New Still, New problems!

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fival
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New Still, New problems!

Post by fival » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:15 pm

Just finished building my second still. It is a 10 gallon copper pot still. I can get it fired up, and distilling at an ideal place, but ran into several problems that I have never experienced before.

#1 I ran the still for about 6 hours and in this six hours my proof moved only from 91 to 89 proof. This is entirely way above where I normally have began pulling hearts, but as the run continued the distillate began to smell like tails. It became stinky and didn't taste good at all, but still at 89 proof. My previous collection jars did have some sweet smooth smelling jars, but those were also around 90. I have never seen this before. I tried several hydrometers and nothing changed. I pulled out what I wanted by taste and smell and ended up with about a gallon of distillate. Never seen anything like this before and am very confused.

#2 My hydrometer flask turned cloud white. I have always used plastic cylinders for my hydrometers (my dogs like to break glass) and never seen anything like this. It happened to two of them and never went away. I attached a picture.
IMG_0047.jpg
#3 When I proofed down my distillate it turned cloudy. It was extremely clear at first and once I put RO water in it, it went cloudy. Always have used the same water and never had a problem. I have read before that if you add water to a high proof distillate it can do this, but again mine just was not moving.

Any Advice would be helpful. Cheers"

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acfixer69
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by acfixer69 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:33 pm

You need to give more information. What is your new still Pot, Plates, VM , LM. What was your old still. What were you running. Plastic is not acceptable as a testing vessel for high ABV ethanol. Do the mandatory reading at the bottom of the page and you should be able to answer your questions yourself.

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jonnys_spirit
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by jonnys_spirit » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:34 pm

Hi Fival, you don’t want to use plastics because they leach into the ethanol (solvent). That’s expected with a plastic cylinder. What’s your recipe? You didn’t mention whether this was a strip or spirit run.

Got some pics of your still?

Cheers,
Jonny
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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jonnys_spirit
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by jonnys_spirit » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:59 pm

Hi - That looks like a brewers hydrometer. You’d want to use a different kind for spirits. Proof and Tralle hydrometer which is calibrated for measuring spirits instead of wort/wash. Recommend getting two while you’re at it if you don’t have a couple already. I’d go ahead and pick up a glass graduated cylinder or two as well.

Proof and Tralle Hydrometer

Cheers,
Jonny
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

fival
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Location: Nashville, TN

Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by fival » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:35 pm

jonnys_spirit wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:59 pm
Hi - That looks like a brewers hydrometer. You’d want to use a different kind for spirits. Proof and Tralle hydrometer which is calibrated for measuring spirits instead of wort/wash. Recommend getting two while you’re at it if you don’t have a couple already. I’d go ahead and pick up a glass graduated cylinder or two as well.

Proof and Tralle Hydrometer

Cheers,
Jonny
Thanks. I have both hydrometers, sounds like the plastic was the issue. I will pick up a few glass ones.

The Baker
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by The Baker » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:39 pm

acfixer69 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:33 pm
You need to give more information. What is your new still Pot, Plates, VM , LM. What was your old still. What were you running. Plastic is not acceptable as a testing vessel for high ABV ethanol. Do the mandatory reading at the bottom of the page and you should be able to answer your questions yourself.
fival said, 'It is a 10 gallon copper pot still.'

Geoff
The Baker

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acfixer69
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by acfixer69 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:49 pm

The Baker wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:39 pm
acfixer69 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:33 pm
You need to give more information. What is your new still Pot, Plates, VM , LM. What was your old still. What were you running. Plastic is not acceptable as a testing vessel for high ABV ethanol. Do the mandatory reading at the bottom of the page and you should be able to answer your questions yourself.
fival said, 'It is a 10 gallon copper pot still.'

Geoff
Well that clears it all up. With that info I guess you can straighten him up have at it Geoff.

The Baker
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by The Baker » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:51 pm

acfixer69 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:49 pm
The Baker wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:39 pm
acfixer69 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:33 pm
You need to give more information. What is your new still Pot, Plates, VM , LM. What was your old still. What were you running. Plastic is not acceptable as a testing vessel for high ABV ethanol. Do the mandatory reading at the bottom of the page and you should be able to answer your questions yourself.
fival said, 'It is a 10 gallon copper pot still.'

Geoff
Well that clears it all up. With that info I guess you can straighten him up have at it Geoff.
Not me, acfixer.
Just thought you may not have noticed that but I have no idea of the technical stuff.

Geoff
The Baker

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Tummydoc
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by Tummydoc » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:59 pm

Single run on a pot still and you're trying to make cuts? You've got a lot of reading to do. Need to do a stripping run followed by spirit run. The louche is due to fusel oils carried over in the stripping run.

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Hambone
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by Hambone » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:04 pm

Did you do a cleaning run?
Good judgement is the result of experience.

Experience is usually the result of bad judgement..

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NZChris
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Re: New Still, New problems!

Post by NZChris » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:05 pm

Unless you did vinegar then sacrificial alcohol runs, you could also have problems caused by toxic flux and oils from the build.

I glue a larger glass foot onto my glass measuring cylinders so that they are harder to knock over.

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