How To Make A Still

For some, making their own still may appear to be a monumental undertaking, while others may be enthralled by such an intriguing DIY project.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum, the reality remains that making your own still isn’t as difficult as it may appear. 

Especially when you have detailed instructions on where and how to put the various elements together. All you need are a few supplies that can be found almost everywhere, as well as some soldering expertise.

When you add up the cost of the resources that are used to make your own still and compare it to the cost of a simple store-bought still, the discrepancy is bound to make you scratch your head. 

How To Make A Still

This is because you’re paying for the finished product with a manufactured still, which includes overheads and taxes. 

This project will undoubtedly satisfy your creative appetite in a very fulfilling way if you like playing around with objects in the shed or garden every now and then.

Also, making your own still allows you to tailor the setup to your exact needs. You can choose the size, source of heat, maintenance ease, efficiency, and other factors. 

This article will walk you through how to make your very own still from the comfort of your own home.

What Is A Still?

Moonshine stills and alcohol stills are distillers created specifically for the production of moonshine or the distillation of alcohol. 

The phrase “moonshine” is still frequently misused. Although most people associate moonshine with corn whiskey, the phrase is more generally used to describe all unlawfully distilled alcohol produced underneath the moonlight.

The most basic kind of still is the pot still. It is a conventional design that cannot produce spirits higher than 100-140 proof without the use of a thumper or numerous distillations. Another type in a Carter head still, often used for making gin.

The most typical purpose of a pot still is to make flavoured spirits like brandy, whisky, Schnapps and Rum. Essential oils can also be made with our pot stills.

The reflux column or compound still is another form of alcohol still utilised nowadays. A compound still is a sophisticated design that employs a condenser at the column’s top. 

The condenser condenses the vaporised alcohol, allowing it to drop over onto the column packing, where it will vaporise again, enhancing purity. 

Because the alcohol has different boiling points than the other components, it will be simple to remove the higher purity alcohol from a still while leaving most of the contaminants behind. 

In the manufacturing of vodka, this high-proof alcohol is frequently diluted and purified by filtration through activated charcoal. There are numerous designs to choose from.

Moonshine does not undergo a thorough purification procedure, and the small quantity of contaminants left in the alcohol is claimed to give it a distinct flavour. 

Ethanol fuel is indeed a high-proof product that needs to be denatured before it can be consumed. Everclear is a very pure alcohol that can hit 191 proof purity.

Some states prohibit the sale of alcohol with a proof higher than 151.

How To Make A Simple Still At Home

Follow the steps outlined below to make your own still at home

  1. Take your pot and set it on the stove.
  2. Put the glass inside the pot’s centre.
  3. Put the magnet into the glass to keep it attached to the bottom of the pan when you begin distilling. Also, ensure you are using a clean magnet.
  4. To finish, place the mixing bowl on top and put the weight towards the bottom of the bowl. You’ve completed your very first still! 

As you can see, it’s pretty simple. I’m sure you’re thirsty for some moonshine, so let’s get started with distilling some.

Making Moonshine With Your Still

  1. Fill the kettle with corn or sugar wash. To keep things simple, if you’re using wine, add that * Note: don’t add too much at once! The wine or wash should not exceed 1/2 the height of the glass.
  2. Preheat the stove to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Fill your bowl with ice while you wait. double-check that the weight is in place
  4. Once the wash has reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit, drop the heat to medium or low and keep heating it. Keep an eye on the cooking thermometer since it will gradually rise in temperature. Keep in mind that methyl alcohol will evaporate at 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit; you don’t want to drink it, so wait until the temperature is above that. Ethyl alcohol, also known as moonshine, will evaporate at 173 degrees Fahrenheit, while water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So, before you hit this temperature, you should cease collecting. If you plan on drinking this, we strongly advise that you read up on distilling in depth beforehand to fully comprehend the distillation process. When the temperature reaches over 148.5 F, place a mixing bowl full of ice on the top of the pot to keep any fumes from escaping. What’s happening within your homemade still is that Ethyl Alcohol (Moonshine) is converting to a vapor as it approaches its boiling point. This vaporizes and condenses on the cool bowl’s bottom. It then drips into your glass, producing Moonshine.
  5. When the temperature of the mash reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool prior to actually withdrawing the glass of alcohol from the pot still’s center. In your glass, you will have at least three to four ounces of Moonshine. Try a proofing test to check your proof. With this setup, you should be able to attain around 70 Proof or 35% abv.

Final Thoughts

Making your own still isn’t too difficult – you can do it with minimal resources from the comfort of your home. 

You should, however, ensure that you fully understand the distilling process and how everything works before you attempt to make and use your own homemade still.

Robert Kaser
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