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Abbott's Steam Stripper

Alright folks, here is a steam stripper complete, it uses mostly triclamp parts sourced from, brewers hardware,, and a couple ebay sources parts as well as several trips to the hardware store. Basically in a nut shell there are 3 condenser/heat exchangers, two of which are used to preheat the beer before it enters the top of the still, first is in the vapor path acting as a condenser, and the next is in the bottom of the still utilizing the hot spent beer, then it enters on the top. A perstaltic pump is what is used to dial the exact amount of beer entering the still. There is an additional condensor to knock out any additional vapors. The steam generator was the hardest to figure out, it has a solenoid valve controlled by a level switch sourced from auber. All of the parts are rated to 265 f, so at my altitude comes to about 25 psi, most altitudes are less. The plates i use are 26 dished plates, 13 x 3" dishes and 13 x 4" to 2" doughnuts that are dished as well, theres a great guy on ebay that will cnc them exactly to what you want, just ebay copper dephlagmater plates. Raschig rings will work perfectly fine. The glass tube came from sci tech glass. Ill try to get a full build list and better pictures soon. I dont want to take any liability in building these for people, so take all of this as a guide rather than a plan to build your own steam stripper, and dont ask me to build you one :)



600 x 800 - 60K
600 x 800 - 72K


  • Curious, what was your inspiration? How much Trial and Error involved?

  • @CothermanDistilling So my father's engineering firm designs numerous types of equipment like this for farm ethanol fuel production, steam stripping of wastewater and for pulling bio fuels from waste water to run turbines, lots of green energy projects. I wanted a minimal reflux steam stripping still that can handle grain on distillation, so I got together with a group of his engineers and put together this system built off of modular parts rather than contracting out a bunch of tig welding. I basically wanted to design and build something that could help out the rest of the micro distiller industry. Theres a couple guys building systems very similar to this, most of which have quite a bit of reflux, which i didnt want, the guys who make these are also charging around $10k. I wanted to give an affordable option to the industry as this can be put together for less than a third of that price, ill put together a build list and price it out. Im the kind of guy that likes to share knowledge, ill make enough money off the booze i make in my tourist town. Also my numbers on this system are vastly different than most as this system is at 9500' above sea level, my temps in the boiling of ethanol and psi vs temp of steam are so different that its going to take a entire different set of trials to get this dialed at sea level, I believe the biggest difference would be that the flow of beer that this system can handle at sea level is less, my steam generator can handle a larger psi at my elevation compared to someone at sea level, and ethanol requires a lower temp for distillation at my elevation, hopefully someone that lives at a normal elevation will build one and we can compare numbers. Its funny you get used to living at this elevation and when you head down to sea level you have super human capabilities, my sprint triathlon times dropped from 1:20 to 1:05 because my VO2 levels are so much higher and i require less oxygen to normally function, i wont even get into how much alcohol i can handle at sea level, hahaha!

  • my dad lived at 8500' on the Ruedi reservoir outside Basalt, he and my stepmom would always have their O2 levels flagged when they went for a checkup... and don't even try to bake bread at that altitude.. I will try to visit next time out that way... I would like to do something like that after more research... and I am at about 10' above sea level... if you could post a video of it operating, particularly how the plates operate, I think it would be of great help.

  • @smaug was in the same seminar at ADI I believe, it was about still design, the guy basically had all the craft distillers drop their jaw when he said they needed to start looking at continuous stills, and then went on to talk about the things you could do with a 30 plate still.... I do see a lot of future potential for artistic continuous stills like @Telluride has...

  • edited July 2014

    I'll get a video, but it might be a couple weeks, I am going to head to wisconsin to drink beer and eat cheese curds, anyways, here is a breakdown of parts:

    Steam Generator Controller $261.20 (tax and shipping not included)

    • Auber PID Controller SYL-2352 $46.50
    • Auber Enclosure Box W/ 40 amp Heat Sink B252015 $49.90
    • Auber 25 Amp SSR MGR-1D4825 $15.00
    • Auber Maintained Pushbutton Switch Green SW12 $7.98
    • 3 x Auber Selector Switch 2 Position Maintained 2NO SW4 3 x $5.99 = $17.97
    • 3 x Auber LED Indicator Green IND1 3 x $3.45 = $10.35
    • Auber Din Rail Mounted Circuit Breaker UL1077 2 Pole 25 amp $19.80
    • Auber Din Rail DINR $2.00
    • 2 x Auber Leviton Round 120V Socket 5258SS 2 x $7.50 = $15.00
    • Auber Leviton Round 240V Plug L6-30P $14.80
    • Auber Leviton Round 240V Socket L6-30R $16.90
    • 5 Feet 10/2 Stranded Power Supply Cord ~ $5.00
    • 3 Pole Power Distribution Block Ebay ~ $20.00
    • Various Gauge and Colored THHN Wire ~ $20.00

    Steam Generator $549.01 (tax and shipping not included)

    • SD Element Guard Kit $36.00
    • SD 4" - 2" Concentric Reducer $32.00
    • SD 4" x 12" Triclamp Pipe $60.00
    • SD 4" x 4" x 2" Reduced Height Bubble Tee $50.00
    • SD 4" x 2" x 2" Torpedo Top $50.00
    • 3 x SD 4" Clamp 3 x $11.00 = $33.00
    • 3 x SD 4" Gasket 3 x $1.00 = $3.00
    • 4 x SD 2" Clamp 4 x $6.50 = $26.00
    • 4 x SD 2" Gasket 4 x $.50 = $2.00
    • SD 2" End Cap $4.25
    • 2 x BrewersHardware 2" Triclamp to 1/2" MPT 2 x $15.00 = $30.00
    • 1/2" NC Solenoid Valve 120VAC Ebay Seller Valvesforprojects $47.95
    • Auber Liquid Level Control Switch FSW1 $10.97
    • 2 x Hardware Store 8' 16/2 Power Supply Cord with 120V Plug 2 x $5.50 = $11.00
    • Camco 5500W Element $28.38
    • 1/2" NPT Stainless Cross $4.40
    • Auber RTD Sensor w/ 8' Braided Cable PT100-L601/2NPT $45.35
    • 1/4" FPT FPT MPT Tee $6.05
    • 1/2" MPT - 1/4" FPT reducer $2.30
    • 1/2" MPT - 1/4" MPT reducer $2.30
    • 25 PSI Pop off Valve Ebay $11.90
    • 0-30PSI Pressure Gauge Ebay $22.26
    • 1/4" FPT High Pressure Needle Valve Ebay $27.90
    • 1/4" MPT to 3/8" Flare Hardware Store $2.00

    Stripping Column $1530.25 (tax and shipping not included)

    • SD 4" Sight Tower $140.00
    • 2 x SD Torpedo Top 2 x $50.00 = $100.00
    • SD 2" 180 Bend $35.00
    • SD 2" Regular Product Shotgun Condenser 2 x $110.00 = $220.00
    • SD 2" Long Product Shotgun Condenser $135.00
    • SD Modular Parrot Kit $207.50
    • 7 x 2" SD Clamp 7 x $6.50 = $45.50
    • 7 x 2" SD Gasket 7 x $.50 = $3.50
    • 2 x 4" SD Clamp 2 x $11.00 = $22.00
    • 2 x 4" SD Gasket 2 x $1.00 = $2.00
    • 3 x BrewersHardware 2" Triclamp to 1/2" FPT 3 x $15.00 = $45.00
    • Scitech Glass 4.5" Heavy Wall Pyrex Tubing $160.00
    • 6 x Threaded Zinc Rod of 52" with Nuts ~ $15.00
    • 2 x Threaded Stainless Rod with Nuts ~ $20.00
    • 6 x 3/8" Flare Fittings ~ $12.00
    • 3/8" Soft Copper Tubing 25' $25.00
    • 26 Plates CNC'd by Ebay Seller automation248 $252.00
    • 2 x SD Push Connect 3/8" MPT 2 x $3.00 = $6.00
    • SD Push Connect 1/2" MPT $4.00
    • SD Push Connect Hose $20.00
    • SD Push Connect Y $2.25
    • 3 x SD Push Connect Needle Valve 3 x $11.50 = $34.50
    • 2 x SD Push Connect ThermoTee 2 x $12.00 = $24.00

    8020 Extruded Aluminum Stand ~ $400.00(I had the stuff sitting around from a previous project)

    Cole Parmer Masterflex Peristaltic Pump with Hose ~ $700.00 (used on ebay, hose new from CP)

    Total Cost $3440.46

    You could do all of this differently for a few items, such as using raschig rings instead of dished copper plates. You could also use Triclamp Pipe instead of a sight tower. You could use 2 x 4's for a stand to cut down on costs. A lot of this stuff I had lying around, and a couple of the prices are estimations. In total it took about 40 hours of design time, which was free but had I paid I would guess $10-20k, and about 20 hours to assemble. The reason I built this is I have immersion water heater elements on my 500 liter SD 8" still and I only wanted to put low wines into the still with those elements. This also drastically cuts down on time, I can strip out 3000 liters of beer/wine with very little work, and do 2 runs in my 500 liter still rather than 6 runs of unstripped beer/wine. Have fun guys, I will post detailed pictures later today... possibly.

  • @CothermanDistilling You could very well turn this into a complete continuous design by adding a couple dephlagmators and either a crystal dragon on top or on the side with different take off points for heads hearts tails, almost VM like. If you look at my design you will see that it is basically the analyzer side of a coffey still, with no rectifier side.

  • Did you say grain in? You've got my attention!

  • Yes grain in, the whole reason for designing it, i would use a hammermill over a roller mill though

  • Wisconsin? The wife and I take off Sunday for two weeks in IL/WI.... Be in Rockford/Freeport IL most of the time, but doing New Glarus, Monroe, maybe the 6,7,8th before the great taste of the midwest, but avoiding the main event on Sat the 9th... my do a stint in beaver dam and or minoqua..

  • Update: Turned it on today, first time the steam generator got flooded due to the float switch working too rapidly with the rapid boiling in the water. Drained and turned the needle valve to minimal flow so only a little water would go in with the rapid sensing the switch would make upon the solenoid valve. Called the engineer(my pops) and we decided we need to route in a water reservoir that would house the switch and valve. Fortunately I had a bunch of parts sitting around to build a reservoir using:

    1x torpedo tee 1x short 4x4x2 bubble tee 1x 4x2 triclamp reducer 4x 2" triclamp to 1/2" npt 4x 1/2" npt to 3/8" flare Some 3/8" soft copper tubing

    The reservoir held at a non boiling temp for over a half hour(tellung we coukd potentially crank this up to a higher temp and pressure of steam to allow for a higher flow rate of beer/wine to be stripped) and kept the water level perfect. At the top of the column on the still i was reading over 200 degrees, I was getting 15psi of steam at 250, with no problem and the system had reached its equilibrium. I dont expect any problem when i start pushing beer and wine through it, but i will update that when i return from vacation. So far i am very pleased and believe this design should fulfill the need for an economical steam stripper in the micro distilling industry.

  • Thanks @Telluride I really enjoy how detailed you are on your posts and I look forward to keeping up with your progress as you go. I have to get some of those mounting really cool option!

  • edited July 2014

    No worries, just happy to help. I love that 8020 extruded aluminum. Its easy to make anything look pro with it. Here is a picture of said reservoir, had to use a 2" to 1.5" triclamp reducer in conjunction with 1.5" to 1/2" npt where a 2" to 1/2" not should be, ill be swapping that out when i get the correct part in.


    600 x 800 - 80K
  • Any chance you can get some videos of the operation?

  • @Telluride I've been translating what I can see in the pics to a drawing I'll convert to a P&ID.

    What's not clear to me from the images is how you manage your feed in and spent ale out.
    It appears to go via a small heat recovery? pre-condenser.

    Here's my drawing so far, it's a fairly large image so you might need to open the original to see the details.
    Here's the link to the original image.




    461 x 800 - 21K
  • @TheMechWarrior you have drawn up what I would recommend for the 8" version that we had talked about. Although I would use your low PSI steam boiler that you are having built into your distillery. The mash input and output would go through the first condenser in the vapor path and I would also add another condenser to use as a heat exchange with the spent mash. I have also changed the design to have the mash input in the still more towards the bottom of the column, before the glass column. I had foam and boil-over issues when I had the mash input at the top of the column. Let me know if you have other questions.

  • and use an 8" dephlag for the heat exchanger at the bottom

  • 8" dephlag for the heat exchanger that the steam goes through, 3" for everything else

  • Thanks @Telluride, I'll draw up the remainder of your original design shortly.

    Did you manage a spent ale level at the base of the assembly to prevent steam going out?

    I want to build a working version of this using my existing equipment and a couple of 3600W elements.

  • Are you relying on the force of the steam to "push" out the spent ale from the base of the unit?

  • Here's the revised drawing with the feed and discharge now included:
    Some may also find the details in this link interesting: Alfa Laval De-alcoholization Module (PDF)


    466 x 509 - 15K
  • Nope, easier than that, ill try to draw something up, im just super busy right now.

  • I was thinking of a Thermosyphon reboiler model, much like this:


    776 x 505 - 48K
  • Have had a minor rethink on this following some reading highly advising against using the recovered beer as the steam source. The steam stripper is still a ripper idea that I want to follow-up on with a test run using my existing 6" gear. Recently purchased a new 6" tee section in prep for this.

  • Place the shell heat exchanger on the bottom of the column, then where the spent mash exits place a 180 attached to another shell heat exchanger. On the second heat exchanger run the mash through this heat exchanger, this allows for wasted heat(energy) to preheat the mash. Sorry I haven't been on the forum much, too much work to get done here. I am no longer using steam as my source, if I were to do it all over again I would install a low PSI steam boiler in my distillery and use that, I am currently using a mini bain marie set up at the base of the column, its very similar in design to what I just explained.

  • Thanks for the feedback mate, take care with all that workload and don't forget to take some time for R&R ;)

  • @TheMechWarrior fermcap in your ferment helps a ton in a still like this, it took me a while to figure that one out, this still can foam like crazy without it, especially in an all grain wash

  • Awesome read guys. Will definitively follow this thread to see what comes off the stripper when operational!

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