New Column still build

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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:03 am

Hi there

Next on the list to do is insulating the still, Armaflex zero, 9mm should do the job ? will insulate the boiler and the stainless steel sections...... Comments

Cheers

Tony
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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Tue May 22, 2018 4:41 am

Finished the insulation, all of the stainless steel sections and the boiler insulated with Armaflex zero, rated to 120 degrees C, and relatively easy to work with, see pictures, I've also done the same to the gin section.

The 2 fermentation's have finished and are just clearing the wash, will look to do a run Friday night/Saturday morning.

About the only real thing I have to get more control of is water flow on the RC, its OK, but, need more finite control, still thinking about that, lets see what we learn Friday.

Cheers

Tony
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Tony1964
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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Tue May 29, 2018 5:57 am

After fitting the thermal insulation, and adding additional column packing, I ran the third run, I was able to turn up the water flow substantially, water flow is so much more controllable, and temperatures are very very stable.

I was able to obtain just over 94% abv at 19.5 degrees c from a 12% ish wash. The good thing is with only minor adjustments, it stayed above 93% till the on set of tails and dropped in a matter of minutes. Collected tails till 20% and will add to the next run.

The vodka is airing over night and will decide if carbon filtering is needed, I have a tendency to do this anyway, could be in my head, it’s a 2 meter long carbon filter 5cm diameter.

I’m going to temper a liter of this run down to 40% and ask opinions of close friends.

I’m adding more pacing around the RC coil next time to improve reflux and use less water, reflux water temp was constant 58 to 60 degrees c through the complete run.

PC water temp flat at 31.5 degrees c.

I have many temp sensors in the build, the take off one stays at 72 degrees for foreshots, then moves pretty quickly on balancing the column to 74.9 degrees, with what seems to be an exact correlation to the onset of tales, after 3 hours of 74.9 degrees, it will move to 75.1 degrees, I’m going to monitor this more, as this sensor has an alarm function, but this has happened in all 3 proper runs.

Regards

Tony
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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:49 am

Not posted anything on the build for a month or so, but, have run 4 washes with one of them being a gin wash, and 1 being a Cointreau run made with 8Kg of oranges supplemented with Dextrose.

Lessons and improvements made:

Increased the diameter of the gin tube and doubled its diameter and made with fine gauze stainless steel, made a substantial difference to the flavour take off.

made a return pipe to the boiler from the gin basket section as the vapour would condense in that section, this can no be returned directly to the still for re-boiling.

I have also put together a CIP for the still and still column to clean out after each run.

Really getting my head around the workings of the still and the last few runs have constantly been at 93 to 94% from a 12% charge, the results from the vodka runs, gin and Cointreau have been really good.

2.8Kw on 25 litre wash gives me a good balanced column, and I have learnt to control the RC water flow really well, have to say a a RC reflux ratio is quite high to maintain the high ABV, its difficult to estimate the ratio, if anyone has ratio values as to what they are getting that would be great.

I'm going to put my self a beard on the end of the RC to help with centring, its good, but, do see product going down the walls.

I have also stopped carbon filtering after the run as the results have been that good.

I have 23 litres of Pinot white wine fermenting for the wife at the min and a "Birdwatchers" recipe 3 days in to fermentation should be ready to run next weekend.

All in all, really happy with the build and look forward to improving on the results each run.

Cheers

Tony
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Re: New Column still build

Postby zipfly » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:43 pm

Hi Tony, great looking still, is it a 2" column? If so what size CSST did you use for the reflux condenser? Not sure what size to go for in my 2" CCVM column.
Thanks
Dave

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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:42 am

Dave

It is a 2” column, the RC is 1/4” diameter corrugated tube

Cheers

Tony
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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:43 am

So.......

The birdwatchers run.

Fermentation at 25c for what was over a week, we currently have temperatures hittin 30c in the day time in the UK at the min, it’s hot outside, keeping the fermentation temps have proved to be challenging, and presented an opportunity for a modification to my water cooling tank, adding two fans that control the temperature of the coolent water down, I’ve used another stc-1000 I had to hand to do this.

Ferment original gravity I start at 20 brix, and it finishes at 5 brix, this is actually closer to zero, I always use a refractometer, but, you have to adjust with a calculation once fermentation gets going, I added my normal PH buffer to keep things under control.

Once fermentation stopped, a further 5 days to clear and ran through the still, again, the run went without issues with take off temps settling to 74.4c once the first 100ml was taken off.

Allowed the column to equilibrium for 1/2 hour on full reflux at 2.8kw, then backed off the RC to give me a steady stream, 93% ABV when adjusted for temps, one slight adjustment about 1.5 hours in to increase to 3kw and a minor water RC flow adjustment to keep the 93% and that was it, soon as the tails start to appear I see a increase in take off temp to 74.9c literally over a 30 second period. Stopped collecting main distillate and from then, backed off the RC to collect down to 20ABV to add to next run.

Taste, really really good, even straight out the still, obviously cut to 40%, which will just get better over the next week or so.

Already have a further 2 birdwatchers In fermentation as one of them is to be used for the next gin run.

I also have lemoncello currently going for friends,

All in all a very clean run, has an initial sweetness to the birdwatchers taste that I like, looking forward to seeing how it goes with the gin run.

Cheers

Tony
Tony1964
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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:28 am

Been away on holiday for a week, all went well on the second birdwatchers, have another 2 in fe me ration whilst we are away, will be trying a few whiskey runs to trial the still out in pot still mode, I’ll put a corn and a rye on and I have some made with my old pot still to compare.

Whilst away I have read more on SPP as packing, I’m getting 94% at the min, but on high reflux and 2.8kw of power, I’ve read Big Swedes work as well as DAD300, and was originally going to go the SPP but given how cost effective SS scrubbers are, I thought I would go that way first, at least I would have a real world comparison if I went SPP later.

It still seems difficult to find and Big Swedes post ended 3 years ago, I know Odin uses the stuff and I’m aware of the HETP benifits, I can find a Russian guy selling 3mm x 3mm x 0.2mm and a.m. looks by to get 2 liters for the column, I’m still keeping the copper scrubbers for the bottom and top of the column, but, thought I’d ask you guys for any real world benifits you found, this stuff has been about for some time and at £73 for the 2 liters it’s worth me asking you guys if it’s worth the additional expense, I’ve read about the increased take off speed and less power, which is great and no doubt 10 years down to be line the power saving will have paid for itself. But, what about the benifits in product?

I welcome any thoughts

Cheers

Tony
Tony1964
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Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:28 am

Not posted for a while, work load.

The SPP turned up mid week, I have cleaned it and its in the column, will be running the weekend.

I'm also looking at changing the routing of the water lines.

Cheers

Tony
Tony1964
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Location: England

Re: New Column still build

Postby Tony1964 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:34 am

Hi guys

I've ran 4 runs since the SPP arrived, impressed, the packing is 3 X 3 X 0.2mm, copper scrubber top and bottom.

Very stable with some 500W less poser required, ABV improvement.

More importantly than the ABV is the column temperatures, as you can see from the build, I have temperature probes all over the still with 5 in the still column, the thing that is obvious to me, is that given the improved packing density, and by that I mean by default your getting the same density from top to bottom, the temperature gradient is very apparent, in my SS Scrubbers, I actually got the centre of the column a few degrees C higher than the at the bottom once in to a run.

With the SPP, it is how you would theoretically expect it to be, with a gradual decrease in temperature as you went up the column as the lower boiling point compounds settle that way.

Another interesting and very useful thing to observe is when you are getting in to the tails, you can actually see each section of the column increase in temperature, no, I might not explain this very well, but, as I go through the run, the temperature variation between say the first temperature point and the next one up, may start at say 1 degree C difference, and to be fare, will stay like that for pretty much all of the hearts, then and before you taste the tails bleeding through, you will see the temperature variation between each section of the column vary to say 4 degrees difference, this variation makes its way up the column very slowly, as I would expect.

I will take some pictures of the temperature readings through a few of the stages of the run, because of the uniformity of density with the SPP, this has become another tool to use to gain insight to tales making their way in to the column, you can work the maths to roughly guide when the tails should come over, but, this is actually quite a good thing to see.

You will note, I've not mentioned what the temperature sensors are actually showing, as not to have them used as a guide, as every still will be different as would the wash type, but, in my set up on that particular run, its a very useful thing to see occur.

Has it improved the product? I'd say yes, for one reason, I can make better more consistent cuts, i'm trying to avoid the use of temperature readings, as I know some will take it literally that temps are the way to make cuts etc, which they are not, but, used as a tool, it has certainly added a very useful aid to this.

Is it worth the money, you know, i'd say "it depends", if I was a beginner, it would actually make this easier, consistency and stability would tend to do that, so, you take you view, well worth it for me for the things I've learnt from it so far.

I've made some changes to the water flow since the last run, to improve that, and have made some changes to the gin section.

On another subject all together, it was my birthday the other week, and I've had a 10 litre ultrasonic bath, and have run product through, there is a difference is all I would say, what i'm going to do is to see if the difference is heat/oxidation or those pesky ultrasonic bubbles. The unit has 240W of Ultrasonic power and could heat to 80 degrees C.

More on that when I really get in to whats adding the additional smoothness.

Cheers

Tony
Tony1964
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