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UpAndAdam

can i achieve 190+ with this system?

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I'm pretty sure I've read just about every post here and now im just looking for some answers about my particular system.

 

I am a distiller for a brewery and i think our equipment might be inadequate to run neutrals , we have a 6in column with 8 plates (fixed plates but removable) sitting on a 100gal electric boiler w/ four 5500 watt elements . Glycol coolant on depleg and prod condenser both controlled with separate ball valves. (i think this is a source of trouble but need some second opinions) i have packed the column with copper so that each plate has a solid 2-3 inches of mesh and double packed the top 2 plates, my boiler charge on a spirit run is 90 gallons @ 30%ABV, this morning i was only able to achieve 181P despite running very slow and trying to keep the dephleg in check. i realize that a lot of distillers are using proportional valves or even needle valves to control dephleg temps, is this my downfall? im running out of ideas.

 

i know that this subject has been beaten to death, i was just hoping to open a dialogue about our system specifically and try to get to the bottom of it. Thanks in advance for your help, there aren't any distillers in my area that i can call on.

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I have not used your exact system, but I would assume it will just take multiple runs and charging the pot with at least 60%-70% abv. The other option would be to run your still as slowly as possible, but with only 8 plates, I find it hard to believe you will get compliance distillate from a 30% abv charge. 

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4 minutes ago, Julius said:

I have not used your exact system, but I would assume it will just take multiples run and charging the pot with at least 60%-70% abv. The other option would be to run your still as slowly as possible, but with only 8 plates, I find it hard to believe you will get compliance distillate from a 30% abv charge. 

How safe is it to run 60-70% on electric elements? ive always tried to stay below 40%.

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3 minutes ago, UpAndAdam said:

How safe is it to run 60-70% on electric elements? ive always tried to stay below 40%.

I do not know. I have only worked with steam and direct flame. I am sure someone else can answer that question. 

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Up and Adam.

 

It takes 21 distillations to make a good neutral.  That is a pot with 20 plates.  8 plates is not going to do the job and putting high proof in the pot is not an option for you.  8 plates will get you to around 180 proof but it will take another 12 plates to get you to where you need to be.  If you add 1.25 lbs of epsom salt to your fermented mash after it goes in the pot you can get close with 8 plates 0r by stretching the run out to 20 hrs or so you may be able to maintain 190.  If you would like to add a column extension to your existing 8 plates  or add more plates I can help you with that.  paul@distillery-equipment.com

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Why would epsom salts added to the mash make a difference - would this affect the taste?

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Sodium has a boiling point of 1,621 F so it does not affect the taste of the distillate.  Sodium helps break the azeotrope by increasing the boiling point of water so that fewer plates are needed to maintain an output of 190 proof.  This is a little known vodka distillers trick.

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3 hours ago, UpAndAdam said:

How safe is it to run 60-70% on electric elements? ive always tried to stay below 40%.

You're doing the right thing.  From a recent post from Southernhighlander  "If you put 25% to 80% low wines in there you have a much bigger bomb."

Without discussing whose equipment we use, we come of at 95% consistently but our low wines never exceed 35%

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Thank you Southernhighlander that's a cool bit of knowledge - I might try it.

Our still dosen't much like being charged with anything over 25% and will complain if I push it.

 

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45 minutes ago, Southernhighlander said:

Sodium has a boiling point of 1,621 F

I like you logic but I'm not sure about your chemistry.  

Epsom salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate, a chemical identity that the other salts do not share. Table salt, kosher salt and sea salt are all at least 97.5 percent sodium chloride, though sea salt also contains minerals like iodine, magnesium and potassium.

Given the above fact, wouldn't table salt be better based on your statement of using sodium?

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A taller column is needed as stated above.  I ran a 6” vodka column and was able to make vodka with 1 plate and 8’ of packing.  I used ss scrubbies, 7 or 8 per layer, don’t remember which. That was over a 30 gallon still.  It made for a long day, I can’t imagine how long that would take for 100 gallons of low wines.  

As you need more height I would consider going 8” or even 10” for faster runs as well. 

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1 hour ago, bluefish_dist said:

A taller column is needed as stated above.  I ran a 6” vodka column and was able to make vodka with 1 plate and 8’ of packing.  I used ss scrubbies, 7 or 8 per layer, don’t remember which. That was over a 30 gallon still.  It made for a long day, I can’t imagine how long that would take for 100 gallons of low wines.  

As you need more height I would consider going 8” or even 10” for faster runs as well. 

UpandAdam, Bluefish makes a good point.  Our least expensive alternative is a packed column section.  We use ceramic raschig rings. 6' of packed column along with your plates and dephleg will do the job.  If you have a height restriction we can deal with that as well. paul@distillery-equipment.com

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On 3/5/2019 at 6:32 PM, bluefish_dist said:

A taller column is needed as stated above.  I ran a 6” vodka column and was able to make vodka with 1 plate and 8’ of packing.  I used ss scrubbies, 7 or 8 per layer, don’t remember which. That was over a 30 gallon still.  It made for a long day, I can’t imagine how long that would take for 100 gallons of low wines.  

As you need more height I would consider going 8” or even 10” for faster runs as well. 

Oh man, it is already a long day pushing 180 with a decent takeoff. 2 hour heat up and between 10 to 12 hour run. I just made the executive decision to re run this batch and turn it into Gin, it turned out well. we'll save neutrals for later after some equipment upgrades. our boiler will take up to an 8 inch so i will be shopping around and talking with some manufactures at CBC this year.

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On 3/5/2019 at 7:51 PM, Southernhighlander said:

UpandAdam, Bluefish makes a good point.  Our least expensive alternative is a packed column section.  We use ceramic raschig rings. 6' of packed column along with your plates and dephleg will do the job.  If you have a height restriction we can deal with that as well. paul@distillery-equipment.com

I will be in touch with you around early Summer, our program is new and i think it will take some schmoozin' to go after new equipment just yet. If only someone with knowledge of distilling was consulted before the initial purchase of "something shiny" we would be in a better place, but you know what they say, Do what you can with what you've got where you're at.

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