4" Pot or 2" Boka?

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4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:19 pm

Hi! My uncle and I are total novices planning to buy our 1st still, mainly for making rums and flavoured spirits for ageing. We might make some neutral spirits occasionally but it is not a priority. We will buy rather than build because we honestly do not have the time to spend in the workshop.

We are currently deciding which FSD still to start with. Whatever we got would use an FSD 50L Milk Can with 2x 2400W elements for the boiler.

My inclination is to get the FSD 4" Modular Pot Still and probably upgrade it over time to a 4 or 5 bubbler plate column still. I figure starting with a pot still would be an efficient way to do stripping and spirit runs whilst learning and later plate and reflux condensor upgrades would allow single spirit runs for flavoured spirits and high ABV nuetrals. The main downside is the total cost but that can be spread out over a few years.

My uncle is set on the FSD 2" Boka, running it in pot still mode for flavoured spirits. His reasoning is that he can do two runs in pot still mode for his flavoured spirits and, although it will be slow, he is prepared to babysit the still for long periods. The Boka gives him the best of both worlds with an immediate option of high ABV nuetrals. The total cost appears lower but ugrade options seem limited. I would expect to add a product condensor and possibly a parrot, maybe extend the column for nuetrals, but it looks like the Boka is a bit of a dead end.

The start up price for both systems is similar so it's a toss up there.

Thanks for your patience so far, now the questions!

  • Is my understanding of the two correct? I'm sure I've misunderstood something.
  • How much faster is a 4" pot compared to a 2" Boka in pot mode? My uncle says he's prepared to be patient but I know him better than that... i.e. How long would it roughly take to do a stripping run on 25L of wash in a 4" pot compared to a 2" Boka in pot mode? I would expect to strip 3-4 washes before each spirit run so the total run time could add up? And how fast is a spirit run on a 4" pot compared to a 2" Boka in pot mode. I know there's a bunch of variables but a ball park figure would be great.
  • Any other options we should consider?

Cheers,
Dylan
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby Sam. » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:42 pm

G'day mate, I moved your post to the welcome centre as it's your first post, so welcome :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Your understanding is correct. I would personally go the pot first then build on that, yes you will be limited to brown spirits to start but if thats what you mainly want to produce then all good.

Sorry I can't help with 2" boka run times but i'm sure someone else will chime in.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby Carol » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:39 pm

Hi Dylan
I have a FSD 2" Boka ( a recent acquisition) and I am learning how to run it. I have just ordered parts to make it a proper pot still ( bought 2 x 2" bends and the 2" condenser, associated clamps and seals etc). The boka head is replaced by the pot still components and the copper packing is removed. I want to make high quality neutral and flavoured spirits so this combination gives me flexibility. Parts are due next week so I will have some idea of how long a stripping run will take then. I only have a 25 litre boiler though.
That might be an option to consider. I don't think there would be any problem in selling a FSD still if you decide to get something bigger later.
Cheers
Carol
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:37 pm

Sam. wrote:G'day mate, I moved your post to the welcome centre as it's your first post, so welcome :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Thank Sam.

Carol wrote:Hi Dylan
I have a FSD 2" Boka ( a recent acquisition) and I am learning how to run it. I have just ordered parts to make it a proper pot still ( bought 2 x 2" bends and the 2" condenser, associated clamps and seals etc). The boka head is replaced by the pot still components and the copper packing is removed. I want to make high quality neutral and flavoured spirits so this combination gives me flexibility. Parts are due next week so I will have some idea of how long a stripping run will take then. I only have a 25 litre boiler though.
That might be an option to consider. I don't think there would be any problem in selling a FSD still if you decide to get something bigger later.
Cheers
Carol

Thanks Carol, that was another attractive option I had in mind after I saw Andrew mention those parts in your thread. I like upgrading things so I can see a 4" column sometime in our future, but I'm also a terrible hoarder so I reckon doing that would lead me to having a bunch of surplus still parts. We're also located in rural Queensland, north of Bundaberg, so it can be hard to on-sell stuff.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby Professor Green » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:44 pm

Welcome rahl.

I'm with Sam on this one. I would start with the 4" pot and set about making the flavoured spirits first as that seems to be your main goal. This will give you a good foundation in the art of distilling and will also allow you add to the existing parts to build up to still capable of making neutral spirits as and when you can (like Meccano!). Add 3 or 4 plates and a reflux condenser and you'll be in single run flavoured spirits territory. Follow that up with how ever many plates you need to get to 5 and a packed section and you'll have a neutraliser capable of making very fine neutral/vodka.

Don't forget to factor into your budget, the cost of the other sundry gear you'll need - hoses and valves for the cooling lines, a fermenter or two, hydrometer, alcometer etc

Cheers,
Prof. Green.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:59 pm

Thanks Prof Green. That's been my argument with my uncle and he has gradually come around to the same point of view.
Professor Green wrote:Don't forget to factor into your budget, the cost of the other sundry gear you'll need - hoses and valves for the cooling lines, a fermenter or two, hydrometer, alcometer etc

I am also thinking of adding a thermoport and thermometer to the boiler and a dump valve to the parrot. Would they be worthwhile additions?

Cheers,
Dylan
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby dans.brew » Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:32 pm

rahl wrote:I am also thinking of adding a thermoport and thermometer to the boiler and a dump valve to the parrot. Would they be worthwhile additions?

Cheers,
Dylan


Welcome to the forum Dylan!
I dont run any thermometers on any of my stills and haven't really found the need to, but i did refigure my parrot recently to include a dump valve on the bottom (if this is what your refering to).
I've found it great as i just sit my alcometer in the parrot through the run with the alcohol running out the bottom and when ever i want to check the Abv i just close the tap until i get a reading and then dump it... off we go again.
I've never had anything to with the boka, but i would recommend the good old pot still if brown spirits is your main thing.
Good luck deciding. :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:16 pm

dans.brew wrote:Welcome to the forum Dylan!

Thanks!
dans.brew wrote:I dont run any thermometers on any of my stills...

I've noticed that that's pretty common but it makes me a bit nervous not knowing what's happening inside...
dans.brew wrote:... but i did refigure my parrot recently to include a dump valve on the bottom (if this is what your refering to)

That's it exactly. I have seen it in a few photo's and it looks useful.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby Andrew » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:24 pm

rahl wrote:I am also thinking of adding a thermoport and thermometer to the boiler and a dump valve to the parrot. Would they be worthwhile additions?

Cheers,
Dylan


All our parrots now include a dump valve :happy-partydance:
We also have a thermo port that we can add to the boilers, easy :dance:
Feel free to give me a call :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Cheers
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:05 pm

Andrew wrote:All our parrots now include a dump valve :happy-partydance:
We also have a thermo port that we can add to the boilers, easy :dance:
Feel free to give me a call :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Cheers

Great. My uncle (Robert) exchanged a couple of emails with you on Friday. We'll get in touch with you tomorrow about an order :)

Cheers,
Dylan
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby scythe » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:54 pm

Have a look in the reflux still section and you will see how long it takes to run a boka.
IIRC for neutral runs >10-12hr spirit runs are not uncommon.
Hence why most upgrade to a bubbler and get it done in 4-6hrs.
People tend to say they are fine with long runs until they do a few and crack the shits and spend more money on either another still or upgrade what they have.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:52 pm

scythe wrote:...
Hence why most upgrade to a bubbler and get it done in 4-6hrs.
People tend to say they are fine with long runs until they do a few and crack the shits and spend more money on either another still or upgrade what they have.

That's sort of what I figured. A dual setup like Carol's would probably suit us perfectly well but I'm happier to have that straight upgrade path to a bubbler for when we get sick of the long runs.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby Andrew » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:57 pm

rahl wrote:
Andrew wrote:All our parrots now include a dump valve :happy-partydance:
We also have a thermo port that we can add to the boilers, easy :dance:
Feel free to give me a call :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Cheers

Great. My uncle (Robert) exchanged a couple of emails with you on Friday. We'll get in touch with you tomorrow about an order :)

Cheers,
Dylan

If I remember correctly Robert said you are Bundaberg’ish ?
You guys should road trip down to pickup :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:37 pm

Andrew wrote:If I remember correctly Robert said you are Bundaberg’ish ?
You guys should road trip down to pickup :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Would love to but we're actually about an hour north of Bundy, which would give us about a 900km round trip :shock: Unfortunately that's just a tad too far for us to do in the one day we'd have.
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby Andrew » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:01 pm

:think:
I went to Gladstone and back in 1 day to pickup a Gemini :music-deathmetal:
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby bluc » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:14 pm

All that way for a gemini :snooty: i can understand if it was a bubbler. :D .I cant talk I have been to slack to do a 1.5hr round trip for some molasses... :oops:
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby coffe addict » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:07 am

Me too bluc, we might have to pull our fingers out and remedy it!
There's no need for thermo ports, if the still is producing spirit the alcometre tells you what's happening inside and if it's still heating up carefully feeling the temp from the top of column down will tell you how close to producing it is.
I'm biased as I've recently gone back to pot stilling but I vote pot still lol
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby rahl » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:37 am

Andrew wrote::think:
I went to Gladstone and back in 1 day to pickup a Gemini :music-deathmetal:

We've done it a few times before and used to do frequent 2 day trips to Melbourne but that was before pets and other animals constrained things a bit.
coffe addict wrote:There's no need for thermo ports, if the still is producing spirit the alcometre tells you what's happening inside and if it's still heating up carefully feeling the temp from the top of column down will tell you how close to producing it is.
I'm biased as I've recently gone back to pot stilling but I vote pot still lol

Good to know, thanks. I'll still add a thermoport to the boiler as another visual guide. My uncle will be running the still but if I'm around I'd like to see what's happening early on. I'm quadriplegic and wouldn't be able to reach up to feel the column so there's that too :)
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby The Stig » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:52 am

So with that in mind, one of these might be of help: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Pot-Plant-2 ... 1359844671
I have one under the 50L boiler and it works a treat
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Re: 4" Pot or 2" Boka?

Postby bluc » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:18 pm

coffe addict wrote:Me too bluc, we might have to pull our fingers out and remedy it!
There's no need for thermo ports, if the still is producing spirit the alcometre tells you what's happening inside and if it's still heating up carefully feeling the temp from the top of column down will tell you how close to producing it is.
I'm biased as I've recently gone back to pot stilling but I vote pot still lol

Sounds like a good idea. I reakon it wont be long till rum season starts :twisted:
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