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RE: [Distillers] Copper versus stainless steel

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  • Lars Norberg
    What copper does is that it catalyses the breakdown of esters and sulfuric compounds. I did not know about the catalysis of fatty acid breakdown, put it is
    Message 1 of 24 , Nov 26, 2001
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      What copper does is that it catalyses the breakdown of esters and
      sulfuric compounds.
      I did not know about the catalysis of fatty acid breakdown, put it is
      possible that it does that as well.
      Exactly as you say you only need to have a small amount of copper
      present somewhere in your still to get this effect. I use a copper
      refluxcooler.

      I don't believe that the copper actually forms a bond with the fatty
      acids. It is probably a catalysis we are talking about.

      And the end products probably go through to the distillate to some
      amount, but not in their original foul-tasting form.

      The reason large distilleries use copper for their distilling machines
      is probably only in part due to this. The "tradition" aspect is probably
      more important :)

      /Lars

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Mike Welsh [mailto:mikewelsh@...]
      Sent: den 27 november 2001 03:51
      To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Distillers] Copper versus stainless steel

      Guys I'm relatively new to the group but not to the ancient and noble
      art of
      distillation. I am a little puzzled by the absence of copper in a lot of
      your boilers. It took me several months of searching at various
      libraries to
      discover why boilers should be made from copper. I accept that, prior to
      the
      advent of stainless steel, copper was the logical choice due to its
      malleability and conductivity . However, large commercial stills are
      still
      made from copper and not, to my knowledge, from SS....why? My research
      turned up the following and I was wondering if those amongst you with a
      bent
      for organic chemistry would care to comment. During the heating of the
      wash
      fatty acids are produced. These give rise to off-tastes and they are
      apparently not too good for you as well. However, if they are formed in
      a
      boiler made from copper they bond with the copper in some way and do not
      go
      through with the distillate. If you use SS they pass through with the
      distillate. This does not mean that SS is not to be used. All one has to
      do
      is to add a couple of handfulls of small copper pieces to the SS boiler.
      As
      an aside one of the most memorable events of a recent holiday in Scotlad
      was
      being on a West Hebrides bound ferry with a truck parked next to my hire
      car
      which had a brand spanking new copper still in several pieces bound for
      the
      Laphroiag distillery on its copious tray. When assembled on site it
      would
      have been over 7 metres tall and 4 metres wide!!! Quite an eye- opener.
      Sunshine Mike ( I make mine during the day!!)





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    • Mike Welsh
      Guys I m relatively new to the group but not to the ancient and noble art of distillation. I am a little puzzled by the absence of copper in a lot of your
      Message 2 of 24 , Nov 26, 2001
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        Guys I'm relatively new to the group but not to the ancient and noble art of
        distillation. I am a little puzzled by the absence of copper in a lot of
        your boilers. It took me several months of searching at various libraries to
        discover why boilers should be made from copper. I accept that, prior to the
        advent of stainless steel, copper was the logical choice due to its
        malleability and conductivity . However, large commercial stills are still
        made from copper and not, to my knowledge, from SS....why? My research
        turned up the following and I was wondering if those amongst you with a bent
        for organic chemistry would care to comment. During the heating of the wash
        fatty acids are produced. These give rise to off-tastes and they are
        apparently not too good for you as well. However, if they are formed in a
        boiler made from copper they bond with the copper in some way and do not go
        through with the distillate. If you use SS they pass through with the
        distillate. This does not mean that SS is not to be used. All one has to do
        is to add a couple of handfulls of small copper pieces to the SS boiler. As
        an aside one of the most memorable events of a recent holiday in Scotlad was
        being on a West Hebrides bound ferry with a truck parked next to my hire car
        which had a brand spanking new copper still in several pieces bound for the
        Laphroiag distillery on its copious tray. When assembled on site it would
        have been over 7 metres tall and 4 metres wide!!! Quite an eye- opener.
        Sunshine Mike ( I make mine during the day!!)
      • goyeast@yahoo.com
        As an aside one of the most memorable events of a recent holiday in Scotlad was being on a West Hebrides bound ferry with a truck parked next to my hire car
        Message 3 of 24 , Nov 26, 2001
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          As an aside one of the most memorable events of a recent holiday in
          Scotlad was being on a West Hebrides bound ferry with a truck parked
          next to my hire car which had a brand spanking new copper still in
          several pieces bound for the Laphroiag distillery on its copious
          tray.

          As an aside, all I have to say is, "Ya lucky bastid." That's my
          favorite scotch.

          I've never read about the use of copper in a boiler as a means of
          removing lipids, but I have read that it removes sulfer compounds.
          At any rate, what I'm wondering is if contact with copper in the
          column and condenser might be enough to remove these fatty acids, or
          if it's necessary to throw a few, small copper plates into the s.s.
          boiler as your reading suggests.

          --- In Distillers@y..., Mike Welsh <mikewelsh@m...> wrote:
          > Guys I'm relatively new to the group but not to the ancient and
          noble art of
          > distillation. I am a little puzzled by the absence of copper in a
          lot of
          > your boilers. It took me several months of searching at various
          libraries to
          > discover why boilers should be made from copper. I accept that,
          prior to the
          > advent of stainless steel, copper was the logical choice due to its
          > malleability and conductivity . However, large commercial stills
          are still
          > made from copper and not, to my knowledge, from SS....why? My
          research
          > turned up the following and I was wondering if those amongst you
          with a bent
          > for organic chemistry would care to comment. During the heating of
          the wash
          > fatty acids are produced. These give rise to off-tastes and they are
          > apparently not too good for you as well. However, if they are
          formed in a
          > boiler made from copper they bond with the copper in some way and
          do not go
          > through with the distillate. If you use SS they pass through with
          the
          > distillate. This does not mean that SS is not to be used. All one
          has to do
          > is to add a couple of handfulls of small copper pieces to the SS
          boiler. As
          > an aside one of the most memorable events of a recent holiday in
          Scotlad was
          > being on a West Hebrides bound ferry with a truck parked next to my
          hire car
          > which had a brand spanking new copper still in several pieces bound
          for the
          > Laphroiag distillery on its copious tray. When assembled on site it
          would
          > have been over 7 metres tall and 4 metres wide!!! Quite an eye-
          opener.
          > Sunshine Mike ( I make mine during the day!!)
        • kyemcdonald
          Hello, I m thinking of buying my first still (reflux). Something that can produce very pure tasteless alcohol for use as a base for liqueurs etc. Any
          Message 4 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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            Hello,

            I'm thinking of buying my first still (reflux). Something that can produce very pure tasteless alcohol for use as a base for liqueurs etc. Any recommendations for commercially available reflux stills in Australia or New Zealand (if postage is reasonable)?

            I'm a little confused about the pros and cons of copper versus stainless steel due to some conflicting opinions (sales pitches) of different manufacturers.

            For example:

            An all copper construction gives the unit an amazingly smooth taste.  Copper is still used in all major distilling plants as it acts as a catalyst for removing sulphides (rotten egg gas).  Stainless just won't get rid of this tainted taste.  It is all assembled with lead-free solder.  It is designed to Australian Safety Standards for your peace of mind.  Copper is very safe – all your water pipes are made of it, your hot water service, etc.  It conforms to stringent safety standards all over the world.  It also looks really cool when it is polished up, and will last several lifetimes.

            versus...

            This is a 100% 3:16 food grade Stainless Steel still. That's right, no Copper or Brass to leach chemicals into your precious alcohol or purified water. Some major distilling plants still use copper because its cheaper and traditional. We do not want to copy commercial alcohol we strive to make better. MEDICAL GRADE alcohol is made in Stainless Steel stills for obvious reasons. The word catalyst means to fuse, like in paint, it does not mean to remove as others claim copper does. Copper oxidises thats why it turns green when exposed to the air, the same as a copper band worn on the wrist turns green. It is also said not to drink water from a copper hot water system again for obvious reasons. The simple truth is that Stainless Steel is far superior to copper. It will never loose its shine unlike copper that will start to oxidise in weeks. You must make your own mind up on this one. Stainless steel is stronger, easier to clean, looks better and adds nothing in the prosess which makes for a healthier, cleaner final product.

            And please don't be fooled by adding or using Copper in the still will remove impurities This is a myth. Copper is cheap, and easier to work with, anybody can basically solder it. Let's just hope they don't use a Zinc based solder, leaching Lead into your product.

            Can anyone point me towards some substantiated scientific info on the subject of possible health concerns with copper stills and/or its effectiveness in removing undesireable tastes/odours and the chemical reactions that occur (if any) ?

            Thanks for your advice,

            Kye.

          • Harry
            ... ... stainless ... ... the ... chemical ... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/35812 Slainte! regards Harry
            Message 5 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "kyemcdonald" <yahoo@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              <snip>
              >
              > I'm a little confused about the pros and cons of copper versus
              stainless
              > steel due to some conflicting opinions (sales pitches) of different
              > manufacturers.
              <snip>

              >
              > Can anyone point me towards some substantiated scientific info on
              the
              > subject of possible health concerns with copper stills and/or its
              > effectiveness in removing undesireable tastes/odours and the
              chemical
              > reactions that occur (if any) ?
              >
              > Thanks for your advice,
              >
              > Kye.
              >



              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/message/35812

              Slainte!
              regards Harry
            • Trid
              ... Alas, I don t have quick reference (beyond what Harry pointed out) to scientific proof, HOWEVER, this diatribe regarding Stainless makes my brain hurt.
              Message 6 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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                --- kyemcdonald <yahoo@...> wrote:
                >
                > This is a 100% 3:16 food grade Stainless Steel still. That's right,
                > no Copper or Brass to leach chemicals into your precious alcohol or
                > purified water. Some major distilling plants still use copper because
                > its cheaper and traditional. We do not want to copy commercial alcohol
                > we strive to make better. MEDICAL GRADE alcohol is made in Stainless
                > Steel stills for obvious reasons. The word catalyst means to fuse, like
                > in paint, it does not mean to remove as others claim copper does. Copper
                > oxidises thats why it turns green when exposed to the air, the same as a
                > copper band worn on the wrist turns green. It is also said not to drink
                > water from a copper hot water system again for obvious reasons. The
                > simple truth is that Stainless Steel is far superior to copper. It will
                > never loose its shine unlike copper that will start to oxidise in weeks.
                > You must make your own mind up on this one. Stainless steel is stronger,
                > easier to clean, looks better and adds nothing in the prosess which
                > makes for a healthier, cleaner final product.
                >
                > And please don't be fooled by adding or using Copper in the still
                > will remove impurities This is a myth. Copper is cheap, and easier to
                > work with, anybody can basically solder it. Let's just hope they
                > don't use a Zinc based solder, leaching Lead into your product.

                Alas, I don't have quick reference (beyond what Harry pointed out) to
                scientific proof, HOWEVER, this diatribe regarding Stainless makes my brain
                hurt. It's obvious that the person who composed that sales pitch has no idea
                about stainless steel. Calling it 3:16 (???) versus 316 (what's commonly
                referred to as "surgical stainless") was the first giveaway. It's stainless
                steel, not a passage from the book of John. Don't even get me started on the
                mis-definition of the word "catalyst" nor the fact that somehow zinc based
                solder (which I cannot recall ever seeing in the first place) mysteriously
                becomes lead to "leach into your product." Perhaps they can remind us of that
                mysterious alchemical process where they transmute zinc into lead (since
                obviously lead into gold didn't work out).

                You'd think those stainless guys were politicians.

                Trid
                -still shaking my head
              • stevolate
                Hi Kye Stainless is great as long as it is packed with copper mesh to remove the sulphides. Both work great as long as the Stainless still has copper mesh. If
                Message 7 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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                  Hi Kye
                  Stainless is great as long as it is packed with copper mesh to
                  remove the sulphides.
                  Both work great as long as the Stainless still has copper mesh.
                  If they tell you do not need copper in a stainless still, they need to
                  taste the difference. I started with stainless mesh in my stainless
                  still and thought my product was great. After reading all past posts
                  decided to buy Amphora copper mesh and try it. The taste difference
                  was amazing. Always in my opinion use copper mesh.

                  Happy drinking

                  Stevo

                  >
                  > Hello,
                  >
                  > I'm thinking of buying my first still (reflux). Something that can
                  > produce very pure tasteless alcohol for use as a base for liqueurs etc.
                  > Any recommendations for commercially available reflux stills in
                  > Australia or New Zealand (if postage is reasonable)?
                  >
                  > I'm a little confused about the pros and cons of copper versus stainless
                  > steel due to some conflicting opinions (sales pitches) of different
                  > manufacturers.
                • Derek Hamlet
                  If you value looks, then stainless is very nice. Copper on the other hand does indeed remove sulphur related impurities. As you read the second statement (the
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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                    If you value looks, then stainless is very nice.
                    Copper on the other hand does indeed remove sulphur related impurities.
                    As you read the second statement (the one from the stainless folks)
                    note that they say that they want to be superior to the traditional
                    copper folks.
                    How bizarre. Do you really think that the canny Scots, wild Irish
                    and southern Bourbon makers wouldn't have switched to stainless if
                    this really could improve the product.
                    Now, if you want a pure product with which to flavour then you don't
                    want any impurities at all. If so, then I'd recommend some copper in
                    the system somewhere. What you seem to be describing is a reflux
                    type still. If so, and if you choose stainless then you'd better
                    have some copper in the system somewhere such as packing material in
                    the column.
                    With copper you do have to clean with something like vinegar to
                    breakdown the copper/sulphur compound which are removed from the alcohol.
                    That's just part of the hobby.
                    Personally I use a stainless boiler (beer keg), copper column and
                    copper packing.
                    Best of luck.
                    At 05:07 AM 6/29/2007, you wrote:

                    >Hello,
                    >
                    >I'm thinking of buying my first still (reflux). Something that can
                    >produce very pure tasteless alcohol for use as a base for liqueurs
                    >etc. Any recommendations for commercially available reflux stills in
                    >Australia or New Zealand (if postage is reasonable)?
                    >
                    >I'm a little confused about the pros and cons of copper versus
                    >stainless steel due to some conflicting opinions (sales pitches) of
                    >different manufacturers.
                    >

                    Derek Hamlet
                    Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
                    authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in
                    places of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.
                    They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble food and
                    tyrannize their teachers."

                    - North America in 2007?
                    -Guess again...Socrates (c. 470-399 BC)
                    >:-}
                  • rocky_creek1
                    Anyone saying stainless will make drinkable whiskey without copper in the path has their hear up their ass. I m not fixing to spend the time to prove it to
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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                      Anyone saying stainless will make drinkable whiskey without copper in
                      the path has their hear up their ass. I'm not fixing to spend the time
                      to prove it to you. Thew evidence is all over tjhe net and in many
                      books. Happy swilling.
                    • joe giffen
                      Hi Rocky, Have you been doing some quality control testing ?. Regards Joe rocky_creek1 wrote: Anyone saying stainless will make
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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                        Hi Rocky,
                        Have you been doing some quality control testing ?.
                         
                        Regards
                        Joe

                        rocky_creek1 <rocky_creek@...> wrote:
                        Anyone saying stainless will make drinkable whiskey without copper in
                        the path has their hear up their ass. I'm not fixing to spend the time
                        to prove it to you. Thew evidence is all over tjhe net and in many
                        books. Happy swilling.




                        Regards
                        Joe


                        Yahoo! Answers - Get better answers from someone who knows. Try it now.

                      • plumbondude
                        A mate once brought a stainless 5 litre (one of the fancy bought ones) over while I was halfway through a rum wash. And because he was so excited to use it we
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jun 29, 2007
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                          A mate once brought a stainless 5 litre (one of the fancy bought
                          ones) over while I was halfway through a rum wash. And because he
                          was so excited to use it we ran 5 litres of wash through it to test
                          it. I found that it tasted ferral. My mate was stoked however,
                          because it was the first spirit he'd made and I didn't want to hurt
                          his feelings so I told him it was "OK". But yeah I could fully taste
                          a metally kind of taste and that sickly sweet smell like foreshots
                          that lasted the whole 5L run. Also once I spoke to this guy at
                          canberra octoberfest who said that when he used a stainless reflux
                          cap it made his spirit taste like metal.Thats why I've never used
                          stainless.

                          Matt



                          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Mike Welsh <mikewelsh@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Guys I'm relatively new to the group but not to the ancient and
                          noble art of
                          > distillation. I am a little puzzled by the absence of copper in a
                          lot of
                          > your boilers. It took me several months of searching at various
                          libraries to
                          > discover why boilers should be made from copper. I accept that,
                          prior to the
                          > advent of stainless steel, copper was the logical choice due to its
                          > malleability and conductivity . However, large commercial stills
                          are still
                          > made from copper and not, to my knowledge, from SS....why? My
                          research
                          > turned up the following and I was wondering if those amongst you
                          with a bent
                          > for organic chemistry would care to comment. During the heating of
                          the wash
                          > fatty acids are produced. These give rise to off-tastes and they
                          are
                          > apparently not too good for you as well. However, if they are
                          formed in a
                          > boiler made from copper they bond with the copper in some way and
                          do not go
                          > through with the distillate. If you use SS they pass through with
                          the
                          > distillate. This does not mean that SS is not to be used. All one
                          has to do
                          > is to add a couple of handfulls of small copper pieces to the SS
                          boiler. As
                          > an aside one of the most memorable events of a recent holiday in
                          Scotlad was
                          > being on a West Hebrides bound ferry with a truck parked next to
                          my hire car
                          > which had a brand spanking new copper still in several pieces
                          bound for the
                          > Laphroiag distillery on its copious tray. When assembled on site
                          it would
                          > have been over 7 metres tall and 4 metres wide!!! Quite an eye-
                          opener.
                          > Sunshine Mike ( I make mine during the day!!)
                          >
                        • kyemcdonald
                          Thanks for the responses. I m now feeling more reassured that Copper in stills doesn t pose any real health risks and is indeed effective in removing bad
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jul 2, 2007
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                            Thanks for the responses. I'm now feeling more reassured that Copper
                            in stills doesn't pose any real health risks and is indeed effective
                            in removing bad tastes/aromas.

                            Any recommendations for some of the best commercially available
                            reflux stills? If not, opinions on the "best" reflux still design to
                            build (or have built) that can achieve an average 90 to 95% alcohol
                            purity from typical wash?

                            Thanks,

                            Kye.


                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "kyemcdonald" <yahoo@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > Hello,
                            >
                            > I'm thinking of buying my first still (reflux). Something that can
                            > produce very pure tasteless alcohol for use as a base for liqueurs
                            etc.
                            > Any recommendations for commercially available reflux stills in
                            > Australia or New Zealand (if postage is reasonable)?
                            >
                            > I'm a little confused about the pros and cons of copper versus
                            stainless
                            > steel due to some conflicting opinions (sales pitches) of different
                            > manufacturers.
                            >
                            > For example:
                            >
                            > An all copper construction gives the unit an amazingly smooth
                            taste.
                            > Copper is still used in all major distilling plants as it acts as a
                            > catalyst for removing sulphides (rotten egg gas). Stainless just
                            > won't get rid of this tainted taste. It is all assembled with
                            > lead-free solder. It is designed to Australian Safety Standards
                            for
                            > your peace of mind. Copper is very safe – all your water pipes are
                            > made of it, your hot water service, etc. It conforms to stringent
                            > safety standards all over the world. It also looks really cool
                            when it
                            > is polished up, and will last several lifetimes.
                            >
                            > versus...
                            >
                            > This is a 100% 3:16 food grade Stainless Steel still. That's right,
                            > no Copper or Brass to leach chemicals into your precious alcohol or
                            > purified water. Some major distilling plants still use copper
                            because
                            > its cheaper and traditional. We do not want to copy commercial
                            alcohol
                            > we strive to make better. MEDICAL GRADE alcohol is made in
                            Stainless
                            > Steel stills for obvious reasons. The word catalyst means to fuse,
                            like
                            > in paint, it does not mean to remove as others claim copper does.
                            Copper
                            > oxidises thats why it turns green when exposed to the air, the
                            same as a
                            > copper band worn on the wrist turns green. It is also said not to
                            drink
                            > water from a copper hot water system again for obvious reasons. The
                            > simple truth is that Stainless Steel is far superior to copper. It
                            will
                            > never loose its shine unlike copper that will start to oxidise in
                            weeks.
                            > You must make your own mind up on this one. Stainless steel is
                            stronger,
                            > easier to clean, looks better and adds nothing in the prosess which
                            > makes for a healthier, cleaner final product.
                            >
                            > And please don't be fooled by adding or using Copper in the still
                            > will remove impurities This is a myth. Copper is cheap, and easier
                            to
                            > work with, anybody can basically solder it. Let's just hope they
                            > don't use a Zinc based solder, leaching Lead into your product.
                            >
                            > Can anyone point me towards some substantiated scientific info on
                            the
                            > subject of possible health concerns with copper stills and/or its
                            > effectiveness in removing undesireable tastes/odours and the
                            chemical
                            > reactions that occur (if any) ?
                            >
                            > Thanks for your advice,
                            >
                            > Kye.
                            >
                          • Larry
                            ... Pretty much ANY reflux still will give you 90% or better output if you start out with enough alcohol in your fermented wash. That s no trick at all. Copper
                            Message 13 of 24 , Jul 2, 2007
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                              At 05:50 AM 07/02/2007, you wrote:

                              Thanks for the responses. I'm now feeling more reassured that Copper
                              in stills doesn't pose any real health risks and is indeed effective
                              in removing bad tastes/aromas.

                              Any recommendations for some of the best commercially available
                              reflux stills? If not, opinions on the "best" reflux still design to
                              build (or have built) that can achieve an average 90 to 95% alcohol
                              purity from typical wash?


                              Pretty much ANY reflux still will give you 90% or better output if you start out with enough alcohol in your fermented wash. That's no trick at all.

                              Copper is great, for boilers and columns, though it's un-necessarily expensive and can be a health hazard if it's not assembled with lead-free solder.

                              It's fairly common to find antique stills with copper boilers, and these are the prime candidates for health hazards, as a lot of them were assembled with common solder, or even pure lead. If you get one of those (probably pretty cheap) you need to disassemble it, and put it back together using silver solder. 

                              Or, there are a couple of places selling new copper stills, but they cost a fortune and copper packing in a stainless-steel still will give you the same benefits.

                              You would do well to look at www.brewhaus.com, and check out their two-piece columns. 

                              These can be used as either a reflux still or as a pot still, and you can attach them to stainless-steel a beer keg pretty readily, or buy their kettle.   You still need to use a little copper packing in the vapor path on them, though.  There is no substitute for copper, taste-wise.

                              Reflux stills are great for making cheap alcohol.  They give you the most bang for your heating buck. 

                              Neither Propane nor Electricity is free, and a reflux still will use a lot less of either, since it's final product comes out from a single run.  With a pot still, you must do multiple runs, and each one takes a heat-source equal to what a single reflux still run would need. 

                              However, reflux columns remove all beneficial flavors in the process, and chances are pretty good that you'll want to make something other than neutral spirits at some point.

                              You CAN simply omit the packing (or most of it) and column-condenser cooling, from a reflux column to run it as a pot still, but generally reflux columns are also too tall to make a good pot still.

                              The two-piece column, from Brewhaus AND other distilling sites (google "distiller")  allows you to make corn whiskey, rum, or what-have-you, running it as a pot still or you can run it as a reflux still other times to make lots of cheaper neutral spirit output (or fuel alcohol).

                              You can make nothing but neutral spirits, then buy "essences" to flavor them as rum, bourbon, scotch, etc. but the essences are expensive compared to just actually making real rum, bourbon, etc. and my own experience is that they don't hit the mark taste-wise, either.  So you get Less Quality For More Money with essences.

                              Basically, you can buy cheap liquors at a liquor store for the same price or less than for what it costs you to make and bottle your own stuff.

                              But if you do it right, your own output will be of a higher quality, (much smoother), and you have the satisfaction of having created it yourself.




                            • sn_cur
                              ... When you disassemble it you need to completely remove ALL the old solder from the joins, before using new solder or braze to reassemble it. It can be a
                              Message 14 of 24 , Jul 2, 2007
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                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Larry <larry@...> wrote:

                                >
                                > It's fairly common to find antique stills with copper boilers, and these
                                > are the prime candidates for health hazards, as a lot of them were
                                > assembled with common solder, or even pure lead. If you get one of those
                                > (probably pretty cheap) you need to disassemble it, and put it back
                                > together using silver solder.
                                >

                                When you disassemble it you need to completely remove ALL the old solder from the joins,
                                before using new solder or braze to reassemble it. It can be a lot of work, but fortunately
                                the lead based solders are soft and come off fairly easily with sandpaper.

                                The new solder or braze must be free of lead, cadmium, and antimony.

                                Cheers
                                sn
                              • dakini_painter
                                All the discussion centers on copper in the boiler, packing and/or column. What about copper in the product condenser, in the coil itself? Wouldn t all or
                                Message 15 of 24 , Dec 5, 2007
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                                  All the discussion centers on copper in the boiler, packing and/or column.

                                  What about copper in the product condenser, in the coil itself? Wouldn't all or nearly all the
                                  reactions with the copper have occurred previously? Since there's no free sulfur in the
                                  alcoholic vapor that's being brought over, are there any reactions that might occur with
                                  copper?

                                  The reason I ask is that the professional stills from Christian CARL or Holstein all have SS
                                  condensers.
                                • Trid
                                  ... Depends on your setup. Because the CC and Holstein stills are bubble plate stills with copper vessels and columns, there s a lot of surface area through
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Dec 6, 2007
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                                    --- dakini_painter <cheryllins@...> wrote:

                                    > All the discussion centers on copper in the boiler, packing and/or column.
                                    >
                                    > What about copper in the product condenser, in the coil itself? Wouldn't all
                                    > or nearly all the
                                    > reactions with the copper have occurred previously? Since there's no free
                                    > sulfur in the
                                    > alcoholic vapor that's being brought over, are there any reactions that might
                                    > occur with
                                    > copper?
                                    >
                                    > The reason I ask is that the professional stills from Christian CARL or
                                    > Holstein all have SS
                                    > condensers.

                                    Depends on your setup. Because the CC and Holstein stills are bubble plate
                                    stills with copper vessels and columns, there's a lot of surface area through
                                    which the vapor passes. I would strongly suspect that this has sufficient
                                    catalytic action to render a clean product irrespective of a stainless
                                    condenser. I would also be inclined to believe that there is indeed free
                                    sulfur in the vapors as evidenced in the sacrificial copper in commercial
                                    columns as well as spending plenty of (my own) time cleaning the black gunk out
                                    of my column and condenser. Whether it's other oils, sulfur, or whatnot, the
                                    mere presence tells me that it's not pure ethanol/water sticking to the walls,
                                    so there's something present. If that something is at least partially composed
                                    of sulfur, then I'm happy knowing that my entire vapor path (particularly the
                                    condenser, where the surface area is greatest) is copper.

                                    It would stand to reason (as I have understood the workings) that if you have a
                                    stainless boiler, you need a copper column/condenser. If you have a copper
                                    boiler, or at least a copper column with plenty of copper in the vapor path,
                                    then at least *somewhere* there is the sulfur removing characteristic and
                                    therefore, a stainless condenser is less of an issue.

                                    Trid
                                    -tell me I'm not the only one who eyes *anything* made of copper with an
                                    ulterior motive
                                  • sn_cur
                                    Copper conducts heat much better than stainless. This means a copper condensing surface is more efficient, and so can be smaller than a stainless one for the
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Dec 6, 2007
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                                      Copper conducts heat much better than stainless. This means a copper condensing
                                      surface is more efficient, and so can be smaller than a stainless one for the same amount
                                      of heat exchange.
                                    • dakini_painter
                                      Not all have bubble plate columns. CC also has variants with a cognac style helmet that goes straight to a SS condenser.
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                        Not all have bubble plate columns. CC also has variants with a cognac style helmet that
                                        goes straight to a SS condenser.



                                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Trid <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
                                        > Because the CC and Holstein stills are bubble plate
                                        > stills with copper vessels and columns, there's a lot of surface area through
                                        > which the vapor passes.
                                      • dakini_painter
                                        But that wasn t my question. :) If it was only a matter of heat exchange, sure, but then why aren t these condensers made of Cu? ... amount
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                          But that wasn't my question. :)

                                          If it was only a matter of heat exchange, sure, but then why aren't these condensers made
                                          of Cu?

                                          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sn_cur" <sn_cur@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Copper conducts heat much better than stainless. This means a copper condensing
                                          > surface is more efficient, and so can be smaller than a stainless one for the same
                                          amount
                                          > of heat exchange.
                                          >
                                        • Harry
                                          ... aren t these condensers made ... Cost reduction, mainly. Copper is needed in the distilling path to remove sulfides and produce a better, cleaner product.
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "dakini_painter" <cheryllins@...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >
                                            > But that wasn't my question. :)
                                            >
                                            > If it was only a matter of heat exchange, sure, but then why
                                            aren't these condensers made
                                            > of Cu?


                                            Cost reduction, mainly. Copper is needed in the distilling path to
                                            remove sulfides and produce a better, cleaner product. This is
                                            already achieved before the vapours get to the condenser. Stainless
                                            steel is a lot cheaper than copper, and requires less maintenance
                                            (cleaning). All of which makes it a sensible choice for a condenser
                                            in this type of still. Remember, the people who buy and operate
                                            these stills need to save money everywhere they can, or the
                                            operation will go broke. There's not much profit margin in
                                            commercial distilling. Govt. gets the lions share.

                                            Slainte!
                                            regards Harry
                                          • scannerfan
                                            Don t know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been built on both. Sam
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                              Don't know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country
                                              (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been built on
                                              both.

                                              Sam

                                              > There's not much profit margin in
                                              > commercial distilling. Govt. gets the lions share.
                                              >
                                              > Slainte!
                                              > regards Harry
                                              >
                                            • scannerfan
                                              Of course I never considered volume, low profit margin + high volume = EMPIRE Sam
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                                Of course I never considered volume, low profit margin + high volume =
                                                EMPIRE

                                                Sam


                                                > Don't know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country
                                                > (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been built on
                                                > both.
                                                >
                                                > Sam
                                                >
                                                >> There's not much profit margin in
                                                >> commercial distilling. Govt. gets the lions share.
                                                >>
                                                >> Slainte!
                                                >> regards Harry
                                                >>
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Distillers list archives :
                                                > http://infoarchive.net/sgroup/distillers/
                                                >
                                                > FAQ, Howto distil etc. :
                                                > http://homedistiller.org
                                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > ________________________________________________________________________________
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                                                > antique pocket watches and vintage wrist watches. Visit Bogoff Antiques
                                                > today.
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                                                > ________________________________________________________________________________
                                              • Harry
                                                ... built on ... Yes, but they don t use little 50-150 litre boutique Holsteins or Christian Carl Eau-de-Vie stills either. The moguls you speak of, their
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "scannerfan" <scannerfan@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Don't know about that Harry some of the riches people in my country
                                                  > (Canada), are the beer and liquor producers. Empires have been
                                                  built on
                                                  > both.



                                                  Yes, but they don't use little 50-150 litre boutique Holsteins or
                                                  Christian Carl Eau-de-Vie stills either. The moguls you speak of,
                                                  their product output is measured by the trainload per month!


                                                  Slainte!
                                                  regards Harry
                                                • Trid
                                                  ... I would speculate that the outer water jacket is stainless, but the heat exchange surfaces inside might very well be copper. Having never cracked one open
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Dec 7, 2007
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                                                    --- dakini_painter <cheryllins@...> wrote:

                                                    > Not all have bubble plate columns. CC also has variants with a cognac style
                                                    > helmet that
                                                    > goes straight to a SS condenser.

                                                    I would speculate that the outer water jacket is stainless, but the heat
                                                    exchange surfaces inside might very well be copper. Having never cracked one
                                                    open to see, it's just speculation, though.
                                                    I do know that some are made with a copper spiral in the cap to function as a
                                                    "catalytic converter" regardless of plates. Then again, with just the cap on
                                                    top, such as the cognac style, perhaps that's sufficient copper exposure. At
                                                    this point it's pretty much a SWAG[1] on my part.

                                                    Trid
                                                    [1] Scientific Wild Ass Guess
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