Condenser Controlled Columns

Distillation methods and improvements.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Mikey-moo » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:51 am

Boozewaves wrote:I cannot see myself importing corrugated ss tubing from America to the UK, the cost would be prohibitive , I am waiting for my 2 inch to 3 inch reducer to arrive from over the pond and with delivery and customs charge that altogether cost me more than the price of my copper column :wtf: It was the only suitable one I could find though so I had to buy it
. have done many searches and the only corrugated tubes here or in nearby countries are coated in clear lacquer and I doubt I could sand it off or use nitro mors/aircraft stripper to get it off (not something I would like even trace amounts near the inside of the still .


How's about this? https://www.toolstation.com/shop/p89705 ... %20mate%20
Best place to start for newbies - click here - Courtesy of Cranky :-)

If you have used this site to save money by making your own top quality booze at home then please consider donating a couple of dollars to help keep this site running. Cheers!
User avatar
Mikey-moo
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1468
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:54 am

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby jonnys_spirit » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:02 am

jonnys_spirit wrote:ebay has a 3" x 36" stainless spool for $50 w/shipping

https://www.ebay.com/itm/292179939631

I priced out all parts on ebay including a 3" sightglass -

3" x 36" column
3" Sightglass
3" tee
6" extension
3" to 2" reducer for product output
2" 90deg elbow
2" triclamp to 1/2" NPT male/fem for connecting to my existing 36" liebig (until I build a shotty)
3" clamps and ptfe gaskets
2" clamps and ptfe gaskets
$345.- shipped

60" SS gas line for ez-RC
$25.- shipped from amazon

I've already got copper scrubbies but should add then in too for pricing

We're still talking range of $375 - $400 for all parts in SS. Copper and it's more.

I guess 48" packed column would also be mo-betta.

I mean for the occasional neutral run for infusions / etc... COuld do it w/out the sightglass to get it going... Also add deflag later. And plates without sight glasses for some modular capabilities...

I'm mulling it over..

Cheers!
-j


I went ahead and pulled the trigger on this ebay order. I'll pack with copper scrubbies and may move it up to 48" column (ordered 36"). These parts will be coming in over the next month so I'll just keep using my copper pot still head for now and experiment with this CCVM once all arrives. Mostly interested in using this for neutrals though will certainly experiment. I'll start a shotty build sometime soon too.

@kimbodius - I also took your advice on keeping the vapor path 3" until the PC so thanks!

Cheers!
-j
User avatar
jonnys_spirit
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:58 am
Location: The Milky Way

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby needmorstuff » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:30 am

needmorstuff
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:29 am
Location: UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby joshswest » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:51 am

Hello everyone!!

Love the CCVM design and I think im about to pull the trigger on building my own. Here is a crude drawing of what im thinking of doing with a future gin basket attachment for gin runs. The condenser will be crimped on the vapor tube to help with cooling efficiency and turbulence. The condenser is being build out of an old column and extra copper around the house so thats why the odd sizes. Please let me know what you all think before I start building!!

Cheers

IMG_2805.jpg
joshswest
Novice
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:33 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby still_stirrin » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:04 am

joshswest wrote:....Please let me know what you all think before I start building!!

Here’s a cross reference to your other thread with exactly the same discussion:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=70131&p=7516938#p7516903

Really no need to duplicate the effort again here...
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5905
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby joshswest » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:08 am

still_stirrin wrote:
joshswest wrote:....Please let me know what you all think before I start building!!

Here’s a cross reference to your other thread with exactly the same discussion:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=70131&p=7516938#p7516903

Really no need to duplicate the effort again here...


Sorry my bad! Just thought I would possibly get some different opinions in a different location. Wont happen again!
joshswest
Novice
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:33 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Boozewaves » Wed May 16, 2018 3:55 am

plan.png
plan.png (15.56 KiB) Viewed 451 times
hey all

I finally got all the pieces so planning on doing a ccvm , this will be my first still build , I have been wanting to do this for years but my plans got progressively more complex and costly the more research I did , not to say a ccvm is complex but my first plan was to use a kettle going straight to a condensor in ice water - basically a potstill , then a 2 inch boka , then a 3 inch ccvm , figured I should build one that I will be happy with as a first one ,

could somebody look over this crappy ms paint image and tell me if it will work , i'm pretty sure it will but best to ask in case i'm missing something obvious , I will be using black lava rock as packing and csst hoses as product and reflux condensors each one will be made from 62 inches of csst hose
nice to be important
more important to be nice
Boozewaves
Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 am
Location: Wales , UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby greggn » Wed May 16, 2018 6:25 am

> could somebody look over this crappy ms paint image and tell me if it will work

Yes, it will work.

I'm not sure if you have some ulterior motive but those 9" spools needn't be copper. Personally, I'd make them stainless just for ease in cleaning.
________________

I drank fifty pounds of feed-store corn
'till my clothes were ratty and torn
greggn
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 503
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:59 am

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby still_stirrin » Wed May 16, 2018 6:28 am

Boozewaves wrote:...could somebody look over this crappy ms paint image and tell me if it will work...

It will work.

A couple of suggestions to consider:

1) Make sure that you’ll be able to pull the reflux condenser up high enough to at least partially unblock the vapor outlet (branch of the Tee fitting). Depending on the length of your CSST condenser, you may find that it knocks all the vapor down before any vapor flows out to the product condenser.

2) Plan for conversion to “potstill mode” by adding a ferrule on top and getting a tri-clover block-off plate. Then, just pull the reflux condenser and close the top...bingo...potstill. And since a potstill doesn’t need a column, make your column segmented so you can remove a long portion of it when possible. TC joints facilitate this wonderfully.

3) For the highest purity takeoff, typically the column height to column ID ratio is 20:1, meaning your 45 inch column may be just a little short. Of course, the packing type will affect purity as will the reflux ratio, but starting with a 20:1 design will get you to azeotropic potential “altitudes”. Shorter, and you may find that in order to get to 95%ABV requires you run below the potential take off rate for a 3” column.

The condenser controlled vapor managed reflux column is a fantastic design (thanks DAD) which is both easy to build and operate. You’ll have much success with it.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5905
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby still_stirrin » Wed May 16, 2018 6:42 am

greggn wrote:I'm not sure if you have some ulterior motive but those 9" spools needn't be copper. Personally, I'd make them stainless just for ease in cleaning.

Well, if cost is the key, then a stainless column and piping is the solution.

But all copper piping (and fittings too) would help with sulfur reduction in the vapor flow. Copper is indeed expensive, especially 3” pipe and fittings, but it is easy to solder and will help pull sulfurs out.

Stainless spools can be purchased in a variety of lengths and are easily joined with TC clamps. Makes modularization easy and affordable. Even stainless fittings are available to complete the build, again with TC assembly. It’s a “slam dunk”!
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5905
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Boozewaves » Thu May 17, 2018 1:59 am

thanks for you'r input guy's , glad to hear it will work :D
greggn wrote:I'm not sure if you have some ulterior motive but those 9" spools needn't be copper. Personally, I'd make them stainless just for ease in cleaning.


I had already bought them , they were £20 each with delivery , not too bad really ,

Stillstirrin
1 . o.k will consider that , thanks for the advice
2. yes I would like to make brandy eventually for this years christmas presents to people that don't like vodka and apparently a pot still is best for this , everything will be held together by triclamps in this build , they are very handy things
3.how tall would you advise my column to be for a 20:1 ratio , I can add onto it , I do want my first still to be efficient
nice to be important
more important to be nice
Boozewaves
Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 am
Location: Wales , UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby still_stirrin » Thu May 17, 2018 6:03 am

Boozewaves wrote:3.how tall would you advise my column to be for a 20:1 ratio , I can add onto it , I do want my first still to be efficient

Can’t you do the math? The ID of the column is 3”....so, 20 x 3” = ????
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5905
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Boozewaves » Fri May 18, 2018 1:12 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Boozewaves wrote:3.how tall would you advise my column to be for a 20:1 ratio , I can add onto it , I do want my first still to be efficient

Can’t you do the math? The ID of the column is 3”....so, 20 x 3” = ????


sorry , I genuinely did not know it was that simple to calculate a reflux ratio :oops: , I guess I would need 15 inches extra , thanks for you'r help
nice to be important
more important to be nice
Boozewaves
Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 am
Location: Wales , UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby still_stirrin » Fri May 18, 2018 4:26 am

Boozewaves wrote:sorry , I genuinely did not know it was that simple to calculate a reflux ratio :oops: , I guess I would need 15 inches extra , thanks for you'r help

Boozewaves, that is not the reflux ratio or HETP calculation. It is an L/D calculation for optimum reflux potential. It means the best power to vapor flow (speed) relationship and condensing reflux into the packing (and reboiling) should give you the best (optimum) separation of fractions. Of course, type and density of the packing will affect optimum performance.

Reflux ratio is a ratio of the vapor condensed at the RC to the vapor condensed at the PC. It is infinite when all vapor produced is refluxed, ie - no vapor is taken off at the PC. And it is approximately 1:1 when the vapor flow is equally split between the RC and the PC.

HETP is the height equivalent theoretical plates and relates to the number of reboiling & condensing cycles the vapor goes through during the reflux process. It is a theoretical number and not easily calculated.

Sorry to mislead you with the 20:1 ratio. But designing for the optimum length to diameter ratio will get you quickly to an optimum condition for pulling azeotropic alcohol from your still, yet at a nominal power input and vapor production rate to exploit the potential of your still.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5905
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Boozewaves » Fri May 18, 2018 10:32 am

still_stirrin wrote:Boozewaves, that is not the reflux ratio or HETP calculation. It is an L/D calculation for optimum reflux potential. It means the best power to vapor flow (speed) relationship and condensing reflux into the packing (and reboiling) should give you the best (optimum) separation of fractions. Of course, type and density of the packing will affect optimum performance.


o.k I am definetly sold on adding extra height now , I just ordered an extra 18 inches and as Greggn suggested I have ordered a stainless steel piece with triclamp ends and will shorten the copper piece before the join . thank you for the explanation of reflux ratio and calculating the optimal height , i'm sure it will come in handy for future projects ,
nice to be important
more important to be nice
Boozewaves
Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 am
Location: Wales , UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby kimbodious » Fri May 18, 2018 12:55 pm

@Boozewaves, you'll end up with a great reflux still that is so easy to operate. :thumbup: The new SS spool section will be perfect for the riser for your pot still (see links to pics in my .signature to see how I flipped over the head of my CCVM to make my pit still). This is the beauty of modular systems where you simply bolt together the components for whatever stilling task you are doing
kimbodious
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Boozewaves » Sun May 20, 2018 1:41 am

kimbodious wrote: The new SS spool section will be perfect for the riser for your pot still (see links to pics in my .signature to see how I flipped over the head of my CCVM to make my pit still). This is the beauty of modular systems where you simply bolt together the components for whatever stilling task you are doing


that looks pretty sweet , I guess I will have all the pieces to do something like that if I order a block off plate and move a condensor coil, I had a look at you'r other links as well that gin basket setup looks interesting , I might try something like that in future as well because I would like to try to make my own absinthe eventually
nice to be important
more important to be nice
Boozewaves
Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 am
Location: Wales , UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby tonofsteel » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:42 pm

I keep ending up on this thread while searching and just wanted to say that this IMHO looks like one of the best designs out there for blend of cost/time/effort/complexity/results.

This was one of the first threads I read regarding the use of SS spools/tri clamps and CSST. To me it is so genius in its simplicity and modularity, that it can be both column and pot with a few simple tri clamp mods. DAD300 and the discussion by members here really did share some excellent design notes and information and I know I sure appreciate it.

Every time I am looking at sourcing parts or looking at what to build this design always comes out ahead. It seems like a rite of passage to build a copper boka coil / liebig / worm but to be able to just clamp together a bunch of spools and easy twist up some CSST and get good results almost feels like it is cheating somehow.
tonofsteel
Novice
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby DAD300 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:35 am

I've come to believe it is very hard for humans to accept something that is easy, may be good.

Unmolested kegs are great.

Scrubbies (copper or SS) are easy, cheap and more than acceptable.

Dimroth condensers are too easy.

It all highlights we all have an uncontrollable urge to tinker. And makes you decide if you're stillin to tinker or make good booze.

Conventional wisdom says as you get to commercial size boilers and larger column diameters, you need power controllers, bubble cap plates and a delphlagmator. Lots of tinkering! Much harder to run efficiently.

I'm trying to work back to simple.
User avatar
DAD300
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 2621
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:46 am
Location: Southern U.S.

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby kimbodious » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:24 pm

People add complexity when they are struggling to understand something. You can come up with simpler more elegant and functional designs when you have greater understanding.
kimbodious
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby fafrd » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:54 pm

DAD300 wrote:I've come to believe it is very hard for humans to accept something that is easy, may be good.

Unmolested kegs are great.

Scrubbies (copper or SS) are easy, cheap and more than acceptable.

Dimroth condensers are too easy.

It all highlights we all have an uncontrollable urge to tinker. And makes you decide if you're stillin to tinker or make good booze.

Conventional wisdom says as you get to commercial size boilers and larger column diameters, you need power controllers, bubble cap plates and a delphlagmator. Lots of tinkering! Much harder to run efficiently.

I'm trying to work back to simple.


A very worthwhile objective towards which I'm ready to join.

I'm a newbie who has not yet finished 'reading 'til my eyes are bleeding' but I read a bunch including through this thread from start to finish and have a few questions to plan my (first) build.

-column diameter: if I understand correctly, the primary difference between a 3" column and a 2" column is speed/throughput/power, correct?

I had been planning to make a 2" pot still primarrily for brandy and am now thinking to design it in a modular way so that it can be upgraded with an additional longer column and a reflux condenser.

-if I've understood correctly, optimum column height is 20x diameter, so 60" for a 3" column and 40" for a 2" column - just to know what we are talking about in practical terms, what is the approximate timeframe involved for a ~10gallon run with a 2" column, and how much faster for a 3" column?

A 2" column looks like the sensible way to start (subject to the answer above), so I'd appreciate feedback on the design I'm considering:

Pot Still configuration:
-2" TC clamp to unmodified Keg (gas burner for heat)
-10-12" of 2" copper pipe soldered to a TC ferrule on either end
-Stainless 2" T (advice on 2" or 1-1/2" or 1" port appreciated)
-2" TC cap and clamp
-TC elbow (2" or 1-1/2" or 1" depending on port size)
-TC reducer to confenser size (if needed)
-straight angled output condenser (more below)

(Future) CCVM configuration:
-replace 10-12" column with 40" column (copper or stainless) filled with copper scrubbers
-replace 2" TC cap and clamp with freed-up 10-12" copper column
-lower CSST condenser into upper column to block port (for reflux mode)

Product Condenser:
I was planning to make a Liebig but now that I have seen the keg-spear CSST-Dimroth design, think I might want to try that
design instead. A couple questions:

-what is the best way to join a keg spear to a TC fitting, just solder stainless-on-stainless?
-at the ouput end, you just bend the CSST input and output up and away and led the product trickle out of the spear-end?
-sounds as though 1/2" CCST will fit in a (1"?) keg spear, but just wanted to confirm

Reflux Condenser:
-what is the best CCST diameter to use for a 2" column? 1/2" or 3/8"?
-I've seen the product condenser coolant ouput is typically connected to reflux condenser coolant input, but is this mandatory? Can the teo cobdensers both be connected in parallel or us the warmer coolant input to the reflux condenser important for proper operation?

I have to agree with the other comments - it all just seems a bit too easy to be true (pinch me ;)).. But I'd much rather put a few more $$$s into stainless fittings and clamps and end up with a fexible design that will follow my evolution in this new hobby than putting a lot of effort into soldering and end up with a still that is single-configuration (at least at this early stage).

One final overarching question (and a pointer of where to read more would be fine resoonse). To start, I'm primarily interested in flavored brandy and so less interested in reflux distillation during the hearts part of the run.

If I've understood correctly, however, reflux stills in general allow a sharper less-smeared cut-off between first shots and heads as well as between heads and hearts. And the CCVM design allows a distillation run to be run in 'reflux mode' through those two phases and then run in close to pot-still mode through the hearts part of the run (by raising the condenser).

If this understanding is correct and a CCVM still allows most of the advantages of sharp cut-offs of a reflux still while preserving most of the flavoring benefits of a pot still, I'm likely to be 'upgrading' my modular potstill design to CCVM configuration sooner rather than later (and hence the importance of understanding what the practical difference between a 2" column and a 3" column would be before I begin the build).

Thanks in advance for any feedback and advice.
fafrd
Bootlegger
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Boozewaves » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:20 pm

-column diameter: if I understand correctly, the primary difference between a 3" column and a 2" column is speed/throughput/power, correct?

i'm also a newbie so cannot speak from experience as I have not distilled anything yet . but I have read that 3 inches column width is twice as fast as 2 inches and 4 inches is four times as fast as 2 ,

Jesse made a youtube video called ''my first spirit run , what is reflux?'' , in that video you can see a 2 inch ccvm running , would that be fast enough collecting for you?, his column should have been taller though to get a 20:1 ratio , he does say that in the video , good channel for learning things too

i'm going for 3 inches , it has been expensive to get parts but I know I would be happier being able to do a run in 4 hours ,

-I've seen the product condenser coolant ouput is typically connected to reflux condenser coolant input, but is this mandatory? Can the teo cobdensers both be connected in parallel or us the warmer coolant input to the reflux condenser important for proper operation?


as far as I know from what I read both will work , it seems easier to have the cooling water enter the product condensor first and then go to the reflux condensor though (less hoses) Dad300 said he controls his water flow by checking temprature of the water coming out of the hoses after its been through both condensors (speeds it up if its too hot)
nice to be important
more important to be nice
Boozewaves
Novice
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 am
Location: Wales , UK

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby kimbodious » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:53 pm

I run my condensers in series becuase I am a cheap lazy SOB, :lol: I was prepared to plumb them in parallel if it turned out I needed to but that hasn’t been the case. It might be that I get away with this because the cooling water is already fairly warm 80F (25C) The product is coming out at around the same temperature.
kimbodious
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Manc » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:09 pm

kimbodious wrote:I run my condensers in series becuase I am a cheap lazy SOB, :lol: I was prepared to plumb them in parallel if it turned out I needed to but that hasn’t been the case. It might be that I get away with this because the cooling water is already fairly warm 80F (25C) The product is coming out at around the same temperature.
+1 [FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY]

I'm the same but I'm not even clever enough to be cheap I bought all the parts even a temp gauge to measure the output temp just to lazy to fit
Manc
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:33 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby fafrd » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Boozewaves wrote:
fafrd wrote:-column diameter: if I understand correctly, the primary difference between a 3" column and a 2" column is speed/throughput/power, correct?

i'm also a newbie so cannot speak from experience as I have not distilled anything yet . but I have read that 3 inches column width is twice as fast as 2 inches and 4 inches is four times as fast as 2 ,

Jesse made a youtube video called ''my first spirit run , what is reflux?'' , in that video you can see a 2 inch ccvm running , would that be fast enough collecting for you?, his column should have been taller though to get a 20:1 ratio , he does say that in the video , good channel for learning things too


Sounds like I need to see that video - thanks.

I'm going to be running ~20 gallons of 14-15% wine and I don't yet have enough of an understanding of what reflux/CCVM-mode would mean, but in pot-still mode, if I can easily complete 2 10-gallon stripping runs in one day and complete a product run to generate ~3-4 gallons of product (volume of full run including heads and tails) in a second day, I'll be pretty happy with my throughout. From posts on other threads, it sounds as though a 2" column should be good enough for me...

Boozewaves wrote:i'm going for 3 inches , it has been expensive to get parts but I know I would be happier being able to do a run in 4 hours ,


How big of a run? In pot-still mode or reflux mode?

Boozewaves wrote:
fafrd wrote:-I've seen the product condenser coolant ouput is typically connected to reflux condenser coolant input, but is this mandatory? Can the teo cobdensers both be connected in parallel or us the warmer coolant input to the reflux condenser important for proper operation?


as far as I know from what I read both will work , it seems easier to have the cooling water enter the product condensor first and then go to the reflux condensor though (less hoses) Dad300 said he controls his water flow by checking temprature of the water coming out of the hoses after its been through both condensors (speeds it up if its too hot)


Got it, thanks. My takeaway (from your post as well as those of kimbodius and Manc are that parallel cooling will work fine but that the coolant exiting the product condenser is still cool enough to cause the needed condensation in the reflux condenser (meaning it conserves coolant water waste and is also easier to plumb).
fafrd
Bootlegger
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby fafrd » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:30 pm

I've reread the thread on VM, CM, and LM stills and have a question about VM stills that is also related to CCVM stills so I thought I'd ask it here.

Once the VM valve is opened (or the reflux condenser is raised in the case of CCVM), what is the relative impact on flavor between a pot-still and a VM-reflux still?

With a pot-still, 100% of vapor goes to the product condenser, while with a VM Reflux still, ~50% of vapor goes to the product condenser while the other ~50% will continue to reach the reflux condenser and return to the boiler.

What will the impact of this continued ~50% reflux be on flavor (ie: distilling brandy)?

Are there any VM still designs that have the ability to direct more/most of the vapor to the product condenser? A baffle, for example, could allow ~90% of vapors to be directed towards the product condenser while only ~10% leak past the baffle to reach the reflux condenser where they will condense and return to the boiler.

Is there a reason why this idea will not work or is stupid?

I'm intrigued by VM and CCVM because of the ability to have more concentrated foreshots and sharper cuts between foreshots and tails and tails and hearts. I'm also attracted by the flavor benefits of a pot still. So I am thinking about whether there is any advantage and any way to make a VM still that operates in reflux still mode through tails and can then be switched to 'pot-still-like' mode through hearts (for pot-still-like flavor).

If a CCVM still will already achieve this and the ~50% reflux that continues after the RC is raised will deliver pot-still-like flavor, that's all the answer I need.

If the flavor will be impacted / lessened by the continued reflux, I'm interested in any ideas / still designs that provide a more full transition between reflux mode and pot-still-mode.
fafrd
Bootlegger
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby tonofsteel » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:20 pm

fafrd wrote:I've reread the thread on VM, CM, and LM stills and have a question about VM stills that is also related to CCVM stills so I thought I'd ask it here.

Once the VM valve is opened (or the reflux condenser is raised in the case of CCVM), what is the relative impact on flavor between a pot-still and a VM-reflux still?

With a pot-still, 100% of vapor goes to the product condenser, while with a VM Reflux still, ~50% of vapor goes to the product condenser while the other ~50% will continue to reach the reflux condenser and return to the boiler.

What will the impact of this continued ~50% reflux be on flavor (ie: distilling brandy)?

Are there any VM still designs that have the ability to direct more/most of the vapor to the product condenser? A baffle, for example, could allow ~90% of vapors to be directed towards the product condenser while only ~10% leak past the baffle to reach the reflux condenser where they will condense and return to the boiler.

Is there a reason why this idea will not work or is stupid?

I'm intrigued by VM and CCVM because of the ability to have more concentrated foreshots and sharper cuts between foreshots and tails and tails and hearts. I'm also attracted by the flavor benefits of a pot still. So I am thinking about whether there is any advantage and any way to make a VM still that operates in reflux still mode through tails and can then be switched to 'pot-still-like' mode through hearts (for pot-still-like flavor).

If a CCVM still will already achieve this and the ~50% reflux that continues after the RC is raised will deliver pot-still-like flavor, that's all the answer I need.

If the flavor will be impacted / lessened by the continued reflux, I'm interested in any ideas / still designs that provide a more full transition between reflux mode and pot-still-mode.


Not sure if I am 100% correct here (basing most of this on reading till my eyes bleed) but I will take a stab at pointing you in the right direction:

The first thing to read about is the boiling temperature properties of a wash. There are many different liquids in it with the most known being ethanol and water, but there are others. When these are mixed together it changes the boiling point of the liquid as a whole. So in a pure ethanol and water mixture the boiling point will be between the boiling point of water and boiling point of ethanol. There are charts out there that show the boiling temperature of the liquid vs the resulting %ABV of the vapor. I have run across quite a bit explaining this but it is spread around a bit. Just remember there is more than just ethanol and water in there, and it gets more complex because of it.

With a pot still you have no control over the boiling temp and as the temperature rises the liquid boils/vaporizes favoring the lowest boiling point substance. It favors it but it is still a mix of all substances in the still. Once this mix is vaporized it goes on to the condenser and is collected. There is a nice pot still run diagram somewhere on here that shows how the run progresses from heads to hearts to tails with the smearing between the different areas. So you choose cuts based on your tolerance of heads/tails in the hearts. This is where the flavor comes from, the included heads/tails which contain substances that impart a flavor to the spirit.

With reflux you are "sorting" the vapor in the column. So with 100% reflux no product is going to the product condenser (all knocked down by reflux condenser) which is why you run in full reflux for a half hour to hour before condensing any product. What happens is you sort the vapors in the column from the most volatile at the top with layers of less volatile below it. (the substances/liquids and their temperatures are on the parent site I believe in a nice chart with a good detailed description of what I am briefly outlining) Instead of condensing product into a jar the reflux condenser knocks down the vapor and creates a temperature gradient in the column so the top is coolest and at the bottom the liquid is at boiling temperature in the boiler (which depends on what substances are in the boiler). It takes time for this sorting to happen.

Where I get confused from your post (and I am still learning here as well) is when you say reflux is 50%. It does not have to be 50% and you actually choose this by the amount of product you are sending to the condenser. In order to know what your reflux is you need to know what your 0% reflux take off rate is which is based on your heater power. This is potentially related to your reflux condenser since you can only run as much power as your reflux condenser can knock down.

If you are aiming for neutral spirit and you run the reflux as such you will run 100% reflux for a time and then slowly draw off vapor to the product condenser. There is theory and explanations for this as well all over the place here but you want to maintain the equilibrium in the column so the sorting process can keep up with your product condensing. The heads will be "compressed" since you are encouraging with reflux for the heavier ethanol to stay below the lighter heads components (flavor). Once the heads are gone you could be approaching the azeotrope of water and ethanol with is 95.63% by mass. This leaves very little flavor. This is also tied into how high your column is vs diameter and how much your reflux rate needs to be in order to maintain proper sorting in order to keep the product azeotrope (or very near it). Of course also related to column diameter vs height vs heat power vs reflux capacity vs reflux rate you can achieve at a takeoff rate you can work with.

Maybe you already know all of this but the answer to your question is in there. Pot still you have very little reflux (near 0) and lots of flavor (from the heads/tails smearing). For reflux you choose what % you want to run at and this either gives you neutral or something in between pot and reflux.

If you are running max reflux it is hard to pick your flavors out of the cut jars since the head components are tightly packed together so they will all end up in a very narrow range of jars with little differentiation between them. With a pot still this happens more gradually (smearing) so you can pick out potential desirable flavors.

In one of the early posts in this thread I think it was discussed how low you put the reflux condensor will determine how much reflux and how much product you condense. All the way in, 100% reflux, all the way out to the top of the condenser arm output 0%.

So it can be a pot still or a reflux still or anything in between. As far as how to run and get the flavor you want that is going to be some experimentation. If you are looking for more flavor then reduce the reflux, if less than increase it.

That is the basic structure as I understand it, so hopefully not too far off the mark. Should cover the basics and give you fodder for the google cannon if you want to dig deeper. It has been explained well albeit scattered in many different places which I think is where the read till your eyes bleed comes in. I was going to link to the pertinent sections but I have thousands of bookmarks literally and would just take ages to track it all down.
tonofsteel
Novice
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby fafrd » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:19 pm

Thanks for the post. Comments and follow-on questions below:

tonofsteel wrote:
Not sure if I am 100% correct here (basing most of this on reading till my eyes bleed) but I will take a stab at pointing you in the right direction:

The first thing to read about is the boiling temperature properties of a wash. There are many different liquids in it with the most known being ethanol and water, but there are others. When these are mixed together it changes the boiling point of the liquid as a whole. So in a pure ethanol and water mixture the boiling point will be between the boiling point of water and boiling point of ethanol. There are charts out there that show the boiling temperature of the liquid vs the resulting %ABV of the vapor. I have run across quite a bit explaining this but it is spread around a bit. Just remember there is more than just ethanol and water in there, and it gets more complex because of it.


Yes, I've seen those charts and think I understand all of those principles as far all of the various compounds and the tiered-equilibrium eventually settled-into under 100% reflux.

tonofsteel wrote:With a pot still you have no control over the boiling temp and as the temperature rises the liquid boils/vaporizes favoring the lowest boiling point substance. It favors it but it is still a mix of all substances in the still. Once this mix is vaporized it goes on to the condenser and is collected. There is a nice pot still run diagram somewhere on here that shows how the run progresses from heads to hearts to tails with the smearing between the different areas. So you choose cuts based on your tolerance of heads/tails in the hearts. This is where the flavor comes from, the included heads/tails which contain substances that impart a flavor to the spirit.


This is the part I'm still fuzzy on - where the 'flavoring" compounds come into it and whether they are uniformly distributed over the entire run or concentrated in the heads & tails (as you've indicated). I'll go try to find threads that say more about these flavoring compounds and how they fit into the scheme of things, but if the flavor is concentrated in the heads and tails, my only interest in reflux distilling may be limited to the sharper and more concentrated cuts with foreshots (and I'm not sure that's even worth the trouble).

tonofsteel wrote:With reflux you are "sorting" the vapor in the column. So with 100% reflux no product is going to the condenser which is why you run in full reflux for a half hour to hour before condensing anything. What happens is you sort the vapors in the column from the most volatile at the top with layers of less volatile below it. (the substances/liquids and their temperatures are on the parent site I believe in a nice chart with a good detailed description of what I am briefly outlining) Instead of condensing into a jar the reflux condenser knocks down the vapor and creates a temperature gradient in the column so the top is coolest and at the bottom the liquid is at boiling temperature in the boiler (which depends on what substances are in the boiler). It takes time for this sorting to happen.

Yes, I think I understand the essentials.

tonofsteel wrote:Where I get confused from your post (and I am still learning here as well) is [b{when you say reflux is 50%.[/b] It does not have to be 50% and you actually choose this by the amount of product you are sending to the condenser. In order to know what your reflux is you need to know what your 0% reflux take off rate is which is based on your heater power. This is potentially related to your reflux condenser since you can only run as much power as your reflux condenser can knock down.

We may be the blind leading the blind, but my rudimentary understanding is that when the reflux condenser is raised all the way above the product (vm) port to allow 100% vm port access, the % reflux will not be 0% but will depend on the ratio of column cross-section to vm port cross-section (among other things including obstruction % presented by reflux coil itself, back pressure, vacuum caused by condensation in the product condenser, etc...). Ignoring those second-order nuances, if the vm port is equal size as the column (2" and 2", for example), full vm port access will result in half the vapors entering the vm port to be condensed into product and half the vapors will continue up the column to reach the reflux condenser where they will be condensed back into the boiler - so 50% reflux which is what I was referring to.

I get that the reflux condenser must have enough power to fully condense all of the vapors that reach it (all the vapors being evaporated within the BK in the case of 100% reflux). What I don't understand is how reflux can be reduced close to 0% (like a pot-still) without a baffle or some kind of gate/valve to cut off all flow of vapor to the reflux coil.

tonofsteel wrote:If you are aiming for neutral spirit and you run the reflux as such you will run 100% reflux for a time and then slowly draw off product to the condenser. There is theory and explanations for this as well all over the place here but you want to maintain the equilibrium in the column so the sorting process can keep up with your product condensing. The heads will be "compressed" since you are encouraging with reflux for the heavier ethanol to stay below the lighter heads components (flavor). Once the heads are gone you could be approaching the azeotrope of water and ethanol with is 95.63% by mass. This leaves very little flavor. This is also tied into how high your column is vs diameter and how much your reflux rate needs to be in order to maintain proper sorting in order to keep the product azeotrope (or very near it). Of course also related to column diameter vs height vs heat power vs reflux capacity vs reflux rate you can achieve at a takeoff rate you can work with.

I'm not interested in neutral spirits (at least not mow ;) and while I understand the basics of azeotrope, achieving that and distilling 95.63% ethanol by mass are not nearly as interesting to me as knowing whether operating a CCVM still can result in a superior flavored spirit (brandy), for example by allowing a more concentrated forshots cut before swiching to 'pot-still' mode for the remainder of the run.

tonofsteel wrote:Maybe you already know all of this but the answer to your question is in there. Pot still you have very little reflux (near 0) and lots of flavor (from the heads/tails smearing). For reflux you choose what % you want to run at and this either gives you neutral or something in between pot and reflux.

If you are running max reflux it is hard to pick your flavors out of the cut jars since the head components are tightly packed together so they will all end up in a very narrow range of jars with little differentiation between them. With a pot still this happens more gradually (smearing) so you can pick out potential desirable flavors.

In one of the early posts in this thread I think it was discussed how low you put the reflux condensor will determine how much reflux and how much product you condense. All the way in, 100% reflux, all the way out to the top of the condenser arm output 0%.

So it can be a pot still or a reflux still or anything in between. As far as how to run and get the flavor you want that is going to be some experimentation. If you are looking for more flavor then reduce the reflux, if less than increase it.

That is the basic structure as I understand it, so hopefully not too far off the mark. Should cover the basics and give you fodder for the google cannon if you want to dig deeper. It has been explained well albeit scattered in many different places which I think is where the read till your eyes bleed comes in. I was going to link to the pertinent sections but I have thousands of bookmarks literally and would just take ages to track it all down.


If you want maximum smearing to have maximum capture and control of flavoring elements, then I may just be a pot-still kind of distiller and leave it at that.

If there may be some advantage to operating a CCVM in reflux mode through foreshots I may be motivated to build a CCVM and give it a try just for that. And if there is an easy way to convert a CCVM to pot-still mode partway through a run (ie: after foreshots), I'm not understanding how (without a baffle / cutoff-valve of some kind).

Appreciate yoyr effort to help and any pointers to where you learned about flavoring compounds would be appreciated.

Let's hope one of the pros with more hands-on experience operating a CCVM still than either of us can weigh-in to clarify these two points...
fafrd
Bootlegger
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby tonofsteel » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:59 pm

fafrd wrote:We may be the blind leading the blind, but my rudimentary understanding is that when the reflux condenser is raised all the way above the product (vm) port to allow 100% vm port access, the % reflux will not be 0% but will depend on the ratio of column cross-section to vm port cross-section (among other things including obstruction % presented by reflux coil itself, back pressure, vacuum caused by condensation in the product condenser, etc...). Ignoring those second-order nuances, if the vm port is equal size as the column (2" and 2", for example), full vm port access will result in half the vapors entering the vm port to be condensed into product and half the vapors will continue up the column to reach the reflux condenser where they will be condensed back into the boiler - so 50% reflux which is what I was referring to.

I get that the reflux condenser must have enough power to fully condense all of the vapors that reach it (all the vapors being evaporated within the BK in the case of 100% reflux). What I don't understand is how reflux can be reduced close to 0% (like a pot-still) without a baffle or some kind of gate/valve to cut off all flow of vapor to the reflux coil.

Let's hope one of the pros with more hands-on experience operating a CCVM still than either of us can weigh-in to clarify these two points...


Ah, well good point there! I thought you could get 0% raising up the reflux condenser but what you say sounds plausible for sure. I see now where you are getting 50% from and I was mistakenly assuming that raising it high enough was pot still mode, but it is not. Now I understand your gate/valve comment too.

Yea good questions and I hope someone can offer some clarity. I always looked at it as stripping run with pot then either pot for flavor or reflux for neutral. The in between stuff and nuances with it are more muddy waters from what I can see.
tonofsteel
Novice
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Condenser Controlled Columns

Postby Manc » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:07 am

fafhd wrote

Got it, thanks. My takeaway (from your post as well as those of kimbodius and Manc are that parallel cooling will work fine but that the coolant exiting the product condenser is still cool enough to cause the needed condensation in the reflux condenser (meaning it conserves coolant water waste and is also easier to plumb).

Hi fafhd I've found that the reflux condenser works better if I have the coolant input at the bottom exiting the top. I've tried the other way which it should be cooler water furthest from the packing but it doesn't seem to be as efficient as air gets trapped even if you lift exit pipe above the level of the reflux condenser

Hope that makes sense

Lee
Manc
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:33 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Research and Theory



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest