Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Any steam Cooking /Distilling Device

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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby rad14701 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:53 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:Well I want to build a still that would do this. I have an 8 gallon milk can boiler now, I'd like to use it as the thumper and get the 26 gallon milk can for the boiler. I think that would be a good ratio.
But they don't give those 26 gallon milk cans away...

Maybe I should start a new thread about this and try and word the process a bit better.

You meant to say 25 gallons... :ewink:
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:57 pm

Well I surely wouldn't overfill it.

So make that 20 gallons and we're square right?
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby rad14701 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:07 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:Well I surely wouldn't overfill it.

So make that 20 gallons and we're square right?

Just making sure you're adhering to Rule #10... :ewink: So it's a 25 gallon boiler unless you're a legal distillery... :eugeek:
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:33 pm

10-4
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby ShineRunner » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:22 pm

Where did you get your corks? What size are they?

I got some size 30 from widgetco but they're a touch small and sit in too far for me to be comfortable with them. They're also layered, which I thought was a no-no for glue? I had a hard time getting them to seal on the cleaning run.

I ordered size 32 from home derpot and the picture showed solid but it's conglomerate cork. Pretty sure that's a no go. Guess I'll order size 32 from widget?

Thanks

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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:04 pm

I don't remember where I got the corks.
I know I just found them online, maybe searching "natural cork"?

They are solid, real cork, no laminating or composites. They work great as they swell a bit when hit with hot vapor.

I've noticed a little wear and tear on them do I might be wanting to get another pair soon. If I can find out where I got these I'll let you know.
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby ShineRunner » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:45 pm

Thanks. I found these: https://www.onlinesciencemall.com/produ ... nches-each

They mention that they're pressed and no glue. I emailed widgetco to see if theirs are the same. Problem with the widgetco ones is that there are some gaps in the cork right at the level that I need them to seal. I think if they were a little bigger, I'd have more room to push them in, if necessary, and still have room to grab onto them and pull them easily.

I'll also update when I hear back..

I'm excited to run this thing and glad you came up with a modular design!

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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:53 pm

These look just like the ones I have:

http://www.corkstore.com/Products/Bark-Top-Stoppers
image.jpeg
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby shadylane » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:01 pm

Just a thought
Where there's only water vapor, and no alcohol vapor on the material
Most food grade material, that can take boiling water, probably would be acceptable for seals.
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby ShineRunner » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:38 pm

Shady, the corks will be exposed to alcohol vapor as it plugs both the boiler and thumper pipes. The cork is also present on all regular still runs as well.

I got a response form widgetco about their layered corks. "The process uses a food grade polyurethane…it should withstand heat above steam temps" obviously, food grade or not, not sure I want polyurethane in my drink. One of the layers of my cork has already delaminated and fallen off. I've only done vinegar and sacrificial runs to this point. I didn't see any signs of glue on the piece that peeled off, but it must be there..

I reached out to the link I provided- onlinesciencemall. They repeated their description that there is no glue, and that the cork is held together by the pressure of being formed together. I ordered some and will check them out. We'll see. I'll let you all know what it looks like when I get them.

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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby rad14701 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:51 am

ShineRunner wrote:Shady, the corks will be exposed to alcohol vapor as it plugs both the boiler and thumper pipes. The cork is also present on all regular still runs as well.

I got a response form widgetco about their layered corks. "The process uses a food grade polyurethane…it should withstand heat above steam temps" obviously, food grade or not, not sure I want polyurethane in my drink. One of the layers of my cork has already delaminated and fallen off. I've only done vinegar and sacrificial runs to this point. I didn't see any signs of glue on the piece that peeled off, but it must be there..

I reached out to the link I provided- onlinesciencemall. They repeated their description that there is no glue, and that the cork is held together by the pressure of being formed together. I ordered some and will check them out. We'll see. I'll let you all know what it looks like when I get them.

SR

"Food Grade" does not equate to "alcohol safe", especially high proof alcohol... Only solid cork will withstand high proof alcohol liquid or vapor, heated or otherwise... Any cork made from compressed granules will have the same problem in that they will fail in short order...
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Midwest » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:14 am

MCH thought I would freshen up this tread with a couple of questions for you about you steam rig. I am currently steam mashing so the next logical step is distilling.

1. What further modifications have you made, if any, to the original design. I like the layout of you steam rig and since I started doing all grain I can see the benefit of steaming the thick gooey mess that is left after the clear is racked off. Even after letting it settle there seems to be a lot of wort trapped in the trub.
2. Are you still using the 1/2 over 3/4 Liebig?
3. Do you use water or clear wort in the steam pot?
I assume you are draining your lees off with the 600 micron barrel filter. When I use the filter it does a good job of removing a large portion of the fluid but I find that there is still quite a bit retained in the grain. When i put a little pressure on the grains with the spatula i get a fair amount of fluid. Am i miss understanding it and you are leaving the grains in there also when you distill?
4. With your design would there be any benefit to using a 2x2x2 tee at the take off fitting on the thumper/second pot and utilizing a 2" shotgun condenser instead of the Liebig.
5. On the steam arm in the pot, you put an L pipe with a series of holes drilled in it, Is that still effective for you? On my steam masher I utilize a stainless steel hose mesh. Do you think there is a benefit of one over the other?
6. When you ordered the ferrule's to connect to the 3/4 inch pipe were they 2" ferrule and what was the other end? threaded, non-threaded?

Thanks, Any updates will help. Your layout seems straight forward
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:29 am

1. What further modifications have you made, if any, to the original design. I like the layout of you steam rig and since I started doing all grain I can see the benefit of steaming the thick gooey mess that is left after the clear is racked off. Even after letting it settle there seems to be a lot of wort trapped in the trub.
No mods, it has worked out really well as-is. It is super easy to set up and tear down, and in a bucket the parts don't look anything like a still.
You're right about the trub, it does contain a lot of alcohol. I usually get about another 25% low wines by being able to strip the muck.

2. Are you still using the 1/2 over 3/4 Liebig?
Yep, works great. 3/4" over 1/2", 34" inlet to outlet, no crimping, no turbulators, no scrubbies...
I crank the heat up full on my burner and strip at about 2 gallons/hr.

3. Do you use water or clear wort in the steam pot?
I assume you are draining your lees off with the 600 micron barrel filter. When I use the filter it does a good job of removing a large portion of the fluid but I find that there is still quite a bit retained in the grain. When i put a little pressure on the grains with the spatula i get a fair amount of fluid. Am i miss understanding it and you are leaving the grains in there also when you distill?
These days I just fill the boiler with water so that there is no danger of scorching. That way I can run full tilt heat without a second thought regardless of grain bill.
I've stripped grains and all but the grains make up a lot of volume so it means more runs. They also take up a lot of room in my fermenter, so I've gone to filtering the grains out before fermentation just so I can fit more juice in the Brute.
Stripping grains and all will definitely give you maximum extraction, but I do remember the low wines from the grain slurry being pretty dang funky. Cleared up in spirit run though.
Yes I still use the barrel filter, I think I'm using 600 micron, or the 400. It's fairly coarse but it gets out most of the grains and does so quick and easy.
I do a quick strain with the filter and collect the grains in buckets. Then I add some water to the grains and mix them up again and re-strain. I get quite a bit more out of them this way. They are pretty dry and spent when I toss them.
I think this is a version of batch sparging. I mash for a higher SG to allow for the added sparge water.

4. With your design would there be any benefit to using a 2x2x2 tee at the take off fitting on the thumper/second pot and utilizing a 2" shotgun condenser instead of the Liebig.
Not for me. As I say, my liebig was cheap and easy to build and works well at my max heat. I do like the looks of shotttys but wouldn't go through the extra effort and expense myself.

5. On the steam arm in the pot, you put an L pipe with a series of holes drilled in it, Is that still effective for you? On my steam masher I utilize a stainless steel hose mesh. Do you think there is a benefit of one over the other?
I know it works but have nothing else to compare it to. An open pipe might work just as well, and the mesh hose might work better somehow, I just don't know.

6. When you ordered the ferrule's to connect to the 3/4 inch pipe were they 2" ferrule and what was the other end? threaded, non-threaded?
I used 2" at the kegs and either 3/4" or 1" for the 3/4" pipe. I forget the size for the pipe but they allowed the pipe to slip into the ferrule and they were a close enough fit to solder without any other mods.

Thanks, Any updates will help. Your layout seems straight forward
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Midwest » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:44 am

MCH I can't thank you enough for the response. I would not have though of adding a little water to the strained grains and re-straining them again. I will definitely do that on the next batch. I asked about the Liebig as I currently run 5500 watts on my pot and it seems to knock it all down well. I did get some huffing on the last whiskey run until I added a piece of copper screen to the end of it. So as I understand it you are putting all of your wort, yeast trub and all, in the second pot and steaming away. Sounds so much easier that racking and straining. As I move forward I may have a couple more questions. Again thanks for the quick response!
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby BlackStrap » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:45 am

I've been searching, maybe I'm not using the right lingo...Anyways finding this is awesome, and inspiring.
If you don"t mind MichiganCornhusker have a couple questions though.

How many elements and what size are they?
How long does it take to bring both kegs up to temp to start producing?
How much "slop" do you start with in second keg?
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:28 am

How many elements and what size are they?
I'm using an old turkey fryer burner for heat. With water in the boiler though, this would be a perfect place for electric elements, I just haven't gotten around to switching over.
How long does it take to bring both kegs up to temp to start producing?
How much "slop" do you start with in second keg?

I put about 4 gallons water in the boiler and about `10 gallons of ferment or slops in the thumper.
It takes about one hour for everything to come up to temp and start producing.

What I do these days is when the fermentation is finished and has sat for a few days, I transfer everything out of my 50 gallon Brute into 5 gallon carboys.
By pouring the ferment through a funnel into the carboys it degasses the liquid and it will settle out pretty good after a couple days.

Then I rack off all of the clear liquids and collect all of the slop in separate carboys. I usually end up with about 70% clear, 30% slop, and the slop is very thick.
At this point it would be pretty safe to charge the boiler with the clear and put more clear or slop into the thumper, but I use water in the boiler just to not have to worry about scorch.

A typical run will use up 3 gallons of boiler water, sometimes more if I'm trying to get the overall proof of the low wines down to 30%.
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Wild Bill » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:44 am

Mch, your rig intrigues me to no end and I may end up modding my build or building a completely new setup based on your build. My wort is very clean as I use my false bottom mash tun to filter out most solids. I also mostly ferment in half barrel kegs. This leads me to a few questions. Is there any reason not to just hook up keg with fermented out contents right into thumper configuration and run? Would maybe degassing with a drill and paddle arrangement first be adviseable? Is there a small stub of 2” pipe between the tees on top of thumper keg? Great build anyhow but I just barely got my feet wet and I can see now you are going to cost me more money!
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby lil misfit » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:11 am

:clap: absulutely awesome!! you've put together what i've been trying to get all the parts to do. teamed up with a mash steaming set -up. congrats very well done :thumbup:
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Truckinbutch » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:40 pm

We have fast tracked our hobby so muck in the short time I've been here by sharing good news and bad news . HOORRRRAAHH !
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Wild Bill » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:46 pm

Yep, much gratitude to all that have gone before me and shared their experiences on this forum. It has certainly reshaped the learning curve and allowed many of us rookies to make a decent drop right out of the gate! :thumbup:
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby lil misfit » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:54 am

couldn't agree more with Tb or Wb the info is here if you spend the time to look for it. a true credit to the site and its members. quick thought toward holding the corks how about a simple bail like on the old style mason jars?
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Wild Bill » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:19 am

On the thumper Tee I do not use anything to hold the cork in and it seems to stay in fine. On the boiler side I used this SS 2”x1.5”x2” triclamp reducing tee. At the top of tee I install a 2” triclamp blank that I drilled and tapped for 1/4” npt and I threaded a 5 psi safety valve into it. It has worked great so far and is nice to be able to pull up on safety valve ring and vent piping at end of run or to shoot the thump.

https://www.norcalbrewingsolutions.com/ ... Piece.html
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:27 am

Wild Bill wrote:Yep, much gratitude to all that have gone before me and shared their experiences on this forum. It has certainly reshaped the learning curve and allowed many of us rookies to make a decent drop right out of the gate! :thumbup:

+1
I would have never come up with such a versitile, compact rig without all of the contributions here!
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:46 pm

Wild Bill wrote:On the boiler side I used this SS 2”x1.5”x2” triclamp reducing tee. At the top of tee I install a 2” triclamp blank that I drilled and tapped for 1/4” npt and I threaded a 5 psi safety valve into it.

I like that idea and I might modify mine the same way.

After 3 years my 2” corks are starting to degrade.
I like the idea of replacing them with a triclamp plate and prv.

I could always make a 2” triclamp “shooter” contraption for the thumper if I wanted it for certain runs.

The real beauty of this thing is how modular it can be, and how easy it is to configure any which way.
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby Wild Bill » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:49 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
Wild Bill wrote:On the boiler side I used this SS 2”x1.5”x2” triclamp reducing tee. At the top of tee I install a 2” triclamp blank that I drilled and tapped for 1/4” npt and I threaded a 5 psi safety valve into it.

I like that idea and I might modify mine the same way.

After 3 years my 2” corks are starting to degrade.
I like the idea of replacing them with a triclamp plate and prv.

I could always make a 2” triclamp “shooter” contraption for the thumper if I wanted it for certain runs.

The real beauty of this thing is how modular it can be, and how easy it is to configure any which way.


Yes the modulatity is awesome for sure. Here is the relief valve I used. It will actually remain open if you lift up and cock plunger to the side slightly. Thanks again for the inspiration!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01KO7NB ... SY340_QL65
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby BlackStrap » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:44 am

Just finished the water test for leaks and a vinegar run to cleanup flux...still need to do a sacrificial run & and make the outside shiny 8) but I'm happy with the results so far. on the vinegar run...Filled the steam keg (primary) with 10 gallons water/vinegar and mash keg (secondary) with 7 gallons water vinegar. Took an hour and 5 mins for steam out of the condenser... testing the flow rate, was able to pull 1 quart (.946 liters) at 5:30 minutes.

I am so thankful for this forum, and the great people here sharing ideas... :thumbup:
Attachments
Steam Double Keg setup.jpg
Left is the Steam Keg Middle is the Mash keg and the right is the reservoir... In the back ground is the control panel that also controls a 3 vessel brewing setup.
Steam DBL Keg.jpg
Another view showing 5lb pressure relieve valve with helps prevent suck back at the end of the strip run.
Steam Keg Top Access.jpg
Ease of access on top of the mash keg there is also a drain on the bottom for cleaning.
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby shadylane » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:51 pm

Your going to love your steam rig
It's wonderful to be able to cook mash and distill, with ease :thumbup:
On a side note. Your big SS cooling water reservoir would make a great mash cooker
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Re: Modular Thumper / Steamer Build

Postby BlackStrap » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:24 am

Unfortunately the reservoir is aluminum, and was used as an used oil drum, :silent: but the price was right Free! :thumbup:

Not to hi-jack this thread...
but I do have a mash cooker set up with a modified drill press as a stirrer,
I use the big 20 gallon stainless pot with a heating element (on the top tier in background of the first picture my previous post)
filled with water the keg slides down inside and is held in by ratchet straps so it becomes a double boiler, no scorching :)

Here's what I come up with for mashing corn.
Attachments
IMAG0821 - Copy.jpg
Bain Marie (double boiler) heated water jacketing the outside of the keg cooks the corn when cooled to 154 or so throw in malted barley for conversion :)
IMAG0822 - Copy.jpg
Another view
IMAG0823 - Copy.jpg
Copper stir paddle
IMAG0824 - Copy.jpg
Copper stir paddle side view
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