Condenser

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A condenser is an apparatus that cools vapor or steam thus converting it to its liquid form. During distillation of alcohol, alcohol vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, this vapor travels to the condenser and then the condenser helps chang the vapor to liquid alcohol. According to Whisky Technology, Production and Marketing shotgun type condensers have become favored among many distillers of Scotch_whisky because they cause the final spirit to have a higher copper content. The higher copper content causes the final product to be smoother and less sulpured.

This type of condenser is called a liebig condenser. It has a tube going straight through, and a surrounding tube with a water inlet and a water outlet. The outer tube works as a jacket of water. The flow of water through the jacket condenses the alcohol vapor in the inner-tube. This is a very efficient condenser. It is used in both pot still and reflux still designs.
Liebig condenser
This diagram shows 1/2" copper tubing going through 3/4"copper tubing with 2- 3/4"x3/4"x1/2"tees and 2- 3/4"x1/2 reducers
This type is a lyne arm and coil. The lyne arm connects the boiler to the condenser coil. If the lyne arm has a downward slope, it will impart a fuller flavor to the final spirit; if it slopes upward it will impart a lighter flavor and yield a slightly purer end product. The coil in the bucket in this photo has a constant drip (about 2 drips per second) of water hitting the top of the coil. This is enough water flow to condense the vapor. The spirit then exits through a hole in the bottom of the bucket that is sealed by a carboy stopper.
SimplePotstill.JPG
This type of condenser is used with a reflux still. It has been called a shotgun condenser. It is connected to the top of a packed collumn that has a plate installed in it in order to divert some of the condensed alcohol out of a collection tube, while the rest is dripped back down over the packing. This type is actually a type of Liebig condenser. The only difference is that it has multiple inner tubes instead of just one. The water jacket concept is still the same.
Shotgun(glass)
This is a double helix coil which can be used in a cold finger type condenser. Cooling water is circulated through the tubing which causes vapor to collect on the outside. The advantages of this type of this condenser is that you can pack a lot of cooling power into a small volume.
A double helix coil
This is a crossflow condenser, a concept used extensively in large-scale steam recovery systems for turbines. Applied to ethanol distilling, it is particularly suitable for coolant recirculating (recycling). Its advantages over other condensers are: very low coolant friction, therefore low-power pumping requirements; compact size compared to product volume output; Large heat transfer surface. Design-wise, it is the reverse of the so-called "shotgun" condenser in that the coolant flows through the tubes and the vapour passes over the tubes at rightangles, allowing much larger volumes of vapour to be condensed for no increase in condenser size.
Crossflow in place atop reflux column
Internal schematic of the condenser showing tube arrangement, dam and coolant caps.


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