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Clean Your Equipment After Assembly
So, you've finished building some copper brewing and distilling equipment using Clawhammer parts. You think you are ready to run that first batch of mash? Think again! Before you run that first batch of water, fuel alcohol, etc, you'll need to clean your still. After assembly the equipment is going to have a lot of flux and bits of solder that need to be removed.
To clean the inside, fill the boiler with a gallon of white vinegar, attach the column, and boil for about an hour. After you boil the vinegar for an hour, carefully dump out the the vinegar. It will be HOT- we recommend using Ove Gloves. Also, it will kill your grass - so dump it in your neighbors yard.
After you dump the vinegar fill the still with PBW, let is soak, then scrub the copper still with a toilet cleaning brush (one that is new and only for your stils!). Dump the water out and fill the still one more time with clean water. Scrub the still once more with your new still scrubbing brush and dump the water out one last time. For info on cleaning the outside, read this article: http://www.
Clean Your Equipment After Each RunAfter a long day of distilling the last thing you might want to do is clean your still... However, if you want to own a safe, clean, still that produces excellent product then you MUST clean your still after EACH run. Put the mason jar down, pickup your hose and still scrubbing brush, and get to work. Trust us, spending 10 minutes at the end of a run cleaning your still is well worth the effort.
First, we recommend wearing a pair of oven gloves as the still will still be hot. Loosen the flour paste seal on the column by gently rocking it back and forth. Once the seal is broken and the column is lose - completely remove the column from the still. Rinse the column with clean water, and scrub the inside of the column with a carboy cleaning brush (these are the perfect size and work really, really well). Once the column has been cleaned, dry it off and place it in safe dry spot for storage.
Put on your Ove Gloves and dump your the leftover wash onto an area of your yard you don't care too much about. Fill the still with 1/2 gallon of clean water and scrub the still with your still toilet scrubbing brush. Dump the water out and then rinse it one more time with clean water. Dry it really well, and store.
How to Store Copper Brewing and Distilling EquipmentAfter you clean your still- you need to dry it. Dry your still with clean rags and tilt the still upside down so any water left in the still can drain. After the still is completely dry store the clawhammer copper still in a dry safe location. Store you still in a location where it won't be dropped or otherwise damaged. we always hate it when we get an email from a customer who had a still damaged while it was in storage because it fell off of an 8' shelf (it has happened).
Examine the Copper Before UseBefore you transfer any liquid into copper equipment- physically inspect it. If you notice any copper salts building up, you must clean the surfaces before use. You can usually get away with a light white vinegar cleaning. Dump a bit of white vinegar into the pot and scrub it down really well with your still toilet scrubbing brush, then rinse it really well with clean water. If you don't have luck with this method you can do another boil session with white vinegar or use a brewing product called PBW. PBW is a commercially available cleaner designed to clean brewing equipment. We contacted 5 star chemicals about using their product to clean copper stills. 5 Star Chemical said that PBW is safe on copper- however they recommend a lighter dose and also they said to make sure the powder is completely dissolved. We have had great luck with PBW and will do a cleaning session with PBW at the end of each distilling season. We'll also sometimes use PBW if we have not used the still for a while.