Keggomax CM Flaws

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Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:18 pm

I have had the Keggomax CM a short time and have only done a few runs on it so far but I thought I would start a thread to point out some of the obvious flaws ...
Hopefully doing this is informative and helpful for anyone new to the game (like me) who is looking at HBS still options. Whilst this post is fairly critical it must be said that this is still an ok rig and a cheap ($200) viable option for newcomers to the hobby.

1. Jacket reflux is average at best. No matter how much water I throw at it, it will not lock down all vapour so impossible to achieve full reflux. (Power controller should help)
2. Rubber bung at the top (need to replace with cork!)
3. PC is a cold finger rather than a Liebig! I didn't notice this until I first set it up. This means I have to throw at least 5L/min at it to keep the distillate cool. (I have no fix for this) Running off the tap as well because I am in a rental with no rainwater or space for an IBC.
4. Short packed section and not enough packing.
5. Came without any hose fitting or attachments.
6. Came with plastic outlet pipe. I have changed this but currently seal the copper to the outlet with plumbers tape each time I use it .... I imagine that is less than ideal also!

image.jpg
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby Andy » Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:05 pm

BennyHiggo wrote:3. PC is a cold finger rather than a Liebig! I didn't notice this until I first set it up. This means I have to throw at least 5L/min at it to keep the distillate cool. (I have no fix for this) Running off the tap as well because I am in a rental with no rainwater or space for an IBC.


Just turn that copper pipe you have into a liebig condenser. run the water through the liebig and through the cold finger.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby hoochlover » Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:20 pm

I think you can get some decent results, neutral wise out of some of these HBS units. As long as you do a stripping run first. The height of the packing isn't as important if the starting alcohol percentage is higher, you can get a decent ABV out of a 40% wash. If you want to go 10% to 96% in a single run then the taller columns are needed. And if you want to do anything other than a neutral these things seem nearly pointless to me as you lack a lot of control. I looked at the stainless steel Keggomax but not knowing what's inside it, or how it works, bothers me. I like to know everything about the thing I'm using if I'm going to be putting it into my body. The glass one I was tempted with but it just is too small for what I wanted and I didn't know what the plastic use was like, it seems like many of these HBS guys don't give two flicks about putting crap in their product.

Personally, I have a copper HBS unit, that looks like it has at best, $50 worth of copper in it, it only has ~25cm or so of packing space. And it goes for 300-400, but it's pure metal and one silicone part, so there's that. If I had my time over I'd just go a modular stainless steel thing from the start but you have to put a decent amount of time researching to actually know what you need and those "all in one" units look enticing to newbies like me. I'm going to do a spirit run through this copper thing just once to know what kinda product I'd get with it. I've already run a ~18% turbo petrol wash through it and it works, to some extent, and I've got that rolling on baking soda until I do the spirit run at a slower pace. It will probably be the last time I use the still.

I also don't think copper is the best thing to use for a still myself, I know plenty of other people love copper and that some say it reduces sulfides. But try doing a water run through it and tasting the end product. Tastes like copper. Sure if you filter this through carbon I don't doubt it will taste better but that bothers me. I didn't realize it was so able to pass it's smell and taste through to the water like that.

I think the key thing for neutrals is don't use copper and try to limit the possible sources of sulfide in the wash. The best homemade Russian vodka makers that I've seen don't use copper at all, not even mesh, they all say it puts a taste into the vodka they don't like and just going from my experience with the water I know that to be 100% true. Maybe if you do whiskeys or rums or something it masks the copper flavour. Maybe if you filter the end product it doesn't matter. Anyhow my newbie 2 cents worth, not worth much.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby tipsy » Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:44 pm

hoochlover wrote:I also don't think copper is the best thing to use for a still myself, I know plenty of other people love copper and that some say it reduces sulfides. But try doing a water run through it and tasting the end product. Tastes like copper. Sure if you filter this through carbon I don't doubt it will taste better but that bothers me. I didn't realize it was so able to pass it's smell and taste through to the water like that.

I think the key thing for neutrals is don't use copper and try to limit the possible sources of sulfide in the wash. The best homemade Russian vodka makers that I've seen don't use copper at all, not even mesh, they all say it puts a taste into the vodka they don't like and just going from my experience with the water I know that to be 100% true. Maybe if you do whiskeys or rums or something it masks the copper flavour. Maybe if you filter the end product it doesn't matter. Anyhow my newbie 2 cents worth, not worth much.


I disagree,
I made an old nixon stone still out of all copper. My neutral never had a copper taste, it hardly tasted of anything at all.

Sorry for getting OT
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby hoochlover » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:51 pm

tipsy wrote:I disagree,
I made an old nixon stone still out of all copper. My neutral never had a copper taste, it hardly tasted of anything at all.

Sorry for getting OT


Did you ever try distilling water with it? I'm sure you'd taste it then. It might be that just because there's only 5-10% water in the final product in spirits that it's 10-20x less noticeable, but the part that isn't alcohol would definitely have some sort of coppery vibe to it.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby Zak Griffin » Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:33 am

I think you're imagining things, hoochlover, or your still needs a good clean...
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:46 am

hoochlover wrote: I also don't think copper is the best thing to use for a still myself, I know plenty of other people love copper and that some say it reduces sulfides. But try doing a water run through it and tasting the end product. Tastes like copper. Sure if you filter this through carbon I don't doubt it will taste better but that bothers me. I didn't realize it was so able to pass it's smell and taste through to the water like that..


:text-threadjacked:
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:51 am

Copper Vs Stainless can be discussed elsewhere I reckon.
The Keggo is stainless so not really relevant.
This thread was intended for discussion of the Keggos flaws to make potential buyers aware before they rush in as I did .... I'm an impatient bastard.
Having said that it's still a functional still. I have got some ok neutral out of it and am stripping a WBAB with it this weekend. I'll report back on how the spirit run goes when I get round to doing it. I want enough low wines to charge at 40% to give the still a fair go at cracking 90+%
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WTDist » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:11 pm

im curious, when you say it cant hold reflux and knock all the vapour down in the PC was it ok on the 5L boiler and now you have a larger boiler/element is it providing too much vapour speed?
Was there a difference between the 5L and the keg for power and vapour speed?
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:43 pm

Never tried this still on a 5L boiler mate.
I had the keg ready to go when the still arrived so it went straight on to that.
My theory is that the poor quality RC is just not capable of knocking the vapour down from a 2200w element.
I will get a power controller sorted out and see how I go then.
I want to be able to pot still with this as well and at the moment in pot mode it just strips so will need to control power to enable a slower spirit run.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby Undertaker » Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:36 am

Benny,
Im not familiar with the Keggomax, but would it be possible to put an additional condensor in the top of the refluxing coloum? Maybe just a coldfinger or a tightly wound coil in through where the rubber bung was? But yeah definately a power controller should make things easier for you.

Cheers Phil
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:14 am

Yeah Phil I think a simple cool or cold finger would solve the problem of reflux for sure and no doubt reduce the water consumption significantly. The main difficulty would be sealing the top.
Also a 600mm Liebig added to the PC would completely solve that problem. At the moment I have never worked with copper and have no tools or knowledge but the more I look around on the forums the more tempted I get to give it a crack! Lots of other things to buy before I do that though.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:59 pm

Here is the first added extra for my Keggo
image.jpg


This is an additional 510mm packed section. This has doubled the amount of packed section the still has so I am hoping to get a much better neutral on my next spirit run. Am doing a couple of strips today so will hopefully be doing a slow spirit run on Sunday.

Also have the parts for my control box so need to work out how the hell to put it all together!
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby hoochlover » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:09 pm

Looks very nice. What sort of mesh setup are you using?

I bought a 1M packed section and then I found out about SPP which kinda invalidated that purchase and got some of that too. It's like 4-5 times more effective per unit of height, so a 30cm packed section of SPP would beat 1.2m of mesh. It's a shame no one in Australia seems to make it. It's not that hard to do it yourself from some stainless steel wire but takes a lot of time to cut them up unless you have a rig.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:14 pm

I'm just shoving loads of SS scrubbers up its arse for now. Need to get some copper in there really but it's a cost issue at the moment more than anything. I have one copper scrubber in there as a token effort!lol.
Not familiar with SPP
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby hoochlover » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:35 pm

BennyHiggo wrote:I'm just shoving loads of SS scrubbers up its arse for now. Need to get some copper in there really but it's a cost issue at the moment more than anything. I have one copper scrubber in there as a token effort!lol.
Not familiar with SPP


lol yeah . I don't know if copper in your path is really that needed anyhow. Maybe if you were distilling some kind of sulfidey wine/whiskey it may help. But for sugar washes I'm yet to see that much evidence for people who try both options and it definitely has its downsides in regards to taste. Maybe you can tell us if you end up getting some more copper.

Spiral Prismatic Packing (SPP) is just steel wire wound in a kinda square/triangle shape and cut in small sizes. You can then also, whats the word.... rough up the outer surface to get its performance even better. Some claim that if done in the right way you can get it up to effectively 60-100 plates per metre. It allows you to run quicker, which means you need better cooling, and basically the whole pipe fills with fluid (not gas) because of how effective it is. Slightly different operation than normal packing but much better.

Image


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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby hoochlover » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:58 pm

Here is another video showing the SPP in action you can see the fluid fill the column. THere are some better russian ones I've seen but I can't find it now. The fluid level obviously depends on your boiler and things like this but the more fluid you can get in their the better your result as it helps the refluxing process as the gas goes up the column and is why it's so effective compared to other packing methods. The russians tend to do VM and have the fluid right up the top near the junction point and just under the cooler. At first I thought this was like some kind of pressure bomb waiting to go off but yeah, it's good.


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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WalterWhite » Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:28 pm

Hmm that's very interesting.
It kind of looks like he is just throwing way too much power at it and causing it to puke up the column but I assume I am wrong and something else is happening??
The SPP does look like a great packing option but not sure how you stop it coming out of the column? Do you chuck a scrubber in tight underneath it?
Think you should start a new thread about SPP Hooch. Put the videos up and see what everyone else reckons :think:
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby hoochlover » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:44 pm

BennyHiggo wrote:Hmm that's very interesting.
It kind of looks like he is just throwing way too much power at it and causing it to puke up the column but I assume I am wrong and something else is happening??
The SPP does look like a great packing option but not sure how you stop it coming out of the column? Do you chuck a scrubber in tight underneath it?
Think you should start a new thread about SPP Hooch. Put the videos up and see what everyone else reckons :think:


What I plan on doing is using a separate lid for my crappy 25l boiler that I drill holes into and then put SS wool down the bottom, but the russians from what I've seen use thick gauge SS wire + stainless scrubbers down the bottom and pile the SPP on it. Some have those little U shape cross sections welded onto their pipe which the wire goes into, then the wool.

And yeah if its puking out the top you need to adjust the rig. You need a gap between the end of the SPP and your cooler otherwise nothing will stop it, but it totally depends on your setup (boiler, pipe, wash, etc) as to how much gap. You just have to run it and adjust from there. But yeah with as little as 40cm of SPP you can go straight to azeo from a 10% wash, probably less in some designs I'm sure.

From what I've read this is how a lot of commercial non alcohol distillations are taking place, in a fluid bed in similar designs. The russians seem to be the most evolved on this setup, probably due to their love of vodka even among their scientists. As to it's viability for non neutral spirits I think it would strip 99.9% of flavours in a single run so probably not what you want to use.
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Re: Keggomax CM Flaws

Postby WTDist » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:38 pm

BennyHiggo wrote:but not sure how you stop it coming out of the column?


i had my column flood the other day and it over flowed over my 2 90degree bends. i had packing in the bottom 1.2m and left the top 300mm unpacked and this filled up and spilled over and ou my PC spraying all over my bench. my parrot had no hope and it sprayed past the funnel 8-}

I was re-fluxing and the vapor rising was faster than the liquid falling. used SS scrubbers. cant wait for the rest of my controller parts to come :angry-banghead:
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