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Switching to a continuous column


Thatch

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Our current operation calls for us to add 300 ml of olive oil to a 1350 liter ferment as a defoamer to an all malt wash.  We strip 350 liters at a time in a bain marie stripping still, giving us 4 runs per ferment.  We add 200 ml of olive oil plus a teaspoon of dish washing liquid to each stripping run.  I'm not sure why we adopted this procedure since it seems to me that the addition of ALL the olive oil (1100 ml) would better feed the yeast.  The real problem is, we are switching to a small continuous column (feed rate 100 liters/hour) for stripping and we are having a significant foaming problem (puking) which I believe we can overcome with adding all the olive oil to the ferment.

Is there any reason I would NOT want to add all the olive oil to the ferment?

Is there a better way to approach this problem?

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Try a regular antifoam to your wash. Works well on my continuous. Container doesn't list ingredients so can't help there.

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8 hours ago, PeteB said:

Try a regular antifoam to your wash. Works well on my continuous. Container doesn't list ingredients so can't help there.

Thanks @PeteB.  What product are you using and at what dosage?

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8 hours ago, SlickFloss said:

What type of column are you trying to run like this? What types of enzyme are you using in your mashing process? What’s your grist ratio? When you use dish washing liquid do you mean like dawn dish soap?

It is a continuous column (coffey still) made by a guy in New Zealand.  There are no enzymes, this is an all malt mash.  grist ratio = 4, yes, a tiny amount of dish washing liquid, it keeps the olive oil suspended.

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There is definitely a benefit to having the anti foam well mixed and suspended.  We have had far better results adding it to the mash tun before fermenter pump over versus in the still.  I’m not sure an oil base would work in a similar fashion though, given a tendency to separate.  
 
Was chatting with someone a year or two back and we thought it might be interesting to use a metering pump to add a tiny amount of antifoam into the column feed.

How are your co2 levels?  Are you fizzing?  Have you tried pumping over in the fermenter to degas?

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8 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:

How are your co2 levels?  Are you fizzing?  Have you tried pumping over in the fermenter to degas?

The manufacturer is starting to think it might be the still.  We tried mixing baking soda with the wash to rid us of as much CO2 as possible (major foam over with 4 gallons of wash in a 5 gallon bucket) but it still puked.  I'm not sure if puking is the correct term to use in this case, the problem is my distillate is still the color of my wash.   The still was only tested with a sugar wash prior to leaving the manufacturer.  He is thinking of adding another section to the column to provide more head space as a solution.

 

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On 12/6/2021 at 4:44 AM, Thatch said:

It is a continuous column (coffey still) made by a guy in New Zealand.  There are no enzymes, this is an all malt mash.  grist ratio = 4, yes, a tiny amount of dish washing liquid, it keeps the olive oil suspended.

Okay so are you reflecting you rectifier back to your top plate on your analyzer? I’ve been successful running smaller patent stills replumbed this way and running the incoming mash line for rectifier coolant through top plate of Analyzer. I’ve ran corn oil in my 51 rye mash and rye oil in my 100 rye mash and both were inadequate for operational needs despite being pitched at a theoretically appropriate rate which would be much higher than What you’re running. Keeping oil suspended isn’t the problem the problem is it hyper suspends it self. Your solution will eventually begin to settle out snd you will continue to have foaming issues unless yoh address the route cause directly either enzymatically or mechanically. Organic lipid will not be nearly effective as a silicon anti foam product performance wise “pound for pound”  look for any commercially available silicon anti foam and shoot for 30-300 ppm most will come with recommended pitching rates i recommend you stick to they’ll be in that range  proteolytic and viscosity enzymes would help you a lot  how’s your conversion and what’s your yield?  Leaving brix on the table in form of starch is another thing that can complicate things thinner mashed continuous better. Wel get you there, we got me there! 

 

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Thanks @SlickFloss.   I don't know what is happening inside the still and neither does the manufacturer. 

We are using glycol as a coolant, not the wash.

I'm going to try both FermCap S as well as a product from Munzing. 

The manufacturer is also looking at the possibility that he built the still too short.

Enzymes are not on the table.  The distillery is inside our malt house.  

We are happy with our conversion and our yield and we will not be changing our process to accommodate this new piece of equipment.  At this point either the simethicone products work or the still will need to be modified to support our wash.

 

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50 minutes ago, Thatch said:

Thanks @SlickFloss.   I don't know what is happening inside the still and neither does the manufacturer. 

We are using glycol as a coolant, not the wash.

I'm going to try both FermCap S as well as a product from Munzing. 

The manufacturer is also looking at the possibility that he built the still too short.

Enzymes are not on the table.  The distillery is inside our malt house.  

We are happy with our conversion and our yield and we will not be changing our process to accommodate this new piece of equipment.  At this point either the simethicone products work or the still will need to be modified to support our wash.

 

Of course brother! We can get this figured for you I bet it’s not as bad as it seems! Sometimes you just need fresh eyes on the puzzle…Can you tell from the piping on your second column where you’re sending your mash Input? Is it entering your first column on the highest or second highest tray? If you want to text me a video of you walking around the still slowly and recording it I could at least let you know what I see, if Paul can get eyes on it too he can fix fuxking anything lol he’s about to retro one of my columns!

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26 minutes ago, SlickFloss said:

Can you tell from the piping on your second column where you’re sending your mash Input? Is it entering your first column on the highest or second highest tray? If you want to text me a video of you walking around the still slowly and recording it I could at least let you know what I see

HI Slickfloss, there is still some confusion.  This is a video of my still after construction and prior to shipping being tested with sugar wash.  In the video it is being cooled with water.  The two smaller columns are a steam generator and a water reservoir.

 

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Foaming can be a huge issue in continuous column stills. 

Alex_Sor what do you think of the still in the video?  What do you think the issue is? It appears to be based on the old soviet designs. 

Also I wanted you to know that I've been thinking about you and your countrymen.   No matter what happens, I wish you and your people good luck.  May your military send 30,000 Russians strait to hell and take Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk back.  

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Cool little rig, that design looks familiar from forums from a decade back when the hobby community was experimenting with small scale continuous.  Everyone had problems with small diameter columns, because it was easy for foam to find support at the walls and climb, or at least not collapse.

Video is neat - but damn that sugar wash is crystal clear.  

 

 

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7 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Cool little rig, that design looks familiar from forums from a decade back when the hobby community was experimenting with small scale continuous.  Everyone had problems with small diameter columns, because it was easy for foam to find support at the walls and climb, or at least not collapse.

Video is neat - but damn that sugar wash is crystal clear.  

 

 

Alexander (Alex_Sor) and I (mostly Alexander) designed a little 2" continuous column still and I built it and ran it in my equipment development lab and it ran great and is really fast.  Alexander had a lot of concerns about foaming in such a tiny column but foaming was not a problem with sugar wash or corn mash.  He came up with a plate design that is very unique, that mitigated the small column foaming issue.  I'm not sure if you can even call them plates.   The columns are modular and easy to disassemble. Each column section clamps in.  We did designs for much larger continuous column stills.  He came up with one design that uses ribbon like structures instead of plates.  Anyway we were and still are really busy building pot stills, so I decided not to move forward with continuous column still development.  

 

 

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On 12/8/2021 at 7:09 AM, Thatch said:

HI Slickfloss, there is still some confusion.  This is a video of my still after construction and prior to shipping being tested with sugar wash.  In the video it is being cooled with water.  The two smaller columns are a steam generator and a water reservoir.

 

Without seeing column internals its hard to say how to help other than enzymes, however as others mentioned Alex would sort this out for you in a second if you get his eyes on it. This thing looks kinda like a gnarly little rocket I made for a MJ processor in Washington State when I was still in Uni before entering the industry. Malt mash is not equivalent to sugar wash and the proteins within the grain need to be addressed chemically, specifically with enzyme

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Okay, so what's my best bet to try, Simethicone, Alpha, Beta, if so, what dosage, taller column, hope that @Alex_Sor reads this post?  Or, try them all?   Fortunately our current stripping still is doing the job so there is no rush to get this "gnarly little rocket" up and running.

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On 12/8/2021 at 3:09 PM, Thatch said:

HI Slickfloss, there is still some confusion.  This is a video of my still after construction and prior to shipping being tested with sugar wash.

I know this column design :)

New Zealand. This is an old development and very difficult to make and work with.

There are simpler and more reliable designs, for example:

str_col.thumb.jpg.f0ed972c1bc9be2bbb84dc79043d389d.jpg

In my picture - Continuous mash column with a diameter of 100 mm, it is positioned as an industrial plant for the processing of sugar mash and other types of liquid alcohol-containing raw materials.

Processing speed - up to 120 liters of mash (8% alcohol) per hour. That is, up to 2900 liters per day.

This column can produce at the outlet up to 25 liters of raw alcohol per hour with a strength of 55-65%.

The column consists of:

1) a continuous steam generator (tank at the bottom of the column),

2) an upper diopter to monitor the process of feeding the mash, (it shows whether there is foam and how the feeding process is going)

3) thermal insulation for a quick exit to a stable mode,

4) a diopter to track the bottom flood and control the operation of the siphon,

5) a parrot for continuous measurement of strength,

6) peristaltic pump and safety sensors.

The column works on the principle of heat recovery: the wash is fed to the top of the column, and steam is fed from the bottom in a counterflow. Mixing with steam, the mash flows down the contact elements and loses alcohol vapors. Getting into the L-shaped distiller-preheater, alcohol vapors condense, giving off part of the heat to the wash entering the upper supply unit.

Then the distillate is fed to the aftercooler, in which it loses the remaining heat, reaching the final temperature, and then enters the parrot, where the strength of the output product is constantly monitored. Waste (evaporated wash, stillage) - flows from the column into the sewer through a siphon.

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1 hour ago, Thatch said:

Okay, so what's my best bet to try, Simethicone, Alpha, Beta, if so, what dosage, taller column, hope that @Alex_Sor reads this post?  Or, try them all?   Fortunately our current stripping still is doing the job so there is no rush to get this "gnarly little rocket" up and running.

If you are going to distill a mixture with grains (dirty mixture, not sugar mash) I do not advise you to use the "New Zealand Rocket" at all.

It is not suitable for "dirty" (with pieces of grain) mixtures. The foam will kill the whole process.

My variation (last post) works with dirty mixes.

But if you want to use your "New Zealand Rocket" :) then you need:

1) apply a coarse filter (mesh) to filter your mixture before you feed the mixture into your column.

2) apply a "foam extinguisher". This is an inert liquid, usually 50-100 ml is enough for 100 liters of the mixture so that there is no foam at all.

Liquid high-performance antifoam in the form of a viscous emulsion of silicon dioxide, polydimethylsiloxane and water-based mineral oils. Has a long-term anti-foaming effect. Find it and buy it, then add the mixture to your mix before distilling.

Otherwise, your "rocket" will take off from streams of foam :)

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45 minutes ago, Alex_Sor said:

2) apply a "foam extinguisher". This is an inert liquid, usually 50-100 ml is enough for 100 liters of the mixture so that there is no foam at all.

Thanks @Alex_SorWhen would I apply the anti foam?  To the mash, to the ferment or stir it in prior to distillation?

In making beer, I would apply anti-foam prior to the boil but in making spirits, my boil takes place in the still.

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On 12/9/2021 at 8:50 PM, Thatch said:

Thanks @Alex_SorWhen would I apply the anti foam?  To the mash, to the ferment or stir it in prior to distillation?

In making beer, I would apply anti-foam prior to the boil but in making spirits, my boil takes place in the still.

The foam suppressor (the substance I wrote about) is added to the tank before distillation.

Stirring + adding anti-foam agent. This removes the carbon dioxide stripping before you pour your mixture into the distillation tank.
The substance is neutral for foodstuffs, it is not toxic and its use for distillation is not regulated in any way by US law.

"food defoamer"
for example this:
https://concentrol.com/en/antiespumants-i-industria-alimentaria/

https://www.dow.com/en-us/product-technology/pt-antifoams/pg-antifoams-antifoams-defoamers-food.html

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Thanks @Alex_Sor  The most widely used product that contain Simethicone here is the US is FermCap - S.  I have purchased some FermCap - S and I am have ordered a 40 mesh screen for my fermenter.  FermCap - S is a 10% Simethicone solution.

You wrote that I have to "stir + adding".  That will not be possible since I have closed top fermenters.  I will try to add it to the fermenter before adding the wash and before pitching the yeast.  If that will not do the job than I will not be able to work with the "rocket" as it is currently constructed.

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14 minutes ago, Thatch said:

You wrote that I have to "stir + adding".  That will not be possible since I have closed top fermenters.  I will try to add it to the fermenter before adding the wash and before pitching the yeast.  If that will not do the job than I will not be able to work with the "rocket" as it is currently constructed.

the main idea is to mix the foam suppressor well with your mixture.

The foam suppressor is inert, it will not affect the taste of the product, and during fermentation it will not allow solid parts to accumulate at the top of the tank.

It must be remembered that carbon dioxide bubbles are important for mixing the mixture during fermentation, they do not allow the yeast to fall prematurely to the bottom of the tank.

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Where are you putting the screen, and how large is it?  You mention your fermenters are closed top, so I assume you aren't talking about a false bottom.

40 mesh, 400 micron, is going to capture A LOT of solids, especially if you are roller milling anything and leaving husk intact.  You'd need to pump through some kind of intermediary tank (like a lauter tun), for this to work.

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