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what to build?

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what to build?

Postby drinkingdog » Tue May 14, 2013 1:54 am

I have my sights on building a 4 in plated column similar to Still dragons dash design in the sense each plate will be a separate section. I also was thinking of making either a 24" to 36" section to put packing in to help in making a neutral. Since this is going to be a sectional column would there be any benefit at all in making a section to transform it into a LM & VM Bok. Like I asked, would there be any benefit to this or am I just wasting time and copper?
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Re: what to build?

Postby Googe » Tue May 14, 2013 2:13 am

How many modules do you want/ plates do you want?. I can't imagine you wanting to use a km/vm after running a bubbler, there just such a wonderful.still, the product that come.out of them is second to non. Good luck mate.
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Re: what to build?

Postby drinkingdog » Tue May 14, 2013 2:22 am

I'm going with 5 plates plus the section for packing when making a neutral. Not ever running a still I wasn't sure about making the bok section. Main design is the plated column for sure. I just wanted to check with some who might of run both designs to see if there would be any benefits.
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Re: what to build?

Postby DAD » Tue May 14, 2013 7:58 am

Thus starts an age old debate.

I always preface this by saying, I'm after the product! And while I enjoy the process, building and running is not my goal.

If you're set to buy a complete running still, or you see the still as a piece of art, you're in a different boat altogether.

I will also say that each may have it's advantages. But if you're building...there is nothing easier, quicker or cheaper to build than a VM. I could build a proper 1.5" or 2" VM this afternoon from local box stores and be running it on an unmodified keg tonight. Larger sizes, if material is available.

I think the VM is easiest to learn to run and repeatability is superb. A proper VM will easily produce anything from 80-96% ABV by changing the packing. I also believe it is faster...thus making it more fuel and water efficient.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Googe » Tue May 14, 2013 10:03 am

You would have to weigh up the differences I guess.
How long does a run with a lm/vm take?, never had one but have read many places anywhere between 7+ hrs and 18hrs, please correct me if I'm wrong?. You need to do stripping runs then low wines spirit runs to don't you?. Bubbler will do a run in around 3~5 hours, no stripping runs needed. good luck.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Spud1700 » Tue May 14, 2013 11:00 am

A plated still will not do a good neutral, a VM will do an awesome neutral. Do you want neutral or flavoured spirits? a couple of plates with a packed section above it with a LM/VM head will do an awesome neutral very quickly.
A VM or LM/VM is much faster to build.
How much time do you have? How much do you want to produce? How much time and money do you want to spend? How often do you want to run it?
Plated still will outperform a pot still by far but is much more expensive to build. If you only make 20 ltrs a year of drinkable spirit a pot still would be fine. If you want 400 ltrs a year of flavoured spirit a plated still could be the go.
Detuned reflux still for flavoured spirits works.

Everything depends on what you want to do, what do you want to produce? How much time do you want to spend doing it? How much do you have to spend on a build? How much time do you have to build it?

One person may want X and another person would say no I want Y based on their personal situation. It is all about what you want to achieve.
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Re: what to build?

Postby drinkingdog » Tue May 14, 2013 11:24 am

I know money is always an issue, but it's not also in a way. I know there was talk of lm vm taking a long time to run. I don't thinkwith a 4inch build no matter what I build will take an excessive amount of time to run a beer keg of mash. I probably have15 to 18 feet of 4 inch copper and another 10 plus feet of 2 inch with bits and pieces of other sizes of copper pipe. I am definitely going with the modular design of a plated column or flute as some call it. I like my alcohol both whiske and vodka. Who knows what else once I get started. Like I also stated I was planning to make a 24 to 36 inch section so as to add to the plates in an effort to make a neutral or if that didn't pan out I thought about an vm lm section to put on top of the packed column. I guess just build it and they will drink
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Re: what to build?

Postby Googe » Tue May 14, 2013 11:59 am

Yeah they seem to be having good success with the packed lava rock sections, still yet to try it!. You could have 3 plates for your whiskies/ rums and stick another 2~3 on for your neuts. There's heaps of people doing good.neutrals with plates columns spud?, emptyglass/ and crow.with there lava section.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Spud1700 » Tue May 14, 2013 2:05 pm

If a column has plates and packing I would call that a hybrid still? I would run two plates and then a packed section above it for neutrals. Running 4 or 6 plates without packing is not going to get you a great neutral in my opinion.
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Re: what to build?

Postby SBB » Tue May 14, 2013 4:22 pm

drinkingdog wrote:I have my sights on building a 4 in plated column
drinkingdog wrote: I also was thinking of making either a 24" to 36" section to put packing in to help in making a neutral.


Drinkingdog I think you have made a wise choice, from the reading Ive done lately stills of this type are the way of the future.
You get the best of both worlds, Run as a Bubbler or plated column you will be able to produce quality Rums and Whisky.
Add the packed section and you should be able to produce Neutrals at or near Azeotrope.
One still that does all is a very handy tool indeed, and well worth the extra time and expense to build.

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Re: what to build?

Postby F6Hawk » Tue May 14, 2013 5:47 pm

Is there a reason why you guys like plates? I went with a hybrid Boka, my column is two pieces, the bottom packed, the top the takeoff and condenser. I can pack the tall column (92-95% output), partially pack the tall column (or run it faster, either way gets lower ABV and more flavors + heads + tails), or remove the bottom piece for a short pot still effect... Seems pretty much an all-around good still to have. Unless I am missing something with the bubblers and plates. Maybe ignorance is bliss, but thus far, I am happy with what mine does.

Now watch, one of you will key me in as to why mine isn't as good, and then I'll hafta go spend more $$$ on a new one... :angry-banghead:
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Re: what to build?

Postby SBB » Tue May 14, 2013 6:20 pm

Ive tried distilling both Rum and UJSM with a pot still, and with a perforated plate column. I know which one makes the better spirit.
Ive yet to try adding a packed section to my own plated column to make netural, but it pretty clear from reading the results other people are getting on the different distilling forums world wide that they work and work very well if a packed section of column is added
A plated column with four plates will easily put out 92-93% abv, Thats before its even hit the packed section of column,
In theory that should mean that the packed section of column has to do a lot less work to get the spirit to Azeotrope.
Im also lead to believe the output is faster than most other reflux methods for making neutral.
At the end of the day its what you happy to build and use.
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Re: what to build?

Postby the Doctor » Tue May 14, 2013 6:22 pm

There are so many arguments for each style of still, Plate, packed etc etc. All I know is that today I was doing a order for a very high purity top shelf vodka for Harvest restaurant and bar at the New England Museum of Art and was pulling 95+ % with 6 plates and a 500mm SS scrubber packed hybrid. That puts a smile on my face. Run slow and steady.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Googe » Tue May 14, 2013 6:41 pm

Do you have to do strip runs first hawk?, I don't know ive never owned a boka. How long would a 30l run take you?. I think the plates are popular because of the speed they produce and the need for no stripping runs makes life alot easier. Plus the end product, comparing my pot to my bubbler theres no contest, the smoother cleaner taste of the rum really amazed me.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Maheel » Tue May 14, 2013 6:44 pm

if you think about it and reconfigure a "plated still" standard module type still using say 5 of 4x4x3 tee's

you could put the dephlag / shotgun condenser on the very top
stack the 5 tee's below it
on the top tee under the dephlag instead of the sight glass you put a reducer on
off the reducer you put in a valve
then off the valve a condenser

you then have a 4" vm


if you add in a bit of 4" tube to extend it for a packing section you would push those very high numbers % wise

i was thinking about it when i put this together the other day
(if you just think of modules instead of the big bit of 4" )
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Re: what to build?

Postby F6Hawk » Tue May 14, 2013 6:58 pm

SBB wrote:Ive tried distilling both Rum and UJSM with a pot still, and with a perforated plate column. I know which one makes the better spirit.

Well, don't keep us in suspense.... which one?
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Re: what to build?

Postby F6Hawk » Tue May 14, 2013 7:02 pm

googe wrote:Do you have to do strip runs first hawk?, I don't know ive never owned a boka. How long would a 30l run take you?. I think the plates are popular because of the speed they produce and the need for no stripping runs makes life alot easier. Plus the end product, comparing my pot to my bubbler theres no contest, the smoother cleaner taste of the rum really amazed me.

No, I have never stripped. I have run in pot still mode and reflux, but prefer the flavor (or lack of harsh flavors) when using reflux. Or perhaps a better way to put it is that I enjoy being able to drink what I make in a day or two instead of waiting 2 or more weeks.

I usually do 20 or 40 L runs. I think my last run was 35L, and I think (didn't actually set a timer) it took about 5 hours. I was busy cleaning the garage while it was cooking, so did not really pay attention to the time, so it's just a guess.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Spud1700 » Tue May 14, 2013 7:15 pm

Everything comes down to what you want, as I said plate stills are not the best for vodka, plates and packing are a different thing hybrid stills do vodka very well - plates and packing with a LM/VM for example with external reflux return does a good jod. Detuned reflux stills do a good rum or whiskey.
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Re: what to build?

Postby the Doctor » Tue May 14, 2013 7:37 pm

I agree Spud the hybrid is very versatile...Neutral no problem... and the ability to de-tune...however there are many ways to achieve a great result...you just have to be open minded ...it really is horses for courses.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Spud1700 » Tue May 14, 2013 7:50 pm

the Doctor wrote:I agree Spud the hybrid is very versatile...Neutral no problem... and the ability to de-tune...however there are many ways to achieve a great result...you just have to be open minded ...it really is horses for courses.
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Re: what to build?

Postby SBB » Tue May 14, 2013 8:12 pm

F6Hawk wrote: I find that if I pull much faster than 5 drips per second, I am only doing so at the mid-80's.
Also, I am using a 2" Boka, if that makes a difference.

As already stated a plated column even without a packed section will do a whole heap better than that in all departments.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Googe » Tue May 14, 2013 8:18 pm

Never knew that hawk, always thought ya had to strip with a vm or lm, learn something new every day.

What sort of abv can be expected from a detuned reflux doing rum or whiskey?. Also, for thoughs who have both a lm or vm and a plated still, which makes a nicer rum?.
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Re: what to build?

Postby Spud1700 » Tue May 14, 2013 8:47 pm

googe wrote:Never knew that hawk, always thought ya had to strip with a vm or lm, learn something new every day.

What sort of abv can be expected from a detuned reflux doing rum or whiskey?. Also, for thoughs who have both a lm or vm and a plated still, which makes a nicer rum?.


With a detuned LM with about 3-4 scrubbers in the top with a real quick takeoff it comes off at 88% and it makes a very good rum. VM I have never tried for rum. Brother in law has a SD plated column so I don't own a plated column but have run his and a couple of perf plated ones back awhile ago.
Rum from both is very good, which is better? Good question, I do not know I would say one is better than the other.
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Re: what to build?

Postby drinkingdog » Tue May 14, 2013 11:26 pm

I have read the average section for a plated column is 4 to 5 inches. I was wondering if anybody made those sections longer say by an inch making it 5 to 6 inchs so when wanting to make a neutral you could put some sort of packing on top of the plate and get a good neutral with say 6 plates
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Re: what to build?

Postby Googe » Tue May 14, 2013 11:43 pm

Thanks for the info spud.
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Re: what to build?

Postby SBB » Wed May 15, 2013 10:41 am

drinkingdog wrote:you could put some sort of packing on top of the plate and get a good neutral

Im pretty sure that idea has been toyed with, Punkin was keen on the idea at one stage I think, personal opinion is that you'd be better off sticking with your original plan.
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