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Hypothetical Still Question


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I'm trying to do some planning, and I have a lot to learn - so any help would be greatly appreciated, and I hope this isn't a stupid question...

I'm trying to figure out how long a run might take... from someone else's experience with the still, It's about a 125 liter capacity and it can create about 10 liters of 170 proof from a 10% wash in 3 or so hours. If I started with a 40% wash instead, I'd expect to see about 4 times the output volume... maybe 40ish liters of 170 proof... but would it take 4 times as long to produce, or is there something about the higher abv wash that would make the still more efficient so it would take less time?

Does the question make sense? Am I an idiot?


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Flow rate is higher, time roughly the same, all other being the same.

But since you'ld be starting with a 40% wash, you would be taking your time/care in making the cuts on this final run.

Whereas the original runs would be quick stripping runs, not making cuts or watching for quality layers.

Have to be that way since you can't achieve the 40% without stripping runs.

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As Porter says, there is no significant difference in the runtime. The real question is, where are you going to get the 40% wash? It is going to take run time to produce that wash, as you can't ferment your way there. There is no free lunch :)

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I run an alembic pot still, ie no plates

From my experience the more alcohol there is in the pot the longer it takes to run.

The rough science to it is this: To evaporate a liquid you need to add "latent heat of evaporation" at "X" BTU's per pound of liquid that you actually boil off

So if you are boiling off 4 times as much alcohol it will take substantially longer, assuming you are still putting in the same number of BTU's/hour

It won't take 4 times as long because alcohol needs only about 1/3 the BTU's compared with water so as Porter said it will runoff faster- at the start.

Once contents of the pot is down to 10% it should take the same time to finish.

The big time saver is you don't need to heat up your wash 4 times.

But as said by Roger, "where are you going to get the 40% wash?" a 40% low wine yes.

OK, this is my experience with my alembic, and my take on the science. If plated colums behave differently I would be interested to learn.


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Thanks all for the help... maybe I"m just using wrong terminology with calling it a wash and not low wines... and 40% was just a number thrown out there for ease by saying 4x the original. I meant if I do a stripping run vs a spirit run, theoretically would it take longer - I know I'd be more careful with the cuts on the spirit run, so I"d probably be running lower heat, to slow it down... and I'm learning that a stripping run really only gets you probably 25% or 30% - that's why this was all just a hypothetical question.

Thanks for helping me learn.

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IMHO and practice, I've found it as well to just watch the cuts and quit early to keep it clean, don't get too gready. Run the rest of the tails off and roll it into the next batch. But that's for a column, not a pot. With pot I would and do make a stripping run.

And depends on what you're making of course.

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