Lets test

Distillation methods and improvements.

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Oaty
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Re: Lets test

Post by Oaty » Sat May 03, 2008 3:19 am

I've used a handful of raschig rings that I had left over. Works great less rattle than other things, but ya have a tendancy to pour them down the drain when yar done and sippin the days run.
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Re: Lets test

Post by surfdawg » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:43 am

I was cleaning my ss keg Yesterday, prepping for a stripping run this week, and I found 2 Hot Wheels cars in it. I guess my 3 year old was adding to my 90 degree elbows I usually run in it.
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Re: Lets test

Post by vajravarahi » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:48 am

I've taken to using a couple small river rocks at the bottom of the pot.

For the folks with SS kegs, seems like that'd be thick enough that you could rough up the bottom with the coarsest sandpaper you could find. That might rough up the surface to smooth out the boiling wouldn't it?

Enlikil
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Re: Lets test

Post by Enlikil » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:39 am

I don't use anything in mine. I need to get my boiler cleaned out asap so it doesn't stink up the place and the last thing i want is trying to find some marbles or copper rings. in my dump. .Especially if they are hot :)

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Re: Lets test

Post by grizzly1 » Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:49 am

I use them and feel that it helps, I just hate fishing them out after.

Even if there were no scientific support for it, I would still do it because I feel it works and it give me that confidence.

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Re: Lets test

Post by StabbyJoe » Sat Aug 09, 2008 6:19 pm

Sandpaper thing is really smart - but would it make cleaning hard? I know that one of the many, many reasons people don't use aluminum pots is because it has lots of little spots for bacteria to breed... would the sandpaper do that to the keg?

It would definitely be good for providing nucleation sites that are evenly distributed across the bottom of the pot of roughly equal size though, which is ideal from what i gather.

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Re: Lets test

Post by Dnderhead » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:30 pm

Stabby it would give a good place for it to start to burn as any rough place does if you are running on grain or turb

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Re: Lets test

Post by StabbyJoe » Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:48 pm

Knew there would be a reason people didn't do it :lol:
Fair enough.

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Re: Lets test

Post by Dr_T » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:30 pm

When I'm running my pot still, I don't add anything for nucleation, usually.

When I'm fractionating, I like a smooth boil, so I toss in some Perlite. Cheap, easy to find, small enough to go down the sink when you're done.
(Get the kind without plant food in it, if you are opposed to plant food.)

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Re: Lets test

Post by chefdaniel » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:31 am

Stainless Steel Stock Pot Boiler. Induction Cooker. 1/2" Copper End Caps.
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Re: Lets test

Post by pro65 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:25 pm

I use a SS 15 US GAL. beer keg for my cooker, All of my wash is strained before I run it. I syphon it out of the fermenter into another one and let it set for a couple of days then I put my straining basket on top of my keg and put a few layers of cheese cloth in the basket and then i syphon it from the second fermenter through the cheese cloth and strainer into the still.

Then I bolt down my column and light my fish cooker up and make my run comes out clear as water but I need to learn more about making the cuts.

So do I need to add copper couplings,elbows or Ts to mine. Its not like I don't have any , my dad was in the building industry and I have several pallets of all sorts of copper items still new in the plastic bags and cardboard boxes. 50 yrs worth.
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Re: Lets test

Post by Mr.Spooky » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:39 pm

same thing happens to me that punkin said. seems like you can hear the copper pieces turn over, then 170pr comes spraying out. this has only hapened once though. all the other times they worked fine. i think ill beat em flat just to see what happens
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Re: Lets test

Post by scarecrow » Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:47 am

I run a pot still and thumper.

I put about 20 marbles in the boiler.

Without the marbles the boil is more violent at a given temperature. :shock:
With the marbles, it evens out more, without that odd "Baloosh" that happens without the marbles. :D

Also, it gives me an indication of how it's going. I actually like the clank, clank, clank noise. :)

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bndfishing
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Re: Lets test

Post by bndfishing » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:57 pm

What effect does this have if you are using water heater elements in a keg, think it would short the elements or damage it?

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Re: Lets test

Post by rad14701 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:01 am

bndfishing wrote:What effect does this have if you are using water heater elements in a keg, think it would short the elements or damage it?
Does an electric water heater short out...??? Nope... As long as the element(s) remain adequately covered with wash there is little chance of an element failure, especially when you consider that many of us use a controller so our elements spend little time receiving the 100% line voltage that they receive in a water heater...

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Re: Lets test

Post by HookLine » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:02 pm

bndfishing wrote:What effect does this have if you are using water heater elements in a keg, think it would short the elements or damage it?
Get an Incaloy coated element, they are much tougher and loner lasting than tin coated or plain copper elements.
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Re: Lets test

Post by jsanders » Thu Oct 27, 2011 2:56 pm

I use a chunk of stainless chain I got with my still. I use a keg as a boiler. I think it runs smoother, more consistant, with the chain. I've got to run a couple of runs soon so I'll do 1 with and 1 w/o. and pay attention.

Paying attention is the hard part for me!

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Re: Lets test

Post by LabGeek » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:45 am

Hi, there is definatly scientific reasoning for this working!

The copper bits will provide nucleation points for the boiling liquids, if the apparatus were all see through, you would see large air bubble created around the boiling chips with every ping, and a sudden volume of alcohol vapour being pushed down the condenser.

A magnetic stirrer is the laboratory alternative, all the benefits of boiling chips, with none of the pinging.

Just as long as the stirrer is allways turned on, turning it on when the mixture is allready hot can cause a flash boiling that is frightening to behold, dirtys the condenser, and the run.

If one isnt using boiling chips or stirrers, one can easily get a run away reaction.

Ive seen it happen where 2 layers appeared in the flask, of differing temperatures and compisitions. At this point it is vital not to stir, or to jiggle the mixture, or an entirely not funny explosion can occour!

And that aint pretty believe me!!!

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Re: Lets test

Post by Zeig » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:35 am

Correct me if I'm wrong but throwing in copper or any material into your wash will make it boil faster. The the whole purpose of boiling stones, increased surface area for bubbles to form on.
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Re: Lets test

Post by Condensifier » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:45 am

Boiling chips will make the wash boil more calmly with less splashing.

Mazriam
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Re: Lets test

Post by Mazriam » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:30 am

I have an 8 gallon milk can boiler, fitted with a water heater element. reflux column. I don't throw anything into my boiler, and everything works out fine.

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Re: Lets test

Post by hexed » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:52 pm

The water heater element probably provides nucleation points for the bubbles to form on.

The issue is when the inside of the keg/pot/vessel is completely smooth. On smooth surfaces, bubbles have an extremely hard time forming. Sometimes in the correct conditions, bubbles will not form and the liquid will become superheated. This is a very dangerous situation, especially when using other solvents or liquids besides water.

My SS pot has tiny grooves that span the entire inside of the pot which provide uniform boiling without issue.

Boiling chips will work, and magnetic stirrers as well. These are mostly used when the vessel is glass though, as glass is always going to be smooth.

If your pot is smooth and you are using SS or copper, then take a steel scrubber and rough up the bottom and sides of the pot. You can even take a screwdriver and make long scratches in the inside of the pot. These scratches will provide nucleation points for the bubbles to form on.

I know this thread is old, I just though this may help someone in the future reading this post.

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Hellnoh2o
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Re: Lets test

Post by Hellnoh2o » Sun Jul 26, 2015 5:54 pm

i will be doing a run in the next couple weeks, ill try this little experiment
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Re: Lets test

Post by Hellnoh2o » Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:44 pm

think Ill add some of these SS pieces out of a dehydration tower
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Kareltje
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Re: Lets test

Post by Kareltje » Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:33 am

Long ago during lab training I was told to use small stones or the like to make cooking more regular. When I first started distilling I put some copper cents and/or copper spirals in the kettle. They make a nice tinkling sound when the mash is boiling and I judge the process also by the sound of it.

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Kareltje
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Re: Lets test

Post by Kareltje » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:23 am

I now must add: that was in my kettle with a flat bottom. I now use a kettle with a round bottom and the sound is very irregular and sometimes even stops. Which means the sound gives me no reliable information anymore.
Whether these boiling coppers do influence the boiling itself, I can not know, as the kettle is not transparent.

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Re: Lets test

Post by still_stirrin » Mon May 02, 2016 7:26 pm

Old thread.

But since you revived it....unless the pennies you use are old (40 years or moe), they aren't pure copper. So, it is not advisable to use them as boiling stones.

Instead, cut off some small chunks/slices from some 1/4" OD copper tubing. It won't break the bank, it is good clean copper and the small pieces make excellent nucleation points for the boil.
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Kareltje
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Re: Lets test

Post by Kareltje » Wed May 11, 2016 4:11 pm

still_stirrin wrote:Old thread.

But since you revived it....unless the pennies you use are old (40 years or moe), they aren't pure copper. So, it is not advisable to use them as boiling stones.

Instead, cut off some small chunks/slices from some 1/4" OD copper tubing. It won't break the bank, it is good clean copper and the small pieces make excellent nucleation points for the boil.
ss
I used some copper cents and some copper spirals or very small copper tubes. This to add copper to my iron still. Both for the taste and as boiling stones.
And recently I added some iron or galvanised nuts and pieces. For I started to doubt the effect of copper pieces in a iron still.
Now I have a copper still, so I do not need boiling parts of copper any more.

But what I was saying: my former still had a flat bottom and a steady sound. My new still has a round bottom and an irregular sound.
The steady tinkling on a flat bottom provided information, but the irregular sounds of my new still mean nothing to me.

by the way: You are familiar with the making of your pennies. Can you telle me more about it? (Off topic!!)
And why is it not advisable to have non-copper boiling stones?

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still_stirrin
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Re: Lets test

Post by still_stirrin » Wed May 11, 2016 5:40 pm

Kareltje wrote:...recently I added some iron or galvanised nuts and pieces. For I started to doubt the effect of copper pieces in a iron still...Now I have a copper still, so I do not need boiling parts of copper any more...
Carbon steel will rust and galvanized steel is zinc coated. In the presence of hot alcohol, zinc will become toxic...so it is NOT approved for use in a still.
Kareltje wrote:...You are familiar with the making of your pennies. Can you telle me more about it?...And why is it not advisable to have non-copper boiling stones?
Well, the composition of US pennies (since 1982) contains 97% zinc with only 3% copper plating. Here's a link which discusses the history: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_(United_States_coin" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow)

But again, the reason NOT to use pennies is the zinc which reacts with the hot alcohols. The only approved metals for use in an alcohol still are copper (the real thing, not simply copper plated) and stainless steel.

As there are many alloys of SS, the preferred series are the 300-series stainless steel, in part because they can be welded. The industry standard for most breweries, distillaries, and dairies is the 304 stainless.
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Re: Lets test

Post by cob » Wed May 11, 2016 7:37 pm

the composition of US pennies 1982 and prior still had 5% zinc 95% copper, still not a good idea.
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