iStripper Design Principles

Building a world class distillery has everything to do with energy management. The better you insulate, the more nett power is fed into the actual distilling process. The less material you use, the smaller the amount of energy needed to heat-up all that (excessive) material. That’s the main reason why our 10 K iStill 250 out performes a 200 K plated, all copper Holstein.

And the same holds true for the iStripper. It is insulated, and – even though it is a lot bigger than the iStill 250 – it is still very compact in build size. Just two meters wide and 3.6 meters high. Small, when compared to those big, traditional, copper stills.

Does the iStripper suffer from any draw-backs, not having that much copper in place? No, it doesn’t. The copper in the iCatalyst provides just as much copper contact for the gasses and liquids as a compleat traditional all copper still does. All the advantages for sulfur control, none of the draw-backs.

During the process of designing the iStripper, the challenge was to come up with an approach that followed that leading principle: keep the design compact, so performance sky rockets. And that’s why we (again) took some design decisions that haven’t been seen before.

For instance, we skipped the “normal” double boiler approach. No water or steam jacket for the iStripper. Why? Easy: it would double the material needed to build the iStripper. And that would have resulted in a 30% longer heat-up time and a 20% slower production run. Put the other way around: by avoiding what we call the “double boiler trap”, we could improve the iStripper’s performance by 20 to 30%.

Any disadvantages, stemming from the decision not to use double boilers? No, none whatsoever. Traditionally, stills with “on the grain” distilling capability combine a double boiler with a diagonally inserted, relatively small and inefficient stirrer. We opted for a radical design change and placed the stirrer horizontally in the boiler. As low as possible. That way, the stirrer is exactly where it needs to be: close to where the heat is applied. By designing the bottom dweller stirrer and making it as big as it is (120 centimeters), we get perfect heat distribution without any risk of scorching.

In fact, the stirring operation is so effective, the iStripper can be used to mash as well as to distill on the grain. And temperature dispersion throughout the boiler is so good, we measure the temperature of the boiler charge just one centimeter above the boiler bottom and get perfect readings (see pictures below).

Again an example of how, by re-thinking traditional designs, huge improvements in both performance and versatility can be achieved.

Traditional stills often have plates for extra re-distillations. So if you buy a traditional still you are faced with a choice: how many plates do you want? And if you want to make taste rich as well as relatively neutral products, you may need two columns. That’s an expensive as well as an inefficient approach. Plates are big and heavy. And you need a dephlagmator and water management systems. Can’t we go for a less expensive (both in terms of capital investment as interms of energy input) solution? Yes we can.

For the iStripper, we invented “passive reflux management”. The so called “cleaning sections” create passive reflux in the column. That reflux is redistilled and gives you additional distillation cycles. No need for plates, no need for a dephlagmator, no need for water pipes, etc. Just a special kind of packing. Well, and a few additional design feature I want to keep secret at this moment.

The advantages of this set-up? You can add or substract cleaning sections, depending on what product you want to make. And the design stays compact, does not need hundreds of kilo’s of plates, pipes, and dephlags. More versatile, better performance, less energy usage, less capital investment. The ultimate rig for the craft distiller? We think it is.

Picture of mash temperature measuring rod (inside):


And here’s a picture from the outside:


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