Minimum mash size for keg boiler

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dapperdiver
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Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by dapperdiver » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:02 am

Hey all,

I've been running with a small chinese pot still, and just upgraded to a keg boiler. I made a 5 gallon wash to do some rum, and was unsure if the 5 gallons is too little to run through the much larger 15 gallon boiler. Aditionally, if I do a stripping run and get say 2.5-3 gallons of low wines, is that enough to allow the still to run, or should I be doing 10 gallon washes? I was having a hard time with the googling so figured I'd pick the HD brain.


Thanks for reading

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Deplorable
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by Deplorable » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:11 am

A good rule of thumb is 3X the boiler size for your fermenter. You'll get 3 stripping runs that should yeild a full boiler charge of low wines for your spirit run.
My fermenter is a 32 gallon Brute trash can. My boiler is 13 gallons. On grain ferments I get 2 stripping runs, and a 5 to 7 gallons of low wines for the spirit run.
2.5 gallons of low wines would be a small charge in a keg. I wouldn't bother, I'd set it aside and make another two or three buckets of wash to strip. Saving the low wines until I had enough low wines for at least a 5 gallon spirit run.
If you're on electric heat be mindful of your element and the remaining liquid level needed to keep it submerged.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

dapperdiver
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by dapperdiver » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:27 am

Thank you!!

Was floundering a bit lol. Also WOW I didn't realize I just jumped into the big leauges. Seems like I'm going to the big box store later lol.

A few questions/ clarifications if your willing.

1. Below it seems you get 6ish gallons of low wines from a 30 gallon wash. so a 20% ish yeild is normal?
2. I live in a warm climate, any recommendation on long term cooling of a wash? (trashcan would have to be in the garage)
3. in order to use the 6 gallon fermenters I currently have, would a 10 gallon wash w/out a stripping run be reasonable?

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Deplorable
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by Deplorable » Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:40 am

dapperdiver wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:27 am
Thank you!!

Was floundering a bit lol. Also WOW I didn't realize I just jumped into the big leauges. Seems like I'm going to the big box store later lol.

A few questions/ clarifications if your willing.

1. Below it seems you get 6ish gallons of low wines from a 30 gallon wash. so a 20% ish yeild is normal? consider the abv of the wash is 10% when you strip the initial charge you are condensing the alcohol content to about 30%. The spirit run, on a pot still should bring your combined keep jars abv to around 65 to 70%
2. I live in a warm climate, any recommendation on long term cooling of a wash? (trashcan would have to be in the garage) use a yeast suitable for your ambient temps so you don't have to cool it. Or ferment in the winter.
3. in order to use the 6 gallon fermenters I currently have, would a 10 gallon wash w/out a stripping run be reasonable? You'll get a better product running it twice, and actually save time

Have a read through the required reading links at the bottom of the page here. It will save you a lot of time, and you'll have a better understanding of the processes.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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30xs
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by 30xs » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:00 pm

dapperdiver wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:02 am
Hey all,

I've been running with a small chinese pot still, and just upgraded to a keg boiler. I made a 5 gallon wash to do some rum, and was unsure if the 5 gallons is too little to run through the much larger 15 gallon boiler. Aditionally, if I do a stripping run and get say 2.5-3 gallons of low wines, is that enough to allow the still to run, or should I be doing 10 gallon washes? I was having a hard time with the googling so figured I'd pick the HD brain.


Thanks for reading
You don’t say if your using electric or propane heat. I agree with a ferment large enough to do three strips and a spirit run. The deciding factor on “if” 2.5-3 gallons is enough to run depends on if you can keep your element covered, electric, or no problem if propane fired.

I must ask why you would want a larger boiler if you want to run the same size ferment? Do yourself a favor and upsize the fermenter and reap the rewards of a larger “keep” cut on the final run. It’s easier to toss a questionable jar to feints when you have a larger keep window due to the volume alone.

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Demy
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by Demy » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:30 pm

I usually run small batches and have at least 2 boiler sizes to choose from as it really depends on what you distil and how much you want to produce. I recommend keeping both boilers and making sure you put the same column in both so you can choose. A lot of guys here brew large quantities but you have to decide on the size that fits your needs.

dapperdiver
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by dapperdiver » Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:46 pm

30xs wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 2:00 pm
You don’t say if your using electric or propane heat. I agree with a ferment large enough to do three strips and a spirit run. The deciding factor on “if” 2.5-3 gallons is enough to run depends on if you can keep your element covered, electric, or no problem if propane fired. Currently propane, but will go electric once I can find a welder in my area.

I must ask why you would want a larger boiler if you want to run the same size ferment? Do yourself a favor and upsize the fermenter and reap the rewards of a larger “keep” cut on the final run. It’s easier to toss a questionable jar to feints when you have a larger keep window due to the volume alone. In all honesty I think I'm just used to the 5 gallon size from beer brewing. I'm excited about the larger volumes just need to figure out how to mash in that much grain with my current 5 gallon brew system. Additionally seemed like the larger boiler gives me more options with still design/ things I can make. I figured after learning on the cheap one I'd want to try my hand at building a ccvm.
Thanks for clarifying the smaller volume question. I'm currently fermenting a rum wash in a 5 gallon, so I think I'll double it, strip it and then run that before moving to the "trash can" size.

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Twisted Brick
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Re: Minimum mash size for keg boiler

Post by Twisted Brick » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:04 pm

Hey dd,

You might consider acquiring a second keg (keggle) to mash in. Once the mash is completed, simply cool, pitch yeast and ferment. A stainless keg is bulletproof, easy to keep clean, and accommodates 12.5gal all-grain mashes that translate to 3gal of low wines.

Good luck with your upgrades.

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