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smoke injector

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smoke injector

Postby Badger » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:11 am

So I’m interested in your crowd-sourced ideas for building this.

In his book, Darek Bell describes a plan for a “smoke injector” that would allow you to add the smoke of any wood/root/botanical directly into the still to condense with the distillate. I didn’t want to scan his diagram without permission so I recreated it in Word. (I hope this is ok. I pm’d him to ask for permission but haven’t heard back. I’ll certainly remove it immediately if it’s a problem)

In its most basic sense, it’s effectively a water bong or hookah. A container containing a hot plate or soldering iron on a dimmer switch allows you to smolder small amounts of wood. The smoke leaves the container and travels to a second, water-filled container, where the smoke travels through the water, which cleans it of particulates. Finally, the smoke leaves the second container and enters the still below the dephlag. A rheostatic pump provides positive air pressure to force the smoke through the water and to ensure that no distillate works its way back to the heat source.


This is exciting to me because:
1. The applications of this are fascinating. For instance, I’d love to make a version of the apple pie recipes floating around, using cider, apple brandy, and applewood smoke. Or one could make a neutral “smoke distillate” to add to other things that wouldn’t normally be able to include a smoked malt (smoked rum, for instance?).
2. very small amounts of wood are necessary and there are tons of wood smoke websites that sell small batches of tantalizing wood.
3. you could play with flavors that previously were only possible doing infusions or wouldn’t work well with a gin basket. (smoked cinnamon? )

So my questions:
1. How would you build this to play nice with a Dash 1? Ideally using StillDragon parts?
2. Where would you port the smoke in? Darek suggests before the dephlag so that the flavors mix as gasses before condensing, but I wonder if after would be better? Would all that “cool” gas coming in mess with the reflux of that plate? I'd probably port it to a 4" section of TC pipe for modular flexibility. On the other hand, sending it right into a T would allow for visual monitoring through the sight glass.
3. I’m thinking that a side arm Erlehmeyer flask (see below) would be good for the water/smoke chamber. Evidently you can get a single-hole stopper and glass tube to pipe the smoke down below the water line. Then it would bubble up and leave via the arm. I’d like to see the smoke and be able to visually confirm the smoke is moving where I want it to. They evidently can come with valves so you could wait to inject the smoke until you got to the hearts of your run. Thoughts?

thanks in advance for your comments,

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Re: smoke injector

Postby Hawk » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:06 pm

It would be ideal of you had a baby dephlag over a 2 inch t on top of your 4-2 reducer that sits on top of the 4 inch dephlag.
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Re: smoke injector

Postby Badger » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:38 pm

Punkin –

Good ideas...thanks.

As for your last short answer is: I don't know.

My longer answer= as the water bath is there to cool/filter the smoke, substituting your spirit for the water would probably catch the parts of the smoke flavor you don't want. That said, you could do a two stage setup; first piping the smoke through water, then spirit. Secondly, I wonder how much (and what kind of) flavor would be caught in the spirit from the bubbling smoke as compared to condensing the fused vapors.

It's worth trying, though. I think Balcones might do that with their Brimstone whiskey. Lord knows, they certainly get enough smoke flavor…it gives Laphroig a run for its money!

If I build this, I might actually go that route first. I’d just do smokebox→ water/smoke flask → spirit/smoke flask. I could always port the whole contraption into the still later if I felt like it.

Do you have any ideas how to set up the initial smokebox? The soldering iron on a dimmer switch seems easy enough but I have a hard time imagining it would get enough surface contact with the wood chunks to make enough smoke.

Hawk –
Are you messing with me? ☺
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Re: smoke injector

Postby FullySilenced » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:59 pm

Try it with water first to see if it imparts the smoke flavor then. If it does then try it with a neutral to see if it again changes the taste... or if it clouds the neutral ect.. adds oilyness or any other nasty... then you can do it with a larger batch to see if its a go ...

sounds like fun either way...
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Re: smoke injector

Postby Badger » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:53 am

Thanks. I'll look for those Artisan plans...

I did a bunch of google searching but using terms like "mini" and "smoker". I see now that "cold" was the trick. Thanks a bunch. It looks like I have a lot of research to do.

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Re: smoke injector

Postby Badger » Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:36 pm

Wow. Everything I needed and more. Thanks, Punkin. Looks like I need to go parts shopping...

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