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4 Plates - No Reflux

edited February 2015 in Configuration

Anyone ever run 4 plates, no active reflux (no water flow to the dephlegmator)? What was your take off ABV and wash ABV?

Assuming that it's going to be near impossible to have no reflux, so there will be minor plate loading.

There was some data in the "Do you need the dephlegmator mid run for flavoured product NOT Vodka?" thread, but only minor.

With all the talk lately about bypass, just trying to get a feel for what you folks might have seen real-world. Would love some numbers on the pro caps or the bigger 8" columns.



  • Only tried 3 plates, single caps, 9% rum wash, take off was 78%.

  • I have not taken notes, but with a 5-6% wash, 2 procaps and 2 perf plates, after compressing fores/heads, and then turning off water, it started off at about 160-170 proof or so then gradually went down like a pot still... had lots of grain flavor... I say if you took a graph of a pot still, and doubled or so the numbers, you would have the graph of a 4-plate

  • I concur with googes outcome.

    When running with no forced reflux at all, I am unaware of any one breaking into the 80s

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • I tried getting a McCabe-Thiele method diagram put here, but gave up...

    using the HD calculator:

     5.0% becomes 35.3% after 1st plate
    35.3% becomes 73.7% after 2nd plate
    73.7% becomes 85.8% after 3rd plate
    85.8% becomes 89.4% after 4th plate...

    I have not gotten this high, but I did have about 170proof at the start of a run..., 85% with very little dropping from dephleg in 4-plate system...

    for giggles

     5th plate 91.3
     6th plate 92.6
     7th plate 93.6
     8th plate 94.3
     9th plate 94.9
    10th plate 95.4
    11th plate 95.8
    12th plate 96.2
    13th plate 96.5...

    I know these are not real world numbers and they go down quickly in a batch still... I read that the formula used for that has a few issues, but it is close...

    I also know that a dash has more reflux than a CD, as you can see the plates load from the bottom up in a Dash, so no dephleg is needed... a CD may not load without a bit of reflux, but once loaded, does not seem to need any... I have observed that my 2 perf plates are especially sensitive to this, for the obvious reason that they will dump quickly..

    it would be nice to have a chart that integrated this formula and then a 'Reality Factor' that you could set to like 10%, that could show what we see int he real world...

  • Yea, it seems like if the plates are loaded at the outset from compressing fores/heads, then the actual liquid on the plates should act as lower temperature reservoirs which will condense at least some of the vapor passing through, at least until enough heat has made it up the column to evaporate each plate (but that could be well in to or even after the run)

  • maybe an insert to put multiple plates in a 8" bubble cap tee, supported by the bottom plate.. a compact 'pothead' ;-)

    maybe even 3 offset sight glasses on the tee instead of one in the center... I dunno, just letting my brain wander... I know I do want some easy to clean stainless perf plate system for my stripping runs.... ideally without a Dephleg, but maybe with... maybe something different than a traditional dephleg... maybe the flat coil or something... I dunno..

  • edited February 2015

    @brewsmith - Yeah I think you touched on the key here. Even with no active reflux, and putting aside the passive reflux, you still have the mass transfer going on at each interface. The upward moving vapor will still enrich the plate contents, through condensation/vaporization, keeping the plates loaded. As long as you have some liquid in the plate, it's going to eventually hit some new equilibrium.

    Suppose another interesting option for a "bypass" would be to short-circuit the plates - pump in liquid from the top to load the plates with a lower ABV liquid (water? wash?).

    The other option would be to run the vapor speed so hard, it's not a factor.

    @CothermanDistilling - Wonder if there is any way to measure how much "insulation" is added from the CD glass column vs the stainless. Would be interesting to know. Everyone talks about the benefit of the CD being the visibility, but I wonder if the insulation is beneficial. If anything, there should be a bit of energy savings as a result. Compared to a copper walled column it's probably a huge difference.

  • edited February 2015

    The huge height advantage of the Crystal Dragon (especially in 8") is nothing to be discarded lightly either.

    Means you can pack more than twice the number of plates in a given height.

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

  • @punkin said: The huge height advantage of the Crystal Dragon (especially in 8") is nothing to be discarded lightly either.

    Means you can pack more than twice the number of plates in a given height.

    until someone puts 3 plates per 8" bubble tee ;-)

  • Or two per glass chimney?

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

  • edited February 2015

    Always wondered why folks just didn't use short sections of TC pipe (aka spool) in between the bubble tees to double up on plates less expensively. You don't really need a sight glass for every single plate. You could use shorter spool sections if you weren't too paranoid about varying plate distances.

  • @grim, I would imagine the only reason that isn't more common is that short spool sections (especially in larger sizes like 4"+) aren't a really common item and sourcing/fabricating them might end up more than the relatively cheap tees from SD. I am currently working on a project that will use a few short "spools" that I am making by silver soldering short 4" tc ferrules together that I will post pictures of when it is all complete.

  • edited February 2015

    From December 2011, a picture of 4 plates nesting between 4" ferrules that were welded together.


    800 x 600 - 53K
  • where can you buy that??

  • I never really produced them, just had a few made for me. They are still around here somewhere because I'm a packrat.
    If there is interest from your SD distributor I'll have some professionally produced. As you can see by the picture, mine were just prototypes that were cobbled together by a local welder. The picture also shows the very beginning of the SD parrot - don't laugh, I had to start somewhere :-w

  • Actually it just dawned on me that the 4"x100 TC pipes that Punkin has will do the job. Don't know why I didn't think of it before.

    Oh well looks like another order for Punkin sooner than I had thought. Was going to have my kettle lid modified but also just spotted the 8x4 bowl reducer - damn you guys.

  • It is a conspiracy. You Will be assimilated and, of course, resistance is futile.

    Just found the welded ferrules after much digging due to the Second Great Reorganization where much was buried on top of the First Great Reorganization and they measure 42mm tall.
    (Not quite as bad as the show "Hoarders" but when it comes to still parts its really close.)

    Might be a bit short at 42mm and 100mm could probably be trimmed down to the 60mm that the Ace is spaced at. The BIG downside is they are completely blind, no glass at all so its a guess as to what is going on inside.

  • Don't forget that there is also the copper spool option. You can make copper sections as short as you like, using the copper or brass SD ferrules. With perforated plates having them blind isn't a huge problem.

  • If you put the blind sections between the sight glass sections, you should be fine. Obviously you'll want sighted at the very top and very bottom.

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    single 8"x8" bubble T with three plates and SG's above each plate

  • @punkin said: Or two per glass chimney?

    that may be a little tight, but with ProCaps it could work... need a smaller plate, some standoffs, and a custom gasket... then maybe a tool to push against just the gasket in order to push the whole plate down evenly.

  • edited February 2015

    Funny. We used some 4x4 sections last month to get 9 plates in for low cost. I agree, only need a sight glass every other plate anyway....


    115 x 800 - 17K
  • edited February 2015

    There is another way to get that extra plate especially if you are using a baby dragon with the single pro cap. Use a reflux director (similar principle to larger Cd plates) only in the form of an inverted cone to direct all the reflux to the walls of the CD.


    347 x 446 - 15K
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