View Full Version : distillery

04-27-2001, 21:33
I would appreciate any information on how to make home made distilleries, plans, recipes etc

04-29-2001, 06:01
Hi Neena, and welcome to the forum! If you can boil water then you can run a still. The answer to your request would fill a small book. The fabrication of the still itself is step one. If you're entertaining thoughts of making whiskey then copper is a must, for everything else stainless steel is preferred. Next pick a shape and size you want your still to be.A simple squat cylinder does nicely. Sixty gallons is a popular size as it allows for portability of the still and holds a fifty-five gallon drum full of mash. The industrial world has gone to heavy duty plastic 55 gal. drums for all manner of things and these are easy to come by and make good vats.They are also easy to sanitize and don't hold odors or flavors as wood does.

Next you've got fashion a "horn" for the top of your still. This acts as a collector of the alcohol vapor and funnels it off to the condenser.

The condenser is usually made from one inch copper tubing. Plug one end and fill the tubing with sand. Now using a conveniently located telephone pole stake the plugged end of your tubing to the ground and wind the other end round and round the pole to form the coils of the condenser. One turn every three to four inches is fairly standard. The sand in the tubing keeps it from kinking and gives smooth curves. Now you have what is called a worm. This will be fitted into one of those 55 gal. drums and the drum filled with cold water to cool the alcohol vapor back into a liquid.

Your still is now complete. Fill with water and boil to make sure that it is steamtight, and to sterilize the works.

Once you've got your still built let me know and I'll give you a quick easy recipe for your first run.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

05-01-2001, 16:26
Linn, that's a great explanation of how to make a worm. Keep up the good work.

Neena, somebody should mention that in the USA, distilling alcohol without a license is a federal offense and a serious one. It doesn't matter if it's just a hobby or if you are doing it on a very small scale. Just possessing a working still (without necessarily using it) can get you into serious trouble.

In you are not in the USA, check your local listings. Home distilling is either legal or "tolerated" in more advanced cultures.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

05-02-2001, 10:47
Hi there.

I tried to post this a day or so ago, but I think I pressed the wrong button
and it didn't show up.

The best description I've ever seen is in The Foxfire Book (sometimes called
"Foxfire 1" since there were sequels put out). Most of the book is about
making chairs and chimneys and soap and quilts, but there's a pretty extensive
chapter on moonshining. Read this twice, then read it again a week later.
Foxfire is in many public libraries, otherwise it's only about $12 new,
$6 used.

There's nothing really worthwhile to be found on the internet, aside from
a few websites that are trying to sell books, but they don't know anything
that we don't. The ethanol-water phase diagram isn't all that complicated.

In regards to mashing, fermenting, etc., there's extensive homebrew-beer
literature out there that's worth a read.

And for peace of mind with respect to methanol, finding a gas chromatograph
is priceless. They're more common than you'd think... lots of places have
'em to make sure they're being environmentally responsible, and there's
usually someone in the yellow pages that does "analytical chemisty consulting",
i.e. they have the only GC in town and everyone uses it.


05-02-2001, 14:25
Dr. Crow didn't need no stinking GC. /wwwthreads/images/smile.gif

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

05-02-2001, 15:35
Chuck it's not as good as I first thought. I'd better go ahead and bust myself before someone else does. Once you've formed the worm how do you get it off the telephone pole? Take your chainsaw and cut the top half of the pole off, slide your worm off and run like hell hoping not to get caught? No, but you do need something uniform 10 to 12 inches in diameter. A good straight tree would do but you'd still have to cut the top off. Most of all a micro-batch distiller must be field expedient.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

05-03-2001, 07:39
I used a Coleman 1.5 Gallon drink thermos. It was 9.5 inches in diameter, and I took fifteen turns around it with 3/8 ID copper pipe. It just slid right off afterward.
Mind you I'm not distilling with this thing, but rather cooling hot wort. Stick a 200gph fountain pump down into a big bucket of ice water and pump the water through the coil (immersed in the boiling kettle). Water goes in about 36f, comes out around 180f. Great homemade tool.

Same idea, heat's just travelling in the opposite direction.


Jim Butler

05-03-2001, 08:14
There you go again Jim, throwing those heroic daggers of mischief about.

Farmers like to use old telephone poles for gate posts. They're good and strong and straight and uniform. Once you plant 'em, and before you string the wire and hang the gate why not use 'em as a mandrel and form up a new worm?

There are still farmer/distillers in America, but their numbers are rapidly diminishing. They don't need no gastro-intestinal chromatagraphs to check the bead.

A good man - a real man - needs only: a good wife; a good God, and good still.


Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

05-03-2001, 11:23
What might work even better than a telephone pole would be a piece of round HVAC duct.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)