Functional capacity of boilers?

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Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby YSO191 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:21 am

I cannot find the answer to this. I am researching what size of still to purchase. When one sees a boiler/still listed as 10 gallons, does that mean I can put 10 gallons of wash in the boiler? If not what is the percentage of the functional capacity?

My situation is this: I can produce 6 gallons of beer on my current homebrew system. What size of boiler should I be looking at?

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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby Still Life » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:56 am

A rule of thumb is to fill a boiler to about 75%.
So a 10-gallon pot = 7.5-gallons of liquid.

An 8-gallon pot would work with your 6-gallon wash.
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby YSO191 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:08 am

Perfect, thank you.
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby Kareltje » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:35 pm

When stilling a beer, I would start with only 40 %. And gradually enlarge this until it starts to puke.
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby YSO191 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:39 pm

I assume that is because of the tendency to foam. Correct?
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby Kareltje » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:43 pm

YSO191 wrote:I assume that is because of the tendency to foam. Correct?

Yes. Even a clear wash of grain can foam. I recently had 5 litres in my 10 ltr potstill and it puked a bit. In a stripping run it is no real big deal, but it showed the maximum degree of filling for me.
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:19 pm

+1 kareltje
I can run my 50 liter keg almost full to the brim with a tomatoe paste sugar wash .
35 liters for Rum and if I add a splash of veg oil can get away with 40 liters .
An all grain of 25 liters will still puke even with veg oil if I have too much heat .
Get the biggest boiler you can and if it has an element just make sure that when all the alc has been removed that its still covered
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby NZChris » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:28 pm

With grains and rums I usually get away with 2/3 full as long as I put a knob of butter in it and don't push too hard at the start. That said, my fermenter is three times the volume of my still so that a single ferment provides enough for up to four stripping runs to get a decent charge of low wines for a spirit run.
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby Truckinbutch » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:54 pm

Running a 15.5 boiler/ 15.5 thumper I've found that 12 gallons in each vessel gives me optimum capacity with an adequate safety margin on stripping runs .
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Re: Functional capacity of boilers?

Postby HDNB » Mon Sep 04, 2017 6:05 pm

steam jacket kettle i can get 90% of capacity.

internal electric about 75% of capacity

i think with gas (guess 'cause i ain't used it) that you could go pretty full and dial the heat down just as it starts to boil and then ease up after it has had a break for a while.

Built in agitator really helps with foaming if you can rig one. :thumbup:
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