MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

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MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:25 pm

My new mighty mini has finally arrived. Thanks very much to the guys over at MileHi for a great experience. Ordering, shipping, and delivery everything went off very well, and in a very timely manner. I ordered it on Sep 9th, and it arrived on Sep 21st.

All shipped in one box and was very discreet.
IMG_0892.JPG

Only hiccup I had with the whole experience: The distillate exit was sticking out of the side of the box. After unpacking and inspecting it, there was no noticeable damage at all, so no harm no foul as far as i'm concerned.
IMG_0894.JPG
Open up the box:
IMG_0895.JPG
What the heck, how did they pack a cat in the box? Just kidding.. my boy came over to investigate the goings on.
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I thought that MileHi's milk jugs were flat bottomed.. but I guess not. This one definitely has a lip. I was hoping to try to run this on my kitchen stove, but its a glass top electric and would have been problematic with cycling anyway, so this just forced me to do it right. I have a propane "turkey fryer" burner on order now. Better to get it out in the garage anyway I think.
IMG_0902.JPG

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:32 pm

Here it is all put together.
IMG_0909.JPG

The one question I do have is that the instructions (below) show the incoming cool water (Inlet) connecting to the TOP of the liebig.. it is my understanding this should be connected to the BOTTOM of the liebig so that the full liebig can hold full volume of water even at low water flow.. the flow should build up the liebig, exitting the top of the liebig and entering the cooler around the top of the column (which I presume is a coil?). Which method is correct?
IMG_0898.JPG

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by rednose » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:39 pm

Can you have a view inside the column please?

I'm interested to know if the reflux, forced by the jacket, is centered or just flow down the column.

Thanks in advance.

Joe

Add: the inlet of cooling water have to be in the lower part of the condenser.
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:43 pm

I do not believe it is centered. Should I make some changes to make that happen? Any ideas on how? Here is the view down the column. It did make for a pretty cool looking picture though. Might have to use that as my desktop picture!
IMG_0910.JPG

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Mud Mechanik » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:58 pm

Erasei, you are correct on the cooling water flow, in the bottom and out the top. The only thing you might want to change on the water is to put a Y in the supply and have cold water going to the reflux section and the liebeg instead of having it in series. MM
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by rednose » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:03 pm

erasei wrote:I do not believe it is centered. Should I make some changes to make that happen?
You are right, it's not and will not work as it suppose to.

I would try to get a 2" to 1.5'" copper reducer that fits in by pressure.

May cost you some hours to get it done with a file but it's worth the try.
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:09 pm

Thanks for clarifying that. Glad my reading is paying off!

MM: The Y.. is that just so that there is cooler water hitting the coil? So that it isn't first getting heated by the condenser?

Or: are there times when I will need the coil water running but not the liebig? With a CM still like this, it was my understanding you can't really control reflux a great deal.. but if I put in a Y on the inlet with a water valve after the Y, could I not run the coil water on high (so force a lot of reflux) and let the still "get up to speed" so to speak, then turn down the coil water to 'normal', and then open up the liebig water supply on normal as well and start my take off? Or am I just asking for trouble? I'd not really thought about that before, it just sort of came to me when MM mentioned the Y.

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Mud Mechanik » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:13 pm

You are correct, I have tried it both ways and have much better control of refluxing with cold water, I should have mentioned that it takes 2 Y's, one on the supply and one on the outlet. MM
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:19 pm

I would try to get a 2" to 1.5'" copper reducer that fits in by pressure.
Sort of like an inverted funnel that sits in the top of the column.. like this?
StillMod.jpg

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by rednose » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:26 pm

erasei wrote:
I would try to get a 2" to 1.5'" copper reducer that fits in by pressure.
Sort of like an inverted funnel that sits in the top of the column.. like this?
StillMod.jpg
Yep, you got it erasei. :wink:

But it have to be just under the jacket, inside the column :!:
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:31 pm

Excellent.. look out folks, I think I know enough to be dangerous.

One final question (at least on this particular item). Once I get a 2" copper cap, and solder that reducer to it: Will I need to seal it with flour paste or teflon for each run or can I just snug it up and let it go? Since it is a CM still with no valves, I don't imagine I have to worry about a vent or anything if I get "too" snug of a fit. I'm more worried about leaks at the top with that new copper cap.

Thoughts?

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by rednose » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:35 pm

It's not on the top.

Just a fast paint draw:
Attachments
jacket column center.JPG
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:39 pm

But it have to be just under the jacket, inside the column
I missed this part the first time. Under the jacket, inside the column. I'm not understanding the 'under the jacket' part. I mean, I think I understand what you are saying. Once the vapors hit the cooling jacket they will start condensing, and need a surface that leads them to center, or else they just condense to the side of the column and trickle down like they do in the unmodified version.

So with the reducer.. instead of it being soldered to the 2" copper cap at the very top.. it needs to be slid down into the column so that it sits below the cooling jacket.. So this would mean that instead of a 2" column of vapor hitting the cooling jacket.. all the vapor would be rising up through the 1.5" reduced hole in the new copper reducer. Anything that went directly up that 1.5" hole would be cooled by the jacket and fall back down through the "funnel" into the center of the packing. Anything that rose up the side of the main column would not make it through the 1.5" hole.. would condense on the outside of that reducer, trickle down the buttom side of that reducer, and fall into the center of the packing.

Is that the idea?

EDIT: Just saw your post above, came in while I was writing. Looks like we are on the same page now! Thanks a lot for all the info rednose, it is much appreciated :D

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by rednose » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:49 pm

Looks like you made your homework erasei, I see that you have good basic knowledge.

The idea is that the reflux hits as much as it can to the center, that way the vapor have to pass the reflux which was trowing through the "center funnel" to the rashid rings (that's what you use in the pic).

Otherwise the reflux will just run down the column extremes and fall back in the boiler.

You can also replace the rashid rings with coppermash to get it even better, that would take off sulfites from the vapor.

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:57 pm

Thanks for the kind words.. I have certainly tried to understand the mechanics behind the general process and then specifically how each type of still behaves, and what makes one good for certain things but not good for others. It's all fairly straightforward in theory.. its the darn "practice" that takes a bit more effort to get right :)
You can also replace the rashid rings with coppermash to get it even better, that would take off sulfites from the vapor
You can't see it from the top-down view in the photo, but the majority of the column is packed with copper mesh. There is probably around 14" of mesh topped off with 4-6" of rings. Is that about right? I want to do a "mostly reflux" but retain some flavor.. so I didn't pack the column all the way full.

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by rednose » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:03 pm

Yeah, looks good so far.

It's a nice rig to start with, and will do want you shoot for, only thing I was missing is the center part but I'm sure you will get it done.

Congrats for the new toy, I'm sure the next one will be a selfmade. :wink:

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:07 pm

I'm sure the next one will be a selfmade.
Yeah.. I knew I had the "building the next one" bug when I was shopping for copper before this one ever arrived! :mrgreen:

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by troutscout48 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:24 am

I have been running the 30 inch version of this still for about a year now. Mine also came with the product end (to which I added a 3/8 copper tube as a takeoff) poking out of the box. The water fitting on the liebig had dented the 8 gal. milk can.

As has been mentioned, I modified the cooling to provide separate controls for the CM product condenser and the liebig. Mine has the larger condenser and will indeed operate on a bare trickle of water. I run the boiler on a bayou classic burner.

Because I try to make flavored spirits, I usually have only 2 rolls of copper mesh in the column and disable the CM after the heads, making it a really tall potstill.

With full water flow(from mains) thru the CM chamber, I can hold it to a drop every 3-4 seconds at 168-70F. That's nearly 100% reflux. I feel that it is effectively equallizing, as my quantity of heads from a normal mash is very low and the smell very strong, with a clean break into hearts.

If you run it slow, about 1 qt. per hour, with the CM operating, you can get 92% extremely clean spirit. Operated as a potstill, running only the heads with the CM, with the two rolls of copper mesh about 4 inches under the takeoff,running slightly faster, the tall column still gets about 70-73%.

No, the reflux is not centered. If it was, the ABV would probably "improve". It's too high for me as it is!
Yes, it's a little fiddly to run. I've insulated the column but not the boiler. The temps move around a little until you get settled into the hearts and if the door to the still house lets the drafts in. I can't leave anyway so I just coddle it a little.

I think the mini version would be better for grain-based sugar washes like I run at a slightly lower proof due to the shorter column. Probably the smaller CM chamber would take more water for equalization. Get a copper reducer with a minimum 1" diameter placed above the copper packing. Loose the rings. Run it slow and you should get clean, strong,
flavorless liquid.

You will get a flame from those who despise the gum rubber bung in the top. No problems with mine. I suppose I should include that Rad and others recommend a wooden plug or other replacement.
thanx,
rich

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:40 am

wow, great info TS, thanks very much.

I'm heading out in a few minutes to pick up the parts to split the water inlets.

I'm not planning to run super high reflux either.. so its good to know I can get 90%+ out of it as-is. I'm going to check into the reducer fitting that rednose and I were discussing earlier. We'll see how it goes. I don't imagine adding it would hurt even in my potstill mode runs.. I would just keep the cooling jacket turned off the whole time.. I'm sure I would get some reflux from the reducer, but probably just enough to improve the quality.
Get a copper reducer with a minimum 1" diameter placed above the copper packing. Loose the rings.
Are you talking about the same type of reducer that rednose mentioned earlier in this thread, or something different?

What's the reasoning for not using the rings? I'm not disagreeing with you at all, I'm just trying to learn 'why' we do things, not just 'that' we do things.

Thanks again for the feedback!

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:42 pm

I was able to get some time today to fiddle. I got the water inlet split so that both the condenser and the jacket have their own supply. Hopefully I didn't butcher it up too bad. I need to pick up some more 1/2" hose for the liebig outlet.

Still working on the internal reducer.
IMG_0911.JPG

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by MuleKicker » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:13 pm

what is that bung with the thermo in the top made of? I also saw you were gonna be using a turkey fryer base. Alls I can say bout that is be careful, some of them are really flimsy. The one I started with was. Dont want that bad boy to tip over while runnin. Good luck man. :D
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:01 pm

At the moment it is the rubber stopper that comes with the still. I picked up a 2" copper cap when I was out today to replace it, but the copper cap is for a 2" ID and the column is 2" OD.. so I need to go back and get the right one.

EDIT to add: Yeah, I'm reconsidering the propane.. I'm thinking about using the spare guest bathroom has my base of operations.. which would mean no propane.. I'd need to go electric and get a hot plate with a controller. Just thinkin about runningkind. I had two sheriff's deputies walk up to me inside my garage last summer. Scared the pee out of me. (I had tomato seedlings growing under a light in the front window [yes, _actual_ tomato seedlings]) Turns out the neighbors new air conditioning unit had tripped his security alarm.. but if I had been stillin in the garage.. bad news. So.. thinkin of bringing it indoors, into the back of the house.

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:49 pm

I went in search of the copper cap to replace the tan gum rubber stopper and to add in the reducing coupler to push the distillate into the center of the packing.. but I think I'm going to have some problems.

The column is actually 2" OD stainless pipe, with a ID of 1 7/8th inches. That means I need a cap for an OD 2" pipe, and all of the copper around these parts are 2" ID, so around 2 1/8th or so.

Also, the ID of 1 7/8th inches is very problematic as well.. the closest I could find was a 2" OD reducing union that is exactly the same size as the stainless column.. but far too large to go inside of the column.

I've googled for the last hour or so and can't find anything online either. I may just skip the internal reducer. As troutscout48 has said his runs pretty well, I might just go a few runs and try it as-is. Looks like I'm going to have to fabricate something myself.. which isn't out of my ability, but I'm anxious to get it running and build up a little supply first. As far the cap.. sure a 2" OD copper cap can't be that hard to find?

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by decomissioned » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:09 am

I got the still all set up today.. my hot plate should arrive any minute now. I took a video of the split water inlet. I'm using a spare fermenter as my water bucket and use a 1600 gph pump with auto relief valve (because I had it already). I dropped a digital thermometer into that water reservoir too so I can track how much it heats up to see if I need more ice or a larger bucket. With just the little 3 gallon boiler, I doubt I need anything more, but its there to make sure. Oh, and yes the fermenter will be full.. this was just my test run to make sure I didn't have any leaks.

Anyway, its pretty cool being able to see it all.. I see the attraction for the site glasses in the flutes now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63wFwyN34Xo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Paul1453 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:53 am

I have this rig, and only ran it once so far. The results were good, but thinking about things posted here gave me some more ideas about running this rig. The copper reducer insert seems like a good idea to me and I will be looking to get one of these. Splitting the input water also good. Cold water into the lower inputs of the condensers? The video posted showed the water entering the reflux condenser on the top input, exiting the lower. This is how the instructions showed also, but I had trouble controlling head temp with cooling flow variations. What if on the reflux condenser the cooling water enters the top exits the bottom as shown in the diagram, but I put the control valve on the output hose instead. My idea is that this would keep the condenser full all the time and avoid huge swings in temps like I experienced on my run. Want to stop refluxing, close the output valve. So what do you guys think?

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Paul1453 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:12 pm

Here is what I made to center the reflux drippings. I could only find 2 1/4 OD so some dremel modification was necessary.
2011-01-24-064534 (Modified).jpg
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2011-01-24-064221 (Modified).jpg
2011-01-24-064221 (Modified).jpg (16.84 KiB) Viewed 4152 times

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Paul1453 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:55 pm

My attempt at making a reducer was a failure. :oops: That 1 7/8 ID is the problem. I have a lot of copper pieces coming from Ebay so hopefully I will find something that will work in there.

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by anonymous distiller » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:56 pm

Couldn't you ask Mile Hi to fab something up for you? They seem pretty concerned with customer satisfaction.

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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Prairiepiss » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:19 pm

What is th ID of the column? I used a 1 3/4 X 1 reducer and expanded it out to fit the inside of my 2" column. I used a tailpipe expander after I anealed it. Then I changed direction and put that all on the side burner. But it fit pretty good.
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Re: MileHi Mighty Mini 3 Gallon

Post by Kifi » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:11 pm

Mud Mechanik wrote:Erasei, you are correct on the cooling water flow, in the bottom and out the top. The only thing you might want to change on the water is to put a Y in the supply and have cold water going to the reflux section and the liebeg instead of having it in series. MM
Good idea. I got my 'y' and water flow controller at Brewhaus. Works really well. http://www.brewhaus.com/Water-Control-S ... 44C96.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Hope that helps
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