Why not glass?

Post your builds here

Moderator: Site Moderator

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:30 am

i missed the part of your posting with the actual calculations. i see that you had not missed my idea about the distillate cooling the teflon piece. a couple of points though. i think that the distillate is cooler than just 2 C below boiling when it hits the teflon. it also sits there because the draining was not complete (it is better now but still not perfect) so it could also be evaporating to some extent and absorbing more energy this way. also the teflon piece loses some heat to the outside air but i think teflon is not a great conductor of heat and this is probably minimal.

one thing i forgot to mention is that in an attempt to keep liquid from wetting the bots, i made the lower end of the teflon fairly steeply conical. compared to the original flat piece, the surface is maybe twice what it was. if i run the still pretty fast it looks like a lot of condensation is occurring on the glass walls as well as the teflon piece but of course it is difficult to see if there really is distillate running down the feed tube. i hope the new setup will allow me to see what is really going on.

i think i also forgot to answer the question about how the reflux condenser is controlled. the cooling water is pumped from the heat exchanger to a wye where it goes to both the main condenser and the reflux condenser. to get to the reflux condenser it goes through a solenoid valve which also has a needle valve in it. so i can control the amount of cooling water with both the needle valve and under microcontroller control. the microcontroller has several counters and timers running. one counter is incremented 10 times a second, one is incremented once per second. the faster counter is used to pulse width modulate the heater and the once per second to PWM the cooling water to the reflux condenser. this is so the valve does not open and close excessively. i definitely can see a difference in the reflux when i change the duty cycle or open the needle valve more or less. my guess is that if the new setup works better and i am not condensing off the teflon piece of spilling back through the vapor tube that the reflux condense will be too small.

i might try running the still with just water as a test if i have time today.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:32 pm

i ran the still with just water as a test. it now seems there is not as much condensation on the teflon piece. there is really little but there is a little on the glass tubing near the top. if i figure out how to insulate this section it might improve.

definitely do not have a big enough reflux condenser after downsizing it over and over so i made much larger one which i will install before the next run. i can get what looks like 50% reflux with the current coil at about a 30% heating rate which should be about 1500 watts. only guessing, did not measure.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:26 pm

i ran the still today for a while. the teflon cone no longer condenses vapor. i am getting a lot of flavor from the bots because they are in the vapor path and not getting wet now. the larger reflux condenser is close to big enough now. i can get close to 100% reflux now as long as i have the heater running at 1000 watts. i can run the still at 1500 watts in normal operation with the duty cycle of the reflux condenser set at 60%. my distillate is coming off at about 186 proof. when i dilute it to something reasonable like 100 proof, it actually tastes quite good.

still a lot of details to work out but i am finally getting there.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby skow69 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:04 pm

Congratulations, spen. I'm happy to hear you are getting some drinkables. What are you charging the still with? Wash or neutral or?

To me, it still kinda feels like going through the glovebox to get into the trunk, but don't let that stop you. No doubt you will continue to improve the process as time goes on. Let us know how it goes.
Distilling at 110f and 75 torr.
I'm not an absinthe snob, I'm The Absinthe Nazi. "NO ABSINTHE FOR YOU!"
User avatar
skow69
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 3225
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:03 am
Location: Cascadia

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:54 pm

using fermented sugar. some day i might try something like potatoes or cattail roots. a friend would love to have me remove a ton or so of cattail from her pond but i think i am too old for that kind of work.

not sure about the analogy? i can actually get some really good gin out of the still and some not as good after that. i dump the first 250 ml for fear of methanol. run the still on full reflux at relatively low head temp and then run it at that temp for the first 250 ml. then i run it at a higher temp limit (but of course it will only heat to whatever there is to boil in the boiler. the limit shuts the still down at the set point so i don't have to watch it the whole time. preheat mode is also really useful to avoid watching. i think i got 48 ounces of strong good gin and about 36 of not as good gin and then about 16 ounces of gin good enough for gin and tonics if you are not that fussy. i am making my own tonic and it has a lot of flavor so the gin is not as important but i will use the best for anyone who can tell the difference. the best gin is 184 proof and then next is about 170. the drinkable stuff is about 150. the reflux seems to be doing its job since i go pretty quickly from 150 proof ok stuff to weak nasty garbage tails without losing too much alcohol, i think. this was from a load of 10 gallons. i think i forgot to check the OG so i did not bother to try to determine the alcohol in the mash. next batch i will do a lot more measuring at every stage but i do think i am getting my value from 20 lbs of sugar.

my still may seem a little odd but i can get a reasonable amount of really good gin in one distillation without having to deal with a stripping run etc. once i figure out the best heating rate, reflux rate and temp cutoff for each phase, i can automate each phase without having to sit and watch. i can use measurements like the condenser output temp to moderate things like the heating rate. currently it is just used to shut down the still when it gets too hot or stops flowing.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby skow69 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:40 am

So you're making gin in a single run from a sugarhead wash with no heads cut. Not the way I go about it, but if you like it, what the hay.

I get the feeling there is no point in trying to talk you out of automation. One of the cardinal rules here is to never leave a still unattended. Even if you are sure you have all the parameters covered, things can go south and end in disaster.

Some things require an investment of time, but once again, if you are satisfied with the result, so be it.
Distilling at 110f and 75 torr.
I'm not an absinthe snob, I'm The Absinthe Nazi. "NO ABSINTHE FOR YOU!"
User avatar
skow69
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 3225
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:03 am
Location: Cascadia

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:42 am

i am not sure what you mean by "no head cuts" i am definitely throwing away the first 250 ml of distillate from a 10 gallon sugarhead wash this is after running at full reflux for a half hour or so. i have to turn the heater down to about 20 % to be able to condense all the vapor with the reflux condenser.

when i no longer getting a strong distillate, i stop making gin and run the rest off (until i start getting mainly water) and put this in the next run. but i definitely throw away the heads, don't even want to keep it around but maybe i should save it for Tiki torch fuel?

what is he advantage of doing a stripping run first and other than dumping the heads in the stripping run, how much do you "strip"? do you run until you are getting water? then when i do the second distillation, how do i determine what dilution to use? i assume i would add just plain water.

i thought that the stripping run was to remove any off flavor stuff that might get through but i really do not have anything nasty. i have made on liter of 184 proof gin that several people have tasted and exclaim about how smooth it is and without aftertatste.

i decided to practice my TIG welding a little and made a couple of gin baskets to replace the tea balls i was using. i can now have about 3 times as much bots in the head and it takes up more of the vapor stream so it should really extract the flavors much better. i also did eliminate the condensing at the top of the column so no liquid is washing over the bots.

it is not very likely that i will ever leave the still truly unattended. so far i have found that minor adjustments to reflux setting and heater strength are needed as the condenser temp increases and as the boiling temp changes if i am to get the strongest stuff. i do not have enough water in the summer to use fresh "tap" water for cooling and int he summer it comes in really hot anyway. so i have to use an air cooled radiator and a limited amount of cooling water. at some point i will increase the size of the reservoir but at lest for now, the condenser does run warmer at the end of a run. i have a limit set at 50 C to shut off the still.

when the head temp reaches the target the heating stops and a beeper sounds. i stay close enough so i can hear the beeping and check back frequently. i have done some stupid risky things in the past and although i have never burned down a house, i have injured myself and have broken a few things but i think a lot less than some people. i am very careful about machines and dangerous substances like alcohol. i am pretty confident that my system is quite safe but certainly not safe enough for long term running without monitoring. i just don't want to sit there and watch the whole time.

if i can think of another safety device to add, i will. my last still had a mercury vapor thermal shut off right on the heater coil. if the boiler leaked or ran low it would shut off the heater and require manual reset. i would like to add something like that to the new still but access would be difficult unless i really get good at welding or maybe use one of the weldless bulkhead connectors to get the thermostat tube through.

i have a level tube that i monitor to be sure the heater is covered but nothing automatic. i should add a level sensing device, i guess. that can probably be done with a wire in the level gauge. there are reflective level sensors used in industry but that would require another hole and one that could withstand the hot alcohol would probably be very expensive.

any suggestions as to how to make the still safer would be appreciated. i am still trying to figure out something that would have warned me when the condenser section glass broke.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:50 am

one other thing. i really like the last batch i made compared to previous stuff and even compared to mid priced commercial stuff but this is certainly not the end of the experimentation. i want to keep fiddling with processes and recepies and different sources for flavors. what i like about gin is the immediate feedback. no waiting for aging etc. i had not really thought about making gin until i tasted some made by a local small distillery. it was such a pleasure to sip their $45 (750 ml) bottle i thought i would take it as a challenge to try to make something similar. i have gotten close.

i do want to keep improving what i made and also the efficiency since i do not like to have more vats of stuff fermenting than necessary. so if i should do a stripping run or anything else to improve the yield and quality i am certainly open to suggestions.

i downloaded tons of info from the Aussie site but have not had time to read most of it. I am sure there are docs that would answer most of my questions but a simple summary about how to go about a multiple distillation gin making would be helpful.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby raketemensch » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:14 pm

What you’re calling “heads” is actually called “foreshots.” Yes, use them for fuel, or ant killer, or pour them out.

The next fraction after them is called Heads — they have a stronger alcohol “burn” to them, along with a fruitiness that is stronger than the rest of your product.

They also, however, are apparently the main cause of hangovers. The vast majority of us also remove these from the final product and throw them in the jar with that final fraction that you’re rerunning — which is commonly called Tails.

Foreshots, Heads, Hearts, Tails. Check out the Beginner’s Guide To Making Cuts thread, it can do more for your quality than most other things, especially at the beginning.
User avatar
raketemensch
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 1701
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:10 pm
Location: Tralfamadore

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:26 pm

can you please provide a link to Beginner’s Guide To Making Cuts thread. i can't find it by searching etc. if i do a full reflux for a half hour and then remove the first 250 ml from a 10 gallon sugar wash, would i be removing both the forshots and the heads?
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:50 pm

i found the following which is probably the thread recommended. it is highly informative. saved an offline copy so i can find it more easily the next time. i am getting some very drinkable stuff already so after digesting this and learning a little more about how to use the gin basket should produce something really good, eventually.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11640
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby raketemensch » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:09 am

Awesome. One of the nice things about this hobby is that there’s always something else to learn, and more you can do for a better product.
User avatar
raketemensch
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 1701
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:10 pm
Location: Tralfamadore

Re: Why not glass?

Postby skow69 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:36 am

spencoid wrote:i am not sure what you mean by "no head cuts" i am definitely throwing away the first 250 ml of distillate from a 10 gallon sugarhead wash

Like rak said, that first 250 ml would be what is know as "foreshots" in the terminology common here. The thing is that the first stuff off the still has a higher concentration of ethyl acetate, acetone, assorted esters and aldehydes, other solvents, and maybe methanol (although that has been called into question lately). Generally stuff that has no place in a beverage. I toss 1 oz. per gallon of original wash. The amount is pretty arbitrary, but even if you throw out too much, all you are losing is early heads, so it's no big deal.

The next fraction is the heads, which is richer in ethanol but still has a lot of unwanted congeners that make it taste sharp, solventy, and generally unpleasant. Most of the hangover lives here, too, so when you cut the heads, you are eliminating the painful morning after. I haven't had a hangover in years. Some folks pitch the heads out, too, but (like rak) I save them as feints and salvage the ethanol from them later.

One obviously wants to identify the transition from heads to hearts by taste and smell, not by ABV or temperature, because taste is the only thing that matters in the end. This points up the problem with making cuts on the gin run, because then you have the flavors of the botanicals masking the character of the base spirit, so you can't tell where the product changes.


this is after running at full reflux for a half hour or so. i have to turn the heater down to about 20 % to be able to condense all the vapor with the reflux condenser.

The purpose of running in full reflux is to stack the fractions and sharpen the transitions, making them easier to identify. We talk about this process in terms of time, but in reality it is the amount of vapor processed that concentrates the different congeners into fractions. You can hold full reflux all day long and still have a homogeneous mixture if you are running at a simmer. Or you can isolate the fractions pretty quickly if you can pump a lot of vapor up the column. The limiting factor is usually the reflux condenser. If you make more vapor than the RC can knock down, then you fall out of full reflux and either collect inferior product or blow precious vapor out the top of the still.

You know this because you had to turn the heat down to hold full reflux, but did you compensate by holding full reflux longer to achieve the same purity? A little more experimentation should determine if there is a way to overcome this.


when i no longer getting a strong distillate, i stop making gin and run the rest off (until i start getting mainly water) and put this in the next run. but i definitely throw away the heads, don't even want to keep it around but maybe i should save it for Tiki torch fuel?

what is he advantage of doing a stripping run first and other than dumping the heads in the stripping run, how much do you "strip"? do you run until you are getting water? then when i do the second distillation, how do i determine what dilution to use? i assume i would add just plain water.

The main purpose of a stripping run is to concentrate the alcohol so that the next (spirit) run can start with a still charge of say, 20% to 40% ABV instead of wash strength. The results of a stripping run is called the "low wines". Some people make a foreshots cut in the strip and also the spirit run. I don't. I just run the strip as hot (fast) as possible and collect everything in one jar. Most people stop the run when the alcohol being collected no longer justifies the time and energy input, usually around 20% at the parrot +/- 20. Others keep stripping until their total collection is 30% to 40%. That way they say they capture more flavor and don't have to water down the low wines for the spirit run.

In any case, the rule is to never charge the still with anything stronger than 40% ABV. This is a safety rule to keep the flamability low in case of a vapor leak or other misdirection of alcohol laden fluids.


i thought that the stripping run was to remove any off flavor stuff that might get through

Nope. Remember we are not making cuts on the stripping run, just concentrating the alcohol to make it more convenient to process. That being said, in reality, any distillation always "cleans up" the product to some extent. But in this case we are not conducting the run in a manner that would optimize the "remove(al of) any off flavor stuff." We leave that for the spirit run.

but i really do not have anything nasty. i have made on liter of 184 proof gin that several people have tasted and exclaim about how smooth it is and without aftertatste.

i decided to practice my TIG welding a little and made a couple of gin baskets to replace the tea balls i was using. i can now have about 3 times as much bots in the head and it takes up more of the vapor stream so it should really extract the flavors much better. i also did eliminate the condensing at the top of the column so no liquid is washing over the bots.

it is not very likely that i will ever leave the still truly unattended. so far i have found that minor adjustments to reflux setting and heater strength are needed as the condenser temp increases and as the boiling temp changes if i am to get the strongest stuff. i do not have enough water in the summer to use fresh "tap" water for cooling and int he summer it comes in really hot anyway. so i have to use an air cooled radiator and a limited amount of cooling water. at some point i will increase the size of the reservoir but at lest for now, the condenser does run warmer at the end of a run. i have a limit set at 50 C to shut off the still.

when the head temp reaches the target the heating stops and a beeper sounds. i stay close enough so i can hear the beeping and check back frequently. i have done some stupid risky things in the past and although i have never burned down a house, i have injured myself and have broken a few things but i think a lot less than some people. i am very careful about machines and dangerous substances like alcohol. i am pretty confident that my system is quite safe but certainly not safe enough for long term running without monitoring. i just don't want to sit there and watch the whole time.

if i can think of another safety device to add, i will. my last still had a mercury vapor thermal shut off right on the heater coil. if the boiler leaked or ran low it would shut off the heater and require manual reset. i would like to add something like that to the new still but access would be difficult unless i really get good at welding or maybe use one of the weldless bulkhead connectors to get the thermostat tube through.

i have a level tube that i monitor to be sure the heater is covered but nothing automatic. i should add a level sensing device, i guess. that can probably be done with a wire in the level gauge. there are reflective level sensors used in industry but that would require another hole and one that could withstand the hot alcohol would probably be very expensive.

any suggestions as to how to make the still safer would be appreciated. i am still trying to figure out something that would have warned me when the condenser section glass broke.


I am all for safety features, as long as they operate alongside an alert onsite human operator, and don't try to replace him. I was reacting to my experience that most of the time when somebody comes around talking about sensors, solenoids, and Arduinos, they are usually trying to make a set-it-and-walk-away still controller. Sorry if I jumped the gun on you. My career background includes a lot of automated controls. (I can Allen-Bradley up a storm.) I just don't think this hobby is an appropriate application for such things.

I have a feeling that your 'stilling protocol isn't finished evolving. Keep posting your adventures here. It'a fun to watch a new guy grow and learn. Makes me look back to my own beginnings, and wonder how I got through it with my skin and taste buds intact.

:D :D :D :D :D
Distilling at 110f and 75 torr.
I'm not an absinthe snob, I'm The Absinthe Nazi. "NO ABSINTHE FOR YOU!"
User avatar
skow69
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 3225
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:03 am
Location: Cascadia

Re: Why not glass?

Postby skow69 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:45 am

Kiwi's guide to cuts may be the best instructions anywhere for making good booze. I re-read it just before making cuts on every batch for a long time. Highly recommended.
Distilling at 110f and 75 torr.
I'm not an absinthe snob, I'm The Absinthe Nazi. "NO ABSINTHE FOR YOU!"
User avatar
skow69
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 3225
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:03 am
Location: Cascadia

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:15 am

thanks for the great explanation of cuts etc. i copied your text and have it available as a text document in my distillation folder.

it does sound like i need to increase the capacity of my reflux condenser to get the best results but what i am making now is really good although probably not that efficient. my goal is to get the stuff as good as it can be. i must be doing something right because the last batch tasted really good. i have a few friends who are really into gin and who agreed that the last run is very drinkable. they even identified the various bots i had used. i used some black pepper in the last batch along with the cubec pepper because i wanted it very spicy like some stuff i have from a local distillery. did a bunch of drinking of gin and tonics with friends (making my own tonic but not thrilled with that yet, i can't seem to get enough cabonation in it) and i had virtually no hangover the next day. last night i had a few glasses of some decent commercial wine and feel pretty groggy today. did not happen even after 4 strong g and ts.

next will be making a bigger reflux condenser and then concentrating on getting really good herbal flavors. i think that the juniper i am using is not the best even though it is the Italian stuff and is supposed to be good.

i like the automatic controls because it lets me watch what is going on without constantly manually adjusting things. my heater is much stronger than needed so it requires PWM control. i also like to be able to preheat unattended. not much to do other than sit there and wait. i have added a lot of redundancy to the safety controls and do think the still is incapable of blowing up but i will never leave it completely unattended. the control is based on temp sensors but they are constantly monitored and if one fails the still goes into shutdown. the heater SSR is controlled with an active high signal so any failure should shut it off, not lock it on.

talking about this gives me new ideas. i think i will add an old fashioned thermal cutoff to shut off the SSR input but need to figure out where to put it. as far as i know, SSRs always fail open not fused the way mechanical relays can still would like some ideas as to additional safety devices to add.

i bought a ton of heavy teflon on e-bay for a good price. delivery tomorrow so i can go nuts adding more levels and contraptions. i am not thrilled with the way the reflux condenser fits into the column but did not have any teflon to make the glass transition pieces. i will tomorrow
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:03 pm

i got some more stainless steel all thread and with my huge new stock of teflon i can now make a much bigger reflux condenser that will be able to do total reflux at a higher heater setting. my heater is 5000 watts so i will never be able to run it at full but it will be nice to be able to run full reflux at a higher speed. since i have so much teflon for making transition pieces, i am going to make the gin back a separate piece of glass and then can pt the lines to the reflux condenser below the gin back and not have any problem with condensate wetting the bots. this will also allow me to make the packed column even higher. also means that if the drilled hole in the glass ever causes the glass to break it will be a much smaller piece of glass that will break instead of the whole column. might get to do this tomorrow if i get some real money making work done first.

BTW, if anyone needs teflon, this ebay seller has much better prices than others and is good at making special deals. for $120 i got a ton or 3/4 through 2" thick white virgin stuff. some of his pictures make it look yellow but it is just the pictures, the teflon is the real virgin white stuff.
http://www.ebay.com/usr/plastic101?_trk ... 7675.l2559
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Re: Why not glass?

Postby Alchemist75 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:22 pm

In terms of glass use I have some opinions to offer as I've been distilling on it for over 20 years without incident.
I've been using lab grade borosilicate glass boilers, tubing, condensers all this time primarily because my equipment is used for more than just ethanol production. There are times when using chemically inert materials is the only acceptable means of executing specific processes. I've used it for solvent recovery from both extracts and reactions, essential oil/hydrosol production, chemical reactions and of course in copper/glass hybrid set ups for ethanol refinement.
The chief advantage of glass is basically what I stated above: it's inert. The other nice thing about it is that you can see what's going on which is nice when you take a scientific approach to things.
In terms of glass breaking or cracking it only ever occurred in the early days when I bought my first lab equipment for the production of herbal extracts. It would happen as a result of thermal shock, usually when I tried to cool a flask too suddenly. Truth be told, I've only cracked two flasks in all this time due to thermal shock (I learned my lesson quickly), if glass is well cared for it will outlast it's copper or steel counterparts.
Also I've found that using lab glass allows for a big range of configurations for distillation set ups as well as reactions. I can literally build all new designs based on theories or known facts. A lot of wiggle room for the bench top chemical engineer.
In terms of volume, glass boiling flasks are available in sizes up to 22 liters which is an almost comically huge bottle. I currently have boilers ranging in size from 500 ml to 5 liters. I only do small scale when it comes to ethanol production so a one gallon stripping run is good for my purposes. Eventually I may invest in a 10+ liter boiler but for now what I have works fine.
In terms of safety glass is as good as metal IF CORRECTLY HANDLED. It is unlikely that you'll have an explosion or break assuming you follow these guidelines:
-do not directly heat glass on an open flame, always use a bath. Water, oil, glycol, copper bird shot, sand etc. Baths ensure even heating and will extend the life of your boilers considerably.
-if using a water bath specifically, make sure that you do not add cold water to recharge the bath as the water evaporates, always add boiling water.
-always use a boiling ring or some other non heat conducting support to hold the boiler up off the bottom of the bath.
-make sure that after you finish heating with your glass that you allow it adequate cool down time. I've found that I can remove a boiler directly from the heat source, empty it and then set it down on top of a folded towel without cracks occurring. It will cool faster this way. I have also found that if I set the same glass down on a bare counter top the likelihood of a crack is much greater.
-do not seal a glass system, if you're applying heat the gasses inside will of course expand. In all likelihood the glass itself won't actually explode but any where there are joints in the system or other weak points these will give way before the flasks do which is no good if you have flammable gas running through the rig.
-make sure that the glass, especially the boiler, is not moving about or floating in the bath while heating. Use clamps or some other method to secure things in place.
-always check your glass for cracks or chips before using it.
-do try not to drop anything :wink:

In terms of cost, as far as I can tell, glass is not dramatically more expensive than pre fab copper/steel distillation devices particularly if you order online and DIY your tubing rigs and or your condensers. It will also be substantially easier to put together then attempting to build all metal rigs yourself as all the primary components are basically available ready to assemble or modify.

One last comment on using glass is regarding the stoppers employed in some set ups. Butyl rubber stoppers are most commonly available and appear to be pretty resistant to most organic compounds even with application of heat. The primary exception I've observed is degradation with prolonged exposure to carboxylic acids I.e. vinegar or citrus juices.
Just the same, butyl rubber is not ideal. Ground glass joints are by far the best but they also make silicone stoppers which are very resistant to heat and organic compounds.
Again, in my 20 years of using lab grade glass I've not had any disasters in the course of normal, safe operation. Do something stupid and even an all metal rig can become a bomb. I like glass, I use glass, I've had no problems with glass and as long as I apply common sense I don't anticipate disasters. Oh, and yes, it is very possible to incorporate copper into glass systems.
My 10 cents.
SOLVE ET COAGULA, ET HABEBIS MAGISTERIUM
User avatar
Alchemist75
Novice
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:12 pm
Location: New Mexico USA

Re: Why not glass?

Postby skow69 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:14 am

Have you tried letting the bots get wet to see how much difference it makes?
Distilling at 110f and 75 torr.
I'm not an absinthe snob, I'm The Absinthe Nazi. "NO ABSINTHE FOR YOU!"
User avatar
skow69
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 3225
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:03 am
Location: Cascadia

Re: Why not glass?

Postby spencoid » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:45 am

first a second to "why i like glass" the ability to take it apart and reconfigure is what i like the most. i am not using lab glass just big tubes. today i am probably going to finish the addition of a larger reflux condenser. i am heading to a surplus shop in a few days where i hope to find some better materials for this condenser but i had some tubing so i made one out of that. it is not the final solution but since my still is just a stack of glass tubes held together with teflon interface pieces ( i am going to try not using orings on the new piece to see if i can get away without them, i ground the glass really flat and the lather makes the teflon really flat too) i can stick the new condenser in in a few minutes and change it if and when i find something better the new design has a better gin basket area without anything dripping on it from above. i will send a pic when i finish it.

if this still were made of soldered copper it would make me less likely to try new things as there is so much more work. with glass i just cut it on a cheap Harbor Freight brick saw and turn some teflon rings to fit between the pieces. i now have about 20 lbs of teflon plate to play with so i can keep experimenting until i get it right.

also it is great to be able to see the process. i can see the liquid refluxing and can see what is happening in the gin back. would have to guess if it was all under copper.

about the wetting of the bots. i thought that it was best to keep it dry and only let the vapor pass through but this was not based on anything other than a guess. when the still was dripping on the bots i was using tea bags and the did not fill the column very well. i did not get a lot of flavor but i was also possibly using too little bots. too many variables to know at this point. will take a bunch of runs before i figure this one out. the new design will make it easier to control and see what is happening.

any reason for thinking that wet bots would be better? maybe it is fest to have them wet and to drip the extract down the column to be vaporized. i have no idea at this point as the whether the extract would go up in the vapor stream or just drip down into the pot.

my other option is to use a soxhlet extractor on the bots and add that to the gin but that seems like cheating and if not done just right will probably make a cloudy mess. i have a huge soxhlet that i have been trying to find a use for but it is a bitch to run. so far i have not found and easy way to heat it fast enough. it has an electric element built into the flask but that seems scary to use. it is huge, 2 or 3 liters.
spencoid
Novice
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:26 pm

Previous

Return to The Construction Site



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests