Inline gin head/packed section design

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Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby db1979 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:59 pm

G'day all,

As the title suggests, I'm considering building an inline gin head.

I've got a limited amount of 4" copper left over from my 4" bubbler build so I'm looking at using what I've got to my best advantage. In saying this, I would also like the gin head to be able to double as a packed section.

So the idea is to have a 4" section a bit over 500 mm long, easy flanges on both ends with a sieve plate (1.6 mm holes on 5mm grid) at the bottom end (interchangeable as detailed below), a 2" sight glass to monitor the oil bath at the bottom and a SS ball valve just above the sieve plate to drain off oil. There will be no downcomer. It will have a 2" blockhead take-off for the PC to be attached by easy flange at the top. The top will have a 4" cap to be able to easily change botanicals after putting the RC back to full reflux.

When used as a packet section I would run it under the RC, but it will be above the RC when run as the gin head. I'd use a different sieve plate for the packed section (interchangeable), 3mm holes or possibly 5mm holes. Thoughts anyone? Obviously the SS ball valve would remain closed when used as a packed section, and the sight glass would be useless. I'd prefer to use scoria for packing based on what others have said but I'd probably go with SS scrubbers till above the sight glass then use scoria for the rest. This would help look after the sight glass from being damaged when filling with scoria.

I'm wondering if a sieve plate will function well enough for the gin head with a SS ball valve tap attached to the side to drain oils. The ball valve would be positioned just above the sieve plate. Wondering if I could use a cloth bag for the botanicals. I don't have enough 4" to make a basket out of copper. Maybe I could get my hands on some SS perforated sheet instead? I'd also like to make a mash tun one day so any leftover might come in handy for that too as a false bottom. Midway metals do a 304 and a 316 grade perforated sheet at 0.7mm thick, 1.6mm holes at 2.54mm centres and 36% open area. Sheet size is 8' by 4', so far more than I'd need.

Two main reasons for going with a sieve plate option are to increase the volume of the packed section so I can make best use of my copper and I figure it will be heaps easier to build than with a large bubble cap and riser.

When running the gin head I'd only use neutral in the boiler with the RC directly above the boiler, followed by the gin head then the PC.

One potential issue I can see is that the oils would need to be drained every time the RC is put into full reflux otherwise it would defeat the purpose of having a drain valve... Being a sieve plate the bath would just fall through and the oils would enter my boiler. I wonder if it's usual practice to start a new batch of botanicals off without an oil bath anyway? In other words: drain oil bath, full reflux, change botanicals, shut off RC.

At the moment, I'm not calling this a Carter head because it's not offset... Have I got that right? I'd like it to function just like a Carter head though.

I'll add a diagram of what I'm thinking later if what I've written so far doesn't make any sense. Geez I hope it makes sense after writing all this! Thanks for reading :greetings-waveyellow:
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby bluc » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:34 pm

If you just have a sieve plate wouldnt the oils simply fall through how would the form a bath? If they behave like ethanol wouldnt they self drain once they reach their level based on power input :think: i think with a blockhead each plate bath acts as an oil flavouring bath. Following with interest..
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby A&O » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:46 pm

Interesting reading. Would love to see a sketch as I’m not sure if I’m picturing it right in my head. Well done & good luck.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby PeterC » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:31 am

Hi, I have a basic 4" carter head and it is 300mm long so a bit longer might not matter. If you built your packed section with opposing top and bottom 2" ferrules and used a block head design you could still have an offset carter head design with a proper drain. I have done a quick sketch. You could blank off the the 2" ports when using as a packed section. When using as a carter head you would insert a spacer to sit your botanical basket on and see any oils pooling at the bottom that need draining off.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby PeterC » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:43 am

"edit above" just realised you don't really need the block head as a reducer and elbows would do the same thing. You need to deal with the off centre weight however. Starting with a good neutral you could leave off the bubble plate section and run as a pot, this would lower the centre of gravity. Just some thoughts.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby warramungas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:34 am

Wont work. Tried it. I used nylon bags for botanicals on top of a perforated plate without a downcomer and it works ok but not like a carter head does.
I even tried using a really fine chemical mesh on top of the plate and it blocked the liquid going down and turned the botanicals to slush. Took ages to clean out the top of the still as that crap is sticky.
I made a carter head style inline with my thumper. I have a 2" bubble cap that sits on top of the rc that does not have a downcomer in the plate. The basket sits up above this and everything drips down into the bubble section that has a sight glass and a drain valve. The bubble cap is about 110 mm in height to give plenty of room to go above the drain.
It collects ok when I seal it properly. Looks like a greenish bubble bath when the level comes up a bit.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby bluc » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:52 pm

I have been thinking about a way to create a gin head in line rather than offset for a while and I may have just worked out how.
Have a short section of 4" with a ferrule/easy flange either end. And add a 1/4"?-1/2"? pipe on a downward angle with a 1/4" ball valve or similar on it. Then use one of macs sight glasses like this http://www.5stardistilling.net/4-sight-glass-cylinder/ on top of it for visual liquid level. Then build your plate. For a plate I reakon if you had a deep bubble cap 100-125mm or so, it will hold a decent bath for catching oils and infusing the vapour. Dont use a downcommer so as to keep the oils out of rest of column and regulate bath depth with external drain. :-B Thoughts?
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby Magnus » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:03 pm

I built an inline carter head for my 3" and it works pretty good
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=9942
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby P3T3rPan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:08 pm

The offset weight of a Carter Head is not a problem if you counter it with your pc
IMG_7037.JPG
IMG_7020.JPG

EC08CE86-F55C-4115-AB09-0A9DFB7BF011.JPG
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Last edited by P3T3rPan on Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby warramungas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:24 pm

Like this inside.
WP_20180208_12_18_01_Pro.jpg

WP_20180208_12_18_13_Pro.jpg

You can see my thumper on my signature 2nd page but its a biggun.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby P3T3rPan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:27 pm

Mine started out as an inline basket but by making it modular i am able to use it both inline or offset.
Offset is way more versatile as the basket can be changed mid run by putting the still into full reflux.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby P3T3rPan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:37 pm

Some more pics showing the modularity
IMG_7023.JPG
IMG_7026.JPG
IMG_7028.JPG
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby r1zzla » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:11 pm

Without the coppersmith skills of P3T3rPan & warramungas I found a 'Sanitary inspection' pipe from China and with bits with from my Neutraliser ....
ch1[1].jpg

I welded a bracket onto a 2" triclamp-blank, and bolted the bracket to the shelving, which takes the weight off the 30L boiler.
The 100mm of 4" above the single plate is an inline basket from FSD (my 1st attempt at gin), repurposed with some copper packing inside it.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby A&O » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:49 pm

After my still is complete & I’ve worked the bugs out, I’m looking at building a carterhead but had purposely steered clear of reading through carter head builds so to let me focus on one thing at a time, my way of dealing with adult ADHD :teasing-tease:

But alas the cogs are turning. I’m not going to be using it for gin, got no use for gin as none of us or family drink it. My need for a carter head is for experimentation with flavours for spiced rums. But since I’ll have one one day I’m sure a gin will be made just to see just to see. So from what I understand similar principles required for imparting flavours to an end product.

Question to those running carter heads or with experience, is there any advantage of inline as opposed to offset?

I understand some have height limitations that dictates the direction they head. But if the rc is below the carter head, once in full reflux both can change their goodies basket with relative ease, and the oil trap in both styles is to prevent unwanted flavours playing havoc lower down the column/boiler, so is it just a personal preference?

This is a great discussion.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby bluc » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:52 pm

I think i remember warra saying that re distilling oaked spirit gives it a rank taste. May have to run through the carterhead first than oak it. Makes it more difficult if thats the case..
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby P3T3rPan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:11 pm

Inline with a blockhead is great but if you want to collect or prevent re distilling the funky crap that sometimes collects in the res, offset has obvious advantages.
Me, i like vapour infused gin so the offset design caters to my taste.
However. From a build point of view as i said, mine started out as an inline which can be a component of the offset.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby P3T3rPan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:13 pm

r1zzla wrote:Without the coppersmith skills of P3T3rPan & warramungas I found a 'Sanitary inspection' pipe from China and with bits with from my Neutraliser ....
ch1[1].jpg

I welded a bracket onto a 2" triclamp-blank, and bolted the bracket to the shelving, which takes the weight off the 30L boiler.
The 100mm of 4" above the single plate is an inline basket from FSD (my 1st attempt at gin), repurposed with some copper packing inside it.

I like your work rizzla
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60L fermenters. Offset Carter Head
3v beer rig

Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby Professor Green » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:48 pm

That's a really nice solution rizzla.

Cheers,
Prof. Green.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby Professor Green » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:50 pm

I'm loving that copper carter head P3T3rPan - very nice work indeed.

Cheers,
Prof. Green.
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Re: Inline gin head/packed section design

Postby P3T3rPan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:00 am

Here is the plan I worked off.
I did not use the top section, rather I incorporated the top outlet into the botanical basket module and used a standard module with sight glass for the reservoir.
IMG_6198.jpg
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Last edited by P3T3rPan on Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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