Tell us about your mistakes.

This hobby is fun & enjoyable, but it is not tiddlywinks. Be safe!

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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby yupiteru » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:57 pm

Pikey wrote:
yupiteru wrote:I'm new,

Yes we can see that

ALMOST CERTAINLY THE CAUSE OF EVERYTHING HAS BEEN THE EXCESSIVE HEAT,
.................e[/quote

The thing you did RIGHT - was to NOT leave your still unattended - so you were There to attend to the issues - THAT is number one priority. 8)

And you clearly learned a lot ! 8)


seen the risk. I've already taken action,
replaced the regulator lpg pressure with a normal kitchen this works very well sends the right amount of gas even if you inadvertently touch the valve on the burner, no longer does the flame-thrower effect,
anyway you're right, staying near the distiller is the first thing to do,
the second thing, it's not keeping alcohol near them,
It should also be noted that these are things about general safety,
example if you turn on a lpg burner indoors there must be ventilation etc ..
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby SherrodBrown » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:54 am

shadylane wrote:My worst one was having too small of a copper pipe for a condenser and it got plugged with grain from the mash I didn't strain. Thank heavens I did have a homemade pop off valve. Made out of my thermometer just setting in the hole. Never did find that thermometer.


Thanks for the mistake. I think I will add one of those tube fitting with a mud filter inside the lid of my boiler. :D
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby cariboux » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:37 pm

ALL GRAIN 100% MALTED RYE FAILURE
This last month I tried something I really wanted to do, but was way out of my league and beyond my experience level. I've had great success with everything I'd done so far and I am an example of 'PRIDE COMETH BEFORE THE FALL'! :esad:
I was determined to do an AG 100% Malted Rye mash. I'd read warning about starting with a small batch, but I decided to do an 18 gal mash with 35# of milled Malted Rye. I milled the grain to near flour as I was trying out my first BIAB. I boiled the mash in the bag in my 32 gal BOP. Everything looked GREAT until I started to extract the bag. I had burned a hole in the bag and all the grain was in the bottom of my BOP. I had no way to sparge it and 20 gallons is not an easy handle. I ended up fermenting on the 'grain'. It bubbled and foamed over violently and made a horrible mess. On about the 2nd day, the whole batch stunk like vomit and my young bride was not happy with me.
Anyway, I siphoned the whole mess into carboys , let it settle and distilled. The conversion/yield was horrible and the smell stayed with the distillate. The residue in my carboys was a chore to wash out and actually made our compost pile stink! I finally just put what distillate I did collect into my next corn wash.
It was a rather expensive, labor intensive and time consuming utter failure, but as my ol' dad always said, "No college is free".
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby dieselduo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:25 am

If you do it again try some fermcap it really works. Rye also likes to puke so put some in the boiler too
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby fizzix » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:54 am

Dammit I'm so pissed at my rookie mistake.
Boiled up a Scottish Ale beer while I'm drinking some of that buckwheat whiskey I'd made.

The wife calls down "It's time to go!" (she's the designated driver for our short trip to visit friends.)
What do I do? Absent-mindedly (drunkenly) pitch the Scottish Ale yeast into the hot wort.

Expensive and hard to get Scottish yeast. Murdered.

I need one of those mechanisms where you pull the rope and a big boot kicks you in the ass.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:13 am

Hey Fizzix , Feel your /their pain ..... may they rest in peace with the knowledge that their rotting corpses may nourish those that follow ....albiet ... at a slightly lower temp :D .... you poor bastard ..: that would have pissd me off no end

Dang ... why can’t those taxi drivers get their trip times sorted :econfused:
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby raketemensch » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:29 pm

A month or so ago I plugged in the cord for the still to warm up and wandered around nearby getting prepped for the run — gathering jars, rinsing the pump etc.

I noticed it wasn’t heating up as fast as expected, but whatever, I hadn’t run in 3 weeks or so, maybe I was just out of practice, right?

My wife comes down and is talking to me, then there’s a loud crack and a red flash — the cord wasn’t plugged into the still, it was plugged into the 5500 watt element in my electric pot. It was dry-fired, and eventually arced.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby The Baker » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:17 pm

Perhaps a big red label on the cord next to the plug?

POT STILL 5500 W

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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby HDNB » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:04 pm

so i re-plumbed a bunch of cooling, made a new condenser and generally cleaned things up. then summer set in and i never got around to a run for over a month.
last week i was talking to my fitter friend and said "should i clean the condensate trap before i fire up, after sitting that long?"

he sez, Nah, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

trying to do a spirit run on some rum that's been lingering and the first half went fine. Just as i'm deep in hearts my output starts fading and i never touched a thing...and then all of a sudden she blows a big rush of steam, blowing booze everywhere and she's puking her guts out all over my heart cut. :shock: :evil:

after a hasty shutdown and quick mop up, i turned the steam (input heat)down and restarted the boiler. no way in hell she will puke at that low a heat input... but sure enough 10 minutes of heat up later she does exactly the same thing.

so what happened was the condensate trap got a bit plugged up, the steam jackets filled with condensate blocking heat transfer. output slows... Then the boiler peaked up to 15lbs and the condensate trap let go, the jacket empties of water and fills instantly with 252*F steam....flash boils a big cloud of steam and pushes the boil right up the column.

note to self: don't ask the fitter's opinion on maintenance no goddamn more.

on the bright side i think she puked the perfect amount of backset in to the heart cut for barrel aging. Tastes great!
I finally quit drinking for good.

now i drink for evil.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Fiddleford » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:10 pm

I was making a run a few years ago and the side of my cap started to steam and it was just like a tea kettle, I was in a panic and started to paste it up and the paste wasn't working, It would stick then fall off after a minute fall off so I did something really stupid and dangerous. I'm not proud of myself for doing this and regret it completely. I put the paste on and to harden it quickly I used a blow torch and some steam leaked through and all I gotta say is you ever see a ethanol blowtorch? It's scary shit, I could have killed myself and injured my housemates.
I took from that to not underestimate the danger of this hobbie and now I don't keep blowtorches around my still
All I need is my fiddle a guitar player and some folks from the Kam valley and I'm happy.

Be careful with high concentrations of sugar and high heat, if you get that stuff on you don't try and rub it off
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Yonder » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:38 pm

Jesus H., fiddle! That coulda got real excitin, real fast. You are one lucky man. :esurprised:

A week or two back I caught a leak in my pot just when the temp hit 190. Shut 'er down, rebuilt the biscuit and cranked up again insida 15 minutes, little loss of vapor and safety first :oops: . I run pure electric with a fan blowing past the boiler. Fire extinguisher pegged to the wall a few feet Away. :ewink:
Gotta have a plan ready always.
Double, Double, toil and trouble. Fire Burn and pot still bubble.
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Re: Tell us about your mistakes.

Postby Fiddleford » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:45 pm

I actually had another leak a few days ago second one luckily, I found it and threw the past on and it sealed right away. Different still, alot more prepared to and knew i could knock my vapor down with water since its a column still.
All I need is my fiddle a guitar player and some folks from the Kam valley and I'm happy.

Be careful with high concentrations of sugar and high heat, if you get that stuff on you don't try and rub it off
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