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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Column cooling

I am in the process of opening a new distillery and am unsure about what I want to use to cool my column. It will be a 6' tall 3" copper column on a 15 gallon keg. I am starting small and without much capital, or experience for that matter. Any help on cooling ideas without purchasing a glycol chiller would be great. I've thought of open/closed plastic barrels with an inline radiator.

I would really enjoy any other ideas

Tom


Reply:

Sounds like you have an idea on how to take care of it. I have a 4" column with a 55 gallon boiler. The cooling system is a well pump, 50 gallon pressure tank, and a 2500 gallon reservoir tank that is recirculated. I may have to add a chiller at some point, but have yet to run it in production as I am waiting for my licensing to come through. I anticipate elevated tank temps during the summer, particularly if I am doing back to back runs. I am considering running the return lines underground to take advantage of the passive cooling.


Reply:

Like many, if you lack the capital to buy a chiller first, you'll have to bite the bullet and use city (or well) water, keeping in mind that chillers will constantly give you 50F process water (if you can put a portable chiller indoors- taking care of electrical codes) where many parts of the country city water will rise to over 80F in the summer. Keeping track of your water costs will tell you when you need to buy a chiller (also look at leasing a chiller, it should pay for itself over time versus city water). If you have a well, it's a bit of a different story- unless your well runs dry!


Reply:

Thank you. Ya I'm still pretty small but I'm worried about temperature fluctuations messing with my output. Ill check into leasing, didn't even think of that. Looking into the future I'm thinking a chiller may also be needed to help cool fermenting tanks.


Reply:

Pretty common to tap off chiller pump supply to feed part of the flow to control fermenter. This will be tougher to do with temp fluctuations of city water as well.


Reply:

with 55 gallons a 2500g reservoir should be fine until the ambient temperature gets into the 80+ We've been using city water and it's too warm to safely run on warm days with the sun out. I have no experience with a buried line, but that should act as an insulator for the liquid (meaning it'll keep it warm) unless you dig a really deep hole. I'd look into a closed loop chiller. Actually, I am looking into a closed loop chiller. a 15g and a 55g still are both pretty small so I doubt you'll have much cooling problems - but you'll out grow that very quickly.

MGThermal knows his stuff (at least what I've read) - got any recommendations on an air chiller? I've been looking into an inline radiator style but can't find any information on how much it will drop the temperature. We've got a 130g hoga still but will be upgrading (gotta make more booze) before long.


Reply:

I can get a modified radiator type cooler, I would have to run the parameters for the smaller load to see if I can get something that small...I proposed a couple air coolers for some larger set ups (over 250 gal) and as I recall, the price on that was around $2,000 (I needs higher temp construction and high temp motors).

You do have to use a small duct (not included) to discharge the HOT air outdoors and be able to isolate to prevent freezing inside the coil when not in use.

I have to refine this design (when I get a company to cooperate).

The coil part is not the big problem, it's what you do with the hot air and isolating the circuit in the off cycle when freezing.

I am talking cooling wort directly.

If you are talking cooling glycol with air, that's off the shelf- in the winter it's all you'd need, but you would need a small chiller to take care of the remainder btus in the summer.

Lots of variations, it's how much $$$ you have.