Tails in my stripping run

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Aces High
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Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:16 am

I was just trying to do a stripping run with my reflux still. I tried to detune it by taking all the scrubbers out and just leaving a single copper scrubber in the bottom of the stem. (i think Hawke suggested this in another post to keep the tails down) but the tails seem to be coming across really early and really strong, Is this normal? and will this clean up when i do a final run? I can usually pull about 95% ABV on a final run.

I was running 20 L of nicely cleared Deathwish wheatgerm wash, so I was surprised when the tails came through so early. As it was a stripping I was running it fast with the tap fully open. It was still pulling the spirit at about 90% ABV, so it doesn't seeem like it was very detuned.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Ayay » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:15 am

Doing a strip will get you most of the alcohol without cuts in a short time...more like getting rid of some water. Stripping with a reflux column will simply give a higher concentration of alcohol without any cuts, just as you say is happening with the tap wide open.

The spirit run is where the cuts are made. In a reflux column supply enough heat to keep the reflux happening and take off enough product to keep the temp under 78.4*C more or less depending on your still. It should stabilize at around 78*C with the tap closed, then climb to 78.4*C with the tap opened to a fast drip or small stream. The cuts will be quite clear at these rates but can only get better with experience.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:44 am

Thanks Ayay,

Ive done a couple of spirit runs which have come out nice and neutral, but they have just taken way too long because i haven't started with a strip run. Thats why i was trying it the other day. I was just running hard and fast as per other posts in the forums, but i was just surprised at how the tails came through so quickly in the strip run. I would have thought that even though its a strip run that there would still be clear definition between heads hearts and tails, but there didn't seem to be. Tails came in really early in the heart section. I guess it doesn't matter too much as I was keeping everything anyway but I just thought I might have been doing something wrong.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Ayay » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:30 am

He he, I've run spirit runs a little too fast and tails were everywhere :( . Had to call them stripping runs and do them again even slower.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Hawke » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:01 pm

Yep, pretty normal. The copper scrubber is more for stopping some of the sulfer compounds than anything else.
If it's working right, it should go pretty close to a typical potstill run.
It is the very things that we think we know, that keep us from learning what we should know.
Valved Reflux, 3"x54" Bok 'mini', 2 liebig based pots and the 'Blockhead' 60K btu propane heat

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:53 pm

The only other problem is that its too efficient. It was pulling 90% at the beginning of the run and stayed above 80% most of the way through, even with a single scrubber in the thing.. I was running a DWWG wash, but they'res gonna be no flavor left in that... so on the weekend i started constructing a dedicated pot still head... back to the soldering desk :)

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by trthskr4 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:26 pm

Did you leave your reflux condenser on? What type of reflux still? If you have a vm you should plug the vent hole in the top with a cork, leave off the condenser in the top of the column and just use the liebeg.
15 gallon pot still, 2"x18" column with liebeg condensor on propane.
Modified Charles 803 w/ 50gal boiler, never ran so far.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:39 pm

Its a LM unit. Its the bokabob inline 2 cups design. I ran it with the condenser on and the output tap wide open. I was running it very fast and the output was a constant stream, not just dripping.

After I run my next stripping batch I will put them both back in and do a slow spirit run. Hopefully I will be able to cut the tails cleanly then. I was originally hoping I could detune this unit and use it as a pot still mode, but I now don't think thats possible as it will still strip most of the flavour out.. Its just lucky that i have almost all the bits i need to build the potstill head

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Slow & Steady » Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:01 am

You got just what you can expect from a pot still with your detuned reflux still. I run a copper pot still and when I strip the distillate starts a 90+% and steadily drops as the wash is depleted, and yes "tails" push right into the "heart", if that's what you want to call it, striping really doesn't have a head, heart or tail because you keep it all in one container. Stripping is a mindless reduction of water and most Pots Distillers run the temp right up to 98 degrees C to make sure they get all the flavors of the wash into the low wines (about 30% ABV). It is the subsequent spirit run in a pot still that takes talent, a good nose, a refined pallet, and most of all a willingness not to ring the neck of the beast. That is if you want a quality spirit.
"If it worthwhile then it is worth a little extra time and effort... all impatiens ever got me was burned fingers and charred eyebrows"

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by theholymackerel » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:48 am

Slow & Steady wrote: I run a copper pot still and when I strip the distillate starts a 90+% and steadily drops as the wash is depleted.
Then yer either not doin' a strippin' run, or yer not usin' a potstill, or both.

A potstill is equal to but one plate. If ya take a look at the calculators in the parent site (specifically here: http://homedistiller.org/refluxdesign.htm#steps" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow ) you'll see that with but one plate it takes an initial charge of 87% abv low wines to yeild a distillate of 90% abv. Even if it wasn't a potstill but it was a hybred-potstill with twice the efficiency (2 plates) it would take an initial charge of 80% abv to yeild a distillate of 90% abv.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by punkin » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:57 pm

Stripping runs always start below 70% for this potstiller, usually round 64-60%.

I strip to 20%.

I don't get 90% on a spirit run, usually only starts around the 82-84% mark with a charge of 40-50% low wines.... :?:

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:54 pm

I finished my pot still head last night so I just need to to a few cleaning runs and it will be ready to go. I think I'll follow your advice Punkin and run it all through down to 20% ABV

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Slow & Steady » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:55 am

Yes, it is a pot still. The Scotland style swan neck is 8 feet high and is well insulated in the distillation area and the hydrometer on the distillate output shows 90+% on the first 200ml that come out. Just because I don't have a heat source big enough to run my still "balls to the wall" when stripping my wash doesn't mean I'm not stripping. My pot still turns out a very fine spirit because I run her SLOW & STEADY.
"If it worthwhile then it is worth a little extra time and effort... all impatiens ever got me was burned fingers and charred eyebrows"

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by theholymackerel » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:13 am

When ya get 90%+ from a strippin' run out of yer "potstill", what is the ABV% of the wash/mash ya started with?

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by punkin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:43 am

Slow & Steady wrote:Yes, it is a pot still. The Scotland style swan neck is 8 feet high and is well insulated in the distillation area and the hydrometer on the distillate output shows 90+% on the first 200ml that come out. Just because I don't have a heat source big enough to run my still "balls to the wall" when stripping my wash doesn't mean I'm not stripping. My pot still turns out a very fine spirit because I run her SLOW & STEADY.

Got some pics for us greedy for copper junkies?

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by trthskr4 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:16 pm

:shock: :?: :shock: 90% on a stripping run is kinda high. I can see where Holy has a hangup on it. 8' of swan neck may as well be a column. :D :D Traditional potstills should only hit around 50-60% max off a fresh wash at best and average probably around 35-40 through the whole run.
15 gallon pot still, 2"x18" column with liebeg condensor on propane.
Modified Charles 803 w/ 50gal boiler, never ran so far.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by goose eye » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:05 am

ole boys got in the 90s but had to run it xxxx. they was tryin to hide the fact they scorched there pa likker. more they run it the worser it got.

so im tole

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by goinbroke2 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:04 am

goose eye wrote:ole boys got in the 90s but had to run it xxxx. they was tryin to hide the fact they scorched there pa likker. more they run it the worser it got.

so im tole
:lol:


If your getting 90% on a first run in a pot still......well, you've got one HELL of a pile of reflux going on in that swan neck! :shock:
It's not rocket science, if you do this, it will do that. A pot still gives flavours because it carries over so many cogeners, if you make it so it will strip out everything then what's the point of running a potstill? You might as well run a reflux still.
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Tater » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:07 am

goinbroke2 wrote:
goose eye wrote:ole boys got in the 90s but had to run it xxxx. they was tryin to hide the fact they scorched there pa likker. more they run it the worser it got.

so im tole
:lol:


If your getting 90% on a first run in a pot still......well, you've got one HELL of a pile of reflux going on in that swan neck! :shock:
It's not rocket science, if you do this, it will do that. A pot still gives flavours because it carries over so many cogeners, if you make it so it will strip out everything then what's the point of running a potstill? You might as well run a reflux still.
Whys that goinbroke2 goose said they run it 4 times?
I use a pot still.Sometimes with a thumper

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by punkin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:53 am

I reckon you blokes are in the process of turning away yet another valuable contributor with a lot of experience in the industry.

Just cause what someone says don't gell with the accepted dogma here or the jargon we tend to use, don't mean they are talking out their arse.
So long as they can back up what they say with sound theory and experience (unlike a certain Dr so recently), the difference in terms or concepts can be worked out.

Looking at a few of the things that slow and steady has said here and in a couple of other threads leads me to think you are shunning a very valuable contact.




Some may not realise that parts of the distilling industry call all batch stills, column or otherwise, 'pot stills'.


Maybe i'm wrong, but the benefit of the doubt should be shown before you shoot yourselves in the foot again. :cry:

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:31 pm

Looks like you are trying to get something started

Pumpkin? Stirring the pot? Surely you jest :roll:

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by punkin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:42 pm

andy wrote:I dont see where anyone is turning anyone away.Looks like you are trying to get something started .

You may not have read every thread?








You were a case that came to mind while typing Barney... :mrgreen:

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:13 pm

Yes, I had caught the "Dr." remark, pumpkin; the reason I didn't continue on, and "back up" my position in that other thread, is that your snarky remarks don't warrant the time it takes to type a response to. If anyone's guilty of turning people off around here, lately, it's you.

Now, drop it, and let this thread continue on its own.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by HookLine » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:30 pm

Everybody take a deep breath and count to ten...
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:54 pm

As per punkin's earlier post, Slow & Steady do you have any photos of your still? I'd love to see it.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Ayay » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:01 am

Slow & Steady wrote:You got just what you can expect from a pot still with your detuned reflux still. I run a copper pot still and when I strip the distillate starts a 90+% and steadily drops as the wash is depleted, and yes "tails" push right into the "heart", if that's what you want to call it, striping really doesn't have a head, heart or tail because you keep it all in one container. Stripping is a mindless reduction of water and most Pots Distillers run the temp right up to 98 degrees C to make sure they get all the flavors of the wash into the low wines (about 30% ABV). It is the subsequent spirit run in a pot still that takes talent, a good nose, a refined pallet, and most of all a willingness not to ring the neck of the beast. That is if you want a quality spirit.
Aces, I rekon your answer is in the above quote. I've got 90%+ from the foreshots in a stripping run because they are the first drips that gradually go from 1 drip/sec to 6 drips/sec. Thet it heats up and goes faster, but if it is a de-tuned reflux you may be getting some reflux even when the tap is wide open. My LM does that because the outlet to the tap is too small, so the max outlet is not big enough to take all of the condensates and reflux goes on regardless.

I'm making a dedicated pot column like you, mine has a 3/4"inside a 1" liebig condenser purely for stripping and proper pot stillin. For stripping there must be no reflux at all and the condenser better be good for all the heat available.

To reiterate:
A strip run will get everything including heads and tails all the way down to 20%...no cuts, and it better be a pot still with a good condenser.

A spirit run in a pot still is all about careful heat management and good cuts. No short-cuts...one mistake and you have to do it again!
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by goinbroke2 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:46 am

TATER [/quote] Whys that goinbroke2 goose said they run it 4 times?[/quote]

I was talking to two people. Didn't clarify it though.
The first laugh was at Goose's comment. I can imagine the ol boys freaking out because they burned it then trying to cover it up so dad don't find out. Run it four times trying to get the taste out and end up at 90% :lol:

The second comment was directed at slow and steady. If he's getting 90% (and I'm not doubting he is) he has a lot of reflux going on in the swans neck. But if he IS getting 90%, why bother running a potstill. If he wants to run slow and steady then why not run a reflux?

Not knocking anyone, just observing......
Numerous 57L kegs, some propane, one 220v electric with stilldragon controller. Keggle for all-Grain, two pot still tops for whisky, a 3" reflux with deflag for vodka. Coming up, a 4" perf plate column. Life is short, make whisky and drag race!

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:33 am

Yep Ayay, you're right.. The outlet tube on my still is also pretty small so there was splenty of liquid dropping down the centre. I did manage to get another bent piece of copper that goes in the top just below the condenser and deflects a lot more of the liquid down the side so it comes out rather than refluxes.. seem to make a fair bit of difference. I did a strip run the other day and it came up good.

I have also finished my pot still head. It starts at 2" and drops to 1" in the middle horisontal section then drops to 15mm (not sure what that is in inches) and drops off at a 45 degree angle with a 6" leibig. I tried a cleaning run tonight with some leftovers I had laying around and it was working well. I then pumped up the heat to see what would happen (it was only a cleaning run after all) and there was some vapour coming out the end, so the condenser wasn't quite knocking down all the vapour. I was pushing it hard though and there wasn't much in the keg, so i think it will work well on a normal strip or pot run. I have a big batch of vodka wash almost ready to go (to keep the girlfriend happy as she's almost drunk me dry) then i can start playing around with some other things. I should have some molasses & barley coming from the local stock feed place next week.

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Ayay » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:56 am

I'm glad it's working out! Vodka wash sounds like it needs only one run thru the fraction column. Do you strip it first?

Hope your 6" leibig is a typo cos it needs to be more like 26" or 36" :shock:
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Tails in my stripping run

Post by Aces High » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:55 am

I will strip this one first, but only cause its about 100L of wash and it would take a lifetime to put through the reflux..

and nope the 6" isn't a typo.. but after doing a cleaning run the other day i was very quickly learning that it wasn't long enough when i was pushing the run. Unfortunatley i was just working with the left over copper i had lying around.. Im gonna run a big run through it and see how it handles it. Worst case, I can always cut it off before the leibig, make another one and attach it.. Its all a learning experience eh!

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