Citric Acid for cleaning copper pot still, what's the scoop?

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Citric Acid for cleaning copper pot still, what's the scoop?

Postby BlackSailJ » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:13 am

With all the searching I have done on how to use citric acid for cleaning a copper pot still has led me in circles all confused.

I have read that a tablespoon of citric acid per gallon gives a good dosing rate. Is this solution just to soak equipment in and hand scrubbing?

When doing a cleaning cycle (1st time), I distilled 1/2 & 1/2 white vinegar & water. Next is the sacrificial run of sugar wash to complete the cleaning cycle. Do you add citric acid to the vinegar or sacrificial run, and if so how much?

Thank you for your suggestions.
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Re: Citric Acid for cleaning copper pot still, what's the sc

Postby still_stirrin » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:17 am

BlackSailJ wrote:I have read that a tablespoon of citric acid per gallon gives a good dosing rate. Is this solution just to soak equipment in and hand scrubbing?
Yep....soaking to give the copper a "shiney glow".

BlackSailJ wrote:When doing a cleaning cycle (1st time), I distilled 1/2 & 1/2 white vinegar & water. Next is the sacrificial run of sugar wash to complete the cleaning cycle. Do you add citric acid to the vinegar or sacrificial run, and if so how much?
The "cleaning protocol" calls for a vinegar run between the steam run and your sacrificial alcohol run. The best method is to use 50/50 vinegar/water and run it for and hour or more. It will help clean out the insides of the still. I steamed mine for a couple of hours, collecting the vinegar at the product outlet. The still shed smelled nicely "pickled" when done.
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Re: Citric Acid for cleaning copper pot still, what's the sc

Postby kiwi Bruce » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:08 am

The reason for using an organic acid, like citric or acidic, on new copper... or on a copper pot that hasn't been used for a while, is not so much to clean it but to "passivate" the surface. Surface Cu oxides can be attacked by amines in the wash (ammonia from the DAP yeast nutrient is one source) this will give you "blue spirits" in your low wines and/or spirit run. It makes the spirit undrinkable...the copper-amine salts are toxic. It just needs a quick 2 second dip in a weak organic acid to do this, weak as in a tablespoon in a gallon of warm water, store it in a bottle afterwards, it will keep for ages.
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Re: Citric Acid for cleaning copper pot still, what's the sc

Postby BlackSailJ » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:27 am

Just as a follow-up, I did not distill with citric acid in the still, but did clean with it. I took 1/2 gallon (64 ounces) of hot water and 5 grams of citric acid powder and scrubbed it with minimal effort and it was squeaky clean . I do this after every use now.
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