Cooling is an integral part to distilling. The process starts by bringing liquids to a boil, and creating vapors richer in alcohol. The process, from a scientific perspective, ends with the still cooling down those gases to liquid phase.
How cooling affects distillation is important. So let's dive in deeper and figure out how it works, what iStill does for you, and what is the craft distiller's own responsibility.
What you get
What you get, when you purchase an iStill, is an integral solution to distilling. Instead of buying an empty shell, that still needs a steam boiler, boiler room, and a lot of piping, the iStill comes with heaters and power management included. Well, yeah, but lets be realistic here ... the heaters and power management systems only work, when you connect the iStill to the grid. Without electricity no power, without power no heating-up.
And the same holds true for cooling. Yes, the iStill comes with a column cooler and a product cooler, but if you don't connect them to an adequate source of coolant, well, no cooling (or not enough cooling) takes place, hindering total efficiency.
What you need to do
What the craft distiller needs to do is check his mains. What is water pressure and water temperature? What does water cost? What's the climatic conditions of the distilling location? Recirculate water or just flush it down the drain?
In hotter climates chillers are probably needed. What size and strength? Well, that really depends on your location and on what your set-up is. Do you run an iStill 500 or 2000? Do you anticipate growth? Do you need the chiller to also cool down some fermenters you ordered?
As a general (and slightly overkill) rule-of-thumb, and as far as the iStills are concerned, please look at their maximum power. An iStill 500 has 18 kW and runs, while making vodka at around 15 kW. A run may take 8 hours, which adds up to a total power input of 120 kWh. So that's what you are looking for, when investigating chillers: a cooling system that delivers those numbers.
Do you run an iStill 2000? Then the numbers will be different. It makes vodka at 36 kW, so you need a bigger chilling system.
Our iStill Wizards can probably help you find direction, but adequate cooling, just as adequate electricity are the responsibility of the craft distiller.
Cooling made easier
In order to help customers out that live in (very) hot climates and need to rely on mains water for cooling, we added an item to our option list: the iStill Pre-Cooler. The iStill Pre-Cooler is an additional column cooler that sits under the standard column cooler and can be fed by its own coolant supply.
This addition comes especially handy for those that make vodka, since the associated high power settings as well as high vapor speeds, put more stress on the distiller's cooling system.
The iStill Pre-Cooler comes does what the name says: it pre-cools part of the gasses offered by the column, creating an overall bigger cooling capacity for those restricted on coolant.
Pre-coolers can now be ordered via your iStill Wizard. We have designed additional pre-coolers for the iStill 100, 500, 2000, and 5000:
- iStill 100 Pre-Cooler: EUR 500,-
- iStill 500 Pre-Cooler: EUR 1.500,-
- iStill 2000 Pre-Cooler: EUR 2.000,-
- iStill 5000 Pre-Cooler: EUR 3.000,-
iStill 2000 Pre-Cooler and Column Cooler ...