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Adding a Plate to My Pot Still

If I add a bubble plate & dephlegmator to my pot still, would I be able to compress heads?


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  • In short, yes. But not very well. You will have to decide if this is good or bad.

    The system will start out at a much higher ABV but will decline in ABV very much like a bone stock potstill does.

    One plate should do a better job than a thumper for boosting your proof since the dephleg does offer a plate value as well. Also there should be far less issues with smearing that can be associated with thumper use.

    Two plates will do a better job of allowing you to hold a more steady collection strength for the duration of your run but that may be too efficient for what you hope to acheive?

    Pot Stills are inefficient and one of the pot stiller's goals is to exploit that inefficiency.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Okay. That sounds about what I'm going for.

    Another idea I'm having is to try this on a smaller scale and test with a 15.5 keg. Now my question. Would slapping on an 8'' ferrule to a keg and trying to run the above setup be a waste of time?

  • edited February 2015

    Well you really will not be able to push the 8" to perform with that small of a kettle. Your collection speed would only be commensurate with your heat input. And your (keg) kettle simply does not hold enough alcohol to put the 8" through it's paces without dragging tails up prematurely.

    It's just not going to behave quite the same way with that little kettle.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I don't think there is a defined cut off point yet. Some folks have reported that 4" columns run better on a 2" inlet, than they do on a 4" inlet.

    Physical stability of the vapour path would be better on a bigger ferrule, but I don't know how big an issue that is.

    If your vapour path is supported the keg clamp is just establishing a seal - it is not responsible for balancing the weight of the vapour path.

  • I don't know if there is a proper ratio of column diameter to boiler charge size but I'd think, offhand, it would be close to 40 to 1.
    A 4" column with a 160L boiler charge does not look bad to me. A 8" column with a 320/380+/- liter boiler charge also looks normal.

    A 50 liter keg with a 4" column is, at most, a 3 to 4 hour run including boil up. If the target is an 8 hour run then the still head would be closer to 1".

    To balance cost and reward the run time also needs to be factored in.

  • if you put an 8:" ferrule on a sankey (I would have another ferrule clamped to it during welding to keep from warping), with an 8" dephlegmator, with Two 2" long condensers in series, and had 2 5500W elements in it, and a 10 gallon(40L) charge of 47.5%, it would run about 1 hour before all the alcohol was out, but probably only about 20 minutes until you were getting tails... This is from my experience of running a 8" with 2 elements and taking 10-20L/min I do not think it is worth it, but if you want to play, I feel you could use the above info.... FYI - I think SD 60L sankey boilers are still a great idea...

  • Great info guys. Thanks

  • @Myles said: Some folks have reported that 4" columns run better on a 2" inlet, than they do on a 4" inlet.

    Although I have a 4" inlet, I put a ss scrubber at the boiler neck, and I can say I am experiencing better results by that too.

    @wakeboarderx03x I tried compressing heads with a perforated plate. As I could drain the plate after heads, it worked very nicely in pot still mode. I am not sure how to do the same with bubble caps.

  • I am a little bit pot still biased 8-| because it is mostly what I have done in the past. However these days I tend to be more inclined towards hybrids and short plated columns treated as pot stills. There are however still some applications where a basic pot still, possibly with a thumper, would be my primary choice.

    After seeing what Sadi has been doing, I am now firmly convinced that an enhanced pot still with a single perforated plate is the way to go for basic pot still mode. Use the dephlegmator to selectively increase the reflux ratio for heads compression. Switch off the dephlegmator and that perforated plate can be made to drain and you are back to a conventional pot still.

    Run a short stack of plates and you can tune your pot still to behave any way you like.

    For gin, my choice is to put some botanicals in a thumper charge and the lighter ones in a vapour infusion basket.

    So yes and sorry for rambling on, a plate added to your pot still is a good idea but I suspect (for an uncomplicated pot still) I would pick a perforated one.

  • Thanks for the tips. I'm liking that whole idea of the perforated plate and draining off and still keeping it more conventional idea.

    I will more than likely try it out small scale and see how it goes.

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