hello from the PNW

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hello from the PNW

Postby MM-Brew » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:57 am

Hello to all.
I've been reading topic this forum for a while now and decided to become a official card caring member. LOL. I've already been reading the through the Lounge, Novice Distillers as well as the what Not to do with a few more as well.
Here is a little about me. I've never made my own beer. I've help with a few runs and I did had fun doing it. Most of them came out pretty good. I currently don't have the means or the tools to build my own still, so I purchased one.
Da Set UP is a Bauhaus PSII High Capacity still with 8 Gal milk jug configured with a 3" column. In reflex mode I use ceramic rasching rings on the bottom that is about 2/3 way filled. I fill the rest of the column with 6 copper mesh plugs. In Pot mode I'm currently use 2 copper plugs. My current heat source is a 1500 watt Hot plate that I did mod to add a variable controller (thank you for helping with that). I believe that is VM still ( could be wrong in that) with the 3 cooling lines at the top with no valve at the condenser.
Yes I'm WAY new to this hobby. As with most new ones to this hobby I made my first runs with the GREAT stuff call Turbo Yeast (JUST KIDDING). On my runs It seams like I smeared my heads through my whole runs with the smell and taste of Acetone. After reading LOTS of post on how great those Turbos are, I've decided to make my first corm mash and do my first stripping and spirit runs. It a simple one some cracked corn, amylase, a little, sugar and some yeast (I have better notes at home). Then I 'm going to try a TFFV or different Vodka once I get done with all 3 of the stripping runs and the spirit run of this whisky i'm tying not to bastardize too bad.
What got me stated in this, is I like to make Drunken Fruit. Its a simple Infusing of fruit and boozy that do I canned up. Then I stated to make some Kahlua, and its getting better. Now I want to make it all with well crafted spirits at home. This is where I need all of your help. As being new to this and with my first runs are not really worth sharing, Yet. I'll have lots of question for you all. I've already read a lot of good info on here and I know there is a lot more information on here to help me. I'll do my best to search for these topics or at lease give what I did try searching for when asking for help or advice to get directed to them so we don't have to keep go over the same things.

I look forward to chatting with you all as I get past this HUGE learning curve and make some good spirits.
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby MoonBreath » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:11 pm

Welcome to HD!
Sounds like a nice little rig..Although ifn it's 3 inch and packed with reflux, your hot plate will not be enough for it.
Ones heat source should be strong enough to adjust from a slow drip, to fast drip, to broken stream, to twisted stream, to pencil tip stream, to full stream for strips.
Anything less, we'll you know...
Good luck, keep us posted.
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby OtisT » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:54 pm

Welcome Neighbor, from a fellow PNWer.

+1 to the comment regarding 1500W being low for the 3" column. I've run a 1500W hotplate on a fully insulated boiler and insulated 2" column and while it works for various stilling styles, I found 1500W limiting in some ways. My personal journey started with a 3" column, I was not happy with how it performed, and at the time I decided to make a new 2" column rather than upgrade my 1500W boiler.

Fractioning:
I think the hard issue for you with only 1500W will be fractioning (getting a descent refulx ratio) in that 3" column. If you are not insulated, IMHO you will need to do so and run your rig at/near max to get a descent ratio.

I'm not sure how well your modified Hotplate holds a steady temp, but if you notice vapor temp swings when you want a steady temp, consider a heat sync (metal plate) between your Hotplate and Boiler to even things out. This may not be necessary because of your modifications. For my rig, with an un-modified 1500W hotplate, I have found 3lb of mass to be the sweet spot. With no heatsync, I see an ~6 deg F temp swing in head vapor temps. with a 1.5 lb heatsync, I see an ~4 deg F swing, and with a 3 lb heatsync, I see no noticeable vapor temp swings.

Pot Stillin:
1500W It will work just fine for most of what you will likely do, pot stilling, it will just be slower than desired (for me.) 1500W Examples: It takes 2 hours to bring a 9 gallon wash to boil. Once boiling, stripping 9 gallons takes 4 hours.

Best of luck to ya. Otis
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
viewtopic.php?t=52975
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby Dantuss » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:31 pm

Welcome
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby MM-Brew » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:36 pm

for my hot plate I by passed the thermostat and connected it to a heavy duty variable speed controller. I did a 45 min test boiling water then down to a simmer in a pot and I did not notice any cycling of the hot plate. I do away use the defuse plate that came with the still. My thoughts was more about even heating with less chance of scorching(not sure of the weight of it but it sits in recessed areas for it). Then tying to keep a stead temp. Its all about learning. When it get up to temp it will hold the temp very steady. The hotplate unit is at max or in the high range. Then I've made some adjustments to the water flow to try and increase the dribble to the trickle with no real success. Learned the hard way to leave the water alone. This may be no surprise to you, but Non of my runs have ever been in the 4 or 6 hours range. There all more like 10-15 hours for 5-6 gallons of mash. With 1.5 to 2.5 hours of heat up time.

I just found out about that I can insulate the boiler and column thank to this site and that is my next step.
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby jon1163 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:15 pm

Welcome from another PNW'er
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby nuntius01 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:15 pm

welcome, drop us a pic of the set up
I'm just the bank and the mule

post your still pics here
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=66917
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby svodysseus » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:59 pm

Hello from Seahawk territory!
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby cranky » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:17 pm

Welcome to HD :wave: . There are lots of us PNWers here, I'm wet side of the mountains myself.
Sometimes I pretend to be normal but it gets boring so I go back to being me

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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby Bamaberry » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:20 pm

Welcome Down The Rabbit Hole.jpg
Welcome Down The Rabbit Hole.jpg (6.14 KiB) Viewed 56 times

:mrgreen:
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby Oldvine Zin » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:25 pm

Welcome -- lots of PNW stillers here

OVZ
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby OtisT » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:02 am

MM-Brew wrote:Then I've made some adjustments to the water flow to try and increase the dribble to the trickle with no real success. Learned the hard way to leave the water alone. This may be no surprise to you, but Non of my runs have ever been in the 4 or 6 hours range. There all more like 10-15 hours for 5-6 gallons of mash. With 1.5 to 2.5 hours of heat up time.

I just found out about that I can insulate the boiler and column thank to this site and that is my next step.


Good news on the insulation. That will increase the efficiency of your still and because Power In = Power Out, your product output will increase a bit (and run times shortened) when you run at full power.

How is the cooling flow configured on your still? Does cooling water flow through your Reflux Condenser (RC) and Product Condenser (PC) in Series, or Parallel? (Series = water output from your PC feeds the input to your RC, and there is only one flow valve to control cooling water.)

I have not seen your rig but with 10-15 hour strip runs for that size of wash, I am guessing your cooling water flow is run in Series and you are not removing the RC from your rig when you strip. If this is the case, you should be able to shorten run times significantly with a switch to Parallel cooling water flow with independent valves for each condenser. Either that or you can remove the RC entirely from your system when Stripping to achieve the same results.

Otis
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viewtopic.php?t=52975
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Re: hello from the PNW

Postby fizzix » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:54 am

Hiya there MM-Brew. I've got a PSII as well, but the smaller 2" model. Nothing but pleased with it.
Welcome from another new guy & fellow ex-turbo user.
And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown. -Dogs, Pink Floyd
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