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Choice of 2" Product Condenser

I am seriously considering buying a SD as my first still.

I have a doubt about the product condenser.

For a 2" system I see three product condensers in the SD catalogue:


2" Product Condenser Short @ StillDragon Europe

long, 490mm:

2" Product Condenser Long @ StillDragon Europe

long TCC (not clear the difference between the last two):

2" Product Condenser Long TCC @ StillDragon Europe

My tap water at the moment flows at 17°C (63°F) I suppose that, in summer, it will be some degree warmer, not much.

I would like to know if the short product condenser is perfectly able to condense all vapours, given my tap water temperature. I would also like to know the difference between the two long condensers, one marked "TCC" (what does TCC stand for?)

Thanks for the help


  • edited April 2018

    Yes it can. It can easily knock everything down as long as you are not trying to push past a 4 or 5 liter an hour collection speed. Will absolutely work better than a more commonly sized liebig.

    When thinking about PCs, you can never go too big however (imo).

    The smaller PCs are super handy for counter top use/elevations. Like if you are trying to maintain the elevation off your business end for your collection jars for example.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • @Grappositivo said: (not clear the difference between the last two).

    TCC - "Long Product Condenser in 2" with Tri-clamp Cooling"

    I assume this means instead of 3/8" female pipe thread it is a Tri-clamp fitting...

  • @CothermanDistilling yes, that's what it is.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • I have a SD 2" long product condensor and it works very well even on my 200l boiler with 2 x 5.5kw elements at about 70%. Only the top couple of inches get cool. great product.

  • I'm using a Big Baby condenser for the PC on my 2" 2200W electric system

  • If you can fit it, you can never have too much PC power...

    Heck - I think SD should offer a 1-meter version of the 2".. I use a couple of the long ones for my small still and love that cooling capability except lining up the holes.. maybe a widget to keep streams from crossing ;-)

    I would also love to see the inner tubes be spiral-formed...

  • I'm surprised no one asked @Grappositivo what kind of column he uses, how wide and with how much power.

    My advise would be:

    2" short PC: 2.5" Baby Dragon, potstill <2kW

    2" long PC: 4" bubblecap column, 2-3" potstill with more power

    3" PC: 5"/6" bubblecap column; 4" potstill

    4" PC: 8" bubblecap column; 6" potstill

  • @CothermanDistilling said: If you can fit it, you can never have too much PC power...

    Heck - I think SD should offer a 1-meter version of the 2".. I use a couple of the long ones for my small still and love that cooling capability except lining up the holes.. maybe a widget to keep streams from crossing ;-)

    I would also love to see the inner tubes be spiral-formed...

    The original length was determined based on shipping expense/box size.

    In the early days when only hobbyists were customers and so many enthusiasts preferred to build to keep costs down, we figured this model was the least expensive way to give the customer optimal knock down power for its intended use at the time.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • It's easy to clamp two together, modular is where it's at. We'd never be able to ship 1m long ones.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Thanks everybody for the kind answers.

    I gather that: TCC stands for Tri-Clamp Cooling: did not notice that bit; PC size is the limiting factor in the speed of collection, the flow of vapour which can be knocked down. I assume the baby should be adequate for my setup.

    I am planning to use some sort of electric stove (the small portable 1 stove models) with maximum power between 1500W and 2000W (230V if that matters). Still to be bought just like everything else (I only have the fermenting material as I homebrew already).

    The kettle will be a 35L nominal capacity, never filled with more than 21 litres wash; not the SD one but another one custom built here in Latium.

    The column will be all 2" in diameter: lid adapter (2" weldless bulkhead fitting), 2" sight tower ST2, 2" 510mm pipe, 2" big baby dephlegmator, 2" 180° bend with thermowell, 2" product condenser short. Various tri-clamps and gaskets. No surge breaker, no parrot.

    When I have assembled the entire rig I will see how to place the final product container, at the moment I don't have a clear idea of where, and how, should the final product condenser be placed. Is there any "obvious" mistake not to make in the placing of the product condenser, or is the 180° bend and the product condenser attached to it a practical scheme?

    Actually, I was going to write another post asking for "validation" about the above configuration, maybe it can be validated here.

  • edited April 2018

    The one thing I'll add. The 2" Long PC and parrot assembly is heavy when full of water (and parrot full of spirit), add the weight of the hoses pulling on it, and ... well ... if you mount it far off the balance point, it can very easily get tippy if you are talking about boiler volumes under 30l.

    Likewise, if your boiler lid/adapter is flimsy, it's going to be a wet noodle especially if you've got some height on the column.

  • What grim says - my small still is a 25L T500 with flimsy lid, don't have the parrot but do have the 2" long PC and a meter of 2" SS column. I use a piece of copper wire to keep the column upright. Works like a charm.

  • Every problem is an opportunity.... In this case an opportunity for some nice 1mm thick or less 2" condenser shells with thin, knurled tubes inside... and more tubes/less water space!

  • edited April 2018

    We're replacing our instant hot water (steam to water) heat exchanger with a stainless exchanger. Targeting being able to do 10gpm at 200f. Hopefully be able to cut a half hour off mashing time.

    Picked up an all-stainless tube in shell on eBay. 4" by 24" Something like 40 or 50 1/4" tubes, with baffles on the shell side every inch.

    Would make a kick ass efficient PC. Thing probably cost thousands of dollars new.

    That said, if you want an efficiency improvement, putting at least 3 or 4 baffles in the shell side will make a solid improvement compared to the more esoteric formed tubes.

  • I think thinner wall tubes will help a lot too, quicker at transferring heat from distilate to water, and slower at transferring heat along the length of the condenser..

  • Thanks for the input. I will buy the short product condenser, I will use some 1500 or 2000W of power maximum, and I will be careful not to go too fast during stripping runs. I think the pot I am buying will be much sturdier than a T500. The lid will be kept in place with 6 sturdy butterfly nuts. The only remaining "problem" is the collection of the final product, I'll think about that when I have the entire rig in my hands.

  • edited April 2018

    @Grappositivo, this is my pot still, 2200W, on a stripping run. I am just using a SD Big Baby for my PC; I collect the low wines in a HDPE water drum. The long copper spout is best suited for my vey tall CCVM still. I notice a strong temperature gradient from one end of the copper spout to the other - passive air-cooling of the condensate. When I bought the Big Baby it was just intended for a dephlegmator on a VM still. When I decided to switch to a CCVM the Big Baby was no longer required. One day I tried the Big Baby in place of the leibig I'd been using for a PC and it worked very well and is much sturdier than the leibig. If I was buying a condenser, just for a PC, I think I would chosse a longer version than the Big Baby


    643 x 800 - 86K
  • Yes, another reason for the 20"/.5m version is that if you have the condenser angled, as you do, you cannot use two condensers connected in series very efficiently... all the liquid just goes in the bottom-most tube...

  • @kimbodious, I see you use the baby dephlegmator as a product condenser. The baby dephlegmator is shorter than the product condenser short, even if it were kept in vertical position it would be less efficient than the product condenser short. Also, my total istantaneous allowance is 3 kW, but I don't plan to run the still, even during stripping runs, at more than 2 kW. I see your post as a confirmation that the baby dephlegmator would be adequate for my setup, and that the product condenser short should be adequate for product condensation. The thermal gradient you see in your copper final tube should be no cause for concern, provided the product is entirely condensed at the beginning of the copper tube. I ruled out Liebig condensers as I understand they are the reason why some people say that distilling "makes an odour". If the rig is properly set up, there should be no odour at all. I suspect people who say they feel an odour use an inadequate Liebig condenser (or an inadequate water temperature).

  • You'll smell it no doubt about that.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • There will be odours when you run your still and the change in odours through the run is very informative

  • Non-condensable gasses come out of solution and you smell them. Never been in a distillery that did not smell like a distillery. Anyone who knows the smells will know exactly what you are doing.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • A couple of weeks ago I ran a bourbon wash and the smell was fantastic. And then later on I did a barley and oats run and that smell was really good too. Nothing like it.

  • I finally bought the longer final condenser, and I also bought an additional half-meter pipe.

    Are those non-condensable gasses flammable? Is it sensible to keep the fan of the fireplace hood activated during distilling?

  • It certainly does not hurt to have good ventilation through the distilling run.

  • edited May 2018

    Just received from machine shop .. my new quick connectors for prodcut and reflux condensors.


    600 x 800 - 148K
  • @grim said: It certainly does not hurt to have good ventilation through the distilling run.

    Yes, to explain myself better I was wondering whether it is safe to have the flammable vapours through an electric device such as the fan. If the chimney (I have a proper "chimney" above my kitchen stove hood) is full of alcoholic vapours I have the suspect the fan could ignite it and make an explosion. Are these inevitable odours alcohol vapours?

  • Ventilation is good of course, but I’ve collected the gasses coming out before the distillation actually begins and they put out flames. I suspect a lot of it is co2.

  • The point of ventilation is to ensure that if there are flammable vapors, they are not permitted to build to explosible levels.

    What you don't want to do is turn on the fan after you've created an explosive environment.

  • I will in any case keep the window open. I will keep the hood's fan constantly on and that should help ensuring all is fine. Thanks to all

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