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Natrat last won the day on January 19 2016

Natrat had the most liked content!

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About Natrat

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    Ham Handed Philanderer
  • Birthday 01/23/1973

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  • Location
    Salt Lake City
  • Interests
    Technology, chemistry, sailing, flavor, marine biology, and wonderful wonderful booze.

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  1. Natrat

    Chiller Deph Control

    always control input. output to drain should be open to prevent expansion, gas formation, or vacuum issues in the dephleg. Use preheated coolant from your condenser, as it will always be cooler than your dephleg, and it will be easier to control without stalling the head of the column from too much cooling. A pair of solenoid valves shunting water from condenser drain to dephleg works well, controlled by a PID on the water temp on your dephleg. If the can doesn't have a port or thermowell for your RTD, then you can use a T on your output drain and measure off of that. I have lots of diagrams :-)
  2. Natrat

    Carbon Filtering Redux...

    Not sure what you're trying to accomplish, so it's hard to comment. But my guess is a setup like this will let a lot of carbon black into your finished product. I don't see a particulate filter after the carbon bed. Will this be pumped or gravity feed? Bed depth is a concept for gravity feed filters, as you have your constant (gravity). If you're using a pump, then overall surface area and contact time are your variables. If you go very slowly (<1 gpm) then I think a piece of polypropylene felt filter on top of your carbon bed will help, but at higher rates, it may blind. One concern I have with using 12x40 and a pump is that there will be a great deal of trapped gas inside your filter media, and if you use a pump, you can compress all that gas, and the filter gets crazy hot...which isn't awesome for high proof product. What proof will you be filtering at? Personally, for a project like yours (filtering neutral) I would recommend a coarser media, and rather than filter from one vessel to another, I would set up a cyclic filter process that runs for a set time. That may also help with trapping excess black AND you can increase the speed slowly, limiting compression heating until your carbon is fully saturated. I also like to see a particulate bed (such as washed sand, pebble, or long-strand wound poly) If you're looking for something more aggressive, for a true neutral, then carbon block filtering may be more productive.
  3. Natrat

    spirit scales

    That's a good idea. One of the problems with calibration is that the tech has to make calibrations at different percentages of the maximum capacity of the scale. For individual load cells, there are now portable devices that can load each cell to capacity using a calibrated spring or hydraulic load. Easy to do if you can dismount your cells quickly. But imagine putting a big, dirty chunk of lead or steel weighing over a thousand lbs in your conical bottom mixing tank. Eeeek! I buy my load cells from automation companies and set up individual tank scales like that. You can use whatever interface you want, once the load cells are installed. A wifi or bluetooth signal is easy to use, and you can set up a panel similar to your fermentation temp panel. However, the previous poster is absolutely right, static load cells drift over time, which is why most places restrict their gauging to a tank dedicated to that purpose, rather than having them on everything. When I worked in Japan, they required measurements in mass rather than volume in the brewery. Keeping all the tanks calibrated was almost a full-time job. In the end, we just did our reporting by measuring the weight of the filled kegs at the end of the process, and backdated our records to the tanks. It was more accurate, and way less work. When we installed a new tank, and the inspector came, I just stuck some red wires under the legs of the tank, and they passed it, thinking they went to load cells! I'm on board with the 3 scale idea, but I think you can usually use just one for Production and Processing (unless you do huuuuuge stripping runs!), another for bottle checkweighing, and a hyper-accurate lab scale for proofing, assays, and lab work. I also like to have a "dirty" scale for stuff like grain and cleaning supplies and the like. I don't get too crazy about keeping it calibrated. Having said that, I admit to having....uh....11 scales.
  4. Natrat

    spirit scales

    On a recent visit to a freshly opened distillery, the inspecting agent communicated that it was perfectly acceptable to weigh totes of spirit on a properly sized portable floor scale, and that permanent devices only need be installed on vessels that are sessile and are used for official gauging operations. The issue that she had was that vessels needed to be properly marked with their tares. Also, portable totes that arrive in your facility need to be tared when they are empty. She recommended having a scale log for all operations, so that tares can be verified. Getting your certification to calibrate your own scales is pretty easy. The calibration weights are a bit expensive, but the process is pretty straightforward. It took me about $300 and 3 days to get my NTEP and ATOCT certifications, and the only set of calibration weights I have are for my lab scales. The 1 kg weight was about $200. Individual load cells need to be able to be dismounted from their tank to be properly calibrated.
  5. Natrat

    Proportional Solenoid Valve

    For you guys on municipal water, a cheap surge tank and regulator does wonders to smooth out cooling supply and prevent sudden oscillation when someone flushes a toilet. It won't help cool in the summer, but you can tweak your regulator settings and it will mitigate that a bit. Last place I did this on had input at 85 psi, 150 gallon steel surge tank, output at 55 psi. Some people use bladder tanks (like on an RO system or hot water tank) with a check valve on the input to regulate water supply as well. The "slow" solenoids are nice at first, but the ones I've used (from Asco and from DUDI) heat up really quickly and need rebuilding a lot. I prefer a pneumatic proportional valve for high volume dephlegs.
  6. Natrat

    Mash tun/Boil Kettle Design

    I have had good luck using a mash tun built with two steam jackets and two cooling jackets. To keep costs down, you can use a mash pump to agitate. I like DSI, but I prefer having a steam trap and conventional steam system. I don't find heat loss on uninsulated vessels to be expensive, but I hate burning myself and I also hate dripping sweat into my mash, so I vote for insulating your vessel. Using water in the cooling jackets means I can recapture some heat into my next mash water. Technically, I could probably run cooling water through the steam jackets, but I don't like shocking the dimple jacket that much. On a 400 gallon batch, using diaphragm pump agitator, heat up to 185 F is about 32 min at full blast (Delta T of 125 F) and coolout to yeast pitch (at 92 F) is 50 minutes. That particular mash tun was $12500 delivered, but it did have some issues. The lauter screens were useless, but aren't used anyway. Most fab shops that can do tanks for the oil industry can build steam jackets.
  7. Natrat

    passivating stainless

    All good solutions, but if you don't want to buy anything, most of us have citric acid powder sitting around. Mix into a paste, and apply to weld. Wait a few minutes and rinse. I find the wet paste works just like gel. Great for repairs around the shop :-)
  8. Natrat

    My experience with Corson Distilling

    Two of my clients have had similar experiences. I hope they will post to this thread. Dan
  9. Natrat

    Steam Control

    At your size, firetube vs watertube isn't a consideration. Once you're over 2 or 3 million btus, firetube are generally more efficient but need more maintenance cycles. The maintenance downtime is lower than a watertube, though. That is only of academic interest. The boiler will maintain steam in the line. Controlling it at the still is easy, and there are many ways (globe valve, needle valve..) I prefer to use a PID controlled pneumo- or servo-actuated pilot valve, with an inline needle valve and a ballvalve shutoff. Unless your still is under 250 gal, and then it's not worth the expense. My first real job was as a boiler maintenance engineer :-D Dan
  10. Natrat

    Making gin on a copper whisky(ey) pot still?

    No offense, but I don't recommend acetic acid (vinegar) as a cleaner. Sure, it will work, but there are issues with removing it. I'd contact Loeffler and get some Lerapur 283 with a copper inhibitor additive. Use that, then rinse with hot water, then hit with a mild acid cleaner. AFTER your gin run, hit it with a detergent, such as Tide or Simple Green, before doing a CIP with L283, rinse, and acid. Some oils from botanicals are particularly sticky on metals. Dan
  11. Natrat

    Finding the right alcohol-proof rubber

    In many cases, it is the "plasticizer," and not the sealing compound, that is leaching into your NGS. Unless you are using a platinum-cured silicone, I suspect you will see clouding again. As mentioned before, gaskets with a higher durometer, such as PTFE (Teflon) or HDPE are the best for high proof ethanol storage. They don't have added plasticizers to make the material softer or less brittle. Best of all is to use a one-use copper crush gasket, preferably without added graphite. The question is, other than a bottle of calibration fluid, why are you storing high proof ethanol for long periods of time? Dan
  12. Natrat

    Why use GNS

    Not all neutrals are the same. Botanical quality aside, the base of a gin is the distillate. You will find that the same gin made with different bases are different gins. Even if your corn ethanol is distilled "6x," it is still full of corn flavor. Other than NS being relatively inexpensive, it allows hardcore ginsmiths the ability to further tune their products. OR, you make your own neutral, and go from there. Just different approaches, like macerating vs. dry gin vs. compounding. Or rotovaping! No two of my gin clients use the same base neutral. Grape, wheat, barley, tapioca, potato...even cheese whey are their starting points :-)
  13. Natrat

    Continuous fermentation

    Keep an eye on mutations. Another thing is to periodically acid wash your pitch. Biggest issues with continuous processes is crud buildup in your equipment. Have fun!
  14. Natrat

    Agitation in fermenters

    I use a 2" diaphragm pump plumbed in a loop on the tank. Run the pump for 3 min to mix the water and grain back into slurry, then flip a valve to transfer :-)
  15. Natrat

    Anyone experience Glass "Bloom"

    That's what I was going to ask...pre-rinse or sparge can do this. When in doubt, sparge with filtered product in the loop.