Offset Column

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Offset Column

Postby navarau » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:34 am

I've been lurking around here for quite a while now and can't believe the awesome community here!
It's refreshing to find a forum where the members are friendly and willing to help the other members achieve what they want out of this awesome hobby.

I've been making neutral now for some time on my 4" bubble plate still with great success thanks to all the info I read on this forum. The time has come however to take my hobby to the next level. I want to get into Whiskey and for that I'm planning to build an onion head for my setup. I still want to be able to make neutral too but I'm very limited for space and height in my distilling area. Given this I have decided to offset both my column and product condenser.

I have done a lot of research and know what I want to do is very possible but I have a sticking point preventing me from getting going. It's all to do with the drain for the column going back to the boiler. I'm trying to figure out if the drain needs to be above or below the wash level in the boiler. I figured if the return was above the wash level in the boiler then the vapour is going to want to travel up the return pipe and result in flooding of the column. I see on some images, like the one attached, that there is a connection in the return pipe. I'm thinking this may be a one way valve to stop this from happening.

I wondering if anybody in our community has tried offsetting their column and what challenges they faced. I would also love to get peoples thoughts on this.

Image
Image
Last edited by navarau on Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Offset Column

Postby RC Al » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:02 pm

Provided the J/S trap in the return is tall enough it wont matter on the return height/boiler level (bottom of the 2nd column needs to be above the max boiler level of course)

Onion heads are way cool, but you should try just running one or two plates on your current bubbler and see how you like the results, an onion will just add a plate to a pot still of random efficiency and is very susceptible to variances from external breezes and temps, you would get more repeatable results with the plate or two. Just an empty thin copper spool to the roof would achieve half of what the onion dose - reflux, but the bulge dose also help with puking too

An alternative would be to put one or two 6" plates on top of the boiler and then proceed with the twin column set up. The 6" will help the neutral production and let you process the whiskey faster, you would need an additional defleg though

Please do buy an pretty onion head and post pics for us to drool over, but im pretty sure you already have what you need to make whiskey that is just fine :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Last edited by RC Al on Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Offset Column

Postby navarau » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:15 am

This is what I love about this forum, an unbiased reply that helps me out and will most likely save me money too. :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Thanks RC AI :text-thankyoublue: for the reply and info. I think I'm going to try a couple 6" plates on top of the boiler first.

Unfortunately my 4" column isn't modular so I can't just run a couple plates, I have to run all of them.

As soon as I have enough neutral in reserve I'll pull my system apart and start work on the mods.

Cheers
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Re: Offset Column

Postby RC Al » Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:19 pm

Have you got a pic of your plates?

If your downcomers can be pulled apart you can disable some lower plates that way?
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Re: Offset Column

Postby Maxxx » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:42 pm

Hey Navarau
Nice set up :handgestures-thumbupleft: Looks a bit Holstein
I have also seen this setup done with both the whiskey/onion and the plated columns on the same boiler
The drain for the plated column then goes straight down into the boiler below the liquid level
Looks a bit unbalanced - not pretty - but it works
RC’s 6 inch plate idea as a nicer look and more practical though
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Re: Offset Column

Postby bluc » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:40 pm

Any advantage to a onion over an extra 2 plates :think: 6 plates (2 offline-able)and rc direct on boiler packed section off to side. Still toying with this idea also.
Is there a "never closed " valve available with two direction flow, so vapour can never be shutoff creating a bomb?
Also any down side to returning to main boiler is j trap needed when doing as max said just returning to bottom of boiler?
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Re: Offset Column

Postby RC Al » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:52 pm

A 180 degree T port 3 way valve would cover you for the above flow diagram
For added safety you could just add a manometer/blow off tube to the boiler
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Last edited by RC Al on Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Offset Column

Postby RC Al » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:06 pm

If the boiler return was above the fill line, the j trap would be needed to stop the vapour deciding to skip the plates/onion directly above and taking a direct route to the second column, if its below the boiler level quite possibly not..... :think:

If you were going the plates above the boiler I would (height permitting) return to the plate directly above the boiler, this would be more efficient on heat
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Re: Offset Column

Postby bluc » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:26 pm

Just found a silimlar image
images.png

Seems t bore "g" would suit what I had in mind. Strap pc to packed section with pipe hangers to cut down pipe length. Valve right before packed section. Have a bubble plate a bottom of packed section for ease of routing downcomers and rising vapor path.
Would prob do 4 plates on boiler up to rc then to velve. Have it so 2 plates can be taken off line. Adjust 3 way valve direct straight to pc. Gives you 2 plates straight to pc (pot mode) or 4 plates straight to pc (bubbler mode) or 5 plates plus packed section neutral. Doing this I could double my packed section length. Need to think on this but have not found a downside. As long as the "flow ball valve" can not be shut off completely between ball valve and boiler...
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Re: Offset Column

Postby bluc » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:32 pm

Rc al on your image only ones would be 180 turn plan 6 worse case you have it with vapour going through to pc and packed section but at least it could not be cut off from boiler..
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Re: Offset Column

Postby RC Al » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:15 pm

Having a bit more of a look at what you can actually buy, many the would appear to be a 360 anyway - worth asking before purchasing it would seem
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Re: Offset Column

Postby navarau » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:09 am

RC Al wrote:Have you got a pic of your plates?

If your downcomers can be pulled apart you can disable some lower plates that way?


My column is not modular and the only access to them is through a 3" sight glass so its going to be a bit hard to disable the lower plates.

I'm think I will go with a couple 6" plates on top of the boiler, or maybe something like this to get a bit of passive reflux. I know it won't be as consistent as plates but I wont need a reflux condenser with this.
Image
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