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Cleaning Process

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Hi to all,

My wife and I are very excited in our new venture. Ever since I was seven years old I have been helping first my grandfather then my uncle make wine. Winemaking and fine brandy is a passion in our family.

Several years ago I started importing tanks from Europe to give the small winemaker the same selection of tanks that the large wineries had at their disposal, only smaller. The business has slowly blossomed making new friends and a little extra income to bring our dreams to foliation. This past year we planted our first block of vines and just completed a 3000 square foot winery. It is kind of funny we don’t have the money now to buy our own tanks, but I did receive a very nice gift from my European partners, a 250 liter batch still for the production of brandy. It is a simple still made a local coppersmith.

The still kettle and column are made of copper, has four bubble cap trays and a condenser on the top. The kettle sits in a metal fire box and uses wood as a fuel. The total height is 13 feet and was engineered to produce 145-165 proof distillates.

I use “Five Star” products when cleaning my tanks, and recommend it to all my customers. I contacted the Five Star rep regarding cleaning out the still for the interior has a lot of oxides and flux residue. They recommended PBW and acid rinse. My question is, do I fill the still from the top of the column, let sit for 20 minutes then drain and rinse? Or do I use a sprayer and open all the port above the trays and just spray?

Thanks for your help.


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  • 8 months later...

We are working on plans for a new distillery, and have some friends in the wine making art who are providing some advice. They do their final cleaning, both equipment and floors, with ozonated water. Kills most bad stuff, kind of expensive equipment, but the ozone goes away in minutes and leaves just pure water. Best value on equipment I have found is at McClain Ozone, their website has a ton of info about the value of using ozone. Worth looking into.

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