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15 Gallon WoodFired Reflux Still

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#1 Soliver



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Posted 02 April 2015 - 04:30 PM

Here's the setup.  It's cranked out some really nice juice that drips out around 90% (180 proof for those who get confused - I do sometimes - the whole proof concept is annoying)...


I filter 4-5 times through activated charcoal, then tissue layers (micro particles of charcoal carry some nasty stuff - can't see it, but it's there) and dilute to around 80 proof..


Drop in 5-6 dried apricots in about half of the jars, saving the rest for straight-lightnin' and the next day it's good to go ...


Hypothetically it improves with age, but it's damn good when it's new.  My hopes are to eventually have a bunch of it buried, where supposedly - according to local lore - it ages faster and mo - better, if I can keep everyone away from it.


So far I'm doing 10 gallon runs and pulling on average 5 quarts of really good stuff for keeps - probably about as much in heads & tails, which I'm saving for a feints run when I get 10 gallons or so ...


I'm tearing this whole setup down this weekend & rebuilding it to get better heat efficiency, but this is the first iteration.  I started out with my big PC on the kitchen stove and copper pipe leading to a worm & bucket, but I really do like the efficiency of reflux, and the end product comes out a lot cleaner, and I can't run 10-15 gallons over the stove.





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#2 TurkeyRanch


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Posted 02 April 2015 - 06:36 PM

Completely epic. I asked for a distillation thread by you, and by golly you didn't disappoint.

The apricots sound like they would make it taste awesome. Ever tried kewi? I bet that would be tasty.

#3 Soliver



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Posted 02 April 2015 - 06:47 PM

Completely epic. I asked for a distillation thread by you, and by golly you didn't disappoint.

The apricots sound like they would make it taste awesome. Ever tried kewi? I bet that would be tasty.


Ya know, that'd probably be really good .. if I can find 'em dried ... 


We tried pineapple, thinking it'd be really good stuff, you could barely taste it, and the liquor had little floaties all around in it...

So I strained it in paper & tossed in some apricots; stick with what works, right?


This setup is .. well, odd (if you look on the net there are NO wood-fired boilers) but I figure there's no point in spending $40 in propane or electric to produce $50 of booze ... the run takes around 10 hours - that's at least 2 propane tanks - fuck that!


I'm hoping the new setup will trim a few hours off the run.  It takes a lot of heat to push the vapor up that column..





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#4 dead head jed

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 07:04 PM

Very nice set up
I do love anything that can run off locally collected energy sources

Where did ya get that shiny column?

I have been wondering if a parabolic mirror distillation set up would be possible

#5 coorsmikey



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Posted 02 April 2015 - 07:06 PM

Sweet! That's a nice condenser. I have been trying to get my hands on one simular. Thanks for sharing! I am looking forward to your updates.

#6 Juthro


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Posted 02 April 2015 - 08:02 PM

Nice set up, I am looking forward to learning more from you.

#7 Scroto Baggins

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 08:48 PM

Dang! :thumbs_up2:


About how long does it take you to heat that sucker up? And when it's going are you able to regulate the temperature well just by adding more or less wood?


Seriously cool man and great to see you around!

#8 Soliver



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Posted 02 April 2015 - 10:29 PM

Thanks for the comments / interest !


Once you get the distilling bug, you're fucked ... I got into it by accident, as I've never been much of a liquor drinker, but I've had great moonshine about 3-4 times and thought, "damn - that's what liquor should be like." 


I made some pretty bad stuff, researched, made some mid-grade stuff, and now ... well, I think what I'm getting is ... upper mid, but ask me in a year and I'll probably say it's all shit compared to .... (you know how this goes)....


The column is a cooling-management reflux column (if you're researching online, it's referred to as a CM column).  I purchased it through a third - party from a company out of Denver, CO.  They make great stuff - there's a youtube vid of the owner whaling on this exact column with a mini-sledge hammer just to show how wicked strong it is ...


I've found online distilling communities to be even more strange and divisive than the OMC, if that's possible.  Several forums are simply un-joinable, and newbs are frowned upon universally.  If anyone knows a good forum, hook me up, as I'm just lurking everywhere as I did here before I logged in & Hip helped me out.


Answers to Questions:


-I don't think a sun-source would work, as you really need a consistent, long - lasting source of heat to make the column function... for pot still ... eh, maybe, but consistency is key.


-This current setup takes about 1.5-2.0 hours to heat up to boiling / vapor rising in the column.  Boiling is easy - getting it ramped up enough to force that stuff up through the packed column takes extra juice, so I have to stoke the shit out of the woodstove & leave the door cracked for maximum heat output ... after 15 minutes of reflux, I have to open the door and stuff more wood in, I lose reflux, and the whole thing starts again, hence my need to do a rebuild.


All the same, it works as-is, but you know I can't NOT improve when there's improvement to be made ...  :)


-The heat can be regulated (turned down) with a valve I have in the exhaust pipe, but I'm dying to get all the heat I can from this setup, so that hasn't been an issue yet ... hopefully with the next version, I'll have too much heat - that would be nice - then I can open the exhaust to dump excess heat ... we'll see ... hopefully in a few days.


By the way - turbo yeast is fucking weird - I've brewed for over 20 years and never seen anything like this stuff - lots of folks don't like it, they say it gives off flavors, but I got some for free & gave it a shot ... it looks like an aquarium airstone at the bottom of the bucket .. strange...





Edited by Soliver, 02 April 2015 - 10:31 PM.

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#9 wharfrat


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Posted 02 April 2015 - 10:48 PM

thats awesome!! i'm feeling that itch.. might hafta try.. be careful brother!

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