Another Bendigo area newbie,

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Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:18 am

Hello all -

Trust everyone is keeping safe.

I am from the country outside Bendigo, newly retired, and am ramping up my hobby. As have so many, I started out with a T500 tower and alembic pot. I now have moved on to a 5 plate bubbler with reflux column. I am still learning to run it at its best, and will have a lot of questions.

At the moment I am working on a batch of BWKO, up to Gen5. I pulled a lot of the grain bed this gen and replaced it with rye this batch. I have about 20 litres 60% on oak at the moment, and will add this batch hoping to get a bit of rye kick. Hope I do not stuff it.

I have even making a lot of gin. It is a raving success so far. It disappears faster than I can make it. Mostly I run hearts through the alembic pot with a gin basket, but will use my gin basket with my big boiler next time, running it through the PC. Eventually I will try running a clean wash through the bubbler/column with the gin basket last. Each batch is different, of course, which is part of the charm.

Next up is getting a couple TPWs going, to keep the neutral coming, to get some limoncello/Kahlua etc underway plus more gin.

And I need to get some more rum underway. The last batches went great. I am one of those that left insufficient head space on my first rum ferment, and things got exciting fast. You can send a rocket into space with that ferment.

I am in a small panic as I am rapidly running out of my cornflake whiskey I put down a few years ago. It was ok, then about 4 months ago I re-oaked it, and it did wonders for it. Went from good as a mixer to a good sipping whiskey. I will have to dip into my BWKO too early I fear. Will be asking for help on how to get some of that up to drinking quality fast.

One issue I am having is that I am getting no where near the ABV on the bubbler/column that I expected after reading posts here. My queries to an expert indicated that it would be difficult to achieve 95%, and that 92% or so take off at reasonable speed is more probable - which is what I am getting for neutral, and around 85-88 for the BWKO. Any advice is appreciated. I have checked a lot of the standard issues (leaks, levels, column packing) and next on the list to go through is to check seating of the plates as the bottom 2 plates are not bubbling as I would have expected.

That seems more than enough for a first post. I appreciate the opportunity to join and be part of the site.
Guyross
 
Posts: 22
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Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby bluc » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:31 am

Bottom two plates not working is most likely your abv problem. Welcome mate :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby wynnum1 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:55 am

That is a problem when tastes so good and drink it all too quickly.
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby scythe » Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:03 pm

Wonder if your not refluxing enough to seal the down comers.
95%ABV should be acheivable, especially with a packed section, what diameter is your bubbler?
And what take of rate?
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:31 pm

scythe wrote:Wonder if your not refluxing enough to seal the down comers.
95%ABV should be acheivable, especially with a packed section, what diameter is your bubbler?
And what take of rate?


Hi scythe - it is a 4”. If I slow the takeoff down to around 1 to 1.5 litres and hour, I have got up to around 94 on heads but hearts is mor like 92.5 to 93 at 1.5. That said, I can hold around 91-92 until late hearts at around 3 an hour, until late hearts anyway.

I have tried all the combos I can think of - full power with more RC water, less power less water, etc. I have repa ken the column, and even added a 250mm section - which got me temporarily to 94. Without that I was struggling to reach 92. I am using SS scrubbers but have copper mesh from 5 star on the way (thanks guys!).

As mentioned, I don’t think the bottom two plates are performing as well as they should. The downcomer from the 2nd plate up is pouring onto the first plate, and it is being flooded from the 3rd, can’t really see what is happening re the first. It just does not look like the first and second are bubbling much.

I am wondering if there those two plates may not be sealed well internally (not leaking externally) and may be allowing vapour up to bypass heating the plate. Only guessing here.

And I do not know what those plates should be looking like - the videos I have watched seemed to show less bubbling on those two plates than say the top two.

I am a newbie for sure on this, so am flying blind a bit as to what I should be seeing.

But as mentioned, a very wise and experienced person has advised that I am not really very far off the mark as to what I should be expecting.

And advice and thoughts will be appreciated.
Last edited by Guyross on Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Posts: 22
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Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Sam. » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:09 pm

I assume this is not a 5 star still you are using?
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:25 pm

Sam. wrote:I assume this is not a 5 star still you are using?


Hi Sam - unfortunately not. There was no stock when I was in the market. My loss. Please do not hold it too much against me!

I will source gear from 5 Star, and have already begun that process, so maybe can make it up to Stig and crew that way. (Carterhead? Bigger boiler? This looks like it may be an ever expanding hobby now that I have time). The still looks identical to the neutraliser, but I understand it is maybe/possibly/likely not the same. From my perspective it all looks ok, but I am far from an expert.
Guyross
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 pm
Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby dans.brew » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:38 pm

Welcome mate! :greetings-waveyellow:
Sounds like your getting right into it.
Guyross wrote:And I do not know what those plates should be looking like - the videos I have watched seemed to show less bubbling on those two plates than say the top two.

I am a newbie for sure on this, so am flying blind a bit as to what I should be seeing.

Im no expert, but i can tell you what i see on my 4 plate bubbler during a run. Once ive heated it up and loaded all the plates and left to reflux for a while the bubbling on all the plates is the same. The only time i start to see a difference is toward the end of the run as the alcohol starts to dry up from the bottom plate upwards.
Hope you can get it sorted. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Sam. » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:26 am

Guyross wrote:
Sam. wrote:I assume this is not a 5 star still you are using?


Hi Sam - unfortunately not. There was no stock when I was in the market. My loss. Please do not hold it too much against me!

I will source gear from 5 Star, and have already begun that process, so maybe can make it up to Stig and crew that way. (Carterhead? Bigger boiler? This looks like it may be an ever expanding hobby now that I have time). The still looks identical to the neutraliser, but I understand it is maybe/possibly/likely not the same. From my perspective it all looks ok, but I am far from an expert.


Not knocking you mate but you must realize that there are many many manufacturers of these types of still know that have no fucking idea of how they operate. Biggest concern is the ratios of the plate design, this is something Mac developed over a lot of trial and error for the 5 Star range and yes while some have copied it well others are nowhere near it.

On another note I saw a still for sale the other day with a connected parrot and no breather, just goes to show they do not understand how they operate.
Sam.
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:59 am

Sam. wrote:
Guyross wrote:
Sam. wrote:I assume this is not a 5 star still you are using?


Not knocking you mate but you must realize that there are many many manufacturers of these types of still know that have no fucking idea of how they operate. Biggest concern is the ratios of the plate design, this is something Mac developed over a lot of trial and error for the 5 Star range and yes while some have copied it well others are nowhere near it.

On another note I saw a still for sale the other day with a connected parrot and no breather, just goes to show they do not understand how they operate.


Hi Sam - mine has a breather! The mob seems fairly reputable, but I have no idea as to the design. I would have gotten the 5 star, but not possible at the time. Will look into the plates. Thanks.
Guyross
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 pm
Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:02 am

[/quote]
Im no expert, but i can tell you what i see on my 4 plate bubbler during a run. Once ive heated it up and loaded all the plates and left to reflux for a while the bubbling on all the plates is the same. The only time i start to see a difference is toward the end of the run as the alcohol starts to dry up from the bottom plate upwards.
Hope you can get it sorted. :handgestures-thumbupleft:[/quote]

Hi - never got them balanced like that. Top ones bubble nicely, bottom not so much. As mentioned I had devil of a time sealing the tri clovers. Will reset all the plates and try again. Many thanks.
Guyross
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 pm
Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Ned » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:36 am

Guyross wrote:

Im no expert, but i can tell you what i see on my 4 plate bubbler during a run. Once ive heated it up and loaded all the plates and left to reflux for a while the bubbling on all the plates is the same. The only time i start to see a difference is toward the end of the run as the alcohol starts to dry up from the bottom plate upwards.
Hope you can get it sorted. :handgestures-thumbupleft:[/quote]

Hi - never got them balanced like that. Top ones bubble nicely, bottom not so much. As mentioned I had devil of a time sealing the tri clovers. Will reset all the plates and try again. Many thanks.[/quote]

Just a suggestion try swapping the top plate to the bottom plate to see if if makes any difference. Also do you have your downcomers on alternate sides (ie not all on the same side).
Just a thought. I have never had that problem, so I really don't know the answer, just guessing her mate.
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:45 am

Ned wrote:
Guyross wrote:

Just a suggestion try swapping the top plate to the bottom plate to see if if makes any difference. Also do you have your downcomers on alternate sides (ie not all on the same side).
Just a thought. I have never had that problem, so I really don't know the answer, just guessing her mate.


Thanks Ned - gonna work on it today. I got an email that you sent me a PM. I haven’t posted enough to read it yet, but will do so soon as I can. Many thanks for the advice - will give it all a go.

Plus I have some nice mesh arriving from 5star today. :-D Will put that in the column and replace the scrubbers.
Guyross
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 pm
Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Ned » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:24 am

Guyross wrote:
Ned wrote:
Guyross wrote:

Just a suggestion try swapping the top plate to the bottom plate to see if if makes any difference. Also do you have your downcomers on alternate sides (ie not all on the same side).
Just a thought. I have never had that problem, so I really don't know the answer, just guessing her mate.


Thanks Ned - gonna work on it today. I got an email that you sent me a PM. I haven’t posted enough to read it yet, but will do so soon as I can. Many thanks for the advice - will give it all a go.

Plus I have some nice mesh arriving from 5star today. :-D Will put that in the column and replace the scrubbers.


I have a 500mm packed colum 1kg roll into the bottom not two tight, 500gram at the top (from 5 star) (so thats loose) and Scoria in between. I get 94% on a neutral.
The scoria is from the big green shed I think a bag was about $10 Unfortunately it is 20mm rock size so you have to break it in half and give it a good wash. (that was the hard bit) but it will come clean and every now and again I just take it out and boil it in water. I have found it fantastic.
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:40 am

Hi Ned/ others -;I am having a really problem trying to respond to PMs. Simply will not send no matter what I do. I finally have a message in the outbox, but it just sits there. Do not know how to make it send. Is there a place I can learn about the system, or is there a glitch of some kind? Thanks.
Guyross
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:01 pm
Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower

Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby The Stig » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:47 am

Hi Guy,
messages will sit in the outbox untill the other party has read the message, then it will move to the sent box.
cheers :greetings-waveyellow:
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Re: Another Bendigo area newbie,

Postby Guyross » Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:50 am

The Stig wrote:Hi Guy,
messages will sit in the outbox untill the other party has read the message, then it will move to the sent box.
cheers :greetings-waveyellow:


Ok. Learn something new every day. Many thanks.
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Location: Can see lights of Bendigo on the horizon
equipment: T500 with alembic and tower condenser
4” 5 plate bubbler with reflux tower


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