Long length of distill time

Other discussions for folks new to the wonderful craft of home distilling.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:50 pm

I am running a 13 gallon boiler and my distill times seem unusually long. I did a stripping run yesterday and it took just over 7 hours from start to finish. My column is ~24 tall, starts at 2" and reduces to 1.5" at the very top, I did this to use the liebeg condenser that came with my original 8 gallon boiler. I ran the temp up to ~180 and had a steady stream coming out, left it there and the temp increased as the % dropped in the wash, I collected about 2.5 gallons at ~120 proof. I assumed the run would take 2 to 3 hours once I was at temp, it was almost double that.

My spirit runs are also very long, up to this point I have done them "non-stripped". I will do my first tomorrow using 2 stripped runs. My reflux column is 54", starts at 2", then reduces to 1.5" for the last 10" for the same reason. I pack with copper mesh and use CM to control vapor temp and (2 cross fitted tubes in the very upper portion, 10" above the mesh), and achieve 186 proof (again this was on first runs, not stripped runs). BUT, it takes 10 to 12 hours including heat up time.

I use propane and regulate the heat based on the temperature gauge in the pot and monitor the temperature gauge at the top of the column (liebeg attaches just above).

Could the reduction of the column be the culprit in causing long distillation times? I am flirting with the idea of making a new 3" pot still column with it's own soldered in home made liebeg. If that works I may modify my 2" reflux column to remove the reduction also.

Thanks for any help/thoughts.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby fizzix » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:11 pm

My friend you have committed the sin of temperature control.
That thermometer is a decoration and a thing to watch while it dances around. No more.
Your wash is a mixture that will boil and provide vapor at whatever the hell temperature it wants.
Your job for an efficient distillation is to have a pencil-lead size stream coming out of the spout. Damn whatever temp where that happens.
You'll grow old distilling by temperature and be too weak to drink it.

Here's a good read: http://homedistiller.org/theory/theory
Let's cut your stilling time down!
..Making the devil's water since 2017... Never bash another distiller. Ever.
"And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown." -Dogs, Pink Floyd
User avatar
fizzix
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:08 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:23 pm

Thanks for the feedback fizzix. My stream was a "solid pencil lead" size during the duration of the run. I tested the % and it started around 140 proof and I stopped keeping it at 80 proof (turned cloudy, well into the tails during the stripping run). I might simply be impatient.

I do not have my copper column insulated, doing another stripping run tonight and I am going to add this insulation to see if it impacts. The area where I am working is around 60 degrees, I assume this could cause vapor to condense on the column and give a small reflux affect.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby fizzix » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:31 pm

Good glad to hear that. You kept saying TEMPERATURE and I had to jump your ass! :lol:
I insulated my column and got better purity, Didn't really knock down time.
Let's see what the veterans say. Keep on, pal!
..Making the devil's water since 2017... Never bash another distiller. Ever.
"And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown." -Dogs, Pink Floyd
User avatar
fizzix
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:08 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:39 pm

You are not the first in my life to jump my ass, lol. We all need one of them occasionally. ;)

I have done 8 or 9 runs without stripping with good results (186 proof - very clean). My problem is that all my friends and the guys that work for me love my vodka so much that I have a hard time keeping any for myself. So I decided to ferment twice, do stripping runs, then I will do my spirit run Sunday and should dilute down to 4 to 5 gallons.

I will keep on - stubborn that way. Ok veterans, what about column diameter? I know I have an acceptable length (don't ask my wife though ;) )for purity, is the diameter significantly affecting my vapor volume/speed?
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby seamusm53 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:36 pm

As to your last question, yes. A larger diameter columnn should allow faster distillation. But if you were just less generous.....
seamusm53
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:35 am

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby nuntius01 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:16 pm

i think your times are in line. i run a 4" column and a 15 gl pot and my time runs around 2-2.5 hours for a stripping run from the time i turn on my heat.
I'm just the bank and the mule

post your still pics here
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=66917
User avatar
nuntius01
Rumrunner
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:51 pm
Location: upper midwest

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby rgreen2002 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:19 pm

To your question on column diameter: Column Diameter Properties within Reflux Still's

Also.. since you pack your reflux column... here is some good info about HETP: HETP properties in Reflux Still's (Theoretical Plates)

Insulating your column will allow you to retain heat and theoretically decrease the amount of energy/heat lost in the system but as for reflux.... not so much. Especially not more than your packed CM still.

When you do your runs what specific type of still do you run? Is it a pot still to strip and a reflux to spirit?
HD Glossary - Open this
A little spoon feeding *For New & Novice Distillers - start here
BEST WAY TO GET ANSWERS FROM HOME DISTILLER
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
User avatar
rgreen2002
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1251
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Northeastern USA

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby ShineRunner » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:20 am

As for your stripping runs, you’ve gotten some good advice. Don’t run your pot by temperature. Crank up the heat and let it rip. As long as your Liebig can keep up, run it as hard as it can. There’s no advantage on a stripping run to running slow.

Your column being 2-1.5” is good but how big is your Liebig? That may be your limitation.

I run a keg with 2” all the way to the 2” shotgun and can easily strip 12 gallons-ish within 3-4 hours from cold wash to finish. That’s with running down until my low wines average about 30%.

Also, for flavored product, like whiskey or rum, I would recommend running lower than 40% (80 proof). You’re leaving a lot of alcohol and flavor in the tank if you stop there. Obviously, it’ll take longer, though..

SR
HD Google search: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=50259
ShineRunner
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:12 am

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:25 am

rgreen2002 wrote:To your question on column diameter: Column Diameter Properties within Reflux Still's

Also.. since you pack your reflux column... here is some good info about HETP: HETP properties in Reflux Still's (Theoretical Plates)

Insulating your column will allow you to retain heat and theoretically decrease the amount of energy/heat lost in the system but as for reflux.... not so much. Especially not more than your packed CM still.

When you do your runs what specific type of still do you run? Is it a pot still to strip and a reflux to spirit?



Yes, I do a pot still for strip and reflux for spirit. I read both of the links previously and picked up a bit from that, I believe it might be the size of the liebeg.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:29 am

ShineRunner wrote:As for your stripping runs, you’ve gotten some good advice. Don’t run your pot by temperature. Crank up the heat and let it rip. As long as your Liebig can keep up, run it as hard as it can. There’s no advantage on a stripping run to running slow.

Your column being 2-1.5” is good but how big is your Liebig? That may be your limitation.

I run a keg with 2” all the way to the 2” shotgun and can easily strip 12 gallons-ish within 3-4 hours from cold wash to finish. That’s with running down until my low wines average about 30%.

Also, for flavored product, like whiskey or rum, I would recommend running lower than 40% (80 proof). You’re leaving a lot of alcohol and flavor in the tank if you stop there. Obviously, it’ll take longer, though..

SR


Did my spirit run today, averaged just over 1 hour per 1/2 gallon at 184 proof and I believe you may be correct about the liebig. It is internally reduced less than the 1 3/4", I measured and it has a top (from the column) opening of 3/4". I am going to strip the reductions off and make my own Liebig 2", then reduce at the 45 down turn and see what happens.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby raketemensch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:58 am

You also haven’t mentioned what you’re putting into it for heat.

I personally don’t do stripping/spirit runs, but is the pencil lead-sized stream required for stripping? I was under the impression that for stripping you could just crank it as high as your product condenser can handle...
User avatar
raketemensch
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1859
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:10 pm
Location: Tralfamadore

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:10 am

raketemensch wrote:You also haven’t mentioned what you’re putting into it for heat.

I personally don’t do stripping/spirit runs, but is the pencil lead-sized stream required for stripping? I was under the impression that for stripping you could just crank it as high as your product condenser can handle...


For heat I am using a propane burner, for the stripping run I took the boiler temp to 190 and maintained there, then let it elevate naturally as it distilled.

Same for spirit runs, but I take the temp to 180 then control my vapor temp (measured inline just before the Liebig) with my CM (2 tubes through the top of the column with a needle valve for precise control of water flow).

After doing the s stripping then the spirit run I have almost come to the conclusion to not do stripping runs for spirits. My past spirit runs have been >182 proof and although they take more "tending", the time differential is not that great.

And the pencil sized stream was for the stripping runs. For spirit I get a broken drip/stream.
Last edited by bbbark on Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby zapata » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:00 pm

Youre doing it wrong.
Stop thinking about temperature and think about energy. A pot of water boiling on a nuclear reactor is the same temperature as a pot of boiling water boiling over a candle. The rate it is boiled off at is based on power input, not temperature.

There is nothing wrong with your still for stripping, you are just trying to drive it with the brake pedal instead of the accelerator.

For stripping runs don't bother using your CM tubes and just crank as much flame to the pot as your condenser can handle.

Of course some people like single runs with a reflux still, so that is a personal call. I used to make flavored spirits in a reflux still, but find double pot still runs to be faster and more productive and more repeatable in flavor.
zapata
Rumrunner
 
Posts: 623
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby Antler24 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:54 pm

Yeah for stripping just run the heat as high as you can, stop looking at thermometers. As long as your spirit isn't coming out the spout hot, your good.
Swedish Pride wrote:
get a brix reading on said ball bearings and then you can find out how much fermentables are in there
Antler24
Trainee
 
Posts: 809
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:00 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:15 pm

zapata wrote:Youre doing it wrong.
Stop thinking about temperature and think about energy. A pot of water boiling on a nuclear reactor is the same temperature as a pot of boiling water boiling over a candle. The rate it is boiled off at is based on power input, not temperature.

There is nothing wrong with your still for stripping, you are just trying to drive it with the brake pedal instead of the accelerator.

For stripping runs don't bother using your CM tubes and just crank as much flame to the pot as your condenser can handle.

Of course some people like single runs with a reflux still, so that is a personal call. I used to make flavored spirits in a reflux still, but find double pot still runs to be faster and more productive and more repeatable in flavor.


I am using a pot still (not my reflux column with CM) for stripping runs. I didn't add more heat as my condenser was heating up and as I said above in the thread, I now believe this is the main issue I am having with the length of the runs. I am going to build a new condenser from the column and add length - the condenser I have been using came from my 8 gallon pot with a 1 1/2" column. I believe it is to small for me to push any more vapors through it. I will update once I run with the new liebig. Thanks for your input.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:33 pm

Ok, here is where I am going:

Eliminate the 2" to 1.5" necked down portion on both my reflux CM column
Eliminate the 2" to 1.5 necked down portion on my pot still column
Eliminate the current necked down (3/4" opening) Liebig, it is also short ~12"

Getting a 2" x 17" 5 tube shotgun condenser
Making the reflux column 2" all the way to the shotgun
Making the pot still 2" all the way to the shotgun

Decided to just make it all the way it should be and eliminate all the BS trying to use that small liebig. Parts inbound, will give feedback.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby rgreen2002 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:04 am

Rabbit Hole.jpg
Down the Rabbit Hole!


Welcome to the wonderful world of Home Distillation! We're glad you're here! :mrgreen:
HD Glossary - Open this
A little spoon feeding *For New & Novice Distillers - start here
BEST WAY TO GET ANSWERS FROM HOME DISTILLER
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
User avatar
rgreen2002
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1251
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Northeastern USA

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby binoscope » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:50 pm

Silly side note use % not proof. I'm surprised you're only getting 93% Column at 54" is a nice tall column. Should get about 95 to 96. Combination of no insulation, possibly running spirit run to fast or not allowing enough stabilizing time before taking of product perhaps? Also why use CM it's the hardest to run and get right especially using propane as you have two things to get wrong. A simple boka head on top of the two inch column is a much better idea. You can buy a double wound cooling coil online, I know one guy in New Zealand making them, and there may be others. If you're worried about speeding don't think 10 hours using scrubbers is excessive for spirits run, research SPP far lower HEPT so purity is high but can be run about four times faster than scrubbers. https://youtube.com/watch?v=W5W9YIP5fvo they are expensive so that may put you off
binoscope
Novice
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:42 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby The Booze Pipe » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:50 pm

In comparison, it takes my still a good 8 hours to strip 10 gallons. I use a 13 gal pot, 2'x2" riser, into a .75" Lyne arm, and a 42" (length) Liebig condenser.
The Booze Pipe
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:00 pm
Location: PNW

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby HDNB » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:31 pm

no reason a 2" won't do 4LPH on a stripping run on a decent condensor. turn your cooling water on full flow and turn the heat up until the distillate is coming out warm.

you can go much deeper than 80 proof (like down to 20 proof) this should amount to about 20% of your still charge in low wines at about 38% abv don't worry about cloudy or oils on the strip run...it will provide the flavour for the spirit run
in other words:

10 gallons of 7-8% wash in a 13 gallon still should produce 2 gallons of low wines at 38%abv in about 2 hours from the onset of production. a propane burner should be able to bring it up to operating temps in 45 minutes without scorching anything.
I finally quit drinking for good.

now i drink for evil.
User avatar
HDNB
Site Mod
 
Posts: 5267
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:04 am
Location: the f-f-fu frozen north

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby zapata » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:38 am

Hey Booze pipe, whatcha using for a heat source? I've got a still almost identical to yours except I neck down to 1/2" for the lyne arm and liebig. Stripping runs take nowhere near that long for me. Unless you're doing it on purpose I don't see anything that could cause that rig to be so slow other than a weak heat source.
zapata
Rumrunner
 
Posts: 623
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby hellbilly007 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:30 am

For stripping, crank the heat as high as you can. That is, run fast as you can without alcohol vapors coming out of your liebig. If running flavored spirits, you're not drinking the low wines (except maybe a taste of the hearts here and there), take it down to 10-15% out of the liebig. If stripping for neutral, there is still good alcohol in the tails of a strip, just not as deep as flavored spirits.
hellbilly007
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:59 am

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby jonnys_spirit » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:14 am

When I run my 13g boiler for stripping a 1.070 ferment (about 9% ABV) charged with 11 or 12 so gallons I can almost fill up a 5g carboy with low wines running down to 0%. I take 200-300ml for fores and then run it slowish to get some headspace into the still to prevent puking then i'll crank it as much as my condenser can knock it down and still not puke which is almost full on 5k5W... I'll also degas and clear the wort which prevents foaming and scorch potential allowing me to run it harder and faster..

I originally had a 1" x 22"(?) jacketed liebig that came with the still that I replaced with one I built 3/4" (jacket) x 36" x 1/2" (product path) and implemented the wire spiral in the jacket and it made a ton of difference. I also stick a short coper wire spiral with a little copper scrubbie into the product tube to prevent huffing and surging..

Cheers!
-j
jonnys_spirit
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:58 am
Location: The Milky Way

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby The Booze Pipe » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:40 pm

zapata wrote:Hey Booze pipe, whatcha using for a heat source? I've got a still almost identical to yours except I neck down to 1/2" for the lyne arm and liebig. Stripping runs take nowhere near that long for me. Unless you're doing it on purpose I don't see anything that could cause that rig to be so slow other than a weak heat source.

I use the Bayou beer Brewer propane burner. It's been a while since I've fermented and stripped anything. Maybe I was doing it wrong! Initially, I had an undersized Liebig. I rebuilt it to be 42" in length .5" inner vapor, Jacketed by .75". Its very efficient now.
Whenever I get back up and running I'll try to be less timid in cranking it up.
The Booze Pipe
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:00 pm
Location: PNW

Re: Long length of distill time

Postby bbbark » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:58 pm

Ok, new column build is done, vinegar run is done, sacrificial run is done (used 1 gallon of heads at 170 proof plus 1.25 gallons at 120 proof with 6 gallons of water - collected ~1.5 gallons through the still then discarded). Now I need to run my stock of beard oil down so I can have a reason to give the column it's maiden voyage. Ended up with 34" of column for packing, then the sight glass, then 12" for CM, also added a 17" x 2" shotgun condenser. The 1.5 gallons on the sacrificial run came off in just under 2 hours (once heated), so although I had no packing, it appears my distill time will drop. We shall see.
bbbark
Novice
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:25 pm


Return to Novice Distillers



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: linkdex [bot] and 7 guests