Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Simple pot still distillation and construction with thumpers and without..

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Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Postby nevadadrifter » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:28 pm

I'm in the middle of sourcing/pricing all the copper needed for my first build. Im planning on running a 5 gallon washes to start, and im still working on finding the right boiler. If money was no option, id be going with the premium kettle from the brewhaus, but I'd like to find a cheaper option if possible. Looking for a steel keg in my area with no luck. A SS pot seems to be the easiest thing to find locally, but they are still pricey, and I'm not a fan of the "multiple metal clips around the rim" look.

Someone please chime in and tell me to buy the premium kettle from brewhaus. It'll help me rationalize spending the extra cash!

Anyway, on to my original subject.... I'm not sure what size copper pipe to use for running a 5 gallon wash. I am planning on building my pot still for use with or without a thumper, as I have seen plenty of pro/con arguments on both sides of the thumper fence.

Will 1 inch pipe be appropriate to use for everything from the boiler to the worm? (Lyne arm to thumper in, thumper out to the 1 inch into 1/2 inch reducer at the head of the worm).

I am afraid that going with anything of a smaller diameter will not be efficient.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
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Re: Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Postby Ayay » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:00 am

When your young you have lots of time and no money, and when yer old you have money and not much time! Jump forward and get what works. Time saved is money saved. Not...'Can I afford it'? But... 'How can I afford it'?

Too big a worm is better than too small. I recall readin 3/4" is a good size.
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Re: Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Postby ScottishBoy » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:17 am

nevadadrifter wrote:I am afraid that going with anything of a smaller diameter will not be efficient.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!


If I could do it all over again,the one thing I wish I would have done was to slow down and take a leisurely look at what everyone else is doing and how they made their stills. I really wish I had started with a keg and commited to a propane burner. BUT! Everyones needs are different. Right now Im really happy with my 7.5 gallon rig, because setup and takedown is a breeze and its sized for the washes I make. Wife likes it too since I stay in the kitchen while Im working on a little "Water of Life"...

With a 5 gallon setup, you could use 1 inch pretty easily, but I bet you will want to go larger very soon. Just remember that the coil will be your biggest restriction in the chain. Even 4 inch that connects to a 1/4 coil wont move any more vapor. Its all about what YOU want to do.

Ayay is right in saying that its worth it to invest well the first time, but the key to investing is knowing what will be right for you.
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Re: Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Postby myles » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:43 am

I am using a 100 litre keg for my pot still with 50 or 60 litre charges to leave pleanty of head space. If you can buy a keg (and my 100 litre keg cost me £100) BUY it. It is an investment that will last you years.

As for pipe size I was going to use 2" straight through, but because I am using a worm and a thumper, my pot neck reduces to 1.4" feeding the thumper. 2" out of the thumper that will reduce down to the worm.

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Get a small keg for your boiler if you can. Later on if you want a reflux still, the small keg makes an ideal reflux boiler, and you can get a bigger one for your pot still.

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Re: Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Postby LWTCS » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:30 pm

Kegs are a really good way to go.
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Re: Proper pipe size for 5+ gallon runs

Postby blanikdog » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:07 pm

I used to use 3/8 coil and changed to 3/4 and it's great.
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