IN THIS BEGINNER’S Gems for Home Distillers, we discuss cooling your still’s output.
Our previous Beginners’ Gems posts containing helpful hints, tips and techniques for home distillers, include the following:
- Beginners’ Gems #1: Basic Knowledge to Help Home Distiller Beginners
- Beginners’ Gems #2: More Basics to Help Home Distiller Beginners
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #3: The Finer Points of Fermentation Temperature
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #4: Solutions for Fermentation Problems
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #5: Even More Solutions for Fermentation Problems
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #6: Finally Taming the Yeast Beast
- BEGINNERS’ GEMS #7: Keeping it Clean
How much cooling water do I need to flow through my still?
This will vary between stills so check your instructions.
With a Still Spirits Super Reflux Condenser, during most of the distillation process the cooling water flowing through the condenser should be flowing at about 500mls (17 US fl oz) per minute.
To measure the flow, fill a calibrated jug from the outlet pipe for one minute. Note: 500mls per minute (17 US fl oz) is the ideal flow rate for cooling water that is under 20°C (68°F) .
If your cold water supply is warmer than this then a higher flow rate may be required alternately cool the incoming water by connecting it via a copper tube and submersing this in a container of iced water.
My tap water is too warm so how do I cool down my cooling water?
If your cold water supply is too warm a higher flow rate may be required.
Alternately cool the incoming water by connecting it via a copper tube and submersing this in a container of iced water. The temperature of your water also influences the amount you require.
In summer you may need more water than in winter when the water is cooler.
What happens if I slow my cooling water down or if it is too hot?
The slower the cooling water flows through the condenser, the higher the temperature will rise producing a faster flow of spirit.
Running the cooling water at less than 500mls (17 US fl oz) per minute may result in a loss of alcohol through steaming from the spirit outlet.
The lower the cooling water flows through the condenser the higher the temperature in the reflux column, this will show on the thermometer with a steady and rapid rise in temperature.
What happens if I run too much cooling water through my condenser or the water temperature is too cold?
If you run more than 600mls (20 US fl oz) of cooling water through the condenser or if it is too cold then this will slow the process down.
The more cooling water that flows through the condenser the lower the temperature in the reflux column, this will show on the thermometer.
Until next time… Happy Distilling!