Running the Still Spirits T500 Reflux Distiller
In our previous episode we cover the process used to make invert sugar, then went on to make a batch of sugar wash using the invert sugar.
Today we’re going to put the Still Spirits T500 Reflux Distiller through its paces when we distill this batch of sugar wash.
First we need to assemble the T500.
Unscrew the large nut from the base of the column taking care not to spill the saddles that fill the column. Insert the threaded end of the column through the boiler lid and screw the nut back on. Tighten the nut firmly.
Attach the water inlet pipe to the inlet. This is the thinner of the 2 long pipes supplied with the T500.
Attach the thicker pipe to the water outlet.
Use the supplied adapters to attach the inlet, or thinner pipe to your flow controller, and position the outlet pipe in your sink.
Attach the pipe from the flow controller to the tap.
Our next episode will look at the operation of the flow controller in detail.
Attach the short transfer tube to the top of the column.
Pour the sugar wash into the boiler and add the packet of boiling enhancers and the distilling conditioner to the wash.
The ceramic boil enhancers give a smoother boil, while the conditioner prevents foaming in the wash.
Pop the lid on the boiler and secure the 4 clips.
Turn on the thermometer by using a toothpick to depress the tiny switch on the back of the unit.
Clip the thermometer on to the column and place the thermometer probe into the recess in the water outlet elbow.
Finally, attach the alcohol outlet pipe to the laterally orientated pipe just below the thermometer.
Start the water flow and set the flow rate to 500ml per minute.
Turn the boiler on. After some time the temperature on the thermometer will start to climb. As it approaches 50c, the first drips of alcohol will emerge. The first 50ml is comprised mostly of acetone and is collected and discarded.
As the temperature approaches 60c, the target temperature, the alcohol flow rate will increase and you will continue to collect alcohol until the boiler shuts down or the alcohol flow ceases.
If the temperature does not climb to 60c, your flow rate is too high and needs to be reduced, and if it spikes past 60c then the rate is too low and needs to be increased on the flow controller.
From this particular batch of sugar wash, I collected just over 5 liters of 94% pure alcohol. This is higher than usual owing to the invert sugar used in the wash. With regular sugar wash, you can expect about 4 liters of product.
Stay tuned for our next episode where we’re looking at the Still Spirits flow controller.