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Heat up Time for Thump Keg


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Running a 120 gallon SS pot still with a 20 gallon copper thumper. I usually charge the thumper with around 6-7 gallons of tails and 100 gallons in the pot. With the four 5500 watt elements running full tilt, it takes about 2 1/2 - 3 hrs (depending on ABV% of tails in the thumper) to get the thumper up to temp.

I am not new to distilling, however I am new to thump keg science/art...

My question... How do I speed up heat up time? Or, do I even want to speed up heat up time?

I've insulated the TK, put a hot plate under it to pre-heat, even pulled out my heat gun one time to help pre-heat. I'm now thinking about installing a 4500w element directly into the thumper.

My partner, who is relatively new to distilling, suggested starting a run on an empty thump keg. My gut tells me that running an empty thumper would sort of defeat the purpose of the thump keg all together, but I'm in need of some more thorough advice and thought I would consult the experts here.

Thanks in advance for any help or guidance!

- Perry Morris


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The end of the vapor feed (from the kettle) needs to be submerged below a liquid of some sort. Without that it won't act as a thumper.

The vapor outlet (to the condensor) needs to be well enough above the liquid level that it remains clear throughout the run.

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107 gal from 70F to 180F with 22KW should only be 90 minutes or so. You've got to be losing a LOT of heat to piping and maybe the thump. Insulate everything you can. Heating the thump directly rather defeats its purpose.

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