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Essential Distilling offers several types of distillation columns that can be used with an alcohol still or moonshine still in addition to other still types. Picking the right type of column is an important decision as is impacts everything from purity to collection rates. You’ll want to make sure to do your research to determine whether a reflux column, high-capacity reflux column, gin column, or flute column will be the best distillation column to meet your needs.
The distillation column is where all the magic happens. Here, the vapors rise and components (fractions) of different boiling points separate. Separation effectiveness depends on the height and diameter of the column, ratio of height to diameter, and what materials the distiller column is made out of.
From a height perspective, the column should be tall enough to separate all the components so that the only fraction left at the top of the column is what you capture and condense. Diameter mainly affects how much vapor that the column can effectively handle. Therefore, if you increase the column’s diameter from 2 inches to 3 inches, you can increase your column volume by 2.25 times. The optimal height to diameter ratio is 15:1 to 20:1 in order to result in a high-purity distillate at the most efficient operating cost. Finally, what the column is made out of is important because of heat transfer through the walls of the column. A properly designed distiller column should not require insulation unless the distiller is being used in very cold weather, such as an unheated garage in the winter.
Most often referred to as a reflux column, this type of distiller column provides you with more control over reflux than that of a simple column because it allows you to cool the vapor and return some of the liquid back to the column. The cooling tube design is the most effective forced reflux still design, where the tubes that contain the cool water run directly through the column, thus coming in direct contact with the rising vapor. This way, the vapor reaches the cold tubes and instantly condenses, falling back down the column until it vaporizes and rises again. This takes place several times until only the fraction with the lowest boiling point remains.
Gin can be made by distilling a spirit in a forced reflux-type distillation column with an additional attachment called a “gin basket.” Essential Distilling Gin Series Distillation Columns have the gin basket placed at the top of the column and before the collection point so that the hot alcohol vapors will run through the through the botanicals, extracting the flavor and aroma compounds, all in one process. The gin basket can also be used to produce other types of flavor-infused spirits as well as essential oils.
Flute columns are heavy-duty systems that are versatile, powerful, and fast, capable of distilling at more than a gallon of high-proof (90%+abv) distillate per hour. Flute systems incorporate structured distiller column packing with the use of copper bubble plates. These bubble plates slightly extend past the diameter of the column to eliminate channeling, which occurs when vapor sneaks down the side of the column quickly (around the column packing) instead of slowly filtering through the packing.
We partner with manufacturers that only use dairy-grade beverage tubing that is polished both inside and out for all of our distillation columns. This high-quality, stainless steel tubing is the same kind authorized for use in dairies and breweries. We also ensure that we handle the stainless steel properly by only using equipment that is specially made for handling stainless steel to preserve its integrity and provide you with an exceptional distiller column.