## CCVM Questions

Moderator: Site Moderator

cathousemouse
Novice
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:10 am

### CCVM Questions

Hello Everyone,
I am a new guy here, thanks for letting me in. I have been reading and collecting info for about 6 months now and I'm ready to build my first still. I want to build a CCVM still. I do have 2 questions tho. With everything I've read I can't seem to get an honest answer or a non conflicting answer.
#1. On the colum of a ccvm still, is it necessary to make the tee and the arm going to your condenser the same size as the colum?
#2. What is the formula to figure out what size colum to build ? I understand that boiler size, heat input, height and diameter all figure into this but what is the formula to figure it out?
Looking for any help you guys can give, I'm excited to start building. Thanks again.

OtisT
Site Donor
Posts: 2372
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:59 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

### Re: CCVM Questions

cathousemouse wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:44 pm
#1. On the colum of a ccvm still, is it necessary to make the tee and the arm going to your condenser the same size as the colum?
No, assuming you don’t want to fraction with a 1:1 reflux ratio. I don’t know anyone who does that. I run a 1” output on a 3” column and a 3/4” outlet on my 2” column and never have I opened the valve all the way when fractioning. That is just my experience. Maybe someone will chime in with a reason to run with a lower reflux ratio.

If/when you run that column like a pot still you will need to cap the top so the increased pressure will force all the vapor out the vapor port, so a smaller opening is not a problem when pot stilling with it.
cathousemouse wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:44 pm
#2. What is the formula to figure out what size colum to build ? I understand that boiler size, heat input, height and diameter all figure into this but what is the formula to figure it out?
Looking for any help you guys can give, I'm excited to start building. Thanks again.
Tougher to answer wiithout knowing more about your goals. To figure this out, I usually start by asking how much product do you want to make, and what kind of product? (Example, is your goal to fill 5 gallon barrels, or maybe just a gallon to age in jars? Neutral or brown spirits? Gin?) From there it’s a matter of how much time you want to spend doing it. (For instance, you can make a lot by doing one big batch or many small batches. You could process 10 gallons in 3 hours or 15.).

If you already know some of your constraints, that will help narrow this all down. Examples: are you settled on using a 15 gallon keg boiler, or do you have flexibility on the size? Gas or electric? If electric, Can you run 220v or just 110V ( or multiple circuits?). Do you have 8’ ceilings, or 12’.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood

kimbodious
Trainee
Posts: 873
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

I run a 2” CCVM. The column and offtake are both 2”. It has 1.2 metres packed column (SST potscrubbers). I get an output of 1.2 litres per hour at 95% at around 1450 Watts on 240 VAC. There’s a photo of it in the link below VVV
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular 2" Pot Still
Modular 2" CCVM

Yummyrum
Global moderator
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

### Re: CCVM Questions

In the early VM days , trying to achieve 1:1 reflux was considered a goal .... pointless really. ... when you consider that VMs were mostly used to achieve close to Azeo .But it was a new design and trying to push its limits in both directions to make it as versatile as both a stripper and a Neutral still were the aim.Thats why there was an obsession with using an equal Tee . The problem is that a large stainless valve was and still is ridiculously expensive .
That is why the VMs with dual reducers appeared . One could then use a smaller valve but achieve the 1:1 refux .

The reality struck nearly everyone that operated a VM that A 1:1 reflux was never really needed and that the valve was normally only barely cracked open . Most had a seperate pot still for stripping anyway .

Folk soon started to use a valve about 1/4 the diameter of the column and achieve the high AVB they were chasing with less fiddly adjustment .

Now along comes CCVM .... no valve required .
As equal Tees are readily available , the use of them become popular again . Not for the purpose of achieving 1:1 reflux , but because it was easier to build .
Also there is a second side effect of using an equal tee on CCVM .... and that is that the larger takeoff port size makes the range of adjustment less critical due to there being a bigger area to have to lift the condenser across .

bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Posts: 1136
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

### Re: CCVM Questions

Looks like takeoff size has been pretty well covered. My experience is much the same 1:1 is not needed.

Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.

Boiler size needs to be matched to column size. Too big a column on a small boiler and the column holds all the alcohol. Too small and you spend 12-16 hrs doing a run. Take your hrs from start to finish you are willing to spend, then Take off 1.5 hrs for warmup and equalization. The rest is output time. So for 4.5 hrs, you have 3 hrs of production time. With a 2” you will get 3l, 3” will do 6 and 4” will do 12l. From a 10% wash that’s 30l for a 2”, 3” needs 60l, and 4” Needs 120l of wash. It will actually take longer as the takeoff rates do slow down during a run, but it will give you an idea of how it will all work.
Formerly
Dsp-CO-20051

Demy
Trainee
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:13 am
Looks like takeoff size has been pretty well covered. My experience is much the same 1:1 is not needed.

Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.

Boiler size needs to be matched to column size. Too big a column on a small boiler and the column holds all the alcohol. Too small and you spend 12-16 hrs doing a run. Take your hrs from start to finish you are willing to spend, then Take off 1.5 hrs for warmup and equalization. The rest is output time. So for 4.5 hrs, you have 3 hrs of production time. With a 2” you will get 3l, 3” will do 6 and 4” will do 12l. From a 10% wash that’s 30l for a 2”, 3” needs 60l, and 4” Needs 120l of wash. It will actually take longer as the takeoff rates do slow down during a run, but it will give you an idea of how it will all work.
I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much

Sk8brew
Novice
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:32 am

### Re: CCVM Questions

Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.
What happens if you are undersized on power? I have a 10gal 2800W boiler. Would you recommend a 2" or 3" column?

kimbodious
Trainee
Posts: 873
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:57 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

1:1 reflux ratio will give you highest output rate. Probably not an issue with the 3” and above columns but becomes a consideration with smaller columns.
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular 2" Pot Still
Modular 2" CCVM

bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Posts: 1136
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

### Re: CCVM Questions

Sk8brew wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:55 am
Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.
What happens if you are undersized on power? I have a 10gal 2800W boiler. Would you recommend a 2" or 3" column?
I would go with 3” if you can afford it. 2800w will run a 3” just fine and it will have almost double the output of a 2”.
Formerly
Dsp-CO-20051

bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Posts: 1136
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

### Re: CCVM Questions

Demy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:36 am
bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:13 am
Looks like takeoff size has been pretty well covered. My experience is much the same 1:1 is not needed.

Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.

Boiler size needs to be matched to column size. Too big a column on a small boiler and the column holds all the alcohol. Too small and you spend 12-16 hrs doing a run. Take your hrs from start to finish you are willing to spend, then Take off 1.5 hrs for warmup and equalization. The rest is output time. So for 4.5 hrs, you have 3 hrs of production time. With a 2” you will get 3l, 3” will do 6 and 4” will do 12l. From a 10% wash that’s 30l for a 2”, 3” needs 60l, and 4” Needs 120l of wash. It will actually take longer as the takeoff rates do slow down during a run, but it will give you an idea of how it will all work.
I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much
I would go 2” or 3” if all you are doing is low wines. 3” would be better. 15l at 40% is 6l of alcohol. That’s probably 6-8 hrs on a 2” and 3-5 hrs on a 3” that’s after warm up and stabilization.
Formerly
Dsp-CO-20051

Demy
Trainee
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:29 pm
Demy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:36 am
bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:13 am
Looks like takeoff size has been pretty well covered. My experience is much the same 1:1 is not needed.

Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.

Boiler size needs to be matched to column size. Too big a column on a small boiler and the column holds all the alcohol. Too small and you spend 12-16 hrs doing a run. Take your hrs from start to finish you are willing to spend, then Take off 1.5 hrs for warmup and equalization. The rest is output time. So for 4.5 hrs, you have 3 hrs of production time. With a 2” you will get 3l, 3” will do 6 and 4” will do 12l. From a 10% wash that’s 30l for a 2”, 3” needs 60l, and 4” Needs 120l of wash. It will actually take longer as the takeoff rates do slow down during a run, but it will give you an idea of how it will all work.
I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much
I would go 2” or 3” if all you are doing is low wines. 3” would be better. 15l at 40% is 6l of alcohol. That’s probably 6-8 hrs on a 2” and 3-5 hrs on a 3” that’s after warm up and stabilization.
Thanks so much. So is it possible to use large columns in small kettles? I've always seen here that the reference to columns is always for larger quantities (usually starting from 5 gallons to go up) so I have a lot of difficulty in finding information on my small quantities. I've been using a 1.5 "VM column for a couple of years and was thinking of upgrading to a 3" column but can't find any supporting info.

hellbilly007
Site Donor
Posts: 536
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:59 am
Location: Never one place very long

### Re: CCVM Questions

Demy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:28 pm
bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:29 pm
Demy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:36 am
bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:13 am
Looks like takeoff size has been pretty well covered. My experience is much the same 1:1 is not needed.

Sizing is really based on how much you want to make and how fast. 2” will make 1l per hour 3”, 2l per hour and 4” 4l per hour. They also need power to match, 2” needs about 1800w, 3” needs about 3000w and 4” needs about 6000w.

Boiler size needs to be matched to column size. Too big a column on a small boiler and the column holds all the alcohol. Too small and you spend 12-16 hrs doing a run. Take your hrs from start to finish you are willing to spend, then Take off 1.5 hrs for warmup and equalization. The rest is output time. So for 4.5 hrs, you have 3 hrs of production time. With a 2” you will get 3l, 3” will do 6 and 4” will do 12l. From a 10% wash that’s 30l for a 2”, 3” needs 60l, and 4” Needs 120l of wash. It will actually take longer as the takeoff rates do slow down during a run, but it will give you an idea of how it will all work.
I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much
I would go 2” or 3” if all you are doing is low wines. 3” would be better. 15l at 40% is 6l of alcohol. That’s probably 6-8 hrs on a 2” and 3-5 hrs on a 3” that’s after warm up and stabilization.
Thanks so much. So is it possible to use large columns in small kettles? I've always seen here that the reference to columns is always for larger quantities (usually starting from 5 gallons to go up) so I have a lot of difficulty in finding information on my small quantities. I've been using a 1.5 "VM column for a couple of years and was thinking of upgrading to a 3" column but can't find any supporting info.
What size of boiler do you have? Personally I wouldn't put a 3" column on anything smaller than a 15 gallon/~50 liter boiler.

With your 1.5" VM, have tried different packing? Some packings allow faster speeds, although not alot, while achieving just as high abv% and separation

Demy
Trainee
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

hellbilly007 wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:59 pm
Demy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:28 pm
bluefish_dist wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:29 pm
Demy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:36 am

I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much
I would go 2” or 3” if all you are doing is low wines. 3” would be better. 15l at 40% is 6l of alcohol. That’s probably 6-8 hrs on a 2” and 3-5 hrs on a 3” that’s after warm up and stabilization.
Thanks so much. So is it possible to use large columns in small kettles? I've always seen here that the reference to columns is always for larger quantities (usually starting from 5 gallons to go up) so I have a lot of difficulty in finding information on my small quantities. I've been using a 1.5 "VM column for a couple of years and was thinking of upgrading to a 3" column but can't find any supporting info.
What size of boiler do you have? Personally I wouldn't put a 3" column on anything smaller than a 15 gallon/~50 liter boiler.

With your 1.5" VM, have tried different packing? Some packings allow faster speeds, although not alot, while achieving just as high abv% and separation
I have 3 small boilers of 10L, 15L and 30L respectively. Initially I built a VM column because I was given the tube of this size and I believe it is suitable for small sizes, then I wondered how far the diameter of such small boilers could be increased. I use a pack of scrubber, I feel very comfortable. Thank you very much for your intervention, any advice is well accepted.

hellbilly007
Site Donor
Posts: 536
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:59 am
Location: Never one place very long

### Re: CCVM Questions

1.5" is good for the boilers you have. 2" would work as well, although I wouldn't see it worthwhile to upgrade to 2". The slight increase in speed wouldn't be much.

bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Posts: 1136
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

### Re: CCVM Questions

I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much
[/quote]

I would go 2” or 3” if all you are doing is low wines. 3” would be better. 15l at 40% is 6l of alcohol. That’s probably 6-8 hrs on a 2” and 3-5 hrs on a 3” that’s after warm up and stabilization.
[/quote]

Thanks so much. So is it possible to use large columns in small kettles? I've always seen here that the reference to columns is always for larger quantities (usually starting from 5 gallons to go up) so I have a lot of difficulty in finding information on my small quantities. I've been using a 1.5 "VM column for a couple of years and was thinking of upgrading to a 3" column but can't find any supporting info.
[/quote]

Really a larger column on a small boiler only works on low wines. I ran a 6” on a 30 gallon boiler. But that same setup would not work over wash or wort. Simply too big for the amount of alcohol present. To get 15l of low wines you had to strip 60l or more of wash/wort so it’s really like you are running a larger boiler by only running low wines. Go for the 3”.
Formerly
Dsp-CO-20051

Demy
Trainee
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

hellbilly007 wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:10 am
1.5" is good for the boilers you have. 2" would work as well, although I wouldn't see it worthwhile to upgrade to 2". The slight increase in speed wouldn't be much.
Thank you very much, it is the most concrete answer I have had on this topic.

Tasgrasshopper
Novice
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:01 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

Looking at building a CCVM.
I have both four inch and two and a half inch copper tube.
I can go to about 1500mm in column length to the underside of the tee.
Boiler is 50L with 4" take off, heated by LPG.
The question is, is it ok to build the column with half four inch and the other half in the two and a half inch making up the 1500mm.
I've searched regarding my question and have not found columns built from 2 different diameter tubes, 3" seems to be the way to go for boiler size which is why with the tubing i have at hand my thinking was to combine the two different diameters.
Just asking the question before i commit to building something which is not going to work??

bluefish_dist
Site Donor
Posts: 1136
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:13 am
Location: Cos

### Re: CCVM Questions

You can use both size pipes, but the output will be limited by the smaller of the two. The only reason to do it would be you have it on hand and can’t afford to buy more of the bigger diameter.
Formerly
Dsp-CO-20051

Tasgrasshopper
Novice
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:01 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

Ok that answers my question build either 4"or 2.5".
I have enough material of both sizes, so back to do more reading!!

Tasgrasshopper
Novice
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:01 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

A little more reading and have settled for the 2.5" column. Thank's Bluefish for the advice.

Yummyrum
Global moderator
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:23 am
Location: Mid North Coast Aussie

### Re: CCVM Questions

Probably a good decision tas , although 4” sounds the go, there are a whole lot of issues that go with it such as extra heat , cooling , bigger boiler size etc . Not to mention the height of it .

Tasgrasshopper
Novice
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:01 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

Yummyrum, Yes after reading a few more posts on CCVM builds for my use the 2.5" will be more than enough.

Saltbush Bill
Site Mod
Posts: 4540
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:13 am
Location: Northern NSW Australia

### Re: CCVM Questions

2.5 will be a whole heap better than 2 inch......3 would be better if you could find some.......as Yummy says .....4 will be a whole new ball game and cause more trouble than its worth probably.

Demy
Trainee
Posts: 831
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

### Re: CCVM Questions

bluefish_dist wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:39 am
I enter on this point to ask you for advice: for a mini boiler with 15 liters of low wines which maximum column diameter would you use? It seems like only me running small quantities ... thank you very much
I would go 2” or 3” if all you are doing is low wines. 3” would be better. 15l at 40% is 6l of alcohol. That’s probably 6-8 hrs on a 2” and 3-5 hrs on a 3” that’s after warm up and stabilization.
[/quote]

Thanks so much. So is it possible to use large columns in small kettles? I've always seen here that the reference to columns is always for larger quantities (usually starting from 5 gallons to go up) so I have a lot of difficulty in finding information on my small quantities. I've been using a 1.5 "VM column for a couple of years and was thinking of upgrading to a 3" column but can't find any supporting info.
[/quote]

Really a larger column on a small boiler only works on low wines. I ran a 6” on a 30 gallon boiler. But that same setup would not work over wash or wort. Simply too big for the amount of alcohol present. To get 15l of low wines you had to strip 60l or more of wash/wort so it’s really like you are running a larger boiler by only running low wines. Go for the 3”.
[/quote]

Thank you very much, yes in any case I do a stripping and then a second distillation precisely because of the small amount. If I am not mistaken do you suggest a 3 "column also on 15 liters of low wines? Could it also work on 10L? Thanks in advance.