- 0.1 How thick is 20 gauge copper sheet?
- 0.2 How thick is 22 gauge copper sheet?
- 1 Can I use steel wool on copper?
- 2 What Cannot be removed from distillation?
- 3 How do you clean copper for distilling?
- 4 What is copper used for in moonshine?
- 5 Why is copper used in moonshining?
- 6 Why is copper best for a still?
Is copper sheet easy to cut?
Copper Sheets – Copper sheeting is used in motor vehicles, medical equipment, architecture, and structural engineering. Available in thicknesses up to 0.254 millimeters (0.010 inches), this material is easily cut by any of our cutters, knives, or scissors.
How thick is 20 gauge copper sheet?
Here is a guideline chart to you on gauge and weight of copper sinks.
|Gauge||Thickness in mm||Thickness in inches|
How thick is 22 gauge copper sheet?
|Weight per square foot||Thickness||Gauge|
|16 oz||.0216″ (22 mils)||24 Gauge|
|20 oz||.027″ (27 mils)||22 Gauge|
|32 oz||.043″ (43 mils)||19 Gauge|
|48 oz||.0647″ (64 mils)||16 Gauge|
Can I use steel wool on copper?
Never use a harsh abrasive (like steel wool, scrubbers that could leave scratches or bleach) on a copper kitchen sink or copper vessels. When you’re looking to give your copper an extra bit of shine, a highly-rated metal polish or non-abrasive cleaner is usually the best – and easiest – way to go.
What Cannot be removed from distillation?
Steam Distillation One of the simplest methods of purifying water, distilling is the process of boiling water into steam, and then condensing the steam back into water. As gases (including chlorine) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be re-condensed back into the drinking water, most steam distillers use a carbon post filter which adsorbs gases. It is crucial that the carbon filter be replaced regularly, as the filters that are included with most distillers are small, and can easily become saturated with toxins. When a carbon filter has reached the saturation point, toxins and bacteria can be passed into the distilled water. Distillation removes heavy metals, micro-organisms, poisons, bacteria, contaminants, sediment, minerals and viruses. Distillation can not remove substances with lower boiling points than water including oils, petroleum and alcohol. The boiling chamber collects these contaminants and requires regular cleaning. Steam distilled water systems utilize either a plastic or stainless steel holding tank to hold the distilled water. Most systems have a spigot that is used to fill large plastic bottles for water storage. Glass bottles are preferred, but they are hard to find, very heavy, and dangerous if dropped. The boiling tank must be drained regularly, and depending on the model, cleaned every few weeks to remove scale deposits. Some models offer optional expensive auto drain kits that eliminate the need to clean the boiling tank where the impurities collect. Other options include pump kits and pressure tanks that allow steam distilled water to be connected to a kitchen mounted faucet for on demand water. Quality steam distillers are expensive, time consuming and costly to maintain, with electrical costs ranging from $.20 to $.40 per gallon, comparable to replacement filter costs in the best OPUS Healthy Water System models. If scale is allowed to build up on the heating element, the efficiency of the unit will be affected resulting in higher operating costs. Proponents of distilled water advertise that distilled water is the most natural, purest form of water. However, distilled water cannot be found in nature. Rain, technically created by distillation, is the result of the evaporation and recondensing of water. However rain, as it travels through the atmosphere (or down mountain streams), quickly absorbs minerals, airborne contaminants, and other substances. Similar to, steam distilled water is “dead” water, as it contains no minerals. Distilled water is particularly corrosive. With no minerals to give the water pH balance, distilled water acts like a magnet, absorbing chemicals (phthalates and bisphenols) from plastics, nickel from stainless steel, aluminum from aluminum containers, and carbon dioxide from the air. With no minerals to buffer the water, and the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, distilled water will have an acidic (<7) pH. Due to the high purchase price, high maintenance, high electrical operating costs and low water output, most people choose RO over steam distillers. The purchase price is lower, daily water output is higher, and less maintenance is required. RO systems produce demineralized water that is comparable to steam distillation with the inherent problems that have been identified in clinical trials, relating to the consumption of demineralized water. While somewhat subjective, most people find that distilled water has poor taste characteristics, probably due to the absence of minerals. Nickel Allergies and Stainless Steel Storing distilled water in stainless steel tanks can result in water containing high levels of nickel. To make steel stainless, chromium and nickel are added. Nickel is the most common metal allergen, leaching into liquids and foods that come into contact with stainless steel. Acidic liquids and foods can absorb even higher amounts of nickel. It is estimated that 14% of women have nickel allergies, which can produce eczema like symptoms and an itchy, bumpy rash. I do not recommend storing water in stainless steel, aluminum or plastic containers. As water distillers store purified water in either plastic or stainless steel, and for the reasons outlined earlier, I do not recommend water distillers. Other systems that use stainless steel include the overpriced multi level marketed Multi-Pure system. Bisphenol-A, Phthalates and Aluminum In addition to absorbing nickel from stainless steel, distilled water can absorb aluminum from cookware and storage containers, and Bisphenol-A and phthalates from plastics. One of the most well known xenoestrogens found in plastic containers, plastic bottles, and in the lining of canned foods is the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases and has recently been officially labeled a dangerous substance in Canada. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, may increase the risk of birth defects and cancer. Comparison: Using Opus Healthy Water Systems vs. Distillation
No electricity required. The electricity needed to distill water costs between $,20 and $,40 per gallon. If you drink 1820 gallons of water per year (about five gallons per day) your cost of operation is between $364.00 and $728.00 per year, not including replacement filters. No messy cleaning and descaling of the distillation tank boiling chamber. Steam distillation is expensive to install as an on-demand system, requiring additional plumbing and a dedicated water pump. Most steam water distillers use a combination of stainless steel and plastic parts, and may store water in BPA containing plastic or stainless steel tanks. The corrosive nature of distilled water results in the absorption of these toxic compounds. The plastics can leach bisphenol-A, and the stainless steel can leach nickel. Steam distillation produces water slowly, averaging only 4-5 gallons per 24 hours. OPUS Healthy Water Systems retain dissolved minerals and either maintain the original pH (Freedom and Advantage) or increase alkalinity (Alkaplus). Distilled and RO water absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, increasing acidity.
: Steam Distillation
Does boiling water get rid of copper?
Boiling water does not eliminate copper. If there is copper in your water, boiling may increase copper levels. If you have copper in the pipes inside your home or if you aren’t sure if you do, consider testing your water. This is the best way to find out if you have elevated levels of copper in your water.
How do you clean copper for distilling?
Cleaning A Copper “Moonshine” Still – Quite a few folks have asked us how to keep the copper bright and shiny, so we decided to write this “how to” guide. First things first, by “moonshine still” we mean “small copper still. We’ve chosen to use that language because small copper stills are often called “moonshine stills.” That said, copper is not naturally shiny. 1. Vinegar, salt, and flour : Yes, that’s right a few common kitchen ingredients and a bit of elbow grease will clean copper right up. Combine about a tablespoon of salt and a cup of vinegar and then add enough flour to make a paste. Apply the paste to a still and wait.
Leave sit for 30 minutes, wash off, and repeat the process if needed. Of course, one will probably need to scale this recipe up for even the smallest still we make, but it’s very inexpensive and works well.2. Ketchup, lemon juice, cream of tartar : This is another common recipe that utilizes common kitchen ingredients.
If one does not have the ingredients listed in the previous recipe, but they do have some ketchup, lemon juice, and cream of tartar they can use this recipe. However, this version of DIY household cleaner is not as effective as vinegar, salt, and flour. 3. Tarn-X : For the quickest results, consider purchasing an “industrial strength” metal cleaner / tarnish remover. Tarn-x works well and can be purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot. It is also fairly inexpensive. Be warned though, this stuff is quite a bit stronger than vinegar and salt, therefore proper protection is required.
Wear gloves and goggles. Also, this stuff really smells awful. I literally wear a voc mask when using it, which actually blocks the smell completely. Regardless of the cleaner used, remember to rinse a still thoroughly after cleaning. Any residual acids left on the still will cause it to discolor. Also, remember that nature will always win and a still will discolor over time.
The best way to prevent natural patina is to apply a sealant just after thoroughly cleaning and polishing a still. Hopefully this was helpful information for those that want to keep their stills bright and shiny. Also, consider the alternative: do nothing and let the still develop a natural patina.
- In my opinion, the natural route is best.
- Stills with patina look cool and require no work to maintain! A reminder: Distilling alcohol is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits.
- Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only.
Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation. Kyle Brown is the owner of Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company which he founded in 2009. His passion is teaching people about the many uses of distillation equipment as well as how to make beer at home. When he isn’t brewing beer or writing about it, you can find him at his local gym or on the running trail.
What is copper used for in moonshine?
– Copper is the preferred material in the construction of a still to impart flavor into the distilled spirits. According to Broadslab Distillery, both stainless steel and copper are excellent conductors of heat: dispersing the heat evenly across the entire surface of the metal and creating a more even distillation.
But where both stainless steel and copper will not put harmful chemicals into your final product, copper has the advantage over stainless in that whisky out of a copper still simply tastes better. When distilling in copper, the copper reacts on a molecular level with the sulfurs put out by the fermenting yeast.
It “cancels-out” the sulfur taste which would otherwise be bitter and not as smooth. In the process of distilling, the sulfur coming from the yeast binds itself to the copper, making hydrogen-sulfide which in turn, forms copper sulfate. The copper sulfate sticks to the inside of the still after distillation is completed.
Why is copper used in moonshining?
Distilled Spirits (Whiskey, Vodka, Moonshine, Etc.) – Overall, copper is better for distilling spirits because the material removes sulfides from distillate, which produces a better tasting and smelling final product. Copper is definitely the better choice for products like Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Scotch, and traditional Rum, because of the sulfur reduction, as mentioned above.
These spirits are also most commonly distilled in pot stills (no reflux), which allows for lots of flavor to come through from the wash. Copper stills are great for high proof spirits like vodka too. Tito’s Vodka, for example, is distilled in a copper pot. However, vodka is best distilled in vessels with a reflux column, as it can be done quicker that way.
This isn’t to say that stainless stills can’t be used to distill spirits. In fact, a stainless pot with a copper column, or a 100% stainless still packed with copper mesh, are both excellent options for producing spirits. Remember, it is illegal to distill alcohol without the proper permits.
What are the different types of copper stills?
Distillation – Pot v Column distillation There are essentially two types of still, the pot still and the column still. Of the two, the pot still, also known as the alembic still, is the simplest and not unlike a giant kettle, indeed the Dutch call their pot stills Distilleerketel. Pot stills have changed little in hundreds of years, and the design and shape of the chamber or ‘pot’ of modern day stills would be recognisable to distillers from centuries ago.
- Extensively pot stills consist of a chamber (pot) to which heat is applied.
- The contents boil and the vapours that collect in the head at the top of the pot are directed into a space that tapers to a narrow tube, called the swan’s neck.
- This leads to the condenser where the vapours are cooled by running cold water so reverting them back to liquid form.
The biggest advance in pot still technology in the past few hundred years has been the method of heating the still. Distillers of old had little choice but to light a fire directly under their still but today high-tech boilers provide a reliable and controllable source of steam, allowing fine adjustments to be made to the running temperature of the still.
- Heating via steam jackets and steam heated serpentine coils also reduces the likelihood of burning associated with direct heated stills.
- However, despite advances in steam heating, some distillers still choose to use direct heat as they believe the slight risk of burning essential to the character of their distillate.
They include cognac distillers and some malt whisky distillers. Thanks to modern monitoring and testing equipment, today’s distillers are also better able to judge how a still is running and when to cut from heads (or foreshots) to heart and heart (or spirit) to tails (or faints).
- However, despite these advances, pot stills are very inefficient users of energy and are also limited by having to be batch operated – meaning they are charged, operated and emptied, then cleaned before being filled with the next batch of wash.
- The beginning of the 19th century saw attempts to develop a still to speed and improve the distilling process and in 1826 Robert Stein invented a still consisting of two columns.
An Irishman and patent office cleric, Aeneas Coffey considerably improved the design of the new still and patented his ‘Coffey’ still in 1831. Coffey’s then radical ‘column’ or ‘patent’ still is also termed a ‘continuous still’ because, as the name suggests, they can be run continuously without the need to stop and start between batches as in pot still distillation.
This coupled with the higher concentration of alcohol in the final distillate make column stills much more economical to operate than pot stills. The invention of the Coffey still had a dramatic effect on the world’s liquor industry as it enabled distillers to produce a much purer spirit, on a larger scale and cheaper than was previously possible.
By the middle of the 19th century the quality of spirit produced from the new continuous stills was close to the standard of spirit we enjoy today. This had an obvious effect on vodka production but has also changed other spirit categories. For example, English gin distillers reduced or omitted the sugar previously used to soften the harshness of the old style gins to create a new style of gin that would eventually become known as ‘dry gin’, then ‘London dry gin’.
- The column still also directly led to the creation of ‘blended whisky’, a category which outsells pot still produced malt whisky by factor close to ten to one.
- As with any still, continuous stills work on the principle that water, alcohol and the various congeners in the wash all vaporise at different temperatures.
The first column stills consisted of two columns but today’s can consist of as many as seven interlinked columns. Column stills behave like a series of interlinked pot stills, each formed in a long vertical tube. Within the tube, or column, are usually plates like floors in an apartment block.
On each floor, often referred to as a ‘bubble plate’, is a pool of trapped wash and holes in these plates allow rising vapour to bubble up through the wash. In Coffey’s still, wash enters at the top floor of the still and falls through the floors to meet steam rising from the bottom of the still. The steam vaporises the alcohols in the wash, and carries them upwards, while the wash (with its alcohols removed) falls to lower floors of the still where it boils and creates more steam.
The rising vapour, which is low in alcohol, will naturally condense in the trapped liquid on each floor but the law of physics dictates that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so something has to give, forcing something to evaporate from the layer of liquid.
Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water it is inevitably alcohol that evaporates. Thus alcoholic vapour passes through the floors and as it rises through the column, the temperature of each successive floor is slightly lower than the previous floor, so the vapour in equilibrium with the liquid at each floor is progressively more enriched with alcohol.
Consequently the vapour becomes progressively more concentrated or purer as it rises through the column’s floors. Column stills allow what is termed as ‘fractional distillation’ as various different compounds (or fractions) are trapped according to their boiling point on different floors of the still so allowing each component of the distillate to be removed from that section of the still.
The more floors a column still has so the more rectified (purer) the finial distillate will be. Rather than build skyscraper column stills it is common to interlink several columns. As the spirit passes through the successive columns it becomes progressively purer. In a four column still, the first column, called the Analyser has steam rising and wash descending.
This strips the alcohol, producing ‘high wines’ at 65-70% alcohol by volume. The second, Extractive Column, starts the rectification process prior to the third, Rectification Column. A fourth Contracting Column basically recovers spirit from the heads (foreshots) and tails (faints) produced by the other three columns.
- Modern fractional distillation columns often utilise vacuum pumps to lower boiling points within the still and such stills can concentrate ethanol alcohol to 95.6% by volume.
- This mixture is an azeotrope with a boiling point of 78.1°C and further rectification (purification) by distillation is not possible, nor necessary for the production of alcoholic beverages.
(The chemical industry remove the remaining water using other means, such as hydrophilic chemicals or azeotropic distillation to produce a liquid closer to 100% ethanol alcohol.) : Distillation – Pot v Column distillation
Why is copper best for a still?
To many, the sight of a burnished, shiny set of copper pot stills is one that sums up Scotch whisky. But why copper? It may appeal aesthetically, but what are the practical reasons for its continued use in distilleries old and new? Let’s hear what the Whisky Professor has to say on the subject.
Still in use: Copper has long been a familiar sight at whisky distilleries such as Glenmorangie Dear Whisky Professor, On a recent visit to Scotland for a concert tour with my stepchildren (a group of seven singers – a bit like The Osmonds, but Austrian), I took the opportunity to visit a local whisky distillery.
While there, I was very much struck by the imposing size and shape of the stills, and their lustrous copper sheen. They really were very beautiful, but nonetheless something about them struck me as rather odd. Now, I have a bright copper kettle in my kitchen; along with raindrops on roses and warm woollen mittens, it is among my favourite things, and a particular joy when recovering from mishaps such as bee stings and dog bites. Precious metal: Copper is more than just a pretty face, says the Whisky Professor Dear Mrs von Trapp How, indeed, do you solve a problem like Maria’s? First of all, stills weren’t always made from copper. The earliest examples would have used whatever durable and malleable material came to hand, such as ceramics or glass. But copper was soon fixed upon as the ideal material with which to manufacture pot stills.
- It is relatively easy to mould and shape into whatever form you wish; it conducts heat easily and efficiently; and it is resistant to corrosion.
- Nonetheless, it does wear out and it is expensive, prompting distillers to experiment – as you suggest – with newer, cheaper and more durable materials, such as stainless steel.
This happened particularly, but by no means exclusively, in the United States. However, early adopters of stainless steel quickly noticed a dramatic change in spirit quality – an unwelcome, sulphurous odour that had nothing to do with cut points or the speed at which the stills were run.
- Distillers had arrived at copper as the ideal still material by a process of trial and error; now they uncovered a hidden benefit of the metal by the same method, a benefit confirmed by further investigation and experimentation.
- Think of copper as a ‘silent contributor’ to spirit quality; the availability of clean copper inside the still is vital to allow complex chemical reactions to take place, removing highly volatile sulphur compounds – chief among them dimethyl trisulphide or DMTS – and helping in the formation of esters, which tend to give the spirit a fruity character.
This process is also absolutely vital when making grain whiskies in column or continuous stills, where copper may be used in the manufacture of the sides of the stills or the plates themselves. Here, copper does its best work in the rectification system, where the unwanted compounds are mainly concentrated. Available copper: Shell-and-tube condensers tend to produce lighter spirit Worm tubs consist of copper coils submerged in tubs of cooling water, but the shell-and-tube construction has much more ‘available’ copper, meaning more copper contact with the condensing spirit and producing typically lighter, fruitier and grassier flavours in the mature whisky.
By contrast, worm tubs tend to yield more sulphury, meaty or vegetal notes, simply because the copper has had less opportunity to react and remove those flavours. Deposits will also gradually build up on the inside of the ‘worm’, reducing the copper’s reactivity further. Although the removal of these volatile sulphur compounds is generally desirable during the distillation process, the extent to which it happens – governed by a variety of factors from still shape and size through to method of condensation – is also a stylistic decision.
You want a funky, meaty, slightly sulphury new make? Then you need a distillation process that involves less copper contact (and worm tubs). Looking for fruity, grassy spirit? Make the most of every inch of copper in your stills and fit shell-and-tube condensers.
Taking this stylistic choice a stage further, some distilleries are now fitting stainless steel condensers – Ailsa Bay, for example – to give them an option that has less copper contact and a different style of whisky as a result. There are two further consequences of the complex reactions that occur when spirit and copper interact.
The first is that, as the reactions take place, the spirit ‘picks up’ copper in a soluble form. Only very small amounts of this will be present in the final product (you’ll be relieved to hear); most of it is discharged long beforehand, incidentally posing an environmental challenge to distilleries. Blue stuff: Copper carbonate deposits in Lagavulin’s spirit safe The other effect is that, in certain parts of the still where more of the beneficial catalytic reactions occur – above the boiling line, in the shoulder, swan neck, lyne arm, condenser and at the start of the worm – the copper will gradually erode. As the copper thins, it is not unknown for a still to ‘pant’ like an over-exerted dog, its shoulders rising and falling under the strain.
Repair or replacement needs to take place swiftly to avoid a collapse. To sum up, although expensive, copper has great properties of malleability, thermal conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Its ultimate weakness – that, especially in certain places, it wears out – is also one of its greatest strengths, since it is by this copper ‘sacrifice’ that the spirit that will become whisky is refined and stripped of unwanted odours and flavours.
No wonder, then, that distillers will sometimes refer to the presence of what they call ‘sacrificial’ copper in continuous or stainless steel stills: copper installed not because of aesthetics or distillation efficiency, but for reasons of spirit quality.