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Old 07-05-2010, 04:41 AM   #1
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Default DIY activated charcoal filter?

I'd like to build an activated charcoal filter for purifying vodka for use in liqueurs. However, I've run into the rather snarly problem of not being able to use anything that will leech into the alcohol, which does rather heavily limit the materials I can use for construction. As the alcohol needs to pass through the charcoal several times (or needs to pass through a LOT of charcoal), some sort of recirculating design or one working as a siphon to push the alcohol from one chamber to another would be nice.

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Old 07-05-2010, 06:49 AM   #2
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Are you worried about evaporation? OK, so the system should be sealed. Why couldn't you modify a cartrige water filter,ala a Randal; for this purpose and move the liquor with a food grade pump?

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Old 07-05-2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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I see no reason why a filter housing as shown in the previous post would not work. Slightly off topic, but FYI I was discussing the vodka filtering thing with some friends. I had read some stuff about supposedly being able to filter cheap vodka through activated carbon and it would be magically transformed into top shelf vodka. I was promptly informed that this was pure B.S. and had even been debunked by the Mythbuster guys. IOW, you might want to do a little more research on the subject before going forward with this. I'm not a vodka drinker, so I probably could not tell the difference if I did a before and after blind tasting.

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Old 07-05-2010, 02:39 PM   #4
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You could try looking for SS canisters that are roughly the same dimensions as the plastic filter housings. If you're worried about chemical leaching, the SS should be fine. It might be somewhat costly by the time you've fabricated something out of SS, though, and you might have to evaluate whether or not it's worth it.




In college, my old roommate and I used to filter 5 o'clock vodka through an activated carbon Britta filter. It tasted much better, and back then it was only $4/fifth. It was no Grey Goose, though.

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Old 07-05-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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You could try looking for SS canisters that are roughly the same dimensions as the plastic filter housings. ...
Something like this might work.

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Old 07-05-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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Good idea, P-J. That looks like a hopback, is it not? You could easily use that as a filter with just a few modifications if any.

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Old 07-05-2010, 11:12 PM   #7
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Good idea, P-J. That looks like a hopback, is it not? You could easily use that as a filter with just a few modifications if any.
It is a custom hopback that I built. The outlet (bottom line) is a length of 1/2" copper tubing that is split in half its entire length. I use a disk made from a floor polisher pad (white) as the filter medium.

Here is my writeup on the unit. It works a trip with hops but I'm sure that it could be setup as a charcoal filter as well.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dunerunner View Post
Are you worried about evaporation? OK, so the system should be sealed. Why couldn't you modify a cartrige water filter,ala a Randal; for this purpose and move the liquor with a food grade pump?
[/IMG]
Where would I get such a pump at a reasonable price? I'm a reasonably accomplished metalworker, and silver brazing together some copper pipe in the appropriate shape would be easy-peasy. However, I've tried to avoid having to do this because of the cost of said pump.

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I was promptly informed that this was pure B.S. and had even been debunked by the Mythbuster guys. IOW, you might want to do a little more research on the subject before going forward with this. I'm not a vodka drinker, so I probably could not tell the difference if I did a before and after blind tasting.
From what I've heard, it goes from being "bad vodka" to "mediocre vodka." I'm looking for a completely tasteless white spirit, and carbon-filtered vodka is about as close as I'm likely to get.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:25 PM   #9
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What i use is a 5' long piece of 2" Stainless Steel pipe. Place a piece of fleece on one send and clamp it on with a Stainless hose clamp. Fill the pipe 3/4 of the way up with activated carbon. Place the whole unit into the open end of a funnel to collect the vodka coming out of the fleece end and collect it into something glass preferably. Attach a very large funnel or siphon from a bucket into the open end and voila! The cleanest spirit you have ever tasted. If you need any help at all with the design, i can put up a couple pictures of my set up.

O, and make sure to run a little water through the carbon if its the first time you use it. you can use carbon over and over, but you have to clean it every 50-100L that you do. To clean the carbon, boil it in an old pot on the stove for 15 min. Then place the carbon on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 250 Celsius for one hour with the oven door propped open. Keep a couple windows open. Can be smelly!
Have fun.

As for using plastic, try not to use too much. High alcohols, (anything above 30% or so), will make every piece of plastic very very brittle. Learned that the hard way. if you do use some, just remember to replace it every time you clean your carbon.

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Old 07-28-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whistler94 View Post
What i use is a 5' long piece of 2" Stainless Steel pipe. Place a piece of fleece on one send and clamp it on with a Stainless hose clamp. Fill the pipe 3/4 of the way up with activated carbon. Place the whole unit into the open end of a funnel to collect the vodka coming out of the fleece end and collect it into something glass preferably. Attach a very large funnel or siphon from a bucket into the open end and voila! The cleanest spirit you have ever tasted. If you need any help at all with the design, i can put up a couple pictures of my set up.

O, and make sure to run a little water through the carbon if its the first time you use it. you can use carbon over and over, but you have to clean it every 50-100L that you do. To clean the carbon, boil it in an old pot on the stove for 15 min. Then place the carbon on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 250 Celsius for one hour with the oven door propped open. Keep a couple windows open. Can be smelly!
Have fun.

As for using plastic, try not to use too much. High alcohols, (anything above 30% or so), will make every piece of plastic very very brittle. Learned that the hard way. if you do use some, just remember to replace it every time you clean your carbon.
Ever try running beer through that setup? I saw a recipe for making zima and part of me wants to try to make it, but I'd have to filter out all the good stuff.
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