|Copper and stainless steel still|
More copper does not mean better spirit.
Perhaps you have heard that the more copper, the better the product, or when trying to make a great product, you may have heard that less is the better. The fact is, all this is a matter of opinion! To be honest, copper is still very suitable for distillation. Copper is a very common material and has many advantages in the vapor path. However, if you are cost-conscious, there are many options in how to mix copper and stainless steel to keep your budget tight. In other words, you still don't have to choose between copper and stainless steel.
|The main benefit of copper occurs in the vapor path|
Generally, copper will remove highly volatile sulfur compounds in alcohol vapor under high temperature environments, so it is very beneficial to use copper in the vapor path. However, copper is not required in the liquid path, because the lower temperature cannot neutralize the harmful substances in the copper, and the final alcohol will corrode the copper. Using copper where high temperature flows and reducing copper where low temperature liquid flows is one way to reduce the initial cost.
If you want to add copper for aesthetics, you can use a copper top kettle, or add a copper helmet and tee to the stainless steel kettle. These copper components remain in the high-temperature steam path and remove sulfur fumes during the distillation process. By reducing the distillation rate to extend the contact time between the alcohol and copper, so as to provide sufficient time for the alcohol and copper contact. For example, if there is only one copper reflux tower in your system, you can use an on/off valve to reduce the operating speed and expose the alcohol to the copper for a longer period of time.
|Place the copper where it will produce a greater flavor|
Because copper removes sulfur, it does affect the final taste. Generally speaking, if you want to make whiskey or rum, it is best to use less copper to create complex flavors, and use more copper to create pure vodka flavors. The material of the distillation equipment depends on the type of alcohol you are trying to produce. Cost-conscious whiskey producers can use copper-top kettles to eliminate the smell of sulfur, but keep the column tee and pipes stainless steel. Depending on your budget, you may also only need a copper helmet or copper fractionator, located at the top of the reflux tower.
Rum makers can use a distillation system, where the copper is in the main kettle, and the distillation tank/auxiliary kettle is completely stainless steel, creating the perfect place to add some interesting flavors. Rum manufacturers can also use a single kettle with a reflux tower to adjust the flavor through the number of plates, reflux tower materials and connecting pipes.
Our point is that although copper cables still have many advantages, in some cases it is not necessary to use copper cables throughout the system. Although there are many benefits to using copper, there may be more details to consider. From preference to budget to alcohol type, the fact remains that wineries can create amazing products without the entire equipment being made of copper.
Therefore, when you can combine the two in the right way at the right stage of the distillation process, the problem is not necessarily still copper and stainless steel.
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