Continuous stills, continuous distillation.
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Continuous distillers.

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How to run a continuous still

Continuous distillation Stills vs Batch Stills.

3kw continuous ethanol still
The first question that people often ask is, "what exactly is a continuous still?" A continuous still is a remarkable machine that allows the mash to flow into the distiller continuously. The ready alcohol then comes out of the other end, while the waste (alcohol-free ferment) is constantly disposed of into the drain. In reality, the continuous still serves as a medium between a fermentation vessel and a fractional distiller. This means that instead of storing tons of mash, you can work with relatively small amounts of low-quality raw alcohol that can be stored for as long as you wish without ever spoiling.


Continuous still - how to build.

Batch Pot Stills

micro continuous ethanol still

Imagine that your distillery has limited space but a few one-ton fermentation vessels are available in a separate room. If you want to distill one ton of mash with a pot still, you will need at least a 1.3-ton capacity pot distiller with all the necessary arrangements. This will occupy at least 2.5 cubic meters of space and weigh around 400kg, making it impossible to move around. You will also have to fill it up with mash and preheat it, which can take up to 10 hours to get some first drops of spirit, and another ten hours to complete distillation.

Once you start distillation, you must complete it, which can take up to 20 hours. The boiler contains one ton of boiling substance, which can be scary if something goes wrong. In case of a problem, you will have to cool everything down and drain all the mash from the still, fix the problem, and fill it up again.

The alcohol in the wash that boils for ten hours is involved in all kinds of chemical reactions because the wash contains many different by-products of fermentation, including salts and acids. All these reactions are boosted by heating. Thus, the alcohol that comes out of the still after a few hours of distillation is not that good.

When distillation is complete, you will need to drain all the smelling stuff, and there are two options.

There are two options to deal with the smelling stuff. The first option is to drain it and wait for it to cool down before getting rid of it, which will take a lot of time. The second option is to dispose of it while it is still hot, but this is not safe and will result in a lot of steam and smell.

Small continuous still

The efficiency of a pot still is relatively low, resulting in approximately 20% loss of alcohol during the distillation process. This means that the initial distillate will have the highest alcohol content, which will decrease significantly as the process continues. As a result, the amount of water in the final product will increase, which includes all the elements from the periodic table involved in the fermentation and distillation process. One option is to stop distillation and lose some alcohol, then collect the remaining liquid in a separate vessel for further re-distillation. However, some spirits will remain in the pot, and the machinery takes up valuable space and time. These are the realities of pot distillation.

Continuous Stills

In comparison with pot stills, continuous stills are more compact and light constructed machines. continuous food grade alcohol still

No need to respond - just acknowledge. TEXT: Let's say that we have the same situation as we had described above. Your distillery is limited in space, but you have a few one-ton fermentation vessels in a separate room. To distill one ton of mash with a continuous distiller, you will need a relatively small distillation machine that weighs no more than 50kg. The still is under two meters high and occupies around 60 square centimeters of floor area, which can be moved to storage after distillation.

The continuous distiller is connecting to a low-pressure pump that is continually pumping the mash into the distiller. And the only couple of liters of the mash is needed to fill the machine for distillation. It will take only five to ten minutes for the device to give you the first alcohol.

The flow rate of alcohol production in a continuous distiller is determined by the size of the column and the heating element in the steam generator. It's possible to arrange several columns into one frame to work together. In a video, a high-speed production machine processes 900 liters of mash in just 6 hours. The alcohol that is constantly being produced never comes into contact with heating elements. Instead of boiling for hours in increasingly concentrated by-products of distillation, it is separated from the stillage and continuously washed with fresh portions of water steam. As soon as it is separated from the mash, the alcohol leaves the column and is collected into a collection vessel.

High spieed arrangement of continuous alcohol stills.

After distillation is complete, you won't have to handle large amounts of boiling mash. The empty alcohol-free wash is separated and drained, and if you're preparing the next batch of wash for distillation, you simply switch the supply hose to the next vessel and start the distillation process in no time.

The efficiency of a continuous still (for alcohol production) is close to 90%. Compared to a pot still, you will obtain more alcohol from the same amount of wash. The alcohol percentage remains consistent throughout the distillation process. Additionally, because the alcohol in the continuous still is always mixed with fresh water, spirits produced with a continuous distiller are almost free of the impurities that naturally occur during fermentation in a mash.
alcohol distillation machine

Using a continuous distiller allows you to start or finish your distillation whenever you need to, as preheating the column and obtaining the first spirits takes only a few minutes. Completing the distillation also takes just a few seconds - simply switch off the power and restart the distillation when you have the time. This means that if you only have two hours for distillation today and four hours tomorrow, you can distill today and tomorrow to complete the process, while your mash remains in the fermenting tank. You can set up a few fermenting vessels interconnected via a pipeline to continually supply the ferment to the continuous still, and have staff working in three shifts to ensure the continuous distiller produces alcohol 24/7. This way, no precious time or spirits are wasted, making the process very convenient.

Continuous Stills
autor next to mini continuous alcohol still

We are happy to announce that some of our continuous stills are becoming smaller. While there has been interest in large machines capable of processing enormous amounts of ferment, many people have been asking about really small tabletop continuous stills that can replace bulky and heavy pot stills. I won't repeat all the benefits of the continuous still over the pot still, but one advantage is obvious - size. The small continuous still, which is one meter high and weighs 12kg, can replace a 500L pot still. Therefore, for your primary distillation, the continuous still is a must-have. In the picture, you can see our latest creation: "Alex C.D/1.5" (which stands for "ALcohol EXtracting Continuous Distiller 1.5kw"). With this little beauty combined with Alex 25 or Alex 50 stills, you can satisfy the enormous thirst of all your friends, or supply your small business with all the products that can be made with distillation equipment.

Micro continuous alcohol still measurementethanol still in action


The stable continuous production flow of this (1.5kw) continuous distiller is 3L of 50% stripped alcohol per hour. The distiller was designed for use as a primary distiller that continuously supplies the stripped alcohol for a fractional distiller to make food-grade alcohol free of impurities. 

 The 3kw version of a continuous still has no wash-filled boiler and production rate of 6l of 50% alcohol per hour. Like bigger versions of this distiller, the wash or wine always stays in a separate vessel or a different room. One doesn't need to reload and preheat it (preheating time is 5min). You can start or stop your distillation at any convenient time for you - switch the pump and distill as much as you need without affecting the ferment. A homemade video about this  still is available on the top of this page.

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