Cleaning Out the Column and Packing

This is a definate “Do”! Cleaning out the column (and especially the packing) every now and then. When? Well, if you have had column flooding, it might be a good idea. Residual sugars get attached to the packing and make total available free space smaller, resulting in higher gas speeds and lower reflux rates. In short? Column flooding will happen sooner. And if you always treated your washes and your iStill correctly, a big cleaning session like once a year (or after that longer summer holiday), may be a good idea.

Here’s what I did with my iStill 50. Fully applicable to the i250 as well. I took off the needle valve section. Then, I unscrewed the column cooler and put it half way water with some vinegar and some soap.

Why? Well, I was stupid enough to run a bad rum wash that didn’t ferment dry (by far). When it comes over brown, you probably contaminated the corugated cooling tubes as well. When it comes out at the top you definately contaminated the coolling tubes. Imagine that sugar sticks to the surface, making the cooling working less efficient. But more importantly: how about potential rum taste transfer into your vodka?

So, the column cooler is off. And after that, I took down the column. The SPP went into a pan with water and vinegar. I boiled it for 30 minutes and rinsed it with hot and then cool water. The water came off with a slight colour, so the cleaning did its work. After the column, I took the catalyst down and cleaned the copper SPP. The boiler I filled up with boiling hot water and some vinegar and soap.

Tomorrow, I will empty the boiler, then inspect the heating element and – if necesairy – clean it too. After that I re-assemble everything and will run my rum wines after that. And after the rum is done … it is off to single malt making!

Cleaning the boiler …


Cleaning the column cooler …


Cleaning the SPP and Catalyst …



Regards, Odin.


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