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Copper and reflux


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I know everyone is on the side of using copper for whiskey production... including myself, I think.

Every still in our facility is stainless steel. Lately we've been pricing adding a copper column to our stainless pot still, thus, converting it into a hybrid. However, this is really not a cheap solution. I could toss some copper packing in but then I've gotta deal with the mess that would create. Plus, this is our stripping still for nearly every product in house. I can't imagine the addition of copper packing, especially once seasoned, won't affect flavor of our other products.

This is a 500 gallon still with a 12" wide tapered lyne arm. It's a beast, so simply removing the packing really isn't a realistic solution. I'm also looking to increase reflux. Adding a dephlegmator seems like a good option, could I use a copper coil? Would that provide the copper contact I'm looking for?

Any of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Ryan Christiansen

Caledonia Spirits

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Catalyzer1.JPGCatalyzer2.JPGCatalyzer3.JPGA still that big, I wouldn't think that a simple coil would do much. if you're going to add a dephlegmator, why not add a bypassable catalyzer? Most big still companies use large catalyzers to help with the surface area of copper. Some of them weight 700 pounds and are filled with corrugated copper.

Here's some pics of what a catalyzer looks like.

Post pics of your still.

You can also line your column with copper foil. The thickness of copper has no affect just the surface area. Copper foil is much cheaper than sheet copper.

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That catalyzer is indeed cool. However, I think he'd have the same problem as using packing since it's a stripping still. Your idea of copper foil is along the lines I've seen before. But using the copper plate would make it scrubbable, remove and replace wouldn't be a problem as it would with foil.

The other is placing simple flat copper plates in the path, with the flow not across it, to provide the surface area. Easily cleaned and not expensive to build yourself. For that matter, rolling a large cone of plate copper would be rather easy too. We use a program that plots out the pattern for cutting your own cones; give it the input diameter, output diameter, overlap, and length of the cone. Lay the pattern over the copper and cut away, then hand roll it. Or a local metal shop would be able to roll it for you.

Keep a spare and switch them out for cleaning purposes.

Just looked at the pics on your site.........I'd sleeve the colum with thin copper plate inside, maybe 2 sets of round tubes, stacked, with a crossbar in each one you could hook onto for removal. Less length, easier to handle, and make them yourself.

Thought you were trying to line a tapered lyne arm, that's why the cone rolling idea.

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