Silk City Distillers

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  1. Yeah that's the problem with Graham condensers. The typical glass fittings that come with distillation glassware don't allow them to be kept vertical. Usually end up needing additional glass as well as an extra stand.
  2. Great community support on this thread, just thought I'd call it out. I'm not sure what you are paying in propane cost vs electrical, but the suggestion to preheat your wash might be something worth exploring. Even if you are working with limited electrical capacity, a very small 2000w heater would take your wash from 70 to 150 overnight. Granted, you would need to consider how to do this safely to prevent vapor release/boiling. However, I'm sure you could very easily cut your heatup time in half, and significantly reduce your propane usage.
  3. That X11 burner on full power would be consuming 320,000 btus an hour. Your tank is 100 pounds. Propane is 21,000 BTUs per pound. Your hundred pounds of propane will only last 6.5 hours on full power. At 4.5 hours heatup at full power, you'll have consumed 68% of your propane. Are you running this thing full out, or throttling back to conserve propane? The pictures make it hard to tell how you are controlling gas flow, is that a small quarter turn valve after the regulator? If so, it would be very difficult to dial in similar gas flow across multiple runs if you are throttling back. Wash was really cold, still cold, windy day, slightly less gas flow - could easily add an hour to heat up, if not more.
  4. If you have two fittings on your tank - the drain and maybe another threaded fitting you can repurpose at the top (thermometer port, etc) - you may be able to run a quick test with a pump to see if additional agitation would be helpful. Retrofitting an agitator to your still is going to be costly and complicated at this point, you've already had a setback. A good agitator installed properly is probably going to cost as much as your still - which stings because it would have been cheaper to have the manufacturer add it. So, a quick test with a pump (RUN SAFELY, Wash not Low Wines, ensure your hoses are away from the heat) will give you some confirmation that additional tank agitation would be beneficial in reducing heat up time. Then you can explore the agitator option with some strong confidence. If so, perhaps the manufacturer can ship you out an agitator, with the associated copper work, to eliminate most of the on-site fabrication work that would be necessary. None of this solves the original conundrum.
  5. There is a new Enolmaster vacuum unit on eBay for $2800 - a couple hundred bucks off retail price - maybe the seller will even deal. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bottling-Machine-For-Wine-or-Olive-Oil-bottles-Four-nozzle-vacuum-filling-/272558433385?hash=item3f75bfa469:g:AK0AAOSwTuJYpQDt
  6. The curious part is that they seem to operate like a continuous stripping still, no cuts.
  7. Ideal I think is something more along the lines of a decanter centrifuge. I went down this path before, as the prices have come down dramatically with them being manufactured in the east. When you scroll through Alibaba, the keyword you want to search for is "pig feces".
  8. Wax sans drips is OK, presumably?
  9. The holding tanks (they are not kettles)?
  10. Thanks for sharing, it took a lot of guts to try to do it - and to write that.
  11. Vendome recommends 500kbtu minimum on a 250g still, 750kbtu if mashing and distilling simultaneously. These numbers are in line with my actual experience.
  12. Condensate... 500 pounds of steam per hour is equal to 500 pounds of water. 8.3 pounds per gallon is 60.2 gallons of condensate returned to the boiler per hour - which is a gallon a minute - a trickle really. It's actually rated a bit higher - 521 pounds per hour. My boiler uses a power burner with a motor driven fan - not open flame style like in a home boiler.
  13. Weil Mclain Commercial
  14. Wouldn't imagine it would be applicable in this scenario as accumulators are generally only used in processes that have sporadic/intermittent high-volume demands - not steady state heating. I've actually only ever seen one once, and it was in a plant that used high pressure steam which kept accumulators at something like 150psi before they were regulated down to process pressure. We run a 4" header which adds some additional (albeit minor) steam capacity. But, at 10-15psi, an accumulator would need to be absolutely massive given the still jacket volume.
  15. I run a 265 gallon still and a 15.6 hp boiler (522kbtu). There is no cycling during heatup, as the burner fires continuously for nearly the entire heat-up cycle. The still can easily consume 100% of the steam produced by the boiler - as evidenced by not being able to build full pressure during heat up. It's not until the still nears boiling that the boiler will "catch up", build to full pressure, and cycle. At that point the pressure in the still is dialed back to 1psi or so, and the boiler cycles on a few times every hour. I run 2" steam lines and the both steam and condensate lines are shorter than 10 feet, traps are appropriately sized. My suggestion to be nearer to 600k than 400k is based on my actual operating experience using similar sized equipment. I have absolutely zero doubt I would be able to easily consume another 5hp. The line between having additional steam capability available to accommodate a still upgrade, additional still, or some additional steam equipment (heat exchangers for hot water, etc) and inefficiently oversizing your steam system isn't narrow, and the cost differential to give yourself additional headroom is peanuts compared to tearing out a relatively young boiler. Do with my anecdote whatever you wish.