Posted by Moonshiner Chuck on

This is American Copper and welcome. You can always get in touch with us. I'm gonna talk about Beginner's Guide to distilling.

Now. We've already gone over and I'll talk about that in a minute. Don't worry about that. Here's what we've done up to this point. Remember we talked about what we need? What are the three pillars for distilling in fermenting? Well, we needed water.


You've seen the before sugars, and yeast. Now working towards the one we just finished. We're starting to talk about heating, because we need in order to put all this together all we need to do now is heat.


We need to heat stills because it's that thermal action that takes place that allows you to do that separation. The first one we did, what was propane. And we talked about how to determine how many bt use you need to heat X amount in a certain amount in that one hour. 


Your real quick refresher, this is one quick word is look we want to heat five gallons of water by 95 degrees. And we know what it takes to heat one gallon by one degree. We're going to do it 95 times and then we multiply that by 8.3 which is the weight of a gallon of water and What do we come up with? We came up with 3000 Oh yeah. 956 a BT a user so we got that one covered.


Our next challenge is then we need to do that with electricity, we use watts. So we'll kind of cover every bit of that. That's before we go to make a mash. And we go from there. There's another subset. And that would be distilling.


We'll actually do that in a subset from distilling is going to be making cuts and then of course aging and flavoring and 1 amount of paper. But we're not going to spend a whole lot of time on that. We're going to talk about heater elements.


Wattage a medium density

I don't use the term that they come in low density, But medium density and high density. High Density may look like that. You notice it's a lot smaller and it's thicker. All that is, heating properties per square inch across the entire surface has been reduced because it's more compact, as opposed to a medium density. And a lot of times this is a high density. 


Now you can also get an ultra high density, the ones that look like a big S, they got a whole lot of surface area and  they've increased the surface area, but the wattage in the power in the energy necessary for that rated element is the same. 


These tend to last longer if they are reduced; if using a water heater, they reduce the amount of lime buildup. I've got a 5500 watt medium density, even though it's folded back.


You've got one groundwater and you can connect that to the kettle itself or to a ground, but there's only two connections on a 120 or 240 volt element. And it doesn't matter which one you connect the wires to. It doesn't care. And all of them are exactly the same way. 


Now one last thing about elements.This is a one inch straight thread, which is equivalent to national pipe thread but the national pipe threads are tapered. So this fits very well, you can always tell the difference between the two very quickly.


This is a straight thread. And tapered threads are just a slight bit of a taper in that allows and there's a little bit of a different angle in the thread that allows it to tighten in on its own as he goes in. 


If you've got a straight thread, it doesn't do that, but that's why I got a gasket. And that gasket is what creates the seal in a pipe with pipe thread or national pipe thread. That's tapered, the tightness in the angle of those threads is what causes the seal. That's the only difference but these will fit into the national pipe thread fitting even though they're straight thread. 


When we're working with electricity, we're working with watts and watts are another method in order to measure energy it energy or heat I told. Okay, another method to measure energy and heat.


One watt is equal to 3.0 Gosh. I got equal to 3.413 B, t us and M This is not going to be complicated. You don't show one kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts. So in one kilowatt it has 3413 bt use I have a jar. This is just a demonstration okay in here is 3114 little beads and they represent bt use this measurement of bt use is used to measure the energy it takes to raise to increase temperature.


And we can do the same thing but we have to convert it into electricity. What is the equivalent in electricity? 3413 of these is equal to one of those. That's my kilowatt.  The one kilowatt is 1000

And one kilowatt of energy. 


The guy on me right now, bouncing around and dancing around inside your still is capable in one hour to increase a little over 10 gallons by 40 degrees. Only one of them is okay. And we put a bunch of them together and they all start to work together. And they can do that a whole lot more efficiently. These are all things that are just simply to know or simple to understand.


Now when you break them down to their basics, we know this is an important figure. We know about this and we know all of these things now the question comes into mind it's a lot of times it's well, a 5500 watt element.


If I got a 5500 watt element, how many gallons?


Can I raise that with that 5500 watt element, how many gallons in because everything is based on an hour, a kilowatt hour?


A kilowatt hour is 1000 kilowatts used for a period of one hour is 1000 watts for

one hour 60 minutes. Now remember what we did when we said we had five gallons and we wanted to raise that by 95 degrees.


You remember that one?


That would be five times 95 times 8.33 and that gave us a grand total of 3956 3956 A bt us. So we know that bt us, what does it take in watts. We want to raise 95 degrees.


How many gallons can I raise from whatever it is now to 95 more degrees. How many gallons can I do with 150 500 watt elements in one hour? I just want to raise it by 95 degrees, I want to go from 75 to 180. How many gallons will a 5500 watt element working at 100% efficiency do that?


This one is really straightforward because this is gallons per hour will equal our kilowatt times 3413 and divide that by the temperature rise times 8.33. 

That's the formula for that. So that will tell us how many gallons per hour with this in this being a 5500 watt element. Remember we're going to use a 5500 watt element and we're going to raise x.

We don't know what that is yet. We're going to find that out by 95 degrees in one hour.


Let's do the math. 5500 watts is we already know by 1000 we're already there. Your by thousand 5500 watts is 5.5 kilowatts times 3413. That equals one 877 1.5 right. Now we have to take in this, And it  will be divided by 995 times 8.33 equals 791 point three, five. We'll divide the number into the 995 number, because that's what this says right here, divided by this divided by that and that's going to equal 23.72 gallons. 


That's our answer. That's what x is. We can raise 23.72 gallons by 95 degrees. In one hour with a 5500 watt element. I believe that there is something that should make sense. That's pretty straightforward. But it's a little bit complicated. Will,  Let's do some. This is a constant, this is a constant. And I can actually cross these out by not crossing them out. But if I divided this by this, that goes away, that goes away and this becomes 410.


Now our new formula becomes kilowatts, times 410 divided by temp rise 5.5 times four or 10 equals this will be two to five, five divided by nine, five equals 23.73. You know, decimal places, you get the same answer. So that's a much simpler approach to find out how many gallons a 50 501 element can heat.


But is that what we really want to know we want to, we do need to know that. If you've got the 5500 watt element, this one just happens to be a 5500 watt element. 


That's what this thing is capable of doing. But we want to know if we already know what are elements or what are still volume. How many of these do I need to get to where I want to go? All we got to do is manipulate this formula just a little bit.


Let me rewrite this. Kilowatt times 410 divided by tamp rise equals gallons per hour. All right, by just real quick, simple manipulation. We can reformulate this and then in that way, how many kilowatts Do we need in our still? Well, that's going to be gallons per hour times temp rise, divided by 14, we just do the opposite of everything instead of dividing. We multiply so multiply we divide and that's going to give us our required number of our required wattage sighs do one. 


Let's say for instance just for sake's argument you got 10 gallons. Do you want them guys out there that need a biggie? Well no that's a biggie but that's big enough. What do you think?

as big enough so in a 10 gallon still, I've got a 10 gallons per hour. I want to raise that 10 gallons. 


Now what do we want to raise it to? We kind of stuck around it. We start at 75 and go to 180. That is kind of what we played with. You can do any kind of temperature and it doesn't matter to me. You can start at 40 and go to 180 or whatever your starting temperature is what you would start with. And then you go all the way to 212 if you want to don't matter, but for this example, we're just going to go from 75 to 180. All right, that's a pretty good spread.


Right now this is 75 degrees. And I want it to be 180. What do I want to be 180? That's probably where she'll start producing or right there before that, okay, kind of give me an idea on time. And we're looking to do this in an hour. So if I got gallons per hour, times the temperature rise, the difference between these two is 95 degrees 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and if I divide that by the constant 410, which is the pounds divided into the BT use in a kilowatt, that kind of thing. that constant. 

What size element do I need to accomplish this? Here we go 10 times 95 equals divided by 410 equals, it says 2.317 2.317. If we multiply that by 1000 because we're going to kilowatts. That equals I need 23,100 2317 watt 2317 watts. 


We'll do that in one hour. You see how simple that was straightforward I don't need a 5500 watt element. If so, 3500 watt elements are in there. What would that do? What? What would it do? We already know how to kill kilowatt.

See we got three points or yeah 3.5 times 410 divided by 95 equals 3.5 times 410 divided by 95 equals, I get my calculator working 3.5 times 410 divided by 95. Now we'll do the same thing and it will raise 15 point 10 gallons. So in one hour, so I can knock off you see there it, this is 10 gallons, I'll do 15 that will do this in half the time. 


So I'm looking at with a 3500 watt element I'm looking at 30 minutes to raise it by 95 degrees with this element it is going to take one hour to raise the 95 degrees. You want to do one more. 


Let's do one more real quick just so that Everybody gets this okay and then we'll leave them so that you can go at it. Give us two elements, double it. Just doubling, remember gallons per hour. How many gallons per hour will an element heat? And that would be, kilowatt times 410 divided by temporis. 

And then we wanted to know what was the kilowatt required kilowatt element in the kilowatt elements going to start off with what gallons per hour, then we're going to heat up times that was the divide would now we multiply times temporizes divided by 14 and that will tell us what size element we need. 


Now if we want to do this faster, what do we do? We increase the size of the element. But of course there's a point of no return; you can only provide so much energy. Now this is a single phase. Then you have a split phase and you have three phases which are calculations in three phases are just a little bit different.


But needless to say the efficiency in 240 volts, which is two legs of 120 volts together equal to 40 from 180 degrees out of phase. People will argue that but it's true as opposed to 110 volts which is one leg of 110 volts in a neutral. But the efficiency here, most all the way up to about two kw, two kilowatts 2000 watt element is about your limit for 120 volts. 

And why is that? That is because they can make them higher they could  but remember that now you're working with amperage current and at 120 volts 2008 drawls 16.6 amps most homes are only 15 or 20 amp circuit breakers and in 240 volts it will be half of that. 


In 240 volts you'd only have 30 amp circuit breakers or 50 amp circuit breakers because you're running large appliances, which require a large drop of energy. 240 volts is a bit more efficient.

So up to about two kW is where you'll end using 120 volts, anything above that.


Anything above two kw, you'll be on 240 volts. Now for those of you that doubt for those who want to use a 5500 watt element, because they think that it'll cut it in half, or they put it on 120 volts, a beat for one for one when you do that, the way the way the formula works out, this actually does make sense but we're not going to get deep into it is a 5500 watt element on 120 volts, only produces 25% of its capability which is 1375 so you know, you're better off just getting a 2000 element. 


If you think you're going to sneak in a 5500 watt and run on 120 you say, half the power, half the energy? No, it actually is 25% of the energy when you do that. So you might as well just stick with 120 volts. And then if you make a mistake, and you hook up a 2120 volt element to 240 volts, it'll blow more. 


Same thing if you dry fire them, they will, they will blow. Now, I know that this has been a lot of information that's been thrown at you real quick and I'll leave this here. This is your solution. 


So the next time you sit down and you design a still and or you look at the one you have, and you think. What do I need? I want to be able to heat this up. Normally people won't be able to heat up within about an hour. Now, that's all things are equal. you've either got it insulated, or you're controlling the app somehow. But you're using 100% of that energy. And I want to be able to heat that at least within an hour. 


I don't want to do it much quicker than that. Because again, remember, we're looking for smooth, consistent heating, in order to help us with that separation. When I get ready to do this, what size element is going to be the most efficient for me to do that with? have you seen that? 10 gallons Still, if I use the 1500 watt element, it would take forever if it ever got there, because when we talked about that energy in versus energy escaping, it'll still What does he want to do? It wants to get the hell out of there.


So you start losing energy, but if you can't input energy fast Then you're losing energy, well, then you'll never get there. So a 1500 watt element was just not enough.


It required 2317 watts. And if we put 1500 in there, that 10 gallons will never make it to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It just, it's just not going to get there. So make sure you're matching your volume to what you're capable of doing. And like I said, in this particular case, from 20 feet, I go straight to a 3500 watt element, it's better to have it not need, then the need not have. So go up to the next element. 


And then that way, you can use your controller. We'll talk about that in another video about controlling temperature. Because what you don't want have to do is turn those on and off.


So find a means to control it and we will cover that for you So that way, if you've got a 3500 watt element, you're able to control that at 2% power 30% 100% 3500 watts, half of that 1500 watts just to keep it high, you're able to do that. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


We enjoy sharing, and yes, you're powerful!

We enjoy having kilowatt with us. Happy distilling!