Activated carbon filter failure

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user_corrupt
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Activated carbon filter failure

Post by user_corrupt » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:33 am

Ok, so I set up a big stainless steel tube 3/4 full with stone activated carbon, and secured two layers of coffee filters at the bottom...

I've waited hours, and though my coffee filters are wet to the touch, nothing is dripping out into the funnel!

What have I done wrong, and what do I do now?

junkyard dawg
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by junkyard dawg » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:03 pm

pour more in the top....
this is the internet

stillin
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by stillin » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:01 pm

Use the recipes in the tried n true section, learn how to make proper cuts and you won't have to worry about carbon filtering! Just my 2cents.
"If your gonna be stupid, you better be tough"--My dad

Dnderhead
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by Dnderhead » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:44 pm

just what you filtering? sounds as if it plugged the filter.straight white whisky should not do that.

dis-still-in
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by dis-still-in » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:22 pm

I too use a SS carbon 'snake' to polish my neutral (even though I pull off the NGS at 95-4%ABV; I may end up not doing this step in the future but for now I am continuing it...). I initially used coffee filters as well and encountered the same problem. The flow rate out of the snake was as close to zero as possible... If you continue with the SS tube, two suggestions: First, 'clean' the activated carbon prior to polishing the spirit. This involves soaking it in hot H2O until the carbon settles out, pouring off the H20, a second soak until the carbon settles, remove the H20, then a final soak overnight, remove H20. This will remove the carbon dust and negate the need for a coffee filter. Leading to Second, buy/fabricate a mesh screen to put on the bottom of the SS tube. The combo of the two allowed me to achieve a more than acceptable flow rate out of the SS tube. You can purchase a ready made mesh screen for a SS tube if you are using tri clamp fittings...I'm sure there are many other options as well...

I used to just drop the carbon in my carboy and agitate it every time I walked by for a few days, but this didn't seem to achieve the contact time/contact area to make it worth while (if indeed, carbon polishing is ever worthwhile if recipe/cuts are done correctly)...

msandi
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by msandi » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:41 am

Did you preload the filter with warm water before you added your alcohol?

dis-still-in
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by dis-still-in » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:47 am

msandi wrote:Did you preload the filter with warm water before you added your alcohol?
Once I 'charge' the carbon snake (3ft Stainless Steel tube), I always run some water through prior to running the neutral spirits until it runs clean. After triple soaking the carbon, it usually runs clear with less than a gallon of water.

CuWhistle
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by CuWhistle » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:20 am

I got absolutely smashed by the gurus on this site once before for saying this, but I'll put a target on once again since I have again forgotten the authors name. There is a very good explanatory set of notes about Carbon Filtering written by "some dutch guy". No doubt there will be someone here anxious to hit me over the head for my ignorance once again.

Once somebody else gives you the name, download it and read it. Follow the instructions regarding pre-cooking your carbon and pay attention to the details about preventing airlocks and avoiding surface flow, etc etc. It ain't as simple as just loading up a tube with charcoal and fill her up.

Done properly it will remove the nasty flavours from even shitty Turbo's. I did this on my very first distillation run (YES, a Turbo since many of us make the same early mistake) and I was very impressed with the results. Turned it from undrinkable shit into undrinkable piss. No, actually it did a pretty good job and the end product was far improved but still pretty ordinary.

I then hit a rapid learning curve by finding this site. I did what is recommended here and ditched the Turbo, went over to Tried and True recipes, and then put the Copper fabricated Carbon Filter away and haven't used it for alcohol since. I now look at it every now and then as a waste of time and money but I like the way it looks and I have produced some pretty good filtered water with it.

F6Hawk
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by F6Hawk » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:50 am

I used activated charcoal and carbon filtration on my fish aquariums once upon a time. And I know JD does it, but I have yet to see the need for it in the little output I have made.

Schmicter
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by Schmicter » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:43 am

Carbon soaked with water will not interface with ethanol very efficiently.

CuWhistle
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by CuWhistle » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:23 pm

Schmicter wrote:Carbon soaked with water will not interface with ethanol very efficiently.
My apology to the Swedish fellow (not Dutch) Gert Strand. http://homedistiller.org/activated_book1.pdf If you want to understand Activated Carbon, read this.

This excellent set of explanatory notes I refer to above, instructs the user how to prepare the activated carbon before loading the column. This is to ensure that the flow of liquid is possible through all of the macro, meso and micro pores in the carbon.

He then instructs to the pre-loading of the column with water followed by the distillate, again to ensure that the distillate is able to fully penetrate and come into contact with the greatest possible surface area.

When I followed his instructions to the letter, there was clear delineation between the water and the spirit at the take-off valve and the difference in taste quality between the pre and post filtered product was significant.

It is important to use the correct grade of activated carbon, available from home-brew suppliers, not aquarium centres. Fish tank carbon is not suitable to this application.

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sambedded
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Re: Activated carbon filter failure

Post by sambedded » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:35 pm

Don't use a coffe filter to secure carbon. Use a SS strainer or SS scrubber instead.

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