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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Switching to a continuous column

Our current operation calls for us to add 300 ml of olive oil to a 1350 liter ferment as a defoamer to an all malt wash.  We strip 350 liters at a time in a bain marie stripping still, giving us 4 runs per ferment.  We add 200 ml of olive oil plus a teaspoon of dish washing liquid to each stripping run.  I'm not sure why we adopted this procedure since it seems to me that the addition of ALL the olive oil (1100 ml) would better feed the yeast.  The real problem is, we are switching to a small continuous column (feed rate 100 liters/hour) for stripping and we are having a significant foaming problem (puking) which I believe we can overcome with adding all the olive oil to the ferment.

Is there any reason I would NOT want to add all the olive oil to the ferment?

Is there a better way to approach this problem?


Try a regular antifoam to your wash. Works well on my continuous. Container doesn't list ingredients so can't help there.

Reply:8 hours ago, PeteB said:

What type of column are you trying to run like this? What types of enzyme are you using in your mashing process? What’s your grist ratio? When you use dish washing liquid do you mean like dawn dish soap?

Reply:8 hours ago, SlickFloss said:

There is definitely a benefit to having the anti foam well mixed and suspended.  We have had far better results adding it to the mash tun before fermenter pump over versus in the still.  I’m not sure an oil base would work in a similar fashion though, given a tendency to separate.  
Was chatting with someone a year or two back and we thought it might be interesting to use a metering pump to add a tiny amount of antifoam into the column feed.

How are your co2 levels?  Are you fizzing?  Have you tried pumping over in the fermenter to degas?

Reply:8 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:
Reply:On 12/6/2021 at 4:44 AM, Thatch said:

Thanks @SlickFloss.   I don't know what is happening inside the still and neither does the manufacturer. 

We are using glycol as a coolant, not the wash.

I'm going to try both FermCap S as well as a product from Munzing. 

The manufacturer is also looking at the possibility that he built the still too short.

Enzymes are not on the table.  The distillery is inside our malt house.  

We are happy with our conversion and our yield and we will not be changing our process to accommodate this new piece of equipment.  At this point either the simethicone products work or the still will need to be modified to support our wash.


Reply:50 minutes ago, Thatch said:
Reply:26 minutes ago, SlickFloss said:

Foaming can be a huge issue in continuous column stills. 

Alex_Sor what do you think of the still in the video?  What do you think the issue is? It appears to be based on the old soviet designs. 



Cool little rig, that design looks familiar from forums from a decade back when the hobby community was experimenting with small scale continuous.  Everyone had problems with small diameter columns, because it was easy for foam to find support at the walls and climb, or at least not collapse.

Video is neat - but damn that sugar wash is crystal clear.  



Reply:7 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:
Reply:On 12/8/2021 at 7:09 AM, Thatch said:

Okay, so what's my best bet to try, Simethicone, Alpha, Beta, if so, what dosage, taller column, hope that @Alex_Sor reads this post?  Or, try them all?   Fortunately our current stripping still is doing the job so there is no rush to get this "gnarly little rocket" up and running.

Reply:On 12/8/2021 at 3:09 PM, Thatch said:
Reply:1 hour ago, Thatch said:
Reply:45 minutes ago, Alex_Sor said:

The only enzymes that will help this are the viscosity related ones like beta glucanase.

There are products that contain others in addition (Dylan’s se, hemicellulase) that work really well.  We have a jug of ViscoSEB if you need some to test with.



Thanks @Silk City Distillers  I'm going to try @Alex_Sorsuggestions first.  Just ordered a 40 mesh screen for the fermenter and on my way to pick up some FermCap S.

Reply:On 12/9/2021 at 8:50 PM, Thatch said:

Thanks @Alex_Sor  The most widely used product that contain Simethicone here is the US is FermCap - S.  I have purchased some FermCap - S and I am have ordered a 40 mesh screen for my fermenter.  FermCap - S is a 10% Simethicone solution.

You wrote that I have to "stir + adding".  That will not be possible since I have closed top fermenters.  I will try to add it to the fermenter before adding the wash and before pitching the yeast.  If that will not do the job than I will not be able to work with the "rocket" as it is currently constructed.

Reply:14 minutes ago, Thatch said:

Where are you putting the screen, and how large is it?  You mention your fermenters are closed top, so I assume you aren't talking about a false bottom.

40 mesh, 400 micron, is going to capture A LOT of solids, especially if you are roller milling anything and leaving husk intact.  You'd need to pump through some kind of intermediary tank (like a lauter tun), for this to work.