How to run with a thumper?

The distillation process itself
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StillDave
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How to run with a thumper?

Post by StillDave » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:45 pm

I intend building a thumper to make life easier, so that I can just do one run as it were. Anyway, I have a question. How do you run with a thumper, do you run fast as with a stripping run, or slow as with a spirit run, or somewhere inbetween? :?: :roll:
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myles
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by myles » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:21 pm

Whilst you still have a load of options for what to put in a thumper, you are still intending to get product out.
I know some folks do a strip run with a thumper attached - but I never did it that way.

For me it is a tool to use on a spirit run.

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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by buffalobob » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:13 am

Do it Dave. In pot mode I use a thumper for stripping and spirit runs. I've been very happy with it. As Myles said it gives another option re flavours carried over and it does up your abv too. What's not to like?
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buffalobob
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by buffalobob » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:27 am

P.S. I run mine medium fast for stripping and fairly slow for spirit, works well. :D
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myles
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by myles » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:49 am

StillDave wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:45 pm
I intend building a thumper to make life easier, so that I can just do one run as it were.
A lot of folks talk about this use, but a lot depends on what you put in the thumper. The reason is that the thumper can be used to do a lot of different things.
The best example of this particular use is the traditional rum method from the Caribbean. Thanks to Harry for the illustration.
Traditional-Rum.png
The terminology is different, but the two thumbers are charged with diluted heads and tails. This use is actually all about flavour enhancement. The increase in ABV of the hearts cut is really a bi-product of the process and not the ultimate objective.

I am a fan of thumpers and they do increase your options on how to do a run.

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StillDave
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by StillDave » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:50 pm

Thanks guys for the input. I must say that my main reason for using a thumper is to do a double distillation in one run, rather than doing a stripping run, then collecting enough low wines from several strips and doing a much slower spirit run.
I also like the idea of being able to enhance the flavour profiles, too, by adding whatnots into the thumper.
@buffalobob, I'm still not clear as to how fast, or slow, to run a thumper if I want to do everything in one hit.....I suppose it may be all down to controlling the final rate of flow at the output?
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by myles » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:30 pm

StillDave wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:50 pm
I suppose it may be all down to controlling the final rate of flow at the output?
Even with a thumper attached - IT IS STILL A POTSTILL. Quality of your product is still dependent on your power management.

In this mode of operation the thumper "compresses" the cuts.

The heads are stronger, and the hearts cleaner. Each fraction comes off at a slightly higher ABV (compared to no thumper), so each fraction is a bit more concentrated, this makes the transitions easier to detect.

Run it exactly the same as you would with the potstill only.

Slow drip rate for foreshots, broken stream for heads, unbroken stream for hearts and full power for tails, is a good starting point.

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StillDave
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by StillDave » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:04 pm

Cheers, Myles, gottit! :D
I just need to get off my backside now, and make a start on my shotgun condenser, for which I need to chop 12" off my 24" inch column.... :lol:
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by StillDave » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:32 pm

I've been thinking... :o
It seems that some people advocate charging a thumper with fresh wash, or even, as Myles' diagram shows, with low wines. Now, my thinking is this.....If the purpose of my thumper is to achieve a double distillation run in one hit, then surely, any alcohol contained in the thumpers inital charge will only get distilled once, thereby making the objective relatively pointless, or at least reduce the desired result....am I right? I know, as Myles pointed out, that there are several uses for a thumper, but in this instance, a fresh charge containing no alcohol would be the way to go, yes?
As a side note, when using a thumper to add flavour, what sorts of additions, carry over well, and which ones don't, any thoughts? :) :)
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Re: How to run with a thumper?

Post by myles » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:19 pm

StillDave wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:32 pm
Now, my thinking is this.....If the purpose of my thumper is to achieve a double distillation run in one hit, then surely, any alcohol contained in the thumpers inital charge will only get distilled once, thereby making the objective relatively pointless, or at least reduce the desired result....am I right?
NO. But you need to keep it in perspective.
The BOILER produces a vapour that is directly related to the components in that boiler at any moment in time. Typically this liquid is about 8% ABV.

Irrespective of what you put in the thumper, the first vapour out of the boiler (it will be higher than 8% ABV) is going to hit cold liquid. It WILL ABSOLUTELY CONDENSE.
In fact until your thumper liquid warms up, virtually all the vapour coming out of the boiler ends up as liquid transferred into the thumper.
END RESULT - the liquid in the thumper - is DIFFERENT to the liquid in the boiler. Invariably it is higher in ABV, and often it has stronger flavour components.

The idea of a thumper giving you a double distillation is a simplified myth. Reality is that you might get 1.5.

The truth is that you get two mixed vapour streams coming out of a warmed up thumper.

1st is some boiler vapour that manages to pass straight through the liquid without condensing.
2nd is vapour that has been released by the boiling liquid in the thumper itself. (This is usually higher ABV and carries even more flavour components than the boiler charge).

There is historically a section of the distilling community that uses the thumper to increase ABV of the product. However, there is another that uses a thumper (or two) to modify the FLAVOUR of the product.

Remember - very few folks drink still strength product. It usually gets diluted to barrel proof or even bottle proof. This also dilutes flavour.

There is a big section of the pot stilling community that try to ensure that the still produces a product a barrel proof - specifically so as NOT to dilute the flavour.

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