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Organic Still Cleaning

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I don't know that they do organic (but I bet they do) I've used Loffler Chemical and they were very helpful and knowledgeable

Brian Campbell

Sales Manager

Loeffler Chemical Corporation

Telephone: (404) 629-0999

Facsimile: (404) 629-0690


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Not sure if citric acid can be considered organic. It is produced industrially by fermenting Aspergillus Niger with glucose or sucrose, and then precipitating the citric acid with calcium hydroxide. It's then rehydrated with sulfuric acid and crystallized. All of those things CAN come from organic sources, but considering the industrial quantities, I highly doubt it. You might be able to find organic citrus-sourced citric acid, though.

The problem is going to be removing your organics. A good soap (not detergent) might actually work, and residue won't come through...but it might help act as an anti-foam. I'd try that...find a really good lye soap (probably one made with lard or another animal fat) and run a CIP at a high temp, like 165 F. Then rinse and hit it with citric acid, or any other organic weak acid. I'd avoid acetic (vinegar), but there are lots of others.

I'm sure there are lots of organic source weak acids out there. Just no nitric or sulphamic acid...they are way too aggressive on copper.

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Distillery Resources,

I have to disagree with you on the vinegar. Acetic acid reacts with copper to form cupric acetate. I'd not want a chemical used (briefly) as a shark repellant, dye, insecticide, or plating chemical in my distillate. Also, if left for a significant amount of time (such as a shoddy rinse from an inadequate CIP system, a common failing in still design) it forms a very hard crystal that is difficult to remove if it grows in crevices. This is the stuff that gives your distillate a blue tinge.

It is very slightly soluble in most of the things we clean our stills with, so if you DO get that in your still, I recommend a hot or steam cycle of at least 12 hours to adequately remove the verdigris.

Very brief exposures to acetic acid will clean your still, but if you are eschewing a caustic cleaning, the prolonged contact needed for good acid CIP is when you will make easily detectable quantities of copper (II) acetate.

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Thanks Natrat,

At this time it looks like we will be using non-gmo citric acid to clean our stills. I've talked with a couple of the other organic distillers in my state and it's what they are using to clean their stills.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Salish, what concentration of citric acid have your heard to use? I'm getting close to my first cleaning runs with my still (1000L with 8 plates) and am wondering what concentration citric acid to mix. Thanks.

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