Best Distiller for Beginners

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MuNchiezzz

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I've done some looking around (distilling places like Clawhammer) and it seems Still Kits are REALLY expensive and most you have to build yourself, which for me is out of the question. Ice also found people making distillers out of pressure cookers however it doesn't seem the safest.

I have found 2 kits that don't have to be completely built and that look ok and curious if anyone has experience with them and if they are worth purchasing or if there is other options:


OR

 

Ringo

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I have two of those cheap ones listed in the first link above. Only, I bought mine from a company called Vevor. Customer service was very good, Delivery was quick (I'm in the USA). I emailed them for a discount and they sent me a 5% off coupon.

I would definitely use the 2 pot version and stay away from the 3 pot. First, my thumper pot doesn't have a downtube so it does not work until you modify it. Second, those flexible "toilet supply lines" started releasing little bits of something that ended up in my finished product and had to be strained through a coffee filter to remove them. I think it was the inner lining on those toilet supply lines. I got rid of them and went with a 2 pot system and it's been working great. I have a 3 gallon and a 5 gallon.
 

bracconiere

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i've got one of these....with the old style pot....


little bit more expensive then your first link.....but works pretty good....


also i use a 1500watt hotplate rigged to be always max, with a fan speed controller for temp control.....


not sure if that's beginner, but it's what i started with......and still use....

edit: wait no i got the high capacity one...


at the time i thought it meant the boiler would be bigger, just means you can run it faster though.....
 

bernardsmith

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In my opinion you need to decide exactly what you want to make and what volumes you want to produce. You can buy a fan cooled unit designed to distill water that will distill a gallon of wash or mash and give you about 500 ml of 135 p spirit (depending on the ABV of the substrate). That's after removal of heads and before you begin to get tails. Takes about 2 hours from start to finish and you can do this in your kitchen counter without wasting any water. Is this as good as a reflux still? No. Can you control the heat level as much as you might if you made or bought something a bit more sophisticated? No. BUT as long as you don't walk out the house when this is running and you monitor the time and outputs, you can make a pretty reasonable whisky or brandy (for vodka you may need to strip more flavor off the spirit, and remove more of the water) or you can use the distillate to make excellent liqueurs. For "vodka" i presume you can do that with this device only you will need to run the spirits through more than once and so your time is doubled... but for about $160 dollars you can find a fairly well made stainless steel unit. Of course, if your wash is 5 or 10 gallons then this is not anything you would want to consider.
 
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MuNchiezzz

MuNchiezzz

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In my opinion you need to decide exactly what you want to make and what volumes you want to produce. You can buy a fan cooled unit designed to distill water that will distill a gallon of wash or mash and give you about 500 ml of 135 p spirit (depending on the ABV of the substrate). That's after removal of heads and before you begin to get tails. Takes about 2 hours from start to finish and you can do this in your kitchen counter without wasting any water. Is this as good as a reflux still? No. Can you control the heat level as much as you might if you made or bought something a bit more sophisticated? No. BUT as long as you don't walk out the house when this is running and you monitor the time and outputs, you can make a pretty reasonable whisky or brandy (for vodka you may need to strip more flavor off the spirit, and remove more of the water) or you can use the distillate to make excellent liqueurs. For "vodka" i presume you can do that with this device only you will need to run the spirits through more than once and so your time is doubled... but for about $160 dollars you can find a fairly well made stainless steel unit. Of course, if your wash is 5 or 10 gallons then this is not anything you would want to consider.
I'm not 100% the differences between the types of stills to be honest: pot, reflux, ect.
I'm looking to make just shine...some whiskeys and brandys.

I'm pretty sure I'd like a thumper in the setup....from what I know its a great way to infuse flavor into your product as well as a form of double distillation. I'm looking to run 5 gallons of mash at a time. I've never really done this before so I'm still learning about what I want out of it but what I said above is what I'm looking for at the moment.
 

bernardsmith

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You might find that "thumpers" can be a source of problems if you don't know what you are doing. The most important thing to know is that if you are working with heat, distillate and pressure then you are creating a very serious risk of explosion and a thumper can (CAN) create pressure by preventing the open flow of the mash or wash through the condenser to your collecting vessel. It shouldn't, but as I say, if you don't know what you are doing and why you are doing what you do then you CAN inadvertently create back pressure which is enough to rupture a boiler and in the presence of a naked flame (or even heat) the exposed vapors can explode. I would read everything you can get hold of that discusses the pros AND cons of thumpers.
 
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MuNchiezzz

MuNchiezzz

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You might find that "thumpers" can be a source of problems if you don't know what you are doing. The most important thing to know is that if you are working with heat, distillate and pressure then you are creating a very serious risk of explosion and a thumper can (CAN) create pressure by preventing the open flow of the mash or wash through the condenser to your collecting vessel. It shouldn't, but as I say, if you don't know what you are doing and why you are doing what you do then you CAN inadvertently create back pressure which is enough to rupture a boiler and in the presence of a naked flame (or even heat) the exposed vapors can explode. I would read everything you can get hold of that discusses the pros AND cons of thumpers.
A thumper works alot like a water pipe (or bong) and I'm pretty good with those hahaha.

But on a serious note, yes I'm aware of the risks and will definitely do what I can to be safe.
 

bernardsmith

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The problems occur if the inflow is below the level of the solution acting as the filter and outflow. Enormous pressure can build up inside the kettle , enough to burst it and so you have to monitor the thru flow. I know nothing about these things but if the temperature of the solution is not heated high enough, quickly enough by the distillate entering the thumper (and I imagine that the temp is not high as the condenser has already converted the steam to liquid) then the volume in the thumper will rise and if the condenser is low enough in the thumper (or the thumper is too small for the size of the still) then the end of the condenser will quickly become submerged and that is enough to act as a wall to block the flow of steam coming from the still. Is that the same kinda thing with a bong? Never heard of anyone ending up filled with shrapnel - or worse - hitting a bong, but that may be my iggorance. You need to be very careful. Careful is not sufficient.
 
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