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.