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Spirit Run for Vodka etc using 500mm packed section


I tried for the first time to do a neutral spirit run by adding a 500mm packed section to my 4 plate bubbler.

Didnt go so well and I was getting a lot of flooding at the top of the packed section(I think) couldn't do much to control it, even with RC turned off it would do it until I lowered the power to around 1200W.

Using the Baby Crystal Dragon.

Any ideas?

I had to turn down power to let it flow back to the plates then work it back up again?

I packed the section with copper scrubbers very lightly?




  • And when you finally got the the thing to behave, what was the distillate abv?

    What did you charge the kettle with? Beer or low wines? What abv?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • If you are using one of the StillDragon filter discs for the packed section they can sometimes promote flooding as the mesh size is a little small for full flow. Some people have drilled the mesh out to make larger holes, others have used other ways to hold the packing in.

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

  • Instead of putting in a filter disc you can also put in some stainless steel scrubbers at the bottom, enough to keep the copper scrubbers in. Or just ditch the copper and only use scrubbers.

  • edited October 2018

    Thanks for the replies:

    Hope this makes sense :)
    Baby Dragon:

    TPW wash, 30 litres
    Added approx. 1L of feints 90%

    Have ran 4 x Rum washes to date with great success
    Added the 500mm packed section with copper scrubbers

    • Should they be packed a bit closer?
    • Put a perforated plate in at the bottom of the packed section
    • Drilled 4 x 4mm holes in plate before running

    Could hear the distillate gurgling somewhere and assume it was at the top of the packed section? Just below RC.
    Had to basically turn off RC to get it to run?
    It seemed to be refluxing without any RC running???

    Initially it regurgitated 400ml of spirit to the parrot (knew it was coming) so had parrot open to drop into container
    It was around 75% at that time.

    Played around a fair bit and got it to run at 92% for around 15 min but could hear it starting to flood again (gurgling)
    Played with watts to bring down from 2400w to around 1300w, seemed 1300w was close to some sort of stability?
    It dropped to 87 ~ 89 ABV.
    The whole time it would start to accumulate spirit and I had to play with power to let it drop down to plates.

    Eventually gave up with around 3L of spirit collected in 300ml jars


  • edited October 2018

    @Oldhoon said: - Put a perforated plate in at the bottom of the packed section - Drilled 4 x 4mm holes in plate before running

    If I was going to wager a guess, I'd say this was the issue.

    Scratch that, no guess, that's your problem.

  • edited October 2018

    Yep. Need bigger holes to facilitate two way traffic flow.

    Vapor up, liquid down.

    Pressure in the column / kettle is restricting your ability to drain until you reduce the pressure by dialing back your heat.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Thanks all for the help, knew it wouldn’t be much as it has been awesome doing the rum washes. Will let you know the outcome when I do another TPW

    Cheers BM

  • Just remember that packed sections do and are meant to be running in a flooded condition and that is why you hear that "gurgling".

  • Follow up post

    Made my own stainless steel gauze from bits from Bunnings. Son has sent me a Viton one from USA. Ran a TPW Yesterday and it was perfect, ran like a dream at around 95 to 94%. Totally wrapped in my baby dragon Thanks for the assistance


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