My first still is a pot still

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Fuggles
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My first still is a pot still

Post by Fuggles » Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:35 am

Still very much in the planning stages here. I bought some parts and learned to braze.
mypotstill.jpg
I'm going for a simple pot still since my main interest is whisky. It's a 15 gal keg. The 1.5” TC down low is for a 5500W element.

Looking for ideas on the condenser. I'm interested in fast stripping, hoping to go full bore at 5500W. So, liebig, shotgun, worm, other? Are any of these choices suitable for both stripping and spirit? I have home brew gear that can be adapted (HERMS water barrel with SS coil, straight pipe copper CFC) although I'm leaning towards building new.

Long time brewer, first time distiller. Any advice is very welcome.

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still_stirrin
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Re: My first still is a pot still

Post by still_stirrin » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:07 am

What is the 2” T/C near the top (bottom on your “flipped” keg) for?

1-1/2” T/C ferrules will work for your element installation. But a 2” is easier to get the 5.5kW wavy elements in and out of the boiler.

With the 3”x1” reducer so your product condenser inlet is 1” or 3/4”, I would assume you’re planning to use a Liebig product condenser. It will work, but you’ll need a long one for your stripping runs. What will happen when running “wide open” on a strip run is that the vapor velocity out of that reducer will be very fast and as a result, the heat transfer to your PC will be less effective. So, a longer vapor tube (in the Liebig) will be necessary to fully condense the fast moving vapors.

If your conical reducer was a 3”x2”, you could build a shotgun product condenser with a 2” shell and multiple 1/2” vapor tubes inside (as many as 7 tubes, I’d bet). The result of that is more conducting surface to transfer the heat to as well as more cross-sectional flow area for the vapor so the velocity at full stripping power would be slower, thereby improving performance. Plus, a shotgun could be shorter overall length.

One thing, I think you’ll appreciate copper in the still, either pieces in the boiler, or the product condenser build. Stainless is nice and durable, but copper helps reduce sulfur from your ferments during distillation. Copper is pricey, more so than stainless components, but well worth the investment.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
My LM/VM & Potstill: My build thread
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Deplorable
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Re: My first still is a pot still

Post by Deplorable » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:29 am

+1 to everything SS said.
I'd think you want a 2" fitting for the element. You'll have more options for efficient elements.
Replace your conical reducer with a 3×2, and build a copper shotgun.
Even a short copper riser or a copper elbow would be beneficial, but you could add copper mesh in the SS to accomplish the task of removing sulfur.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

Fuggles
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Re: My first still is a pot still

Post by Fuggles » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:36 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:07 am
What is the 2” T/C near the top (bottom on your “flipped” keg) for?
Original intention was element hole. Then I decided to flip and go with a 3" column. Now it's fill port, sight glass, manometer? Not sure yet, looking for ideas and advice there.
still_stirrin wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:07 am
1-1/2” T/C ferrules will work for your element installation. But a 2” is easier to get the 5.5kW wavy elements in and out of the boiler.
I bought the TC ripple element before making this hole. It's tight but it fits. I would have preferred the 2".

still_stirrin wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:07 am
With the 3”x1” reducer so your product condenser inlet is 1” or 3/4”, I would assume you’re planning to use a Liebig product condenser. It will work, but you’ll need a long one for your stripping runs. What will happen when running “wide open” on a strip run is that the vapor velocity out of that reducer will be very fast and as a result, the heat transfer to your PC will be less effective. So, a longer vapor tube (in the Liebig) will be necessary to fully condense the fast moving vapors.

If your conical reducer was a 3”x2”, you could build a shotgun product condenser with a 2” shell and multiple 1/2” vapor tubes inside (as many as 7 tubes, I’d bet). The result of that is more conducting surface to transfer the heat to as well as more cross-sectional flow area for the vapor so the velocity at full stripping power would be slower, thereby improving performance. Plus, a shotgun could be shorter overall length.
Interesting. Slowing down the vapor is the purpose of a shotgun. Thank you! Is the shotgun faster than a long liebig for stripping? Is a liebig better for spirit run?

I'd say I need another 90 bend. Should I do that in 3" or after the 3" to 1" ( or 3" to 2" since I'm now dreaming of a shotgun build)
still_stirrin wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:07 am
One thing, I think you’ll appreciate copper in the still, either pieces in the boiler, or the product condenser build. Stainless is nice and durable, but copper helps reduce sulfur from your ferments during distillation. Copper is pricey, more so than stainless components, but well worth the investment.
ss
I was looking for 3” copper pipe to make this a bit taller but all I could find local was new 10' length and SUPER expensive. Since I was only looking at adding 12 to 18” I took a pass on that, and read around here that the extra height isn't really needed? Any condenser I make will be all copper. Either way I'd really like to find a piece of 4" or 3" copper to throw into the column.

Fuggles
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Re: My first still is a pot still

Post by Fuggles » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:46 am

Deplorable wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:29 am
I'd think you want a 2" fitting for the element. You'll have more options for efficient elements.
I already bought a 1.5" TC element so I should give it a try before switching things up.
Deplorable wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:29 am
Replace your conical reducer with a 3×2, and build a copper shotgun.
Even a short copper riser or a copper elbow would be beneficial, but you could add copper mesh in the SS to accomplish the task of removing sulfur.
I'll try to find some copper. Does scrap copper pipe as boil chips help with sulphur? I'm starting to love the shotgun idea as well.

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Deplorable
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Re: My first still is a pot still

Post by Deplorable » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:51 am

You can add copper in the boiler, but with a bottom center drain, you might find they block the drain path, so be mindful of the size and shape.
If you're really crafty, you could fab up a copper honeycomb insert in the reducer off the boiler from some copper 1/2 pipe.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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