StillDragon® Community Forum


Be part of our community & join our international next generation forum now!

In this Discussion

Couple Questions

edited August 2013 in Usage

4" 4plate Electric Heating: When you are running hearts, about how much water do you have coming out of your reflux condenser (i.e. water consumption)? A small smoking trickle? Or a stream just breaking over the edge of the hose end that sort of sucks backwards on the hose? Or a steady stream pushing out from the hose end? Is the stream larger than what you are running out of your product condenser? Or smaller?

Gas/Prop users: (particularly those who distill outside), are you seeing "surging" in your output? (drip, stream, bigger stream, stop, repeat). Or does your output stay fairly steady?

I'm still getting things dialed. I'm using Nat Gas burner outside on a covered porch area, but otherwise open. I'm getting "lots" of fluctuations and surging in my output even when I try and push things. It starts and stops. (drip, drip, dribble, stream, STREAM, stream, STREAM, stop....repeat). Thanks!



  • edited August 2013

    @Usge said: 4" 4plate Electric users: When you are running hearts, about how much water do you have coming out of your reflux cond?

    Mine is more like a "stream just breaking over the edge of the hose end that sort of sucks backwards on the hose"

    I don't need much Dephlegm water control for a 3.6kW element after equalibrium.

  • edited August 2013

    @Philter said: I don't need much Dephlegm water control for a 3.6kW element after equalibrium.

    My flow meter registers .07/ml a min can not hear it as it runs back down the hose to the sump well walls! My well water comes out at 62f/16.67c,maybe a touch colder.

    It is what you make it!

  • Mine varies a lot too because the input water temperature is seasonal, meaning its too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer. In the winter I have a hard time metering such a tiny flow of ice cold water through the dephlem but in summer I pretty much need to run the water through it at darn near wide open.
    The alcoholmeter is calibrated to 20° C but the input water can easily be 26° C or more.
    17 to 18 C would be about ideal.

  • edited August 2013

    around 1300 watts and barely a trickle is how I run it. It almost folds back up on the parrot.

    Oops you meant reflux water. I turn it down till its almost a right angle coming out my hose. I recirculate my water in a 50 gallon barrel.

  • Thanks all. Bubble plates all look good in so far as level and action. But, there is a lean on the column (about 2 to 3 degrees) from the top of the keg flexing. I'm using 45's to move the parrot away from the heat/flame. And it leans the side that hangs on.

    I would also mention that the downcomers alternate uphill, downhill (side to side) in relation to the lean. I guess I could turn them to alt front to back (facing sight glass) to try and help as well.

    But, otherwise...all plates were active, level just up to top of caps...and bubbling nicely, but not frantically. I've got some shims to try and shim it up for next run to see if that helps.

    Just for reference....I've got a 40k btu nat gas burner. First run I was trying to use power management to control it and ended up turning it up near 1/2 way trying to get it to flow. There were flames coming up around the keg. My reflux cond had a stream as big around as your finger and shooting out about 6" away from the hose. That run took 10 hours start to finish. Had issues with dropping proof, etc. And had to keep readjusting.

    Second run, I turned the heat down to just where I normally run it for a potstill and left it...and was running the reflux cond water at a lower rate than the product, to where it just barley streamed out of the hose end...and sort of sucked back under the end of it.

    That run took 7 hours start to finish. Been suggested that my heat/flame is just wavering and causing the issue. I'm sure I've not quite got it dialed yet as far as heat/water..etc....but the run times (flow/output) are WAY off. Could be plates not level. Could be heat/flame variance from wind outside (although there are times when there is "none" and it still has same issue). Could be I'm running too much reflux/water...and need to back it down till its just a dribble coming out. Or maybe all of the above.

    I realize most people here are run and done in a few hours. I'm not a bit surprised that "I" somehow figured out how to run it otherwise :). I'll be running more through it this weekend. Any suggestions to try would be welcome. I just figured if anybody else running gas/flame was having sporadic flow would turn up here. Guess it's just me :)


  • @Usge, you should get it dialed in during the column stabilization period; that 20 minutes or so that you are in full reflux before collecting product.
    During that time if a few drops of fores are liberated that's plenty OK. You should find the zone where you are putting in as much power and knocking it back down with however much water as you feel comfortable using. Keep choking back the water until you are getting only 1 or 2 drops per minute. When you are ready to start collecting, leave the power setting alone and slowly dial back the water to the dephlem. Only a little each time and wait a few minutes before making another adjustment. Try to avoid fiddling with the controls too much.

    Once you have it set, and barring any other changes like fluctuations in the supply of boiler heat or temperature of the water supply, you should not need to make anymore corrections until the hearts run out. After the hearts are done the collection speed will slow to just drips and the alcoholmeter will lift quite quickly in your parrot. If you want to collect the tails (I usually don't) then you'll need to reduce the water supply again to the dephlegmator or even disable it.

    It would be good to bring your column into plumb.

    It doesn't take much of a draft to make your gas flame behave erratically.

  • Last run, I used same heat as potstill run and left it alone. I was getting drips of fores about one every 5 sec. I left it go for 30 mins collecting fores as I went. After that, I cut back reflux cond to same size as product cond. I was getting a fast drip. But, it was very erratic. It would drip, fast drip, drizzle...pause for several sec...repeat. I continued to collect fore/early heads. By that time, I was 2 hrs into the run (counting setup/heat up time)

    After fores and early heads, I reduced the reflux cond less than product cond. It would stream small stream, then drizzle, then drip, then stop/pause...for several seconds. Then start over.

    I let it go like that. Started 93 pct. After I tasted heads gone. I closed parrot...and I reduced reflux cond to a very small was sucking up under the hose and steam coming off. It would stream, stream bigger, stream smaller, dribble, stop for several sec...start over. All the plates were full/active. Stayed at 93 pct most of run, dropped at end..slowly. At 85% I shut the reflux con and turned up the heat. I got about 600ml tails (counting draining parrot).

    That run took 7 hours on 10.5 gals of wash, .5 gal of feints. I guess I'm just envious of the people here who have steady/consistent pissing stream output and talk about start to finish runs in 3-5 hrs. It's like going to the bathroom at the movie theater and being in there for half the show...listening to everybody else walk in, piss a stream..and leave. (ie, prostrate problems). :)

    I'll level it. And try again. I was just mainly wondering if people running gas...were seeing more of this (slower run times, erratic output). I haven't seen anyone else mention it. But, it makes sense that this would be the case.

    As far as distillate goes...I've got high hopes. :-) But, I ain't keepin anything yet.


  • I'm using gas outside with my Dash 1 I had the same problems. The breez was effection my distilling. Drip ... stream ... drip... Then I put hang up 2 plastic canvas as wind shield and the difference is big. Now I nearly don't touch the needle valve any more during the hearts. Also a little bit more heat helped. I'm using 1/4 less heat now during distilling then without the wind sceens. But now it is 35+C around my distiller. image

    480 x 640 - 98K
  • Thanks for confirming that moscca. My setup is similar. I"m using concrete block, blichmann burner to Nat gas stubout. I had a long 180 I tried, (a bit longer arm than the SD one) that was made for my thumper. But, it put too much weight hanging off and added to lean problems. So, I went the 180, 45 route and angled it away. That seem to help with the column wobble.

    I "do" have hanging bamboo shades. But, they don't go all the way to the ground and are not solid material. Breeze can come under it/through it. I've got all sides blocked off by walls save one. So, maybe I can just setup some sort of stand, etc. or shield to try and minimize it. Thanks again :)

  • So, I got the column more or less plumb, and used some boards to block up the bottom of the shades where it was open. Much better. It was much more consistent flow. Thanks!! I'll have to come up with something a bit more sano for a solution (ie., a wind/heat shield of some kind). But, otherwise...I think this will work!

  • A roll of 20" by 10' aluminum roof flashing, a few pop rivets. And...viola. The blichmann burner already had holes drilled half way down the legs. So, I used 3" 5/16 bolts and washers so they protrude out to form a base/stand for the heat shield. This avoided having to do fancy cutouts, etc..for the valve/control, etc. It sits just below the "gap" between the burner and keg. So, it covers the most important part from wind, it keeps heat focused around the keg and upward, and it leaves the controls accessible. Total cost (if you already own or can borrow a rivet tool, was about 15$.


    449 x 672 - 74K
  • Fantastic, have you trialled it?

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Not yet, Punkin. Will this weekend, got some UJ coming ready. I'll post back how it works out.

  • I use one that is almost the same as what you have. Mine is made out of an old metal barrel and I set it on the ground. I have a turkey cooker and the wind was blowing my flame. I cut out the bottom and the front where propane comes in to allow air in and to cool the propane tube . You will like it.

  • Why the F did I not think of this for myself!

    And here I am working at a sheet metal company... ROFL!!!

  • Call it the keg kondom. I like it.

  • I would like to make something that goes over top of the boiler to be able to move the heat where I want it. It does get hot up top. Thought about it but never done it. Hasn't been a big problem but just a thought.

  • edited August 2013

    Bloody ingenious and practical.

    @Law_Of_Ohms said: And here I am working at a sheet metal company... ROFL!!!

    I'm sure you can find some "offcuts" lying around LoO

  • If it taper up to hug the keg at the top it would even be more effective... putting more btu's into the keg.......

    I have been telling LOO this about Tiny and Bertha for a long time ... i told him to put a skirt on her....

  • image

    Looks like we need ~1875mm long piece of 1.6mm material to make a 600mm diameter ring.

    Can I ask a favor, there are a few different sizes of kegs out there in the world, can I ask that people reply back with what diameter kegs they have....

    771 x 470 - 36K
  • There are a couple of bulges on the side of my 50L keg for, I guess, rolling the keg around. The high points appear to be about 36CM diameter. Might be a bit bigger, it's hard to measure.

  • edited August 2013

    @Law_Of_Ohms, Wikipedia has a few Keg measurements...

  • I'll do it when it gets light. I have one of just about all of em from 20l, 30l, 40l both 50l and 80l.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • OD of my keg is 15.5". The keg is 15.5 gals.

  • How much bigger then the keg?


    637 x 501 - 37K
  • edited August 2013

    20 sheng Ashanti (corney) style beer keg = 225mm dia

    30 sheng Guiness style fat keg = 395 mm dia

    50 sheng skinny style caslemaine keg = 365mm dia

    50 sheng fat style carlton keg = 395mm dia

    80 sheng 18 gallon fat style = approx 490mm at the fat bit.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • If you had 2 pieces of pipe. If you take both to the ground you might put insulation in between the 2 and keep heat inside and away from you???????? Maybe some rock wool so if it got flame it wouldn't catch fire. 2.5-5 cm between the 2 pieces of metal or maybe the reflextix stuff that was in another thread that was wrapped around a keg???????????

  • The air space also has an insulating value. Hope it represents a major increase in efficiency Usge.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

Sign In or Register to comment.