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Reflux questions

Reflux questions

Postby Codfishhead » Fri May 15, 2015 5:15 am

Newbie questions. Just starting my first runs. I made a Boka 2.5” x 8’ stack. I also have a few other sections I can substitute and or add on to change it up. For my stripping runs I just have a 3 foot stack. I remove the section on top with my ½” SS condenser and just used the arm condenser on.

Stripping runs I put in 10 gals of a 12 percent ABV wash. It heats up in 40 mins. I run it until it drops to 30%. Then I ran a spirt run using 10 gals at 50% ABV. Took about an hour to start because I started off at a lower heat. This being my first spirt run and all. As soon as I saw steam coming out I shut off the valve and increased the cooling water. I ran it in full reflux for a half an hr before starting to take off the fore shot. I was running at 500ml in 15 mins. It was coming out steady at 85% for most of the run.

My question is, should I run the reflux longer to achieve a higher ABV? How do I hit that 95% mark?


Thx
Jay
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby JayD » Fri May 15, 2015 10:11 am

Was your column packed with copper or s/s scrubbers? did you have column insulated? bare minimum you should have pulling abv is about 92-3% reaching az is not as easy you might think, we used to reflux our boka's for around 45 mins, running your boka too fast will decrease your abv, play with your off take speeds and see how it affect your abv.
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Codfishhead » Thu May 21, 2015 12:24 am

Thx Jay

I have copper mesh filling 5' of column. Column is not insulated. Is installation still needed when it’s not cold out?
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby JayD » Thu May 21, 2015 10:14 am

I found when my jaydboka was not insulated to temperature was unstable...as soon as we insulated the column the temp of the column and the way the column behaved was like a automatic car....smooth and stable, try insulation and let us know how you go?
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Maheel » Thu May 21, 2015 4:49 pm

i reckon your take off is to fast so your not getting enough reflux

how much per 15mins were you collecting etc (or other amount per X time frame) ?

using a 2" i run at 250ml per 15min at +-96%
i can run faster but just like that sweet spot on my still as it's rock solid at that rate at +-96%

You need to ensure you have a correct (or enough) reflux ratio, if you taking off to fast a ratio then your % will be lower than 95%
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Yummyrum » Thu May 21, 2015 9:22 pm

I agree with Maheel .......think you are running it to hard .

I also have a 2" and its only 1 Meter packed ( around 3.5' ) whereas you have more than double that at 8'.I also get around 95-96 quite easily at around the same speed as Maheel

I also agree with JayD that you should insulate it .I've only ever wrapped a blanket around mine .....doesn't have to be fancy , just stop the breezes getting to it . Its not so much the cold that's the problem as changes in temp

I only equalize for about half an hour .Equalizing for longer won't help raise your ABV

Codfishhead wrote: As soon as I saw steam coming out I shut off the valve and increased the cooling water.


Its seriously good practice to have the valve shut and max reflux cooling flow right from the moment you apply power to the boiler :handgestures-thumbupright: .....steam coming is a bad thing

Another thing .With a 50% boiler charge , it will tend to want to come off faster than if its a 30% charge so you need to pull in the reigns even tighter
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Maheel » Thu May 21, 2015 9:51 pm

yeah agree with insulation (worth having some sort) to keep breeze of the column

many say over 40% is also getting flamable so be careful...
many are saying more like 30% gives you getter ethanol / water separation anyway
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby JayD » Thu May 21, 2015 9:59 pm

insulation of a boka is often thought as "maybe" needing some sort of insulation...once you insulate one and use it, you will know it's worth while, the black insulation you find at Bunning's does a great job...40%abv is the norm for excetable safe distilling. :handgestures-thumbupright:
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Codfishhead » Fri May 22, 2015 5:47 am

Thank you gentlemen

I brewed a brown ale last night. While my wort was in my boil pot I ground 12lbs of malted barley and 25 lbs of corn. Then added 162 degree water to hold the mash at 149-50 for an hour. All starches converted just fine. Pumped it off into a barrel and added enough water to make 20 gals and enough sugar to hit 1.080. Added yeast and o2. I'm using German ale 1007 from wyeast. Nice yeast w very neutral flavors. I used a smack pack to start and increased it several folds making bigger and bigger starters. Stir plate is a must for growing yeast. I have a fridge full of diff yeast I use all the time. Saves me a bundle by reproducing my own yeast.

I will do a few striping runs, then insulate the column and only go 40 percent on the spirt run. Slow down the take to 250ml for 15 mins.


Questions
Strip as fast as I can or does it matter?

Cuts, I have been discarding the first (foreshot) even during the striping runs. Should I do that or leave it all and only make cuts during the spirt runs?
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Maheel » Fri May 22, 2015 7:11 pm

i strip fast and always throw the fores on a strip run

then on a spirit run throw any more fores / heads etc again

everyone sort of does it different... find one that suits you :)
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Yummyrum » Sat May 23, 2015 1:25 am

Yeah I'm a fast strip guy ...get it over with as as quick as possable .

Personally I keep the lot on a strip as I recon thar a pot still is as useless as tits on a bull at separating fractions so I let the reflux still sort that out .
Like Maheel said everyone has ther own method on that one .

Thinking some more on your original question of low ABV .
It dawned on me that perhaps you are not feeding enough power into your boiler .

Being a LM reflux , the power needs to be high enough so that when you are drawing off arond a liter an hour you are still refluxing enough liquid to keep up the purity .I thonk you would need to bang a least close to 3Kw up a 2.5" minimum..........or back of your take off rate even further to match thr power you have .You need to have at least 5 times or more than you are taking off running back into yor packing to get the high purity you are after.
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Codfishhead » Tue May 26, 2015 1:55 am

Thanks much people. Think I found my sweet spot.

Right at this moment in running 400ml in10 mins at 90%.

I duct taped a towel around the column, cranked the heat(I use propane ( banjo burner w 30 lb reg. lots of power), and increased cooling water. Works like a champ.
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Yummyrum » Tue May 26, 2015 9:18 pm

Codfishhead wrote:Thanks much people. Think I found my sweet spot.

Right at this moment in running 400ml in10 mins at 90%.

I duct taped a towel around the column, cranked the heat(I use propane ( banjo burner w 30 lb reg. lots of power), and increased cooling water. Works like a champ.


Good stuff Codfishhead .Sounds like you are getting better results . Bit more tweaking and you should be able to get 95% ......You have a packed 8' column so it should be more than capable of that .At 90% take off you are still taking too much off verses how much power you are throwing at it.
The best place to run this is just before the column floods .....You will get max pure product for the size of your still . But being on gas has its dangers ......if it floods then liquid alcohol will spray out the top .....not so good with gas down stairs .

Not sure if you understand what flooding is but its when you push so much vapour up the column and reflux it ( fully condense it back into liquid) and the liquid can't fall back down the column as fast as the vapour is coming up so the column fills up with liquid and blows out the top .To find this point is tricky but ideally you want to be running just below this if you wanted to get best efficiency from still .

Next best thing is to back off how much you are taking .That increases your reflux ratio . More is refluxed verses how much you take ...that's how these stills get 95% . If you are greedy , they give you more in less time but its not as good as if you wait . :handgestures-thumbupright:

So next time I would take off less, maybe 150 ml per 10 min and see what the ABV% is , I bet it jumps up to 95% .

Then slowly increase power and take off rate to keep the 95% but watch and listen . If your still starts making gurgling noises then you are approaching flooding point and need to back off .Blessed is electric :hand:

Be safe
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Otago Elvis » Tue May 26, 2015 9:27 pm

:angelic-halo:

Amen the electric Brother Yummy
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Otago Elvis » Tue May 26, 2015 9:29 pm

If you ave de spark, you have de power :obscene-smokingsombrero:
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Re: Reflux questions

Postby Codfishhead » Wed May 27, 2015 8:31 am

Thx rum yum

Personally I think 90 percent is fine. As long as my friends like it is really all that matters. And so far 2 thumbs up from all testers.


The gas does keep me on my toes. I won't turn my back on the still now. Had a little issue already. Not flooding but leaking. I walked away for 5 mins one of the first times I tried full reflux and when I returned the column and top of the keg were all covered in blue flames. Quickly shut off the gas from the tank and it went out. I had a fire extinguisher and water hose right there at the ready. Hence the I won't turn my back on it now
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