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Vacuum stilling on the grain

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Vacuum stilling on the grain

Postby jake_leg » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:18 am

Straining is hell but I can't still on the grain with an internal electric element. Steam injection is one possibility but another, which could completely eliminate any possibility of scorching, is stripping under vacuum. Anybody tried it or thought about it? Would you agitate, and how? I can imagine a glass apparatus on a stir plate but I don't know how you would scale it up.
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Re: Vacuum stilling on the grain

Postby FullySilenced » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:34 am

There is a china company that has a 20l rotary vacuum still with a 10l collection jar... that's what you need Jake....
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Re: Vacuum stilling on the grain

Postby skow69 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:20 am

Hi Jake,

My potstill is a Corney keg connected to an aspirator. I run it between 25 and 26.5 inHg. When I discovered the wonderful world of all grain spirits I did things the hard way for a few runs, but it soon became clear that more product and more flavor could be recovered by fermenting and distilling on the grain than trying to sparge or squeeze.

I don't know about the internal heating element. That is how I power my VM column and they definitely attract any solids in the wash. I heat the Corney in an oil bath, either with propane or on a hotplate. [Need to find a killer deal on an induction plate.] I know it's slow, but I can distill bark-o-mulch without scorching. I actually ran it dry one time experimenting with absinthe methods. A 2-gallon wad of damp herbs just rinsed out, no harm done.

I read somewhere that it is common to distill bourbon in a single run with a thumper. That is how I have done my last few batches, and I am quite pleased with the results. It adds several more vacuum joints to the apparatus, and I lose about 1 inHg across the thumper charge, but it will suck down to 25 inHg pretty reliably these days. That last step to 26 is still a challenge sometimes. I have no desire to go past 27 anymore. Condensing starts to get sketchy and it can be hard on equipment. It wasn't always that easy. I fought through a pretty extensive learning curve in the early days.

Vacuum stilling has its own quirky set of issues, of course, but I'm continually surprised that it has never caught on at all. I know that brantoken has made some trials and Manu built a working model. And I had a good discussion with emptyglass and Mash Rookie at one time, but as far as I can tell, I'm the only one who practices reduced-pressure stilling on a regular basis. It's just another route to get to the same destination, but I'd be lost without it.

So that's my story. I'd be happy to discuss particulars if you like.
Distilling at 120f and 100 torr
Rectificato ergo sum.
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Re: Vacuum stilling on the grain

Postby Mr. Rat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:26 pm

Do you have any pics of your setup? I have been wanting to go this route for a while now.
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Re: Vacuum stilling on the grain

Postby skow69 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:18 am

I'll shoot some this week when I run the bourbon mash that's in it now.
Distilling at 120f and 100 torr
Rectificato ergo sum.
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Re: Vacuum stilling on the grain

Postby skow69 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:17 pm

Distilling at 120f and 100 torr
Rectificato ergo sum.
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