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How to transfer high proof

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:23 am
by just_still
This may seem obvious to some, but I'm trying to hammer out the logistics of bulk aging spirits, be it in a barrel or some other vessel. I will say I'm a long way off from producing enough volume of something to make any of this matter, but I was just thinking about this the last couple of days. What I'm having difficulty finding is what people are using to transfer large volumes of high proof spirit OUT of a vessel. I'm sure this is relatively easily accomplished with a mini 1gal barrel by simply turning it over and dumping it out. When we start going up to 5gal and larger without a spigot, how the heck do you get the spirit out without making a mess? Sure, adding a spigot would be the ideal solution, but I want to focus on other methods, any other method.

I see old 1/2 bbl stainless beer kegs for sale all the time on craigs list, facebook, etc. They are readily available for $30 or less, and with a 2" TC cap and PTFE gasket, I think they would make a good, affordable, and infinitely reusable vessel for bulk aging with oak sticks. The problem is that even if you only fill it 2/3 full, that keg is going to weight roughly 113 lbs. With the small opening right in the middle, picking up and pouring simply isn't a viable option.

While there are many stainless head transfer pumps out there, the o-rings, impeller blades, diaphragms, transfer tubing, etc are all made of some form of silicone/plastic/rubber. Are there any pumps and tubing out there that are purpose made for spirits that use only safe materials, or are the generally unsafe materials considered acceptable for very brief contact times? I've done some googling and searching on this forum and I didn't quite find anything suitable. If I've overlooked something, please do let me know.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:33 am
by Deplorable
A 5 gallon barrel dry is ~30 pounds. Full its ~70 pounds. To empy it, put it bung side down over your BOP and knock the bung out. Transfer from BOP to bottles via mason jar and SS funnel?

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:41 am
by zapata
CSST, like used in CCVM stills for the condensers can be used as a flexible, totally stainless siphon cane and tube all in one.

Fittings, ball valves and dip tubes are easy to put on kegs, I really like to pull-through self dimpling solderable fittings from brewhardware.com

Corny kegs aren't much cheaper than full kegs, but they are lighter, narrower, a more convenient batch size and have a much bigger opening perfect for inserting (and retrieving!) full size staves. You can wrap the gaskets in PTFE to comply with the rules if you feel like you have to. You can easily remove the poppet from one of the gas/liquid posts for a bit of breathing. You can also pour through the posts with a surprising degree of accuracy if you remove the poppet from both so the "liquid out" post becomes a vent, and pour smoothly through the "gas in" post. Even easier if you attach a stainless disconnect with no tubing attached, now you have an even more convenient pouring spout in the form of the stainless tubing nipple and the "liquid out" disconnect will hold in the poppet so you don't have to remove it. You could even use a threaded quick disconnect, an appropriate thread adapter, and your CSST and pour anywhere to your hearts content, hell you could even push it around with CO2!

Of course there are also synthetic tubes specificially designed and sold for moving cold spirits around, but of course we don't talk about them here. But any reputable tubing supplier will have compatibility info available.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:15 pm
by 8Ball
I siphon out through the bung hole using a pure copper length of 0.25 ID tubing. There are other ways. I wouldn’t want a spigot on my Gibbs cask.

🎱

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:49 pm
by bluefish_dist
I transferred 15 gallon barrel, by just dumping them into my blending tank. They are about 150lbs. Just lifted them up and dumped. Needed two people, but not a bad job.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:30 am
by Chauncey
Torn rotator cuff and careful pouring

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:11 am
by just_still
I guess I was trying to think of a high tech solution to a low tech problem, we don't need no stinking pumps. I should have known the home distillers here would have simple solutions. Pouring it into a pot seems easiest, and with 5 gallon vessels it would be quite manageable, larger vessels may require teamwork. Siphoning with copper or stainless tubing is easy enough if you can lift the source vessel to an elevated position.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:25 am
by cob
drill 2 holes in a bung put a copper tube in the bung then add air from an oil less air compressor.

I use the same technique to put diesel in my tractor, different materials, but no lifting.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:36 am
by jimmayhugh
I use sanke kegs for just about everything.

If I want to transfer from one to another, I can use my silver-soldered downcomer along with a triclamp tee to transfer liquids using compressed air.

Since I've also done something similar with CSST , I could probably come up with a solution that way as well.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:59 pm
by jonnys_spirit
I've used a vacuum pump system to transfer wines and distillers beer but I'd be concerned about high ABV vapors eating up the seals and valves. I'll look into compressed air and some copper tubing / CSST for the high ABV stuff.

Cheers!
-jonny

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:48 pm
by hellbilly007
PTFE tubing would make a decent siphon hose. It's not cheap but won't break the bank for a 5ft piece.


Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:03 am
by just_still
cob wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:25 am
drill 2 holes in a bung put a copper tube in the bung then add air from an oil less air compressor.

I use the same technique to put diesel in my tractor, different materials, but no lifting.
I like this solution, it's not always you can talk about shoving pipes into bung holes without it being dirty. This is just like pressure transfers in beer brewing, except it doesn't waste my CO2. My compressor is not oil-less, but I have a desiccant dryer with oil filter that should work for this purpose.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:07 am
by just_still
jimmayhugh wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:36 am
I use sanke kegs for just about everything.

If I want to transfer from one to another, I can use my silver-soldered downcomer along with a triclamp tee to transfer liquids using compressed air.

Since I've also done something similar with CSST , I could probably come up with a solution that way as well.
Those that run a sanke kegs as a thumper may be able to adapt their existing hardware to do the pressure transfer like this.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:54 pm
by NineInchNails
A full keg can be transferred as outlined previously and there's a lot of different ways to plumb such a rig. I made one using a single Tri-Clamp to NPT adapter and the rest was copper fittings & copper pipe. I installed a 1/4" air regulator and 1/4" quick disconnect to my air compressor hose. On the product output I installed a 1/2" ball valve and then a copper spigot.

Another way is to just install a bottom drain in a keg and use a ball valve spigot to decant the product. That's what I use most of the time because it's simple.

Re: How to transfer high proof

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:40 am
by NineInchNails
An air regulator is important if you want automatic, consistent and safe pressure. You can do it without a regulator, but it's not as convenient.
Keg Liquid Transfer FINAL.jpg