Jump to content
Auguru

Absinthe alambic on ebay

Recommended Posts

Hey, I would have bought because it looks like a gnomes hat or to replicate the Caterpillars hookah.

The first picture Hiram posted really looks like something a gnome might use. I can just see it, a gnome fiddling with this weird contraption while sitting on a semi hallucinogenic mushroom for a childrens book. Ah, good ol' childrens books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So does anyone really know what the bend is for?

I would like to know. One of the reasons I joined this lovely group was to learn, but sometime the that is a little hard with everyone trying to out do each other with the smart ass comments. And us poor newbs left not knowing what is BS and what is truth. I enjoy the fact we can joke with each other here but eventually a strait answer would be nice (If there is one or is that asking too much?) Too be honest I think the answer is somewhere in between Hiram's and jacal's answer. But hey what do I know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You would love some of the other absinthe forums, this is smartass lite compared to other places.

Just reading a bit based on what someone said, it would appear someone started being a smartass only after he gave the right answer. the arm angle effects the flavour and the reflux. a downward angle means less reflux.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have lurked on a couple of the other (feevert, the absinthe mosh pit) and that is why the only one I have joined so far is this one. I will problem get involved with the others, but I wanted to learn a little bit first.

As for the answer, that is why I figured it was kind of between Hiram's and jacal's.

I figure the action of the reflux would cause a lose of oils and possibly add bitterness. I don't know just guessing here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is this a multiple choice question?

Only for the uninitiated.

 

But in reality it's only to add artistic flair to the overhead pipe so that people will want to pay big bucks for it as a decorative collectible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bend would have little effect on reflux. The pressure coming over would keep the vapor going, and the bend itself is never enough to stop or trap any vapor that might condense on the way over. Anything that far down the condenser is going over.

 

Looks cool though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bird's head is a swan - the long undulating neck leading from the chapiteau (cowl, or Moor's head) to the condensor is referred to as the "swan's neck" for obvious reasons. The maker of this piece was obviously inspired to elaborate.

 

Swan_Neck_Alambic2.jpg

 

The curve in the neck is more than aesthetic, as the design has been with us for centuries. Look at most of the other alembic designs, including the Charentais alambic used to make Cognac. After doing a bit more research, I'm convinced it's to slow the vapors.

 

The following is a very rough, machine translation of part of this page.

Note: One often wonders why the capital of a still for the

distillation of essential oils does not have the same form as that

used to distil alcohols.

 

Here two diagrams:

2_6_produc4.gif

The capital of the Charentais alambic used for the distillation of

cognac, called "swan's neck", and that of the still used to distil

the lavender, known as "head of Moor".

 

For the first, the cap concentrates the vapors and a part condenses

some; they turn over in the still, the swan neck itself, in its

ascending part, produces the same effect; that thus has an effect of

rectification sought to increase the degree out of alcohol in two

successive distillations necessary for the manufacture of the cognac.

In the second, the vapors are led directly without almost return,

except at the first minute, therefore without rectification which is

not desirable in the case of essential oils...

As Skeeter rightly pointed out, anything that passes over the top of the curve is going to go into the condenser, so reflux (condensation which flows back into the original charge and is re-vaporized) isn't the issue with the neck.

 

At the fairly low pressures we're looking at—or at any pressure for that matter—a curve or obstacle in the vapor flow will slow it down and cause it to begin to condense. This is also the reason for the long, gentle tapering of the neck—forcing more vapor particles into a smaller space, where they begin to collide and cause the vapor to become more dense and saturated. Think of it as a pre-condenser. That way the condenser itself (the coil in the bucket) has less work to do and can be smaller and less vapor will be lost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "dip" or bend, which is the subject of discussion, is to move the top of the overhead arch closest to the still and have a continuous slope to the condenser as much as possible, so as to minimize condensate return to the still and reflux. No more and no less. And the decreasing diameter of the overhead pipe is not about compressing the vapor into a liquid or "slowing it down", it's just to accommodate the less volume required as the vapor partially condenses to liquid from the vapor heat extraction to the cooler outside air through the copper wall, which is an excellent heat conductor. It's a result, not a cause.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with what Hiram said about the bend, but will add this. I would imagine that the bend in the opposite direction would increase the strength of the piece. It is quite easy to bend and kink a pipe that has already been curved. With the counter curve, you have a much more durable unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jacal, as I pointed out, the dip occurs after the top of the curve and so has no effect on reflux.

Hiram, as I pointed out, the whole purpose of the dip is to shift the top of the overhead arch toward the still so that the top of the arch is closer to the still and the bulk of the overhead pipe is sloped toward the condenser. Imagine if the dip was not present, the top of the arch would be midway between the still and the condenser, and any vapor condensation in the overhead half between the arch top and the still would run back toward the still, hence reflux. Again, it's to minimize reflux by placing the top of the overhead pipe arch closest to the still. The dip is nothing more than the other side of the arch base. They've taken that point from the top of the condenser and shifted it up the pipe so that the arch only accounts for about half of the overhead pipe.

 

I believe I've been quite consistent in that position. And it has every effect on reflux by shortening the length of overhead pipe between the still and the arch top in as much as practical without introducing abrupt bends. It's all about reflux, as a matter of fact.

 

I can't understand why we're belaboring a point that seems so intuitively obvious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A = shorter pipe, implying reduced initial condensation efficiency. This also implies that a bend might be introduced in the same length of overhead pipe, thus shifting the arch top closer to the still and reducing reflux.

B = alternative slope design. However, it does introduce an abrupt angle at the top of the condenser. Graceful curves achieve the same effect, probably with more inherent strength as well as esthetic appeal and possible ease of fabrication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×