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Offline joe mosely  
#1 Posted : Friday, December 05, 2014 7:27:20 AM(UTC)
joe mosely


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"I'm new to this and am looking at options for donor material. I found a huge stainless (100 litre) vessel with a screw on lid. It looks like a big milk jug. Would this be a suitable start for a pot still?

Unfortunately I didn't think to write down the name of the company to research its quality further."
Offline Shine NOLA  
#2 Posted : Friday, December 05, 2014 11:35:35 AM(UTC)
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sounds good, but post a picture and we can suggest connection possibilities
Offline joe mosely  
#3 Posted : Saturday, December 06, 2014 8:41:23 AM(UTC)
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"UserPostedImage

It's not the heaviest-duty I've ever seen, but I think I'll give it a try. I picked up a chunk of 3"" copper and a few misc fittings and I'll see if I can figure something out. This is my first attempt so I'm sure I'm going to have some trouble but I have a bad habit of doing things the hard way."
Offline Shine NOLA  
#4 Posted : Saturday, December 06, 2014 11:22:21 AM(UTC)
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joe, thats a great score. You mave have to cut the handle from the lid if you want to add a reflux column,
(i would) there are a few different was to connect it. braze/tig weld a ferrule or a bolt up connection
check out this site http://moonshine-still.c...g-the-column-and-boiler/
but to use it as a pot still would not require you to cut the handle off. just drill a hole and use a stainless compression fitting and a ptfe/teflon or cork gasket.
good luck and let us know how it turns out
Offline joe mosely  
#5 Posted : Saturday, December 06, 2014 2:44:24 PM(UTC)
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Now time for my first stupid questions:

Most equipment I see people using incorporate a column of some kind.

Is there a huge disadvantage to just plumbing my copper line out of the lid without a column?

Also, I'm new to this so here's my first really dumb question: does the vapor naturally take the path of least resistance (in this case out the copper line and into the condenser) or do I need to shape the top into a funnel so it flows up and out more easily?
Offline joe mosely  
#6 Posted : Saturday, December 06, 2014 3:30:41 PM(UTC)
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"Here's a quick sketch of what I'm thinking. Anyone have any suggestions or input? Will the vapor travel far enough on its own to reach the condenser, or should I do something to cool it farther up the line?

UserPostedImage"
Offline scotty  
#7 Posted : Saturday, December 06, 2014 11:15:57 PM(UTC)
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Definitely a bad thing. SEND IT TO MY HOME AND I WILL DESTROY IT FOR YOU. :) :)
Offline joe mosely  
#8 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 2:40:06 AM(UTC)
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Err, does that mean this will work? Its pretty basic I think.

Assuming there are no huge flaws in this design, any recommendations for how long I should make my 3/4" section of horizontal line?

For the record, the burner is a 54,000 BTU/hr propane unit. I will have to do some testing to see how it heats and to get used to regulating the temp.

If I go with the design above, should I plumb a thermometer down into the boiler to measure the liquid temp? If so I will need a thermometer with a long probe for doing smaller batches.
Offline Shine NOLA  
#9 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 9:49:07 AM(UTC)
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"Joe, 3"" to 3/4 to 1/2 is a waste of money
the easiest way is use a compression fitting like this
copy and paste this link in your browser wrote:
http://i00.i.aliimg.com/wsphoto/v0/1840523810/Size-10mm-Tube-To-1-2-inch-Male-Brass-font-b-Compression-b-font-font-b.jpg

drill a 1/2 inch hole and put a cork gasket on the inside the lid.

then just go 1/2 copper all the way. will work fine
Originally Posted by: scotty Go to Quoted Post
Definitely a bad thing. SEND IT TO MY HOME AND I WILL DESTROY IT FOR YOU. :) :)

And Scotty just wants your pot. But hell, so do I ......LOL
Originally Posted by: joe mosely Go to Quoted Post
does the vapor naturally take the path of least resistance ?

yes, don't have to do nothing but watch and then drink"
Offline scotty  
#10 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 10:20:06 AM(UTC)
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Its a beauty
If the pot was sealed then it would build pressure in this case the steam will work its way onto the cooling coil where it will condense
Offline heeler  
#11 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 12:44:11 PM(UTC)
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In one of the earlier posts someone mentioned a tower of some kind, I think you should use one too.

As for your question - will the vapor get to the condenser? Remember heat is pressure and as it gets hot it will PUSH the vapor out the condenser coil so no worries there.
Offline joe mosely  
#12 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 2:04:41 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for the replies. I did pick up a length of 3" copper pipe in case I need to go that route, but since this is my first attempt I was thinking of keeping it as simple as possible. I've browsed through here a bit as well as other places on the web, but haven't really decided what is going to be best suited for my needs. All I know is my lawn mower really likes bourbon so that's the direction I'd like to go in the end.

What advantages would there be to using a column over just tapping my line into the lid? I understand that its for reflux but as I said before I'm new to this. Is the reflux simply for a more pure end product? I've read that reflux will produce a more neutral result. Will I lose some of the natural goodness of the mash as well?

Just trying to learn so my trial and error is hopefully kept to a minimum.
Offline Shine NOLA  
#13 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 6:22:58 PM(UTC)
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reflux still (column) = vodka as most all flavor is stripped by refluxing but gives higher ABV
pot still = bourbon leaves a lot of flavors but lower ABV
Offline joe mosely  
#14 Posted : Friday, January 02, 2015 10:30:32 PM(UTC)
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Update since I've been away for a while. Not sure if my thinking is correct, but I figured I'd put the reducers in along the line to give the vapor as much contact with the copper as possible. not sure if this is necessary, but that was the reason in case anyone was wondering.

My boiler is my biggest concern at this point. Its not a heavy gauge stainless, my worry is that with heat the seam at the bottom will distort and maybe come apart. I'm going to do some welding on it and try to beef up the bottom but I'm still looking for a better option.

Another issue is fixing my column to the pot. Going to try to get my hands on a lid with a clamp and 3" ferrule.

Got my first batch of corn mash going, so i need to sort out the details on the boiler soon!

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