acatalog/BFM24 ... oller.html

Cost including shipping $69

Control box and extension cable $24

Total $93

works like a dream

I can now control the heater , which in turn controls the column within 1/2°C , half the 1°C thermometer reading--- only tried on water so far

before I could only control the column with water and could not go below 78°C

I can now reflux the column for a while , before collecting my spirit , and hold the temperature at 78°C during the run , assisted by water cooling.
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby junkyard dawg » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:17 pm

I hope that solves your taste problems. Being able to turn it up to get hot quickly and turn it down to collect slowly while refluxing will do it. Keep us updated on how it goes.
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby Rod » Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:53 pm

junkyard dawg wrote:I hope that solves your taste problems. Being able to turn it up to get hot quickly and turn it down to collect slowly while refluxing will do it. Keep us updated on how it goes.


my next step is to use some sugar wash made with turbo yeast ( willards temperature tolerant yeast) , that I have left over before the heater changes

Then I am going to make my next wash , not using a turbo yeast .

This will give me some experience as to what taste effects are from the heating control and the slower yeast

exciting
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby Rod » Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:11 pm

Did two runs of 4.5l in 5 l still today

I realize thermometer reading are dependent on position and accuracy , so with this is mind some results

10 minutes @ 57°C , nothing to collect
10 minutes @ 64°C , nothing to collect
10 minutes @ 77°C , nothing to collect
10 minutes @ 78°C , 1 drop per second ,fruity odour and taste ,about 5ml to collect
10 minutes @ 79°C , little collection
next 30 minutes to collect 50 ml
after 40 ml still fruity and then wow , very little taste
last 10 ml almost tasteless
discarded 50 ml total

collected 650 ml then stopped

repeated for the next run after reflux for 30 minutes and discarded 50ml then collected 700ml

took temperature to 85°C and started to get smells , discarded the tails

looks like the way to go

thought the fruity taste maybe ethyl acetate , wikki search says it has a fruity pear like taste found in wine
and at low levels is pleasent , but at high levels is not disirable
If it is that then no worries when mixed with essence,

next run with a different yeast , hopefully less ethyl acetate
could dilute and add sodium bicarbonate and redistill , but better to make good spirit rather than clean it up
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby junkyard dawg » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:32 am

Now that you can control the energy into the boiler you can do a spirit run. fill the boiler with 60 to 80 proof and run it again. You will have to turn it way down, and still go slow. This second run, with high proof is a big step. It also gives big rewards. I'd still use bicarb, it will help.
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby Rod » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:56 pm

I think I will start by using bicarb in the spirit I made before I got control and the redistill .

The stuff I am making now is fairly good

not completely taste free , but 3/5's of f**k all

will do some of it anyway to see the difference
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby junkyard dawg » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:46 pm

sounds like a good plan. The bicarb will help a lot with the turbo yeast funk. It won't get it all, but it will make for a much bigger hearts cut. and having 4 liters of hi test in the boiler will give you a very exciting yield. You will still have to run slow... I estimate it takes about 1/10th as much heat to do a spirit run as it does to do a 10% abv wash. You will turn it way down...take plenty of time, and enjoy the huge hearts cut you get. You'll still get some turbo funk, but it should be much better.

You can dilute with something other than water if that appeals to you. Dilute with apple juice and you will get a very apple tasting spirit. Grape juice isn't bad, wines even better. Getting grains into the mix is a few more steps, but it works well...Molasses for rum.... Its a good exercise to show you how you can steer the flavor of what you are making...Its not exactly like making the real deal, but you can make some really good sugar likker by taking your low wines and diluting them with some strong flavor and redistilling. A long time ago I got a big gallon jar of maraschino cherries. I poured the juice off the cherries into the low wines, ran them again, and then soaked the cherries in the 2nd run spirits. Added a little sugar and diluted a bit and Wow! Turbo spirits never tasted so good...

Good luck, I hope it works out for you. When you start using better tasting yeasts I'm sure you'll be thrilled.
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby Mr.Moonshine » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:21 pm

Sorry to potentially ask a n00b question Rod, but is there any installation involved with this unit? I had a look at the link you provided, and it looks like it could be useful, but I've got no experience or training in electronics at all apart from replacing light globes >< If it's just a plug and go kinda system then I can handle that no doubt, but if it involves taking apart the heating element and doing alot of soldering and changes, I'd be a bit apprehensive to try.
I too have been getting the weird smells and flavours out of the still spirits still, it's kinda frustrating when my whiskey, UJSM and vodka (when white) taste mighty similar... :(
Does anyone know if the still spirits still lids are of a standard size? If they are, I might look into getting a thick bottomed pot which fits the lid snugly and just running with propane or something.

Sorry for all the questions, but at 19 years old I've not got many DIY projects under my belt :p

Cheers in advance,

Mr. Moonshine
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby CoopsOz » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:32 am

You can remove the still spirits setup from your lid Mr Moonshine and then put it on your own stockpot.....it seems easier than matching the existing lid to a new pot. Your product will improve dramatically if you run it on a controllable heat source. I too started with a still spirits setup, fortunately I was able to re-coup my costs when I flogged it off
It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety. ~Thomas de Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1856
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby Rod » Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:52 pm

Mr.Moonshine wrote:Sorry to potentially ask a n00b question Rod, but is there any installation involved with this unit? I had a look at the link you provided, and it looks like it could be useful, but I've got no experience or training in electronics at all apart from replacing light globes >< If it's just a plug and go kinda system then I can handle that no doubt, but if it involves taking apart the heating element and doing alot of soldering and changes, I'd be a bit apprehensive to try.
I too have been getting the weird smells and flavours out of the still spirits still, it's kinda frustrating when my whiskey, UJSM and vodka (when white) taste mighty similar... :(
Does anyone know if the still spirits still lids are of a standard size? If they are, I might look into getting a thick bottomed pot which fits the lid snugly and just running with propane or something.

Sorry for all the questions, but at 19 years old I've not got many DIY projects under my belt :p

Cheers in advance,

Mr. Moonshine


The electrical wiring is fairly simple

I got a 2 metre 3 core 240V lead and cut it in half , or what ever cut suits you

The wiring to the controller is active and neutral in to unit and out of unit , a common earth which attaches to the side of the controller , all screwed fittings

you will need a heat sink ( some heat transfer glue ) and a box to house the controller , available from electrical hobby shops ( Jaycar)

You plug this into the power point and then plug the lead from you element into the other end

If you at all electrically challenged I recommend you will need to get somebody to help you

I am more than happy with my unit and now do not even put my spirit thru a carbon filter ,

The point at which you make you cuts are more clearly defined

I am just about to distill a batch made with a non turbo yeast , and think I will be well on the way to having a truly neutral spirit
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Re: Still spirits reflux heater control

Postby newscotcher » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:17 pm

CoopsOz wrote:You can remove the still spirits setup from your lid Mr Moonshine and then put it on your own stockpot.....it seems easier than matching the existing lid to a new pot. Your product will improve dramatically if you run it on a controllable heat source. I too started with a still spirits setup, fortunately I was able to re-coup my costs when I flogged it off



So - I am also a noob. I got the SS air still as a gift (I've been making wine/beer for years, and wifey got tired of me griping that I still had to buy my rum/scotch from "the man") Anyway - I am quickly realizing it's not the route we shuold have taken, but I'd like to get some use out of it. Anybody know if it makes sense to do what Coops said? Take the top of my SS still, plop it on a stock pot, and let her zing on my stove?

Thanks a bunch
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