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Regarding Online Still Companies

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  • ewiederer
    Hey guys, new to the group but have been popping around distilling for awhile now. Year or two ago I was searching online to purchase a still to start trying
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 27, 2013
      Hey guys, new to the group but have been popping around distilling for awhile now. Year or two ago I was searching online to purchase a still to start trying my hand at this hobby. Since returning to this hobby and actually having time for it , I have noticed that the few websites that sold stills have multiplied a few times over. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience and knowledge with some of these companies , and which ones I should be looking at ( or avoiding) . Thanks a ton, greatly appreciated :)
    • RLB
      First ask yourself these questions: 1) What kind of still do I want? 2) What metal do I want it made out of? 3) What heat source will I use? 4) What spirit do
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 28, 2013
        First ask yourself these questions:

        1) What kind of still do I want?
        2) What metal do I want it made out of?
        3) What heat source will I use?
        4) What spirit do I plan on making?
        5) Am I experimenting with small batches or producing large batches?
        6) How much am I willing to spend?

        First read everything you can on www.homedistiller.org.  Research is very important.  After a few months of study, you will answer your own questions.  You can make a still fairly easy if you tools.


        From: "ewiederer@..." <ewiederer@...>
        To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, October 27, 2013 11:29 PM
        Subject: [new_distillers] Regarding Online Still Companies

         
        Hey guys, new to the group but have been popping around distilling for awhile now. Year or two ago I was searching online to purchase a still to start trying my hand at this hobby. Since returning to this hobby and actually having time for it , I have noticed that the few websites that sold stills have multiplied a few times over. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience and knowledge with some of these companies , and which ones I should be looking at ( or avoiding) . Thanks a ton, greatly appreciated :)


      • wzuccarello
        I have a friend that bought one off e-bay that used two black rubber gaskets . One to seal the lid using toggle clamps, and one to seal the inverted bowl
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 28, 2013

           I have a friend that bought one off e-bay that used two black rubber gaskets . One to seal the lid using toggle clamps, and one to seal the inverted bowl attached to the cut out lid.


          We used it twice with sugar wort and it made a product with the distinct taste of an inner tube.


          I have since replace the top with a good fitting domed potlid that I bought at a flea market. I use the brown closed cell self stick weatherstripping for a seal. Works excellent.


          This still came with a small fountain pump and a leeburg condenser. The pump was to be used in a large cooler of ice water. It took $10 worth of ice on the first run. After that we ditched the pump and cooler and just used our tap water to cool with good results.


          I have built the "ministill" from the free plans in the files. Was very easy to build and it works excellent.



          ---In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

          Hey guys, new to the group but have been popping around distilling for awhile now. Year or two ago I was searching online to purchase a still to start trying my hand at this hobby. Since returning to this hobby and actually having time for it , I have noticed that the few websites that sold stills have multiplied a few times over. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience and knowledge with some of these companies , and which ones I should be looking at ( or avoiding) . Thanks a ton, greatly appreciated :)
        • Zapata Vive
          Build it. Government has actually started looking at records of still manufacturers in the last few years. It s not hard, and if stillin is a hobby you
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 28, 2013
            Build it.  Government has actually started looking at records of still manufacturers in the last few years.

            It's not hard, and if stillin' is a hobby you should enjoy it.    Even with few/no tools or experience you can build a still.

            I had only hand tools and very little experience when I built my cross flow condenser, and yes it was fiddly but a lot of fun.


            On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 9:24 AM, <wzuccarello@...> wrote:
             

             I have a friend that bought one off e-bay that used two black rubber gaskets . One to seal the lid using toggle clamps, and one to seal the inverted bowl attached to the cut out lid.


            We used it twice with sugar wort and it made a product with the distinct taste of an inner tube.


            I have since replace the top with a good fitting domed potlid that I bought at a flea market. I use the brown closed cell self stick weatherstripping for a seal. Works excellent.


            This still came with a small fountain pump and a leeburg condenser. The pump was to be used in a large cooler of ice water. It took $10 worth of ice on the first run. After that we ditched the pump and cooler and just used our tap water to cool with good results.


            I have built the "ministill" from the free plans in the files. Was very easy to build and it works excellent.



            ---In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

            Hey guys, new to the group but have been popping around distilling for awhile now. Year or two ago I was searching online to purchase a still to start trying my hand at this hobby. Since returning to this hobby and actually having time for it , I have noticed that the few websites that sold stills have multiplied a few times over. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience and knowledge with some of these companies , and which ones I should be looking at ( or avoiding) . Thanks a ton, greatly appreciated :)


          • ewiederer
            Alright guys much appreciated! Yeah I think the wise choice would be to read a little bit more into what I want to make. Haven t decided if I will be building
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 28, 2013
              Alright guys much appreciated! Yeah I think the wise choice would be to read a little bit more into what I want to make. Haven't decided if I will be building one or purchasing online, the smart choice would be to build it to understand the process a little better , but also I want to jump right in , without building issues. Again thanks for the responses , if anyone has again any positive or negative reviews on web sites , the info would be much appreciated :) cheers !
            • Blackhat-Whitedog
              question: does it matter if you buy a column only and a boiler or keg someplace else? * * * * * * * * Build it.  Government has actually started looking at
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                question: does it matter if you buy a column only and a boiler or keg someplace else?

                * * * * * * * *
                Build it.  Government has
                actually started looking at records of still manufacturers
                in the last few years.

                It's not hard, and if stillin' is a hobby you
                should enjoy it.    Even with few/no tools or experience
                you can build a still.
              • Zapata Vive
                Many would advise starting with a potsill for a number of reasons. 1. It s easy to build. 2. It s good experience even if you eventually want a reflux column
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                  Many would advise starting with a potsill for a number of reasons.
                  1.  It's easy to build.
                  2.  It's good experience even if you eventually want a reflux column or plated still.
                  3.  It can be used for stripping runs even if you eventually want a more advanced still.
                  4.  It is the easiest way to start making flavored spirits.

                  That being said, if you start with a pot still you don't have to worry much about construction.  You could have your still built before your first wash is ready to run through it.

                  If you want to start with a pot stil, break it down into these components and it will make the planning stage easier.
                  1.  Heat source.  Electric element(by far my preference), gas burner (must be outside or in well ventilated outbuilding), stove/hotplate (limited to smaller boiler sizes)
                  2.  Boiler size/type.  I'd say start with a minimum of 5 gallons, like a pressure cooker or stock pot.  15.5 gallon kegs are very common, readily available, versatile and a much more convenient size likely to keep you happy much longer.  I like to run bigger batches less frequently so I also use a water heater for a boiler.  Actually I have boilers ranging from 500 ml to 45 gallons, I collect them when they are available/free/cheap.  I'd say that an electric water heater or a 15 gallon keg is where I would advise a friend start.  The water heater is easier/faster to setup,  the keg a more reasonable beginning size but takes a little more work/shopping for a modified keg.
                  3.  Condenser.  Size it based on your heat source, build complexity and possible future upgrades.  Most start with a liebig that can be knocked together from off the shelf parts in an afternoon by someone with no soldering skills.  If you you'll be starting with high power/large washes or know you'll want to use it in a future still, a shotgun condenser is a great idea but a little trickier to build.

                  If you really want to minimize building but aren't completely against it, buying a ready to go boiler like a modified keg or water heater saves you a good bit of work, while letting you build a simple pot still in an afternoon.  Also lets you get the boiler from a non-still selling source and keep your name off any lists (assuming you're in the US?).

                  So far as vendors go, brewhaus has excellent service, though I'm not the biggest fan of their still designs.  Hillbilly stills and stilldragon offer some really sweet, and expensive ready to go rigs.  Not saying anything about any of the other venders, not familar enough with them...


                  On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 1:02 AM, <ewiederer@...> wrote:
                   

                  Alright guys much appreciated! Yeah I think the wise choice would be to read a little bit more into what I want to make. Haven't decided if I will be building one or purchasing online, the smart choice would be to build it to understand the process a little better , but also I want to jump right in , without building issues. Again thanks for the responses , if anyone has again any positive or negative reviews on web sites , the info would be much appreciated :) cheers !


                • M L
                  If you or anyone you know is close to Colorado, I would feel very safe walking into a place like Mile Hi and paying cash for on of their units. Their
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                    If you or anyone you know is close to Colorado, I would feel very safe walking into a place like Mile Hi and paying cash for on of their units. Their instructional video is very convincing. A simple easy to run and low priced still.I especially liked the mighty mini dual purpose tower , it has a built in Liebig condenser, $ 139 and ready to go , all you need is a pot to put it on and a heat source.This should satisfy your needs for a long time if not be all you ever need.Or take a chance and order it, thousands of customers have.
                    --------------------------------------------
                    On Tue, 10/29/13, Zapata Vive <zapatavive@...> wrote:

                    Subject: Re: [new_distillers] RE: Regarding Online Still Companies
                    To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 11:09 AM
















                     









                    Many
                    would advise starting with a potsill for a number of
                    reasons.
                    1.  It's easy to build.
                    2.  It's good experience even if you eventually
                    want a reflux column or plated still.


                    3.  It can be used for stripping runs even if you
                    eventually want a more advanced still.
                    4.  It is the easiest way to start making flavored
                    spirits.

                    That being said, if you start with a pot still you
                    don't have to worry much about construction.  You could
                    have your still built before your first wash is ready to run
                    through it.



                    If you want to start with a pot stil, break it
                    down into these components and it will make the planning
                    stage easier.
                    1.  Heat source.  Electric element(by far my
                    preference), gas burner (must be outside or in well
                    ventilated outbuilding), stove/hotplate (limited to smaller
                    boiler sizes)


                    2.  Boiler size/type.  I'd say start with a
                    minimum of 5 gallons, like a pressure cooker or stock pot. 
                    15.5 gallon kegs are very common, readily available,
                    versatile and a much more convenient size likely to keep you
                    happy much longer.  I like to run bigger batches less
                    frequently so I also use a water heater for a boiler. 
                    Actually I have boilers ranging from 500 ml to 45 gallons, I
                    collect them when they are available/free/cheap.  I'd
                    say that an electric water heater or a 15 gallon keg is
                    where I would advise a friend start.  The water heater is
                    easier/faster to setup,  the keg a more reasonable
                    beginning size but takes a little more work/shopping for a
                    modified keg.


                    3.  Condenser.  Size it based on your heat
                    source, build complexity and possible future upgrades. 
                    Most start with a liebig that can be knocked together from
                    off the shelf parts in an afternoon by someone with no
                    soldering skills.  If you you'll be starting with high
                    power/large washes or know you'll want to use it in a
                    future still, a shotgun condenser is a great idea but a
                    little trickier to build.



                    If you really want to minimize building but
                    aren't completely against it, buying a ready to go
                    boiler like a modified keg or water heater saves you a good
                    bit of work, while letting you build a simple pot still in
                    an afternoon.  Also lets you get the boiler from a
                    non-still selling source and keep your name off any lists
                    (assuming you're in the US?).



                    So far as vendors go, brewhaus has excellent
                    service, though I'm not the biggest fan of their still
                    designs.  Hillbilly stills and stilldragon offer some
                    really sweet, and expensive ready to go rigs.  Not saying
                    anything about any of the other venders, not familar enough
                    with them...




                    On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at
                    1:02 AM, <ewiederer@...>
                    wrote:

















                     









                    Alright guys much appreciated! Yeah I think the
                    wise choice would be to read a little bit more into what I
                    want to make. Haven't decided if I will be building one
                    or purchasing online, the smart choice would be to build it
                    to understand the process a little better , but also I want
                    to jump right in , without building issues. Again thanks for
                    the responses , if anyone has again any positive or negative
                    reviews on web sites , the info would be much appreciated :)
                    cheers !
                  • Chris Walker
                    Try http://www.clawhammersupply.com/ http://www.clawhammersupply.com/
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                    • Patrick Luke
                      i ll second clawhammer, the kits are easy to build and the crew is a great help. ... -- Patrick Luke
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                        i'll second clawhammer, the kits are easy to build and the crew is a great help.


                        On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM, Chris Walker <cwdrag@...> wrote:



                        --
                        Patrick Luke
                      • Patrick Luke
                        i wouldnÆt think so as long as the column can attach to what ever boiler you pick up. ... i wouldnÆt think so as long as the column can attach to what ever
                        Message 11 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                          i wouldn’t think so as long as the column can attach to what ever boiler you pick up.
                          On Oct 29, 2013, at 2:02 AM, Blackhat-Whitedog <blkhatwhtdog@...> wrote:

                          question: does it matter if you buy a column only and a boiler or keg someplace else?

                          * * * * * * * *
                          Build it.  Government has
                          actually started looking at records of still manufacturers
                          in the last few years.

                          It's not hard, and if stillin' is a hobby you
                          should enjoy it.    Even with few/no tools or experience
                          you can build a still. 





                        • Brian McGill
                          Rainier distillers in Washington state...great guy and great videos on YouTube... Brian J. McGill
                          Message 12 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                            Rainier distillers in Washington state...great guy and great videos on YouTube...

                            Brian J. McGill




                            On Oct 29, 2013, at 18:03, Patrick Luke <peluke@...> wrote:

                             

                            i'll second clawhammer, the kits are easy to build and the crew is a great help.


                            On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM, Chris Walker <cwdrag@...> wrote:



                            --
                            Patrick Luke

                          • RLB
                            Clawhammer has a major design flaw, and I see this way too often in modern stills.  For some reason, modern hobby stills are made with narrow diameter bodies
                            Message 13 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                              Clawhammer has a major design flaw, and I see this way too often in modern stills.  For some reason, modern hobby stills are made with narrow diameter bodies and tall.   Professionals and distilleries build their pots with a diameter that is almost identical to its height.  Narrow diameter pots take longer to heat and their evaporation rate is slower than a pot with a larger surface area.  Modern hobby stills look good, but their physics are a determent to hobby distilling.


                              From: Chris Walker <cwdrag@...>
                              To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 4:40 PM
                              Subject: RE: [new_distillers] RE: Regarding Online Still Companies

                               


                            • Robert Hubble
                              Actually, Tony at Rainier is across the river from Washington, in Rainier Oregon. He does build nice stills, though. Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller CC:
                              Message 14 of 17 , Oct 29, 2013
                                Actually, Tony at Rainier is across the river from Washington, in Rainier Oregon. He does build nice stills, though.

                                Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller


                                CC: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                From: bmcgill930@...
                                Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2013 22:07:08 -0400
                                Subject: Re: [new_distillers] RE: Regarding Online Still Companies

                                 

                                Rainier distillers in Washington state...great guy and great videos on YouTube...

                                Brian J. McGill




                                On Oct 29, 2013, at 18:03, Patrick Luke <peluke@...> wrote:

                                 

                                i'll second clawhammer, the kits are easy to build and the crew is a great help.


                                On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM, Chris Walker <cwdrag@...> wrote:



                                --
                                Patrick Luke


                              • ewiederer
                                Claw hammer seems a good option, I do live in Canada and not sure how the shipping through the boarder would go with a fully built stills like some of the
                                Message 15 of 17 , Oct 30, 2013
                                  Claw hammer seems a good option, I do live in Canada and not sure how the shipping through the boarder would go with a fully built stills like some of the other companies products. Again what RLB said that is an issue , and if I will be purchasing one online , I would like it to be flaw free
                                • Michael Gore
                                  I have HillBilly stills. One 3 pot still and a 3 reflux. Both are awesome. They have a pretty good deal right now on their stain steel reflux. $200. Can t
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Oct 30, 2013

                                    I have HillBilly stills. One 3" pot still and a 3" reflux. Both are awesome. They have a pretty good deal right now on their stain steel reflux. $200. Can't beat it

                                  • RLB
                                    Just buy a 2 gal pressure cooker.  Drill a hole in the top for a brass fitting to use for connecting copper pipe, and drill a hole for a temperature gauge
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Oct 30, 2013
                                      Just buy a 2 gal pressure cooker.  Drill a hole in the top for a brass fitting to use for connecting copper pipe, and drill a hole for a temperature gauge grommet.  Insert grommet in hole and install temp gauge.  There, you now have a pot still.  Its that simple!


                                      From: "ewiederer@..." <ewiederer@...>
                                      To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:42 PM
                                      Subject: [new_distillers] RE: Regarding Online Still Companies

                                       
                                      Claw hammer seems a good option, I do live in Canada and not sure how the shipping through the boarder would go with a fully built stills like some of the other companies products. Again what RLB said that is an issue , and if I will be purchasing one online , I would like it to be flaw free


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