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CIP or Hand Wash?


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I've got a 100+ gallon stainless stripping still, and a 100 gallon copper pot still that have 6" and 8" manways respectively, and both have potential ports for CIP spray balls. We'll be producing fruit brandies, and rum. Fermenting in 275 gal HDPE totes. I do not have CIP system now, and have a limited budget But after reading posts and articles on stainless passivation, and a concern about keeping the equipment clean, I'm trying to figure out the most effective (Cost and time) cleaning method.

I've talked with a CIP spray ball company, and they recommended a 60psi 20gpm pump for one of their $700 spray balls. I'm assuming that a CIP pump needs to be stainless steel, and that seems to put me in the $1500-3000 pump price range, which starts to make CIP a little expensive for us starting up.

I'm curious what folks with simple pot stills are doing for tank cleaning, stainless passivisation, and sanitizing. Is CIP the way to go, and if so, could someone give me some tips on a simple, affordable and effective CIP solution? Or should I just find a pressure washer and use it with the proper chemical washes?

I've spoken with Loffler chemicals and had a list of cleaners and sanitizers they offer, both for CIP and for hand washing.



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Amongst others, I've got a basic direct fire copper potstill that I put through a cip procedure after every batch or two. I picked up a cip spray ball like this one for less than $100: http://www.glaciertanks.com/Spray_Balls_TriClamp-TriClamp_Spray_Ball_1_1_2_Thru_the_Wall_12_Relv._1.html

I recirculate chemicals with a 1.5 hp centrifugal pump (currently using a top-flow pump with a vfd - it was $1,800 and I'd highly recommend one like this). I've used a few pumps for this purpose, and my first cost-conscious pump was made by Gould, it was lightly used, stainless and cost me around $350 on ebay.

All that being said... nothing wrong with trying out a pressure washer or any other manual cleaning technique that might work. Feel free to give me a call (719.395.9464) -- I"d be happy to share further opinions on this stuff from the perspective of someone who started up a distillery on a crazy-short shoestring.

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