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Rotary Evaporation Distillation

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Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby Bushman » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:47 am

Got to visit a distillery and watch how they infused grapefruits into 95% neutral in creating a flavored vodka. To do this they used a Buchi rotary evaporator. This machine distills under vacuum thus the heat was a lot lower but still required the person running it to be vigilant to regulate both ambient and bath temperatures. I was told that the permit process since these machines are used primarily in the pharmaceutical industry were very regulated. Pictures below, I took a video as well but I am at our condo in the mountains so have no way to download the video here.
So here is the process as I understood it:
They were making grapefruit vodka the day I watched, this distillery is well known in the PNW for taking, vodka, gin, tequila (they purchase from Mexico), whiskey, etc and flavoring.

First they peeled the grapefruit and cut it into chunks removing the pith, then blended it so it would fit through a funnel and into their tubes with about 1/2 gallon or just under 2 liters of neutral.
image.jpeg

The reddish tube on the right is rotating and heating in a bath set at 30 C. Again they can run it at lower temps since it is under vacuum.


As the bath heated the neutrals and crushed grapefruit it starts to collect in through the Graham condenser. As the collection speeds up and the neutral in the bath starts bubbling they need to turn down both the ambient pressure (gauge on the machine) and watch the bath temp.
image.jpeg


They don't lose anything and they distill until no liquid goes through the condenser, then they stop as they do not want to clog the condenser with the material they are using for flavoring. They had 2 of these machines going at once and I did not time it but they were doing about 2 liters an hour per machine.

The product was very good and came out at 95% or 190 proof. From here they will proof it to 40% or 80 proof.
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Re: Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby Fraser » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:26 am

Wow! That's very impressive. I've heard of some cold distillation methods using a vacuum, like Oxley gin. That's way way way over my head and firmly in mad scientist territory.
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Re: Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby Bushman » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:19 am

Here is a video of the rotary evaporator still in operation:

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I started my liquid diet and so far it seems to be working! I've already lost two days.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."
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Re: Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby WIski » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:17 pm

Hey Bushman,

Just wondering about the seals between the glass to glass connections and the glass to machine connections. Did they say what they were made of?

So cool I could see getting one of these. They are available on the web.
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Re: Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby Bushman » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:30 am

I didn't ask but if you google Buchi labs you can probably find out.
I started my liquid diet and so far it seems to be working! I've already lost two days.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."
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Re: Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby WIski » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:16 am

Thanks for that Manufacturer data info. The specs on the Rotavapor say the vacuum seals are PTFE-compensate. I believe this would serve our purposes well. Nice!
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Re: Rotary Evaporation Distillation

Postby Bushman » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:29 am

That is what I thought but wasn't sure. The person running the still said the glass is specially made and very strong, everything I saw about the equipment looked good. I was really shocked when they said they run the neutral through at 95% and just add the fruit or what ever flavoring they are trying to infuse.
I started my liquid diet and so far it seems to be working! I've already lost two days.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."
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