Column Packing: a Friend with Benefits!

02 November 2021


The packing inside iStill's hybrid columns allows you to distill many times in one go. Or it can just perform one distillation cycle, in potstill mode. If you are looking for a simple pot distillation, the column packing is still your friend. A friend with benefits. Here we go:

Heads, Hearts, and Tails

When one uses a potstill to perform a run, the heads come over first. Hearts follow after heads. Tails - the last faction of the run - follow after hearts collection is finished.

Since heads and tails slowly blend out and in of the hearts cut, a part of that hearts cut is contaminated. Depending on the product purity and flavor profile that the craft distiller is looking for, the heads and tails factions are discarded and can therefore be considered a loss.

Heads Compaction

Here's where column packing is your friend with benefits. Even on a normal potstill run, with an iStill, where the column packing isn't activated by reflux, it will help you at minimizing your heads losses. Here's how.

In a traditional potstill the riser is empty. Gasses that boil off from the boiler move upwards through the riser, then move sideways through the bridge, and then travel in a downward trajectory towards the cooler, where they are liquified again. Since headsy alcohols boil off first, the first part of the run is lost to the heads cut.

In an iStill with column packing, the gasses, as they rise from the boiler, hit the cold packing. As a result, the gasses liquify and fall back, while the packing is getting a little bit warmer. This process continues for many, many cycles and can take as long as 15 to 20 minutes. That is 15 to 20 minutes where heads are given the time to concentrate in the top of the column. Concentrated and at high proof, the heads faction becomes like 9 to 10 times smaller, thus limiting your heads losses and boosting the amount of spirits you can produce and sell by 900 to 1000%!

Only iStill offers super-efficient heads compaction ...


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