Use steam rig to increase run volume

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Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:57 pm

I have a stem setup similar to Michigan Cornhusker and had a question about using it to increase a whiskey run size. Would it be feasible to load the main boiler with low wines and the steam pot also with low wines to increase the volume that one could run at a time. The reason for the question, I have about 20 gallons of low wines that I have to run and minimal time to do it. If I could increase the volume of a run from 13 gallons that I typically do in my electric still ( that I also use for the boiler) it would save me a good deal of time. Adding another 13 gallons in the stem rig (thumper) I could do the entire low wines in one run. Thought and suggestions are appreciated.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:58 pm

I'd think so, it'd be just like running a thumper except you'd effectively be getting a triple distillation....or thereabouts
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Kareltje » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:57 pm

I don't know the setup of Michigan Cornhusker, but I do use my boiler and thumper (10 L and 10 L) sometimes to save time or to distill a wash that is partly fluid (boiler) and partly sloppy (thumper).
But running through boiler and thumper is not the same as running two times a boiler.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:08 pm

@kareltje:
No, using a boiler with a thumper wouldn't be the same as running two boilers but I'd think that if you had a low wine charge in the boiler and a low wine charge in the thumper that you could exploit the thumper as a secondary boiler and essentially get the same result. Maybe get a better result than just a basic double distillation even? I only use my thumper to flavor my products so maybe I don't understand well enough to comment but based on what I've read I'd think it would work. No?
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:30 pm

Well, I have one day next week I can run whiskey. Think I will try the double set up unless I hear from someone who can advise me otherwise. I have not heard anything negative about running the two with low wines. It would sure save me some time to do them together. This is an all grain ferment low wine so, good I don’t want to risk any flavor running in this manor. If anyone has experience with this please chime in.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:37 pm

My only advice is to take your sweet time running it. Slow and steady with tight cuts. 7 hours a good drink makes.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Pikey » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:41 pm

Midwest wrote:I have a stem setup similar to Michigan Cornhusker and had a question about using it to increase a whiskey run size. Would it be feasible to load the main boiler with low wines and the steam pot also with low wines to increase the volume that one could run at a time. The reason for the question, I have about 20 gallons of low wines that I have to run and minimal time to do it. If I could increase the volume of a run from 13 gallons that I typically do in my electric still ( that I also use for the boiler) it would save me a good deal of time. Adding another 13 gallons in the stem rig (thumper) I could do the entire low wines in one run. Thought and suggestions are appreciated.


Forget your "stem boiler" (I assume you mean "STEAM" boiler. - As you say you are effectively thinking "Thumper".

The whole point of A thumper - is that it starts off cold !

Listen to what @Kareltje has to say - the man knows what he is talking about !

It is not easy to "improve" on "thumper" technology and there are some VERY DEEP analyses of "thumpers" on this forum - just do the "Google search"

You cannot produce "Steam" from a boiler containing ethanol - it simply converts the next layer into a thumper.

Having said that - "THUMPERS ARE GREAT " - and whilst you CAN "Heat your thumper - It stops being a "thumper" - if you do that !
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:59 pm

Maybe I'm missing the obvious here. Are you talking about heating BOTH boilers independently into one output or are you talking about basically running it as a pot with a thumper? As pointed out above heating them both independently would make no sense but piggy backing one off the other might....
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:17 pm

No the only heat would be applied to the main still. The thumper would be just that and heated from the ethanol coming from the main still. I effectively would not get anything off the second “thumper” until it came to temperature. I have read of thumper use, just not in the manor I am thinking. I’m simply trying to find out if it’s advisable to run in this manor, or would I be better served doing it as I have with just single pot still runs. I’m looking for time efficiency in doing a 20 gallon low wine run.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:35 pm

Here is my set up. The only difference being the vapor arm between the two kegs is much shorter now.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:46 pm

Well, again, I only use a thumper as a horizontal gin basket but from everything I've read it behaves as a parasitic second boiler/second-ish distillation. Unless I fail to understand something about the way it works using it to effectively double boiler capacity (especially if both vessels are full of the same low wines) would seem rational. I'm waiting for one of the others to chime in and say why this would not be the case however....there seems to be either a misunderstanding or a piece of practical knowledge the hasn't been vocalized fully yet here. Maybe kareltje expand on his first statement? He does know quite a bit....
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:20 pm

And maybe to clarify in case there's any ambiguity about this rig:
It's a steam injection system. Normally it would employ heated water in the first vessel to heat the mash via steam in the second vessel to avoid scorching. In this case he's describing a scenario in which he'd have low wines in both vessels in an attempt to increase the amount he could distill at once. The only hang up here would be the size of the charge in that second vessel. you probably wouldn't want to have it more than half full as the volume in it will increase as the ethanol vapors from the first vessel condense in it and fill it higher before it comes to heat.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Pikey » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:48 pm

Ok thanks for the clarifications. 8)

SO you have 20 gallons and normally run 13 in your still ?

With the kit you have there, putting the other 7 in the thumper sounds logical.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:52 am

So I'm going to go ahead and do the whiskey run in the manner discussed. Here is another question for the discussion. When I run the low wines I get approximately 2.5 gallons per stripping run. Of this 2.5 gallons the first gallon is clean higher proofed ethanol and the subsequent low wines of that run are heavier in fusel oils, as evidenced by cloudy distillate. Here is the question, since the fusel will carry more flavoring would it be best to put this portion of the low wines in the thumper and keep the cleaner low wines in the primary still? I'm thinking the low wines with the higher level of fusel oils being placed in the thumper will carry more flavoring agents through. Thoughts?
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:35 am

I'm not sure how much it would matter which vessel you put the back end of the spirit in. I think they will boil off at the same temperature either way. If you put them in the first vessel they'll just condense in the second until it comes up to heat and then they'll come through at the same point they normally would. I expect the vice versa would also hold true. Seems the logical conclusion though I could be wrong here....
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:48 am

I mean, tradition holds that you put the backings in the thumper but that may simply be because it's a convenient way to load the thumper and recycle the feints. If you're looking for richer flavors just follow custom and put the backings in the second vessel. Like I stated above, I don't know if it matters much given that fusels have a higher boiling point than the hearts do but there may be subtle principals here that I'm missing.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby shadylane » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:09 pm

Midwest wrote:Here is the question, since the fusel will carry more flavoring would it be best to put this portion of the low wines in the thumper and keep the cleaner low wines in the primary still?

Several thoughts
The fusel oils in tails carry a lot of flavoring, good and bad.
How long do you want to wait for the whiskey to age?
For white, young whiskey. I'd recommend patients, multiple distillations, tight cuts
And sample the shine often :lol:
Edited:
Just my opinion
Steam rigs are only great for stripping
They have disadvantages when used for spirit runs
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby LWTCS » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:33 am

shadylane wrote:
Midwest wrote:Here is the question, since the fusel will carry more flavoring would it be best to put this portion of the low wines in the thumper and keep the cleaner low wines in the primary still?

Several thoughts
The fusel oils in tails carry a lot of flavoring, good and bad.
How long do you want to wait for the whiskey to age?
For white, young whiskey. I'd recommend patients, multiple distillations, tight cuts
And sample the shine often :lol:
Edited:
Just my opinion
Steam rigs are only great for stripping
They have disadvantages when used for spirit runs


Agree with Shady if we're talking about live steam. On the finishing run will just dilute final product.

As far as charging a primary kettle and "secondary " parasitic kettle to the max fill line and trying run,,,best throw equal heat at both vessels. Otherwise the secondary will simply condense all incoming vapor and flood unless you join the kettles with a sort of shared pipe at the base of either kettle to insure uniform liquid levels in each kettle as the run progresses.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:25 pm

Interesting I hadn’t thought about a flooding situation in the parasitic boiler. I was planning on putting 7 gallons in that vessel and we in the primary. Do you think it would still flood before coming to take off temperature?
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:39 pm

I do have two controllers and elements. I could put heating elements in both. The paracidic keg has a 2” ferrule installed that is currently capped. I put it in just in case the situation arrived that I might need to use it as a boiler. What do you all think of running heat in both in that daisy chain configuration? Might have to do a slight modification to the steam/ethenol injector so it doesn’t hit the heating element. Any safety issues putting high proof ethanol into a vessel with an electric element. Seems a bit unsafe?
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby LWTCS » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:28 am

Midwest wrote:Interesting I hadn’t thought about a flooding situation in the parasitic boiler. I was planning on putting 7 gallons in that vessel and we in the primary. Do you think it would still flood before coming to take off temperature?


I think your auto spell took charge so I'm not quite clear what your asking without more specific detail.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby LWTCS » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:30 am

Midwest wrote:I do have two controllers and elements. I could put heating elements in both. The paracidic keg has a 2” ferrule installed that is currently capped. I put it in just in case the situation arrived that I might need to use it as a boiler. What do you all think of running heat in both in that daisy chain configuration? Might have to do a slight modification to the steam/ethenol injector so it doesn’t hit the heating element. Any safety issues putting high proof ethanol into a vessel with an electric element. Seems a bit unsafe?



Sorry you're sort of all over the place here.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Twisted Brick » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:29 am

Theoretically, if you heat equal volumes of wash in your primary and thumper under the same power input, they will begin to produce vapor simultaneously, thus shortening your run time. With this configuration, you will get a 2.5 distillation. If this isn’t the product that you want, you could always plumb your kegs parallel into a single condenser like the Figgins Reciprocator.

There's a ton of thumper info here, including smearing and running two heat inputs.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby LWTCS » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:33 pm

Twisted Brick wrote:Theoretically, if you heat equal volumes of wash in your primary and thumper under the same power input, they will begin to produce vapor simultaneously, thus shortening your run time. With this configuration, you will get a 2.5 distillation. If this isn’t the product that you want, you could always plumb your kegs parallel into a single condenser like the Figgins Reciprocator.

There's a ton of thumper info here, including smearing and running two heat inputs.


They will produce vapor simultaneously, but no faster if the power source is not comensurately sized for the total volume.
You need X amount of Watts/BTUs to heat a given volume in a specific amount of time.
Splitting the total volume and equally distributing the same amount of heat input to that total volume changes nothing with respect to run speed.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:17 pm

I was not looking to increase run time rather to increase the volume of the run. This is how I ran it. 13 gallons in the primary boiler 6 gallons in the thumper, all low wines at 35%. I heated the primary to 160 degrees then removed heat. Plugged in the second controller (only have one 220 plug) and heated the thumper to 160, removed heat. I then plugged back in the main boiler and set it to 19% power (4500 watt element) and ran the run. My thought behind preheating the thumper was to reduce heating time and pulling whiskey sooner. I pulled off 56 jars, 400 ml each. The ABV ran consistently at 84 percent for the first 25 jars. It fell a point from there every 3 to 4 jars. When I hit 78 ABV started to fall fast and I collected another 2000 ml of feints in a glass jug. Total run volume pulled off 23,200 ml. This is the first time I have tried to use a second stage thumper for increasing the run volume. I would consider it a success by my standards. The distillate tastes very good. It’s a 70/30 corn/rye for whiskey. Going to put it in a 2.5 gallon barrel later this week diluted to 120 proof.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Alchemist75 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:09 pm

That'll keep you in drink for a while, you made a decent amount there. How long did it take?
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volumeo o

Postby Midwest » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:47 am

11 hours from first heat applied to the final jar.
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Re: Use steam rig to increase run volume

Postby Midwest » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:18 am

Here is a picture of the set up I used, the steam arm the is feeding the second pot. I use this for all my on the grain strips as well. The design of the tip really minimizes the noise made in the thumper. It forces the steam bubbles to be small and widely dispersed. Its a low crackling, hissing sound rather than a normal loud poping and snapping sound of the original design I used. Originally it was a stainless steel mesh hose protector that you often see here.
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