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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Carbon Filtration of Vodka Experience

Hello everyone,

I know carbon filtration has been discussed (two posts recently) but I wanted to post my experience with it so others can hopefully learn from my failures and not repeat the same mistakes.....or at least make different ones than I did.  Here goes a long post:

After much searching, researching, and numerous cold calls I received some answers on the carbon filter set up that I had.  Cabot was very helpful, but they only sell carbon by the pallet load, so I had to go with another supplier.

Cabot is a gold standard in the industry.

Cabot sells carbon by the bag, not the skid, but it is very expensive (more expensive).  1240plus is around $7.00 a pound, plus freight.  While that's expensive, it's not even considered their expensive stuff (Ultra pure Norit ROX at $23.00 a pound - sells for $1,000 for a 40 pound bag).

The two vessel approach is to avoid breakthrough, that is, product making its way through the filter untreated.  The point of a primary and a secondary is that you can replace/refill the primary when it's exhausted, without risking unfiltered product from making its way through the filter, as the second would catch it.  It works because at slow flow rates, the first vessel will become exhausted long before the second vessel would.

Cabot would never recommend cleaning carbon, they sell carbon.  That said, nobody here would recommend cleaning carbon either.  It's not worth the time or energy.

The reason for the down flow is explained in the docs they would have sent you on the pilot column design (I'm guessing maybe they didn't)?



For the backwash - read the comment about freeboard (empty space) and check that last curve.


Thanks for the info Silk!  Woulda been handy to have this document before I started!  Since I did not purchase from Cadot I am assuming that is why I did not get sent this document.  Again, thanks for the info!




Wow, I was buying for about $2/lb if I remember correctly from carbon Activated Corporation.  They sold it in 55 lb bags.  


Just curious, what temperature is your vodka before running it through the A.C.?


MG:  We ran it through at ambient temp, which for me was right around 62F.  


I would check with the vendor- to activate the carbon for carbon absorbers for odor and cloudiness removal, I believe you need to go colder on you product, in the 30's F.

Depends on your purpose for the GAC.


We filter at around 82f ambient and haven’t had plugging or cloudiness issues yet. 


My process is to hand wash the carbon in a container before putting it in the column.  Takes about ten complete rinses to get pretty clean and remove most of the floaters.  Then we leave it soaking in water for 24 hours to hydrate.  Once it is soaked it never leaves water. We fill the column then run water thru it to settle and rinse and final stuff out.   Product is filtered thru a cheezy 10 micron filter cloth as a final precaution.   We get no carbon in final product. 


I think the prewashing is a pretty big deal. A lot of stuff comes out during that process, even in “prewashed” carbon.