FLUTE TALK

VM CM LM Flutes Plate

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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Rain Distillate » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:47 am

WIski wrote:Being this is a Flute thread I imagine most of the conversation is geared to bolt on accessories to broaden the usefulness of the plated still. I have not tried a flavor free product yet, but plan on adding a section (think modular) of SPP on top of the plates (something I already have) just because it is so damn easy and many knowledgeable members here have proven it works a treat. We don't need to argue who's girl friend is prettier. They all will get you there. :eugeek:


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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby bluc » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:43 am

What is the advantage of plates + packed section vs packed column? More speed better compression/seperation? In middle of flute build wondering if I should just go cm for neutral or work out the impossible..due to height restrictions
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Bushman » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:23 am

Bluc you are going to get a lot of different opinions on that question. I gave a brief answer here:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=47262
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby thecroweater » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:40 am

Packed section would work very well, so yeah its speed.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby cranky » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:23 am

bluc wrote:What is the advantage of plates + packed section vs packed column? More speed better compression/seperation? In middle of flute build wondering if I should just go cm for neutral or work out the impossible..due to height restrictions

I don't want to go through that argument again :roll: Here is a good thread on some tests one member did
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=66529
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby bluefish_dist » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:31 am

I think it's more of a function of scaling for a neutral still. The packing materials used on the hobby scale don't work over maybe 6" columns. So commercial distillers of any size use plates since they are easy to build big. Same goes for using a cm style still head. It's easy to make really big. Lm and vm style heads start to run into issues finding large valves or the cost is huge.
For home use To make a neutral a packed column is by far cheaper for the same effiency, it also uses less height.
For whiskeys I am of the opinion that you have to match the number of plates to what you want to make. This can be done with packing as well, but it ends up being really short packed sections since packing is so effiecient. I usually run 2 plates for whiskey, which would be 8" of packing. For whites I run 3 plates or 12" of packing. I am pretty sure I would get the same results, but I like to be able to watch the plates to see what is going on. Packing would be loads cheaper if you are on a budget.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby bluc » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:31 am

At the risk of opening a can of worms, way I read it spp packing is more effecient, if spp packing is used can one get away with a shorter packed section(above 4 plates).
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby bluefish_dist » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:19 am

bluc wrote:At the risk of opening a can of worms, way I read it spp packing is more effecient, if spp packing is used can one get away with a shorter packed section(above 4 plates).


Yes. Although I was never able to make the SPP from big swede run any better than scrubbies. From what Odin has posted, you need 15 plates to make azeo. So if you are running 4 plates and packed with scrubbies, you would need 44" of packed above your 4 plates to hit azeo. Personally I would go for more and run a minimum of 48" and preferably 60 or 72.

Here is the math, 15 plates, minus 4 says we need the packing to give us 11 plates. Scrubbies are ~4" hetp, so 11 X 4" gives you 44" packed. You can recalculate based on the hetp of the SPP.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby raketemensch » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:59 pm

Jebus, 44inches? On TOP of 4 plates? Guess I won't be making any azeo anytime soon.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby bluefish_dist » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:29 pm

From my testing odins numbers are pretty good. To make true azeo it takes a tall column or really good packing. I think most home distillers don't get to azeo, but they don't have to. For me to make vodka, I have to be over 190 off the still, but at home if it's 189.5 it probably still tastes like vodka and there are no legal requirements to get over 190.
If you put two or three feet of packed over your 4 plates you will be close to 190 and make a decent product, it just won't be azeo if checked with a calibrated hydrometer.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby thecroweater » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:01 am

191.26 is as good as it gets unless you are housing an specialist method/equipment to obtain an anhydrous alcohol. The difference between ethanol at 189 and 191 proof is negligible or not necessarily more than from one azeotropic ethanol to another. Azeo is not necessarily vodka and vodka very often has never been azeo. Its not the 95.6% abv that makes a good or bad drink, its the 4.4% that is important and so you may only get 90% but with a good wash, separation and cuts maybe a shit ton cleaner than someone's azeo. That said getting azeo with a packed section on a flute is not only possible but ran right very likely.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby zapata » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:33 am

Isn't it also a matter of scale too? In bluefishes hybrid tests the plates were fogging early in the run, indicating all available alcohol was already depleted and the boiler and plates were not being utilized as much more than heaters at that point. So you gotta have enough alcohol to fill the plates, and fill the column, and still have alcohol in the boiler (don't forget the boiler is the first plate).
For that matter, a skinnier packed section may well offer lower HETP as well as simply lower volume needed to fill with alcohol. 3" packed column suits the wattage fed into most flutes better than a 4" column which seems it should be pretty underpowered at 3 or 4 kw. Right?
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby thecroweater » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:07 am

Dunno I use fire, need more vapour speed I make it hotter :thumbup:
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Swedish Pride » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:56 am

raketemensch wrote:Jebus, 44inches? On TOP of 4 plates? Guess I won't be making any azeo anytime soon.

I got there with two plates and a packed section, guessing the packed bit is about 50-60 cm.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby DrGreenT » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:39 pm

Well I can't say I have much to contribute in re: to Flutes, I am still in the process of building my 4" flute on a 15.5G keg boiler, but I can tell you that I had a chance to compare SS wool packing (better than scrubbies IMO) to a porous ceramic fish filter product called Cermedia http://a.co/6PEYWi6 . I understand many distillers here are hesitant to accept change or alternative materials, but I can tell you that both the tightly packed SS wool and 1/2" square pieces of cermedia in a 3" x 36" packed VM column using a 1" ball valve with ~32" of either packing materials was enough to produce 190 proof at acceptable takeoff rates. The cermedia was considerably less prone to puking and take-off was considerably faster than the SS wool (1/4" stream coming out of my parrot all the way into tails where it fell right off, gotta love VM). I believe I packed the SS wool in too tight, but either way that was my experience with neutrals. Point being, there's no need (or benefit?) to run plates underneath your packing -especially after seeing bluefish's results of plates vs packing, thanks for that BF- and no need for 4' plus of packing if you use the right packing material. These are my un-qualified experiences anyways.

Disclaimer: I'm aware cermedia has not yet been "veto'd" by the distilling community, and I'm aware of the rules, I've been lurking here for a few years. After reading the MSDS for the product and running it with both a vinegar and a cleaning run, I'm personally content it is safe with ethanol, but I'm not trying to convince anyone else so warnings need not apply. Cheers,

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Edit: Since this is pretty much my first post, I just wanted to say thank you to all the veteran contributors and Uncle Jesse for the wealth of information on this site. I've literally spent a good 2+ years searching on here and everytime I think I have a question needing answering, I find it. :thumbup: You guys are great
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby raketemensch » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:53 pm

/me pours one out for olddog, who taught us all a new trick.

We all contribute to this community in our own way, but damn, OD, your spirit still looms large.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Rastus » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:18 pm

raketemensch wrote:/me pours one out for olddog, who taught us all a new trick.

We all contribute to this community in our own way, but damn, OD, your spirit still looms large.


ching ching with my glass to yours ...

the old dog enlightened my mind and steered me in the right direction with my cooling system and talked me into a 3 way valve, which worried me at first but now it is as natural as ever, and my 4 " flute has been a proud accomplishment for me and provided much joy and saved me much time when run time came around... i have never looked back at my beginnings with the old boka, and the many hours i had to sit and watch the drip drip drip... it got me there though and helped me realize that it was worth it to get a more efficient method. enter flute!

thanks Old Dog! and all the others who inspired me with their know how and journals of the builds that showed the way.

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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Nunyo » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:28 am

Somewhat new to this site and new to the hobby. I’ve lurked here for a couple years now and read this thread in it’s entirety including every other thread I can find on this subject and others. I’ve assembled a modular 4” flute with 6 bubble plates. I’ve also got a 12” straight section for packing with copper mesh. Reflux cooling is a 4” dephlegmator and the product condensor is a 2” shot gun condensor. Both with seperate water inlets. I have needle valves on the hot side of the condensors and a bypass for the dephlegmator so I can run it at full cooling with the turn of a knob without touching the needle valve. It sits on a 16.5 gallon boiler with a 220v 5500w ULWD element controlled by my homemade SCR based controller. I went with the modular flute because I wanted something modular and really flexible.

I’ve attached a photo of the rig just prior to the cleaning runs with the 12” extension below the bubble plates. The 12” extension would go above the bubble plates when used with packing. I have 3 pounds of copper mesh (3 rolls) for the extension. I’ve also included a picture of the needle valve setup with the bypass for the dephlegmator Cooling will be recirculated using a 55 gallon drum and topped with cold water as needed and or a bit of ice to keep the coolant water temperature down. I know some don’t like the ice idea though I am not quite sure why. I will likely add a spray bar to the effluent side of the condenser lines where they enter the holding tank and a sheet of rigid plastic or FRP sitting at an angle in the top of the coolant tank so the warm water from the condensors is spread/distributed across the sheet and run into the coolant tank at a slope with a fan blowing across it for evaporative cooling. My hope is that will help reduce the coolant water temp as it returns to the holding tank.

For neutral runs, I’d like to get as close to azeo as possilble. From my reading, it sounds like I’d need upwards of 60” of packed column above the 6 plates which really insn’t realistic since I don’t have the available height. It’s already pushing 93” on the little roller stand which makes it a monster in my eyes. I’m also afraid my boiler will be too small (if it isn’t already) if this thing grows much more. I can add another 12” section to pack with additional copper or something else. I could reduce the number of bubble plate sections and add a longer 4” stainless spool.

Edit: Another thought was to remove the bubble plates from the sight glass sections and add a role of copper mesh to each section but I’d be afraid that could result in channeling.

Ultimately, I’m looking for some advice that will get me close to azeo if I want to run some really neutral stuff. The other option would be to build a different column but if I can get close to azeo using what I have with some minor mods, that would be ideal. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby HDNB » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:19 am

Height for one and done, but you can use water to scrub it clean too. cook some strips to 40%, load it up and run to as a high as abv as you want. water it down and do it again. even if you don't hit azeo, it will be clean, clean, clean.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby pfshine » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:39 am

Seeing as your rig is modular you can pull the plates and add copper mesh to it. That should make a nice clean drop.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Nunyo » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:36 am

Thank you both for your replies!

HDNB wrote:Height for one and done, but you can use water to scrub it clean too. cook some strips to 40%, load it up and run to as a high as abv as you want. water it down and do it again. even if you don't hit azeo, it will be clean, clean, clean.


I’ve only got another foot or so before I hit the ceiling. Not sure that would leave me enough room for the pulleys to hang the damn thing from. I am however planning on stripping runs but would prefer to not have to redistill multiple times beyond a strip followed by a spirit run in large part due to time and energy costs. That is always an option though.


pfshine wrote:Seeing as your rig is modular you can pull the plates and add copper mesh to it. That should make a nice clean drop.


That’s kind of what I was thinking. I just spent a fair amount of time reading through the lava rock threads as well. That would be really easy and cost effective option as well. Seems others are having very good results with that stuff too though I do like the idea of copper unless there is a very compelling reason to run some lava rock instead of buying additional copper mesh.

That said, if I were to pack the sight glass sections with copper mesh, the mesh I have is in 5” tall roles. The sight glass sections are about 6” tall. I assume, I would want the copper stacked tight on top of eachother without gaps between the rolls? Then comes the big question of how many plates to run and how many rolls to stack. If I ran 2 plates, It seems I could get 7 rolls stacked tight on top of one another for a total of 35” of copper mesh (including that 12” add on section) along with the two bubble plates. Or should I just ditch the plates all together for neutrals in which case I could get 9 rolls of copper mesh and still have about 3” between the top of the mesh and the bottom of the dephlegmator. I think I already know the answer to this (no plates) but the feedback is appreciated as I am going to need more mesh since I only have 3 rolls right now.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Antler24 » Fri May 04, 2018 5:40 pm

All you guys out there using a 4 plate for whiskey... Are you able to fine tube your dephleg flow to get a desired ABV?
I'm primarily a bourbon guy, and I love my pot still for the fact I can adjust the ABV of my low wines to get my hearts cut right at barrel strength. Is this possible with a flute?
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Copperhead road » Mon May 07, 2018 3:42 pm

Antler24 wrote:All you guys out there using a 4 plate for whiskey... Are you able to fine tube your dephleg flow to get a desired ABV?
I'm primarily a bourbon guy, and I love my pot still for the fact I can adjust the ABV of my low wines to get my hearts cut right at barrel strength. Is this possible with a flute?

With a flute you are going to be collecting product at a much higher ABV than a potstill. I have a 5 plate flute but run 4 plates for whiskey (simply for flavour)
My flute starts to collect product at 95% and sitting pretty close to that for the run, once alcoholmeter drops a point or 2 in the parrot it’s a sure sign that tails are coming through. (And bottom window starts fogging on column)

I use my RC (dephleg) to adjust my takeoff and collection speed, through 4 plates with whiskey this speed is generally 9 minutes per 300mls

After airing I combined my keeper jars and proof down to 65% abv with spring water and then into the oak barrel for aging.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby raketemensch » Wed May 09, 2018 5:34 pm

My flute is down to 2 plates now. I really anted that barley taste to come across, so I did 2 runs from the same wash, one with 3 plates and one with 2, and I really prefer the 2.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby MoonBreath » Thu May 10, 2018 8:00 am

2 for me also.
More carryover, abv stays lower for my preferred profile.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Copperhead road » Fri May 11, 2018 12:05 am

MoonBreath wrote:2 for me also.
More carryover, abv stays lower for my preferred profile.

Moonbreath do you have problems keeping plates stable and loaded while running 2 plates????

Are you running perforated plates or bubble caps ?

This is very interesting as I have never heard of anyone running 2 plates on a bubbler before.. :think:
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby googe » Fri May 11, 2018 12:17 am

Done it myself heaps as others have copperhead, good way to keep the flavors at the state you want as moonbreath said. Plate disabling.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Copperhead road » Fri May 11, 2018 4:04 pm

googe wrote:Done it myself heaps as others have copperhead, good way to keep the flavors at the state you want as moonbreath said. Plate disabling.

Thanx GooMan :wave:
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Saltbush Bill » Fri May 11, 2018 4:27 pm

Copper you just have to work out what works for you and what you like. If you ask how many plates on 5 different forums and get 50 answers you will probably get 35 different answers and ideas on how many plates is best , best ways to run for flavour...blah blah blah.
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Re: FLUTE TALK

Postby Nunyo » Thu May 17, 2018 8:57 am

pfshine wrote:Seeing as your rig is modular you can pull the plates and add copper mesh to it. That should make a nice clean drop.


I have my column packed from top to bottom now. Only thing I am wondering is if there is any benefit to running a single bubble plate above or below the packing. Right now, it's packed from the very bottom all the way up to within 4" of the dephlegmator. There is a total of about 8.5 pounds of copper mesh for about 44" tall x 4" diameter of packed section. I had planned on running it the way I have it but the thought of having one bubble plate crossed my mind though my intuition tells me that it would only rob me of some HETP's as I would need to remove a small amount of packing to do so.
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