Using the EasyStill

Posted by admin 02/06/2018 0 Comment(s)

Using the EasyStill

The EasyStill™ is a high quality, countertop distiller based on a very popular water distillation unit, but factory modified for the option of alcohol distillation*.  The boiling vessel and cooling chamber are made of stainless steel.  No cooling water is required, as the unit is fan cooled, making the distillation process virtually as simple as making coffee!  A different heating element is used, and the chlorine release valve is omitted.  This results in dramatically improved separation, and ultimately a very high quality finished product.  For those in countries where alcohol distillation is legal, the unit can produce up to 60% abv product with virtually no off-tastes or smells on a single run.  A second run can actually improve this to nearly 90%!

Just as with many countertop water distillers, activated carbon filtration can take place inline, on the way to the collection container, completing the entire distillation and filtration processes a single step.


The Process
With the EasyStill™ it is almost as simple as adding 4L of liquid to the boiling chamber, plugging the unit it, and collecting your distillate:

Water Distillation
Remove the top of the unit, add 4L of water to the boiling chamber and replace the top of the unit.  Plug in the EasyStill.  Place an activated carbon pouch in the plastic carbon holder and place this on top of the collection bottle.  Place the collection container below the outlet of the EasyStill to collect your distilled water.

Alcohol Distillation
Remove the top of the unit, add 4L of fermented and cleared mash to the boiling chamber and replace the top of the unit.  Plug in the EasyStill.  Place your 20" activated carbon filter tube below the outlet of the EasyStill, or attach a chemical tolerant hose to the outlet and run this into your carbon filter.  Place the bottom end of your carbon filter into your collection container.  Warming up will take approximately 1 hour, and approximately 3 hours to distill the mash.  You can collect the first 1.4L at a final 46-53%, or collect only the first liter at approximately 60%, collecting the following half liter, to be re-distilled.  You can also re-distill the product to obtain extremely clean spirit at nearly 90% abv.

The final distillate is very clean, and can be used directly as vodka, or used as a base for essences in order to create virtually any liquor or liqueur imaginable.

The EasyStill™ can also be used to distill essential oils, whisky, rum, grappa, and fruit schnapps.


Activated Carbon Filtration and the EasyStill™

While water filtration with the EasyStill is very straightforward, alcohol distillation requires a little bit more attention, or more accurately, more preparation.  Primarily, this is with regard to the handling and setup of your activated carbon filtration.  While the spirit produced on a first run is not as pure as that from a reflux distiller, the extended contact time with the activated carbon produces a very comparable final product.  In order to do so, however, it is important to use very high grade activated carbon, and to prepare it properly.  Due to the nature of the distillate produced, the best carbon to use is 0.4-0.85mm granular activated stone coal carbon.  The carbon can be prepared simply by pouring it into a 1.5" x 20" chemical tolerant tube with filter papers placed on the bottom, and then pour one to two gallons of warm water through the carbon to pre-wet it.  This will reduce any channeling by the distillate, and ensure improved filtration.

More thoroughly pre-wetting the carbon can further improve filtration.  To do this, pour approximately 2 1/4 cups of activated carbon into a container of at least 6 cup capacity.  Add 4 cups of simmering water to the carbon and stir.  Allow the carbon to settle, and pour off most of the water.  Repeat this 2-3 times, then add the carbon to the filter tube.


Methanol, Fore-shots, and the EasyStill™

Distillation is a process of separating liquids with different boiling points.  Distillation does not actually make anything- nothing is formed that is not already part of the liquid in the boiling chamber.  For example, methanol, which can be poisonous in larger amounts, cannot be formed during distillation; it is formed when cellulose is fermented.  While there is over 1% methanol in whisky, when sugar is fermented with a high quality Turbo Yeast, so little methanol is formed that it is nearly impossible to measure.  A fermentation of sugar, water, and Prestige brand Turbo Yeast will typically produce 1 ppm (one millionth) in the mash.  This is much less than found in ordinary orange juice, and about one hundred thousandth of that found in whisky and cognac!

While this extremely low amount of methanol means that it is not necessary to try to remove it from your distillate, other byproducts, such as acetone, ethyl acetate and similar aromatics, are formed during fermentation in larger amounts.  These are commonly known as 'fore-shots', because they typically boil off at the very start of distillation.  While they do not have to be removed, as they are extracted by the activated carbon purification, the carbon will generally last longer- and filter more product- if the fore shots are discarded.  From a typical EasyStill™ distillation, only 5-10ml (1-2 teaspoons) need to be discarded.  This is easily done by allowing the first 1-2 teaspoons of distillate to run into a collection container, then moving your distillate hose to run into your activated carbon filter.

*Alcohol distillation is not legal in all countries.  It is the responsibility of the user to abide by local laws.  Tech You Out/ does not accept responsibility for illegal use of any distillation apparatus.

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