Strange question about maximum dilution

All things to do with making of gin

Moderator: Site Moderator

Post Reply
User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:06 am

Hello all.
I have a strange problem, owing to the 7.5 Liter minimum fill level of my new mini-still... I am trying to figure out how much a gin maceration can be diluted before a loss of flavour is noticed (if at all). Odin's Gin speaks of a 43% maceration going straight into the pot, but what happens if I dilute to, say, 25%?

Any help is appreciated, as this would dictate the smallest amount of gin would have to make at a time.
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

howie
Bootlegger
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:34 am

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by howie » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:28 am

what size is the mini-still?
concealed elements, stove-top, electric internal elements?

my boiler is only 35L but i can run 2.5litres (apparently it has a minimum of 4L)

User avatar
Demy
Distiller
Posts: 1083
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Demy » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:59 am

I believe the answer is already in the post you mentioned. I just read the first page of the post and found it.

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:45 pm

howie wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:28 am
what size is the mini-still?
concealed elements, stove-top, electric internal elements?

my boiler is only 35L but i can run 2.5litres (apparently it has a minimum of 4L)
It's effectively the same as Otis' Mini Still; 10L mini keg fitted with an element roughly 2" from the bottom. Takes about 3.5-4L to reach element, so twice that to keep it covered till the end of the run. Still have no idea why mine takes basically twice what his element took to cover in his thread, very strange to me.

Here' the thread, fyi: https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtop ... 88&t=73642
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:55 pm

Demy wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:59 am
I believe the answer is already in the post you mentioned. I just read the first page of the post and found it.
Wow. I can't believe I missed that, right in front of me. I guess I should double check threads before i mention them offhand, haha.

Thanks for the info!!
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

howie
Bootlegger
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:34 am

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by howie » Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:09 pm

Clae wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:45 pm
howie wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:28 am
what size is the mini-still?
concealed elements, stove-top, electric internal elements?

my boiler is only 35L but i can run 2.5litres (apparently it has a minimum of 4L)
It's effectively the same as Otis' Mini Still; 10L mini keg fitted with an element roughly 2" from the bottom. Takes about 3.5-4L to reach element, so twice that to keep it covered till the end of the run. Still have no idea why mine takes basically twice what his element took to cover in his thread, very strange to me.

Here' the thread, fyi: https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtop ... 88&t=73642
later in that thread, otis reckons his element was covered with 1.75 litres, it looks pretty low.
same diameter as otis? that will affect things as well i suppose.

SaltyStaves
Trainee
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:18 pm
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by SaltyStaves » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:02 pm

Clae wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:06 am
7.5 Liter minimum fill level of my new mini-still...
Clae wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:45 pm
It's effectively the same as Otis' Mini Still; 10L mini keg fitted with an element roughly 2" from the bottom.
It doesn't sound fit for purpose. Did you make it or buy it?

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 9099
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by NZChris » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:57 pm

Heat rises.

Heating of the whole still charge relies on convection currents in the still. An element near the surface of a charge may not create enough turbulence to heat a pile of botanicals in the bottom of the boiler, leaving your desired flavors trapped in a stagnant layer below the element. That is why all of my gin stills are heated from below.

User avatar
Demy
Distiller
Posts: 1083
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Demy » Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:25 am

Clae evaluates the use of a heating plate, they are economical and useful for small batches. I use them when distilling small quantities, I recommend them as long as you have a power controller. I believe up to 10L is very good.

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:00 pm

SaltyStaves wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:02 pm
Clae wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:06 am
7.5 Liter minimum fill level of my new mini-still...
Clae wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:45 pm
It's effectively the same as Otis' Mini Still; 10L mini keg fitted with an element roughly 2" from the bottom.
It doesn't sound fit for purpose. Did you make it or buy it?

I made it, and am still confused as to why mine takes so much more to fill than Otis'! Probably because my element ferrule is different than his; i will send a photo once i figure out how to do so...
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:05 pm

Demy wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:25 am
Clae evaluates the use of a heating plate, they are economical and useful for small batches. I use them when distilling small quantities, I recommend them as long as you have a power controller. I believe up to 10L is very good.
Yes, to be honest if i was smarter i would have simply fashioned a stockpot and worm setup on a hot plate but alas, i got excited to make a new stil...

For the keg i have, the bottom ring is very tall; probably about 4-5" from ring to keg bottom. It is this gap that makes me think a hit plate wouldn't work with this particular still boiler. I will send a picture in a while.
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:05 pm

If i've gotten this image to post correctly, here's my setup:

https://ibb.co/NnGgvb8


I couldn't get a tc ferrule welded with my budget/location/time frame, so I decided to use a modified universal element flange; this, I think, is the source of my problems.
the creased line right below the ferrule on the keg is where the boiler ends and the skirt begins.
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

User avatar
Demy
Distiller
Posts: 1083
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Demy » Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:14 am

Clae wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:05 pm
If i've gotten this image to post correctly, here's my setup:

https://ibb.co/NnGgvb8


I couldn't get a tc ferrule welded with my budget/location/time frame, so I decided to use a modified universal element flange; this, I think, is the source of my problems.
the creased line right below the ferrule on the keg is where the boiler ends and the skirt begins.
Now I understand, so the bottom of the stem is convex and not flat, so no plate would do. I have an element in a similar kettle with a different connection, I have tried to make it as low as possible but you still need to have a certain amount of liquid to safely cover the elements. If you don't want to make any further changes you have to find the right compromise for that set-up, otherwise you would have to weld a lower flange with a shorter element (changing shape).In fact, that project you mention uses a cartridge element that takes up little space (it's short and thin) so it can be placed low, at least so I saw in that post.

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:30 pm

Demy wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 6:14 am
Clae wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:05 pm
If i've gotten this image to post correctly, here's my setup:

https://ibb.co/NnGgvb8


I couldn't get a tc ferrule welded with my budget/location/time frame, so I decided to use a modified universal element flange; this, I think, is the source of my problems.
the creased line right below the ferrule on the keg is where the boiler ends and the skirt begins.
Now I understand, so the bottom of the stem is convex and not flat, so no plate would do. I have an element in a similar kettle with a different connection, I have tried to make it as low as possible but you still need to have a certain amount of liquid to safely cover the elements. If you don't want to make any further changes you have to find the right compromise for that set-up, otherwise you would have to weld a lower flange with a shorter element (changing shape).In fact, that project you mention uses a cartridge element that takes up little space (it's short and thin) so it can be placed low, at least so I saw in that post.
Yea, pretty much. Good news is that I measured the fill level again and the volume to element is about 2.5 (x2 = 5L fill level minimum or so,) so I can do manageably sized gin runs if I dilute to 25% post-maceration.

That's life, not the first time a small miscalculation has made me change plans. looks like ill be using this thing predominately for triple distilled rums and Irish whiskey. Thanks for the help!
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
Posts: 9099
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by NZChris » Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:10 pm

Heat rises. You need convection currents to heat the whole of the boiler and having botanicals in the boiler interferes with convection.

Doing a check, I watched my element boil the water at the surface while the bottom of the still was only warm. From my experience, I cannot recommend running down to where it is barely covering the element. Do a trial first, checking the temperature at the bottom.

For what it's worth, what I have done in another distilling related project that was a bit below boiling point, is put a PTC element under the lowest point in the vessel to create convection in the stagnant layer below the main element to encourage mixing. That appeared to work ok.

User avatar
Demy
Distiller
Posts: 1083
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Demy » Thu Jan 21, 2021 5:54 am

A valid alternative I think would be something like that, to be applied in the bottom of the keg. I know you won't but I thought it might help another forum member in the same situation.
Immagine 2021-01-21 145117.png

User avatar
Clae
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:29 pm
Location: The land over yonder

Re: Strange question about maximum dilution

Post by Clae » Sat Jan 23, 2021 2:33 pm

Thanks for the help everyone, I think we've done all we could for this damn boiler. For future reference and for other people in a similar position: stick to a mini burner, or you could shave off some of the bottom skirt and fit it on a hot plate.
We bake the white bread, We bake the brown bread... We bake all sorts.

15gal Keg Boiler / 42" 2.5" column / Combo CCVM Still Head / Propane Fired

Post Reply