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What's reasonable to you? I do all my own work so I searched for a chiller that was affordable, but not expensive, but reliable. I went with Chill King. $35K or so delivered, $7000 for electrical install (most of which was the copper wire to handle 200 amp 150 feet from the breaker panel.) If you can operate a hammer drill then install is easy. The compressor need to run in the correct directly and if you're not handy and know electrical that part might cost more. Everything else out there was way more expensive. Oh, mine is a 30 ton chiller.

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nogoodoutlaw1

If you are on a well or if your tap water temp is below 65 F then l can tell you how to do all of your cooling processes without a chiller and you can reclaim the hot water from your condenser for all of your hot water needs including mashing in and cleaning and you won't waste any water.  If your tap water is over 65F, I can tell you how to set things up so that you can use a much smaller chiller than would normally be needed and you can still reclaim all of the free hot water that your condensers put out.  We have the chillers if it turns out that you need one except we will help you set it up so that you can use a smaller less expensive chiller and you will get all of the free hot water that you need.

417-778-6908 paul@distillery-equipment.com 

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Pour Decisions,

You use your municipal water pressure or your well pump water pressure to pass the water through your final condenser then out of your final condenser through your dephlegmator and from your dephlegmator to 2 hot water holding tanks.  One hot water holding tank is for your next mashing in and the other is for all of your cleaning needs.  If you have a CIP pump connect it to the 2nd hot water holding tank and use that hot water for all of your CIP cleaning.  The hot water holding tanks can be cheap HDPE and you can insulate them with some blanket insulation.  The water from the condenser passed through the dephlegmator will be between 130 F and 140 F when it reaches the tanks.  

Lets look at a closed loop chiller as an alternative.  The chiller is expensive to buy.  The chiller has to cool the water/glycol from 140 F down to 52 F which takes a huge amount of energy which costs you a lot of money, meanwhile you are heating water up for cooking mash and cleaning which also takes a huge amount of energy which is also expensive.  Also when you are cooking mash instead of starting with  130 to 140F hot water you are starting with cold water which means it takes twice as long for your mash cooker to reach operating temp and time is money.

If you have more than one dephleg let me know and I will tell you how to plumb your coolant water in that situation.  

If you want to save huge amounts of money in energy costs and not having to buy a chiller, this is the way to go.  If you care about the environment this is the way to go.  It is a win win situation. 

One of my competitors quoted a customer $125,000.00 for a chiller and told the customer that they needed the chiller even though the customer told them that he had a well that put out 53 F water.  This company has been around selling brewing equipment for many decades and started building and selling stills and other distilling equipment 5 or 6 years ago.  Their equipment is very expensive.  I sold the customer a full set of equipment for less than what this company quoted for just the still.  Quoting the customer a chiller when the customer did not need one is inexcusable in my opinion.  I'm here to help my customers become successful by helping them choose equipment that will fit their budget and their particular needs.  I never upsell or try to sell the customers things that they don't need. 

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But if you are in the West or anywhere where water is scarce or on septic system, the closed loop chiller is the way to go.  Yes, you have the added expense of purchasing storage tanks and a chiller but you will have nearly zero waste water (spent mash goes to the farmer). 

We reversed flowed a 5 ton chiller ($10k) and alternate cooling two 1,600 wine tanks that we circulate chilled water with a second pump to our two stills and heat exchanger (Paul's)  for crash cooling.

 

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1 hour ago, Golden Beaver Distillery said:

But if you are in the West or anywhere where water is scarce or on septic system, the closed loop chiller is the way to go.  Yes, you have the added expense of purchasing storage tanks and a chiller but you will have nearly zero waste water (spent mash goes to the farmer). 

We reversed flowed a 5 ton chiller ($10k) and alternate cooling two 1,600 wine tanks that we circulate chilled water with a second pump to our two stills and heat exchanger (Paul's)  for crash cooling.

 

Water being scarce does not matter when using my method for condenser water because the water and the heat put into it by the condensers is reclaimed. Since the hot condenser water is reclaimed for mashing and cleaning, there is zero to very little waste water created from the condensers. 

If the tap water is too warm for cooling the condensers, the best alternative is to have a single chilled water tank and small chiller.  Use the chiller to chill your 70 F or so tap water in the chilled water tank down to 52 degrees F overnight then run the chilled water from the chilled water tank through the stills condenser and into 2 hot water holding tanks then use that water for cleaning and the next mashing in.  This method saves a lot more energy because you are only chilling water from 65 F -75 F down 14 to 20 degrees and you are not having to use any energy to heat water.  Also this method means that you do not need as large of a chiller because you are only chilling down 15 to 20 degrees and you have 14 or more hours for you chiller to do that.  At the end of the day you refill the chilled water tank and turn on the chiller so that the chiller can chill down the water. over night.  The chilled water tank must hold enough water to coolthe stills condensers for the day.  The chilled water tank can be cheap HDPE.  We have chilling coils for chilled water tanks and they are inexpensive.  Also the water in the hot water holding tanks can be used to proof as well, once it cools down a little (if you have any left after mashing and cleaning). Of course if the distiller is redistilling GNS and not mashing then my method of reclamation will not work as well because no water is needed for mashing.

My method works very well for condensers but not for crash cooling mash.  For crash cooling mash the 2 tank system and chiller that Golden Beaver is using works very well.  

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Hi Paul, what design are your condensers that you use to end up with the hot water?

I build most of my own equipment. (I am in Australia) My condensers are tube in tube counterflow and are insulated on the outside. The water I get out of the end of the condensers is almost boiling, at least 95degrees C, 203F.

If the available cooling water is a bit warm, then you just need longer condensers and, as you have said, possibly a very small chiller.

With a long enough condenser a 500 gallon still charge will only need 500 gallons of cooling water and you end up with 500 gallons of water at close to 200F (assuming good insulation)

 

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2 hours ago, PeteB said:

Hi Paul, what design are your condensers that you use to end up with the hot water?

I build most of my own equipment. (I am in Australia) My condensers are tube in tube counterflow and are insulated on the outside. The water I get out of the end of the condensers is almost boiling, at least 95degrees C, 203F.

If the available cooling water is a bit warm, then you just need longer condensers and, as you have said, possibly a very small chiller.

With a long enough condenser a 500 gallon still charge will only need 500 gallons of cooling water and you end up with 500 gallons of water at close to 200F (assuming good insulation)

 

Our condensers are stainless tube in tube, counter flow.  Some are shell side and some are tube side.  On our Ultra Pro Vodka Stills, the coolant coming from the final condenser is around 120 F during a Vodka run. The water comes out of the final condenser at 120 F into the dephlegs where it comes out at around 140F.  If there are no dephlegs being ran and it is a stripping run then the water generally comes out of the final condenser around 130 to 140F on the average throughout the run. If the water is cool enough then my 500 gallon stills will only use around 500 gallons of cooling water.    Vodka runs will use more water than whisky runs as do runs for high proof.

I have only seen water coming out of a final condenser near boiling when the coolant flow was too low.  If your coolant goes through the shell side of your condenser, you should have a baffle, splitter or structured packing above the condensate intake tubes to spread out the vapor and slow down the vapor velocity.   If your coolant goes through the tubes and your condensate through the shell and the condenser is baffled properly, this is the most efficient condenser but harder to build.  Tall copper tube and shell condensers will build more heat in the top because copper has a better thermal transfer coefficient.  Also, outgoing coolant temps may increase as the run progresses, especially during stripping runs.  I was referencing average outgoing coolant temps coming into the hot water holding tanks in my posts.

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Paul, I am not quite sure, I think you are describing what I know as shotgun condensers, many tubes inside one shell.

My condensers are Liebig, just one tube inside one slightly larger tube, like the ones you have on your very small stills. If the image attached, this is like what I am talking about.

I have them in 10 foot lengths, the vapour travels along the inside tube, for my 2,000 litre stills the first internal tube (copper) is 2 1/2 inch inside. There are 8 lengths that are connected together in series, for convenience they attached to a wall in a zig zag pattern. The diameters for each section is reduced because the vapour velocity reduces as condensate is formed. The outside tubes are insulated to retain the heat picked up, so I get almost boiling water output for later use.

If the input cooling water is a bit warm then add a few more sections of Liebig 61D484zrPVL._SL1500_1024x1024.jpg?v=1586280218

 

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If anyone has an issue with enough economical cooling water I suggest you consider a continuous still, at least for the stripping run. 

With the correct simple design they need NO = ZERO = ZILCH cooling water and  no chiller unit.

Continuous stills sound complicated and expensive but a stripping one is very basic and should be much cheaper than a pot of similar output.

And they use way less heat energy and so are much cheaper to run.

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Pete B Said >Paul, I am not quite sure, I think you are describing what I know as shotgun condensers, many tubes inside one shell.<

Pete,

I'm not sure why I didn't catch the tube in tube thing.  Yes, my condensers on all of our large stills are either shell side tube in shell or tube side tube in shell. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, PeteB said:

If anyone has an issue with enough economical cooling water I suggest you consider a continuous still, at least for the stripping run. 

With the correct simple design they need NO = ZERO = ZILCH cooling water and  no chiller unit.

Continuous stills sound complicated and expensive but a stripping one is very basic and should be much cheaper than a pot of similar output.

And they use way less heat energy and so are much cheaper to run.

Pete B.

I have never seen a continuous stripping still that did not need liquid condenser cooling,  How does that work?  

I have seen a pot still condenser set up that had both an air cooled condenser and then a liquid cooled condenser.

Maybe my friend Alexander has seen designs without liquid cooled condensers.  Alexander, if you see this post, let us know if any of the old industrial Soviet continuous still designs worked  without liquid cooled condensers and if so, were air cooled condensers used?

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Pete B.  

I have built distilling columns for oil refining that did not have liquid cooled condensers but those columns operated at over 600 degrees F. 

I also have short path stills that separate CBD and THC and fraction out terpenes by boiling point.  These stills operate under vacuum and they use liquid coolant in the condensers but the coolant is heated before in goes into the condenser so that the temp differential is not too great.    The boiling points of THC CBD and Terpenes, from Marijuana, fall between 156 C and 250 C.  I think that an air cooled condenser could be used in this process but I have never seen it done that way, I might give it a try though. 

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Paul, you make me think I should patent my design, but I am sure it must be used elsewhere.

The condensers on my continuous stills are as described 5 posts above, a long set of Liebig condensers in series.

The coolant for the condensers is the feed stock(wash, beer, wine or whatever)

The cold (room temperature) wash travels in the opposite direction (counterflow) to the vapour and condenses it, by the time the wash reaches the height of the still it is almost to boiling point, then it drops into the top of the stripping column. 

With enough length of Liebig and adjusting the feed rate there is no need for any extra cooling.

If the feed wash is hotter than the desired temperature of alcohol output then a short section of Liebig could be added the the output end of the condenser and run a small volume of external coolant through it.

Let me know if any readers are having trouble visualising this and I will do rough sketch this weekend.

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10 hours ago, PeteB said:

If anyone has an issue with enough economical cooling water I suggest you consider a continuous still, at least for the stripping run. 

With the correct simple design they need NO = ZERO = ZILCH cooling water and  no chiller unit.

Continuous stills sound complicated and expensive but a stripping one is very basic and should be much cheaper than a pot of similar output.

And they use way less heat energy and so are much cheaper to run.

 

1 hour ago, PeteB said:

Paul, you make me think I should patent my design, but I am sure it must be used elsewhere.

The condensers on my continuous stills are as described 5 posts above, a long set of Liebig condensers in series.

The coolant for the condensers is the feed stock(wash, beer, wine or whatever)

The cold (room temperature) wash travels in the opposite direction (counterflow) to the vapour and condenses it, by the time the wash reaches the height of the still it is almost to boiling point, then it drops into the top of the stripping column. 

With enough length of Liebig and adjusting the feed rate there is no need for any extra cooling.

If the feed wash is hotter than the desired temperature of alcohol output then a short section of Liebig could be added the the output end of the condenser and run a small volume of external coolant through it.

Let me know if any readers are having trouble visualising this and I will do rough sketch this weekend.

:ph34r:

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2 hours ago, PeteB said:

Paul, you make me think I should patent my design, but I am sure it must be used elsewhere.

The condensers on my continuous stills are as described 5 posts above, a long set of Liebig condensers in series.

The coolant for the condensers is the feed stock(wash, beer, wine or whatever)

The cold (room temperature) wash travels in the opposite direction (counterflow) to the vapour and condenses it, by the time the wash reaches the height of the still it is almost to boiling point, then it drops into the top of the stripping column. 

With enough length of Liebig and adjusting the feed rate there is no need for any extra cooling.

If the feed wash is hotter than the desired temperature of alcohol output then a short section of Liebig could be added the the output end of the condenser and run a small volume of external coolant through it.

Let me know if any readers are having trouble visualising this and I will do rough sketch this weekend.

Sorry, I thought you meant that you used something other than a liquid coolant. Yes we use feedstock for the pre condensers on our continuous  column stripping stills (they also have small tube and shell final condensers that use water or a glycol/water mixture).       Pre-condensers using feed stock in this way also preheat the mash.  It's a great idea, very efficient and  preheaters like this have been used on pot stills here in the USA for at least 180 years.   My great uncle used a preheater on one of his stills.  It was a simple stainless 150 gallon submarine tank with oak sides put together with nails just like a submarine still pot, with a worm coil in it that preheated the mash and which also acted as a pre-condenser. The set up was built into the side of a bank and the fermenter was higher than the preheater which was higher than the still so that everything would gravity feed.  The vapor went through the worm in the preheater and then through an old 55 gallon barrel flake stand that had cold branch water passing through it. 

I have a customer back in the Great Smoky Mountains where I grew up that has a cooling coil in the branch behind his distillery.  He is in Maggie Valley North Carolina and his distillery is called Elevated Mountain Distilling Company.  Here is a link https://elevatedmountain.com/  The still in the background is one of my 800 gallon Ultra Pro Vodka Stills.  The building was a theater for years.  The still sits where the stage used to be.  The still sits lower than the main floor because the still pot and column bases are down in what once was the area under the stage.  The owner Dave Angel is a great guy.  If you ever come to the states it's a great distillery to visit.  The Smokies are prettiest in the fall which starts up here on top September 22.   The fall colors are best between mid October and early November. https://www.google.com/search?q=fall+colors+in+the+Smokies&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS912US912&sxsrf=ALeKk00G_W2BNoVKipH24iksdDnGBN4W3g:1613692161791&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=-U4PY4Oah3PzxM%2Cr-_bOFC-lKGxyM%2C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kS9bA1CDMWwnL2i7cryERmd693OkQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQ9NHgz_TuAhUKPK0KHYOwD4gQ_h16BAgVEAE#imgrc=-U4PY4Oah3PzxM

 

 

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:56 AM, PeteB said:

Paul, I am not quite sure, I think you are describing what I know as shotgun condensers, many tubes inside one shell.

My condensers are Liebig, just one tube inside one slightly larger tube, like the ones you have on your very small stills. If the image attached, this is like what I am talking about.

I have them in 10 foot lengths, the vapour travels along the inside tube, for my 2,000 litre stills the first internal tube (copper) is 2 1/2 inch inside. There are 8 lengths that are connected together in series, for convenience they attached to a wall in a zig zag pattern. The diameters for each section is reduced because the vapour velocity reduces as condensate is formed. The outside tubes are insulated to retain the heat picked up, so I get almost boiling water output for later use.

If the input cooling water is a bit warm then add a few more sections of Liebig 

Your system is very well thought out and it sounds very efficient.  Also the way you have your condensers laid out is very unique.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone do it that way before.  Did you see a similar set up of multiple Liebig condensers ran in series somewhere, or was this an original idea of yours?  They say original ideas are as rare as hens teeth https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060223083601.htm   

Very Impressive.

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I don't recall ever seeing Liebig condensers hooked up in series. To me it seemed logical that is the way to get the the "coolant" to a very high temperature and at the same time get the condensate output cold enough. Surely I am not the first person to figure that out!!

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:15 PM, Southernhighlander said:

Pete B.

I have never seen a continuous stripping still that did not need liquid condenser cooling,  How does that work?  

I have seen a pot still condenser set up that had both an air cooled condenser and then a liquid cooled condenser.

Maybe my friend Alexander has seen designs without liquid cooled condensers.  Alexander, if you see this post, let us know if any of the old industrial Soviet continuous still designs worked  without liquid cooled condensers and if so, were air cooled condensers used?

My point is that if you do distillation (no matter what liquids or oils) you need to work with heaters or coolers. :)

In any case, if you need to turn water (alcohol) steam into a liquid, you need to take away thermal energy from the steam and direct it somewhere. It can be cold water, it can be atmospheric air.

But it should be remembered that water has the highest heat capacity, so water is very well suited for transferring heat energy. Your vehicles are water cooled. Why? because it allows for compact cooling devices. If you have a motorcycle :) you can estimate how much its cooling differs in efficiency from liquid cooling. Why a motorcycle needs large cooling fins on the cylinder.

As for the USSR solutions for distillers, air cooling was not used due to the bulkiness and unpredictability of the weather. You cannot cool the cooler with air below 40 Celsius if you have a shade temperature of 40 Celsius in the summer. In the USSR, evaporators (not refrigerators with freon) were used for industrial installations.

These are such large installations, where hot water from condensers was sprayed and fell into the tank, giving energy to the surrounding atmosphere. At the same time, part of the water evaporated, these water losses were inevitable.

I think we need to use energy recovery in continuous columns and condensers. The input mixture (water and alcohol with yeast) is always at the ambient temperature (depending on the weather). The second positive point in this scheme is that heating the inlet mixture into the continuous column helps to increase the productivity of the stripping column. I have several schemes in which the alcohol vapor condenser was cooled by the inlet mixture from the fermentation tank.

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On 2/16/2021 at 4:51 PM, Pour Decisions said:

@Southernhighlander Care to share your recommended setup for cooling without a chiller? I'm in Northern Pa, cold mountain spring water! I'm looking ahead and this post caught my interest.

We use a tube in tube heat exchanger and I use cold tap water we collect the water on the other end and use it for preheating our mash water and cleaning I have a few extra for sale if you're interested. Email me at Urbanahilldistilling@gmail.com

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