Building anew still for my 13G kettle

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ZMan3k
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Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by ZMan3k » Thu May 28, 2020 1:23 pm

For the past 4 years i have been running a 2" boka that I built myself, it has done its job well, but it was never perfect. The condenser coil that I wound is a double wound 1/4" copper about 9" long, it's not long enough and I only run the still low and slow, or i get vapor starting to come out of my vent hole regardless of how much flow I put thru the coil. Not such a bad thing as i get flavorful high proof likker, but it takes me about 10-12 hours sometimes to get a gallon and a half of spirits (including heads which I don't put into the final product) and a half gallon of tails. I do refrigeration so I sometimes have access to waste copper that I can take for free, well today I got me a nice 24" section of 4" copper pipe!!

My intent is to build another boka still as it is very compact, I rarely if ever do reflux runs, so I don't mind it being short and I can always add a section of pipe underneath it to add height in the future if I want to do a reflux run, I have read people saying that at 4" a boka can be unreliable when doing reflux runs, due to the column being so wide and possible channeling or running down the walls occurring instead of the distillate going down the center. So I may just stick to the 2" for that.

Anyways, my question to the HD community is, should I build another boka? Or another type of still?
I plan on winding another coil for it, this time since I've got the space in the column, I plan on running a cold finger(3/4" or 1") and winding two separate coils out of 3/8" soft copper (one inner and one outter) this time I want to make the condensing coil 12" long so that I don't have any vapor escaping out of my vent hole, using 3/8" instead of 1/4" to provide more flow capability over surface area.

Is this good thinking?
I can get 1/4" tubing no problem and wind two double coils, I am just worried about back pressure. I use house water pressure not a recirculating aquarium pump so maybe I wouldn't need to worry too much about back pressure? I have very high water pressure (almost 100psi at my RODI inlet pressure gauge). So I guess I just wanted to bounce some ideas off the community and see if my thinking is sound. Any help/input would be greatly appreciated, when I start the build I will take pictures and post progress in another thread as well for anyone interested in following along or using my ideas or designs!

-Z

ZMan3k
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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by ZMan3k » Thu May 28, 2020 5:57 pm

Now after browsing the forums a bit more I've discovered triple walled liebigs! I am confident in my soldering/brazing skills to construct either, maybe even both. Is there a benefit to a TWL over a cold finger/coil design? Just trying to keep water waste to a minimum as my backyard is mostly concrete i can only water the plants so much. Also forgot to mention before I am using a standard banjo burner with propane for my heat source.

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by still_stirrin » Thu May 28, 2020 7:40 pm

You didn’t say what you’re using for the boiler. A 4” column is a big pipe, probably too big for a 15 gallon keg. If you’ve got a 26 gallon milk can, then the 4” would be a possibility. But, with only 24” of pipe you’re not going to get a lot of theoretical plates.

When I envision a 4” pipe on a boiler, I see a flute, a CM distiller. It would make flavored spirits and it could be run much faster than your Boka. Even if you were to make a VM stillhead, the 4” is very big. A 3” is probably better suited....but of course, you didn’t find 3” pipe.

So, I suggest reading the Construction forum for a while. Search through the threads and get a better understanding of the possibilities. With you skills, you can build about anything. But a 4” Bokakob just doesn’t sound like a wise decision.
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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by ZMan3k » Fri May 29, 2020 12:51 pm

Thanks for the input, this is what I was looking for, sorry forgot to say I use a stainless milk jug from moonshine distilling for a boiler.

https://moonshinedistiller.com/distilla ... 13-gallon/

So if you had said 4" pipe and a 13G milk jug for a boiler and only planned to run whiskeys not neutrals, what would you build? I understand the boka isn't suited for this application, it was just what I built last time and what I am familiar with.

The only other type of still that I've run was something I made with my dad and brother and put on top of a beer keg. The design was basically a copy of this.
https://learntomoonshine.com/how-to-mak ... made-still

We never packed the column as it was our understanding that the more you pack it with plates, scrubbies, or whatever the more flavor you strip out. The reason we went with that design was so there would be a small bit of reflux occurring in the column which would bump up our abv a bit, this was my original reason for building a 2" boka for myself and running it unpacked as well. I'll check out the build section for sure and see what looks good for me, if anyone has any recommendations or input and what you use for whiskeys particularly that would be very helpful as well.

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Corsaire
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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by Corsaire » Fri May 29, 2020 1:02 pm

If you have 4" pipe and want to make high abv whisky you may want to look at the flute threads. Also called plated columns.

That design you linked is an outdated cm design. There are better still designs here.

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by Yummyrum » Fri May 29, 2020 2:47 pm

Agree with both those statements Corsaire .

With your skills you should have no probs making a Plated still .Not the cheapest but the most versatile for sure .... especially if you make it modular

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by ZMan3k » Sat May 30, 2020 6:21 pm

Spent a few hours reading in the build forums as suggested by you fine folks. First thought about constructing a VM type still, and after seeing the recommendations to build a plated type still I think I'm leaning towards that. So I've got a few more questions now.

If I build a plated column and run it unpacked, will that be suitable to output 130-150p whiskey? I want to keep as much flavor as possible rather than lose it to too much reflux, and on my current boka I am able to get 120-140 proof or so whilst pulling the hearts of my run.

Also for a 13g batch of wash at around 12-15%abv, what would I be looking at as far as run time? I'm on a basic turkey deep fryer banjo burner setup. I know there's quite a few variable that go into this, just looking for a ballpark for the average user. Am I looking at 4 hours? 6? Longer?

Also, planning on using tri clamp fittings for everything for ease of use, as right now I use NPT fittings on my boka and don't care for them. Are brass ferrules ok to use? Stilldragon has some for $16, almost half the price of the copper ones. How much lead is actually being transferred into the distillate if they contain less than .02% lead?

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by Corsaire » Sun May 31, 2020 4:40 am

You can solder ss ferrules to your copper column. There's lots of info here about techniques and materials, I read Harris has good products.

A plated column doesn't have any packing in it, just a number of plates. I don't have one, but my reading says a flute bumps abv but retains most flavor, but less than a pot.

I'm sure someone who runs one will chime in soon!

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by ZMan3k » Sun May 31, 2020 8:44 am

Corsaire wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:40 am
You can solder ss ferrules to your copper column. There's lots of info here about techniques and materials, I read Harris has good products.

A plated column doesn't have any packing in it, just a number of plates. I don't have one, but my reading says a flute bumps abv but retains most flavor, but less than a pot.

I'm sure someone who runs one will chime in soon!
Yes, i was looking at the stainless ferrules as that what I used on my current boka, my problem with them is that they are sized for the inned dimensions of DWV copper not type L or M, so last time I had to do quite a bit of file work on the ferrule and on the inside of my pipe to get the thing to fit right, and then it was a bit of a hassle to get to stay square while soldering. My thinking behind going brass or copper with this type of ferrule is because it sits on the outside of the pipe and will fit regardless of what type thickness copper is used. There are copper ferrules available as well, just trying to weigh the shortcomings of the brass against the higher price of the copper. Guess I'll hafta do a bit more research on that front and pay attention to what the fine folks at HD have to offer up as well.

-Z

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by The Baker » Sun May 31, 2020 6:02 pm

You can get the car exhaust man to expand (ANNEALED) copper fittings , or tube ends.
Stainless too I am pretty sure.

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by Jack C » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:28 am

If you anneal the copper and file a slight taper on the stainless ferrule you can then use a piece of all thread that's long enough to draw the ferrule into the copper. Makes a super tight fit. just put a little acid flux the lubricate it as you draw it in and it will solder super nice.

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by The Baker » Mon Jun 01, 2020 5:35 pm

Jack C,
Not being a metalworker...

I guess you sit a flat plate with the right sized hole over each end of the (two pieces of tube fitted together lightly)
so you can tighten the nuts on the long threaded 'bolt' to draw them together.

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by ZMan3k » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:51 pm

Thanks guys! keep the ideas coming! I do have access to all thread in various lengths and sizes so that is definitely something to keep in mind.

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Re: Building anew still for my 13G kettle

Post by Jack C » Tue Jun 02, 2020 1:37 am

Yep. A long all thread and a large washer on the end of the ferrule and it will pull both ferrules in. Which ever end gets into position first solder it and then finish pulling the last one.

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