Have any Questions?


Jun 08, 2022 View:

Copper vs Stainless on stripping runs

I am running a 26 Gallon testing still and having scorching issues with internal electric elements. This is a know issue and is being solved with a baine marie still on order. My main question/issue is that I am getting a brownish colored low wines when running a 4" x 20" copper column on stripping runs when dealing with an all grain wash that is fermented and distilled off grain. I can run the same wash with a 2" x 24" stainless column and head without any color to the low wines. If I charge the still with an apple wash for a stripping run on brandy I get a clear spirit with the copper column. My question is, why would I get this colored distillate only with the all grain wash. Is this coming from the scorching on the element? And why does this not happen with the smaller stainless column? Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I am making sure the column is shiny and clean between runs and have verified that I am not puking the column as well.


Do you need to run the 2 inch column slower so get less scorch?

Does the 2 inch have more "plates" that strip the colour?

My copper alembic is mostly run with a small amount of grain in. It builds up a lot of brown layer on the copper, sometimes some of that strips off at the start of a run, we notice it more if we have just cleaned the inside of the condenser, which I assume was not as clean as it looked.

Reply:On 5/5/2018 at 12:25 AM, PeteB said:


  In all likelihood, the color is carryover due to foaming.  You may not be puking, but even minor entrainment of color bodies in the vapor stream can come from foaming.  You can use a silicone kettle de-foamer, or test with a small amount of corn oil in the pot during distillation.



Reply:On 5/7/2018 at 12:51 PM, John McKee said:

Hey there, just an aside.  Do you find off smells and flavor when you strip without any copper in your system? when I strip beer with no copper the resulting low wines are foul smelling and the same beer with copper in my column there is a sweet botanical smell. so I run with copper all the time.  



You did not specify the condenser material used with each still...  Does the copper still have a coper condenser and the stainless still have a stainless condenser? Are you doing any cleaning or flushing of the condenser between runs? The still I built originally had a copper condenser and changing this over to stainless is probably the best improvement I have made...  Copper for the vapor column going up and stainless for the condenser for the vapor/distillate coming down..