Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Guyross » Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:44 pm

Today I had what I would call my first true success at running my bubbler. I ran 60 litres of BWKO, heavy on the rye this batch, through 4 plates. I have struggled previously to hold ABV via “the easy method” and had some trouble again this time.

What I did was “give her all you got, Scotty” instead. Well, not quite. I put one 2400 element on full, put the other on 75%, and heavy refluxed it. Then slowly backed off the reflux. Top plate was going crazy, then less and less so as I opened up the RC water bit by bit. The top plate was always bubbling harder than the rest, but the bottom 3 were in pretty good balance.

And glory be - hit 89% ABV with a RC temp of around 30 degrees, rock steady for ages. When it got close to tails I started tweaking it some. I was afraid to mess with it once I had it stable. I never did see the “fogging” of the bottom glass as tails started through as I have seen mentioned. Any advice on that would be appreciated.

Now, I do not know if this is the only method on my still, but it is “a” method. The key in this run was to power it up, reflux it heavy and ramp the water down bit by bit.

It was a relief to get it stable. I was more than a tad frustrated with how it was running prior to that.
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Re: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Doubleuj » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:20 am

Sounds like you’ve hit a sweet spot for your still :handgestures-thumbupleft:
I’ve run like that in the past too and it works.
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Re: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby dans.brew » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:04 am

Guyross wrote:I never did see the “fogging” of the bottom glass as tails started through as I have seen mentioned. Any advice on that would be appreciated.

Glad to hear your getting on top of it. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
When my bubbler is getting near tails i dont actually see any fogging of the bottom plate as such either, but what i do see is little specs or small droplets of water forming on the glass instead of it being all clear from the higher % alcohol keeping it all wet.
Hope that makes sense.
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Re: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Guyross » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:48 am

[quote=When my bubbler is getting near tails i dont actually see any fogging of the bottom plate as such either, but what i do see is little specs or small droplets of water forming on the glass instead of it being all clear from the higher % alcohol keeping it all wet.
Hope that makes sense.[/quote]

Yes, makes sense. Thanks.

Next run I think I will throw it in full reflux at full power, and gradually reduce power to the lowest point where the top plate is still going wild, then start reducing water. The key, it seems at my best guess, is to be giving it enough power to generate a rolling top plate, then start letting some get through the RC. As I said, once I had it stable this time I was so chuffed I did not want to mess with it.

It also helped that the 5star needle valve allowed some fine adjustments.
Guyross
 
Posts: 34
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: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby bluc » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:00 am

:text-+1: dan I get the droplets also. I normally run my whiskey/ rum out at 88% but have no issue holding neutral at 95% whole run on low wines and with packed section in place. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Doubleuj » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:50 pm

I find my bottom glass fogs when I’m well into tails, but before that I notice it’s not bubbling as efficiently and definitely the droplets too.
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Re: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Sam. » Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:57 am

Guyross wrote:[quote=When my bubbler is getting near tails i dont actually see any fogging of the bottom plate as such either, but what i do see is little specs or small droplets of water forming on the glass instead of it being all clear from the higher % alcohol keeping it all wet.
Hope that makes sense.


Yes, makes sense. Thanks.

Next run I think I will throw it in full reflux at full power, and gradually reduce power to the lowest point where the top plate is still going wild, then start reducing water. The key, it seems at my best guess, is to be giving it enough power to generate a rolling top plate, then start letting some get through the RC. As I said, once I had it stable this time I was so chuffed I did not want to mess with it.

It also helped that the 5star needle valve allowed some fine adjustments.[/quote]

If the top plate is going harder than the rest you have too much power and it’s pushing up the column. Start hard and reduce power from there until the plates are balanced but full. Then reduce water to RC to set desired output rate.
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Re: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Guyross » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:21 pm

.[/quote]

If the top plate is going harder than the rest you have too much power and it’s pushing up the column. Start hard and reduce power from there until the plates are balanced but full. Then reduce water to RC to set desired output rate.[/quote]

Thanks Sam. That is the general plan. But I was struggling to keep a constant ABV and stable system without ratcheting up the power. So I will start high, full reflux, reduce power until balanced and see how I go, just as you suggest.
Guyross
 
Posts: 34
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: Finally - starting to understand my bubbler

Postby Sam. » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:30 pm

How fast is your take off rate? Might need to slow it down to maintain ABV
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