Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of our most commonly received questions.
If you do not find an answer to yours, please send us an email at:
Our stills are made to be completely functional. They also happen to look great.
Yes, the setup includes the pot, onion head, condenser and thermometer.
Yes. A quick-start guide is included with the purchase of every still.
Yes. If you are unsatisfied for any reason please contact us within 90 days of purchase and we will arrange a full refund and pick up the still at no cost to you. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.413.6829. WE DO NOT CHARGE RESTOCKING FEES.
Yes. All of our stills come with a 2 year warranty.
This depends on your preference and what is available to you. For indoor distilling, the easiest option is an electric stove or hot-plate. Propane burners are very effective, but as with any heat source that uses a flame, they should always be used outside. We also advise avoiding a natural-gas or oil stove when distilling indoors.
Solid copper is not compatible with induction heating because of copper's non-ferrous properties. However, there are plates that can be used between the pot and the inductor. These are used when trying to use stainless-steel, copper, or aluminum cookware on induction burners and are available at most places where kitchenware is sold.
Absolutely not. The brazing is the only part which is not pure copper but is guaranteed to be lead-free.
Our handcrafted units are made of 100% high quality copper. However, the welded joints may be made from other safe, lead-free materials: brass soldering is used for areas of the still that need to sustain high temperatures, tin solder is used for other joints that are not exposed to high temperatures, as in the pot (boiler) and where hammering is not possible, the piping or the thermometer attachment and silver solder is used for the brass handles and other areas of specific stills. Brass, tin and silver are materials which do not alter in any way the flavor, coloring or quality of the distillate.
Yes. A thermometer comes mounted to the onion top to measure vapor temperature (in F and C).
Three turns are perfectly fine for our water cooled condensers.
No. Thumpers are only used in large scale production of moonshine to increase proof and remove sediments. This strips the flavor from your product and is undesirable unless using poor ingredients. The removal of sediments is not needed either, due to the bulb on top of our stills. Among other benefits, this prevents the carry-over of liquid into the condenser when properly operated. Adding a thumper is expensive and unnecessary.
All you need is a water and flour mixture or Teflon tape. We recommend Teflon tape because it is much cleaner.
It is important to process a run with water before you first use your still, to make sure any impurities left from the manufacturing process are eliminated. The procedure starts with washing all parts of the still very thoroughly with hot-soapy water. The second step is doing a vinegar run. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water to roughly one-fifth the capacity of the still and run it through the still until the result is completely clear. If you don’t use your still often, we recommend that you do a run of 40% water - 5% rye flour after you use it, before putting it away. This eliminates sulfuric acids and other harmful substances that may have deposited on the walls of your still. If you use your still more frequently (every few weeks), make sure you wash it after every run with dish soap and hot water. You will receive a small booklet with useful cleaning guidelines and basic instructions together with your still.
With time, copper will oxidize and take on a darker shade of red. If you want to polish the exterior make sure not to use abrasive cleaners or toxic substances. You can also try traditional techniques such as rubbing the still with a salt and lemon solution or ashes from a wood fire – which also work fine for the interior.
The still is shipped within 1 business day of ordering via FedEX Home Ground. Delivery usually takes 3-5 days.
Yes, once the still is shipped you will automatically receive an email with a tracking number.
No. Due to US Customs regulations, we are unable to ship our products outside of the United States.
No. Card and Paypal are the only modes of payment we accept.
Alcohol is obtained through the fermentation of natural sugars. Distillation is the process through which alcohol is separated from the fermented mass which may also contain methanol, amyl alcohol, furfurals and other undesirable components.
Yes, a basic moonshine recipe is included in the quick-start guide you receive with your still. For more recipes of different spirits and relevant articles, you can always check our constantly updated blog at: http://www.whiskeystill.net/blogs/whiskey-still-co-blog.
Your yeast will need nutrients to keep them fed while the mash ferments. Tomato paste is an inexpensive yeast nutrient. Yeast also prefers a slightly acidic solution; the tomato paste will help lower the PH.
You can use a very wide range of fruit, cereal and other botanicals to make a multitude of spirits. For more information and recipes, check out our blog.
There are a lot of variables involved in your distillation process, but an average run can take anywhere between 2-6 hours.
It depends on how you decide to run it and the ingredients you use in your mash. However, a typical result is about 10-20%. For example, a 5 gallon still could potentially make 1 gallon of whiskey or moonshine.
A single run will yield approximately 80-150 proof. It all depends on how fast or slow you choose to distill though. Slower distillations results in a higher proof distillate.
Measuring is done with a tool called hydrometer (or an alcoholmeter). This is a small instrument which floats according to the density of the liquid it is placed in. Alcohol is less dense than water so the less dense your overall distillate is, the more volume of alcohol is present. Practically, the further the hydrometer sinks the higher proof alcohol. Hydrometers are available online or at a brewers supply for about $20.
The distillation process results in three different parts: the heads, hearts and tails. The hearts is the ethanol – the part you are looking to get. The other two need to be eliminated or “cut”. Heads (predominantly methanol) usually have a very sharp taste and foul scent, while tails contain compounds with higher boiling points which can alter the taste and scent of your spirit if not removed on time. In contrast, the hearts should be completely transparent and odourless. You can save the tails and use them for the distillation of a second batch, as there’s still ethanol alcohol which can be extracted from them.
The cut off points can be calculated with the use of a hydrometer and a thermometer (there is one attached to every still). The two instruments can help you determine what type of alcohol is being produced at a certain time and when it is time to cut your heads and tails. For example, if vapor temperature has reached 207°F, that means most of the alcohol has already been distilled and you may stop distilling. The percentage at which to cut depends on the type of wash used but also the flavor. You can usually cut fruit mashes or grain washes somewhere between 207-208°F, but this very much depends on the flavor and strength you want to obtain. You might want to take into account that a second distillation is required for most spirits, for a more purified, higher percentage alcohol distillate. Cut off points for the second run are different, somewhere between 177-197°F (85%-58%). Experienced distillers can also identify cut off points by monitoring the taste, smell and cloudiness of the distillate.
Yes. In fact, most spirits are distilled to high alcoholic percentage and afterwards diluted with water. This usually happens to bring commercial drinks at a standard proof.
As we specialize in alcohol distilling, we cannot advise you on the process of making hydrosols/essential oils. However, we do know of people who have purchased our smaller stills for this purpose.
If you do choose to use our stills for making both alcohol and hydrosols/essential oils, for safety reasons we strongly recommend that you use separate equipment. Cleaning the still maybe not be enough to make the distillation of alcohol safe if the still was previously used for the extraction of essential oils.
Proof is a method of measuring the alcohol content of spirits. You calculate the proof of a spirits product by multiplying the percent of alcohol by volume by two (2). For example, a spirits product that has a 40% alcohol content by volume is 80 proof [40 multiplied by 2 = 80].
Converting U.S. gallons into proof gallons for tax purposes: 1. Multiply U.S. gallons by the percent of alcohol by volume. 2. Multiply by 2. 3. Divide by 100. Sample calculation: 1. 100 U.S. gallons x 40% alcohol by volume=4000 2. 4000 x 2=8000 3. 8000/100= 80 proof gallons You may also find our TTB Proofing Video Series https://www.ttb.gov/spirits/proofing.shtml helpful.
Under Federal rules administered by TTB, it depends on how you use the still. You may not produce alcohol with these stills unless you qualify as a distilled spirits plant. However, owning a small still and using it for other purposes is allowed. You should also check with your State and local authorities - their rules may differ. You should also review the TTB Home Distilling page http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/faq.shtml A still is defined as apparatus capable of being used to separate ethyl alcohol from a mixture that contains alcohol. Small stills (with a cubic distilling capacity of a gallon or less) that are used for laboratory purposes or for distilling water or other non-alcoholic materials are exempt from our rules. If you buy a small still and use it to distill water or extract essential oils by steam or water extraction methods, you are not subject to TTB requirements. If you produce essential oils by a solvent method and you get alcohol as a by-product of your process, we consider that distilling. Even though you are using and recovering purchased alcohol, you are separating the alcohol from a mixture -distilling.
We're assuming you've familiarized yourself with the law, and if you haven't, we highly recommend you do so. To legally distill alcohol you need proper government approval. For an alternative fuel permit go here: http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511074.pdf. For a micro-distillery check out the BATF permit information here: http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/. Additionally, most states have their own set of requirements for distilling fuel alcohol, so be sure to look up your state as well.