Moonshine





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Thread: Moonshine

  1. #1
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    Default Moonshine

    Iím playing with an idea .....

    Which would be the best option-

    Direct heat .... gas cooker or an element

    Or indirect heat .... water jacket with a diesel burner

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Hi Gary,

    It all depends on your budget and what you wish to achieve.
    Are you chasing higher purity or taste?

    If it is for a first time try I would suggest gas hob, since it is much easier to control manually.
    A decent thermometer at the pot and one at the top of the still.

    I played with different options and eventually settled for the electrical element route with PID controllers.

    Considering indirect heat by means of water jacket can be achieved, but I believe your economy would be less that direct heat due to other forms of heat losses and heat transfer issues/designs. But on a small scale I cannot see that it will have a huge difference.
    Last edited by Ratelrooi; 2019/03/27 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Replied on indirect heat
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Gary is a dairy fabricator/builder. Complexity isn't an issue.

    Gary, it's about maintaining the correct temp of the pot and the volatile gases, as mentioned.

    Based on your background, I reckon direct heat but using PID controllers. So I'd say controlled electrical.

    Electrical is just easier. AND SAFER. Many a still has exploded because of gas.
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    Default Moonshine

    Pity.....Iíve got a diesel hot water boiler and a PHE lying in the store, doing nothing.....

    In the Dairy industry, all heat is indirect......

    So basically 2 x 2kw elements via SSRís fired by a PID controller (fuzzy logic)

    Or.... a coil in the keg

    Have a 50lt keg left over from my biodiesel days.....

    Looking for purity more than anything else.
    Last edited by GaryFrank; 2019/03/27 at 05:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryFrank View Post
    Pity.....Iíve got a diesel hot water boiler and a PHE lying in the store, doing nothing.....

    In the Dairy industry, all heat is indirect......

    So basically 2 x 2kw elements via SSRís fired by a PID controller (fuzzy logic)

    Or.... a coil in the keg

    Have a 50lt keg left over from my biodiesel days.....

    Looking for purity more than anything else.
    well purity needs a proper column still and even better a fractal still, heat is only a means of evaporating the alcohol at precisely the correct temps
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    I have a heavy duty 2 burner cooker you can try if you want.
    This sort of thing...

    I'd still go indirect heat like a Bain Marie type setup just to have a bit more control, though.
    Gas tends to be too little or too much and you will struggle to get the required range for the alcohol to boil off.
    Cheers,
    John

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    I thought the idea was to get away from open flames ....

    I just donít like the idea of shoving an element directly into the product

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    i'm adding an arbitrary comment here, so i can follow any further discussions.

    My still is on its way as we speak

    My family has been making schnaps for generations in Austria, on my recent visit, the secret family recipe was handed over.
    Soon the project starts in earnest.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Damn thatís a nice still......Iím looking at a stainless steel jobbie.....diy obviously

    Also looking at vacuum options - THC & CBD.....and maybe some gin

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryFrank View Post
    I thought the idea was to get away from open flames ....

    I just donít like the idea of shoving an element directly into the product
    you'd prefer gas flames and 90% ethanol?
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Does anyone make prohibition era type moonshine / whiskey ? Original recipes, original method, copper still, flame and even as far as the beard and dungarees (teeth optional) ? I'd be keen on some of that.

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Quote Originally Posted by sparewheel View Post
    Does anyone make prohibition era type moonshine / whiskey ? Original recipes, original method, copper still, flame and even as far as the beard and dungarees (teeth optional) ? I'd be keen on some of that.
    I can try.

    - got the still
    - got the gas flame
    - will have to grow a beard
    - will have to buy the dungarees
    - my teeth aren't wonderful
    - will research the sour mash recipe in my distilling book

    Baardman Brewery did a proper sour mash ferment and distill the other day, not sure it turned out that well though.

    It's easy enough to do yourself.

    https://www.clawhammersupply.com/blo...make-sour-mash
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Quote Originally Posted by dieterf View Post
    i

    My family has been making schnaps for generations in Austria, on my recent visit, the secret family recipe was handed over.
    Soon the project starts in earnest.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1) beautiful hand hammered still
    2) how secret is secret?
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    The still in the picture is the family unit, ensconced in the family "boat house" on the shore of Bodensee (lake Constance) and duly used by my cousin, ironically a senior police officer
    He has been making schnaps with his dad and my grandpa for decades!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I bought this unit on his advice, in the air as we speak!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    re the secret, its not really that secret, the trick according to the masters:
    is good quality clean fruit with good brix.
    A good mash fermentation with minimal but the correct starter yeast, good, slow, not to warm fermentation and then a slow controlled, double distill process.
    The instructions were documented for me in german and i have translated.

    If anyone wishes to read them, PM me, i am happy to share.

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Iím still having a problem with direct heat.....

    All my experience in the dairy industry is telling me that itís not the best (or economical) option.

    Indirect heat is more controlled and itís virtually impossible to scorch the product. A PHE is more suited to a continuous plant, so thatís not gonna work too well.
    Jacketing the beer keg is inefficient because stainless isnít a good conductor.

    So..... a copper coil in the keg??

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Most hobby stills have an element inside the mash/wash, scorching is only a problem if you have grains/fruit in your boiler. If you are doing AG either sparge before ferment or separate grains from mash after ferment. Distilling on the grain can apparently give you some other interesting flavours( I don't know because I have never tried it).
    My boiler is the Still Spirits Boiler, it does not have an exposed element but more like an urn with the element under the base. I ferment on the grain and then separate the grains from the mash before distilling.
    If I were using a keg, my concern about distilling on the grain would be the clean up after, unless you have made a way to open the keg up with a large hole to scoop out the muck.
    Personally, if I was building a boiler from a keg, I would just chuck an element through the side. But if you have the materials and the ability to do the work then I think indirect heat would give you a more versatile boiler. From some of my research there are plenty of all Stainless jacketed boilers, so although stainless isn't your best option, it will work and the jacket won't decrease the volume inside the keg like a coil would.
    My 2c

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Gary, you are overthinking this... Chop a drum in half and support the keg in that so it has clearance all round and heat the water in the drum.
    That will be far easier to control temperature-wise.
    OR
    If you have the gear, (you probably do, given your job) you could always get fancy and make a boiler to feed the jacket around the keg, (or the coil inside the keg) and use fancy electronics to control the process, producing run-of-the-mill spookpis or, you could build a wood fired magafter in your yard at home and do it the traditional way and make some really fine Craft Hooch that is worthy of a master distiller.

    Either way, get a bloody move on already, I'm getting thirsty.
    Cheers,
    John

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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryFrank View Post
    Iím still having a problem with direct heat.....

    All my experience in the dairy industry is telling me that itís not the best (or economical) option.

    Indirect heat is more controlled and itís virtually impossible to scorch the product. A PHE is more suited to a continuous plant, so thatís not gonna work too well.
    Jacketing the beer keg is inefficient because stainless isnít a good conductor.

    So..... a copper coil in the keg??
    just use one of those jacketed cheese vessels and run hot water through the jacket
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Running costs and temperature fluctuations are a major factor.

    Electrical heating is gonna push up the running costs. Itís easy enough to control but the lower the volume, the more chance of scorching the product. (Yogurt 101)

    Gas is cheaper to run but harder to control (unless you chuck big money at it)

    Diesel/paraffin hot water boiler has got the lowest running costs and is fairly stable depending on the volume/storage capacity of the loop.
    We use a 300lt hot water tank (30kW electrical elements) to run a 1000lt/hr pasteurizer (continuous)
    The boiler can also be placed outside and plumbed into the still.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Moonshine

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryFrank View Post
    Iím still having a problem with direct heat.....

    All my experience in the dairy industry is telling me that itís not the best (or economical) option.

    Indirect heat is more controlled and itís virtually impossible to scorch the product. A PHE is more suited to a continuous plant, so thatís not gonna work too well.
    Jacketing the beer keg is inefficient because stainless isnít a good conductor.

    So..... a copper coil in the keg??

    Very clear instructions from cousin H, do NOT overheat the mash.
    I have instructions to build a second base within the distill burner. at a level of about 2cm above base, to cut to size and fit a second floor with holes in it, like a shower rose.
    On burning, to put a layer of water in the pot, level to this second base plat/rose and then add the mash on top.

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