Reflux columns for producing 190 proof ethanol

Bubba

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Look at the difficulty Walt went to with his tower to get there. If only he'd known to snag one of these.

Bubba
 

g041579

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OK you are doing more than one run, but have you actually use a proof hydrometer
Like this to check final proof
View attachment 285940also have you moded that distiller at all, most come with a pressure relief (small hole in tubing) built into the coil lines at top the heating unit that allows the loss of steam. It never allows it to reach high alcohol percentages due to the loss.
If you are actually getting those number I may reexamine one.
Are all tubing made from steel inside, and no rubber of plastic parts inside that the alcohol comes in contact with. The Chinese produce mass quantities of these units with plastic liners and hoses which leach PCBs into final product .
Yes I have those, been exacting for about 8yrs. Alcohol boiling point is 173.3f and water is 212f, my 1st air still had a cutoff at 212 and you had to time it to turn it off so you wouldn't exact lower proof runs with higher water levels. My digital air still can be set to 173.3f on the money and your runs has less water than at 212f, so you get higher levels of alcohol with each run. The air still is stainless steel, the pot and air coil both are. I got my digital on Amazon for about $160. Once I make the alcohol, I use it to exact my cannabis oil from the alcohol for eatables.
 
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stain

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I use a Parrot. A simple contraption to set the hydrometer in. Then drip the extract into it giving the proof as it comes out of the condenser. You can adjust the temps to get on average 120 to 150 proof. I keep the temp between 179 to 190 at the top of the column to get the best hand sanitizer (cough cough)

130 proof.jpg
130 proof.jpg
parrot.jpg
 

g041579

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I use a Parrot. A simple contraption to set the hydrometer in. Then drip the extract into it giving the proof as it comes out of the condenser. You can adjust the temps to get on average 120 to 150 proof. I keep the temp between 179 to 190 at the top of the column to get the best hand sanitizer (cough cough)

View attachment 285994View attachment 285994View attachment 285995
Nice setup, I use a flash for mine. You want to track what's coming out. How much mash do
you run.
 

stain

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The last run was 20 gallons of fresh squeezed pure apple juice. From a neighbor's tree. 2lbs sugar to 5gl of juice. No water added. Yielded 2.5gl of 120+ proof.

Now that that I have a fruit press. Been building relationships with all the neighbors with fruit trees. Offering to press their fruit for juice. Even did 15 gallon run of wild sand plum. We have wild pear trees here too. Just waiting for a good year for pear.
 

g041579

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I agree Thk U
The last run was 20 gallons of fresh squeezed pure apple juice. From a neighbor's tree. 2lbs sugar to 5gl of juice. No water added. Yielded 2.5gl of 120+ proof.

Now that that I have a fruit press. Been building relationships with all the neighbors with fruit trees. Offering to press their fruit for juice. Even did 15 gallon run of wild sand plum. We have wild pear trees here too. Just waiting for a good year for pear.
Man, that sounds tasty,with a kick. Sand plum sounds good too.
 

bigsur51

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The last run was 20 gallons of fresh squeezed pure apple juice. From a neighbor's tree. 2lbs sugar to 5gl of juice. No water added. Yielded 2.5gl of 120+ proof.

Now that that I have a fruit press. Been building relationships with all the neighbors with fruit trees. Offering to press their fruit for juice. Even did 15 gallon run of wild sand plum. We have wild pear trees here too. Just waiting for a good year for pear.

now I want some Oklahoma sand plums….I sure miss them…persimmons too but they have to be tree ripe before I eat one
 
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ROSTERMAN

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Yes I have those, been exacting for about 8yrs. Alcohol boiling point is 173.3f and water is 212f, my 1st air still had a cutoff at 212 and you had to time it to turn it off so you wouldn't exact lower proof runs with higher water levels. My digital air still can be set to 173.3f on the money and your runs has less water than at 212f, so you get higher levels of alcohol with each run. The air still is stainless steel, the pot and air coil both are. I got my digital on Amazon for about $160. Once I make the alcohol, I use it to exact my cannabis oil from the alcohol for eatables.
OK you have a newer one then I ever tested Calling it a digital air still now never heard that before.
I have done runs on mine and can not get near 190 proof but mine has no temp control and has plastic collection bin which I refuse to use and ended up buying a glass one. But it now sits on the shelf.
Have you ever tried to reduce a large batch of tincture (THC alcohol mix) in your unit, and does the everclear or 190 proof still out back to original proof after collecting it?
 

Bubba

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Ok, have obtained a propane kettle heater and ordered copper column and extender I think,
Sort of confusing. Think I will buy a top and condenser made of stainless for water.

The reflux column they sell have a jacketed section at the top that cool water also runs through, improving the refluxing of the column.

All copper for whis....I mean everclear

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Tattered Old Graywolf

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Good idea using a simple stainless pot still lid and condenser for the water.

There are two ways to set up a reflux still, one is with vapor control and the other is with liquid control.

For instance, you can run a shorter reflux column with an Allihn condenser on top through which you control the coolant temperature and flow to determine what vapors make it past it to a second condenser that chills them to a liquid. It sounds like their's may be a variation on that, but you need coolant control to make it work reliably.

I designed my first reflux still to do either but found that I could accomplish the same thing with less monkey motion, just by extending my column and using vapor control.

You can extend your column with just a clean piece of Schedule 40 Type L copper pipe and coupling soldered together with 95:5 Lead free solder. You would then need a 2" sanitary flange on each end and some 2" closed cell foam pipe insulation to insulate it.
 

Bubba

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Good idea using a simple stainless pot still lid and condenser for the water.

There are two ways to set up a reflux still, one is with vapor control and the other is with liquid control.

For instance, you can run a shorter reflux column with an Allihn condenser on top through which you control the coolant temperature and flow to determine what vapors make it past it to a second condenser that chills them to a liquid. It sounds like their's may be a variation on that, but you need coolant control to make it work reliably.

I designed my first reflux still to do either but found that I could accomplish the same thing with less monkey motion, just by extending my column and using vapor control.

You can extend your column with just a clean piece of Schedule 40 Type L copper pipe and coupling soldered together with 95:5 Lead free solder. You would then need a 2" sanitary flange on each end and some 2" closed cell foam pipe insulation to insulate it.
I've ordered enough parts to do just a tower, sections will be held together with those tri-clover clamp things and silicone gaskets. I'll leave off the little top condenser deal.

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g041579

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OK you have a newer one then I ever tested Calling it a digital air still now never heard that before.
I have done runs on mine and can not get near 190 proof but mine has no temp control and has plastic collection bin which I refuse to use and ended up buying a glass one. But it now sits on the shelf.
Have you ever tried to reduce a large batch of tincture (THC alcohol mix) in your unit, and does the everclear or 190 proof still out back to original proof after collecting it?
Thats a yes, the ethanol will come out higher each time you distill until you hit 190. to get to 200 you will
need a added step that I'm not familiar with, but someone mentioned this on this thread.
 

Bubba

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True, though you can set your column aside and distill water operating as a simple pot still and condenser.

You can't boil a liquid hotter than its lowest boiling point constituent at atmospheric pressure, so if you monitor heat temperatures, you can tell when the lighter weight VOC's are boiling off and when it is water.

If you vent to atmosphere until your head temperature reaches 100C/212F and then pass that through your condenser until head temperature begins to again rise, and then stop and dump the higher boiling point tails and repeat, you will have separated the water fraction from those lighter and heavier than water, as well as its water-soluble mineral content.

If you are going to add thermocouples, consider adding a PID controller for the heat, and then you can set maximum temperatures and not have to watch it so close.
Just a spot of confusion on my part, thought this was clear until I looked harder.

"...if you monitor heat temperatures, you can tell when the lighter weight VOC's are boiling off and when it is water."

"If you vent to atmosphere until your head temperature reaches 100C/212F and then pass that through your condenser until head temperature begins to rise, and then stop and dump the higher boiling point tails and repeat, you will have separated the water fraction from those lighter and heavier than water , as well as its water-soluble mineral content."

To bubba means:
bring kettle with top off until 110C/212F. Then close it up and begin its travel through condenser, until head temp begins to rise, and then dump the higher boiling point tails and repeat.

To Bubba means: when temps begin to rise, towards end of run, temps will rise, which means the alky is done so throw out the tails, or dump in next batch what ever.

Makes sense temps would rise, alcohol boils off lower, once gone water requires more heat. Not sure how heat goes up,
but I can accept that it does.

Bubba
 

Bubba

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I recommend both a hydrometer and a graduated flask tall enough for it to sink all the way past the 200 proof mark. Note that the hydrometers work at a specific temperature and require adjustments above and below that.

Also a pH meter if you have any color blindness. I used litmus paper last time my meter batteries were dead and got half the yield from dropping too low.

If you are going for 190 proof, then I suggest looking at yeast strains that will allow up to 20% ABV. For 5 gallon runs, I use the original/classic Turbo Yeast with 17.5 lbs of corn sugar for that purpose and adjust pH using citric acid.
What PH are we shooting for?

Thanks,

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Tattered Old Graywolf

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Just a spot of confusion on my part, thought this was clear until I looked harder.

"...if you monitor heat temperatures, you can tell when the lighter weight VOC's are boiling off and when it is water."

"If you vent to atmosphere until your head temperature reaches 100C/212F and then pass that through your condenser until head temperature begins to rise, and then stop and dump the higher boiling point tails and repeat, you will have separated the water fraction from those lighter and heavier than water , as well as its water-soluble mineral content."

To bubba means:
bring kettle with top off until 110C/212F. Then close it up and begin its travel through condenser, until head temp begins to rise, and then dump the higher boiling point tails and repeat.

To Bubba means: when temps begin to rise, towards end of run, temps will rise, which means the alky is done so throw out the tails, or dump in next batch what ever.

Makes sense temps would rise, alcohol boils off lower, once gone water requires more heat. Not sure how heat goes up,
but I can accept that it does.

Bubba
100C/212F in the head and then attach the condenser hose for water.

You can't heat a liquid hotter than its boiling temperature unless you increase the atmospheric pressure on it. Adding more heat just makes it boil faster.

The liquids boiling point is a function of the boiling point of its constituents. They each boil off at their respective boiling points and as soon as they boil off, the liquid will stop boiling and the temperature will rise until it reaches the next lowest boiling point.

I measure both the pot and heat temperature and judge what vapors are coming off based on the head temperature.

The pot itself may get hotter than 110C/230F because non-volatiles like salts increase the boiling point of water, even though they don't boil off themselves. IE: Brine boils at 110C/230F.
 

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