VM, CM, and LM confusion

Vapor, Liquid or Cooling Management. Flutes, plates, etc.

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luva69r
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by luva69r » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:15 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:59 pm
LM " Liquid Management. The amount/speed of the spirit leaving the still is being managed /controlled .. in turn that dictates how much spirit is being refluxed..or in other words how much reflux there is....or another way ...what the reflux Ratio is.
Most LM reflux stills use a needle valve to restrict or increase spirit flow. The type in the diagram uses a restricter nozzle arrangement. I'm told they come with 2 different interchangeable sized nozzles.
Ive never personally run that exact still, but I'm told that for a small commercially available refux still they are one of the better ones.
Not good for Brown spirits but fine for vodka / neutral style drinks.
Yes, I use it for neutral. The best thing about it is that there is no needle valve to mess about with. You just keep an eye on the temps. and make your cuts.
I just wasn't sure where it sat, as it doesn't have a seperate condensor. I appreciate your feedback. :thumbup:
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:59 am

What exactly can you tell from the Temps ?

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by luva69r » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:34 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:59 am
What exactly can you tell from the Temps ?
When the boiler reaches temp and vapour has got to the top, you leave the take-off closed for 10-15mins until the temperature stabilizes and the still is in full reflux. You then open her up and collect your Foreshots and the temp goes up by about 0.2deg c as the Heads kick in. It then stabilises again in the Hearts for about 3hrs and then rises by only 0.2deg c again as it hits the Tails. :thumbup:
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:57 pm

Yes you are right, temp change at the end of the run will let you know of the arrival of tails on a still like that.
Im not sure that the other Temps are that usefull really, The column will stabalize after 10-15 mins regardless of looking at the thermometer or not.
Relying on temps to tell when fores , heads and hearts are arrived at or end is haphazard to say the least.....small jars , smell and taste are far more accurate.

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by bluefish_dist » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:58 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:57 pm
Yes you are right, temp change at the end of the run will let you know of the arrival of tails on a still like that.
Im not sure that the other Temps are that usefull really, The column will stabalize after 10-15 mins regardless of looking at the thermometer or not.
Relying on temps to tell when fores , heads and hearts are arrived at or end is haphazard to say the least.....small jars , smell and taste are far more accurate.
+1. While the temps may vary a little at the front end, it does not correspond to a heads cut in my experience. Temperatures on an unknown run won’t make your cuts for you.

Lots of runs of the same product can let you make cuts by volume or time. But that is experience suggesting where you cuts will be. When you do a new unknown run taste is still the best way to make cuts. Even the big boys like beefeater have tasting stations.
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by shadylane » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:07 pm

My 2 cents worth
Accurate Temps can be used for estimating the ABV
But ABV can't tell you what the cuts are going to taste like

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:11 pm

bluefish_dist wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:58 pm
+1. While the temps may vary a little at the front end, it does not correspond to a heads cut in my experience.
Ive never noticed any variation at the front end with a 3 inch Boka, the change at the tail end is fast and cant be mistaken.

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by bluefish_dist » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:43 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:11 pm
bluefish_dist wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:58 pm
+1. While the temps may vary a little at the front end, it does not correspond to a heads cut in my experience.
Ive never noticed any variation at the front end with a 3 inch Boka, the change at the tail end is fast and cant be mistaken.
I often see a .2 to .3 deg F change between my lowest equilibrium temp and my running temp. I always assumed this was the really light volatiles getting taken off.
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by azeotroll » Mon May 04, 2020 9:10 pm

N00b here. I'm running a 3" torpedo pro column from Mile Hi (https://milehidistilling.com/product/3- ... pro-tower/)

As far as I can tell this is a cooling management setup. ( Quick aside, I don't really know if the design of the reflux condenser has a name, is' a very simple vertical pipe (1" or so) with two lines going to the side for input/output. ) I have two quick questions:

1 - Could i realistically change this to LM or VM by changing the head on it?

2 - In both the LM and VM cases it seems like there is a very good chance developing dangerous levels of pressure in the system while the takeoff is closed down. True? So if I went this route I'd want to add some precautions to address that?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by kimbodious » Tue May 05, 2020 2:26 am

Easy enough to make a VM with that still plus a valve between the column and the product condenser. Second piece from the bottom is a reflux condenser, put that piece at the top of the column. Do not put the cap (with the thermometer) back on the top, that leaves the column open to the environment at the top (no pressure issues). As long as there is enough cooling in the reflux condenser there won’t be any vapour escaping out the top.
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue May 05, 2020 3:34 am

azeotroll wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 9:10 pm
In both the LM and VM cases it seems like there is a very good chance developing dangerous levels of pressure in the system while the takeoff is closed down. True? So if I went this route I'd want to add some precautions to address that?
No still is ever a closed system, they all need to be open to atmosphere at all times , if not you have just created a bomb.
Suggest you look at still build threads until you understand that concept and how stills are built properly.

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by azeotroll » Tue May 05, 2020 4:26 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 3:34 am
No still is ever a closed system, they all need to be open to atmosphere at all times , if not you have just created a bomb.
Suggest you look at still build threads until you understand that concept and how stills are built properly.
Haha that's what I was scratching my head about. I should have just looked it up though first. Thanks Bill!

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by greggn » Tue May 05, 2020 4:52 am

azeotroll wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 9:10 pm
( Quick aside, I don't really know if the design of the reflux condenser has a name, is' a very simple vertical pipe (1" or so) with two lines going to the side for input/output. )
That is not the reflux condenser, it's the product condenser. There are many different condenser designs and that one is a "liebig."

Edit: ... and it appears to be undersized for a 3" column. It's going to limit your production rate. Consider upgrading to a shotgun condenser after you become more comfortable running your rig.
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by azeotroll » Tue May 05, 2020 7:54 am

greggn wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 4:52 am
Edit: ... and it appears to be undersized for a 3" column. It's going to limit your production rate. Consider upgrading to a shotgun condenser after you become more comfortable running your rig.
Thanks! The part I'm talking about is the part in red. I tried to indicate what it looks like inside with the gold fill. Those two lines go straight in and pick up a vertical 1" or so closed pipe. I put the glass section below it and the reflux generally just drips right off of the bottom of that.
Capture.PNG
I was thinking about adding a little bit of copper packing in there to help slow the vapor down a bit, if I run the 2kw heating element wide open i get a decent amount of product out. The product condenser seems pretty good, even with the cooling water running low the liquid is coming out chilled to below room temp.

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by Expat » Tue May 05, 2020 8:12 am

azeotroll wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 7:54 am
...if I run the 2kw heating element wide open i get a decent amount of product out. The product condenser seems pretty good, even with the cooling water running low the liquid is coming out chilled to below room temp.
If I've understood correctly you're running a 3" column, in which case 2kw is definitely under powered for a column of that diameter. For any reflux column (other than plated) a good rule is to fill all of the space below the reflux condenser with packing of some sort; else its not much better than a pot still.

Just to confirm, the water coming out of the reflux condenser should be quite hot, no need to over cool the distillate being returned to the column. The product cooler definitely is over sized for the purpose, likely built to operate in a pot still configuration without the RC.
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue May 05, 2020 1:20 pm

Looks like another of these so called " duel purpose" stills to me....a pot still trying to be a reflux still.
The fact that its modular is a good thing , will let you reconfigure it and add parts if you want something better.
I suspect that refux condenser will only be good for partial reflux so not much good for proper reflux still purposes if / when you reconfigure it.

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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by greggn » Tue May 05, 2020 2:01 pm

azeotroll wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 7:54 am

Thanks! The part I'm talking about is the part in red. I tried to indicate what it looks like inside with the gold fill. Those two lines go straight in and pick up a vertical 1" or so closed pipe.

Whoa, I didn't see that coming.
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Re: VM, CM, and LM confusion

Post by azeotroll » Tue May 05, 2020 3:37 pm

I appreciate the help folks!
Expat wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 8:12 am
If I've understood correctly you're running a 3" column, in which case 2kw is definitely under powered for a column of that diameter. For any reflux column (other than plated) a good rule is to fill all of the space below the reflux condenser with packing of some sort; else its not much better than a pot still.
Yep this is sort of my contraption I put together by running loose on the Mile Hi listings. The main thing I wanted was a starting point and something modular (as Saltbush Bill pointed out) so I could learn and hopefully reuse/recycle parts as I figured out what I really wanted to do when I grew up. I just got everything I need for the 240v hookup except the element, will probably order that in a month or two.
Expat wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 8:12 am
Just to confirm, the water coming out of the reflux condenser should be quite hot, no need to over cool the distillate being returned to the column. The product cooler definitely is over sized for the purpose, likely built to operate in a pot still configuration without the RC.
Yep i had the water coming out of the reflux condenser at 120F for almost the entire run. We're on well water so the pressure fluctuates quite a bit but it was pretty stable.

Yeah I might actually make a smaller version of the product condenser, it's running at a trickle the whole time.
Saltbush Bill wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 1:20 pm
Looks like another of these so called " duel purpose" stills to me....a pot still trying to be a reflux still.
The fact that its modular is a good thing , will let you reconfigure it and add parts if you want something better.
I suspect that refux condenser will only be good for partial reflux so not much good for proper reflux still purposes if / when you reconfigure it.
I haven't been here long enough to know if you always nail it on the head Bill but you did here lol. This was a bit of an impulse buy after probably 5 years of planning to build one. Just got tired of thinking and wanted to start doing haha. I can't say much about the design clearly but it came out of the box like a crown jewel, gorgeous welds and polished from head to toe.

I'm partly in this to geek out as well. This is what my sacrificial run looked like. Temps in F and weights in apprximately grams/ml's. Won't go into the chaos from 11:55-12:30 haha.
Capture.PNG

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