14 gallon copper double boiler build

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14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:43 pm

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Good evening, I recently saw an old copper double boiler on Craigslist and got it for 75 bucks. It's an old boiler, this design fits on both eyes of a stove top and I knew this would be a perfect still for an RV " Mancave- Brew House" out back.

So I started out planning and sourcing copper, no easy task it seems, I had to trade a half gallon of my best for a piece of two inch copper. The boiler by my measurements is roughly 13.885 us gallons. I am restricted horribly by the low ceiling in an RV but I started out by cutting a 1 3/4 hole in the lid and welding a two inch coupling and broke out my measuring tape.

I wanted a gauge on this rig as I'm using it to steam cook grain, I built a stainless 7.75 gallon keg, and used unions to go from steam cooker to strip, to thumper so I can turn this rig multiple directions, I stuck to my old tried and true cardboard gasket cut with jig saw wrapped in Teflon. The lid has a lip that goes down into the boiler a full inch and barely leakes a drop of steam without the gasket.

The only problem so far is I limited myself to a half inch steam pipe and I'm having to cook a long time to get up to 200 degrees, I will be fixing that directly. The thunmper was made using a copper flange off flea bay, I had to get a donkey dick on an end grinder inside my two inch to get it to fit.

I welded a 1 inch Teflon seat ball valve on front for a boiler drain, I'm stripping corn- wheat malt and oat mash now , so I will hook up thumper tommorrow and take some more pics, sorry for the crappy resolution.
Last edited by Hilltop on Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 pm

Hmm I'm having to load one pic at a time.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:47 pm

I built a 31" liebeg condenser for this rig I will attach pics tom of the setup with thumper
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:57 pm

I literally had to back out the door on the steps to take the second pic but I have a huge 220 watt coleman overhead ac sitting just to the left of the stove. Either way the entire thing smells like mash! Lol! That's one way to run the wife and kids out of your mancave! Someone said it was the moonshine version of the show " breaking bad" , don't know but I can cook all winter long nice and toasty with tv
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:34 pm

Here's todays corn -wheat malt and oat mash using enzymes. It's sizzling, I did add ten pounds of sugar due to heating issues with the 1/2 copper arm. I finally figured out I wasn't using enough oyster shell, now I add 2 cups of shell to my boiling mash and then a large coffee can full at the end of day 1 ferment.

I mash using artesian spring water so somebody's gonna have to give me a better reason than the water and ph in all grain mashes. Mine literally devourstge oyster shell, ive read others here say entire slabs of marble are eaten.

I've never had this issue before enzymes, when using malt or just a ujsm. Why does all grains pH drop so fast? Is that a million dollar question? Enzymes have been a unusual road for this ol boy. I have never seen pH drops like this using malt or on a sugar wash, before adding gobs of shell I was struggling to keep my ph above three!

With the extra shell I'm holding at 5. Somebody here said I bet it's a bitch to haul off, not really as none is left. My water flows through limestone rock in Dixie
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:04 pm

She started out at 160 proof dropped to 150 and settled she's dropping down now. I am not pleased with the output speed.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:23 pm

Hmmm, today after an overnight airing, I tried some of that white dog mixed with a little water and I'm not sure what's so different from a smaller pot still,but the flavor really comes through on this new one. Same mash I've been running 70 pounds cracked corn, 15 pounds wheat malt and 15 pounds of oats all ground and steamed. This was the 1st try with the new 1/2 steam wand, I don't believe I ever hit more than 170 temp, but gave up after a half day went ahead and tossed enzymes but never got the corn jelled. Thumper was filled with water.

I wish I could repeat it, as it's killer ,just a little corn flavor with a nutty smooth backdrop no burn. I added 25 pounds sugar due to crappy conversion. I've never added sugar and not been able to taste it in the hooch till now. Silky smooth though.

The low wines run was majority tails, this factored in somehow on the good side.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Bushman » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:23 pm

I like the thumper, your small column diameter is what causes the slow production. Have you tested the copper used to make the double boiler wash tub?
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:41 pm

No, I did not test it. I did have someone check the solder for lead, being it was made in the late 1800s or early 1900 I was worried about that, but it checked out fine. I guess any lead long ago boiled away. The lid on that thing just wouldn't support anything over two inch in my Opinion Bushman unless major modifications were done, I had to cut the 14 inch column back to ten inches due to lack of headspace hence extra fittings in my fitup." And I'm a welder" !!!

The copper welded fine, and shined up on the inside after a few spirit runs. The thumper was an old rubber coated one. It's actually rounded a tad on the bottom , so I thought I would have to weld some plate or something to the bottom, but once unioned up, it rests fine. The previous owner of the keg used it to store his red wine. He was a self proclaimed " Whino" ya never know who you gonna meet off Craigslist.

The rubber was a biotch to get off, but I finally figured out I was screwing around, and broke out a whire wheel on a 5 inch grinder and cut right through it. It had a small thin flange above the rubber around the sanke flange opening that was Also a pain to get off.

I ran two arm and Hammer washing sodas, a vineagar run and wasted a gallon to break it in. I taste no copper, nor am I having any issues with blue color. But I regret like hell not coming off that thumper with a 1 inch by two tee, instead of 2x1/2 and making my steam wand half inch copper instead of 3/4.

The parrot is working good, I had to retighten my little valve on bottom used to drain the heads, but so far that was my only leak. I'm gonna pour the coal to it Saturday as the other barrel is clearing up.

I seem to be getting more flavor somehow with this setup Bushman, but I'm not pleased with the output speed as I'm running two burners now instead of 1. It's not terrible like 5 hours but I was hoping for three, I started to weld the lid to the pot but now I'm glad I did not.

I saw something today that caught my eye, it's 20 gallon keg cooker at the academy, the cooker is built on bottom. It looked like a good corn masher or possible still setup as it's Stainless, I already feel another project speaking to me. Lol!
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