Bubbling plates position

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Bubbling plates position

Postby virge » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:46 am

Is it better to fit the plates relating to the sight glass with the down comer:
1. Front an back
2. Sideways
I have the plates now with the down comer front and back. I can see clearly the stream from the down comer in the front position. On the one plate with the down comer at the back I can not see properly the stream. All plates are flooded and working well. I was collecting 92% alcohol on the sacrificial run.
I had issues first with the 3KW heating element on the 50L keg boiler, I needed more then 2 hours to get the wash boil. After using geyser insulation on the boiler, I had the plates loaded in one hour and 5 minutes then I dropped the power to 2.4 KW. It worked as a charm.
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby hgwells » Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:28 am

Doesn’t really matter where the plates sit as long as they are offset from the one above and below
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby RC Al » Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:06 am

Use a torch?
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby The Stig » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:54 am

I always go right and left , you can still see the stream
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby bluc » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:30 pm

:text-+1: right to left and opposite on each plate makes a longer path for liquid rather then lining up downcommers.
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby virge » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:22 pm

Thanks, I will go left and right next time I disassemble the column.
I have 40l of lemon vodka wash waiting for this baby. It is difficult to adjust the reflux with a ball valve but it will do until the needle valve will arrive. Reading the alcohol content using the parrot is not very accurate and it takes longer for a bigger parrot. Is there any device to do an instant reading?
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby hgwells » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:54 pm

Yep, but they are expensive:

https://www.anton-paar.com/corp-en/prod ... ails/snap/

I a ran the lemon wash through 4 plates about a month ago, was awful so left it in a demijohn tried it last week and it is much better.

Wife and daughter like it as a lemon drop martini.

Ingredients

1 tbsp white caster sugar
zest of ½ a lemon
50ml lemon vodka
25ml triple sec
25ml lemon juice
handful of ice
Method
STEP 1
Put 1 martini glass in the fridge to chill. Mix the white caster sugar with the finely grated zest of the lemon, and set aside.
STEP 2
Pour the vodka into a cocktail shaker and add the triple sec, lemon juice and a handful of ice. Shake really well until the outside of the shaker feels cold.
STEP 3
Dip the rim of the chilled glass in water, shake off the excess then dip into the sugar and lemon zest mix.
STEP 4
Strain the contents of the shaker into your prepared glass and enjoy.
Last edited by hgwells on Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby bluc » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:21 pm

Cough"eparrot"cough
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby virge » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:30 am

bluc wrote:Cough"eparrot"cough

Spot on. Eparrots and digital alcohol meters are real Covid starters, haha.
I did my first real distillation yesterday, the lemon vodka wash but god almighty decided to give a quick bubbler learning course.
It is summer here and quite hot, over30c during the day and I decided that the best spot for distillation is on a patio by the pool.
The plates were loaded in 55 minutes from the moment I switched the power on. Problem is that after I collected the foreshots and some heads in 99% reflux and I reduced the reflux to have a nice 2.5 stream per hour the wind started to blow. I was stubborn luckily and decided not to change anything. The stream was fluctuating from 1 l to 2.5 l per hour. I collected 13 x 330ml jars when hell kicked in.
Thunderstorm, stormy downpour, rain getting in my collecting jar. By that time the alcohol concentration was at 78%, I cut off the water supply to the reflux condenser and in pot still mode I collected other 5 jars till I reached 20 % alcohol when I switched the power off. By that time I looked like I just got out of the pool fully dressed up. The last 5 jars with alcohol rain water mix will be set aside for future sacrificial runs. I will taste the cuts tomorrow and decide what to keep. I had 40L lemon vodka wash.
Last edited by virge on Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby Wellsy » Sun Nov 22, 2020 5:37 am

What a great idea virge, putting so many lessons into the first run lol.
You poor bastard you must have been wondering why the hell did I start this hobby.
What ever cuts you keep you will enjoy mate because you will know what you went through to get that product. Who would have thought a bit of wind would make such a massive difference.
Enjoy that booze mate you have earnt it :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby virge » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:24 pm

Hi Wellsy, thanks for encouragement. I have been content using alembics an pot stills for ages until I knocked into this crazy Aussies forum and after a while my curiosity took over my reasonable thinking. Nobody on this planet went to the trouble of turning a hobby into such a professional skill.
I was out there running my bubbler for the first time in such difficult conditions and I was transfixed looking though the sight glasses and wondering about the guy or guys who had such a brilliant idea and created this wonder column. This was an adventurous start for sure.
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby Wellsy » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:40 pm

I reckon a bubble would be more mesmerising than bloody fish mate lol.

It is my dream as the five star team know and that is how I ended up with a 4” pot still, so I can grow it. Keep sharing your mistakes mate so the rest of us don’t make them lol.

Things are getting warmer here and there have been a few times I have had to switch things around with the cooling system mid run to keep the condenser temp down. Best thing I did was stick a temp strip on the outside of my condenser because now I don’t have to guess whether it is warmer or not than last time I touched it. It does not take much to get our newbie imaginations running wild lol.

Sitting here sipping on 8 week old BWKO and simply enjoying life. Covid did a lot of shit but it did push meinto taking the plunge into a hobby I have been looking at for 10 plus years. The guys on this forum are making sure I get some drinkable product out from the get go and I am exceptionally great for their generous it’s
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Re: Bubbling plates position

Postby virge » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:57 am

You Aussies are lucky to have places like the 5 Star Store where you can buy decently priced products. Also for DIY guys you have scrap metal places where you can find copper and stainless steel pipes and fittings for next to nothing. On my part of the world you can not find second hand parts for distillation columns DIY and the home brewing stores have the bad habit of importing complete stills and parts from China and selling at 8 to 12 times the cost. Same with the specialized stainless steel pipes and fittings suppliers, products imported from China and price mark up ten folds. This I learned the hard way. I am a DIY guy and decided to build the bubbler myself. I bought a TIG welder and all things needed to weld stainless steel. Copper was out of the equation because I could buy 4" pipes only in full length and it was very expensive. So I was ready to start the build and went to buy parts. Prices were so high that if I would have bought them and built the column it would have cost me around 5000 Aussie dollars and this only for parts, no labor and welding accessories. But if the bug bites you then you have to find a solution.
Last edited by virge on Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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