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TMW Stripper

Firstly a big congrats to @Telluride for breaking the ground on steam stripping, you can find his build thread here.

OK, time to make a start on a steam stripper myself.

For the moment I just want to build a working model so I'll do so at the lowest cost using as much of what I have lying around as I can.
Since the bulk of what I have is 2" the column of the body will be 2"
Since I already have a keg boiler, I'll use the keg boiler with a couple of 3.6kW elements.

I'd like to be able to start-up and go into full reflux while I figure out what the hell I'm doing.
The L-port valve was one way but it doesn't allow me to run with partial reflux return so I'll have to give that some more thought.

The image is too big to fit onto a single page so I'll show the boiler section and the top section separately for now.

Note the lack of safety/instrumentation/pumps etc, all to come later. I've allowed room for them just didn't have the time to add them just now.

Let me know your thoughts.




600 x 1077 - 38K


  • Revised but still missing important detail.

    Added option to run with partial reflux by replacing the 3-way valve with 2 ball valves and a needle valve.


    600 x 1085 - 41K
  • What's the thing to the right of the keg that looks like a thermosyphon reboiler?

  • R u planning to have the spent wash going into the boiler or draining out separately?

  • @grim It's part of my secret plan may very well become a thermosyphon reboiler. But I won't go into that just yet.

    For now it's the liquid level management system. From here excess boiler contents will be removed and emergency top-up water added if necessary.

    @Unsensibel As you'll notice I've not yet shown any heat recovery from the spent pot ale, I'll put the heat exchanger in the next drawing but I'm not sure how much extra heating the beer will need. At least the system will be capable of providing the extra preheating if needed. So the spent wash is returning directly to the boiler in this version, not always ideal, depending on the product you are making...see mention of secret plan above ;)

    2 x Magnetic Drive polysulfone 110oC 19L/min pumps ordered yesterday for this project.

    I know some of the components I'm using are too expensive for a build like this but I already have them so it's the cheapest path for me.

    I'm working on a much cheaper and simpler build but I need run data to support the development cost of the next stage.

    The only item I don't have at present is the large 4" condenser shown above, so add the costs of materials and labour to have that built plus the electrical components for the controller etc and it's still going to cost enough for a trial.

    The upside is I'm expecting a beer throughput of ~70L/h+ with an output ABV of 60%+. All from a 2" column.

  • What are you planning on stripping with this bad boy? Are you planning on using this for "on grain" ferments?

  • I will have the flexibility to do that and it's on the list of things to try out to see if I like it. But in general no that was not the plan.

    I'm just looking to see if there's a more efficient use of my time in the distillery.

  • Nice.

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  • I figured I'd make an insertable tree of slant plates for the lower section. If you have a better idea let me know
    Such as a stack of perf plates or something else.

    The idea behind the tree was just laziness on my part, I didn't want to cut into the stainless walled tube and I figured the tree idea allowed for more changes.

    Does anyone know where I could find a handy template tool? I want to be able to adjust the angle on the template.



  • I just figured out a way to do it in disc and doughnut.

  • Here's a sketch of what it would look like using 2mm stainless threaded rods:

    Note this is not the full column, as usual I made my drawing far too large to show detail when fully zoomed out.

    2" column perspective------------------disc & doughnut perspective-------------disc & doughnut side elevation


    800 x 739 - 41K
  • edited March 2015

    Looks good, disk and donut - perfect for solids. When you run through the calcs, be sure you do open area calculations for both the disk and donut plates such that they both have the same open area (you probably already did, but I'll mention it anyway). 2" though seems tight, the openings as you have them laid out seem very tight, less than a third of the total area. Although, the biggest issue I've always had with this tray design is it seems so massively inefficient, perhaps some extra turbulence through the openings will help increase efficiency some. Almost wonder if toothing the edges might help reduce droplet sizes enough to push up efficiency. One other factor to consider is the overall surface area of the disks and donuts, if you don't have a mechanism to dish them, larger area might lead to greater fouling, or you might need to run higher reflux ratios to keep the trays self-cleaning.

    You can do without the center rod if you put mounting tabs on the disks. It might help during setup to keep the disks more level.

  • Thanks for the reminder about the % open area, I've checked and it needs fixing.

    Like you I contemplated how to keep the liquid active for longer but it keep leading back to a perf plate design which would only end up fouling unless I pre-filtered the beer. I'll try for 20 pair of disc-doughnuts below the feed inlet and 500mm of packed section above.

    Good observation about the middle rod, I can anchor the disc to the outer 2 rods easily enough.

    I'd rather build it bigger than 2" but it's what I have lying about and it's if I screw something up the costs at this scale are much smaller. What I learn from this can then be used for the bigger version.

  • The copper disc and donut I use on mine only need 2 support rods, I also made them dished.

  • Did you dish the downwards for increased surfase area or upwards for liquid retention?

  • Dished down to facilitate self cleaning of solids.

  • Old dimensions were pretty bloody close to matching % open area, but lets do it once and be consistent about it.

    New dimensions to provide a 30% open area to both disc and doughnut are:

    Doughnut hole = 25.9mm (was 25.4mm, a 0.5mm increase)

    Disc = 39.9mm (was 38.1mm, a 1.7mm increase)

    Dishing = 10%, ie ~ 5mm drop from outer tip to vertex or lowest point

    Disc and doughnut spacing remains unchanged.

    The only person here with any knowledge of these things is Telluride, so how does that sound @Telluride?

    If all looks good I'll start work on the wooden templates for doing the dish work.



  • I was curious to know how much extra surface area could be achieved by dishing the disc and doughnut shapes and this is what I got:


    736 x 432 - 25K
  • @TheMechWarrior I just don't see this. The surface area is only increased if the dish is inverted. In this position the surface area is the flat area (across the highest point), because the dish will fill up to overflow.

    Its the same principle as ploughing grassing pasture into long ridges to increase the grass yield.

  • I was imagining the surface area of copper available for heat transfer. The steam is rising and the liquid is falling.

    The area of copper used increases as you curve more material into the same space, regardless of the curve facing up or down.

    I didn't show the removal of the hole in the middle or the calcs for the smaller disc. I just thought the numbers were interesting.


    My eyes are practically falling out of my head, it's possible I'm missing something bleedingly obvious

  • But aren't you decreasing the contract time of the beer by curving ad gravity will drain it off quickly???

  • Yup. You win some, you lose some.

  • I think I would go for perf plate and size the down comers to deal with the particulates.
    Don’t forget to consider cleanability. Slant plants might be a PITA there depending how you go about it.
    Some firearm moderator designs use drop in baffles that look a bit like bent washers.


    Maybe you could do something similar? At the end of your run just drop the stack of plates out of your unmodified column and run them through the dishwasher.

    If it were me I would copy a rising or falling film concept and use a shotgun as a calandria with steam on the shell side.

    Search for calandria evaporator @ Google

    SD should do some testing as they could move a heap more product if the idea works. It would probably need a rectifying section on top though.
    I tried something similar here with lots of heat recovery (no cooling water at all) but the whole thing fell down when I went to product. Molasses wash was too thick and too foamy. I should try it again without that crappy packing.

    Another continuous stripper @ HD

    Controlling the flow in is a bit critical though. Get yourself a variable speed PD pump.

    800 x 359 - 59K
  • Personally I love the idea of a falling film evaporator having used them for many years.
    Optimum evaporation is not my primary goal, I want to bed down the control system and the heat recovery systems first. I'll then focus on the main heat exchanger.

    With that in mind I've decided to give the disc and doughnut the flick and just use a simpler side to side tray design.
    Here's an idea of what it looks like, just imagine cutting out 40 lots of 47.6mm diameter discs and the slicing off a portion of one end.


    214 x 300 - 8K
  • That pic doesn't seem to display?!?
    Maybe right click and 'view image'
    Similar to your disks but the flow would split down the middle and they'll self-space.

  • That is beautiful :D

  • @jacksonbrown said: That pic doesn't seem to display?!? Maybe right click and 'view image'


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  • I did a 3" disc and 4" donut with 2" hole, 1/4" hole 1 1/4" from center on both, used 2 threaded stainless rods with stainless nuts, had them cnc'd for me and was pretty easy stuff

  • I was going down the CNC path for those as well Telluride and I still may go down that path depending on my contacts for the 47.6mm copper discs.

  • PS, thanks for the specific details.

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