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Beginner problems with New reflux Column

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First time post on here, be gentle if I'm being a Dingus. So I'm not new to distilling but I've always used a pot still and fire heat. I recently built a electrically heated reflux still and I'm having problem. I'll list out the details of my set up then my issues and process.

- 15gal Keg Pot

-single 5Kw heating element. 230v

- 2" reflux column roughly 4ft tall.

- feed and return lines for condenser feed horizontally through the main column to produce the reflux cooling

- cooling water comes in from the bottom and out the top - no packing (yet)

- analog Temp gauge in the boiler - Calibrated RTD at the very top of the column.

- Running 10-12gal of 8-9% sugar wash.

So the problem is that I cannot get any decent proof out of the dang thing. I mean 100proof or less! I see guys on here complaining when they can't get more than 180, so I should by no means be getting the junk output i'm getting. After I get my forshots to run off, I cannot get any output worth a damn until the top of my column hits almost 205F!!! I had it sitting at 170-180F for over an hour and couldn't get more than a few drips. tried 190s barely anything, only after it's over 200 will I start to get steady drip, drip drips. At this point my analog gauge in the boiler is reading 200-210ish. I would have thought that my RTD was out of wack. but the fact that my proof is coming out at 60-100 proof tells me that it's reading correct and that I'm just pulling a ton of water with my ethanol because my temp is too high.

As I mentioned above I'm testing this out with about 10-12gallons of a 8-9% sugar wash that I tested with a hydrometer (I'm not guessing) I would expect to pull at least a gallon of higher proof stuff out. Hell i'm honestly happy with 130-150, let alone what I read these other guys pull out of their reflux stills. I've done 3 runs now and each time I give up after pulling off a quart because after a quart of 70-100proof it drops way down to the floor at like 30 proof :( I've played around with turning my power and water ratios up and down all other the spectrum and I can't get any better results. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. i'm pulling my hair out.

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OK so something is wrong as you can to 160 proof with just a simple pot still on a spirit run.

Do you have a deflegmator at the top of the column?  What type of still is it? CM, VM, CCVM. LM, plates (how many), etc?

Without packing you basically have a tall pot riser with/without a deflegmator so you aren't doing yourself any favor without packing.

Can you post a pic of your setup?

Something is definitely wrong with your setup/running of the still as even on a pot still 50%/100 proof is tails territory on a spirit run.

Are you an experienced distiller to start with?  I ask this to confirm you know you have a good ferment.  What is the ABV of the ferment and how do you know what the ABV is?  Did you do a strip run first?  What was the ABV of the spirit in the boiler at the time of the run?

Those are just some basic questions to start with.

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I have a similar setup on my trial still, 15 gallon keg, single 5500 watt element, 3" column. and I can run in reflux mode to get 195 or pot mode to get whatever output I desire. What type of heating controller do you run? Are your cooling lines separated or run in one continuous loop?

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I had the same problem. I gave a buddy one of my old reflux stills that I could get 160 proof easily.

All he could get was 70 proof.  he had a propane burner that was putting out too much heat at the lowest setting  and  the temp shot past the sweet spot and was picking up water..  We put in a smaller burner that could hold the temp 170 -190 F AND WE GOT it making 170 p   

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