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It can be difficult for a beginner to know how to choose the correct equipment or still to start with. Contrary to popular belief, many people do not realize that different types of products can be made using different kinds of stills. One could for example use a lot of money to buy a pot still for making vodka not knowing that they are best suited for whisky and not vodka. We will discuss the different types of moonshine stills and what each is used for.
This is a pot with an attached condenser. It is best used for distilling water, whisky, essential oils, fruit schnapps and rum.
You can use this pot still if you would like to ferment fruit, molasses or a mash containing grains. For the heating component, you can use a Band Heater but an internal heating component like the Still Cartridge Heater can also be used. Heaters with the cartridge style are more efficient like the Still Heater although in these circumstances, chances of scorching the grains and the mash ingredients are a little higher since the element is towards the bottom. You can also use a hotplate although it heats up slowly than the Still Heaters and the band heaters.
This is a pot with a distillation column attached to the lid. The condenser comes from the columns top. It is best for distilling neutral spirits including whisky, vodka, fruit schnapps, essential oils, rum, water and bourbon.
A distillate that is very pure and neutral is produced with the help of reflux columns. Reflux is the term used to describe the rising of vapor from the column, re-condensing repeatedly and going back to the system. This takes place inside the column as the vapor comes up and loses heat when it reaches the cooling lines at the columns top. A component re-condenses into liquid and trickles down the column when it reaches to a point where the temperatures drop below its boiling point. As the pure vapors continue to rise to the top and leave via the condenser, the by-products and the water continue to reflux inside the column separating every element by boiling point thus producing a pure distillate like vodka.
Two parts make up the Pro Series II’s columns. The full 2-piece reflux column is used in making neutral spirits and vodka that can be flavored as liqueurs such as Amaretto. It can also be used as a pot to make rum, whiskies and many more by attaching the upper part of the column only to the kettle’s lid.
Some copper should be incorporated if you decide to use it as a pot still to make beverage-grade alcohol. Only a small copper is required so one strip of copper mesh placed in the column. It should fit perfectly so that it stays in position and also not very tight that it ends up blocking the column totally and being a plug.
This is a pot that resembles the reflux column and its lid has an attached distillation column. Towards the columns top where the condenser emerges at the top, a gin basket is placed.
It is used for distilling infused spirits including vodka, gin, rum, whisky, water, fruit schnapps, essential oils and bourbon.
The gin column still is equivalent to the reflux column still but it has a gin basket. You can also distill your personal essential oils using this. Before distilling, place the materials you wish to extract (botanicals, fruit peels, herbs etc.) the essence from inside the gin basket so that the vapor collects the flavors of the materials as it goes via the gin basket towards the condenser.
High Capacity Vs. Regular Capacity
The length and the width of the column is really the only difference between the Pro Series II high capacity and the Pro Series II. Each Gin series and the regular Pro Series II are around 2” in diameter while on the other hand; the diameter of each of the high volume and the high capacity is 3” and also taller. This allows the runs to be faster since the vapor taken in by the column is 50% greater.
The amount of distilled product will be determined by the kettle’s size and not by the column size. The high capacity column does not produce greater volume from the same kettle but instead takes less time to distill the same amount.
4-section complete flute system that contains copper bubble plates
This functions like the reflux still although its diameter is wider for faster runs and its column packing uses copper bubble plates. This eliminates use of ceramic raschig rings or copper mesh and it contains windows for monitoring the distillation process.
It’s suitable for distilling whisky, fruit schnapps, essential oils, vodka, bourbon, neutral spirits and rum. Infused spirits and gin can also be distilled here a gin basket is added.
The most powerful moonshine stills that are made are the flute stills. Of all units, their columns have the widest diameter meaning they can take in a lot of vapor compared to the Pro Series II columns. The flute stills stand out because each individual plate section comes apart which enables you to control the columns height according to the type of distill you are making. Flute columns can be hard to clean and also they are less versatile since many brands offer them as one whole unit.
The copper bubble plate are the best compared to the perforated copper discs because they are designed to provide a better exchange of heat.
And they look really cool to watch!
This is a tabletop which is small and somewhat resembles a coffee maker but is actually a water distillation unit that has been commercially modified to distill alcohol.
It is smaller and a method that is less expensive for distilling whisky, rum, essential oils, vodka, water, and bourbon and fruit schnapps.
The activated carbon filtration occurs in line to finish the whole process of filtering and distilling. It is however made for runs that are small since its collection container has a capacity of 4 liters. Its compact system is suitable for a casual distiller and can make a distillate that is very clean although some say it does not offer the satisfaction derived from a still that is full size.