Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby Morto » Wed May 26, 2021 11:49 am

Hi All,
I've heard that if you run your still at 75.5C or there abouts that this is the temp that heads comes off at.. If you can hold that temp for about 10 mins you wont need to do cuts to find out where heads stop and hearts begins anyone know if there is merit to this?? This is based on a 25ltr boiler and running the 4 plate still as a pot still, IE water off to Dephelg.. I'm really struggling to smell/taste etc the difference between my Heads & Hearts all smells & taste the same to me. Cheers Morto
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby The Stig » Wed May 26, 2021 12:22 pm

Don’t believe everything you hear/read/see on YouTube .
Always ALWAYS do cuts
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby BigRig » Wed May 26, 2021 1:59 pm

:text-+1: stig.

If you are checking it off the still then it will all smell / taste like rocket fuel. Let it air 24hrs.

A 4" on a 25L boiler is going to be very tough with fraction separation.

Also if you are running the still too fast you are smearing heads all through your hearts.
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby Morto » Wed May 26, 2021 4:13 pm

Yeah I dont let it air I think thats my problem I get a bit impatient, but I do run it at a slow dribble so as to separate properly..
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby The Stig » Wed May 26, 2021 6:37 pm

What size is this 4 plate still ?
If it’s 4” a 25L boiler is no good as a lot of the grog will be lost on the plates
If it’s a 2” you will get away with it
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby Dude » Wed May 26, 2021 8:37 pm

I have struggled with the "cuts" as do many newbies until last weekend when it was like a light switch being turned on and BINGO there they were. Sampling some of the best I have made right now.
I believe practice is the only way and if you stuff it up re distill it and try again. And dont stress over it.
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby Wellsy » Thu May 27, 2021 6:15 am

:text-+1: to what Dude said

When I first started I struggled with cuts, I was concentrating so hard on trying to find the smells described, I still can’t smell the wet dog smell as described in the tails, but I now know what tails smell like. We all describe things differently and I found once I went with the simplistic “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like “ things got much easier.
For heads it was all about the nail polish smell and burning feel on the tongue ( not alcohol burn but that sharp nasty headsy burn, dilute sample you are going to taste back to 35% or even 30% to give yourself a chance. Just the bit in the glass not the whole lot, I found a small medicine glass helped with measurements. As I said I still can’t smell wet dog, misuses can but I can pick that funky tails smell. If you want to get attuned to it, smell collection vessel after you empty it at the end of a stripping run. Or smell your tasting glass after you have tipped out the contents, for me the empty glass has the strongest tails smell. Don’t go on smell alone because some tails taste fantastic. Taste one then another and you will eventually know which you prefer and which you simply don’t like. Cuts are to get your spirit right, not to win a literature award with descriptions of why it did not make it. Every still will be different so practice practice practice and trust your judgement, you are a distiller after all :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby Morto » Thu May 27, 2021 1:06 pm

Thanks everyone I stuffed up my Boiler is a 50 ltr, running a 4 inch 4 plate bubbler.. My old boiler was 25ltr. :obscene-drinkingdrunk:
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Re: Getting Rid of The Heads using Temp only

Postby Morto » Thu May 27, 2021 2:35 pm

Just read this I should of known it wasnt that easy YOU TUBE TELLS LIES..ha ha

There have been a few questions recently about controlling stills based either on maintaining the temperature of a reflux condenser or the temperature of a boiler. Just a quick lesson in physical chemistry:

Simply put, you cannot use control of boiler or reflux condenser temperature to get perfect distillation

The problem with this idea is that evaporation and condensation of multi-component mixtures isn't as simple as: component X boils at 79degC, component Y boils at 80degC. There are 2 problems with this idea:

1. Liquids begin to evaporate well before their boiling points, as they approach the boiling point they evaporate more and more rapidly, until at the boiling point the temperature cannot increase any more, and all energy is spent evaporating the liquid. A simple example is your newly made spirit, if you leave the seal off it at ambient temperature, you will slowly lose volume, ambient temperature is well below ethanol's boiling point. This means that if you try to hold a condenser/boiler at 77degC in an attempt to get all undesirable components without any ethanol (hearts) (boil at 78degC), there will still be a lot of ethanol coming through.

2. Each component in a mixture interacts with each other component to change the combined boiling point. E.g. ethanol boils at 78.37degC, water boils at 100degC. But a mixture of 67% ethanol, 33% water boils at 80degC. This is the same with methanol, acetone, butanol, propanol etc. When there is a mixture, you can't think of them having their own individual boiling point, you need to think of it as: "At this liquid %methanol, the vapour % methanol will be..."

The reason that multi-stage distillation works is by exploiting the difference between the % of ethanol when in the vapour state and the % ethanol when in the liquid state at a certain temperature. As an example: For a wash of 10% ethanol at it's boiling point of 90degC, when the vapour evaporates it will be 61% ethanol. If we then condense this vapour we'll result in a liquid of 61% ethanol. If you then re-evaporate this liquid at its boiling point of 80.4degC, the vapour that will be 82% ethanol. You can continue in this way to get up to the azeotrope of 95.5% ethanol. (temperature, %vapour, and %liquid are from the graph below).

The paragraph above describes what happens if you do multiple pot still runs, or alternatively run through a plated column (re-evaporation occurs at the plates. It works the same way in a packed column, the re-evaporation happens all over the packing surface.

In summary, you can't get pure ethanol by only controlling boiler or reflux condenser temperature, neither can you separate all methanol, acetone etc by the same method. The components enjoy being mixed too much for it to be that simple.
Last edited by Morto on Thu May 27, 2021 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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