Copper vs. Stainless Steel

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Virginia Gentleman
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Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by Virginia Gentleman » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:57 am

Well I've done several runs using a small (1/2 gal.) home built still, and am ready to move on to a larger (5-10 gal.) pot still. I've read a lot (site, books, forums) and asked a lot of questions, and I think I could build this myself, but in the interest of getting running faster I think I am going to buy one ready made (at least this time around).

My goal is to make bourbon (on charred oak), sour mash whisky (on oak) and good drinking moonshine (rigth from the still) from all-grain or mostly-grain mashes. So given the US suppliers I've looked at, the question is copper vs. SS, or a combination. Pluses for copper: flavor (removing sulfates), tradition, looks. Pluses for SS: easier to clean, cost.

What do you all think, is copper the only way to go?

Here are a few models I've looked at:

http://www.brewhaus.com/Essential-Extra ... tiller.htm

http://milehidistilling.900footalien.com/distillers.htm (the 26 Quart Stainless Steel Pot Still)

http://www.coppermoonshinestills.com/id1.html
(the 10 GALLON WIDE MOUTH WITH GOOSENECK, 10 GALLON BOTTLE STILL WITH WATER JACKET or 10 GALLON BOTTLE STILL WITH WORM COIL)
Lord preserve and protect us, we've been drinkin' whiskey 'fore breakfast.

Fourway
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Post by Fourway » Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:12 pm

milehi distilling is just a reseller for brewhaus same product.

the copper moonshine stills guy is a good fella, he does beautiful work.

My feeling is that the two inch neck on the brewhaus still makes it only good for sugar wash.


I'd spend my money on copper.

but before you plunk down your money on something at a web site you might want to consider contacting one of the better builders on this board about doing some custom work for you and making something to your exact specs. There are a few guys here who can make metal sing and dance.
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Virginia Gentleman
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Post by Virginia Gentleman » Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:30 pm

Wise words, Fourway, wise words. Hadn't thought about the customization option. I know the copper moonshine stills guy will customize to a degree. I really like the looks of his gooseneck, and some others. Good point on the 2 inch neck too.

By all means if there are folks on here that would be interested in some custom work, let me know and we can discuss by email. Have to say though that I'm anxious to get up and running, so time will be a factor. That's kind of how I arrived at buy instead of build.
Lord preserve and protect us, we've been drinkin' whiskey 'fore breakfast.

Virginia Gentleman
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Post by Virginia Gentleman » Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:26 am

Just an update on ordering ready-made stills: talked to the Colonel at http://www.coppermoonshinestills.com and he's a good guy, very helpful. I guess it's a testament to his product that he's got 22 folks on his list to make stills for, 14 or 15 weeks wait time. So I'm debating modifying my homemade set-up with a larger (2 gal.) boiler in the meantime, or just building it all myself.
Lord preserve and protect us, we've been drinkin' whiskey 'fore breakfast.

Uncle Jesse
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my personal choice

Post by Uncle Jesse » Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:34 am

personally I went with a http://www.revenoor.com/ revenoor 10 gallon still. do your research and find one you like.
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Virginia Gentleman
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Post by Virginia Gentleman » Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:55 am

Thanks Jesse, I had looked at the Revenoor folks but they seemed too pricey as compared to some other products out there (I've looked at all the still makers I could find for both copper and SS). There also wasn't as much detail on their site. Is the 10 gal. all copper? Is it pot still, reflux, fractioning or something in between?
Lord preserve and protect us, we've been drinkin' whiskey 'fore breakfast.

danneva
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by danneva » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:07 pm

In terms of cooking, there are advantages and disadvantages of copper and stainless steel. Copper conducts heat well, better than any other type of cookware material. It is not too lightweight, but neither is it too heavy, as cast iron tends to be but copper is a soft metal, so it is possible that over years of use, the bottom of your pans will become warped. Stainless steel is a nonreactive metal, so using a stainless steel pan will not change the flavor of acidic foods. Stainless steel does not need seasoning and is very easy to clean and maintain but stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat that’s why cookware manufacturers are now trying to improve this by combining with aluminum or copper.

kiwistiller
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by kiwistiller » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:24 pm

Zombie thread! :lol:

Welcome along danneva, nice to have you. Feel free to make a thread in the welcome area telling us about what you make / want to make, equipment, whatever.
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My stuff

danneva
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by danneva » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:10 pm

danneva wrote: Stainless steel is a nonreactive metal, so using a stainless steel pan will not change the flavor of acidic foods. Stainless steel does not need seasoning and is very easy to clean and maintain but stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat that’s why cookware manufacturers are now trying to improve this by combining with aluminum or copper.
Cookware made exclusively from copper heats well and only requires a low flame. However, uncoated copper is also very reactive and can leach into food. Unlike copper, stainless steel cookwaredoes not conduct heat well. On the other hand, it is an inert material that will not react with food, making it suitable for preparing acidic dishes.

myles
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by myles » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:26 am

I like copper for home build jobs and am currently part way through doing an all copper inner pot for my double boiler. I have also just bought two new stainless kegs for the sheer convenience. A small 30 litre one to go on a 1.5kw electric hotplate for a VM/CM still, and a big 100 litre keg that is getting two 3kw immersion elements and will be used as a pot still.

There is a lot to be said for using a copper vapour path on a stainless boiler - and kegs are so easy to connect to. My copper still will be reserved for special use with thick washes - fruit pulp and grain. The kegs will be used with well cleared and stripped washes.

Different tools for different jobs. :D

RyanS
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by RyanS » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:28 pm

Does starting off with a ss stockpot (I believe some have a copper or aluminium base) have its advantages for heat conductivity? its food safe at least. Is copper often used for the vapour path because it is easier to work with? or other reasons?

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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by Ayay » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:23 am

RyanS wrote:Does starting off with a ss stockpot (I believe some have a copper or aluminium base) have its advantages for heat conductivity? its food safe at least. Is copper often used for the vapour path because it is easier to work with? or other reasons?
Copper absorbs sulphides, and gettin the sulphides out of your product is essential.

Copper is easier to work than stainless unless you are good with a TIG. Heat conductivity is the least of our worries in a boiler. Fine heat control and steady heat is the problem. SS StockPot, milk can, urn, and SS Keg are all excellent boilers. If there's no copper anywhere then add some pices of copper into the boiler simply as rattle-stones. They will take care of sulphides.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

docdave
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by docdave » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:20 am

Myles,

Check out this book The Art of Distilling Whiskey and Other Spirits by Bill Owens and Alan Dikty (Barnes and Noble). It has some amazing shots of stills in both SS and copper and I guarantee it will give you alot of practical design ideas.

DocDave

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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by irish-distiller » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:16 am

Copper is easier to work than stainless unless you are good with a TIG. Heat conductivity is the least of our worries in a boiler. Fine heat control and steady heat is the problem. SS StockPot, milk can, urn, and SS Keg are all excellent boilers. If there's no copper anywhere then add some pices of copper into the boiler simply as rattle-stones. They will take care of sulphides.



hi new to distillin is this true that adding copper pieces to stainless steel still get rid of suphides

jake_leg
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Re: Copper vs. Stainless Steel

Post by jake_leg » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:44 am

If there's no copper anywhere then add some pices of copper into the boiler simply as rattle-stones. They will take care of sulphides.
That's better than nothing, but ideally you'd want to have some copper in the vapour path too. The copper needs to be clean to do the job.

http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/ ... 8-1104.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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