Does a Reducer / Torpedo create more reflux (and higher ABV)

I'm putting the final touch on my first still...

I think I will go with a 8 gallons tank + 2000W element... (hopping to do ~5 gallons batches, so no need for anything bigger)

The tank that I'm interested in come with either 2'' or 4'' lid, which give me a bunch of options.

I'm was trying to build a column that will give me the maximum of flexibility (ABV of 50% to 95+ if possible... I know...)

So, I was thinking of getting 4" Torpedo (1 x 3 ProCap) + a Baby Crystal Dragon (4 x 1 ProCap)... from what I understand, it will give me the equivalent of a 5 plates... (Obviously the first plate will let more product through, but since only so much will be able to go to the next level, the rest will fall back down... I think)

Now, what about if I have 3 x 4'' plates instead + a Baby Crystal Dragon... will adding 2 x 4'' plate create more refluxing (in the 4'' section), that adding 2 plate to the Baby Crystal Dragon... and therefore a higher ABV per added plates???

Not sure if 2000W is strong enough to make any difference...

(Given the batch size that I'm looking at, I don't think I could justify 10 x 4'' for the odds time I will want to make vodka... but if I could get there with 3 x 4'' + a Baby Crystal Dragon....)


  • edited April 2017

    It's actually 6 plates in the configuration you are contemplating as the boiler counts as one theoretical plate.

    You will get more reflux, you can also get more theoretical plates by including a packed section if you have the headroom. 2" x 510mm on top of your Ace of Hearts with some stainless scrubbers packed in there will get your abv up as well.

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

  • edited April 2017

    Thanks for your reply @punkin, what I'm wondering is if by adding a reducer follow by small plates, I increase the reflux (ie efficiency) of the big plates below.

    As an example:
    If I have 3 x 4'' (3 ProCaps) + 1 x 2.5'' (1 ProCap) will I get a better ABV that simply getting 4 x 2.5'' (1 ProCap)?

    I appreciate that the both setting will give me similar speed (only 1 ProCap at the top), i just wondering what will happen with all that extra capacity in the 4'' section.

  • I think you are splitting hairs. Each plate acts as a condenser and evaporator (of sorts). Size of the plate determines how much vapor it can handle not how pure it gets.

    If you want more purity you need more theoretical plates.

    If you stack a 4" column under a 2" column you'll basically be maxing out the 2" and under performing(maybe) the 4" with respect to production speeds.

    You might consider that based on your stated 8gal boiler, 2000w input, and desire for purity, to just get 2x 500mm 2" copper wool packed sections, a small RC, and rock out some azeotrope on the cheap. That would be a more efficient system.

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