Cleaning Activated Carbon, and contact time

My main love in life is neutral spirits and I'm always trying to make it a little bit better. Wanted to see how everybody else is cleaning their carbon?

I am using coconut shell, I think that is supposed to be the best?

After each use I boil the carbon for 3 or 4 hours, then wash out with fresh water. Then I spread it on backing sheets about 1" thick and bake at 425f for 5 or 6 hours. How does that compare to what everyone else is doing?

When I run my stripping run and my spirit run I dilute to about 40% and pour through a 4' X 1.5" column of packed carbon. After my spirit run I put about 3 lbs of carbon in paint strainer bag and place that in 13 gallons of 40% for a week or two.

Comments

  • Prefer to use new carbon every time, washed well with RO before using.

    I also flush the carbon filter with RO after processing to capture any remaining alcohol.

    Because of the additional water, I tend to filter closer to 45%, with a final proofing down to 40%.

  • Regenerated carbon is never as good as virgin, and the cost/effort or regeneration can outweigh the benefit.

  • edited March 24

    My carbon stays in its storage container (I don’t use it). I attack the problem by promoting the healthiest ferment possible, and making good cuts. But I am a hobby distiller, so my economic considerations are different than pro distillers’.

    It’s like my ole pappy usta say, “If’n ya gotta grind all your welds when you’re done weldin’, you ain’t a welder, you’re a grinder.”

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

  • @Kapea said: My carbon stays in its storage container (I don’t use it). I attack the problem by promoting the healthiest ferment possible, and making good cuts. But I am a hobby distiller, so my economic considerations are different than pro distillers’.

    It’s like my ole pappy usta say, “If’n ya gotta grind all your welds when you’re done weldin’, you ain’t a welder, you’re a grinder.” What are you didtilling?

  • Gin mostly. From honey base and malt base spirits.

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

  • We have used carbon, but like it better when we don't have to... mostly for molasses if we get the 'funk' that is more fusel than fruity... using a 3"x20" SD spool with SD filter discs and gravity and needle valve.. but like @Kapea says, be a welder, not a grinder...

    Clean ferments, lots of plates(we use 26-30), even a packed section on top... I just ran 3 100PG+ charges of Malted Barley, Wheat, and a Malted Rye/Barley blend last week in our 380L, and no carbon needed for the 190 hearts...

  • edited March 25

    Even very clean neutral is not devoid of underlying flavor. The sugar source for the fermentation leaves its mark - honey, malt, table sugar, molasses, potatoes, grapes, agave... It is discernible even in the cleanest neutral.

    That underlying base spirit flavor is an important start for quality gin.

    You can’t make good gin from a bad base spirit.
    However, you can make bad gin from a good base spirit.

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

  • Not to mention that ethanol on it's own accord tastes sweet.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I never used carbon to "improve" my neutral spirit. The best way is to make exceptional neutral spirit the first time.

    There are too many factors and I'm too knackered to go into the detail of making a great neutral spirit. Perhaps someone else can point the OP to a suitable post or explain the steps. I've been picking sloe berries all day in the hot sun, just got out of a relaxing bath and now I'm munted, off to sleep for me.

  • edited March 26

    There do exist ethanol azeotropes where the non-ethanol component can be adsorbed by carbon...

    Just sayin...

    And if neutral is your goal, you could also argue that proofing water purity and treatment is as important as the ethanol distillation, and carbon can play a major role there.

  • Golly I feel like I've opened up a huge gash. I've done several UJSSM and as Kappa said you can always taste a little bit of the base material in my humble opinion. For my own use I have been using corn based sugar & that generally has produced a product with almost no flavor. For my day to day use I'm pretty pretty happy with my current process. But I'm looking at possibly shooting for a micro distillery and my goal is a completely neuteral spirit? So I'm thinking I am going to need to switch to a corn or maybe a rice mash. My past experience are that I am going to have to "polish" those spirits to meet the requirements for vodka. So I'm just trying to figure out how to "polish" spirits and if you are using carbon to polish, how do you clean ( or regenerate )carbon.

  • @grim, at this point I am not producing much. As such I have a small water distiller that I use for my dilution water on my spirit run and to dilute to 80 proof after filtration.

  • I have a 50 gallon drum of wheat Neutral I made last week with 26 8" plates and although it has underlying flavor, you could drink a pint glass a tiny sip at a time... I am a big fan of lots of plates...

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