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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What size still should I buy or would you recommend?
A: Unfortunately, this is not a one size fits all answer. The best way to determine what you need is to decide how much product you intend to make and how often you plan to make it. Generally figure that you'll yield around 10 to 20% of product out of your wash, so this will give you an idea of how big of a boiler you need. Obviously, you can also go smaller but keep in mind it'll take more runs to get your desired output. Research recipies of what you plan to make, and that should help you find out what percentage you can expect. When reviewing recipes, keep in mind: 20% of 5 gallons is 1 gallon.
Q: What's the difference between a pot still, dual purpose, traditional, etc?
A: A pot still is the most basic still set up. It works by channeling the vapors up the column and they escape through the condensor. The condensor is then made to cool the steam back into liquid, providing you with the output.
A reflux still adds the condenser to the column with the purpose of filtering out the impurities during distillation. As different products vaporize at different temperatures (water and alcohol) the purpose is to make the alcohol more pure, while keeping the water vapor from exiting the condenser. The 2 piece towers can serve as a dual purpose because it can be used as a reflux OR a pot still. Remove the reflux cooling jacket section and it becomes a pot still.
Q: If I get the 3 gallon still will it make 3 gallons of ....?
A: As mentioned in the first question, distilling will yield only a percentage of your wash, mash, or beer. You first need to know the ABV (alcohol by volume) of your recipe, then you should get some idea of how much you will make. In the example of 20% of 5 gallons equal to 1 gallon; this would be 1 gallon of 100% (200 proof) alcohol. So, as you run your batch and it comes out at about 150 proof (75%) alcohol, you are also getting some water in your product. If you are able to get every last drop of alcohol out of the batch, you would actually get more like 1.5 gallons of end product from 5 gallons of water at 20%. As always, actual results will vary.
Q: Should I get Copper or Stainless Steel?
A: Both have their pros and cons to them. We'll give you a few of those and you can decide which you like better.
|More Expensive||Less Expensive|
|Automatically removes sulfides when distilling alcohol||Can be used for alcohol, essential oils and water and must use a packing to remove sulfides for alcohol|
|Difficult to Clean||Easy to Clean|
|Better conductor of heat||While a good conductor of heat, it's not quite as good as copper|