Steam Distilling with a Flute

Any steam Cooking /Distilling Device

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Steam Distilling with a Flute

Postby Opdog » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:59 am

I had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago and have not been able to run anything for a while now. I’ve been on a lot of pain medication so if this is a little disjointed and not quite right, please cut me a little slack.

My setup
I run a 4” 5-plate modular flute on a 15.5 gallon keg powered by a 5500w element on a controller that I upgraded to 220 prior to surgery (Thanks Cranky for the step-by-step!). There is also a 1500w 120 element in there that is on a simple switch.

I tend to run lower ABV washes and would like to juice a little more out of each run. I usually run about 10 gallons at a time so that I have headspace in case I get a lot of foaming. What I think I need is about 5 more gallons in the boiler to make this setup really hum. That said, I’m not that excited about fabricating a new boiler from scratch. Maybe in 20 years when I retire, but probably not then either.

I recently got a good deal on a new, never been used keg. I was going to make a mash tun out of it, but someone gave me a 55 gallon HDPE barrel for free right after I bought it that I am using as mash tun/steam cooker. So now I have a brand new keg that needs a job. I also have a little over 8’ of ¾ copper pipe and misc fittings left over from another project. All of this extra stuff is now sitting in my garage waiting for a use. Last week I was contemplating my situation in a drug induced haze and thought “why not run a steam wand from the boiler to the new keg?”

After my last scorched corn fiasco, I decided to make a steam cooker. I have it built, but it is as yet untested as my surgery got in the way. It is the standard setup with the keg on a 12” stand, a crossover arm to the barrel and the steam wand to the bottom of the barrel all in 3/4". The wand is a square of 3/4 “ pipe with a lot of 3/32” holes on the bottom. I didn’t go with the braided stainless simply because I already had a lot of leftover ¾ and the fittings. There is a PRV on the vertical arm above the boiler. The crossover arm and the down leg on the wand are connected via compression fitting so that the whole thing can come apart or i can adjust the length of each leg easily if I change the setup.

This led me to thinking that it wouldn’t be that hard to fabricate a direct steam injector for the new keg. I’m thinking of an “S” shaped wand that goes the length and width of the keg (Think of a larger wavy style heating element). One could weld it to the middle of a 2” end cap and tri-clamp it to the side of the keg. I think it could be done for the cost of the ferrule and the end cap. I already have the clamp, flux and solder to do the rest. I might pay someone to tig the ferrule to the keg. That was a PITA to get right on the last keg.

All of that said, is it worth it? I certainly see the value of steam mashing. I think that is worth the effort simply to avoid ruining an entire batch of COB because the phone rang or the kids needed my attention for a minute. The steam distilling aspect of this setup has me scratching my head a little bit. Will this help me get the most out of each batch? Don’t get me wrong here, I’m looking for a high quality product above anything else, but I am also trying to be efficient with my time and resources.

Having spent the last several days going through the various steam threads, I think that there is some value to it as I can probably fill the keg a little more and may be able to run a little deeper, but I would like to hear from people that are currently running this way to help me figure out the best solution.

Thoughts, comments and criticisms are welcome.

Thanks,

Opdog
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Re: Steam Distilling with a Flute

Postby shadylane » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:27 pm

I've been using steam injection on my stripper still and I like it :thumbup:
There might be problems with a flute on top of a direct injection, steam heated boiler.
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Re: Steam Distilling with a Flute

Postby Opdog » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:29 pm

Thanks for your thoughts!

I'm worried about the heatup time. I think that the plates will separate the fractions just fine. I couldn't find where anyone has tried it quite this way. Any speculation on how this will work is appreciated.


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Re: Steam Distilling with a Flute

Postby Yummyrum » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:19 pm

I had a go at it opdog viewtopic.php?f=16&t=66684#p7475130 Scroll down a few pics

In that pic I used a 25 liter keg under it as a tbumper but I have used an 80 leter keg under it full of wash and used a 50 liter as a steam boiler . It worked OK but on two occassions I run the steam boiler dry befor the run was over . My mistake ..: not enough water but I would seriously recommend sight glasses to both boiler and keg under flute as you will be running with reflux , the level in the keg will rise to a higher level than it would if you are just steam stripping .

I thought there was perhapsa bit more pulsating of the plates as it started to load and stabalize ut then it ran OK
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Re: Steam Distilling with a Flute

Postby Opdog » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:16 am

Thanks Yummy. I missed that post somehow. I like that idea! It never occurred to me run the plumbing that way!


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