Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About Avak

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
  • Interests
    Whiskey Gin

Recent Profile Visitors

184 profile views
  1. Avak

    New startup question about setting up

    Here is a picture of a dry fired element. Hmmm...... Avak
  2. Avak

    Closed Chiller Loop Water Treatment

    The specific heat of 20% ethanol is roughly 10% lower than water. Not so bad. I think the pond is a better heat dump than the ground, but thermodynamics was never my strong suit. The waste heat is also used for in-floor heating in the office and lab areas. With the present counterflow cooler, the system works well if the mash pump speed is kept slow. We have tried recirculating the mash through the cooler at higher flow rate, but the total cooling time was the same... about 15 minutes. I never bothered measuring temperatures of anything except the mash, because the system worked perfectly from day 1, even in the summer. Plug and play. Avak
  3. Avak

    grain/liquid separation

    Hi. I have a similar problem. My plan is to re-purpose a small SS conical fermentor to make a press. I plan to cut a circle of perforated SS sheet just a bit smaller than the inside diameter. This is dropped inside, making a self-centering false bottom. Pump the mash into this filter/fermentor slowly and let it drain through on its way to the chiller. Once the mash tun is empty, drop a circle of SS sheet on top of the wet grain. Rig the pump to suck from the bottom of the filter/fermentor and pump. Atmospheric pressure on top of the non-perforated sheet squishes the grain like a grape press. I can see potential problems if your pump generates a crushing vacuum. Check out the pump specs first. It will say the height the pump will prime itself. This can be 5 meters (7.5 psi) for a FIT pump. This is serious pressure. Over the area of a 24 inch disc, that is over 1000 lbs. A "T" in the suction line hooked to a water vacuum break should prevent "squashed beer can" surprises. Another potential problem is a poor seal around the non-perforated disc. A circle of polyfilm 2" larger than the disc laid between disc and grain should provide a seal. If it works as planned, you still need to get the compressed grain out. A floating rope (Spectra, Dyneema) attached to the center of the perforated disc should end up on top of the grain "cookie" when the non-perforated disc is removed. This hasn't made it to the top of my project list, but i will keep you posted. Avak
  4. Avak

    New startup question about setting up

    OPENING POST: Hi folks, I've been distilling as a hobby for quite some years and have decided to try my end at a bigger and more "legal' operation. I want to make a grain based vodka and use it as well to make some gin. From what I've been researching I need to cook my mash, through a jacqueted mash tun so as to prevent scorching. I am looking at this item right now https://shop.distillery-equipment.com/collections/stills/products/200-gallon-mash-tun-stripping-still and my question is, can I strip my mash and then transfer it to another still like this one to finish my vodka ? https://milehidistilling.com/product/53-gallon-copper-6-inch-diameter-mile-hi-flute-6-sections/ Would it work, or am I missing something? Just so you are aware, the mixing motor on the mash tun has a 3 phase motor. Great if 3 phase is available on your site. An added expense if it isn't. Avak
  5. Avak

    Closed Chiller Loop Water Treatment

    Re: the 20% ethanol geothermal system. Explosion is not an issue since the pumps and controls are in the mechanical room. Only cooling lines enter the (explosion proof) distillery area. A coolant spill is treated the same as a spill of product. The system is only serviced by a commercial geothermal company. The system works so well there is no heat pump, only heat exchange coils in the pond. If cooling requirements increase with production, a heat pump could be added. Avak
  6. Avak

    Closed Chiller Loop Water Treatment

    We use a geothermal closed loop cooling system which runs through coils in a pond. The system is filled with denatured ethanol solution. I believe it is 20%. The distillery is on the Pacific Coast so there is little need for antifreeze effect. The pond seldom even gets a skiff of ice in winter. Avak
  7. Avak

    Simple, Cheap Temperature Probe and Readout

    I use cheapo panel mount digital thermometers from AliExpress $1.85 each. They are available with 3 or 10 foot chords. You might find them with longer chords. I always use them in pairs because I just can't trust anything that cheap, even if they have never malfunctioned. Stuff both probes into the same thermometer well and the readings are always within 0.2C . They are much more accurate than the stainless steel analogue thermometers the still came with. I stick all the readouts together on a vertical panel about eye height, using double faced foam sticky tape. They run on 2 button batteries (included). There is no on/off switch... they are always on. I haven't had a battery go dead in the 1 1/2 year I've been using them. They are not advertised as waterproof, but they survive regular splashing. I buy them by the dozen. They get used in the yogurt maker, the refirgerator, the beehives etc. Avak
  8. Avak

    Continuous Columns: Where do I start??

    The column is 4" X 6' packed with ceramic rings over a 3.5Kw bain Marie. It is now operating as a batch still since our distillery does not have fermentation capacity to run this size continuous still. And with just an 8 hour shift, we are not keen to try. Other posts have been very perceptive about balancing fermentation, manpower, cooling, etc. A continuous still is a demanding mistress. There is no substitute for experienced advice before signing the check for a new still. My interest in continuous distillation is to design a recovery still to recover low concentrations of ethanol from backset and tails. Better the hootch ends up in my inventory than down the drain ! One small scale still with a Vigreux column recovered 89%ABV from 1%ABV backset. But it was a slow process. It would need to run unattended overnight and we know what this forum thinks of unattended stills ! Is a recovery still a dumb idea? I've never heard of anyone doing it so I wonder if I'm out to lunch on this. The purpose of my previous post on conversion of a batch still to a continuous still was to suggest a low cost way to re-purpose existing equipment. If the result did not fit in the operation, little would be lost and fun would be had. Avak
  9. Avak

    Continuous Columns: Where do I start??

    At the risk of inviting a flaming, here is a suggestion from a newbie: modify your existing still to run continuously. 1) You will need a well-functioning column (either plates or packing). Tap into the column 1/3 of the way up for the beer input. Having a flow gauge on the dephegmator coolant is desirable. 2) You need a level control on the "pot" (now the reboiler). A simple overflow with "P-trap" and vent will do. If there is appropriate existing access, great. The reboiler level can be as low as about 15% of the pot capacity. It could be anything higher, so chose a level compatable with your heater. If you must make a siphon, remember you can't siphon a boiling liquid. The siphon tube needs a cooling jacket to prevent vapor lock. If you use incoming beer as the cooling liquid for the siphon, it serves as a pre-heater for the input. Otherwise, use reboiler discharge and a heat exchanger as a beer pre-heater. 3) Install lots of digital thermometers.You want to know reboiler temperature to 0.1C (since this will tell you how much ethanol you are losing in the discharge), input beer temperature, column temperature at the input level, below the dephlegmator, and at the head. 4) Turn down the kilowatts. The reboiler has a much smaller liquid volume than the pot did. It will flash up to operating temperature fast. Once stabilized in a run, it will require about the same power as when the the still was operating as a pot still. 5) The beer input feed needs a positive displacement pump (like a peristaltic pump) with a speed control and flow meter. 6) To operate, run the beer feed pump to bring the reboiler to operating level. Turn off the feed pump. Turn on the dephlegmator cooling flow. Turn on the reboiler power. Allow reflux to fill the plates. Turn down the 'phluger flow and juggle beer inflow rate + power level to maintain desired output ABV (I strip to 85% with my packed column). If reboiler temperature drops, turn down beer flow or turn up power. If output ABV drops, turn down beer flow. A continuous still like this will not separate out the heads. This will need to be done on the spirit run. Production rate will be about the same as when operating as a pot still. However, it heats up faster and this only needs to be done once. The longer you run it, the more the time savings adds up. If you need to take a beak, it will restart rapidly. If the beer is pre-heated by the siphon cooling jacket, it will boil and make percolator noises as it burps its way up to the input. No worries. Like any still, you can't turn your back on it while it is running. After lulling you to sleep with hours at the same settings, it will surprise you. Avak