Need Help Building CCVM Still

Many like to post about a first successful ferment (or first all grain mash), or first still built/bought or first good run of the still. Tell us about all of these great times here.
Pics are VERY welcome, we drool over pretty copper 8)

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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby still_stirrin » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:51 am

artooks wrote:...Do you think this smell could be removed during the next reflux distillation?
I'm not confident it will, but you can try. Diluting and rerunning is the only way to find out....it can't hurt anyway.

artooks wrote:Tomorrow, I will distill again, with only copper mash and with 5 Gallon Low Wines. Just to confirm, have some questions:
1) Do I at the beginning have to keep rc at the top, and when I see few drops lower the rc? Run it like it's yours. With my LM/VM combo, I start in full reflux for 15-20 minutes to compress the fores and heads. Then, I open the LM valve to pull them off. You've got to learn how to run your equipment...get the experience necessary. We can't drive it for you...it's yours!

2) Do I have to start the cooling water as soon as I charge the boiler? If you're absent-minded and might forget to turn it on later, then you'd better start the water right away. And when you say, "charge the boiler", I am assuming you mean "turn on the power".

3) Do I lets say I get fores, have to to %100 reflux for 10 minutes between the cuts, or once I go into %100 reflux, for 1 hrs, would that be enough till the end of the run. See the answer to question 1.

By the way I purchased a bigger water tank 26 Gallon and my boiler is 8 Gallon I think it will be sufficient even in the summer. Capacity is goodness...it'll sink more heat before the water warms up. Still, it is good to have a plan to replace some of the water if needed during a long spirit run. A hose from a nearby faucet with a means to drain some of the warm reservoir is one way to do it. Think about it.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:39 am

Still Stirring thank you very much for the help, one last question I want to ask because from what I read It really makes me feel confused, some say that cuts needs to be made in the stripping run and some say in reflux, Can I just do the cuts in the reflux, not in the stripping run, what I am confused is this point, it is said that in reflux some alcohol is returned back to the boiler therefore, methyl and other unwanted alcohol cannot be removed properly is this correct, which one do you prefer, I do not want to make a mistake, please share your recommendations.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby still_stirrin » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:12 am

artooks wrote:...some say that cuts needs to be made in the stripping run and some say in reflux...
There is no reason to do cuts in the stripping run, except possibly pulling the foreshots, which many of us do (including me). Otherwise, cutting for heads and tails is not necessary (a stripping run is simply made to generate the low wines for a spirit run). If you prefer to collect your low wines in small jars, then fine. But you'll dump them together in the still (as low wines) for the spirit run. It can be beneficial if you are trying to learn what the fractions smell and feel like. But ultimately those skills are best honed on the spirit run.

artooks wrote:...in reflux some alcohol is returned back to the boiler therefore, methyl and other unwanted alcohol cannot be removed properly...is this correct?

There is another thread in the Safety and Related Issues forum which is discussing the volatiles and when they come over and how best to deal with them: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=40606&start=90

The simple answer is....don't create them. What you ferment and how you control the ferment, as well as the choice of yeast will affect the volatiles produced and the extent of their presence in your wash. As a rule, sugar washes won't have methanol produced and the other congeners are diminished as well. Acetylaldehyde is a byproduct of an aggressive ferment, but it is very volatile, often outgassing when your still comes up to operational temperatures. You'll smell it early on as the "green apple" smell. Similarly, ethyl acetate is also volatile. It is the "fingernail polish" smell you'll notice in the foreshots and early heads.

The best way to clear these products, is to reflux a little while at the start of your spirit run and let them "stack up" in the column. Then, open the valve a bit and collect them off slowly. Other than that....relax....run your still....learn how it works....and PRACTICE. We can discuss this all year long but you'll not have any more experience than what you read. It's time to jump in...and swim.
ss
Last edited by still_stirrin on Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby skow69 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:17 am

Art, I think you are way too worried about making a mistake. Sometimes that is the best way to learn. Run your still. Watch it, listen to it, smell it, feel it. Just don't walk away and "do some other work." Minimal research would have told you that. Also, any research will reveal that nobody makes cuts on the stripping run. And a little thought will tell you why. I'll bet there are close to 200 questions in this thread. That may be getting close to what we sometimes call spoonfeeding. Run your still. Learn your still. Enjoy your still.

Cheers.

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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:46 am

Thank you very much SS I am running the still and learning each day also including my findings and photos, so that someone when reads this thread can at least find it useful, but sometimes in some threads there is no clear answer so in that regard I asked my questions. So I just asked about the foreshots, best to remove in the stripping run I guess.

Skow69 I am not worried just does not want to make a life threatening mistake that's all.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby StillerBoy » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:18 am

artooks wrote:just does not want to make a life threatening mistake that's all.

Maybe.. just maybe this hobby is not for you if you feel threaten in making a mistake, that feeling is only because you have not grasp the understand required for the hobby .. this hobby is way safer than driving a vehicle, which all do every day without a second thought.. slow down and get the understanding required..

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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:28 am

StillerBoy, you showed the same attitude towards me, I now strongly believe you have
Something against new starters, what you are doing is
only discouraging people who are just starting out and have much to learn
there is a learning curve here, its not like programming a robot, I hope you
Show some degreevof positivity and help instead of putting new starters off.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby Pikey » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:38 am

artooks - you are NOT a "victim" here. Personally I am amazed at the restraint and devotion some have shown in dealing with your constant questions.

It Does appear that you are not bothering to do any other form of research.

I was wondering earlier whether you had EVER posted anything on the site to help someone else ? and whether you would just disappear, when you have learned what you seem to need to learn.

I do hope not, after all the time effort and frustration others have applied to your case :)
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby still_stirrin » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:55 am

It's all good artooks. It is time to "take off the training wheels" and "learn to ride"... You can do it...don't worry. And if you "fall off" a couple of times, just get back on and try again. It's time to learn...without 10,000 questions. No need to be unsure of yourself...you know enough to do it.

What Stillerboy was alluding, if you're still unsure then you haven't read enough of the "training manuals". Sometimes there is a fine line between helping someone along and enabling laziness. He was saying that you need to do your learning without needing to be "spoonfed" all along the way. I've helped you much...because of your courtesy to listen. Translation to a different language often doesn't work well with "intended meanings", often it brings harshness...even if not intended.

And this is NOT the only thread with these questions...this is a very large worldwide website of knowledge with which to learn from. I guarantee ALL of your questions, concerns, worries, etc., have been asked and answered multiple times with many, many diverse perspectives. Your job is to research them...and discern (for YOU) what is the answer/recommendation to proceed (for your needs).

When Rad was here we all learned to read through his answers to learn (I do so wish he still was here) even if the response seemed curt at first.

You'll do great. Start some Tried &True recipes...run them through your equipment according to the processes you've developed...and report back your successes. That's what we ALL want to read.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby Pikey » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:14 am

+1 on "still stirrin" :thumbup:
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:41 am

Thank you very much Still Stirrin,

You really helped me a lot, and I would like to thank you for your encouraging words, thanks a lot, but I really do not understand some people, why should I leave when I have learned this hobby, I cannot help someone at this stage, but when I grasp what I need to learn than I will definitely, even in this forum I am sharing my progress with pictures, in the belief that it could help someone, and about the reading part, I am reading a lot even if you all think that I am not, I have even purchased 3 books and started to read, so I am taking this hobby seriously and want to learn the best I could.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:48 am

artooks wrote:I am reading a lot even if you all think that I am not, I have even purchased 3 books and started to read, so I am taking this hobby seriously and want to learn the best I could.


That's the attitude that is respected here. But, before asking questions, it would be best to do a search on these forums to see if your question has already been answered. Hint: Use the Google search at the top of any page, just click on the link, add a space then your query terms.

As I said a couple of times and others have said also, run your still, make some mistakes, correct them and then do it a lot more. With time and patience you'll get it.
Last edited by RedwoodHillBilly on Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:49 am

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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:53 am

Thank you very much RedwoodHillBilly I use the Google search, but sometime I could not find the answer that I am looking for, but will try my best.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby StillerBoy » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:03 pm

artooks wrote: but sometime I could not find the answer that I am looking for

Tell me this.. how would you know what it takes to answer a question that you don't know the answer to ! ! :econfused:
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:36 am

Hi Everyone,

I want to tell you about the second reflux run that I completed today, as I said 2 days ago I did my spirit run, but ran into problems with smell and taste, so taking the advice of the good people in here I ran it again, this time, my packing was only consisted of copper mash, anyway, I did see that the %ABV started at 94 wheres last time, when I used a combination of copper mash, copper saddles and raschig rings I did start with 96 ABV anyway, not much of a problem, I did my reflux for 1 hour and then slightly moved the rc collected 200ml and tossed it, started collecting In 200ml jars on the 4 th jar I immediately realised that that bad smell has returned back, so really looked at the site to find some similarities to my problem, but all I found was mainly taste problems about using the Turbo yeast, it is strange after collecting 600 ml the bad smell returned, and I cannot find a reason for that, smelled all the copper mash and SS mash, the problem was at that point everything was covered with that smell, so really hard for me to distinguish, what I am thinking is

1) I did complete the BW wash, My OG was: 1.070 FG: 0.990 so there does not seem to be any problem, but maybe the bakers Yeast that I am using could might cause next time will try a different yeast, but then again, I did not get anything like this smell in the stripping run, so now I am clueless, I wish there was something similar in the forum but will try harder.
2) I suspected the SS mash on the coil, so I changed it with copper mash instead.
3) As all of you suggested that this could have been caused by the low level of the water, so if that day the spirit burned, can this burned smell go away or stay regardless of what I do, that also I do not know, but will search,

Overall this was my third wash which was unsuccessful, I poured it away, but gained some experience, will start again, hope this time I can do better, thanks a lot.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:24 am

StillerBoy wrote:
artooks wrote: but sometime I could not find the answer that I am looking for

Tell me this.. how would you know what it takes to answer a question that you don't know the answer to ! ! :econfused:


Dude, If you don't have anything constructive to add, just be quiet. Let the guy learn.
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The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:34 am

artooks wrote:Hi Everyone,

I want to tell you about the second reflux run that I completed today, as I said 2 days ago I did my spirit run, but ran into problems with smell and taste, so taking the advice of the good people in here I ran it again, this time, my packing was only consisted of copper mash, anyway, I did see that the %ABV started at 94 wheres last time, when I used a combination of copper mash, copper saddles and raschig rings I did start with 96 ABV anyway, not much of a problem, I did my reflux for 1 hour and then slightly moved the rc collected 200ml and tossed it, started collecting In 200ml jars on the 4 th jar I immediately realised that that bad smell has returned back, so really looked at the site to find some similarities to my problem, but all I found was mainly taste problems about using the Turbo yeast, it is strange after collecting 600 ml the bad smell returned, and I cannot find a reason for that, smelled all the copper mash and SS mash, the problem was at that point everything was covered with that smell, so really hard for me to distinguish, what I am thinking is

1) I did complete the BW wash, My OG was: 1.070 FG: 0.990 so there does not seem to be any problem, but maybe the bakers Yeast that I am using could might cause next time will try a different yeast, but then again, I did not get anything like this smell in the stripping run, so now I am clueless, I wish there was something similar in the forum but will try harder.
2) I suspected the SS mash on the coil, so I changed it with copper mash instead.
3) As all of you suggested that this could have been caused by the low level of the water, so if that day the spirit burned, can this burned smell go away or stay regardless of what I do, that also I do not know, but will search,

Overall this was my third wash which was unsuccessful, I poured it away, but gained some experience, will start again, hope this time I can do better, thanks a lot.


If you had a scorch in the stripping run, the spirit run probably won't clean it up. Good idea to toss it and start again. I would be sure to clean the packing (like a vinegar or some other acid, and a good rinse) before your next run. Like I said, do a run, make mistakes, correct them, repeat until you get it. You'll figure it out, I have confidence in you.

Best of luck, but it take patience and work.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:01 am

RedwoodHillBilly, thank you very much, I already put the packing in vinegar, will try again and hope will figure it out in my next run.

Thanks
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:07 am

artooks wrote:RedwoodHillBilly, thank you very much, I already put the packing in vinegar, will try again and hope will figure it out in my next run.

Thanks


'atta boy, you'll get it. Mistakes are part of the learning process.

Run, make mistake, correct it, repeat until you get good at it. Then do it more to make a lot of good likker.

Good luck, you'll soon make good likker, just takes patience and work.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby GrassHopper » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:10 am

Artooks,
We/I understand your frustration and anticipation of getting something good to drink. Hang in there, it will come. I remember my very first wash that smelled like puke and I ran it four times hoping it would clean up. It never did. Of course that was with a pot still and not my CCVM reflux. I have never had that happen again and I have ran many, many runs.
There could only be a few factors causing a bad taste/smell of the middle of your run. 1. A bad or infected wash/mash 2. A new or dirty column and packing 3. A scorch (as mentioned) 4. A puke (usually on runs of rum or AG or brandy or unfermented washes). 5. The ones I have not learned about yet
I also have observed that once the patina settled into my column and my copper mesh my product only has gotten better. Be sure your copper mesh is 100% copper and not coated copper.
Oh, BTW....I have never stopped reading and learning. This hobby is addictive. :moresarcasm:
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:24 am

GrassHopper wrote:Artooks,
We/I understand your frustration and anticipation of getting something good to drink. Hang in there, it will come. I remember my very first wash that smelled like puke and I ran it four times hoping it would clean up. It never did. Of course that was with a pot still and not my CCVM reflux. I have never had that happen again and I have ran many, many runs.
There could only be a few factors causing a bad taste/smell of the middle of your run. 1. A bad or infected wash/mash 2. A new or dirty column and packing 3. A scorch (as mentioned) 4. A puke (usually on runs of rum or AG or brandy or unfermented washes). 5. The ones I have not learned about yet
I also have observed that once the patina settled into my column and my copper mesh my product only has gotten better. Be sure your copper mesh is 100% copper and not coated copper.
Oh, BTW....I have never stopped reading and learning. This hobby is addictive. :moresarcasm:


The more that I do this, I still find a lot of #5 :roll:
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:28 pm

Thank you very much GrassHopper, the main problem is I just started and I was really happy that I could get 96% ABV from this CCVM still, but then I could not get anything from the BW wash, that smell how should I describe, off smell, there is also a hint of minty smell as well, it really made me feel down, by the way I always wash my still after each run, only with water, to keep everything clean, is there a chance that packing can give some kind of flavour to the spirit, my copper mash was purchased from Clawhammersupply, I also washed and smell those mashes, but overall my weak points are.

1) Transferring the wash to the boiler, I believe even if I syphon some yeast makes its way to the boiler, so I must read more to see what to do.
2) Trying to decide whether I should go in reflux between the cuts.

Now I must read more to grasp more, thanks everyone, I really feel much better now. :)
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby kimbodious » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:22 pm

Artooks

+1 using Bakers yeast :thumbup:

Some people go back to full reflux between fores and heads, it is a personal choice. It is the decision about how pure you want your product to be and how much time you have available to commit to the run. There gets a point where you spend a lot of extra time for little gain in purity.

Some people go back to full reflux between hearts and tails. They do this to extract as much alcohol from their wash as possible. This again is a personal choice and involves extra time. The smell of tails from the CCVM run makes me gag; I shut the run down when I get the slightest whiff of tails.

If you want to check it is not your still and packing retaining the bad burnt smell you could remove the RC, cap the column and simply try a potstill run just using water. I would expect there'd be bad taste in the distilled water at first but it should improve the longer the potstill cleaning run goes for.

I siphon my wash in to my boiler. I am careful to keep the end of the siphon hose just above the sediment. I clamp the hose to the top of the fermenter to hold the end just above the sediment. If you leave your wash a number of days after it has finished fermenting all the sediment will settle to the bottom. It is very easy then to see how deep to put the siphon hose in.

While you are waiting for your wash to settle keep reading. When you are reading consider what you have experienced and learned against what you are reading and look for the common threads. Read widely. I don't know how much learning material is in your Turkish language, I respect the effort involved in your having to translate so much information to be able to comprehend and interpret the information. :thumbup:
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby artooks » Fri Apr 14, 2017 3:36 pm

Thanks Kimbodious,

So you are recommending to do a water run without an rc only a packed column is that right ?, also I do a 6 Gallon wash but when I syphpon I think I leave behind 1 Gallon is it the same with you ?,
Many people used BW wash and get perfect results ?, I always read that refluxing mostly remove taste but I believe regardless of mow many times I tried once a wash is burned that smell cannot be removed
by refluxing so this would make me believe that refluxing can remove taste up to a level, thank you very much kimbodious.
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby still_stirrin » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:13 pm

Since you're starting a new sugar wash ferment, I suggest you look at and try Rad's All Bran recipe (also in the Tried & True Recipe forum).

It makes a great neutral for those high proof runs (no, I don't mean it gives you the "trots"). I prefer it to the Bird Watcher's because it is easier to make and I've had better success with it fermenting to below 1.000. It seems to be more tolerant to the pH crash, probably due to the grain and vitamins in the cereal. I use the generic all bran cereal from the grocery store.

In memorium....your scorched Bird Watcher's was a good learning experience...unfortunately, it didn't give you any product to celebrate the successes of your new hobby/skills. But soon, very soon you will have those rewards. Chin up...
ss
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What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:41 pm

still_stirrin wrote:Since you're starting a new sugar wash ferment, I suggest you look at and try Rad's All Bran recipe (also in the Tried & True Recipe forum).

+1, when I was learning, I used to do sugar washes, this was the one that I had the best success with. That is what I refer to in my signature. I now find that ag is easier and cheaper. But you need to walk before you run.

It makes a great neutral for those high proof runs (no, I don't mean it gives you the "trots"). I prefer it to the Bird Watcher's because it is easier to make and I've had better success with it fermenting to below 1.000. It seems to be more tolerant to the pH crash, probably due to the grain and vitamins in the cereal. I use the generic all bran cereal from the grocery store.

It's easy and is tolerant of mistakes, highly recommended. Get the cheapest cereal you can find.

In memorium....your scorched Bird Watcher's was a good learning experience...unfortunately, it didn't give you any product to celebrate the successes of your new hobby/skills. But soon, very soon you will have those rewards. Chin up...

There you go, keep on keeping on, you'll get it.

John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby StillerBoy » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:54 pm

kimbodious wrote:I siphon my wash in to my boiler

When you state I siphon my wash, are you actually siphoning or racking your wash, as there is a big different in the result achieved.. a racking cane with the tip will not pick up sediment vers siphoning will.. when racking a wash that has been allow to settle properly, there is no more than about 200 ml of wash left behind..

Mars
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:04 pm

StillerBoy wrote:
kimbodious wrote:I siphon my wash in to my boiler

When you state I siphon my wash, are you actually siphoning or racking your wash, as there is a big different in the result achieved.. a racking cane with the tip will not pick up sediment vers siphoning will.. when racking a wash that has been allow to settle properly, there is no more than about 200 ml of wash left behind..

Mars


Huh?
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Need Help Building CCVM Still

Postby kimbodious » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:16 pm

artooks wrote:So you are recommending to do a water run without an rc only a packed column is that right ?
yes as a cleaning run, you would soon find out if your still is contributing the bad smell
also I do a 6 Gallon wash but when I syphpon I think I leave behind 1 Gallon is it the same with you ?
No,from a 24 litre was I leave behind 1/2 a litre
Many people used BW wash and get perfect results ?
I prefer Googe's Kale recipe!
I always read that refluxing mostly remove taste but I believe regardless of mow many times I tried once a wash is burned that smell cannot be removed
some bad smells are very difficult to remove
thank you very much kimbodious.
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