Still Questions - Steam Boiler, Dephlegmator and Bubble Plates

Hello guys,

I am quite newbie and I have some questions about my new still. I am distilling gin, plum and juniper schnapps. But 90% is gin.

At the moment I have a simple 100 liter pot still. I need to bend it to empty it...

Now I a m buying a bigger (600L) still. I would like to keep it simple. I would like to have a stainless steel pot belly still configuration.

Now, few questions.

  1. Still will be heated with steam. How much power is needed to properly heat still like that. 24KW should work?
  2. Should I use copper bubble plates in glass section? Are those used to replace copper head, pipes or they have also other function?
  3. Do I need a dephlegmator? If yes, what for?

BTW, I have read many posts about it in the forum but didn't get right answers for those questions.

Thank you!

Comments

  • It sounds like you're still quite early in your distilling career.

    I'd suggest holding off on any plans of upgrading until you fully understand the function and purpose of everything you currently have.

    Scaling up from 100L to 600L is a recipe for a massive catastrophe when done wrong.

  • @TheMechWarrior said: It sounds like you're still quite early in your distilling career.

    I'd suggest holding off on any plans of upgrading until you fully understand the function and purpose of everything you currently have.

    Scaling up from 100L to 600L is a recipe for a massive catastrophe when done wrong.

    That is why I am asking. I know why those are used for. Just need an detailed explanation. Thanks!

  • a 600l still produces a lot of booze. So ask yourself if you have that many friends. If your selling it then thats OK, or maybe not if you dont have a license to produce. If your asking what you need a dephlegmator for then you should wait to spend money on a 600l still. Get a couple of smaller units or get a 200 and a column or helmet for that and work that pretty hard.

  • edited January 15

    OK, OK.

    I have many friends, and I have license and I do make and I do sell gin.
    I have a still like attached and want to upgrade. Thats it. I know that dephlegmator is a 'partial condenser'. It is designed to condense only part of the total vapours it encounters, while allowing part of the vapours to pass through for further processing downstream. I do understand that. I don't understand why using it while distilling gin. Can you answer? Thanks!

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  • For gin - there's no sense. Other spirits, it allows single path distillation

  • the SD380L is huge for gin, and in a steam or bain-marie version is a big step up in physical size.. I suggest slowly crawling through the 'big gin thread' on here and every thread with gin in the name...

    Are you wanting to do maceration and distill, or are you thinking of 'carter head' designs?

    After that, I would say that you can run a gin still of 380L to 1000L with 24kW but you may want more for initial heat-up at the larger end . This will also require a big step up in cooling, if water is free or it is cold, your current condenser may work.

  • @Unsensibel said: For gin - there's no sense. Other spirits, it allows single path distillation

    Thank you! This was my consideration. For plums I only do single path distillation and with juniper I need to distill twice since I separate oil in first run.

    My idea is to go with pot still column packed with copper scrubbers, than gin basket and condenser.

    Do you guys think that 8" column is right size? How high should be column?

    Thank you!

  • @CothermanDistilling said: the SD380L is huge for gin, and in a steam or bain-marie version is a big step up in physical size.. I suggest slowly crawling through the 'big gin thread' on here and every thread with gin in the name...

    Are you wanting to do maceration and distill, or are you thinking of 'carter head' designs?

    After that, I would say that you can run a gin still of 380L to 1000L with 24kW but you may want more for initial heat-up at the larger end . This will also require a big step up in cooling, if water is free or it is cold, your current condenser may work.

    Thank you for your comment!

    I do partly maceration and I put some spices in basket.

    Do you guys think that 8" column is right size? How high should be column?

    BTW, I am "buying" big still because I am getting new Bain Marie boiler for free!! :)

    Thank you!

  • if making Gin, you do not need a column whatsoever or height any more than you need to get to the top of the condenser, which can be done with 2" pipe..... To make gin, you need to have your product rectified to the point of being 100% ready to drink *before adding botanicals) and then add items to flavor... a column or helmet even, is to rectify, improve purity, and make spirits taste better. Although you might see some Gin still with a helmet of column, they (arguably) do not help the making of Gin..

  • edited January 15

    You'll need about 150,000 BTUs to heat up within an hour. You won't need that much once brought to temp.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • There are 2 answers to your question, both are in opposite camps.

    One will tell you that a column or dephleg is an absolute must to produce the best gin possible. Just look at the EU still designs as examples and there's no arguing that they produce award winning gins.

    The group I'm in says bollocks to that, producing award winning gins in a simple pot still.

    I think the take home lesson here is the still doesn't matter as much as the distiller.

  • @CothermanDistilling said: if making Gin, you do not need a column whatsoever or height any more than you need to get to the top of the condenser, which can be done with 2" pipe..... To make gin, you need to have your product rectified to the point of being 100% ready to drink *before adding botanicals) and then add items to flavor... a column or helmet even, is to rectify, improve purity, and make spirits taste better. Although you might see some Gin still with a helmet of column, they (arguably) do not help the making of Gin..

    Great! I am buying alcohol. 96% ethyl. Adding spices and distill. So, as I said. I will make pot still with copper inside column. I am sure it will work.

    Thank you for explanation!

  • @TheMechWarrior said: There are 2 answers to your question, both are in opposite camps.

    One will tell you that a column or dephleg is an absolute must to produce the best gin possible. Just look at the EU still designs as examples and there's no arguing that they produce award winning gins.

    The group I'm in says bollocks to that, producing award winning gins in a simple pot still.


    I think the take home lesson here is the still doesn't matter as much as the distiller.

    Thank you! As you said, I will go for pot still. boiler+column filled with copper rings + gin basket+condenser. I am sure it will work. Thanks!

  • @themechwarrior +1 for a great answer. I would add another which is a slower run with reduced power.

  • @sarkice. Roughly what part of the world are you.

  • @GD50 said: sarkice. Roughly what part of the world are you.

    Europe, Slovenia.

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