Russian Spiral Prismatic Packing

Published by Joey Joe Joe Jr on

I’ve heard many things about spiral prismatic packing (SPP). It has a very mystical aura around it, and probably much misinformation swarming around it as well. This post is about the unboxing and cleaning of the SPP. In a future post, we’ll discuss what it’s like running a still with SPP.

SPP Close Up
SPP Close Up

I ended up buying my SPP here on ebay. As per the manufacturer’s recommendation, I bought 3 liters of 3x3x0.2 mm SPP for my 1.3 meters tall, 2″ diameter reflux column. I ended up having about 650 ml of SPP left over. He recommended the smaller packing as he said that my column is a little short and I needed the extra purity, which comes at the cost of running the packing slower. The smaller the packing, the more HETP, but smaller packing is more susceptible to flooding at lower power settings. Everything is a trade-off, the bigger packing would produce more product per hour but the purity would drop somewhat. The ideal solution would be to use oversized SPP with an extra tall column and you would get high production and high purity. I distill in an apartment, so I’m limited to how high my column can be. Check out the specks on the Genio 50 liter still, it has a 60.3 mm wide column and pumps out an impressive 2.5 liter per hour at 95%+ ABV using SPP.

SPP Banana for Scale

Most of us use scrubbies as still packing, SPP is significantly more heavy than scrubbies and the column is harder to breathe through when packed with SPP. Heavier packing means more thermal mass resulting in a more stable temperature gradient in the column.

SPP Horse Hand
SPP Horse Hand

For cleaning, I boiled the SPP in a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. I put everything in a big old stock pot and boiled it for about 15 minutes. It really stunk up the apartment so do that outside if you can. I poured off the top layer of water that had oil floating on it. I took paper towels and wiped down the sides of the stock pot to get off the grit that collected on the side wall. I then rinsed with cold water multiple times until I couldn’t smell vinegar any longer. I drained out the water, put the included stainless steel stoppers the SPP manufacturer supplied (they are just stainless steel scrubbies with a thicker gauge wire), poured the SPP into the reflux column, and topped it off with the second stopper the manufacturer provided. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Below is information about SPP provided my the manufacturer. Here is a link to my spirit run using SPP blog post.

Alcohol will be cleaner with 3x3x0.2 packing
the purity of the alcohol with 3x3x0.2 packing – 96,4-96,6%
the purity of the alcohol with 3,5×3,5×0.24 packing – 96,2-96,4%

The performance of the column will be more with the 3,5×3,5×0.24 
Performance for your column:
with 3x3x0.2 – ≈1,7 liters per hour
with 3,5×3,5×0.24 – ≈2 liters per hour

The size of SPP 3x3x0.2 mm provides cleaning of 1 TP for every 2.5 cm of moonshine pipe.
The size of SPP 3,5×3,5×0,24 mm provides cleaning of 1 TP for every 3 cm of moonshine pipe.

– User termosfera from ebay.

Joey Joe Joe Jr

I was born on a pirate ship off the coast of Peru where I was given a traditional Aztec upbringing, during which I excelled in the arts of sciences. At age seven my parents accidentally murdered each other in a freak fencing accident. Heartbroken I joined the tribe of Omaha, where I trained under the legendary Vin Diesel. At age eighteen, after a failed Fear Factor audition, I set out for a berry plantation roughly four kilometers south of Albuquerque. I currently reside at Ram Ranch which really rocks!


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