First spirit run issues

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First spirit run issues

Postby ccdl69 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:16 pm

So I have been combing the forums for a long time now and finally have
decided to have a go at making my own UJSSM. For my Still I have a 8gal keg
with a 1'' column about 30'' and a liebig arm about 26'' (1/2 with 3/4
jacket) Using propane heat.

So I have done a few stripping runs now with no issues (getting about a
gallon in 2 hours 65% down to 20%). I have saved up enough to do my spirit
run 5gal of 50% (I know I'm an idiot and i will not be doing that again) so
i started off very slow taking my fores off and then turned the heat up a
little to get a broken stream or kinda fast drips and on my 3rd jar the
drips stopped and i wondered wtf and then it blew out a bunch of vapour and
hot liquor (vapour lock I'm assuming) and the huffing sound which i heard
in my stripping runs and thought nothing of and didn't seem to cause any
trouble (no vapour lock or vapour lost).

Now i've looked into this huffing sound and i understand it is the vapour
collapsing and I'm assuming having just circulating ice water thru my
condenser (33degrees) that this was my issue so after a long hall i decided
to shut down on jar 13.

Woke in the morning and rigged up the garden hose and just had the water
trickling out of the top hole on initial start up no huffing but started
shortly after. The water was cold coming in and warm going out. I played
with my temperature/water flow and could not seem to get the huffing to go
away. Im wondering if my column size is too small but it seemed like i was
running slow enough i was running about 1/4 gallon in 45mins. Also maybe
charging my still with such high proof. Also the jars coming off abv seems
crazy that it doesn't drop off quicker in a pot still.

Used pint jars

Took 1.5 pints (fores) 85%
1-4- 85%
5-9- 83%
10-12 - 82%
13- 79%
14- 79%
15- 75%
16- 71%
17-18 - 67%
19- 59%
20- 42%
21- 31% (quarter jar seen oil on 19-20)

Just seems weird to me. I have all the jars airing out they don't smell bad
to me lol maybe ill have the old girl have a whiff here in a few days.
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Re: First spirit run issues

Postby ShineRunner » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:44 pm

What’s the question?

Huffing- generally I’d say your water is running too fast and causing vapor collapse. Water should be hot coming out, not just warm. Generally, you want the break over point to be about mid way down your Liebig. Can be a little higher though. 1” column is plenty for a pot still of your size. You’re pumping cold at the bottom and out at the top, right?

Not sure about vapor lock.. seems odd that you’d get no flow and then blow out vapor. Your rig doesn’t seem to have low spots that would pool and cause issues.

Abv drop seems normal to me. Lower your low wines and see what happens. You’re making flavored alcohol here. High proof is not really the goal- high flavor is. High proof does not equal high flavor.

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Re: First spirit run issues

Postby rubber duck » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:59 pm

I'm not sure why your rig stopped and started spitting vapors, I've heard of guys running high proof in column stills and having trouble like that.

To fix the huffing you can take a little copper mesh, roll it up, and loosely stuff it in the end of your libeg. The key is loosely you don't want to plug it up.
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Re: First spirit run issues

Postby ccdl69 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:00 pm

Thanks I will try running my water even slower and see if it does the trick, yes i got the cold in the bottom :). The vapours spewed out quite violently i just happened to be right beside it and a stream came out pretty fast and it was smoking hot, this is when i had the icewater running thru the liebig not the garden hose. I will definitely be running a lower abv and running the water even slower Thanks!
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Re: First spirit run issues

Postby still_stirrin » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:23 am

Surely, you don’t have any packing in the 1” x 30” tall riser do you? That could cause “flooding”, which would have the symptoms you’ve described. You don’t need packing because you don’t have a reflux condenser.

What you have is a simple potstill, ie - no packing required. With a 1” ID riser, the vapor flow rate will be fast and could choke inside a riser that is too tall. The height of the riser does nothing for the purity...only makes it easier to reach the jars for collection.
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Re: First spirit run issues

Postby ccdl69 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:41 am

Yes I do understand that i have a simple potstill - No packing. My whole idea behind the riser being so high was that it would fit better with the liebig (ends up about the same height). I am going to upgrade to a 2inch riser but keep the same setup maybe a union so you can break it down, also in the future i would like to run a thumper but not anytime soon!
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