Steam distillation

Steam powered cooking and distillation devices.

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:26 pm

With enough of us working on the problem of steam distillation.
I'm sure we will find out how to reinvent the wheel on the hobby level.

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:15 pm

Before I call it a night, here's a drunken thought or two.
The steam powered thumper continually filled during the run. Slower at the end.
Don't worry about puking, there was no signs of that being a problem.
Worry about the thumper overflowing.
Steam stripping isn't like a normal stripping run.
The mash is being diluted by the steam that's boiling it.
To extract the most useable alcohol.
Don't end the stripping run, until your boiling water with steam.

None of this matches the theory's I've read.
I definitely like the taste and ease steam stripping.
Better try it again :D

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Truckinbutch » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:16 pm

Very interesting results you are getting . I just finished a spirit run .
I see this steam distilling idea gaining more traction .
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Bohunk » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:15 am

ShadyLane, thanks for all your work on this project. I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I will probably now jump in. I have a four plate dragon column, so I will have to build a thumper, and boiler. I have always wondered about just making a coil in the thumper to heat the mash, and then allow the steam to exit the coil, this would keep the distillate from getting watered down. Also I have seen a 40 lb propane tank used as a boiler, the guys have welded fittings for the elements, and steam exhaust, one just has to be careful not to close the escape path of the steam. Keep up your work, I'll be following you closely.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:52 am

Just started the second run. I only put 12 1/2 inches of mash in the thumper this time.
IMHO The biggest advantage to steam distillation is the ability to get almost all the alcohol out of the mash.
It's definitely more efficient than squeezing with a mop bucket. And the alcohol appears to be cleaner

One problem I found this morning when empting the thumper is draining it.
There's a 1" ball valve for a drain and it wasn't big enough to keep the mash from plugging it up.
Had to turn the keg upside down and spray water into the drain to clear out the spent grain.
Need to work on a way of getting the mash into and out of the keg.

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by jedneck » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:54 am

How much are you chargeing the steam generator with and how much did it use.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:05 am

Here's an Idea from Bubba
Have a 4" Ferrell welded to the side of the keg.
Have the keg on a stand with rollers.
When you want to empty the keg, park a wheel barrel under it and roll the keg over to dump it.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:09 am

jedneck wrote:How much are you chargeing the steam generator with and how much did it use.
The boiler was almost full about 15 gallons. And it boiled off around 6.5 gallons in a little over 4 hours.

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by jedneck » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:16 am

I mite have to do some figuring. I have a five gallon thump fed buy a keg. Might reconfigure to use 5 gallon for a steam gen using the hot water from the exit of the product condesor to keep from running dry.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:29 am

So your thinking about using the hot water from the PC to refill the 5 gallon boiler?
Are you going to do it on the fly or shut off the heat and add the hot water?

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:31 am

Just squeezed my high-rye mash with my new mop bucket. I am going to strip it in the thumper, but there won't be any grain in it. I'll wait to post back in this thread until next time I do a corn based recipe because what I'm doing to day isn't really distilling on the grain. I'm just going to use steam today because several members here have scorched the same mash I'm running on their elements.

You know, now that I think about it I may just drop another post after I'm done. Just for reference. Today I'm going to run 10.2 gallons of 7.224% all malt mash in the thumper. If I have time while the boiler is hot anyway, I may do the spirit run on the all corn low (not so low..) wines I got sitting here. I can put that into another smaller keg and just swap to that after I'm done stripping the malt in the big one.

Stillin' time folks!! :D :D
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:39 am

Let us know how it works out Brutal.
Just a thought. Is it necessary to dilute the low wines to below 40% when steam heating ?

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by jedneck » Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:42 am

shadylane wrote:So your thinking about using the hot water from the PC to refill the 5 gallon boiler?
Are you going to do it on the fly or shut off the heat and add the hot water?
I think I will see if I can figure out a way to get a float valve to automatically fill to a set limit.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Truckinbutch » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:05 am

shadylane wrote:Let us know how it works out Brutal.
Just a thought. Is it necessary to dilute the low wines to below 40% when steam heating ?
I am interested in opinions on that , too . Was going to load 3.5 gallons of not so low wines and 6 gallons of UJ wash in the boiler and 3 gallons of wash in the thumper today . Think I'll hold off until we hear some more answers here . I could just as easily charge 9 gallons of wash in the boiler and 3 gallons of strip in the thumper . i've got yesterday's spirit run to blend while other folks have their say .
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by jedneck » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:12 am

Truckinbutch wrote:
shadylane wrote:Let us know how it works out Brutal.
Just a thought. Is it necessary to dilute the low wines to below 40% when steam heating ?
I am interested in opinions on that , too . Was going to load 3.5 gallons of not so low wines and 6 gallons of UJ wash in the boiler and 3 gallons of wash in the thumper today . Think I'll hold off until we hear some more answers here . I could just as easily charge 9 gallons of wash in the boiler and 3 gallons of strip in the thumper . i've got yesterday's spirit run to blend while other folks have their say .
I don't see it being any different than a plated colomn. They get progressively high abv on each plate. But I am like you TB, I am waiting for more input from people more knowledgeable than I.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:00 pm

shadylane wrote:Let us know how it works out Brutal.
Just a thought. Is it necessary to dilute the low wines to below 40% when steam heating ?
You know.. I was trying to keep those words out of my mouth so badly in that last post. I guess either you picked up on it or we were just thinking the same thing again. My opinion of it is that it would be "safer." I don't think it would make running 80% feasible, but it does seem like it would be somewhat safer. It is the kind of thing that seems like it needs a dedicated thread, but I don't want to get in trouble for starting it if I'm wrong.
Quick edit: according to this site: [URL[ http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fuels ... d_171.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow[/URL] it looks like the auto ignition temp of ethanol is quite high. I know there are many other compounds in there though.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:42 pm

Brutal wrote: I guess either you picked up on it or we were just thinking the same thing again.

Brilliant minds think alike. :lol:
Before I go off on another tangent, I have the low wines from 2 identical mashes.
The only difference is one was steam stripped and the other was mop bucket squeezed.
Neither is big enough for a full still charge.
Now what ?

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:19 pm

shadylane wrote:Let us know how it works out Brutal.
Just a thought. Is it necessary to dilute the low wines to below 40% when steam heating ?
Also, you are diluting the low wines right from the gitgo with the steam.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Truckinbutch » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:32 pm

And you are going to achieve a max temp of 212 degrees with no compression of gasses . I don't think that could trigger self ignition of the volitiles we produce . JMHO
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:14 am

I stripped my thick malt batch last night in my 15.5. I had 10.2 gallons in the thumper to start. Collected a little over 2 gallons of low wines, and when I drained it I had 12 gallons in the thumper. I didn't drain the main boiler but it has to be about 6 gallons left. The filling effect in the thumper is going to be worse during these cold months. I had some basic insulation around both my kegs but that was it.

My opinion of this process is that it is a very crude strip. I collected in 6 jars and I could detect tails in the second one and heads into at least the fourth. Its all very grainy as well. Its just a strip run, and its probably good that it didn't rob any more flavor than it did. Just an observation. Don't expect stripping in the method I described to yield a good tasting product. Oh and while bringing these boilers up to temp at full throttle (23 amps/220v) I managed to get my secondary to puke a little. I think the thick mash just bubbled up and contaminated it. No big deal on a stripping run but I'd recommend to be more careful on heat up even though there's no fear of a scorch. You can still make it puke.

Speaking of my method.. I've been thinking about it. Thick mash in the secondary equals coarse, poorly separated product. I was suspicious of my steam tube going through the center of the output path. I was thinking it might keep particles suspended that would otherwise fall out by keeping the output path hot. But when I put that same set up on a 5.25 gallon keg for a secondary and only put a half gallon of water in it my product separates very well, and is very polished tasting. I think the difference is in the technique and not so much the equipment at this point. Going to have to practice with it more and see.

For now I plan to finish this run and my all corn run through my big pot still head. I think that would be perfect for these. Have to do some cleaning runs on it because I haven't used it in a while.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:13 am

I came up with basically the same conclusions.
The steam stripper appeared to smear the cuts all the way through the run.
But it's a stripping run so it doesn't matter.

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by S-Cackalacky » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:59 pm

So, the conclusion I'm drawing from this (so far) is - great for stripping a dirty wash and then do the spirit run as you would normally do. Has anyone tried a spirit run with steam yet?

Another question - how responsive is the output to power adjustments on the boiler side? With a water charge in the main boiler, is it more gradual than with a conventional run?

Just thinkin' out loud, but with the problem of the drain plugging up with grain, would it help to use something like a wire coat hanger to push through the valve to free it up. There might also be some advantage to adding some clean water as you go to help dilute the grain particles and help them move through the drain.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by DeepSouth » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:32 pm

I do single pass distillation with steam injection using my four plate flute. The charge does get diluted initially, so if I start with 8% abv, using steam the initial charge becomes around 7% abv. I've found that using steam injection, a single pass with four plates is about equivalent to a conventional strip and spirit run taste wise. It is perfect for me for bourbon. I mashed this weekend and will distill with this method in the next couple days. I filmed the mashing procedure and will film the distillation and post notes.
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:30 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:So, the conclusion I'm drawing from this (so far) is - great for stripping a dirty wash and then do the spirit run as you would normally do. Has anyone tried a spirit run with steam yet?
I have not but I might very soon. My choice right now on both my mushy rye and my corn strips are to run them on my big pot still head, or to dilute them and run through the small thumper, or to steam them out of the small thumper at a higher-than-is-recommended abv. I'll post up whatever I do.
S-Cackalacky wrote:Another question - how responsive is the output to power adjustments on the boiler side? With a water charge in the main boiler, is it more gradual than with a conventional run?
I run 5500 watt electric on a controller. When I say whoa it stops putting out withing about a second. Pretty good control. On a propane steam boiler that would not be the case, but might not be that bad either.
S-Cackalacky wrote:Just thinkin' out loud, but with the problem of the drain plugging up with grain, would it help to use something like a wire coat hanger to push through the valve to free it up. There might also be some advantage to adding some clean water as you go to help dilute the grain particles and help them move through the drain.
Got me thinking of running a keg upside down with just a 2" block off plate and a tri clamp for a drain, and a 4" triclamp on the bottom (now the top) with a 4" to 2" ss adapter. That way when it's time to drain, it will drain. it would also give me a way to get inside to clean and inspect better.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:33 pm

DeepSouth wrote:I do single pass distillation with steam injection using my four plate flute. The charge does get diluted initially, so if I start with 8% abv, using steam the initial charge becomes around 7% abv. I've found that using steam injection, a single pass with four plates is about equivalent to a conventional strip and spirit run taste wise. It is perfect for me for bourbon. I mashed this weekend and will distill with this method in the next couple days. I filmed the mashing procedure and will film the distillation and post notes.
Thank you for sharing so much about your unique set up DS. I can't wait to see the video, but I hope you have eliminated any identifiable sounds or sights from the vid first. Can't be too careful.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:11 am

S-Cackalacky wrote:So, the conclusion I'm drawing from this (so far) is - great for stripping a dirty wash and then do the spirit run as you would normally do. Has anyone tried a spirit run with steam yet?
Haven't done a spirit run with steam yet. Seems to me charging the boiler with 10% alcohol would be better than water.
S-Cackalacky wrote:Another question - how responsive is the output to power adjustments on the boiler side? With a water charge in the main boiler, is it more gradual than with a conventional run?
The throttle response seems about the same, but I can hear the steam blowing into the thumper for a couple of seconds after shutting off the electricity.
S-Cackalacky wrote:Just thinkin' out loud, but with the problem of the drain plugging up with grain, would it help to use something like a wire coat hanger to push through the valve to free it up. There might also be some advantage to adding some clean water as you go to help dilute the grain particles and help them move through the drain.
I've tried unplugging the valve with a piece of wire, didn't work. Interestingly, the liquid easily drains out first and leaves the outer shells of the corn and sludge behind. The 1" ball valve used for a drain only has a 3/4" hole through it.
I think a bigger valve and some rinse water would drain the thumper

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:23 am

DeepSouth wrote:I do single pass distillation with steam injection using my four plate flute. The charge does get diluted initially, so if I start with 8% abv, using steam the initial charge becomes around 7% abv. I've found that using steam injection, a single pass with four plates is about equivalent to a conventional strip and spirit run taste wise. It is perfect for me for bourbon. I mashed this weekend and will distill with this method in the next couple days. I filmed the mashing procedure and will film the distillation and post notes.
Hey DeepSouth! Did you ever post up the specs on that pump?
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by DeepSouth » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:52 am

No, I haven't yet, but I can now. My pump is actually pretty old, and the exact model isn't one you will be able to buy anywhere today. It is a Hypro brand "Flex Rotor" pump that was built around 1960 or so. It has a cast bronze housing with a flexible rubber impeller. The impeller isn't original and has been replaced in the past. The size of the impeller is 2" OD with a 5/8" ID for the motor shaft. The thickness of the impeller is about 3/4". I'm actually going to start looking for a replacement impeller soon, since mine is sealing good enough at the moment to self prime. Flexible impeller pumps are supposed to be self priming. It isn't really a big deal at the moment since my kegs all have drains on the bottom and I place the pump on the floor, so by opening the drain valves liquid flows down to the pump's level to prime it. My pump has male 3/4" NPT fittings on the inlet and outlet. I attach to it with female garden hose fittings. It can probably pass 1/8" solids if I had to guess.

Mine looks kind of similar to this:

Image

If I was going to buy a new pump that closely approximated what I have now, I would look at something like this:

http://www.coleparmer.com/Product/Moder ... W-75501-01
Rich Grain Distilling Co., DSP-MS-20003
http://www.richdistilling.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
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Re: Steam distillation

Post by Brutal » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:45 am

Brutal wrote:Speaking of my method.. I've been thinking about it. Thick mash in the secondary equals coarse, poorly separated product. I was suspicious of my steam tube going through the center of the output path. I was thinking it might keep particles suspended that would otherwise fall out by keeping the output path hot. But when I put that same set up on a 5.25 gallon keg for a secondary and only put a half gallon of water in it my product separates very well, and is very polished tasting. I think the difference is in the technique and not so much the equipment at this point. Going to have to practice with it more and see.
Had a little more time to think recently and have another theory on why the mushy strip is so mixed up. In my thumper the steam is just going down a 1" pipe that stops just off the bottom and has a few notches in the end. If the liquid flows well this heats it pretty evenly but when it's mushy and has a lot of width it's very likely not heating in an even manner. So, as the center of it comes to a temperature where heads are usually the being released the sides of the keg are at a lower temp, and those same compounds are staying in. As the distillation continues the center of the container gets hot enough to start releasing tails.. and the outside is just getting hot enough to release heads/fores. I still think it doesn't really matter for a stripping run. If I wanted to solve it I think I would have to add some kind of steam diffuser to it, or add an agitator. There have been a few designs of diffuser discussed here that seem like they would work. It would just need to evenly distribute the heat. To add an agitator would be tough on a keg. If you added a 4" tri clamp connection on the top of the keg to the side from center, and at a small angle you could install a shaft through the enter of a block off plate with a support bearing to hold it steady. Have a propeller of some kind on the bottom and a motor or drill on top. No idea how to seal something like that. I bet Odin knows..
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Re: Steam distillation

Post by shadylane » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:21 pm

I believe your right.
I found this http://www.copper-alembic.com/ns/catego ... tegory=334" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
One of their stills uses steam injection, the thumper is tall, skinny and is on a pivot so it can be dumped easily.
The tall and skinny thumper would help to heat the mash evenly.
http://www.copper-alembic.com/ns/produc ... roduct=812" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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