Cone still

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Cone still

Postby Zia Guca » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:21 pm

I can't find anything on the site about this topic so excuse me if it has been covered but can anyone point out to me the common perception of advantages or disadvantages around the use of the simple cone still in distilling?
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Re: Cone still

Postby Bushman » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:20 pm

More info is needed, are you talking about a Kentucky style moonshine still with a cylinder shaped boiler with a cone shape on top? If so most would charge the boiler leaving the top to allow the vapors to build and work their way up the column.
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Re: Cone still

Postby Zia Guca » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:38 am

Bushman wrote:More info is needed, are you talking about a Kentucky style moonshine still with a cylinder shaped boiler with a cone shape on top? If so most would charge the boiler leaving the top to allow the vapors to build and work their way up the column.


It is the "two woks and a pot" type of still where the wash is heated in a large pot, condenses on the bottom of a round-bottom bowl filled with ice and drips down into a smaller bowl standing on a mason jar in the middle of the pot.
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Re: Cone still

Postby Dan P. » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:53 am

Zia Guca wrote:
Bushman wrote:More info is needed, are you talking about a Kentucky style moonshine still with a cylinder shaped boiler with a cone shape on top? If so most would charge the boiler leaving the top to allow the vapors to build and work their way up the column.


It is the "two woks and a pot" type of still where the wash is heated in a large pot, condenses on the bottom of a round-bottom bowl filled with ice and drips down into a smaller bowl standing on a mason jar in the middle of the pot.


This method is not the way forward.
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Re: Cone still

Postby BareKnuckles » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:54 am

Inefficiency at it's finest!!!
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Re: Cone still

Postby Dan P. » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:17 am

BareKnuckles wrote:Inefficiency at it's finest!!!


If you want true inefficiency like this you are going to have to sacrifice quality and quantity!
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Re: Cone still

Postby Zia Guca » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:41 am

Well yes, but on the other hand one does not have anything other than common household kitchen equipment in one's domicile. And if one is not greedy, so much the better? I guess my question is has anyone any experience with the drinkability of the output with regard to the requirement to filter, etc?
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Re: Cone still

Postby Prairiepiss » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:01 am

You will not have a safe way to make cuts. So you will end up collecting everything. This will give you a product that will taste like crap. And also give you a real nice headache. No amount of filtering will make it ad good as could be made with a proper still. A pot still is very simple to make with common kitchen items. And a little copper tubing. Unless you out to make some nasty rotgut crap. I would suggest forgetting you ever saw a ice wok still.
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Re: Cone still

Postby BareKnuckles » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:21 pm

Kinda like prison hooch...
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Re: Cone still

Postby Zia Guca » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:15 pm

What if a person was making something other than neutral spirits? Please forgive my lack of knowledge here, but I've read that a lot of the flavor of things like rum and whiskey come from the volatiles that are distilled off along with the alcohol. And if someone is interested in only consuming an ounce or two at a time, mixed perhaps with soda or fruit juice to make a punch, would that make the hangover issue less of a problem? I have read that there is not a great deal of methanol in the typical sugar or malt fermentation and that very moderate consumption is not a significant toxicicity issue. Is that true?
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Re: Cone still

Postby Prairiepiss » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:22 pm

Maybe you didn't read my post earlier.

Prairiepiss wrote:You will not have a safe way to make cuts. So you will end up collecting everything. This will give you a product that will taste like crap. And also give you a real nice headache. No amount of filtering will make it ad good as could be made with a proper still. A pot still is very simple to make with common kitchen items. And a little copper tubing. Unless you out to make some nasty rotgut crap. I would suggest forgetting you ever saw a ice wok still.


Pretty simple. If you want to make some rot gut headache giving crap. Go for it. :thumbup:
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Re: Cone still

Postby whiskeytripping » Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:40 pm

Zia guca, if your wanting to drink something that you don't have to spend a lot of money building a still, just drink the cheapest swill at the liquor store. It's cheap and shit, AND you'll most likely get a headache.

I'm really not sure of the question your asking, your not going to listen to what people are telling you, like everyone has told you, it will not taste good, and you will get a headache. It will smell good though :thumbup:
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Re: Cone still

Postby invisigoth » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:11 pm

i started reading this thread cause i was curious as to what the heck a cone still was. sounds to me it's just a glorified solar still used to extract water from vegetation and anything else with moisture you'd care to throw in there. why buy all those pots and woks and stuff when a hole in the ground, a tin cup and a sheet of plastic with a rock in the middle would do? don't think i'd wanna waste putting a good beer in it though....... :crazy:
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Re: Cone still

Postby Zia Guca » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:51 am

I read a book called "Alaskan Bootleggers Bible" and the apparatus is mentioned in it. The author thinks it is pretty effective. But there also seems to me some misinformation in the book, and there's not a lot of detail. As someone who doesn't know much on the subject I thought I might be able to find some answers from someone experienced with it.

The respondents here have said the output tastes like crap and will produce a headache. Has anyone actually tried one? Has anyone actually tasted the output? It doesn't seem so. No one has said something to the effect that "I used one and I found that there was too much X in the product," or anything. The theme here seems to be that most people are enamored of their 3-foot home-made fractionating columns, or whatnot. Some people might not want a lot of that kind of thing laying around the house. Others may not want to turn their kitchen into a chem lab.

So far some of the answers have been kind of snarky. Is that part of the outlaw ethos of the whole subject?
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Re: Cone still

Postby BareKnuckles » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:03 am

Man. Nobody has tried one here because you CANNOT MAKE PROPER CUTS with that type of setup. It has been explained that it could be very harmful to your health as well as producing a inferior product at best. We are just trying to help you make an informed decision about using something like that. Letting you know what kind of stuff it will make being there is no way to control quality. It is very cheap to make a basic pot still that is not a "3' homemade fractionating column". Just takes a little studying and some basic tools...

Be safe...
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Re: Cone still

Postby Prairiepiss » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:22 am

Ok let me type it out for you. We don't need to run one to know what you would get out of it. The way it is built there is no safe way to make cuts. As I already have said. The collection bowl in the boiler is sealed in. So you can't change it out when cuts should be made. Removing the top during a run is dangerous. You would be releasing a large amount of flammable alcohol vapors into the room. Fire hazard. Not to mention all the product you would loose.

So basically its a pot still that you collect everything that comes out of it. Foreshots, heads, hearts, and tails will all be mixed together. This is why it will taste like crap and give you a headache. You need a way to separate these cuts in order to make a good drink. Even if you could separate these cuts with this still. They would still be smeared because of the design itself. No good means of separating the fractions at all.

The book you are reading hasn't been updated in a long time. It is also the opinion of one person that wanted to sell a book. It should only be used as a reference. And intro to distilling. The information on these forums are constantly updated. And you get information that comes from working examples. And from more then one person. And when you ask a question. You will get an answer. You may not always like the answer. Or it may not be the answer you want to hear. But it is usually the answer you need to get.

From your posts I see that you had already decided this is the way you wanted to go. And you hadn't taken the time to research this information in these forums. My response was ment to be blunt and to the point. To hopefully get you to do some good research on your own as to why its a bad idea. But apparently you took it the other way as an insult.

Please take the time to research why we have said what we have. You will get out of this hobby what you put in. If you just want to go the cheapest quickest route. You will get cheap crappy results. Many at that point get discouraged and quit. If you take the time and do good research and make a good still to begin with. You will be making good drink in no time. And will be less apt to get discouraged and stick with it.

I hope you will take this and use it to your benefit. And do some good research before you just jump in with both feet.
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Re: Cone still

Postby BareKnuckles » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:28 am

That's what I was trying to say.. Well put PP...
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Re: Cone still

Postby skydivemd » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:37 am

Zia Guca,

Your questions have been answered as you asked.
First you wanted to know about the advantages and disadvantages of this setup - this was answered. It can be made of easily available and inexpensive equipment. But, it's output is poor in quantity and quality.
Then you wanted to know about drinkability - this too was answered. You cannot make proper cuts so you will have collected all the low boiling point nasties that are in your mash. Methanol is by no means the only one - there is a lot of crap in there which is foul and toxic. Short answer: it'll taste like shit.

There was no guarantee that you would like the answers. :wink:

If you want to produce a cone still, then by all means. And do report back your findings so anyone else interested will be able to search the forum and see if it is worth the effort.
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Re: Cone still

Postby myles » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:41 am

Zia Guca,

I have used one, I have also used an easy still, and a small solar still. They all do the same thing, they reduce the water content. You get everything volatile from you fermented wash concentrated. It tastes like crap.

There is only really a single valid application for these types of device. They are all low power strip stills. You are really supposed to take what you get out of one of these, and then run it again in a different still. Or filter it with activated carbon - but even after filtering it still tastes bad.

For example you can run a solar strip still, and then put that through a small pot still. However it really is a lot of work for what you get. There are much better and far easier ways to get a drinkable product.

Just remember that when you do a spirit run for whisky, you only keep between 1/5th and 1/3rd of the total volatiles that the still produces. The reason is that all the other volatiles taste like crap. Rum, whisky, grappa, vodka - it doesn't matter, you only keep the middle portion of the available volatiles.
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Re: Cone still

Postby blanikdog » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:18 pm

First time here for a couple of years and I read this. <sigh>
Read what they are saying Zia, It doesnt matter how litte you drink,it's still shit and will always be shit. Sorta like a little bit of cyanide won't hurt me will it? You are making shit and it's your democratic right to do so, but why argue with people who obviously know a lot more than you do. And certainly don't expect them to condone what you are doing!!!

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Re: Cone still

Postby blanikdog » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:21 pm

[quote="skydivemd"]

And safe landings, and beware of whuffos. :)
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Re: Cone still

Postby whiskeytripping » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:38 pm

Man Blanikdog, I hope he can handle the raw truth :clap:
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Re: Cone still

Postby blanikdog » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:24 pm

Sometimes Whiskystripping, one has to be cruel to be kind. :) My guess is that this person saw something on utube showing a real easy way to make hooch. They neglected to say that the end product is suitable for anything other than drinking. It has a fancy name 'simple cone still' with bugger all detail concerning this vile contrivence as can be seen by the questions asking by experienced distillers what exactly s/he means.

When s/he is told the facts s/he comes back with this sarcastic crap.

I read a book called "Alaskan Bootleggers Bible" and the apparatus is mentioned in it. The author thinks it is pretty effective. But there also seems to me some misinformation in the book, and there's not a lot of detail. As someone who doesn't know much on the subject I thought I might be able to find some answers from someone experienced with it.

The respondents here have said the output tastes like crap and will produce a headache. Has anyone actually tried one? Has anyone actually tasted the output? It doesn't seem so. No one has said something to the effect that "I used one and I found that there was too much X in the product," or anything. The theme here seems to be that most people are enamored of their 3-foot home-made fractionating columns, or whatnot. Some people might not want a lot of that kind of thing laying around the house. Others may not want to turn their kitchen into a chem lab.

So far some of the answers have been kind of snarky. Is that part of the outlaw ethos of the whole subject?


The answer to Zia, is that your original questions have been answered. Several times in fact! The answer to the the question in you post above, is no, it has nothing to do with your alleged 'outlaw ethos', IT'S TO DO WITH SAFETY!!!

As I said to Zia, make what you bloody well like, poison yourself and your friends, go for it, but dont come here asking this safety conscious forum to condone your actions. When the shit hits the fan after drinking your rotgut you won't be able to say that we told you it's cool, because it isn't cool!

And in answer to you other question, has anyone ever tried it the answer is yes and it is rot gut, and the reasons have been given. If you are trying to infer that we say stuff without knowing what we are talking about, you're wrong. And if you want confirmation that the product from your 'cone still' is safe perhaps this is the wrong forum for you, because - let me repeat - this forum is to DO WITH SAFETY in the craft of home distilling.
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Re: Cone still

Postby BareKnuckles » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Well played!
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Re: Cone still

Postby Prairiepiss » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:59 pm

Damn we don't see Blanikdog for a long time. And one thread gets him to post 3 posts. :shock:

Glad you didn't ask where to install the thermometer too. :lol:
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Re: Cone still

Postby HolyBear » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:21 pm

Wait a min, wait a min, woa... I'll admit it, long time ago I did a few runs with an upside down lid with ice on top and a jar in the middle... well, these guys are right. It does taste like crap. You can't make "cuts",(you'll need to research making cuts), it will give you a headache because of it especially for a grain or fruit wash. Might be less with something like BW. One thing that really pisses me off was that my jar kept dumping back into the wash. (An empty jar floats, and even with weight in it, after an hour of collecting to see it dump over into the wash :evil: )

I'll admit it was my first attempt at stilling. It did get me started. But thatsI about thea only positiv I can say about it. There are several threads here of simple ways to make an effective pot still, cheaply, with much, much better results!!!
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Re: Cone still

Postby skydivemd » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:22 pm

blanikdog wrote:And safe landings, and beware of whuffos. :)


A man who knows his terminology! You jump? And thanks for good advice.
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Re: Cone still

Postby Durace11 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:00 pm

Zia Guca wrote:I read a book called "Alaskan Bootleggers Bible" and the apparatus is mentioned in it. The author thinks it is pretty effective. But there also seems to me some misinformation in the book, and there's not a lot of detail. As someone who doesn't know much on the subject I thought I might be able to find some answers from someone experienced with it.

The respondents here have said the output tastes like crap and will produce a headache. Has anyone actually tried one? Has anyone actually tasted the output? It doesn't seem so. No one has said something to the effect that "I used one and I found that there was too much X in the product," or anything. The theme here seems to be that most people are enamored of their 3-foot home-made fractionating columns, or whatnot. Some people might not want a lot of that kind of thing laying around the house. Others may not want to turn their kitchen into a chem lab.

So far some of the answers have been kind of snarky. Is that part of the outlaw ethos of the whole subject?


I've got that book and I know exactly what you are talking about and it does work but you have to realize that it is the worst possible option to make distilled alcohol, not because the experts say it is but because with enough research you know it is. That device only would be good for distilled water if you were absolutely desperate. About the "snarky" comments, you are basically defending your position without knowing exactly what you are talking about, that's a snarky attitude so expect snarky replies. In reality, what's going on here is no one wants you to hurt yourself or your friends, that's why everyone here is so strongly against this type of distilling apparatus.

Take this hobby like you'd take a bottle of medicine, research the heck out of it before you put it in your mouth.

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Re: Cone still

Postby Zia Guca » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:38 pm

Just thought I would get back to you on this. It works good. Filter the output through 4 feet of carbon and it tastes good. It does not kill people. It has been done for thousands of years. You don't require a $400 dollar rig from a place that needs someone that looks like Ellie May Clampett posing with the equipment to sell it. Sorry but there's a lot of misinformation on this thread, and "Prison Hooch" is just the start of it. Just sayin' .
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Re: Cone still

Postby myles » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:47 pm

:lol: :lol: It depends on your taste buds. The carbon filter sort of works OK but to run it properly is a real PITA and then you need to wash and re-activate the carbon between runs, pre-treat the carbon etc etc.

Try it for a bit and then do a side by side with a basic reflux column, and you will see that you get a better product straight off the column with no need for the carbon. And of course there is no way on earth to get a flavoured product like whisky or rum out of a carbon filter.

This distillation system, basic still and carbon filter, can only produce 1 product, and there are other designs that can do it better. But give it a go by all means - I did - but not for long. :wink:

(I still think that this system was promoted by the same folks that are trying to sell you carbon and turbo yeast)
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