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Mosaic

Kothe K900N vodka production

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Hi Guys,

I'm in the process of setting up a distillery (in the UK - business plan stage) where I want to follow the American practice of making vodka, gin and whiskey from scratch, using a friend's farm - grain, and fruit based ultimately.

Budget is super tight. I've met with a distributor for Kothe stills who's trying to steer me away from a twin column 16+ plate system and more towards the K900N, using 3-6 (latter recommended) bubblecaps and an automated system.

They doing this 1. To save me money, and 2. Because they claim it's not possible to hit 96.4% ABV on any of these stills, whether it's 6 caps or 16.

It's also considered thst a lot of the twin-column still purchasers buy it more for show, than functional ability.

Question:

Fine, I can't produce an EU standard vodka at 96% but does anyone use a K900N to make vodka, what is your experience like in doing so, and how does the product taste? Do you filter afterwards? I want to avoid filtration. What is your process - double/triple run?

Many thanks,

M

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I have have a 20 plate Kothe and highest ive distilled to date is 94-95%. anything above 95 is very difficult. 

 

 

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That seems weird.

 

My 20 plate columns will hit 96% no problem.  Also I can split 2 10 plate columns and still hit 95% with my stills with no issues.  It seems strange that the Kothe 20 plate stills will not do this.  Also I have customers doing vodka runs in as little as 7 hrs after operating temp is reached.

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Southernhighlander, which still are you using?

The Kothe guys say that with a 6 bubblecaps Kothe 900N and automation, the distillate can hit 94%, but it won't stay there. They also say you'll get the same result with a 20 plate Kothe. I'm trying to figure out whether the distillate they're describing is an acceptable standard. I'm not worried about 96% as long as I can call it Vodka, don't need to filter it, and that it tastes great.

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Greenfield, how does your distillate taste with the result you are describing?

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I'm referencing the stills that I build which cost a great deal less than a Kothe.  My stills are in over 250 distilleries in the US and several other distilleries around the world.

 

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1 hour ago, Southernhighlander said:

I'm referencing the stills that I build which cost a great deal less than a Kothe.  My stills are in over 250 distilleries in the US and several other distilleries around the world.

If your stills were so good you wouldn't have to spam this forum so much. I guarantee Kothe stills are better, and will last longer than yours.

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MGL are you trolling me again?  Do you have a crush going on or something?:lol:  It seems like you just can't leave me alone. 

 The gentleman is considering the purchase of a still and I offered him an alternative. To address your concerns about the lifespan of  my stills: they are massively over built.  The metal thicknesses on my inner boilers, jackets and columns are all thicker than most of my competitors stills, including the German stills that we have reworked here for customers.  If taken care of, my stills will last 100 years or more.  Of course the agitators may need replacing after 20 or 30 years.  We work very hard to produce the best stills at the very best price for our customers, which is why we have done so well.

 

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16 hours ago, Mosaic said:

Greenfield, how does your distillate taste with the result you are describing?

Hey Mosaic,

 

Distillate tastes great. It is very neutral tasting, and if carbon filtered, tastes like a perfectly fine vodka. I am using 100% grain base. I could probably get a  higher proof if I ran an additional distillation, but we don't sell vodka so I have never had the need. 

 

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20 hours ago, Greenfield said:

I have have a 20 plate Kothe and highest ive distilled to date is 94-95%. anything above 95 is very difficult. 

 

 

Even in the US you need 95% to be vodka, so I am surprised you can't do that with a 20 plate Kothe. You might have a problem specific to your still.

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The Kothe stills might have trouble getting above 96%, need for EU, as the rep seems to have suggested. If you really want to do vodka, I would look at other vendors. If you want a German still, look at Holstein or Carl, for example, using a side column for vodka. But these will be expensive.

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Plates  are a whole lot sexier, but running a long column with packing material in it is a whole lot cheaper if the budget is tight, and can have an even higher theoretical plate value. You can still run the plates on top to keep things sexy looking. 

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Mosaic,

you might want to look at iStill (www.iStill.eu), they have fully automated stills which can do everything from potstill up to 40 redistillations for vodka at the touch of a button. And with the optional agitator and heat exchanger you can also mash in the same unit. Four day training (in English) can be followed at their Amsterdam training center.

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Bet you if you used pumped reflux from the second column bottoms to the top of the first column, instead of draining reflux to the boiler, you could hit 96% on that twin column Kothe.

Dual dephlegmator design is a compromise in that it will result in a lower efficiency than would be expected.

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Greenfield, can you tell me about your carbon filtration system. Pics, links, COST of system and per bottle?

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But has anyone used a Kothe 900N? The one with a short column to the side (3-6 caps, 400 litre).

Thanks all for answers so far.

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3 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Bet you if you used pumped reflux from the second column bottoms to the top of the first column, instead of draining reflux to the boiler, you could hit 96% on that twin column Kothe.

Dual dephlegmator design is a compromise in that it will result in a lower efficiency than would be expected.

Silk City is correct.  This is what we found during testing:  If we have 2 bubble plate columns that we are running vapor through, then the last column in line will operate at 100% plate efficiency and the 2nd to last column in line will operate at 50% plate efficiency.  If you have 3 columns in line then the first column will only operate at 25% efficiency the second at 50% and the 3rd/last column in line at 100%.  I see my competitors selling stills with multiple columns with the condensate from each column draining into the pot.  If you have two 10 plate columns and both are draining condensate from the bottom of the columns back into the pot then you are really only operating with the efficiency of 15 plates.    Since I pump condensate from the bottom of the  last column up to the top of the column before it and so on,  my split columns function just like one straight up column.   

Concerning automated stills were the vapor is being passed through the same column repeatedly.  They have a disadvantage and that disadvantage is distilling time.  Due to the way they operate it can take more than twice as long as doing it in a traditional column set up.

 

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