Yellow distillate? What did I do?

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Yellow distillate? What did I do?

Postby JTrin » Wednesday Dec 29, 2010 6:14 pm

Set up our first run today.
Started off great but went downhill pretty quick! The methanol and first few mls of ethanol we collected were clear and smelled right, but then we had some problems with keeping the temperature stable and everything from then on came out cloudy or yellow, and only went more yellow when we put it aside.
Pretty much looks like pee!
We are using a copper reflux still head on a 50L keg boiler. Our original wash was about 25L - 8kg sugar, 1 sachet still spirits turbo yeast.
We're going to water it down and run it through again tomorrow and see if it clears up.
To me it looks and smells like stuff from the wash ended up in the distillate.
Can anybody offer any hints or tips for when we do this a second time? Very grateful for any advice - you've all got more experience than I do!
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Re: Yellow distillate? What did I do?

Postby JTrin » Thursday Dec 30, 2010 1:02 pm

Problems solved by running it through again. The following is a list of things that were wrong with what we were doing:
1. steel wool has to get shoved up inside the still head. It wasn't shoved up far enough.
2. The thermometer was stuck in too far.
3. The thermometer is also bloody close to useless, and reads about 20C below what the temp actually is.
We just looked at the water flow out the end, and the distillate flow and adjusted it from there if it didn't look right. Barely had to touch it once we had it right.
Now to filter.
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Re: Yellow distillate? What did I do?

Postby Tipsy » Thursday Dec 30, 2010 10:26 pm

I've heard of blue distillate, but never yellow. Glad you sorted it out.
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Re: Yellow distillate? What did I do?

Postby lethaldog » Monday Jan 10, 2011 6:33 pm

You have hit the nail on the head by the sounds of it, if temp raises too high then this will happen as the impurities will boil through, not the end of the world though if you have the time to put it through again though!
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Re: Yellow distillate? What did I do?

Postby turbo_brian » Friday Jan 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Yep, temps way too high. Result is instead of boiling the alcohol which boils around 80 degrees, you also boiled the water and other impurities which start boiling at 100 degrees C. Result was your condensor also condensing the water/impure steam, and the wash coming through as well.

Do you have boil enhancers in your boiler (ceramic mini-doughnuts) as these will help with even heat dispersal, and reduce the boilding time a bit.

Also, a good quality digital thermometer, and having the condensor set up right will go a long way :)

Glad it's sorted, also dont forget to pull that first 50ml, even if your re-distilling, because it's usually reacting with the inside of the condensor as it's heating up and starting it's flow...


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