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adamOVD

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Everything posted by adamOVD

  1. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    I am getting a rush of spirit from my parrot, then it slows way down, then surges, then slows down over and over, and I am trying to stabilize my take off rate. It happens whether i am running it with a pot still head or a column head and whether I am running water to the deph. or not. It's more pronounced with the column head, and I can see the plates stack more before the surge, and empty more after the surge. Some runs are worse than others, and it seems to get worse at the end of the run. I'm running one of Paul's Bain Marie stills with water in the jackets, and controlling the heat input to the kettle with digital solid state power regulators into 4 elements. Heads are homemade, column still has plates with downcomers. I've tried turning power off to single elements and running full power to fewer elements instead of using the regulators, and running things at all different settings. Running more power to the pot and more cooling to the deph. definitely helps keep the plates stacked, but doesn't completely eliminate the problem. Tried using fermcap even though I have plenty of head space in the pot and don't see much foaming. Could my agitator be running too fast? Would leaving the jackets partially empty help anything? Really appreciate all the advise I've received here on the forum. Maybe I' m asking too much with this one, but tried everything I can think of, and would appreciate any pointers.
  2. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    First off Paul is correct. he did not make the condenser, and that was where the problem was. That and operator error. The pot is fine. As far as the modifications I made, I put some copper scrubbers in the reducer cone above the condenser to work as a pre-condenser of sorts. violentblue also recommended I make a copper coil or spring and insert it into the tubes of the condenser to elongate the vapor path, and I suppose create some turbulence. I would guess You are not having the same problem if removing the vent solved it though.
  3. adamOVD

    reusing feints

    Any opinions on how many "generations" you reuse your feints before the fusel oils start to over accumulate and you dump them or reprocess them into a vodka or something. Alternatively do you find doing a hydro separation or shallow tails cut every once in a while is enough. Realize it's gonna be pretty dependent on the desired product and equipment, just looking for a very broad opinion if you've tried different things and prefer a certain method. Thanks.
  4. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    Just in case someone cares, or reads this down the line, after a few runs, I'm pretty sure the surging was due to the condenser. I made some changes to it to make it more efficient, tweaked some settings, and was more careful with how much cooling water i was sending to the PC. Thanks so much to everyone that took the time to throw some ideas my way.
  5. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    After a great deal of thought, I am almost certain @ViolentBlue is correct about the condenser being the source of the problem.. Ever piece of the puzzle fits perfectly. I've read in other posts about very cold water causing surging, but it all kinda went over my head, as many other ideas were also being talked about at the same time. I think i finally get it now though. The massive cloud of heated vapor hits my over-sized condenser, which due to it being a somewhat simple and inefficient design, I am running too much cooling water to. The vapor quickly shrinks down to a small quantity of liquid, creating a vacuum that sucks the vapor out of the column and a the same time lowers the boiling temperature, making the surging even worse. That continues until the surging vapor heats up the condenser enough that everything equalizes, and then the whole cycle starts again. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Can't thank everyone enough for all the feedback, fairly certain I can get things dialed in for the next run. Hopefully this helps some else out down the road as well.
  6. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    Thanks @ViolentBlue I'll play with that as well. That would help explain why it only does it intermittently. Whenever I run too much water, or the take off rate slows or gets hotter at the end of the run. I'll be more diligent in holding the spirit in the parrot at a set temp. Just to be 100% sure, you are talking about the final product condenser. Not the dephlemator right?
  7. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    Here's one of the plates. I agree that the burp tube probably isn't the problem, but it literally takes two seconds to put a cap on it and eliminate it as a possible problem. Hopefully it is a surge boiling problem, caused by the limited heat transfer intrinsic to a bain Marie still, running at a higher altitude??, and my own inexperience running a still. I think Paul's got me on the right track though. Thanks for all the input. I'm excited to tell you how the run goes on Monday, but I am cooking, bottling and bartending till then. Thanks again for all the input.
  8. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    @meerkat Yeah, I rigged up the "burp tube" because sometimes I get a lot of uncondensable gas escaping. Think it happens when there is a lot of yeast in the pot. I'm sure that doesn't help the inconsistent the flow rate, but I don't think it is the cause of it, as it happens whether gas escapes or not. I'm going to cap it off whenever it seems unneeded in case @PeteB is right and cold air is being sucked in through it. I also have small vent holes in the parot. The rush of spirits is never so great it would push spirits out of the T, or even the vent holes of the parrot. The flow rate when fast is about 2 or 3 times faster then when it is slow. I can still get through my runs, but it makes making my cuts a lot more difficult, and keeps the plates from stacking consistently through the run.
  9. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    What about running the vent pipe for the jackets into a blow off bucket to get a slight back pressure? Is that not safe?
  10. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    Thanks Paul, guess I should've just emailed you. Still fill the jackets to 60%? Ill try putting more heat into the jacket, but I am at 4000 ft elevation, so boiling temps are slightly lower. I'd like to avoid putting oil or glycol in the jackets so I can cool with them as you mentioned, but also because I fill them with 185f water when I start to cut back on heat up time.
  11. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    It does. Maybe not as bad. Column and deph. Are 6". Deph. Is 1' long shotgun style. Final condenser is 4" diameter, 3' long. Lyne arm is 2". Will give it a go. Probably not going to do another run until next Monday though.
  12. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    Hey Paul, thanks for reaching out. How long has it been doing that? Doesn't happen every time, but has been since set up Is it a 105 gallon standard series still or a 100 gallon pro series? 105 How many gallons are in the pot? Sometimes 105, sometimes 70, sometimes 85 Did you get your heating system from me? Did you get your columns, condenser and parrot from me? Only got the boiler from you. We built the rest. Did you buy the vfd with your agitator and if not did you buy your own? No VFD, off or on. Are you running a solenoid valve on your deflegmator cooling water? What kind of coolant control valves are you using? Condensers are plumbed separately. Just running cold water to them through a ball valve. 1/4" on the deph, 1/2 on the PC How many plates do you have? it's modular, but I usually run 5. How is your deph plumbed , can you show us a picture? How is your final condenser plumbed? Do you run coolant from your final condenser to the dephlegmator or are they plumbed separately? See above, ill send pictures of everything later. Are you using one of our thermostatic valves? No How much water do you have in the jacket? Ive been filling to the top of the sight glass. do you have a float switch or some other device adding water to the jacket during the run? None just fill it in the beginning. What is the temp of the water or steam in the jacket? Usually hold it around 205 until the end of the run. I'm at about 4,000 ft elevation. Running 4 220 elements at 60-68% after heat up. How much water do you evaporate out of the jacket during the run? I don't evaporate a noticeable amount until I hit tails. Evaporate 1/4- 1/3 out of the jackets by the end of the run depending on how deep I run into the tails.
  13. adamOVD

    steady take off rate

    Its not so bad that my parrot empties. It does have a surge breaker, but I can't see running without it as I do get air escaping though it during the run. I'll mess around with sealing them when they aren't needed to see if anything changes. Ill also try running with the jackets partially empty. Paul has told me they had good success running them 60% full. Maybe with steam condensing on the walls of the upper jackets the heat throughout the pot will be more even. Thanks for the replies. Any more tips would be much appreciated.
  14. adamOVD

    TTB stopped our production due to high proof

    As in tighter, or looser allowances?
  15. adamOVD

    Grinding Juniper Berries

    Do you grind or crush your juniper and other botanicals you macerate? Have you noticed a substantial difference in flavor if you have tried both grinding and not? Thanks.
  16. adamOVD

    Pump safety

    I've been using a cheap flojet diaphragm pump as a spirit pump. It is driven by an attached electric motor, not by compressed air though, so I am assuming that negates the "explosion proof" qualities of a diaphragm pump. I never pump anything stronger than 100 proof with it, but I do occasionally pump 100 proof spirits, and it gets pretty warm in the distillery so I could conceive of even 80 proof spirits reaching their flash point. I'm I taking a huge risk? should I switch over to an air driven pump asap? Still very new to this, but It scares me how ignorant I am about the properties of explosive vapor when I work with it constantly. Thanks.
  17. adamOVD

    Pump safety

    I believe it is the pump pictured on the original post. That is the reason we got it. Someone was using it in their distillery and said they said it was the same pump they had in their filler. It works great to be honest.
  18. adamOVD

    Pump safety

    Thanks Michael super helpful information.
  19. adamOVD

    Pump safety

    Thanks for the feedback Paul. Will it run off a 1.5hp 6gal compressor? I don't need it to move much volume (60 gallons at a time max). I only saw your big PD pump on your web sight, could you email the details to me? How loud is it? fusionbyadam@hotmail.com.
  20. adamOVD

    Grinding Juniper Berries

    Awesome. Thanks guys.
  21. We started with pretty simular capacities and bottle prices about 6 months ago. We have been in the black every month, even after paying ourselves a basic salary. Only reason though is because we have a ton of sweat equity into the place, and took the time and effort to build a very nice, although small tasting room and are making money on cocktails and very limited food menu. It does also become a full time gig for a few people at that point. Our business model changed quite a bit over the year and a half build out process, but I'm pretty sure we settled on the best route for our size. Also depends on the laws in your state as to what you can do in a tasting room. Best of luck if you move foward.
  22. adamOVD

    Dephlegmator and Condenser Equilibrium

    @Storm King Distilling Co. Thanks for posting the solution after you figured it out. Did the same thing yesterday. Ran too much water to the deph while pulling hearts. Towards the end of the hearts cut the plates would all stack and then a flood of distillate would come out, and the plates would unstack. Then repeat again. My finished hearts cut ended up being 180 proof running through 5 plates, when it usually ends up being around 165 proof. I also have a pinhole leak in my condenser. Sounds like we have a lot of common problems. Learning something every day.
  23. adamOVD

    Packing and Plates

    When using both packing and plates and aiming for 190P, which is better to have on top? I have a 4" column with 5' of packed, and five plates, using a dephlem. to control take off. I've been running with the plates on top, but read in a post recently the advise to pack the top plates to someone having a hard time reaching neutral. In my mind it seems like the plates would more easily flood if on the bottom. Thanks.
  24. adamOVD

    Packing and Plates

    Thanks @bluefloss. Everything you said makes sense. I'm gonna replace some of the steel wool with copper mesh to hopefully get a bit more refux, and keep the plates on top so I can watch the reflux like you mentioned. Im really close to holding 95% through the entire run. I am running a dephlem, my still charge is right about 40%.
  25. adamOVD

    Question on defleg...

    In the beginning to compress the heads at the top of the column and lessen your heads cut, and during the hearts cut so the equilibrium of the still holds the tails low in the column and increases your hearts cut. You really have to understand what is happening in the column to understand what effect the dephleg is having. You could write a whole book on the subject.
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