What Is a Proofing Parrot?
A proofing parrot is a tool used in distilling spirits that measures the alcohol content of the liquid during mid-production. It is a cylindrical vessel with a funnel at the top, where the distillate is collected, and an exit tube at the bottom for the measured proof to be drained out. The proofing parrot is connected to the still and should be filled with distillate before a hydrometer can be inserted.
There are many variations of proofing parrots available on the market, ranging from simple copper vessels to high-end stainless-steel models. When choosing the best parrot for distilling spirits at home, it is important to consider the size, construction quality, and durability of the product.
Copper proofing parrots are generally the most cost-effective and reliable option and provide good accuracy when measuring the proof. Stainless steel models, while more expensive, are also highly precise and offer increased durability.
What is the purpose of a parrot in distilling?
The purpose of a parrot in distilling is to measure the alcohol content (ABV) of the distillate in real time. It is a small, cylindrical vessel that is connected between the condenser and the collection container.
The parrot redirects the distillate to flow around the alcohol meter, allowing for an on-the-fly measurement of ABV being produced. This way, the distiller can make cuts and decide where to make further cuts based on the ABV of the distillate. The parrot also has a collection cup on the tail end so that no extra tubing or piping is required.
How does a proofing parrot work?
The proofing parrot works by connecting to the still using the supplied hose and fittings, and then connecting a water-cooling coil to the parrot to cool the output spirit temperature, allowing for continuous alcoholmeter readings.
Once the proofing parrot is connected to the still and the cooling coil is in place, insert the alcohol meter into the parrot and the proof of the run can be monitored in real-time, without having to do any corrections. This allows the distiller to make cuts and know when to start and stop their run.
A proofing parrot kit will come with all the necessary components, such as hoses and connectors, a "perch" to mount the parrot onto the boiler, and a water-cooling coil.
There are several things to consider before buying a Proofing Parrot. These include the size of your still, the extra features you might want, and of course your budget.
There's a lot of information out there, and it can be overwhelming, which is why, at the end of our reviews, we've put together a buyer's guide to let you know what to look for.
Until then, here are our picks for the best proofing parrots you can buy online right now.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The YUEWO Alcohol Proofing Parrot is a sophisticated piece of distillation technology, made with precision and durability in mind. It is crafted from food-grade 304 stainless steel, without any lead, and designed to be intuitive and easy to use.
When used correctly, it can separate the heads, hearts, and tails of spirits for maximum taste, resulting in a high-quality end product.
- Durable Material - A housing constructed from brushed stainless steel should be long-lasting
- High Capacity - Will be more than sufficient for most home stills
- Adjustable Mounting - Clamps, hoses, and other accessories included, so it can be adapted to any set up
- A Little Expensive - This is the most costly option on our list, but it's worth it
100% copper. This kit includes machine cut parts that are perfectly sized and pre-drilled. Insert the proofing hydrometer into the parrot and you will be able to measure the alcohol percentage of fuel alcohol, whiskey, moonshine, etc. in real time.
This is the most reliable, convenient, and easiest way to monitor and measure alcohol proof during a distillation run. In addition to the copper fittings that are supplied, you will need a piece of wood for the base and an 11/16" hole to support the finished parrot.
- Easy Set Up - The kit includes everything you need to get up and running quickly
- Good Value - A good combination of quality and price
- Looks Cool! - Can be altered from 0-30 PSI for precise heat adjustment and leak-free burning
- Material - The copper, while it looks very cool and retro, can corrode and break down eventually
The KegLand Distilling Parrot Stainless Steel DS135 KL14823 is made from 304 stainless steel and has a maximum capacity of 105 ml, not including the alcohol meter.
The stainless-steel distillers’ parrot is placed in line with the outlet of the still so drops of distillate drop directly into the parrot.
The well thought out design places the scale on the instrument right before your eyes at an easy-to-read level. (This instrument is used with an alcometer hydrometer or proof hydrometer.)
- Functionality - The placement of the scale is at eye level
- Material - The stainless-steel material will last as long as you'd need it to
- Price - Can't beat the price, if you already have a proof hydrometer
- Not As Sleek - This model isn't as stylish as the others in our review, but it gets the job done
Best Proofing Parrot for Distilling - Buyers’ Guide
Finding the perfect proofing parrot for your home distilling setup isn’t a difficult decision, but it does require a bit of research. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you find the right parrot for your distilling needs.
When choosing a proofing parrot for your home distilling operation, it is important to consider the following factors:
The parrot should be made of high-quality materials that are resistant to chemicals and heat.
- Stainless Steel Parrots are generally considered the best, and they are easy to maintain.
- Copper Parrots are a good, too, and are easier to modify/solder.
- There are glass ones, as well, but we don’t suggest those because of their fragility.
In general, Stainless-Steel Parrots are more expensive than Copper Parrots. However, since stainless steel is more durable and more resistant to corrosion, they may be more economical in the long run.
Size and Capacity
The parrot should be large enough to accommodate the amount of spirit you plan to produce. Also, the type of still you use will determine which type of parrot you need.
If you are using a pot distiller column, a reflux column, or a gin series column, then you need to buy a Parrot that is designed to fit these types of stills.
Some Proofing Parrots come with additional features such as a water-cooling coil, hoses, connectors, and perch. These extras may increase the cost but can be very useful for making cuts and monitoring the proof of your run.
Overall, it is important to consider the type of still you have, the cost of the Parrot, the material, and any additional features when choosing a proofing parrot for your home distillery.