Have any Questions?


Jun 08, 2022 View:

Condenser Cleaning

The biggest question I have about our new still is how to clean the condenser and lyne arms between the pot and columns. It is a 1000L vodka still with 20 plates. The plates and the pot are all on the CIP system. However, the condenser and spirit path between the pot and columns are not. We were told by the manufacturer to clean it by running tails through it. This seems like the wrong answer to me, considering the oils from the tails are mostly what we are trying to clean in the first place. I have a plan to rig up a line from the CIP pump right into the point where spirit leaves the condenser, but wasn't sure if I am missing something, or am mistaken about the cleaning powers of a tails run. As always, thanks for the help!


I know this is a less than riveting topic, but I could really use some insight here. Tails run to clean your condenser? Sounds like the wrong answer to me. Thanks!


I'm sure that you misunderstood the manufacturer's recommendations.   I've never heard of a cleaning run using tails.  We recommend that our customers use heads or vinegar for the cleaning run.  Of course the cleaning run is done one time to remove welding chemicals etc.

 Regular cleaning is not done during a run.  It is done after the run is complete.  

For cleaning the line arm and condenser, you simply flood the column with the CIP, which floods the line arm and final condenser and comes out the parrot.  It's that simple.  If someone does not have CIP, they can flood from the parrot connection, flooding the condenser then line arm and then the column then draining into the pot.



Reply:On 7/26/2019 at 10:11 AM, Southernhighlander said:
Reply:On 7/27/2019 at 2:31 PM, kleclerc77 said:
Reply:5 hours ago, Southernhighlander said:

Not something I would do.  I was taught never to redistill heads or forshots or you get something we called Splo.  It means you are more apt to get a headache the next day from residual lower boiling point volatiles such as acetone and methanol etc.    At the same time, it would depend on how broad your foreshots cut is.  If you are not concentrating lower boiling point nasties, it's not a problem.


My foreshot cut is is about 15-20% of my total heads cut. Also, everything I do goes though at least a couple of plates on the spirit run, so the lighter stuff gets compressed better. I think you're talking more about recycling pot still runs. At the very least Id throw those heads in with a vodka run. I'm sure there's a lot of good ethanol, especially in those late heads. If I'm wrong and I'm wasting my time re-running the same heads over, and over though, someone please correct me. Sorry to get so off topic of the OP.


We do the same: chuck foreshots, recycle heads.


We find that from a flavor perspective, batch to batch consistency is improved by recycling heads and early tails.  Single pass whiskey on plates.

We don’t commingle distillate from numerous batch runs before barreling, but lay down barrels on a run-by-run basis.  We did a number of barrels without prior run feints, and they tend to have a wider flavor variance and are generally less complex than the barrels that immediately follow, which do have feints.  We are incredibly obsessive about following process, so there is typically very little other variation introduced.

For a stretch, we did not recycle, the flavor profile of that finished product is significantly less complex. It’s good, makes a wonderful barrel strength, but proofed down, it’s pretty “basic”.

But, Devil in the details, and there are lots of details for those devils to hide in.

Reply:5 hours ago, adamOVD said:

No problem Paul. Wasn't trying to bust your balls, just double checking that I understand things correctly.


@kleclerc77 to clean my condensors ( that do not have a cip port) I like to back flush the condenser with heads. then follow that will a hot water flush. Back flushing insures that all surfaces come into contact to be cleaned. 


Back to the original question here.  As Paul says, its an easy backflush.  Water rinse, caustic, water rinse, acid, water rinse (or leave it without rinsing in accordance with your passivation schedule). You can pipe from the cip manifold to where you attach the parrot with a transfer hose too.  It'll clean the hose in the process too.