moonshine distillery explodes today

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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby cranky » Wed Mar 30, 2016 4:23 am

thecroweater wrote:without going back all over this and associated links and so going by memory they had a second reflux still I think. Now a reflux still in a whiskey distillery would be used to run near to neutral to add to/bulk up the new make but just maybe they were adding it to the mash to carry more flavour per Gallon of spirit. Just speculation but that would explain a few things

The 300 gallon was the reflux still the smaller one was a pot still. Here is a picture showing the one that blew up, you can see the pot still in the background.
ST1.JPG

I have noticed that the majority of pictures of revenoor stills clearly have a vent at the top of the column. I don't know if this was a change Revenoor made after this one blew up or if this still has a flat top to clear the ceiling.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:32 pm

What I see in that photo is what looks like a dial thermometer near the bottom. There is nothing in any of the reports to suggest anyone knew it was there, what it was good for, or if it was ever read or recorded. Because it is displaying the boiling point of the charge, a thermometer in that position is the one that is best able to warn an operator that a still is running at pressure.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Kegg_jam » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:56 pm

In the report they say the pot runs 200-204F and the column around 190F
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby shadylane » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:09 pm

NZChris wrote:What I see in that photo is what looks like a dial thermometer near the bottom. There is nothing in any of the reports to suggest anyone knew it was there, what it was good for, or if it was ever read or recorded. Because it is displaying the boiling point of the charge, a thermometer in that position is the one that is best able to warn an operator that a still is running at pressure.

The problem with dial thermometers is, their not very accurate.
And the temp difference between normal and blowing up would only be a couple of degrees f
What the boiler needed for protection was a water trap/manometer, that would vent any overpressure or vacuum.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:19 pm

Kegg_jam wrote:In the report they say the pot runs 200-204F and the column around 190F


Going by the reports, they were reading those temperatures in the vapor at the top of the boiler, not in the charge itself.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:30 pm

shadylane wrote:
NZChris wrote:What I see in that photo is what looks like a dial thermometer near the bottom. There is nothing in any of the reports to suggest anyone knew it was there, what it was good for, or if it was ever read or recorded. Because it is displaying the boiling point of the charge, a thermometer in that position is the one that is best able to warn an operator that a still is running at pressure.

The problem with dial thermometers is, their not very accurate.
And the temp difference between normal and blowing up would only be a couple of degrees f
What the boiler needed for protection was a water trap/manometer, that would vent any overpressure or vacuum.


Dial thermometers are normally very easy to adjust for accuracy, so if my dial thermometer isn't accurate, it's my own fault.

I know from the ABV going in, what the boiling point of my charge is. If it goes over that, I have a problem.

What any still needs for real protection from over-pressure is a pressure switch cutting off the heat. Relying on venting without killing the heat source just creates a new problem and relies on the stiller having the nounce to do the right thing and not being distracted or taking a dump at the time etc..
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Uncle Jesse » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:43 pm

cranky wrote:
thecroweater wrote:without going back all over this and associated links and so going by memory they had a second reflux still I think. Now a reflux still in a whiskey distillery would be used to run near to neutral to add to/bulk up the new make but just maybe they were adding it to the mash to carry more flavour per Gallon of spirit. Just speculation but that would explain a few things

The 300 gallon was the reflux still the smaller one was a pot still. Here is a picture showing the one that blew up, you can see the pot still in the background.
The attachment ST1.JPG is no longer available

I have noticed that the majority of pictures of revenoor stills clearly have a vent at the top of the column. I don't know if this was a change Revenoor made after this one blew up or if this still has a flat top to clear the ceiling.


Mine has a vent right after the worm which is just a simple vertical tube, and also the 1lb pressure release valve at the very top of the column. You can see them in the photo.

I've run it too hot and had mash come out of both, which is messy but not overly flammable or dangerous. Of course when it comes out the vent tube it also comes out the regular spirit path as well.

I only do a single run. I've done runs where I saved up enough low wines to fill the still, but with the type of column I have, I didn't detect any marked improvement in quality, so what's the point? All those stripping runs and additional ferments take time and effort and resources.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:55 pm

Uncle Jesse wrote:Mine has a vent right after the worm which is just a simple vertical tube, and also the 1lb pressure release valve at the very top of the column. You can see them in the photo.


I had the impression that the pressure relief valve in the STD still was in the top of the boiler where it would be some use if there was a blockage in the column.

Where was it?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby cranky » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:11 pm

Uncle Jesse wrote:Mine has a vent right after the worm which is just a simple vertical tube, and also the 1lb pressure release valve at the very top of the column. You can see them in the photo.

That's how most I've found pictures of were but I have found a few with the flat tops but I haven't found if any of the flat top ones have a vent hole.

NZChris wrote:I had the impression that the pressure relief valve in the STD still was in the top of the boiler where it would be some use if there was a blockage in the column.

Where was it?

I've seen another picture of it that shows the pressure relief valve located in the upper part of the boiler.

One thing that might be worth noting is in the picture I posted, you can see where something was removed and a patch soldered over the hole. I think it was some type of threaded fitting, I don't know what it was for but pictures of other boilers made the same way have the fitting.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Tomb » Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:55 am

Would not a simple safety feature be to leave the valve on the bottom of the "boiler" open with a piece of hose connected?
The hose would then be elevated to about four feet and the end directed away from you.

Of course this would spill hot product if there was an issue but it would certainly warn you and prevent pressure build up.

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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby pfshine » Thu Mar 31, 2016 8:32 am

You're trying to boil the liquid in the pot that would be in the hose of some unknown make. If you wanted to go that route just hook up a manometer to the boiler vented to the roof.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Bushman » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:23 pm

Yesterday I attended at session at the ADI conference entitled "The Day our Still Exploded", the speakers were Spencer Balentine and distiller Jay Rogers. Jay described the explosion, where he was standing at the time, what happened to him, etc. Then he went into detail about his current rehab, both physical and mental. What got to me the most was toward the end of the session he said something that really stuck with me. His comment was "I have all this help with rehabilitation but what bothers me most is there are a lot of Home Distillers that are buying stills off the internet that don't have to meet standards, welds, pressure testing, etc. If something happens who can they turn too for help.

This really got me thinking about these guys that build maybe, maybe not knowing what they are doing and possible standards not being met yet many of our members could be purchasing these stills and putting themselves at risk. Another safety thing Jay mentioned that after running your still for years or prolonged time don't take anything for granted valves, welds, etc. should be checked.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby cob » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:59 pm

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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:55 pm

"I have all this help with rehabilitation but what bothers me most is there are a lot of Home Distillers that are buying stills off the internet that don't have to meet standards, welds, pressure testing, etc. If something happens who can they turn too for help.

This really got me thinking about these guys that build maybe, maybe not knowing what they are doing and possible standards not being met yet many of our members could be purchasing these stills and putting themselves at risk. Another safety thing Jay mentioned that after running your still for years or prolonged time don't take anything for granted valves, welds, etc. should be checked.



A few thousand forum members, how many have had a still blow up on them ? to me, it would be interesting to know

I just cannot get my head around, how that still got blown out of the building, something very, very :shifty: went on there

My view is that those revenoor stills must be of really good quality, with top notch welding/brazing, being that the weld/brazing did not fail, which led to so much pressure being allowed to build up.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Bushman » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:26 am

Agree, I am not talking about the still that exploded but some of the ones I've seen on eBay or craigslist.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby BoomTown » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:26 am

"A few thousand forum members, how many have had a still blow up on them ? to me, it would be interesting to know

The problem with this question is that, those forum members unlucky enough to experience a failure, large or small, are not likely to report it. Keep in mind, most of those members are operating below the radar, and a reported failure results in an investigation that peels back the cloak of secrecy.

I'm still concerned that the manufacturer is not in the dialogue. Granted that the operators of the failed equipment appear to have been aggressive in their use, but to answer the question of why/how that still moved that distance, one only has to think about how a jet engine works. The pressure must have been high, no doubt, but how and why that pressure was so high is the real question. A pot still is supposedly an open system, and very little pressure should have built up. That question, it seems to me, is not being talked about by either the manufacturer or the operators. There is a lot of babble about a marble plugging up an exit port....huh? There in lies the danger, IMHO.
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moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Kegg_jam » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:09 am

So is Spencer Balentine on tour bad mouthing Revenoor or is he promoting save stilling practices learned from their mistakes?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby shadylane » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:06 am

I doubt he's on tour promoting safe stilling practices.
Instead, he's doing what he does best, prompting Spencer Balentine.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby DAD300 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:56 am

I've posted before, I had a fire.

95% leaked from a joint on the column and run down to the top of boiler, which was insulated. It accumulated under the insulation until it went "wooooof".

I was sitting within three feet...I heard it, but didn't immediately recognize what had happened. Remember, in daylight you'll not see the fire! I saw the insulation turning from white to brown, no visible flame, no smoke and said to myself, "That's a fire."

Turned the gas burner off and used waste cooling water to deluge everything. Replaced a column gasket, the cigar I bit off, underwear and carried on.

But if I hadn't been there, the whole column, floor and flake stand would have gone up very quickly.

I think about beer kegs a lot. They are great, but maybe they are too strong. I recommend everyone drill a hole in the top and put a wine cork in it. It makes a great fill port also.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby thecroweater » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:53 pm

I think pop off corks are an added danger and a crazy idea for any indoor still. Shady lane posted a picture of an external vented relief and if you want to go that path its the way to do it. By the time something has gone very wrong and you have pressure to blow the cork you already have a dangerous situation so when that cork goes you will have a still room suddenly filled with an explosive gas. Any sort of ignition point and its good bye room/ still house/shed home/ and good bye stiller. You will not move fast enough to prevent this as it will take a second or two. You still will become a rocket and you a statisic
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:49 pm

Bushman wrote:Yesterday I attended at session at the ADI conference entitled "The Day our Still Exploded", the speakers were Spencer Balentine and distiller Jay Rogers. Jay described the explosion, where he was standing at the time, what happened to him, etc. Then he went into detail about his current rehab, both physical and mental. What got to me the most was toward the end of the session he said something that really stuck with me. His comment was "I have all this help with rehabilitation but what bothers me most is there are a lot of Home Distillers that are buying stills off the internet that don't have to meet standards, welds, pressure testing, etc. If something happens who can they turn too for help.

This really got me thinking about these guys that build maybe, maybe not knowing what they are doing and possible standards not being met yet many of our members could be purchasing these stills and putting themselves at risk. Another safety thing Jay mentioned that after running your still for years or prolonged time don't take anything for granted valves, welds, etc. should be checked.


I was the guy in back who asked if Revenoor disclosed the pressure valve rating and did they actually check it upon receipt of the still. Jay and his friend (Spencer did not attend the talk) whispered to each other and then Jay said "You'd have to ask Spencer that."

Damning.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:51 pm

Kegg_jam wrote:So is Spencer Balentine on tour bad mouthing Revenoor or is he promoting save stilling practices learned from their mistakes?


Spencer was scheduled for the ADI talk but did not attend. They said he'd recently had ear surgery and wasn't cleared to fly. Jay Rogers and his friend did the talk.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:35 pm

thecroweater wrote:I think pop off corks are an added danger and a crazy idea for any indoor still. Shady lane posted a picture of an external vented relief and if you want to go that path its the way to do it. By the time something has gone very wrong and you have pressure to blow the cork you already have a dangerous situation so when that cork goes you will have a still room suddenly filled with an explosive gas. Any sort of ignition point and its good bye room/ still house/shed home/ and good bye stiller. You will not move fast enough to prevent this as it will take a second or two. You still will become a rocket and you a statistic



:eh: Surprised nobody hasn't commented further on this, this is a very good point, or is it maybe everyone already has their external vent fitted ?

or maybe are they thinking , :shock: , I should fit one of those, or is it :wtf: , na , i'll be alright :thumbup:
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby LWTCS » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:48 am

3d0g wrote:
Bushman wrote:Yesterday I attended at session at the ADI conference entitled "The Day our Still Exploded", the speakers were Spencer Balentine and distiller Jay Rogers. Jay described the explosion, where he was standing at the time, what happened to him, etc. Then he went into detail about his current rehab, both physical and mental. What got to me the most was toward the end of the session he said something that really stuck with me. His comment was "I have all this help with rehabilitation but what bothers me most is there are a lot of Home Distillers that are buying stills off the internet that don't have to meet standards, welds, pressure testing, etc. If something happens who can they turn too for help.

This really got me thinking about these guys that build maybe, maybe not knowing what they are doing and possible standards not being met yet many of our members could be purchasing these stills and putting themselves at risk. Another safety thing Jay mentioned that after running your still for years or prolonged time don't take anything for granted valves, welds, etc. should be checked.


I was the guy in back who asked if Revenoor disclosed the pressure valve rating and did they actually check it upon receipt of the still. Jay and his friend (Spencer did not attend the talk) whispered to each other and then Jay said "You'd have to ask Spencer that."

Damning.


So my understanding was that a 150 psi PRV was on the still at the time of the explosion. Is that not correct?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:53 am

LWTCS wrote:So my understanding was that a 150 psi PRV was on the still at the time of the explosion. Is that not correct?


That's what the report said.

If someone sold you a still and the specs said 150 PSI PRV, would you question it? And even if they didn't disclose and said still arrived with a 150 PSI valve, wouldn't you question it then?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby stillvodka » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:18 am

3d0g wrote:
LWTCS wrote:So my understanding was that a 150 psi PRV was on the still at the time of the explosion. Is that not correct?


That's what the report said.

If someone sold you a still and the specs said 150 PSI PRV, would you question it? And even if they didn't disclose and said still arrived with a 150 PSI valve, wouldn't you question it then?


The still has been in use for some time, it's not a new! still, with no reported problems to the manufacturer, so really the 150 PSI PRV don't really have a bearing on what's happened, because the still was being monitored by the operative :eh:, well, but was it :shh:
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby LWTCS » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:21 am

3d0g wrote:
LWTCS wrote:So my understanding was that a 150 psi PRV was on the still at the time of the explosion. Is that not correct?


That's what the report said.

If someone sold you a still and the specs said 150 PSI PRV, would you question it? And even if they didn't disclose and said still arrived with a 150 PSI valve, wouldn't you question it then?


Damn right I would
There is only a few pounds of operating pressure within a normal operating kettle. 1 bar would have been the norm.

There are quite literally dozens upon dozens of things that we do on a daily basis that are potentially more, or at least equally as dangerous as distilling. Driving automobiles likely trumps almost all of them. Deep fat frying a frozen turkey in an overfilled oil bath,,on a banjo burner, with 25 friends and family members milling about on thanksgiving day may likely be in that category too?
Distilling has been around a very long time.
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Deflecting blame is nothing more than denial in this instance.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Bushman » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:39 am

My biggest disappointment was not meeting you 3d0g at the session, we must have been sitting close to each other as I was in the back sitting with Diana from SD. Unfortunately with hearing aides sitting that far back I missed the questions people asked. I almost asked the presenters to repeat the question before answering.
I do admit it is nice being home. With the airstream it was a 2 hour and 20 minute flight home but I flew Allegiant which is cheap but you really sacrifice comfort.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:10 am

stillvodka wrote:The still has been in use for some time, it's not a new! still, with no reported problems to the manufacturer, so really the 150 PSI PRV don't really have a bearing on what's happened, because the still was being monitored by the operative :eh:, well, but was it :shh:


Not sure I fully understand where you're going stillvodka, but if something is defective one fixes it or gets it fixed. ANY still operator knows 150 PSI isn't appropriate. Can you imagine if this still went off during a tour (or Moonshiner's filming)?

Note Balencorp (Silver Trail) did pay $3,500 in OSHA penalties for this incident.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:13 am

Bushman wrote:My biggest disappointment was not meeting you 3d0g at the session, we must have been sitting close to each other as I was in the back sitting with Diana from SD. Unfortunately with hearing aides sitting that far back I missed the questions people asked. I almost asked the presenters to repeat the question before answering.
I do admit it is nice being home. With the airstream it was a 2 hour and 20 minute flight home but I flew Allegiant which is cheap but you really sacrifice comfort.


No kidding Bushman! Not sure WTH happened with SMS. 'Bout crapped my pants when my phone went off at 1:30am with your messages from the morning. Ah well, REALLY good conference. Better than last year IMO. Ready to head home though. SNA to DEN in a few hours...
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