5 or 4 plates??

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

5 or 4 plates??

Postby Fishleg » Sun Apr 28, 2024 6:54 pm

Hey y’all
I have a neutraliser which usually I run with 5 plates and no packed section for rum, cfw and the occasional slivovitz.
If I drop one of the plates out, what should I expect in the run? Lower abv? Slower collection? More or less responsive to heat input or cooling changes?
I know some of these things will change between different washes. Just thinking generally what difference do people see between 5 and 4 plates?
Cheers.
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby cjhero » Sun Apr 28, 2024 6:56 pm

I've been running 3 plates in a 3" column for whisky and very happy with the flavour that has been coming through.
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby Fishleg » Sun Apr 28, 2024 6:57 pm

I’m more referring to the way the still behaves whilst running
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby bluc » Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:07 am

Without plates its a pot still. Slower collection more flavour more smearing between fractions and expect to have to run twice a strip run then a spirit run.
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby The Stig » Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:42 am

Fishleg wrote:I’m more referring to the way the still behaves whilst running

It will behave more or less the same but it will run slower with less plates to achieve hi ABV, but to keep the flavour you will run around 3 litres per hour at 85%
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby bluc » Mon Apr 29, 2024 5:27 pm

Less plates = more flavour, at the cost of a more smeared lower proof alcohol.
Once in heats and with same wash, I would expect:
5 plate 92-94% abv
4 plates 88-90% abv
3 plates i would expect 84-86% abv

Straight pot still spirit run I use to keep 74-78avb as hearts

These are rough numbers off top of head and all stills are different. This is how mine likes too run.
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equipment: 2" pot with 2" shotty 400mm long 5x 1/2" on a t500 boiler.
50l keg boiler 4" still mount 4" sight glass 1" drain..
4 plate 4" bubbler, 600mm packed section

Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby Fishleg » Mon Apr 29, 2024 6:47 pm

bluc wrote:Less plates = more flavour, at the cost of a more smeared lower proof alcohol.
Once in heats and with same wash, I would expect:
5 plate 92-94% abv
4 plates 88-90% abv
3 plates i would expect 84-86% abv

Straight pot still spirit run I use to keep 74-78avb as hearts

These are rough numbers off top of head and all stills are different. This is how mine likes too run.



Thank you. This is what I was after. With my setup generally with 5 plates, the sweet spot is about 93% @ around 2L p/h.
So with 4 I should be looking for high 80s.
Just trying to save myself a bit of trial and error.
Cheers.
Fishleg
 
Posts: 310
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Location: Canberra
equipment: FSD neutraliser with 85 litre keg boiler

Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby The Stig » Mon Apr 29, 2024 7:47 pm

Not 100% true , run 4 plates slow enough and you will get higher than 90%
You achieve the lower ABV by running faster
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby bluc » Mon Apr 29, 2024 9:54 pm

Sorry i should have added all things equal :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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50l keg boiler 4" still mount 4" sight glass 1" drain..
4 plate 4" bubbler, 600mm packed section

Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby WoodyD40 » Thu May 23, 2024 7:14 am

The Stig wrote:Not 100% true , run 4 plates slow enough and you will get higher than 90%
You achieve the lower ABV by running faster


This might be a dumb question from a newbie … to run slower you:
Lower the heating?
Increase the cooling?
Both?

And how does running slower change the flavours that you want to keep coming through?

Or is it a case of less plates, keep the speed up, you get more flavours and obviously sacrifice ABV in the process?
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Re: 5 or 4 plates??

Postby The Stig » Thu May 23, 2024 7:23 am

Turning down the power so it boils less rapidly.
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