Good introductory stovetop still?

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Ty520

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I was wondering if you all could recommend a good small scale stove top still for a beginner?

Ideally something made in the US (I've seen lots of seemingly identical looking foreign products sold on amazon under different names).
 
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I was wondering if you all could recommend a good small scale stove top still for a beginner?

Ideally something made in the US (I've seen lots of seemingly identical looking foreign products sold on amazon under different names).
What sort of capacity are you looking for?
 
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Ty520

Ty520

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What sort of capacity are you looking for?
I only do 1 gallon batches of wine and cider, so clearly nothing big. If I ever up size, it'll be no bigger than 5 gallons.
 

bracconiere

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most people use a milk can, with a modified lid with a tri clamp fitting? i tried looking for some that sold just the lid. didn't see it...

wait here you go...


what ever can you want to get......and column.....

here's a 10l milk can for it...



and something like this



(but if i was only distilling a shot at a time out of 1 gallon, i'd just use a cheap ass air cooled 4L water distiller.....)
 

dnr

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i see disapointment in your future......first thing i notice is the pump can't even get up a few feet in reality...going to need a serious sump pump or something.....
I can just upgrade my pump or have the cold water basin level with cooling elements, no?

I can also use the kettle as a primary ferm vessel?

I can upgrade as I go. It is made for small experiments.
 

bracconiere

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I can just upgrade my pump or have the cold water basin level with cooling elements, no?

I can also use the kettle as a primary ferm vessel?

I can upgrade as I go. It is made for small experiments.

well, keep us posted...but another problem would rise of a vapor, and fractioning....
 
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I can just upgrade my pump or have the cold water basin level with cooling elements, no?

I can also use the kettle as a primary ferm vessel?

I can upgrade as I go. It is made for small experiments.
I think it will work fine. My advice is run it and run it and run it some more to learn how it works, you'll figure out where to make cuts by smell. Learn the corresponding head temps where the smell changes from heads to hearts, and when tails start to creep in at the end of the hearts. Smaller stills like this don't produce enough product to keep filling a hydrometer jar, and a parrot will just smear the heads through the whole run.

When I started using a small still I ran box wine and jug wine, the jugs are great for storing distillate and I made a lot of nice sipping brandy. Aldi wines are cheap too, I bought a whole bunch of their chardonnay and learned a lot for very little money. Once you get it figured out you can invest the time and effort into doing your own recipes. Nothing worse than having to dump a batch of single malt whiskey because scorched product cannot be salvaged.

One last thing, I strongly recommend using a flameless heat source such as a hotplate, and run it slow.
 

dnr

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@Jayjay1976 Thanks for the tips. I have an electric range and plan on being a nerd about this process. I'll be dialing half of my next 5 gallon brew as well.
 
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@Jayjay1976 Thanks for the tips. I have an electric range and plan on being a nerd about this process. I'll be dialing half of my next 5 gallon brew as well.
Sounds like a plan, don't confuse the boiler temp with head temp. Head temp is the vapor temperature at the highest point of the column. In that photo above its the copper tube just where it bends over to the top of the coil. You can add copper T fitting, use a small cork with a hole in it to fit a temp probe or even just a mechanical coffee thermometer will work.
 

bracconiere

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Sounds like a plan, don't confuse the boiler temp with head temp. Head temp is the vapor temperature at the highest point of the column. In that photo above its the copper tube just where it bends over to the top of the coil. You can add copper T fitting, use a small cork with a hole in it to fit a temp probe or even just a mechanical coffee thermometer will work.

good idea, might want to invest in a hot plate and hot wire it and use a fan speed controller too....for a constant heat instead of cycles of 100%-0%....
 
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good idea, might want to invest in a hot plate and hot wire it and use a fan speed controller too....for a constant heat instead of cycles of 100%-0%....
I'm using an electric hotplate with a cast iron burner vs. the cheaper coil type, I find that the thermal mass of the cast iron smoothes out the heat output just fine, but YMMV.
 

bracconiere

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I'm using an electric hotplate with a cast iron burner vs. the cheaper coil type, I find that the thermal mass of the cast iron smoothes out the heat output just fine, but YMMV.

i use a 1500 watt hot plate with a fan speed controller and kill-a-watt meter to see the 'heat' out put...kinda like looking at how big a flame is...only digital..i can see when i start getting nasty tails, start backing it off too 900 watts, then like 700 watts then it's usually quits...


but that's with a 6' long 3" column with a thermometer in the head....(and a sump pump to push the water ;) :mug:)

and honestly, i am curoise how it works out....i've had boil overs with my 3" column, and a 1/2" copper one would concern me....

i forget the technical term, spew?
 
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most people use a milk can, with a modified lid with a tri clamp fitting? i tried looking for some that sold just the lid. didn't see it...

wait here you go...


what ever can you want to get......and column.....

here's a 10l milk can for it...



and something like this



(but if i was only distilling a shot at a time out of 1 gallon, i'd just use a cheap ass air cooled 4L water distiller.....)
You always come in handy way to go keep it up Mr. :cool: Bracconiere
 
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