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Cooling and Heating Solutions
Whether we are looking at Fermentation, Distillation or sometimes even Spirit Enhancement, Heating and Cooling plays a role inside a Distillery setup and design.
What type of Cooling takes place inside a Distillery?
- The most common and obvious form of Cooling is of course the Condenser(s) of a Still - be that the Spirit Condenser or Reflux Condenser, which has to remove all the heat energy that was put into the boiler to evaporate the spirit.
- The second most common form of Cooling occurs during Fermentation, where cold water is circulated through either a Cooling Coil (in Plastic Fermentation Tanks) or a Jacket (in Stainless Steel Fermentation Tanks) in order to maintain a fixed Fermentation Temperature - Fermentation being an Exothermic Reaction and releasing Heat Energy.
- When working with Grain or any Starch Containing Raw Material, it is important to rapidly cool the Mash during Starch Conversion (a process referred too as Blow Downs) in order to reach the target temperatures for Enzymatic Conversion and Yeast Pitching.
- Cold Water and Cooling is also used during Cold Crashing (a natural way to separate solids and flocculants from the liquid fermentation), Chilled Filtration, and various other processes.
In all types of cooling, two things play a role - the Cooling Water Temperature, and the Water Flow Rate. The lower the flow rate, the colder the water needs to be. The warmer the water, the higher the flow rate needs to be, and the more water you need. Cooling the water therefore saves water.
Being a mostly Arid or Semi-Arid Country, and due to the fact that it pays to be Environmentally Conscious, it is also important for Craft Distillers in South Africa to utilize Closed Loop or Recirculating Cooling Systems in their Distilleries.
Although Recirculating Water from a single Reservoir might work for a Home Distiller, the Volume of Cooling Water required on larger Equipment, as well as the requirement that such Equipment run 5 days a week or more in a Commercial Distillery or Craft Distillery, necessitates the use of a dedicated Cooling System.