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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Cleaning Equipment After Gin Run

We are looking for a reliable way to clean our distillation equipment after producing gin. Our pot still, still head, condenser and all piping are also used for the production of other distilled products (whiskey, vodka). We are looking for experiences with different cleaning agents and/or cleaning or flushing regimens. We are running a 300 gallon Vendome system.


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We are looking for a reliable way to clean our distillation equipment after producing gin. Our pot still, still head, condenser and all piping are also used for the production of other distilled products (whiskey, vodka). We are looking for experiences with different cleaning agents and/or cleaning or flushing regimens. We are running a 300 gallon Vendome system.


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Put in a call to Five Star Chemicals, and tell them what you need. They'll help you out. Small company that's been working with breweries, wineries, dairies, and distilleries for quite a while. You need something caustic, followed by something acidic, and that's it.

Make sure you clean after your whisky distillation before you switch to gin. Going from Gin to Whiskey shouldn't be your problem---- emphasis on shouldn't. If it has anise it the charge, be absolutely sure to clean it before making a different spirit.

Happy Holidays!


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Hey guys, another question - how to move the cleaning solution through the system. Cleaning the pot is a slam dunk, but saturating the head plates and circulating liquid through the condenser and piping is another matter. Thoughts?


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Hey guys, another question - how to move the cleaning solution through the system. Cleaning the pot is a slam dunk, but saturating the head plates and circulating liquid through the condenser and piping is another matter. Thoughts?


Reply:

Hey guys, another question - how to move the cleaning solution through the system. Cleaning the pot is a slam dunk, but saturating the head plates and circulating liquid through the condenser and piping is another matter. Thoughts?


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......our acidic agent is citric acid. Just drip dry, and your copper will be shiny and new, ready for the next batch of anything that you're producing.


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We are looking at a CIP system now. Probably the best thing at this point. Thanks for the advice.


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Yes, we've been up and running for just over a year and a half now, using Vendome equipment. We're just starting our first gins and are wanting to have a good plan in place once we start pumping botanicals through the system.


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Ah, ok. So does this mean that you don't have sprayheads in your still?

Do you have a way to clean the entire product path, including the worm/condenser setup? Are you making anything with corn?


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We don't have spray heads in the still head, and we have not used corn - yet, but soon. We are distilling off of various varieties of wheat right now. If it would be easier to chat this up over the phone feel free to give me a call, we might save some time. 206-855-7900.


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To chime in here with a question of my own.

We don't have a way to clean the pipe going from the pot (or columns) to the condenser or the condenser with CIP.

We do a boil out frequently with just water. Do you think that's enough to get it clean or should we look into a better way to do that? And if so, how?

As Todd knows, we use a bunch of corn.

EDIT: I want to add that my piping and condenser is all stainless....and a visual inspection of all of that shows that they are very clean.


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We have found that with our gin runs... a 45-60 min steam run is all that is necessary to clean ( granted, we dont have any plates or scrubbers so that might make a difference)

We typically run vodka right after and would be able to tell if there were any flavor elements transfering... no problems so far and we've been doing it for about 5 years now


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We don't have spray heads in the still head, and we have not used corn - yet, but soon. We are distilling off of various varieties of wheat right now. If it would be easier to chat this up over the phone feel free to give me a call, we might save some time. 206-855-7900.


Reply:

To chime in here with a question of my own.

We don't have a way to clean the pipe going from the pot (or columns) to the condenser or the condenser with CIP.

We do a boil out frequently with just water. Do you think that's enough to get it clean or should we look into a better way to do that? And if so, how?

As Todd knows, we use a bunch of corn.

EDIT: I want to add that my piping and condenser is all stainless....and a visual inspection of all of that shows that they are very clean.


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I don't know how JohninVW's condenser and parrot attach, but for me, it's via a DIN connector. A good solution would be to have that welder make an adapter that connects to the condenser in whatever way, and then a triclamp fitting (a "T"). That way you can attach a ball valve at the bottom.

Another perhaps simpler solution, is disconnect the lyne arm from the condenser at the top (hopefully the condenser is supported some way to be free standing) and carefully pour your caustic, rinse, acid, rinse into a bucket or other container at the bottom. Funnel, gloves, goggles may be useful depending on your care.

Or take some spirits that might have been less than successful, load some into the still so you have a 40-50% ABV charge and run it. Alcoholic vapors and steam are excellent solvents and will do quite well I think in cleaning the stainless equipment without disassembly. Toss anything that comes out early with oils, save the rest as "still cleaning alcohol" for the next time.

Maybe everyone knows this already, sorry if it was redundant info.


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Thanks for the response! We're rooting through all these responses and will make some decisions shortly, probably going for a simple to use CIP system that can handle different kinds of solutions. We will keep you posted!

I am very glad to see that most of the folks that responded to this topic are in the real business of distilling and not home/hobby distilling. This is the kind of input and information that will make this community a valuable resource!