Pressure Cooker Still
Hello I'm new to this site. I've been reading posts for a while now. I got started brewing beer at home and now I want to try making moonshine. A friend of mine gave me a 6 quart stainless steel pressure cooker than i'm going to modify with copper tubing all the way down to the worm. My question for this forum is this. I know that temperature is key to making a good batch. Does anyone have any ideas on how to attach a temperature gauge to the line up so that I can keep an eye on the temps? I was thinking about maybe putting a temperature gauge at the top of the column at the elbow any thoughts, idea's, or suggestions?
Photos to come as I get more into this project.
Last edited by johnnyapplepie; 07-13-2012 at 08:39 AM.
Welcome Sir. Cant pull up the pic cept for a small sliver of an obviously bigger panorama. Think the top of the column would be the right place for the gauge...thats where mine goes anyway. Not sure how big of a column you gonna have but they peddle rubber stoppers in a variety of sizes with a hole down the middle at the home brew place. Should be able to stick the gauge or probe down in the hole..if you find one that fits.
Hi Johnny, sounds like your trying to make a Pot still. If this is correct then you really don't need a temp gauge. The Pot still is regulated through the heat source. My first still was made from a pressure cooker also. What I did was use a 1 1/2" copper pipe riser,(12" long), on top of the lid and put a rubber stopper in the top, that was cheaper and easier than soldering on a copper cap . Then drilled a 3/8" hole in the side about 1' from the top of the riser and ran my 3/8" tubing of the worm out from there.
When you start getting liquid out of the worm then turn your heat down to where your getting 2 to 4 drops /second. The run rate will increase as the alcohol is extracted from the wash. Keep noseing the product, make cuts of 200 to 250 ml, throw out the first 100 to 150ml, and when you get towards the end of the run it will start smelling rank. This part, called tails, can be thrown out or saved to throw into your next run.
Thank you guys for your advice. I went to my local hardware store today and bought a few things. One being a way to connect the the 3/4 copper tube to the lid of my pressure cooker. I also bought a 90 degree elbow and a reducer to 1/2 to use as my worm. The longest 3/4" they had was 12" and I read on here that 15" to 18" was better. Bushy I did like what you wrote about putting a cap on the column and drilling a hole for the worm. That would be much easier than trying to find all the reducers and stuff to connect the pipes. Wish I had thought of that before going to the hardware store. Copper pipe parts aren't cheap, ouch! So Bushy how much did you yield from your batches?
I usually got about a pint not including the heads and tails, give or take, that was drinkable. I save the tails untill I have enough to make a run after I cut the batch to 40%. That's why I went ahead and put out the money for one of BH's EE2's that I run on propane. I only fill the pot 3/4 full to keep from puking into the condencer/worm. But to try out the process what your doing is fine. If you enjoy it I highly recommend buying a pre-made still. It's cheaper and less time consuming than trying to build it.
Well I just love the look on the sales people at the hardware store when i ask them for certain Copper parts. I have all the parts to my main column all the way up to a 90 degree elbow with a reducer down to 3/8 for my worm. My next task is to solder all this together and to fill the blow out hole in the Pressure Cooker lid and drill the center of the lid to fit my copper fitting.
Here are a few photos.
Pics have the same usual problem in that I can only see a small strip of the wider panorama. Sounds like you have the project perking along good.