I’ve been making some great rum from my Pot Still for quite a while and had great expectations on my first bubbler run - unfortunately I’ve probably made a school boy error somewhere as my first batch of rum has a distinct burnt smell / taste. I’d be really grateful for some advice please. I’ve got a 100L Milk Can with 4 x 4inch ProCaps / director tees (Dash 2). I’m running with 2 ULD Camco 5.5kW elements. The lower element is on a controller.
Steps I took as follows:
- My original vinegar run (about a week ago) took about 3L of white vinegar with enough water to cover the bottom element. I figured I didn’t need to run the top element as it would be immersed in vinegar steam during the process. Kept it on for 5 mins after it started steaming then rinsed through with cold water. I stripped the column and washed it. Perhaps I should have fired up the top element as well?
- Made about 90L of rum wash (it was the maiden run on the temp controlled fermenter too). Fermentation finished easily in less than 5 days and I turned off the heater before bedtime. Temp dropped from 38°C to 21°C by morning. I then crash cooled from 21°C the next day to 2°C by mid-afternoon. I kept the wash at 2°C overnight before pumping out the wash into the Milk Can. There’s no filtering on the fermenter, but the "arm" bends up so that the pump will pump out all but the bottom 2 inches or so. I took another inch by gently tipping the fermenter and pouring it through a couple of sheets of kitchen paper to catch the yeast.
- Other advice on the forum suggested running my 4 inch column at about 2.5kW to 3kW. I struggled with this. As it’s so cold in the UK (and I have a Super Dephlegmator) the slightest amount of cooling would put the column into full reflux. I felt that when running it with slightly less cooling almost switched the RC off i.e. running in pot still mode. I should add that the reason for this challenge is due to my element controller reporting slight variation of voltage through the run. I get the power wandering up and down by approx 80W without me touching the dial. This is enough to switch the RC on and off, so no good. I got around it by upping the power to approx 3.7kW and then I could run the RC with a decent amount of reflux through the run and it would not be influenced by a slight power fluctuation. I maintained take off to no greater than 2.5L per hour.
There are so many variables I’m unsure of the cause.
- If I should have done a vinegar run on the top element, it has now been used twice for 30 mins (I had to finish the run the following day). Is that enough heating time to burn off any “newness”?
- If it’s yeast burning on the elements, how do I avoid this? I think I was careful with the transfer of the rum wash, but I could look at buying a 1 micron inline filter and housing - not sure if my pump is man enough to handle it, but I can enquire with the supplier. Is 3.7kW too much power during normal operation?
- I don’t really know what is meant by “the plates flooding”, but I don’t think they did i.e. my top tee looks similar to all the videos that other forum members have posted, with the wash bouncing up and down on the plates. I did notice (before I upped power from 3kW to 3.7kW), there was a tendency for the top tee to fog up. This cleared and didn’t happen again when I used more power and therefore was able to make decent use of the RC. Is my Super Dephlegmator too efficient for winter use in the UK? Should I purchase a less efficient RC?
Thanks in advance.