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Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

These usually have the means for returning the spirits to the column and usually allow metering of the take off to help in the reflux.

Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

Postby varocketry » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:02 pm

All:

I am running my first actual spirit run on the Nixon Stone head tonight, so I thought I'd check-in with you on operating procedures. My boiler charge was ~11 gallons of all grain fermented wash. My Ph pen broke but the grain calculation was for an Expected-OG of 1.07.
It finished at 1.04 and wouldnt go lower (hydrometer measurement floating in the wash).

Pic1 shows the head as completed.
Image
Column height: My packed column is 39" in length. In the picture its the black insulated section below the triclamp. There's about nine inches of unpacked column above that in the head.
The packing is tightly roled copper mesh. I could blow through it and water pours through it readily (cleaning).


Pic 2 shows the stabilization period at 174 degrees about 24 minutes in.
Image



This was my first charge run. I was using the thermometer to regulate the column temperature to stabilize for 40 minutes as I saw in a YOUTUBE video by Olympic Distillers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpZdQrvLYCw
at 3:56
I am using a double coil condenser coil in the offset head made from 1/4 tubing. That tubing size substantially restricts the water flow; in being much more than out. The output water is warm to touch. When I open the needle valve, I get a very small sputtering stream.

Image

Bizarre! I collected a little more than a1/2 half pint of FORES as I was typing my email.
I switched over to a larger collection jar and almost immediately the drip stream seemed to virtually stop, just a few drops a second. I look at the temperature and its 202 degreesF.

I was running at 10Amps or about 2400 watts through the stabilization period at a steady 175 degrees.
Anything above virtually off causes the temp to spike up again. The stream was still low. Very finicky and at this rate would take hours to work through the 11 gal charge.

So I decided to stop, to run it with the POT STILL tomorrow, as I understand how to operate the pot still. I don't yet understand the NS head operation and how to manage it. I do not yet understand what temperature(s) I should be working with - starting , finishing, etc. I haven't been able to find a guide on this topic. Would anyone care to mentor me on learning this NS Head operation?

VARocketry

PS 1) The 3/8" needle valve has a very small orifice, it seems like it substantially constrict flow even in wide open position.

2) the double coil in the head is made with 1/4 tubing. The Coolant flow is not great through it. The outflow water is warm to touch so its doing some knockdown, no doubt.

3) What are the operating inputs to using this design? What should I be trying to manage and how?
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Re: Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

Postby punkin » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:06 pm

It doesn't matter what the temperature of the vapour is. It only matters when it changes after hearts.
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Re: Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

Postby varocketry » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:10 pm

Okay ...................... please say more. I will make good use of your counsel.
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Re: Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

Postby punkin » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:41 pm

Sorry i haven't time to post the whole explanation of reflux columns, but a good perusal of this section will certainly help you gain a footing. Look for a post by Kiwi about running reflux columns from memory.

I'm not a read the forum kind of guy, but this is beyond the scope of a single post.
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Re: Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

Postby varocketry » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:57 pm

Fair enough .. the Kiwi lead is most helpful. I'll check it out.
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Re: Help Needed with Nixon Stone Head operation - Finicky

Postby Mud » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:37 pm

The inflow into your condenser must equal outflow. Otherwise it's disappearing somewhere.

In my experience, those cheap valves stink. They don't hold a setting as temp changes. A good brass sweat valve would cost $35 or so.

4% total alcohol in an 11 shengs is about 3 pints. That's assuming the OG was actually 1.07 and the FG wasn't skewed high by solids.

My best guess is that there was less alcohol than you thought and most of it blew past the coil.
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