Posted by Moonshiner Chuck on

Hello, Welcome back! We're so happy you're here. This is number six of our Beginner's Guide to distilling arm or brewing or whatever your hobby may be. I'm sure there's some information here that will lend itself to whatever it is you're doing. 

So let's get on with it. Now,  when it comes to heating, we're going to talk about stills in particular, when it comes to heating a still, you have many many options, but it's up to you to select the proper options. That's available to you that's economic enough for you in something that you understand and you can control. 

Now we've already seen a great big cooker. And that all, just one line that goes through the propane. And that's 165,000 bt us. Why is that number important? We're going to get into that because that number means a lot. 


Instead of just comparing yours to somebody else's, a standard turkey fryer that you get, those ones you buy at a Walmart in a box or different places, you know, the small 31st those run usually around 35 to 50,000 bt use. The run-up to 200,200 20,000 bt us That's a British thermal unit. And it's a method for measuring tempo heat transfer. If you're going to use propane, when you need to still have this, it has a diffuser plate here that swings right over the top of the flame. So small one, but it'll work with that. The diffuser causes the flame to separate spread out so that the heat dissipates out and then up instead of straight up otherwise, it would be a blowtorch. So it's really helpful if you had like an eighth-inch sheet of steel that you place on top and use that as a diffuser.

 Copper will work, regular, just good piece of metal that will diffuse heat. Because the last thing that you want to happened is you want them to place steel on top of that and all of a sudden everything starts to stink in real bad because you're scorching everything on the inside, you want to try to dissipate that heat evenly and smoothly. 


Now brings us to our next one of our other options is, the new wave cooktop. This is a magnetic induction cooker. And as long as you've got a magnetic bottom to the pot itself when you put it on here and turn it on, this thing will heat it up a little bit slower, but it will work. And this is an 1800 watt model. What do 1800 watts? So this one will work on up to a certain amount. How's that? And then, of course, another option that you have more or fewer marbles are boilers and some of them come configured like stills. There are some kickbacks to them but you know it is what it is it's a method of introducing energy heat all of these are now other ways absolutely you can use without propane you can use just gas LPN liquid petroleum, LPG, like a petroleum gas, a US coal, you can use word, or anything that's going to produce heat that you can manipulate and or direct into a still.


I’m using a three-gallon  copper still. And I just want to use this as an example, because another one of your options is heating elements. This is a heating element and we'll describe more about heating elements high density, low density 240s 120s, all those things are different wattages because they all mean something. 

 Just slide right into the side and you would use that to do the same thing that happens in your water heater. Your water heater has these in them and controlled properly this will heat a still smoothly, evenly, and appropriately. It has to do with thermal dynamics and heat transfer is that as soon as you enter it introduced hate into the still. There's only one purpose in life that heat is working at, and that is getting the hell out. It will dissipate as quickly or faster than you can put it in. So your energy must be higher than your energy loss in order for you to get any results. That's why when we start talking about the larger size stills, we're talking about things like larger size elements, larger capabilities of elements. 


Can you imagine if you had a 500-watt element and you put that in a 20 gallon, still, how long would it take that 500-watt element to heat that still? Well, that still would lose energy faster than it is gaining energy and you would never get it up to temperature. It would do all it could possibly do and then that would just sit there. So you see, it does make a difference. 

 Now, as this happens, the only thing you can do is try to control and we talked about this in the other discussion those are the outside influences and what are they? Well, first of all, the atmosphere, it winds a breeze. Sometimes people have an air conditioner blowing on it. Not a good idea. 


And there's a couple of things you can do. The first thing that is really simple is to insulate it. Now. When you go to insulate, your still it may look awful odd. But in the long run, it's going to pay off dividends. Now do you have to actually insulate it? Not No, because we're going to make sure that you know how to calculate an inputting enough energy to overcome the loss of energy so you can run your still but if you want to control that a little bit more economical I have a better flow it just let you know you never know there are ways that you can control the outside environment. 

 So you can wrap it around, you can first wrap with it and then wrapped around, it's totally up to you or you can just stick with this. It's a matter of fact the R value here is this has an R value of 1.6. An R value is the ability to resist thermal transfer you know heat going either way. So he didn't stay in and heat out stays out. And the same thing with tape. 

 Some information about how to select the proper heating element or heating source. We are back and I will try my best to keep this as straightforward and easy as possible. But we have to understand some terms to get started now, remember we talked about bt use thermal units, a measurement. And it's a base measurement. 

 What is a bt eu? A bt UBT and EU is the amount of all energy required to raise one pound, water by one degree Fahrenheit that's what a bt u is okay. And everything kind of bases around that. So if we know that and we know a few other things, then we know what our requirements would be.

Believe it or not, this is a whole lot simpler than you may think it is. I know you use bt u before. 

 You've used the terminology, air conditioners, window air conditioners especially, they come right in and BT use furnaces some furnaces are rated at use. Of course, you use Gas propane electric but at the end of the day, they're all going to be rated in bt us at some in some way or some fashion.

 We're gonna raise it says a pound of war all we need to know is what is a pound of water. How much does a pound of water weigh? Weighs a pound but we're going to be working with gallons and we're going to be working with gallons. So how much does a gallon weigh? One gallon, weighs 8.33 pounds, if it takes one bt you to raise one pound one of these pounds by one degree Fahrenheit, how many bt use does it take to raise a gallon? It requires 8.33 bt US per gallon to raise a gallon by one degree Fahrenheit.

 How much do five gallons weigh? that would be five times 8.33 equals 41.65. So that's 41.65 pounds of water. Now, what is the temperature? Let's say for instance that inside here it is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. How hot don't want to get it most of us want to get all or we can go to boiling but let's just stop it 180, 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

 What's the difference between the two in temperature? 75 from 180 is 95. That's what that's the difference.  What would happen if we had to do 10 gallons? Well, then just replace the Number with 10. Whenever you start to introduce heat into an object, what is it doing? The first thing that he wants to do is get the hell out. So you got if you can't control that your heat loss will overcome depending on how much energy you're introducing could overcome your heat introduction, and you will never get there no matter how many beats you use. 

 A regular turkey fryers about 35 to 50,000 bt use, that's more than enough to raise that five gallons up to about 95 degrees, we know that, but that's in a perfect environment. 

 Now you have to take into consideration your influences. Now, if you're running it at what 60% efficiency, my first guess would be to immediately double either one of these depending on the site if your five gallons, what's that 39 times two almost at least 10,000 beat to use in this one almost 20,000 bt use.

 You want to have enough energy going in that the energy loss is not going to overcome that energy in so a 35,000 bt EU turkey fryer would do it. That hundred and 65,000 bt turkey fryer do it well. And does it quickly. So this will all take place in that one hour. You can anticipate and gives you a planning figure.

 Now what happens when we wrap it?

 In insulation and we protected from dissipating heat, one or two things are going to happen if you've done it wrong and you've got that insulation to lower your burn it. Remember it will resist heat doesn't resist a lot of fire, but if you get it insulated well and you're not losing a lot of heat, well then that'll happen all in one hour. But that's just for a planning figure for you. So just be cautious and understand what a bt u is, the thermal unit and understand what the effects are and how many it takes.

 Now the next discussion we do we're going to go right into electricity because bt us and lots have a whole lot in common and, we can figure out a little bit closer because of the 95% efficiency of electrical City heater elements.

 So with propane, we're working anywhere between 60 to 75% efficiency because of heat loss. So you've got to make sure that you include that in your program again, I 35,000 watt 35,000 bt EU turkey fryers more than enough, it's just gonna take a whole hour. You want to do it faster, increase your bt use I hope you're getting something out of this.

Real simple, you can do it and you could do it by again temperature change times the number of gallons times 8.33 which is the weight of a gallon will give you the BT use required in order to raise that amount of temperature.

We'll see you in the next discussion. I think you'll enjoy that one. Just as much as this one.