Ageing vessel concept

Treatment and handling after you are done distilling.

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Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:34 am

Hi guys,

My latest build project, I've been working on ageing brown spirits and have been looking at a more productive way of taking on the task.

Given the following major requirements in ageing:

Extraction
Subtraction
Oxygenation

I have ordered an 18L Stainless steel 316 grade suitable container see images
51m1L1X8i3L._SL1000_.jpg
18L stainless Container

61alvBS80tL._SL1000_.jpg


I also plan, as I have already ordered it, for safety to run a 12V 200W DC water heater inside, this will take the 60% ABV or so to 55 degrees C in a few hours, so, not a rush heat, don't want it to be, this is to be controlled by a trusted STC-1000.

I am integrating a 7 day 24 hour timer to pre-program the times/days I want the distillate to be heated, to simulate the heating a cooling requirements.
b211eb7d-c0c2-43c7-8086-c898fcc9e841.JPG


I will also be integrating 2 X 2 Micron stainless steel Air Stones, that will run in the same programmed way as the heat cycle, these will be fed via an obvious air pump.
1-2-Silver-Homebrew-Diffusion-Oxygen-Stone-For-2-_1.jpg
1-2-Silver-Homebrew-Diffusion-Oxygen-Stone-For-2-_1.jpg (11.05 KiB) Viewed 999 times


I will be cycling the heating program to allow initial oxygenation of the spirit, this may go on for a month. 2 days between heating, which may only last 2 to 3 hours per day, the STC-1000 will maintain the temperature at the 65 degrees or so with as I say perhaps a day or two on no heating to allow a natural cooling, then kick in again.

I have gone for 200Watts of heating and 12V for a couple of reasons, firstly safety and secondly a gradual heat rather than some full on 1.5Kw of energy, I want to bring up the temperature in a more controlled manner.

The Air stones will provide both fluid movement, save the shaking, and the important oxygenation requirements required in ageing.

Within the 18L container I will have Oak, charred, perhaps a few Raisins, and a vanilla pod, dependant on the nature of the spirit to be aged.

The power for the 12V DC 200W element will be provided by a 250W Constant Voltage power supply. Already ordered.
s-l1000.jpg
12v_200w_dc_water_heater_element_twin_rod_m.png
12V 200W DC element, you can split this to 100W X 2


for the second month, I plan to run the heater only,to provide heat and therefore pressure within the container, I will incorporate some form of pressure relief, be that a valve or a good old fashioned cork will I know the pressures involved, I will fit a pressure meter anyway to learn the levels of pressure build up.

There will be a power meter fitted, nothing special, but, something that will indicate to me that the appropriate amount of Watts is being drawn from the heating element.

I have been ageing product for a few years and have looked with interest at the microwave process, I already have a 500W Ultrasonic bath that has proven to be very successful, and to be fare is a standard part of my distillate before bottling as an irrelevance to this being an aged sirit or not, ultrasonic's are very very good at certain things emulsification being one.

I will be logging the build project as it goes along, and again, as per my column still build, will not be using computer assistance, but, keeping most of the decisions to the user, but, with some electronics in the build for control and information, but, will look to keep the build made from parts that a readily available.

A few main component pictures to start.

Thoughts?

Cheers

Tony
Last edited by Tony1964 on Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:44 am

Tony1964 wrote:...I also plan, as I have already ordered it, for safety to run a 12V 200W DC water heater inside, this will take the 60% ABV or so to 65 degrees C in a few hours, so, not a rush heat, don't want it to be, this is to be controlled by a trusted STC-1000.

This is NOT ADVISEABLE.

It is very dangerous because the flash point of higher proof alcohol is much lower than you think. This could potentially explode inside your aging vessel.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:53 am

Still Stirrin, I appreciate your comments, been editing the post, there is no possibility of a flash point in the still, the heating elements are totally isolated as in they are 316 stainless elements, to be fair I understand your concerns, I am qualified electronics engineer, but, am also aware of potential dangers for both myself, but, more, for other may may want to replicate, the nuclear ageing of spirits at this proof has proven not to have issues, in my opinion, and it purely my opinion, this is safer as there is no physical exposure to power at all, for a failure to occur, the element casing would have to be compromised, the element is also in the spirit, not in the spirit vapour.

I will be guided by you, and remove the project from the site.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby jog666 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:17 am

ethanol.jpg
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:52 am

Having trouble interpreting the table, if I ignore the freezing point, the table suggests that at 40% by weight, and at 26 degrees c then I have a chance of ignighting the vapour?, so, I’m having a neat drink in Cuba, spark up a smoke and remove half my face?

Seriously I understand the concerns, if a moderator could remove the post or I will attempt to remove it, but, seriously having worked with high voltage magnetrons in the past, I was actually looking for a safer ageing process.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby SaltyStaves » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:32 pm

You're stainless milk can should be contained within another vessel to isolate it. Especially if you are going to be venting high proof to atmosphere.

Personally, I don't hold much stock in the heating/cooling theories. It works for barrels, because the traffic is two-way with the wood as a moderator. The wood needs to expand and contract to facilitate this exchange. A submerged piece of wood does not. It is already saturated and it cannot become 'more' saturated.
Lignin breaks down when it can no longer sustain a bombardment of energy. If the tipping point is not reached, it is basically the same as starting over again.

I hold my spirit for a minimum of 48 hours at the temperatures you are considering.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:57 pm

Salty

Thanks for the reply, I have been experimenting with vapour extraction of compounds in the oak in a similar way to botanical oil extraction in the carter head. Opening the cell structure to release compounds in to the vapour flow then condensing in the normal way. I get quite high dry tannin flavour very pronounced, to prononched I feel and will be reducing the amount of oak in the vapour path in addition to changing the vapour extraction slightly.

I then use/add the oak used in the vapour extraction in the ageing process, I hear what you say about the wood saturation and will give that some thought.

On the venting of vapour to the atmosphere I have given that thought, what I am considering it to in essence attach a vapour take of tube and vent this in to water, in essence bubble the vapour in to water creating 2 things, firstly, this will condense the vapour, given the initial zero alcohol content of the water, I’m not going to get anywhere near any issues, secondly the water I am bubbling through will give me some back pressure. All I have to do is figure out how to stop the water being sucked back up the tube when the heating cycle finishes.

Thoughts?

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:25 pm

Having thought about the back pressure, I’d forgotten about the positive pressure produced by the air stones.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby SaltyStaves » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:30 pm

Not sure what pump you are using, but typical aquarium pumps have rubber diaphragms which will foul your distillate with rubber aroma and taste.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:30 pm

Tony,

A part of my concern for a direct contact heat source immersed in high proof alcohol is that the surface temperature of the element will be much hotter than the liquid temperature at the thermocouple. Local temperatures will (or potentially could) exceed the flash point...until it is too late to shut down the power.

I have seen spontaneous combustion in feed silos (yes, for livestock) where the silage fermented due to excessive moisture content in the feed stock during harvest. The resultant alcohol content was much less than 10%ABV, but the heat and pressure of the silo caused it combust. So, it doesn’t take much heat, or pressure to ignite alcohol.

We all often run low wines at 30%ABV and possibly slightly higher. But just look at the atmospheric pressure flash point for alcohol as a function of temperature and you’ll quickly see that adding a heat element into a 65%ABV low wines wash is dangerous.

You’ll do what you want to do. But the website does not approve and consequently cannot promote such practice (moral and legal responsibility). It is dangerous and you (as an engineer) should know that. As an engineer myself, I would not do what you’re proposing here.

OK?
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby NZChris » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:41 pm

Combustion requires fuel, oxygen and ignition. There is no oxygen present near the potential ignition source, so this method should be as safe, if not safer, than microwaving the same abv, which is a subject that can be freely discussed on the forum.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby HDNB » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:44 pm

the idea, with a good safety plan does not seem that out there to me. There is a big difference in flash points and spontaneous combustion. heat alone is not the issue...ignition is really the problem.
in a sealed vessel, pressure seems misguided though. i don't know i'd want much on a can like that. i'd get a manufactured and tested vessel if i was going above 2 or 3 psi.

i keep my aging stock in a sea can, it gets hotter than Hades in the summer inside that can, well above flashpoint for (72abv in some) in a 100* steel box. combined with pressure inside a wood barrel (you'd be surprised how much they build in heat)...now i wouldn't suggest walking in there with a propane torch, but i'm not worried that it will blow up. that said, it's not in my basement either.

most here have run with 90% abv in the top of a column, but the concern is always given with cutoff of 40% in the boiler. personally i don't see a significant difference in running 90% in the column vs the boiler from a "safety" perspective, it's equally as dangerous at the top of the column.

personally i'm wayyy more leery of microwaving booze. i've done it and survived but it's not "proven" safe, despite fully silenced's protestations...it's just been done a lot without complications we have heard of.I'll never do it again -the microwave i have now actually sparks all on it's own, and that's the third leg of the fire triangle.

stay safe. i think it's worth it to post if you do it. someone may point out an(other) overlooked thing that may cause a problem and save you some grief.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby NZChris » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:55 pm

Mine uses a 100W element in a 2/3 full 6l vessel and I don't use pressure, or temperature fluctuations, or oxygenate during the run as I think there is a lot of overthinking and little science behind those theories. See the 20 years of aging in 6 days thread.

https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=55301
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 6:04 am

Thanks Chris, I've taken a really good read of the post, seems like a lot of synergy to my thoughts at the min
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby richard1 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:50 am

At present this is commercially being done by ISTILL. They heat up to max 60 deg C and agitate at same time for an approx period of 6 days.

What's the difference ??
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:28 am

Richard

Is that a question for me?

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby richard1 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:30 am

No, just make a broad comment.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 1:23 am

Richard, replied to your PM.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby slowpoke » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:32 am

How about a brew belt on the outside of the container? Turn it on/off using your STC1000 to keep the likker at desired temp. I like that 24hr/7day timer thang to control when it happens. Could put a coil, or some such, on the top to reflux any evaperatin liquid back to the vessul. Feed your temp probe wire down through that same condenser. Depend on how hot you make it, might need a cooling fan pointed at the coil.

I might try this with a 1/6 bbl keg. I also got a old compressor pump from a water conditioner unit that might work good for airatin the likker. Could put it on a seprate timer to kick in a little less offen.

I remember seein one of them mythbuster shows where they tryed to blow up a likker still. One experment they was tryin to fill a chamber with likker vaper and set it off with a lectric spark. As I recall they couldnt get it to work. But I guess it only has to work once. Maybe they just didnt get the rite combination of stuff to make it work. All I no is they played hell gettin that still blowed up. Ended up doin sumthin way outside of common sense just because they like to see thangs blow up.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:05 am

Hi Slowpoke,

thanks for your interest, I can't see a brew belt providing enough power to be fair, but, appreciate the suggestion.

The condensing of the vapour, I already run ultrasonic's that heats at the same time, I set that to 50 degrees C it really does get things off to a good start, when you lift the lid there is a lot of condensation on the lid, so, I'm expecting the natural variation in temperatures to do the reflux work for me. But, again, its good to see you actively joining in.

I've had a look at your introduction, you've been at this game a few years by the looks, keep it safe my friend.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby NZChris » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:40 am

The element should be placed to create plenty of circulation past the wood, so placing it higher than the wood might not work as well as if it was placed below it.

Reflux is going to happen unless you do something to stop it, like heating above the charge or using a lot of insulation.

None of the logical reasons for why temperature and pressure cycling works when the likker is in a barrel are present when the barrel is in the likker, which is why I don't bother.

A poster in the 6 days thread ruined his product by aerating it during his trial. There will be an optimum for aeration, but nobody here knows what it is. Leaving 1/3 head room above the charge works for me.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:32 am

Hi guys

Update on the ageing vessel, 12V 200W element fitted,
IMG_4019.jpg
IMG_4020.jpg


And, IP68 connection box fitted,
IMG_4021.jpg


I have been working on the safety circuit for the controller using a zero voltage momentary switch on technique for those that like to role that way, worth a look if your into this type of thing.

The issues I'm looking to protect with this, are low liquid level, to both protect from accidental switch on without anything in the vessel, not likely but, hey, and low liquid level as to not expose the element to a dry condition.

In addition, a separate over temperature detection, this will be with a separate STC-1000 to the STC that will be controlling the element.

In addition I will be using an SSR Solid State Relay to turn on the main power.

In essence, if there is a fault with the unit causing over heating, or low liquid level, the unit will turn off instantly and cannot be re-started without intervention from me, if I try to turn it on with a fault condition, it will not start. I will explain the circuit in further detail if there is interest, but, a circuit like this can have many safety implications and will look to incorporate this in the main still, this does not take away in any way the normal diligence we do with the hobby.

Protection Circuit.jpg


I have simplifies the DC 12V power supply to the left as its more for the overall wiring, but to the left you will see the 2 sensor switches in series, unless both are closed I cannot engage the SSR, with LED indication to show me they are engaged. Once engaged, push the momentary switch that receives 12V power from a small independent supply, this engages the turn on power to the SSR and starts up the main 12V power supply, which then provides the power to keep the SSR switched on. but, this power is before the 2 in line safety devices, if a fault causes an open switch state, power is removed from the turn on side of the SSR and cannot be re-started without pushing the momentary switch again, if the fault still exists, it cannot start the SSR.

Diodes are located for blocking the independent DC power supplies interfering with each other. And reverse current protection on the heater element for any back EMF.

Again, if there is interest, I can go in to more detail, it goes without saying, do not do this if in doubt with working with electricity.

A thanks to Jason1979 for transferring my hand drawn circuit to CAD.

More updates as awaiting parts to arrive.

Cheers

Tony
Last edited by Tony1964 on Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:50 am

Just an update on the air pump, been doing a lot of research on this, with all the bad news on rubber taste transfer, I've read some posts back to 2010 on here regards to reversing the air flow and sucking air in, in addition, to the comments on over oxygenating.

My research took me to piston pumps, oil free, that took me to manufactures of these, and during this, looking at the specifications of them, I note that the medical versions of the piston air pumps use ptfe piston rings with stainless steel pistons etc.

This lead me to the applications of these medical versions, and nebulizer compressors, the type used for asthma sufferers, they deliver a lower amount of air per minute than your standard aquarium pump, also, I'm going to split the timer and have 2 timers to vary the time and see what could be the optimum.

These things can be purchased for some £24, less no doubt in the USA, I'm ordering one, strip it down and use both the pump and the 5 micron air intake filter from it, more on that when I get to it.

Already I don't think this level of cost is justified to be fair, this is for interest and reporting back for anyone else that may find this interesting.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:19 am

Hi their

Update on the build, fluid level sensor fitted
IMG_4027.jpg
The heating element is more than fully covered at 2 litres of fluid, I have set the switch to dis-engage at 3.5 litres, so, should the fluid have evaporated or in the unlikely event of a leak, the power to all of the system will be cut, this is a 12V switch removing the power from the DC sensor side of the SSR and forms one of the safety aspects.
IMG_4028.jpg
I will have to ensure the nothing traps the float open or closed, this could be an oak stick floats by etc, the ring you see in the picture is a hanging ring, that is already part of how the vessel is made, it has a stainless steel scoop that comes with it, I may look at using this hanger in some way for the oak sticks to be held in someway with a cage. Unlikey to be an issue as the float has a reasonable amount of buoyancy that would push anything floating away, but, safety first, the opportunity for wood once soaked to be trapped below the float is probably more likely in a risk assessment, but, dependant on the thickness of wood, this would have to have been 2 pieces on top of each other if you get me, but, never the less, I need to look at this.

I also stripped down the nebuliser last night to remove the piston pump, works really well, this is a 240V piston motor medical grade, the inline air filter aspect of it will fit in better than I expected, I will also b adding a SCR power regulator to the AC motor to have control of the speed of the motor, these things do not deliver the air that aquarium pumps do, but still, having further control of the air delivery can only be good.

Tonight's work will be to fit both thermal sensors and stainless steel air stone, I have enough parts to start the controller, so, will look at starting that the weekend as I have the second part of my molasses rum to run Friday evening, I'm looking to have this ageing vessel finished for the third rum run.

I did initial power tests on the 200W element at the start of the week, and am very happy with the steady heating, start temperature of water 13.3C and took an hour to get to 40C, which is good, I want a steady temperature rise.

I have also added to the circuit layout to incorporate the timers and power meters and added a further standby 12V power supply, I will change the original diagram out, once its built and tested.



Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:28 am

More work done last night.

Stainless Steel air stone and thermowel fitted and water tested,
IMG_4032.jpg


Heat shrunk the cables and routed to the front connection box.
IMG_4035.jpg


The control signals will be carried to the controller via a 6 pin din connection to keep the cable neat, 6 pin din fitted.
IMG_4036.jpg


Now to tidy up the signal cables.
IMG_4037.jpg
IMG_4038.jpg


And a view if the air pump input.
IMG_4039.jpg
having tested the pump in place, whilst it is not the litres per minute of an aquarium pump, there is still, what I would consider to much air flow, and as previously mentioned, will look to reduce the power to the 240V pump via the controller.

A little note on the cost effectiveness of making your own ptfe washers, I purchased literally half an A4 sheet of 2mm thick ptfe, and with a series of circular hole saws, made them, the sheet was some £5.99 and still have 3/4 of the sheet left.

A note on the 12V power cable, I've gone down the road of using C19/C20 IEC connections rated at 20A max, C19/C20 is little used in the UK, most are C13 IEC (Kettle/PC type),

I have a Rum run tonight so no work on this project till the weekend, the weekend sees the start of the controller, I have 99% of the parts, so, straight into it.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:17 am

Work done over the weekend

Ball valve fitted to the front.
IMG_4040.jpg


Wired up the 6 pin din socket to transport the sensor signals.
IMG_4051.jpg


Safety vapour tube fitted, this goes in to the 1.6L jar, this will be partially filled with RO water to allow some back pressure, but, at the same time allow both to cope with any issues with pressure from heating, but, also to allow a flow of the air produced by the air stone.
IMG_4052.jpg


I have two spare ports in the lid, just running nipples terminated, I'll be looking to fit a couple of corks in them just in case for any reason I forget, unlikely but you never know, to open the ball valve, this will be a low tech backstop.

I have drawn out the front panel as work on the tank has all but finished, so, this weeks work will focus on that.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:16 am

Last nights work,

Test fitting the front panel, just waiting on one of the timer program controllers to arrive.
IMG_4055.jpg


And most fitted just temporary, not actually pushed in, they all have to come back out to make it easier for me to work inside.
IMG_4059.jpg


The control box is fitted to the same tripod assembly same as my still controller, will work on the internals of the controller tonight, see where we get to.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:35 am

Hello there again, been busy with the build, some of this takes for ever.

This is virtually the final schematic revision, the only change I've made to this is the addition of a power controller to control the speed of the air pump.
IMG_4071.jpg


I'm about 1/3rd the way through the wiring with most of the controllers in place, the wiring looks a little messy at the min, as none of the cable ties are locked down, further cable management will be added once completed.
IMG_4082.jpg
IMG_4083.jpg


Side and top vents added for air flow, a fan will be added to assist, there is already a fan fitted to the heater power supply, the air pump has its own fan that is quite large, never the less an additional fan will ensure flow, I have done pre-tests on the thermals on the components, and nothing gets hot at all, the SSR is rated at 40 Amps, as that was the one I had around and is only switching 1Amp at 240V, it will be mounted to a SSR heatsink, but, that is more for ease of fitment than any heat dissipation, as said, I ran the unit heating water for an hour, and the SSR was not even warm.
IMG_4084.jpg


The second programmer came the other day, and is fitted, I've done tests on all of the primary switching including the SSR switching of the 12V heating Element.
IMG_4085.jpg


Can't do anymore to the unit till the weekend.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Tony1964 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:47 am

Hello

Been hard at it the weekend to pretty much finish the controller, front panel finished.
IMG_4103.jpg


Cable routing and all tied down, note I added additional fan cooling to the 12V power supply, its the black coloured aluminium PSU top right to vent heat directly out of the case, cut a 45mm hole in the aluminium casing, there is already a fan solution in the PSU, but, this addition makes a difference to the overall thermals of the PSU and is also a safety precaution, the PSU have a thermal cutout as part of its design, but, its best to prevent this being an issue to start with.
IMG_4104.jpg
IMG_4105.jpg


I also fitted the SSR to a heat sink, this is good practice, the current drawn is low at 240V, and was more for eash of fitting to the case than anything else.

Air pump hose fitted, with quick release.
IMG_4107.jpg
IMG_4108.jpg


And finally added an aluminium plate.
IMG_4109.jpg


Did a full test Sunday, took an hour and 15 mins to heat water up to 60 degrees C, tested the safety aspects and work no problem at all. I'll try and post a video of the start up, but, you cannot start the heater if there is a fault, the green LED lights if safety is good, and if a fault occurs during use, it shuts down and cannot be restarted without the safety being fixed, safety is on over heating beyond a preset temperature, which is independent of the main heating control and if the fluid level is below a preset level or of cause empty.

The pressure is prevented from building up by the take of stainless steel corrugated pipe that vents to the 1.6L reserve, which also provides enough back pressure (I think) to allow natural movement in and out of the wood, no pressure is blown through the reserver during heat up I notice, but, during the oxygenation, this works exceptionally well. and prevents damage to the pump and pressure build up in the tank.

I am glad I put a variable power control to the air pump, as on full power it does move some air, so dialling it back is well worth the effort.

I will try and post a video or two operating the controller for those that are interested.

I have a check valve coming as a safety measure in the air flow line to prevent any reverse direction of air flow, I did fit a stainless steel quick connection to the air line to allow easy disconnection of the line, but need the check valve.

I have 3 runs of rum awaiting a spirit run this week sometime, so, that will be the first to go in to the tank, I will be doing further tests before hand, I have initially tested the program timer and that works very well, I just need to get my head around how much oxygenation to actually do.

Cheers

Tony

Tony
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Re: Ageing vessel concept

Postby Bushman » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:05 am

I like the safety features you’ve added. :thumbup:
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