Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot still

Simple pot still distillation and construction with or without a thumper.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Post Reply
rumbo
Novice
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:40 pm

Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot still

Post by rumbo » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:12 pm

Hi,
I'm wanting to play around with vapour infusion of botanicals like gin etc. I want to do it during the spirit run of Birdwatcher's on a pot still which will save a lot of time than creating neutral first and rerunning it - if I can get the purity high enough (planning on stripping it first of course). I have already started a thread on how to acheive reflux in a pot still so won't go into that.

I have read that botanicals should be place in a the column, although I know that some gin distilleries have them in a seaprate chamber located next to the column and then vapour then goes into the condensor. My question is - if I have my column packed with copper scrubbers and an external coil of copper pipe with water flow to get some reflux, should the botanical basket be placed above these things at the top of the column? My immediate thought would be that as the basket is an obstruction and may cause some "refluxing" in itself, some of the flavour infused alcohol will condense and fall back down maybe even as far down as the boiler. The other option that seems better to me would be to tuck them into the 45degree elbow that the liebig is connected to - see my setup below. That way any condensation caused by the basket or the botanicals themselves would come out as product?

Any comments?
P1030600vsmall.jpg

carbohydratesn
Swill Maker
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:37 am

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by carbohydratesn » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:52 pm

I haven't used botanicals, so take this with a grain of salt - but different places should give you different results.

Above the packing but below your condenser will release the botanicals into your reflux, mostly - everything will have much less contact with vapors than it will liquid. The chemicals released will join your vapor/reflux under your condenser. Most parts will go down, and some will make it up and out to your product condenser.

The place to put them for the strongest effect would be *after* your reflux condenser, but before the product condenser, so hot vapors directly on their way to your product condenser are the only thing that comes into contact with it. This will release all of the substances into the vapor to be condensed without dragging any of it down through your packing, and none of the botanicals will have to make it past your reflux condenser at all. This would be the closest to how it works in a pot still...your %ABV will be higher than normal, but depending on how much reflux you have, it shouldn't be too much different from adding botanicals at the third or fourth (or n'th) distillation.

Putting them in the boiler, or low in the packing, would hold back more of the flavor (probably a lot) - but some should still make it through.

A quick search has some other tips - https://www.google.com/search?q=site:ht ... als+reflux" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

User avatar
SassyFrass
Trainee
Posts: 806
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:54 am
Location: Sittin' on the side of the Mountain sippin' and smilin'

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by SassyFrass » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:58 pm

I have used botanicals, juices, etc... in a thumper to add flavor.
You may be able to build a little gin basket type area in your column to get those flavors across.
You'd had to attach it with a couple triclamps. Could actually turn your little pot into a heck of a base for a modular outfit.

Moonbreath and others are real big on modular setups and would have better advice than me.
Quite a few folks are using gin baskets too. You'll get some real good advice on this soon from folks that know a lot more than me.
SF
Simple Lil' Pot Still, no temp guage, no carbon, no scrubbers, nuthin' fancy. Sometimes use a thumper, sometimes don't.

Real good info for New Folks:

User avatar
moosemilk
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2661
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:47 am

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by moosemilk » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:35 pm

This wouldn't work with you "column people", but for those of us with a traditional pot still and cap. I think it was goose eye that mentioned. You get one of those stainless steel tea things. Put your herbs and such in there and hang it in the cap right at the lyne arm where your vapors go.

Maybe a modification of this idea will help.

carbohydratesn
Swill Maker
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:37 am

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by carbohydratesn » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:48 pm

Putting everything between two scrubbers in the horizontal part of the still would be a good solution, I think. No construction needed. You can reach in there when the tri-clamp is separated, so you should be able to do it by hand. You could even just put a stainless tea ball up there for maximum ease-of-use and cleaning. That would be even better than scrubbers, actually.

Is there any reason a basket *in* the lyne arm wouldn't work? It's a ready-made place to put stuff. For it to be extra secure, you could put a copper or stainless stub or rod in there to hold the basket in the lyne arm, or something like that.

rumbo
Novice
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:40 pm

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by rumbo » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:16 pm

Thanks everyone. That pretty much reinforces what I was thinking. I'll try it tucked up in the the horizontal part. Those tea holders or a modification of one are a really good idea. Will play around a bit and post some picks and feedback of my solution.

googe
retired
Posts: 3745
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:53 pm
Location: awwstralian in new zealund

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by googe » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:26 pm

I do my gin with the botanicals in a cotton cloth shaped into a bag and hang it in the boiler opening with some ss wire. Through three plates it very nice, I wouldn't imagine your packing would take out to much flavor, be careful with the citrus skins as there flavor comes over pretty strong, for me anyway.
Here's to alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all life's problems.
"Homer J Simpson"

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8890
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by NZChris » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:43 am

Don't try to use the spirit run to do the extraction. Cuts need to be made.

If you try to cut on the spirit run with the botanicals already in it, you'll be chucking out good flavor along with the ethyl acetate and methanol.

Braz
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1900
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: Indiana, USA, Inc.

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by Braz » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:48 am

Here's a thread you might want to take a look at. http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... d#p7033517
Braz

User avatar
moosemilk
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2661
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:47 am

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by moosemilk » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:17 am

NZChris wrote:Don't try to use the spirit run to do the extraction. Cuts need to be made.

If you try to cut on the spirit run with the botanicals already in it, you'll be chucking out good flavor along with the ethyl acetate and methanol.
I've never done infusion during a run, so how would you go about it if you don't do it on the spirit run? Do you re-run your keepers from your spirit run with the botanical and keep everything?

rumbo
Novice
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:40 pm

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by rumbo » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:53 pm

moosemilk wrote:
NZChris wrote:Don't try to use the spirit run to do the extraction. Cuts need to be made.

If you try to cut on the spirit run with the botanicals already in it, you'll be chucking out good flavor along with the ethyl acetate and methanol.
I've never done infusion during a run, so how would you go about it if you don't do it on the spirit run? Do you re-run your keepers from your spirit run with the botanical and keep everything?
That's what I was wondering. But even if you do it during spirit run, assuming you have enough botanicals in the basket, would it really matter that you are throwing some of the flavour out - so long as what you are keeping is well flavoured and provided that it doesn't interfere with your ability to make cuts ? The time saved from doing an extra run would be worth it for me.

User avatar
moosemilk
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2661
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:47 am

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by moosemilk » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:42 pm

Or a typo and he meant stripping run, not spirit run. This is definitely interesting. Could infuse my UJ with some interesting flavors.

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 8890
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by NZChris » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:19 am

moosemilk wrote:
NZChris wrote:Don't try to use the spirit run to do the extraction. Cuts need to be made.

If you try to cut on the spirit run with the botanicals already in it, you'll be chucking out good flavor along with the ethyl acetate and methanol.
I've never done infusion during a run, so how would you go about it if you don't do it on the spirit run? Do you re-run your keepers from your spirit run with the botanical and keep everything?
I re-run the keepers from my spirit run. Infuse for the desired time, dilute to what I require for my target product, then run it until I have the desired ABV in the collection vessel.

If my arm was twisted enough to get me to put botanicals into a spirit run, I would run til I was confident I was into hearts, then do a short shut down to shoot the botanicals into the boiler, or insert them into the gin basket, or both, then make the bloke who made me do it take it all home with him.

User avatar
moosemilk
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2661
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:47 am

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by moosemilk » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:28 am

That makes sense now. Thanks, Chris. I have been toying with the idea of adding a gin basket attachment. I'm no gin fan, but I could think of tons of other flavors I'd like to infuse.

rumbo
Novice
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:40 pm

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by rumbo » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:28 am

NZChris wrote: If my arm was twisted enough to get me to put botanicals into a spirit run, I would run til I was confident I was into hearts, then do a short shut down to shoot the botanicals into the boiler, or insert them into the gin basket, or both, then make the bloke who made me do it take it all home with him.
Ha classic!

rumbo
Novice
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:40 pm

Re: Where to place botanicals for vapour infusion in a pot s

Post by rumbo » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:34 am

moosemilk wrote:I'm no gin fan, but I could think of tons of other flavors I'd like to infuse.
Likewise - there must be a million different herbal/spice/fruit vapour infusions that you could try. I like the idea of experimenting with this kind of stuff with the hope that i'll come up with something special and unique.

Post Reply