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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2022 10:37 pm

Hello there!

Post by Mandalore_Knight »

Hello hello,

Been a long time lurker over the past maybe 5 years or so...
Fairly early on in my personal distilling journey really, but have a few years of all grain brewing experience, plus I worked for a home brewing/distilling company as an industrial designer for a few years.

I'm in NZ, so feeling pretty stoked about our laws - sorry if that makes me a little loose in how I like to operate, but it's a function of the laws I suppose.

My current path is set on making interesting rums, using mainly pure molasses and dunder, which I'm planning on setting up again having recently moved house. I ended up getting rid of most of my larger all grain equipment while I moved apartments/houses and so at the moment I have a small 10L boiler with a Still Spirits alembic dome. But now that I'm in my own home things can start to get bigger and more interesting!
Have probably distilled about 20 times on the alembic so far, and have done a mixture of extract whiskeys and molasses rums, and also vapour botanical gins which I had distilled thrice from home brewed cider.

My secondary intent is to make my distilling equipment air-cooled only. My current boiler has a dual element 500w+1500w which I have set to switch from the combined 2000w down to the 500w when the pot head gets to 50C/120f, this also turns on my in-line air still lid which I'm using as a product condenser off the the side. Just a simple STC1000 does the switching. It's working well so far, but is a little slow obviously as I'm only pushing 500w into a large copper alembic dome. The air still lid condenses it fine, and I'm pretty sure those things wont handle much more than maybe 350w so I'm likely not seeing the 500w at the condenser.

What I'd love to give/get from the forum is sharing of scientific/mathematical knowledge so that I can design a larger air condensing bubble plate still for distilling dark spirits. In the realm of 10-20L/3-5gal pot, perhaps a 2-3" column with 4 plates sitting on top of the alembic. Variable power input via either PWM or TRIAC. And of course full air cooling of the product condenser and/or dephleg if that's necessary.

I'm very happy to share any of my workings as well as drawings and schematics etc. I just need some help with how to understand how much vapour will be coming through the 4th plate, which will need knocking down using an air cooled dephleg and then also how much vapour will be going down the product condenser so that I can work out some cooling calcs. Obviously it's a bit of a circular process as I might find I need way more fans than appropriate, so have to lower the input power, then scale down the column plates, and so on so forth...
What I'm struggling with at the moment is figuring out the mass of vapour that would/could be traveling down a known pipe diameter/length so that I can figure out the heat transfer stuff. From that I would be able to get an idea whether an air cooled dephleg is even remotely feasible within a small package e.g. 200mm/8" long like they tend to be with water cooled systems.

When I was at the height of my brewing I had yeast banks in the freezer and had a couple of stir plates going crazy making some phenomenal english yeast strains. I was trying to recreate Timothy Taylors Bolt Maker which is a fantastic English Bitter using Golden Promise malt which has a beautiful honey flavour.

The BIAB setup I had was fully homemade and featured a PID controller for mashing as well as pump recirculation.

That'll do for now. Happy to chat later!
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