Subject: [new_distillers] Re: [Distillers] Vapor management versus reflux
This thread would seem to indicate that a build up of Congeners on
surfaces within the still is an inevitable consequence of the
distillation process. Therefore, techniques involving bleeding off
heads thru a separate condensor (not the collection condensor) would
seem usefull. It would also seem prudent to thoroughly clean all
such surfaces after each run, thus preventing a build up. Does
anyone have an effective cleaning regime they would care to share
with less experienced people such as myself.
Is it adequate to simply flush the still with water, or would more
elaborate techniques using steam or solvents be more appropriate?
The congeners do not build up on surfaces and increase with time. The point
being made was that a wetted surface will tend to hold onto a liquid film
that coats it and the layer in physical contact with that surface is quite
hard to dislodge. If that film contains congeners, then trace amounts will
then taint subsequent liquid flowing on that surface. As a little
experiment which illustrates the point, try swilling a little gasoline
around a glass and then empty the glass. Shake it hard to get rid of every
last drop! Now fill the glass with pure water and see how it smells and
tastes. Now try all that again, but this time be very thorough. Dry the
inside of the glass with a teatowel after pouring the excess gasoline out.
You have removed every last bit of gasoline, right? Try the "sniff test"
and check out how clean it really is!
It takes very, very little to taint what might otherwise be a good, clean
product. Cleaning between batches is therefore very important, just as
washing the dishes is after a meal. It would therefore be very useful to
learn if anyone has a sure-fire way of getting a still squeaky clean ...
your final question could start a very useful flow of information! For my
six pennorth, sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate is very good. It's the stuff
that gets nappies clean (Napisan for Australasians), but without the added
"perfumes" that doting mothers seem to like. It works by releasing nascent
oxygen when made into a solution with water, and that stuff is murder to any
hydrocarbon molecule soaked in it.