Thumper?

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

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goose eye
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Re: Thumper?

Post by goose eye » Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:04 pm

Hiltop you cutin off at 80 proof.
Ole boys pa would turn in his grave.
Many a night they had to run another
gallon cause a dern ole moth cause a flame
up while checkin for likker

So I'm tole

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Appalachian spirits » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:52 am

The thumper will hold 10% of boiler volume. 20 gallon boiler = 2 gallons in thumper. I like the thumper for traditional sour mash runs and i use 50% high shots and 50% beer (mash).
Its also great for fruit runs as you can blend whatever fruit your using into the high shots which imparts a fresh fruit scent and flavor into the spirits.
Its served me well for many years

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Re: Thumper?

Post by jon1163 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:13 am

Appalachian spirits wrote:The thumper will hold 10% of boiler volume. 20 gallon boiler = 2 gallons in thumper. I like the thumper for traditional sour mash runs and i use 50% high shots and 50% beer (mash).
Its also great for fruit runs as you can blend whatever fruit your using into the high shots which imparts a fresh fruit scent and flavor into the spirits.
Its served me well for many years
What are high shots?

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Hilltop » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:33 am

Kegg_jam wrote:
Hilltop wrote:I've never heard of using a thumper the same size as the boiler, I'm sure someone can explain it better than me, but thumpers are smaller for a reason. Generally no more than half your boiler size or close to that.....
What would the reasons be?
Guess ya learn something new everyday The reason for me is ive never seen one the same size or bigger in many years so i figured the ol timers did it that way for a reason.

Another is i grew up in the woods where every still was considerably larger than the thumper. I always assumed it was so you didnt empty your boiler.

Live and Learn i guess.
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Hilltop » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:43 am

goose eye wrote:Hiltop you cutin off at 80 proof.
Ole boys pa would turn in his grave.
Many a night they had to run another
gallon cause a dern ole moth cause a flame
up while checkin for likker

So I'm tole
My notes say 55 proof Goose so i mispoke a tad. I dont like tails and for some reason my thumper starts smearing when i get below 50 proof i have no idea why.

From reading here, i see i could have went bigger but it went against my teaching that the thumper should be no larger than half the size of your boiler, sure wish ol Unc was still around to tell him that. On my small still i've been running a 7.75 gallon thumper but i see Butch and others use a 15 gallon.

Am i the only one who has smearing issues with a thumper? if i get down to 40 she smears every time. I ferment large batches so a little back to the Gods didnt bother me. But your right its wasted money.

Just got tired of the smearing so i been stopping early. On low wines i strip to just above water and get it all. On a larger still i never had this issue
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Appalachian spirits » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:43 pm

High shots is slang for the the first cut after tossing the first bit. Heads is another term and im just going on what theyre called in my area. High shots, middle and tails. I usually cut the middles at 140 and then stop at 80. I usually dont run much in the way of tails. Usually 1/2 gallon.

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Truckinbutch » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:11 pm

Appalachian spirits wrote:The thumper will hold 10% of boiler volume. 20 gallon boiler = 2 gallons in thumper. I like the thumper for traditional sour mash runs and i use 50% high shots and 50% beer (mash).
Its also great for fruit runs as you can blend whatever fruit your using into the high shots which imparts a fresh fruit scent and flavor into the spirits.
Its served me well for many years
Many of us here are successfully using a thumper of equal size to the boiler . Strip runs of equal size for boiler and thumper for expediency . Spirit runs with a lesser , and sometimes different , thumper charge .
Amazing what can be accomplished when you open your mind to innovation .
If you ain't the lead dog in the team , the scenery never changes . Ga Flatwoods made my avatar and I want to thank him for that .
Don't drink water , fish fornicate in it .

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Re: Thumper?

Post by jon1163 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:26 pm

Truckinbutch wrote:
Appalachian spirits wrote:The thumper will hold 10% of boiler volume. 20 gallon boiler = 2 gallons in thumper. I like the thumper for traditional sour mash runs and i use 50% high shots and 50% beer (mash).
Its also great for fruit runs as you can blend whatever fruit your using into the high shots which imparts a fresh fruit scent and flavor into the spirits.
Its served me well for many years
Many of us here are successfully using a thumper of equal size to the boiler . Strip runs of equal size for boiler and thumper for expediency . Spirit runs with a lesser , and sometimes different , thumper charge .
Amazing what can be accomplished when you open your mind to innovation .
If like to sit down with you and a fifth someday and get schooled on all things thumper.

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Truckinbutch » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:25 am

jon1163 wrote:
Truckinbutch wrote:
Appalachian spirits wrote:The thumper will hold 10% of boiler volume. 20 gallon boiler = 2 gallons in thumper. I like the thumper for traditional sour mash runs and i use 50% high shots and 50% beer (mash).
Its also great for fruit runs as you can blend whatever fruit your using into the high shots which imparts a fresh fruit scent and flavor into the spirits.
Its served me well for many years
Many of us here are successfully using a thumper of equal size to the boiler . Strip runs of equal size for boiler and thumper for expediency . Spirit runs with a lesser , and sometimes different , thumper charge .
Amazing what can be accomplished when you open your mind to innovation .
If like to sit down with you and a fifth someday and get schooled on all things thumper.
I'd be happy to sit with you any day but you're ringin the wrong bell . There are several threads here on how versitile a thumper can be . I have no claim to innovation . Just utilization of what I have learned here .
If you ain't the lead dog in the team , the scenery never changes . Ga Flatwoods made my avatar and I want to thank him for that .
Don't drink water , fish fornicate in it .

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Re: Thumper?

Post by MidnightBrewer » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:04 pm

I use a 20L boiler and a 6L thumper. The boiler is clamped, as it will produce a bit of back pressure due to the thumper. My thumper is a 6L cuisinart cooking pot. It's high grade metal and is durable. To keep from boiling over, long heat times, or burning, stick to a 25% - 33% rule. Your thumper should be between 25 - 33% the size of your boiler, and your fill should be the same.
I cut my mashes into three runs using 2L mason jars (I can be picky or simply using whats on hand. little column 'A', little column 'B')
8L per run in my configuration (if you want to be exact it's 7.66L for the 23 liter carboys)
I rack my mash into these jars, then the first three of a run goes to the boiler (6L in a 20L boiler felt like a waste, till I experimented and gathered results.) and the last one goes into the thumper.

Mash math
20L boiler - 6L thumper (30% size difference for efficiency and better cook control, also as close to 33% as I can get without going custom. No one make 6.6L pots)
6L in boiler (33%) 2L in thumper (33%) + they are 33% fill ratio
It results in 80% at start, I cut the tail @ 20% and I can produce 9 - 10L usually from 23L

I make multiple mashes, at any given time I have 24 gallons on ferment while I deal with the other 24 gallons or launch the next 24 gallons.
Because I also vary my mashes, I can charge the thumper, (aka flavour pot) with a wildberry mash and put an apple mash in my boiler to create new flavours, for example.
you could fill it with water, or tails, but I prefer to put mash in there, just tastes better.

Do not run it hot, or use it as a boil over catcher, makes for smokey or not so good distillate. My distillate comes out at 79% at the start. In this regard the thumper makes my life tough.

I can also make a empty mash (low % mash) and toss my high proof in there in an attempt to even out, or at least turn my 80% - 65% into a 80% - 20% range, giving me more heart to harvest

If ur using those glass mason jars, figure out a way to 100% eliminate flaws in glass or your gonna have an issue in the future. It will be fine maybe for the first 4- 400 times, but it will have a high fail rate somewhere in between those numbers. If those odds don't bug you, then losing all of your stuff and possibly causing a disaster that may affect others is... Lets save the lecture, if you use glass keep a lot of money on hand for when things go tits up and someone sues you, or the man charges you... probably both. The coating on the lid is something like plastisol, and not copper or stainless for the metal. u can build a metal disk for it, but it will heat and expand differently with each material... and all of it to contain a highly flammable fluid in a low durability container...

If you can use copper or stainless fittings, do it. Brass will work, but has a 2% lead content to make it machinable.

when running it, keep an eye on your output. If it's streaming hard, your over heating and making some bad flavours. I find the point where it looks like the drips are almost forming a stream makes some really, really good stuff.

As for the woodpecker, I've used cherry, apple and spruce woods so far. My method for figuring out which wood to use with which mash is complicated. I cut a branch, skin it and use it as my toothpick for the day. I chew on the end, and suck on it, and think about my buds sled/ skimmer he used as a boat... crazy fucker... hasn't sunk yet tho. Once I get a taste for the wood, it'll point me to what it would taste good with. That tree oil goes into your product at the end of the day, it may be mild, but you can train your taste buds to find it. Also don't smoke prior to tasting, it'll kill your ability to taste and gets you high (I'm talking the sticky icky, and cancer sticks)(also if your using an e-cigarette, just throw those out.)

Nearly forgot to parlay my experience with thumper 'smear' as mentioned earlier. I'm often tempted to keep turning up the heat to maintain a small stream. Don't. You can turn it up a little, but now maintain a drip. I can collect down to 12% with no muckity muck in there, but it takes some playing to get it right. I usually cut off my collection at 20%, but I'll put a fresh jar under after, just to see how far I can take it. Only once have I produced 250ml of clear apple flavoured water at the very end. no idea what to do with it, yet. (DO NOT fill the shower head with it before the wife climbs in. Mine nearly killed me. Also if she's big enough to rough you up a little, saying 'I see why your wearing tranny makeup' is just stupid.)

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Last edited by MidnightBrewer on Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Truckinbutch
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Truckinbutch » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:37 pm

(headscratch) Could sumbody smarter than me 'splain some of this last post to me ? I'm kinda lost .
If you ain't the lead dog in the team , the scenery never changes . Ga Flatwoods made my avatar and I want to thank him for that .
Don't drink water , fish fornicate in it .

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Re: Thumper?

Post by jon1163 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:44 pm

Truckinbutch wrote:(headscratch) Could sumbody smarter than me 'splain some of this last post to me ? I'm kinda lost .
"Also don't smoke prior to tasting, it'll kill your ability to taste and gets you high (I'm talking the sticky icky"

Something tells me this might have something to do with that post

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Kareltje » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:06 am

Oh, to me it makes sense.

Although I do not agree with all of it:
ABadBrewer wrote:To keep from boiling over, long heat times, or burning, stick to a 25% - 33% rule. Your thumper should be between 25 - 33% the size of your boiler, and your fill should be the same.
Depends on the mash if you have to be afraid of boiling over. A clean low wine does not boil over, so the boiler can be filled to about 90 %. To prevent burning you just have to make sure the boiler is filled enough to run the thumper. And in some cases you can start with an empty thumper, as it will fill itself.
Do not run it hot, or use it as a boil over catcher, makes for smokey or not so good distillate.
This is an interesting observation! I will keep an eye on it!
As for the woodpecker, I've used cherry, apple and spruce woods so far. My method for figuring out which wood to use with which mash is complicated. I cut a branch, skin it and use it as my toothpick for the day. I chew on the end, and suck on it, and think about my buds sled/ skimmer he used as a boat... crazy fucker... hasn't sunk yet tho. Once I get a taste for the wood, it'll point me to what it would taste good with. That tree oil goes into your product at the end of the day, it may be mild, but you can train your taste buds to find it. Also don't smoke prior to tasting, it'll kill your ability to taste and gets you high (I'm talking the sticky icky, and cancer sticks)(also if your using an e-cigarette, just throw those out.)
Interesting too! I did not yet age with wood, but will keep this tasting in mind! And pass the method on to a guy who does aging.
Nearly forgot to parlay my experience with thumper 'smear' as swill maker put it. I'm often tempted to keep turning up the heat to maintain a small stream. Don't. You can turn it up a little, but now maintain a drip. I can collect down to 12% with no muckity muck in there, but it takes some playing to get it right. I usually cut off my collection at 20%, but I'll put a fresh jar under after, just to see how far I can take it. Only once have I produced 250ml of clear apple flavoured water at the very end. no idea what to do with it, yet.
I guess this is a matter of style and taste.

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Re: Thumper?

Post by MidnightBrewer » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:46 pm

Just to clear up some haze.
The rule of thirds and its diminishing returns comes from a buddy who is a trained chemist. My best guess is due to expansion, but I experiment with this all the time at different levels. So far my best results come from doing this, but I'm trying to prove to myself that its just in my head.. but my friends feedback seem to prove its a thing. I don't tell them about any changes, but they keep telling me what they notice is different. I am still learning, as I've only distilled 48 gallons at this point with three rebuilds to finally get a product that people seem to really like.

My mash is roughly 18 - 20% at start.
A 6 gallon carboy can yeild me around 9 to 10.5 quarts of product without tossing in my heads (80 - 65%) or tails (30 - 20%)

I once used the glass 2l jar to learn what my bud was saying. By putting 500ml in and runing it, I noticed that the level raised to 1000 - 1200ml leaving a 800ml space for steam to expand and levels to flux. It seems to point to the thirds rule. this expansion part has me in the dark. I have watched it happen in a measurable manner, cause when I switched my system off, It cooled, stopped bubbling and returned to 500ml. Also my boiler can puke over, even though it's 1/3 full if too hot. when guys fill it to 90%, do you just run it on low heat? how long does it take to cook? been trying all sorts of things just to see what happens and jot it down.

Also i stopped using glass, cause i had a failure that no one mentioned could happen before. The heat caused my snap ring to expand a bit, not too bad on its own. Too much heat, boiler shot over, filled the jar and the extra pressure and weight caused the glass to fall out. I had crates for support, so nothing bad happened other than premature system shutdown.

Also when i say woodpecker, i think u guys call it a cooncock. Piece of wood in end that directs the distillate.

The tails game, for me, is just a game after 20%. I use it to teach myself how to run it better. I measure everything till it goes in the cook, run by feel and taste, test by spoon and each jar gets tested by hydrometer and spoon shot. I should spit, but around here we call that alcohol abuse.
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Re: Thumper?

Post by MidnightBrewer » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:18 pm

After a few runs trying fuller volumes and playing with temps to see what the difference was. In a fuller run i get more over runs and temp seems to flux in a cycle and the product i had from one i did with a 2/3 full system didn't taste as good as when i ran 1/3 full and this was done with one mash batch. I dunno the science behind it well, but preventing over runs and running medium high temp seems to be working best. Even in pot still mode, if i go over 50% fill, then it becomes a beast to run

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Re: Thumper?

Post by MidnightBrewer » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:08 pm

Somethin else I'm finding this week, is learn how to run in pot still mode, no guages, just by feel. Once u can get real good like that, then you can run the thumper better. 24 liters down.... 100L more to distill this week.

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Appalachian spirits » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:42 pm

Ive always used a thumper. It raises the proof considerably the first run, the cuts are more defined and you can use it to adjust flavor profiles. I use the same basic sour mash recipe that uncle jesse posted and i put half mash and a 50/50 mix of tails and heads into the thump and pour the heads from previous run into boiler.
It really comes down to what you like and are comfortable with running. I wouldnt know where to start with a column, ive never used one and im too embeded into the old school to change!
The main thing is to produce something your friends WANT to drink and not just make alcohol. :D

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Re: Thumper?

Post by MoonBreath » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:57 pm

No reasons why you can't be good at both..
I'm fixin to run a single bubble plate thru a charred barrel thumper half full of 60 proof backins out of a liebig. :clap: :ebiggrin:

Like in the movie 'Radio'....
"How do you prefer to run your likker, plated or thumped?"
"Both".
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Hilltop » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:22 pm

Appalachian spirits wrote:Ive always used a thumper. It raises the proof considerably the first run, the cuts are more defined and you can use it to adjust flavor profiles. I use the same basic sour mash recipe that uncle jesse posted and i put half mash and a 50/50 mix of tails and heads into the thump and pour the heads from previous run into boiler.
It really comes down to what you like and are comfortable with running. I wouldnt know where to start with a column, ive never used one and im too embeded into the old school to change!
The main thing is to produce something your friends WANT to drink and not just make alcohol. :D
I bet to differ brother, I'm looking to produce something I would like to drink, most of my friends think Jack Daniels is the bomb meaning they don't know shit. Most of our " friends" think any club drink that gets em drunk is the best stuff in the world. The artist is the man that paints the canvass. My friends can jump in the lake, if I don't like it, it goes down the drain.
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Re: Thumper?

Post by TDick » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:57 pm

Hilltop wrote: I bet to differ brother, I'm looking to produce something I would like to drink, most of my friends think Jack Daniels is the bomb meaning they don't know shit. Most of our " friends" think any club drink that gets em drunk is the best stuff in the world. The artist is the man that paints the canvass. My friends can jump in the lake, if I don't like it, it goes down the drain.
So Hilltop, how do you REALLY feel? :lol:

JMO, I don't like Jack at all and have lots of friends that used to tell me how great it is.
Then pour it in a glass with CocaCola.
:yawn:

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Re: Thumper?

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:27 pm

You all need better friends :P
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Shine0n » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:57 am

I'm a firm believer in the thumper! I love them for what I make BUT!!! I did score some 3" that a flute is in my near future, at least start buying some fittings, copper ferrule and build in sections instead of a solid colum.

I'm still not going to give up my thumper tho!

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Re: Thumper?

Post by raketemensch » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:14 am

What’s the deal with buckling while shutting down? It’s the last thing i’m Trying to figure out before finally building my thumper.

Is it the boiler buckling if its plumbing gets clogged in the thumper?

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Kareltje » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:38 am

raketemensch wrote:What’s the deal with buckling while shutting down? It’s the last thing i’m Trying to figure out before finally building my thumper.

Is it the boiler buckling if its plumbing gets clogged in the thumper?
That could be a cause. Some people (among them myself) make the inlet pipe into the thumper end in a series of small holes, for example a horizontal piece with holes of about 2 mm bored in it. This is to get better and more evenly distibution of the vapour from the boiler into the fluid of the thumper.
When you fill the thumper with nothing or something very fluid, that is no problem. But when you, as I sometimes do, use the thumper to distill heavy slurry or sediment, this can block these small holes when the boiler cools down and starts sucking.

There are of course several ways to prvent this from happening. The easiest is to uncouple boiler and thumper right after finishing the run. Also a pressure relieve valve for both over- and underpressure between boiler and thumper would work.

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Re: Thumper?

Post by raketemensch » Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:52 pm

I usually pop the fill port on my boiler not long after I turn off the power. Not enough fumes to be dangerous, and it relieves any of that pressure. It sounds like that should work well with a thumper, too.

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Re:

Post by Mainer7 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:16 am

Dnderhead wrote:thumper should be about 1/4 size of boiler and charged with mash or better low wines it is just like a secant still if you dont have alcohol
in it you cant git out ( if you jest use water, alcohol will stay in water
until it gets built up to high Prof)
I had a quick question in re to theory. What if one were to add straight molasses to their thumper? I have NO intention of doing this as I don't care for molasses, but I do like a good rum. Would the molasses b too thick for the vapor to travel thru? Is there a certain consistency that ones thumper liquid must be in order to allow for safe travel on its way to the worm? Additionally, what if one were to add a type of grain that they were choosing for their current mash or next mash, in dry form? Has anybody ever tried this b4 I wonder? Would it add anything to the grain itself, as i can't imagine the grain would affect the vapor? Just some thoughts.

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Re: Thumper?

Post by Beerswimmer » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:44 pm

Just cut and fit all the parts for my thumper build, finally. It's going to be 2 15g kegs with 2" main lines, going to 1" for the thumper spear. The 3 way will be 2" with the side opening reducing to 1" for the spear. The spear will be longer, it's just a test fit right now. It'll have triclamp fittings on all ends so it'll be modular. Just need to solder it up over the next few nights and see where all my leaks are!

Pics below:
https://imgur.com/a/rWJG1b9
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Beerswimmer » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:26 pm

Finished and leak checked :thumbup:
20190806_210640.jpg
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Re: Thumper?

Post by Twisted Brick » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:48 pm

I like it, BS! Can't wait to hear she performs!
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Re: Thumper?

Post by adamf » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:30 am

Nice work! Inspiring. What style of vapor outlet are you going to use on the spear? Holes? 45 degree cut? Slits?
Is that a shotgun condenser? If so, why did you choose it over the other styles?

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