The Nixon-Stone book is also available in PDF format, for US$8 (sorry, not
, which they'll then credit for
$5 if you buy the book.
I won't go into too much detail, as John & Mike have worked hard at
producing their book, and rightly so charge for it. Its not for me to then
give it away. The book does fully cover plans for producing both a beer
stripper, then their final column, with a couple of different head designs.
Includes construction tips & guidelines, as well as several pricing guides
(e.g. copper vs. stainless steel or glass). At $8, I reckon its money well
spent (unlike some of the "moonshine" books which are more stories than
The basic premise is that which standard/routine distillation columns are
based on, e.g. as per any Chemical Engineering handbook (see
- the "top section"
diagram). Once the distillate has passed up through the column, you fully
condense all the vapour (i.e. only need one simple condenser). You then
control how much distillate you divert off & keep (simple valve, no
electronics), and thus how much is also returned to the column.
Its incredibly simple, but effective. As there's only one cooling section,
you only have to set one water flowrate. The temperature of the outlet
water is also the temperature of the distillate, so you know what's going on
there. You are controlling the amount of reflux based on volume, not any
vagaries of heat transfer to pass-through tubes or external wrapping etc (so
it won't change if your cooling water is too fast or slow or hotter or
cooler). KISS. (and in parts, it doesn't really need to look like a still -
hmmmmm......). The column is simple, without anything to mess with the
heat & mass equilibrium's being developed inside (my hobby horse), and its
insulated. Its all easy to pull apart & clean (as per Jan's request)
Given that it's based on the basic distillation column design, its
incredible that none of the commercially available hobby stills about (well,
that I've seen) have utisilised it yet. I think that this is because they
have been adapted from pot stills with a little experimentation, rather than
bothering with looking at or understanding the theory that has been
capitalised on by industry for the last 100 years or so.
Yeah, call me a fan. And I haven't even finished building my one yet.
Maybe I'm over-selling it, but its just because fundamentally it is so
correct, easy to control, easy to adapt (i.e. it could use Jan's "cold
finger", the pot could be what ever you want it to be) etc. Make up your