Distilling Using the T500 Distiller

Sherbourne

Step 2b - Distilling using the Turbo 500 still

Now you have the 'wash' prepared the next step is the distillation.

The Turbo 500 Distillation System is designed to produce high purity Alcohol and give maximum Ethanol recovery. Alcohol made with the T500 can be used to make high quality, commercial grade, clear spirits such as Gin, White Rum and Vodka as well as any of the other spirits and liqueurs in the Still Spirits Essences range.

To complete a T500 Distillation System you will need both a T500 Distillation Column and a T500 Boiler. To obtain the best performance from the Distillation System and to operate it safely it is important to read the operating instructions carefully.

Download a pdf of the Turbo 500 Instruction Manual here

ALCOHOL PURITY AND YIELD

The Purity and Yield of the Alcohol will vary depending on factors such as;

  • The type of sugar used in the fermentation process
  • The choice of Turbo yeast
  • How fully the wash is fermented and how well it is cleared
  • Consistent control of the water outlet temperature of the still

“Purity” describes the strength of the alcohol produced by the distillation. In the development work, the T500 delivered 92 to 93% strength alcohol, using well prepared washes that were cleared.

“Yield” describes the effectiveness of Alcohol extraction from the wash. The higher the yield the less alcohol is left behind in the boiler. With care and attention to wash clearing and the distillation process, you can expect to recover 95% or more of the alcohol from the wash.

HOW DISTILLATION IN THE T500 DISTILLATION SYSTEM WORKS

The wash is heated in the boiler up to boiling point and kept at that temperature throughout the distillation process. The vapour boiled off from the wash rises up the column, in which the vapours of the heavier liquids (water and heavier undesirable molecules) condense and fall back down. This cycle of evaporation, rising and condensing is continuous and is described as refluxing.

The temperature at the top of the Column will be lower than the base of the column, as the vapour becomes more concentrated with alcohol the temperature will drop. The higher the temperature at the top of the column, the lower the concentrate of alcohol. The ceramic saddles in the column provide a large surface area to maximise the contact between the liquid and the vapour flows within the column and thus accelerate the refluxing action.

The Turbo 500 Still has been carefully engineered to provide a continuously compensating reflux rate. As the distillation process progresses, the alcohol concentration in the wash reduces. To maintain high purity of alcohol being produced, the refluxing ratio will increase to compensate and the alcohol production will slow.

Towards the end of the distillation the alcohol purity remains high, but output will slow until it stops altogether. At this point the water vapour will keep rising and condensing part way up the column, but nothing will reach the top of the column to pass into the Condenser. The alcohol extraction is finished at that point.

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STEP BY STEP

STEP 1  Place the boiler body on a firm, level, bench where the waste can discharge into a drain or sink. It is important that the still is vertical and not tilted, otherwise the condensate will not reflux evenly. Assemble the condenser head as per the instructions.

STEP 2  Add the wash to the T500 Boiler. The still is designed for a normal 25 litre of cleared wash to be distilled. The wash can sometimes foam when boiling during the distilling process. If it foams it can enter the Column and disrupt the reflux action, reduce Alcohol quality and disrupt temperature control. To help prevent foaming we recommend adding 3ml (capful) of Still Spirits Distilling Conditioner. This reduces the chance of foaming in the boiler and promotes optimum distillation conditions. Also add the reusable Ceramic Boil Enhancers before distilling to avoid surge boiling.

STEP 3  Place the Column and Boiler lid assembly onto the Boiler Base. Ensure you can clearly see the thermometer. Fasten the four clips that hold the lid onto the Boiler. Check the sealing gasket is sitting firmly onto the Boiler with no gaps.

STEP 4  Fit the Water flow controller to your tap, remove the aerator if fitted. You may need to use the supplied adapter depending on the thread on your tap. If your tap does not have an aerator thread, you will need to purchase a push on connector. Connect the water inlet tube to the flow controller. Place the Water outlet tube into the sink or drain. Place the Alcohol outlet tube into the collection jug or vessel. Position the outlet of the tube so that it cannot become submerged under the Distillate.

STEP 5  Connect the power supply and turn on the Boiler. The wash will take 60 - 80 minutes to heat to boiling temperature.

STEP 6  Before the wash begins to boil, turn on the cooling water. Use the clock or timer and a graduated 1 litre jug to adjust the flow to approximately 550mls per minute if cold water is over 25°C (77°F). If under this start with 450ml per minute. Once the wash starts boiling, heated vapours will rise into the column and the column will become very hot.

STEP 7   VERY IMPORTANT – Collect and discard the first 50mls of Alcohol that flows. This first distillate contains a small amount of Methanol and other unwanted by-products that evaporates at a much lower temperature than Ethanol (the alcohol we can consume) so are easily separated.

STEP 8  Adjust the water flow to give an outlet water temperature of 55–65°C. Monitor and adjust the water flow throughout the distillation process if needed. The lower temperature will give a better quality and higher strength alcohol than the higher temperature but will take a longer time to complete.

STEP 9  When the Distillation is finished (approximately 4 1/2 hours from start) turn the boiler power off and disconnect from the power outlet. Turn off the cooling water supply. Be sure the alcohol outlet hose is clear of the liquid being collected. The depleted wash left in the Boiler will be dangerously hot. Allow it to cool to a safe temperature before emptying it.

Note: The spent wash is rich in nutrients and makes an ideal fertiliser for your garden.

STEP 10  Remove the Column and Boiler lid assembly, and rinse the Boiler of all wash and residue, being careful to retain the Ceramic boil Enhancers for the next distillation run. Rinse the Column by filling with clean water several times to remove any debris carried up by the rising vapours

Assembling the T500 and Distilling Alcohol

  1. We would always suggest that you run the whole wash through as soon as you can. The alcohol at 90% will not go off, but the alcohol in the bucket will be only 14% and this is liable to get an infection if its left around. It’s also a lot more convenient as the concentrated alcohol will take up less space and you can use this as when you need it.
  2. Once you have finished clean the machine with clean hot water. A still cleaning agent is available separately and should be used from time to time. You should also remember that it is essential you clean the tubes and column. This can best be done by turning the column upside down and pouring water into the base. This should be done after every use. This should also be repeated from time to time with the special still cleaning solution. This should be mixed with hot water and left in the system for 2 hours. Rinse afterwards. The Ceramic Saddles should be cleaned from time to time by immersing in Coca Cola for 20mins and then rinsing afterwards. This just cleans any build up on them.
  3. If you do happen to forget to switch off the machine at the right time and you collect a lot more of the tailings simply discard the dregs, put the collected alcohol back into the still, add the equivalent amount of warm water and start again. (you will not need to remove 50ml at the start though).
  4.  If you have any problems please call Barry on 0744 345 6024.

Key Features of the T500

Note: The new T500 still only has one thermometer

Goto Step - 3a: Diluting and Carbon Filtering the Alcohol

Still Usage Disclaimer

Please note that in certain countries alcohol distillation is illegal and you will require a licence. Ask for advice or contact your local Customs and Excise Department. We would point out it is illegal to manufacture spirits in the UK without a distiller’s licence which is required under the provisions of section 12 of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and this includes manufacture for “own/domestic use”.

Public Notice 39 – “Spirits production in the UK” dated January 2012 provides further information about HM Revenue and Custom’s requirements.

If you require further assistance then please contact the National Advice Service on Telephone 0845 010 9000 or www.hmrc.gov.uk. Where you can obtain or view public notice 39.

 

WATER DISTILLATION USING IN THE TURBO 500

  1. FIT THE BOILER LID TO THE COLUMN You will not need the copper and ceramic saddles for water distillation.

  2. THERMOMETER Use the temperature probe to test the outlet water. Thermometer does not need to be mounted to the bracket as you will need this to test the outlet water supply.

  3. FIT TUBES as shown in the instruction manual. NOTE the hoses are fitted in a different configuration.

OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS Distilling 20 litres (2.6 US Gal) of water will take about 8-10 hours from start to finish (excluding heating time) and will produce approx. 18L of distilled water.

You will need to have:

  • Clock or timer
  • 1 litre calibrated jug to check cooling water flow rate
  • Large vessel to collect the 18 L of distilled water
  • Cooling water supply

Under normal conditions the water supply will need to be about 600mls (1 - 1¼ pints) per minute at a temperature of 20°C. If the tap water is cooler then it will need to be lower (500mls) and if warmer it should be higher (700mls).

STEP 1  Place the boiler body on a firm, level, bench where the waste can discharge into a drain or sink. Add water to your boiler, do not fill beyond the maximum level line on the boiler.

STEP 2  Place the Column and Boiler lid assembly onto the Boiler Base. Ensure you can clearly see the thermometers. Fasten the four clips that hold the lid onto the Boiler. Check the sealing gasket is sitting firmly onto the boiler with no gaps.

STEP 3  Fit the water flow controller to your tap, remove the aerator if fitted. You may need to use the supplied adapter depending on the thread on your tap. If your tap does not have an aerator thread, you will need to purchase a push on connector. Connect the water inlet tube to the flow controller. Place the water outlet tube into the sink or drain. Place the distilled water outlet tube into the collection jug or vessel. Position the outlet of the tube so that it cannot become submerged under the distillate.

STEP 4  Connect the power supply and turn on the boiler. The water will take 60 - 80 minutes to heat to boiling temperature.

STEP 5  Before the water begins to boil, turn on the cooling water. Use the clock or timer and the graduated 1 litre jug to adjust the flow to approximately 600mls (1 pint 4 oz) per minute so that the outlet water flow is at approx. 55°C (131°F) (Use the thermometer to check temperature). This should stay stable for the entire distillation period.

STEP 6  After you have collected 18 litres of water, turn the boiler power off and disconnect from the power outlet. Turn off the cooling water supply. Be careful when discarding remaining water left in boiler as this will be hot.

STEP 7  Ideally the distilled water should be filtered through the EZ Filter carbon filter system to ensure any unwanted flavours and aromas from previous washes are removed. Refer to the EZ Filter manual for filtering instructions.

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