Use of a Level Tube

Does anyone have comments on the use of a visual level tube for the kettle ??

The tube is a glass tube of approx. 10mm ID.

Use of the level tube will allow the distiller to view the kettle volume at anyone time ensuring (hopefully ??) that exposing of heating elements never happens.

The only negative that I can think of is its cleaning.

Comments

  • edited June 8

    Boiling liquids do not lend themselves to accurate level tube measurement. Sight glasses do.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • All StillDragon boilers have sight glasses.

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

  • A bulls eye sight glass as you are mentioning is great BUT you can only see one level within the glass, i.e. the low level.

    What I am suggesting is complete tank level viewing from 100% down to almost 0%.

    The picture below (sort of similar to what I propose) shows the concept of what I am looking at.

    image

    image.jpg
    800 x 533 - 20K
  • edited June 9

    Boiling liquids are too turbulent for those to be accurate. Give it a go. You'll see.

    A boiler sightglass is a window in the top of the boiler that allows you to look down onto the liquid surface and boiler walls. With a little practice you will know the depth of your boiling liquid.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • Away you go Richard see how it works for you and report back.

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

  • @richard

    I use something like that on my boiler and it works a treat. The boiling and turbulence remain in the kettle, the site glass sits pretty stable. Ensure the top is returned to an area well above the liquid level. Returning to the vessel will give a more accurate level as the pressures will be the same. If you do not return to the vessel like my situation, the top is simply open to atmosphere and the level in the tube will read higher than in the actual vessel. It's still a great guide. The latter is is easy to achieve without welding via a tri-clamp tee and a few tri-clamp site glasses joined together.

    It also allows me the luxury of filling the kettle while it's still running!

  • @TheMechWarrior said: I use something like that on my boiler and it works a treat. The boiling and turbulence remain in the kettle, the site glass sits pretty stable. Ensure the top is returned to an area well above the liquid level.

    That is exactly how it's proposed. I am not in agreement with prior comments.

  • Or just use math?

  • I guess I've been mis-using the term "sight glass", as I've always thought that to be the vertical clear tube connected to the boiler below liquid level at the bottom and above liquid level at the top. In that light I'm not sure what to call what my only immersion-element-heated uses, but even with its shortcomings, it's a very nice feature to me.

    From almost at the bottom of the boiler of my CCVM vodka still, using a welded elbow, I have a length of ~1/2" ID silicone tubing that extends upward through a stainless eye at the top of the boiler, with the very top of the tubing open to the atmosphere. The primary purpose of this level indicator is to verify that the boiler liquid level is safely above the level of the element, and also to verify there is a safe headspace over the boiler charge, all before I turn the power on.

    Actually, although it isn't critical, the level in the tube doesn't change much at all with boiling rate or during boil, and with a 2" CCVM head, I wouldn't expect a helluva lot of back pressure. The system works very nicely for what I'm doing, and I'd do it again.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • If you leave the top of the level tube open on the outside of the boiler it can double as a pressure relief port. Any overpressure will blow boiling liquid right out the top of the tube.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • We won't be supplying them through StillDragon Australia.

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

  • Nice Idea Zymurgy Bob. Although Kapeas comment doesn make you think.

  • @Kapea said: If you leave the top of the level tube open on the outside of the boiler it can double as a pressure relief port. Any overpressure will blow boiling liquid right out the top of the tube.

    I was aware of both of those effects from the start, but since that still is only loaded with clear low wines, and the top of the column is open to the atmosphere, I don't expect overpressure, nor have I seen it. The more I use that still, the more I like it, at least for a still that only makes vodka.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

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