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Fermenter / Thumper.

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Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Duracell » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:59 pm

From another thread:
S-Cackalacky wrote:At the hobby level, I can see two approaches for on the grain distillation - steam injection with the boiler charged with water, or cleared wash in the boiler with spent grains and dregs in the thumper. Either one would avoid the necessity of straining/pressing grains.


This gave me an idea, I wonder if it would work. My AG experiment (viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9979) was a success (it's aging on oak now), but separating the grains was a lot of work and wasteful.

Is it possible to turn my 120L plastic fermenter into a giant thumper for my 55L boiler? I have it sized so that I do 2 stripping runs. But if this works, I could rack the top clear half of the wash into the boiler, then use the clamping lid on my fermenter fitted with an input and output, and then just do one long stripping run.

Is this at all possible? Or is the size mismatch not ideal, or is there some reason it won't work?
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:07 pm

Duracell wrote:From another thread:
S-Cackalacky wrote:At the hobby level, I can see two approaches for on the grain distillation - steam injection with the boiler charged with water, or cleared wash in the boiler with spent grains and dregs in the thumper. Either one would avoid the necessity of straining/pressing grains.


This gave me an idea, I wonder if it would work. My AG experiment (viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9979) was a success (it's aging on oak now), but separating the grains was a lot of work and wasteful.

Is it possible to turn my 120L plastic fermenter into a giant thumper for my 55L boiler? I have it sized so that I do 2 stripping runs. But if this works, I could rack the top clear half of the wash into the boiler, then use the clamping lid on my fermenter fitted with an input and output, and then just do one long stripping run.

Is this at all possible? Or is the size mismatch not ideal, or is there some reason it won't work?


That is much how I do it, but I see 2 problems. 1) your fermenter is plastic and probably won't take the heat. 2) I generally get 60% of the ferment as clear beer to put in the boiler.

FWIW, I use 2 55gal SS drums. In the 1st one I mash, ferment and then use it as a thumper for stripping after putting about 35 gals of clear beer in the boiler. This is for my bourbon recipe (75# corn, 12.5# 2 row barley, 12.5# rye malt).

This works a treat as I don't have to handle the grains after I add them to the mash until I clean out the thumper. I have a hammer mill, so I grind the grains to flour. I also strip directly to a 15 gal spirit still.
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The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Duracell » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:30 pm

Thanks for that, that is promising information. I think I'm going to go this route in the fall for my next run.

My fermenter is rated to 110c (for low pressure applications like this). I've already had it at 90c for several hours with no ill effects, which should be about max for a stripping run anyway. So I think it should be fine. The main issue will be mounting the input and output connections, but I'm sure I can figure something out.
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Kareltje » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:50 pm

Duracell wrote:From another thread:
S-Cackalacky wrote:At the hobby level, I can see two approaches for on the grain distillation - steam injection with the boiler charged with water, or cleared wash in the boiler with spent grains and dregs in the thumper. Either one would avoid the necessity of straining/pressing grains.


This gave me an idea, I wonder if it would work. My AG experiment (viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9979) was a success (it's aging on oak now), but separating the grains was a lot of work and wasteful.

Is it possible to turn my 120L plastic fermenter into a giant thumper for my 55L boiler? I have it sized so that I do 2 stripping runs. But if this works, I could rack the top clear half of the wash into the boiler, then use the clamping lid on my fermenter fitted with an input and output, and then just do one long stripping run.

Is this at all possible? Or is the size mismatch not ideal, or is there some reason it won't work?

No, I do not think it is possible, because your fermentation vessel is made of plastic and will not be a good thumper.

But when you get a thumper of a suitable material, you can fill the boiler with the fluid and the thumper with the sediments or solids. That is: fill both to 40 or 50 %! Not more!
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby S-Cackalacky » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:47 am

Agree with Kareltje, not a good idea to expose plastic to high proof vapor. Many people are now using HDPE vessels for mashing using steam injection. HDPE is good up to about 250dF. So, you could mash and then ferment in the same plastic container. If you had a large enough stainless container, you could theoretically mash, ferment, and distill in the same container. You should be able to find lots of information on this and other forums related to steam injection.
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:05 am

As I said in my post above, this is how I do it.

Here is a picture during a stripping run. I mashed and fermented in the barrel on the right. I then moved the clear beer to the barrel on the left and added a steam wand to the right hand barrel.

StripperResized.JPG
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Duracell » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:47 am

Cool photo, thanks for sharing! I'm not against getting a stainless barrel for this, but if the HDPE barrel is capable of handling the temperature, and is listed as being able to handle 100% alcohol at high temperatures (see http://www.ineos.com/globalassets/ineos ... -guide.pdf), then why won't it work?

(Also, @S-Cackalacky, I'm already doing steam injection mashing, which is what prompted this idea, see the link in my first post).
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:13 am

I personally wouldn't use HDPE for a thumper. The table that you referenced only goes to 60C. Also notice Acetaldehyde.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Pa_bon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:22 am

Redwood, can you elaborate on the thumper side of your setup. Looks slick.

How did you do your drop tube?

Are those open head drums?

Is that a 2" TC prv on the left?

Is that a preheater element on the thumper?

Sorry so many questions. I really like the look of your setup and the fact that you can mash and ferment in the stainless drum and not have to handle the grain to strip.

A setup like this may get me to AG sooner than the double boiler I am contemplating. Actually have the inner part built. This may be more versatile for me. Thanks.
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:38 am

Pa_bon wrote:Redwood, can you elaborate on the thumper side of your setup. Looks slick.

How did you do your drop tube?
I have a 2" triclamp on the top and bottom forming a feed through.. For the steam wand I have a 2" spool to a 90° to a cross. On the cross I have 3 bazooka screens as diffusers. Next time I assemble it I'll get a picture.

Are those open head drums?
Yes

Is that a 2" prv on the left?
Yes, it is a prv that I've set to 3 PSI. It is also a vacuum breaker. There is a SS ball valve as well that I open when I shut down the boiler for vacuum relief.

Is that a preheater element on the thumper?
No, I do single infusion mashes. I put in 37.5 Gal of water and 5 gal of backset and use the heaters to bring it up tp a rolling boil. Then I disconnect the heaters, mix in my corn and hi temp alpha, cool to 145°F, mix in my malts and 3 gal more backset for ph control. I also use sebflo and gluco enzymes to increase yield.

A setup like this may get me to AG sooner than the double boiler I am contemplating.
This setup makes AG mashes simple. I would also recommend a mud mixer as well. I'll document this setup better with pictures as I do my next batch

Thanks.
You're welcome
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Pa_bon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:27 pm

Thanks again Redwood.

Would love to see pictures of your setup broken down.

How long does it take for you to do a mashing from start-up to finish this way? The reason I haven't tried AG is the time involved. (and the nightmare of dealing with corn as I understand it)

Did you build your hammer mill? I've been looking at DIY builds. They don't appear very complicated.
Overhead the albatross
Hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
An echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine

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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:51 pm

Pa_bon wrote:Thanks again Redwood.

Would love to see pictures of your setup broken down.

How long does it take for you to do a mashing from start-up to finish this way? The reason I haven't tried AG is the time involved. (and the nightmare of dealing with corn as I understand it)
From start to yeast pitch is about 24 hrs because I don't force cool. I have maybe 1 hour hands on time, most of the time is waiting for the mash to cool to the right temps.
Corn isn't too bad with the high temp alpha enzymes and a mud mixer.


Did you build your hammer mill? I've been looking at DIY builds. They don't appear very complicated.
No, I bought it. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010T7QGLK
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Pa_bon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:59 pm

I've looked at those mills. Have you put it through its paces? How's it holding up?
Overhead the albatross
Hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
An echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine

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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby RedwoodHillBilly » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:02 pm

Pa_bon wrote:I've looked at those mills. Have you put it through its paces? How's it holding up?


Love it. Works great. I've only put 600 Lbs through it so far, but seems to holding up fine.
John Barleycorn must die.
"and little Sir John in the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last.
The huntsman he can't hunt the fox, nor so loudly to blow his horn,
and the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pots without a little barleycorn."
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Re: Fermenter / Thumper.

Postby Kareltje » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:51 pm

Duracell wrote:From another thread:
S-Cackalacky wrote:At the hobby level, I can see two approaches for on the grain distillation - steam injection with the boiler charged with water, or cleared wash in the boiler with spent grains and dregs in the thumper. Either one would avoid the necessity of straining/pressing grains.


Is it possible to turn my 120L plastic fermenter into a giant thumper for my 55L boiler? I have it sized so that I do 2 stripping runs. But if this works, I could rack the top clear half of the wash into the boiler, then use the clamping lid on my fermenter fitted with an input and output, and then just do one long stripping run.

Is this at all possible? Or is the size mismatch not ideal, or is there some reason it won't work?

I forgot the inkling of something wrong, when I first anwered this.
A thumper of 120 L is far too large for a 55 L boiler.
The thumper is driven by the energy coming from the boiler and this energy is transported by the vapour.
Suppose you put your wash of 12 %ABV in the 120 L thumper, you would want to get about 40 L of low wines of 36 %ABV. To vapourize this 40 L you need at least the energy in 40 L water from the primary boiler. Assuming some losses, you probably have emptied your boiler completely before you harvested all the alcohol and flavour from your thumper.

Playing with a model and running in practice I understood why a thumpersize of 1/3 tot 1/2 of the primary boiler is common advise.
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