Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Distillation methods and improvements.

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MashMan

Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by MashMan » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:45 pm

Barney Fife wrote:Wait a minute... everything you ran it it were feints? No washes? Yet another variable... Not sure how much more heads/tails/oils/crap you can expect to squeeze from a charge that's already been stripped of most of them.
Barney I can clearly see your enthusiasm and passion in regards to what you do, have done or are about to do. But you have absolutely zero ability to read someone elses posts and be able to take in what they have to say, you then go off half cocked with some wild idea about feints or whatever, when that has not even been mentioned. maybe you should slow up a little bit you might learn something.

I encourage you to go back and have a look at what I had to say.

MM.

Barney Fife
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:26 pm

Yup, you're right; I got it the first time, then for whatever reason thought I read it wrong and came back to post it, without re-reading your post.

I don't go over and over the posts; I do read them in their entirety, but only once. I do sincerely wish you luck with your next build, and hope you keep us posted; I believe you're seeking a higher level than I am, and hope you get there and take everyone along for the ride with you and keep sharing your results. I was simply after an improved, yet still simple pot still, to replicate a thumper without actually having a thumper; by all my expectations, this column of mine has surpassed everything I hoped it would do, already, but it's still a simple pot still, and it'll only do so much, and I will only modify it minimally from here. I suspect once I have a controller to completely separate and collect the fores and heads, I'm done refining this one. 2+ quarts of product and only one, maybe, quart of tails/feints from a low ABV rum wash, in one run, makes this amateur 'stiller quite content, and still rather excited. I'll never apologize for sharing this simple contraption, no matter how disappointed you are with yours.

Maybe the tax man will be nice and I'll be able to afford some 2" copper and join you and OldDog on the newer builds and help take those ones further. April might bring more than spring flowers ;)

squidd
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by squidd » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:54 pm

Hi Barney,

If you were to build your Barney Column again from scratch what, if anything, would you do differently?

Thanks,

squidd

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:31 pm

Since it does more than I expected it would, I can't think of anything I would change. It's simple to build, simple to run, disassembles easily and quickly for cleaning/storage, and gives me what I was after. I think, as MashMan has seen, there's only so much it can do; to get higher ABV, we'll have to go to bubble plates, but I'm not sure that I want higher ABV now. I used to think I needed higher ABV to get a cleaner product, but what I'm getting now is incredibly clean all the way down to 50%, and when all blended together, my hearts average around 64%, which is right fine for aging right there. I think OldDog's evil twins head is great, and I should be able to run at a higher power for a faster run with it than mine, so it's still something I want to try if I can get my finances in shape(no small task).

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Husker » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:35 pm

squidd wrote:Hi Barney,

If you were to build your Barney Column again from scratch what, if anything, would you do differently?

Thanks,

squidd
Paint it purple

H.

PS, (sorry, I could not help myself, :ewink: :ewink: ).
Hillbilly Rebel: Unless you are one of the people on this site who are legalling distilling, keep a low profile, don't tell, don't sell.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by squidd » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:56 pm

Thank you Barney.

squidd

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:31 pm

Husk, wrong Barney! I'm rather much more pale ;)

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by HookLine » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:26 am

Buff Barney

http://www.freakingnews.com/pictures/90 ... --9306.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Husker » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:14 am

Barney Fife wrote:Husk, wrong Barney! I'm rather much more pale ;)
Hmm, my bad I guess. Hell, the way he dances wobbles, and sings all the time, I figgerd, he was just a wasted shiner, lol

H.
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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Barney Fife » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:20 am

Time for an update....

First, I've found the source of the blue, oily distillate I was collecting all winter, via the upper plate takeoff. It's that nasty feed molasses! Whatever's in that shit was causing it, and even though I ran a few other washes in it during the rum runs and saw the same blue-ish crap(thus thinking the feed molasses wasn't the cause), it must have been enough of the feed's stuff left in there, maybe in the packing, to cause it. Now that I'm done with that shit, the plate collection is much clearer, and doesn't turn to a slight blue-green until deep tails. And while it's slightly oily, still, no where near like it was. I dumped out the jars of the blue stuff I'd saved up(4 quarts), and had to toss the jars, too, as they were coated with a slimy blue gunk. None of the rum I made in this time is anything but crystal clear and doesn't go cloudy when diluted with water, so I'm pretty sure the slant plate column and collecting the upper plate's distillate saved me from drinking some of that crap, but I'm going to run all of what I made(several gallons) back through as a neutral, later, just to be safe. Doesn't taste that good anyhow, but a small run of it as a neutral a couple weeks ago showed the flavor can be completely stripped, and I'd rather not have a reminder of what a waste of time and money that feed 'lasses was.

Going forward! Back to making good rum, I'm again seeing 2 quarts of clean hearts in one run if I run the rig at 750 watts, after doing the heads collection dance with the power cord; yes, I still haven't built a controller, but maybe tomorrow. As it is, I have this down to a near science anyhow, so the controller will only make it simpler. Nothing changed here, and still happy with what I'm seeing, though I'm ready for an "enhancement" session ;)

Next run was adding a gallon of the winter's 'feed' rum hearts to the hot dunder in the boiler right after I was done with a "good rum" run, to see if I could lose the nasty flavor and induce the goodness of a fancy molasses wash to it, while cleaning it up some at the same time. First thing that had me scratching my head was that when the column temperature came up, I didn't get anything but maybe a drop every 4-5 seconds from the plate collection! WTF? So I tap on the valve with a wrench, make sure everything's open, etc.. Still doing the heads collection dance with the power cord, I slowly let the temps come up a bit more, and still, barely a drop here and there. After 15 minutes of this, I just plugged it in and let it go, and when the column hit 180-182, sure as clockwork, I begin to see a steady, thin stream from the liebig, but still only a drop every 4-5 seconds from the plate. And the column quickly rose to about 190, and stayed right there 'til near the end of the run, where it quickly climbed past 200. Then it hits me! I can't collect heads, because there aren't enough in the boiler to collect! These were very clean hearts I added to the boiler, and sure enough, we can't separate what's already been separated. if I had any doubts that the hearts I was collecting from this rig were as clean as my nose thought they were, now I am sure! But, other than showing that the separate heads collection does indeed work very well, this was a wasted effort because the nasty rum wasn't any better.

On the next run, I packed the bottom of the column, below all the plates, added my spiral condenser, and ran it as a BOK to make a neutral. Loaded 1-1/2 gals. of the nasty rum, diluted to around 30%, and cleaned that rum right up with a good bit of refluxing. Despite the short column and my lack of patience with high reflux runs(IE: I collect pretty quickly and don't reflux that much), I still collected the "neutral" hearts at 88% ABV, running a quart an hour(give or take). Not quite world-class neutral, but it'll be a good diluting neutral, I hope.

After this one, with a good rum ready to go, I left the packing in the column, yanked the spiral and reinstalled the liebig, and ran as usual, but this time I tried to push more power to see what would happen. Nothing happened. I did the heads dance as usual, then let 'er go at 3000 watts, my pot still power of choice. What surprised me was that I no longer was getting anything at all from the plate, where at 750 watts, even when in the hearts run, I would still see a steady drip, especially in the early hearts, but here, nothing. And sure enough, the first quart was head heavy. Sure enough; with too much power pushing the vapors, the plates do nothing at all. I had hoped the packing would have allowed me to run more power, but if anything, it hurt. So at this point, I just poured-on the power and did a strip run and collected it all. Right after the run, when I dismantled the column, when I tipped it over to drain the plates, nothing came out. Bone dry! The inside of the column was dry. I usually saw about a couple cups' worth of distillate that the plates were holding, but at the high power of this run, nothing, but nothing stayed in the plates! What I "learned" here is what I preached earlier, and that is that this setup is very sensitive to power input. Find the sweet spot, and it rewards me with good single-run rum, but miss the sweet spot, and it's nothing more than a glorified pot still, much like others have complained about here.

So, where to from here? Well, I want to run it with more power, to speed things along. As it is, it's still faster than doing strip runs followed by a spirit run, and it is cleaner than the spirit run in pot still mode(at 3000 watts). It's successful, and if you take the time to find the sweet spot with the power, it can be replicated, and is a nice, simple rig that does what I had hoped it would. But now I'm getting antsy to see what else we can do to get similar results but with quicker collection, no doubt fueled by OldDog and LW's recent builds :) Gonna keep my nose down and see if I can't score me some copper this summer.

enjoy!

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by docdave » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:16 am

OD, I was wondering if you put the 3 plates alternating about 6 inches apart you get the effect of bubble caps in a petroleum column, take advantage of different bp's in the volatiles by creating pooling of distillate at different heights in the column. OR should the plates be alternating or close together to create cascading pools of distillate. This has got me thinking in a thousand different directions.

DocDave

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Massassi » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:48 pm

this is a really interesting read. did anything ever come of the Barney Column? was it given up on? is it still in use?

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by hellbilly007 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:56 pm

Massassi, Barney fife hasn't logged on here in quite some time. I'm pretty sure he's inactive anymore

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Re: Simple, yet effective 2" plate column

Post by Massassi » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:53 am

yeah I thought so, but I wasn't sure if others were using it too.

I feel like I might try to make one up and see what it does and that the HETP equivalency is as well. I just need to see if I can scrounge up some copper

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