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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Packing and Plates

When using both packing and plates and aiming for 190P, which is better to have on top? I have a 4" column with 5' of packed, and five plates, using a dephlem. to control take off. I've been running with the plates on top, but read in a post recently the advise to pack the top plates to someone having a hard time reaching neutral. In my mind it seems like the plates would more easily flood if on the bottom. Thanks.


I ran a 4" packed over plates for quite a while.  From my testing packing is more efficient than plates.  I simply ran one plate to see what was going on in the column.   If space limited, fewer plates and more packed for the same height will give more equivalent plates.  


Plates on the bottom..... you can clean plates much easier than you can RAP for all grain...... Also bear in mind the more reflux the higher the proof..... theres no point in further scrubbing the packing with a plate thats not enough reflux and you will come up short...... The plates almost strip for the packing if that makes sense.... make sure you have right dimensions for plates and use RAP instead of steel wool.......



Wait are you talking bout packing your plates?


@slickfloss No, I have a long section of packed column (5'), and a short section of plated column (5 plates). I am wondering what section to put on top of which, as it is all modular. I strip first so am not worried about cleaning grain. The first time I ran with the plates on bottom they all flooded, but I was probably putting too much heat into the boiler. I'm getting 95%, if I run it correctly, with the plates on top, and can see what is happening at the top of the column, but would be stoked to have a faster more stable take off. I'm not sure what RAP is. Spiral prismatic packing and copper mesh are the only things I've read about working better than steel wool. Thanks.

I'd like to avoid putting packing in the plate section because I don't want to break the downcomer when I stuff it in.


Plates on bottom preferred, assuming you are dilute low wines in the pot (less than 40%). If the plates are getting flooded, you are probably pushing too hard for the packing, generating too much reflux. If you are running high wines in the pot, it might not matter, having the plates on top could provide you a place to observe and control reflux at the head of the still, especially if you are using a dephlegmator.


Thanks @bluefloss. Everything you said makes sense. I'm gonna replace some of the steel wool with copper mesh to hopefully get a bit more refux, and keep the plates on top so I can watch the reflux like you mentioned. Im really close to holding 95% through the entire run. I am running  a dephlem, my still charge is right about 40%.