My first still

Many like to post about a first successful ferment (or first all grain mash), or first still built/bought or first good run of the still. Tell us about all of these great times here.
Pics are VERY welcome, we drool over pretty copper 8)

Moderator: Site Moderator

Post Reply
mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

My first still

Post by mrplow » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:25 pm

Moved from viewtopic.php?f=27&t=78436&p=7631186#p7631186


New 38L boiler has arrived!

I had been in contact with Broken Oar a few times. Unfortunately they're very low on stock since covid and weren't sure when the boiler I was interested in would be available. They only had keg versions in the store, which were out of my price range.

I went with the AliExpress 38L boiler from Distillex with the 2" tri-clamp lid linked below
https://aliexpress.com/item/4000128001853.html

I must say, after reading some things online about cheap Chinese stills I was afraid it'd be a thin, dented junker that wouldn't last very long. Boy was I wrong.

It is solid and heavy. I don't think I could dent it by hand. The tig welds look great. The only issue with it, as far as I can tell, is the silicon seals will need to be replaced with PTFE ones, which I knew about before hand.

My well water here isn't the best in the world and I tend to boil it before putting it into water cooler jugs for drinking. Using this new pot on the stove to boil the water (after a thorough cleaning) is a heck of a lot easier than 3 sessions of boiling it in my old chili pot

My eventual goal is a vodka. But I'm planning on setting it up a pot still initially and get use to running it. Later down the road I'll get a longer column and a reflex condenser for neutral runs. All 2" tri-clamp pieces so it'll be very modular.

I'll be running it in my shed and 240v isn't an option as it's quite far from my electric panel and I expect the cabling alone (and conduit, and running it over a cement pad) would be pretty pricy. So 120v it'll have to be.


Oooo shiny
fd78bc24-5214-46ae-af02-ffb5e7402158_1.jpg

User avatar
Swedish Pride
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2474
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:16 am
Location: Emerald Isle

Re: My first still

Post by Swedish Pride » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:29 am

looks well made.
what are you doing for still head?
Don't be a dick

User avatar
Demy
Rumrunner
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:45 pm

Re: My first still

Post by Demy » Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:36 am

Great, you could make a modular head that does both pot still and reflux.

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:24 pm

Swedish Pride wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:29 am
looks well made.
what are you doing for still head?
Demy wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:36 am
Great, you could make a modular head that does both pot still and reflux.
I'm actually waffling between a CCVM and a water managed dephlagminator.

I was initially thinking of getting a short column and 2 x 90° elbow fittings for the pot still and to use those with a dephlag along with another longer column later on when I try reflux. But now I'm thinking maybe I'll get a tee fitting with a top cap and 1 x 90° fitting so I have the option of a CCVM. Might be overthinking it.

Regarding the condenser, since I'll be using 120v and I'll only be able to push 1500w I'm not sure exactly sure how powerful of a condenser I'll need. I know there are a lot of considerations, water temp, vapor speed, etc. But I think something like this 8 pipe 2" shotgun type condenser that's 450mm long should do the trick. It's about $100 Canadian shipped. I can find some that are a bit cheaper but they're only 200mm long.
https://aliexpress.com/item/4000344959768.html

Then again, there are options like this which have all the condensers, columns and fittings I'd need for both pot and reflux at $220 shipped...
https://aliexpress.com/item/32914844162.html

User avatar
Swedish Pride
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2474
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:16 am
Location: Emerald Isle

Re: My first still

Post by Swedish Pride » Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:53 pm

I reckon 2" will be the max your able to run with the power you have available. Looks an ok option for off the shelf. Might want to add an other packed section as 500mm isn't that big.
Add some copper to the packed section to help with sulphur compounds
Don't be a dick

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:38 pm

Swedish Pride wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:53 pm
Might want to add an other packed section as 500mm isn't that big.
Add some copper to the packed section to help with sulphur compounds


Cool beans, I was planning on getting copper packing.

Think 1m would be pushing it for a 2" column @ 1500w?

User avatar
Swedish Pride
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 2474
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:16 am
Location: Emerald Isle

Re: My first still

Post by Swedish Pride » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:05 am

I think it would be ok.

This is only based on gut feeling and reading as I have never ran a 2inch column nor have I ran 1500w.

Hopefully someone will chime in on that else raise the q on a new thread
Don't be a dick

User avatar
ShineonCrazyDiamond
Site Mod
Posts: 2867
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:14 pm
Location: Look Up

Re: My first still

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:30 am

First, on 120v you can get a 2000w element. I ran a 6 gallon leg on 2000w, a 3ft 2" riser with a 5 gal bucket worm for years. It's still running well in a different shed to this day.

First, riser length has nothing to do with power on a pot still. My only concern would be 10 gallons boiling hard enough with 1500w. You could do it, it may just strip slower. Spirit runs will be no problem. I pot spirit at 50%.

Second, build a much as you can at the beginning. Biggest, most modular possible. You will just waste time and money later, becuase you will change it. The ccvm is perfect for options for many years. Make your column 3 feet, put a t on it with the 90. Cap the top. When you want nuetral, add lava rocks the size of dimes or less, and you will have plenty of power to run it.
"Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond."

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:44 am

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:30 am
First, on 120v you can get a 2000w element.
At 110v wouldn't that be over 18 amps? I'm pretty sure my breakers are 15 amps.

User avatar
ShineonCrazyDiamond
Site Mod
Posts: 2867
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:14 pm
Location: Look Up

Re: My first still

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:08 am

Well, yeah that sucks. Didn't catch that. In US, it's 120v and 20 amp breakers. So we can get 16.6 on a 20, leaving just enough head room.

Edit. Your op said 120v. I assumed you had 20amp gfci network set up.
"Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond."

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:53 am

I just checked, my shed's breaker is indeed 15A.

Sorry about the confusion between 110/120v, I just checked with my multimeter and it's reading 112.4v.

I could probably run an extension cord to the shed from a separate breaker for a hot plate for stepping runs. I already have a nice long cord I use to mow my front yard and a crappy hotplate.

CikCikCikPogodi
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:54 am

Re: My first still

Post by CikCikCikPogodi » Tue Sep 29, 2020 1:04 am

Well it's not the first distiller, but it's new one. Bought brand new few days ago. It's made by DES Subotica. This is 60l model. Who ever is interested I can post email of the distributor here in Sarajevo who exports them to Europe. He did not mention USA, so you should ask them.

Image

Rich73
Novice
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:19 am

Re: My first still

Post by Rich73 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:15 am

Hello, How are you getting on with the DES Subotica still? I’ve looked at their site and wondered how the quality is?

seamusm53
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 290
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:35 am

Re: My first still

Post by seamusm53 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:45 am

You boil your drinking water because it ?tastes bad or because you are worried it has bacterial contamination, i.e., for safety? The boiling certainly helps with the latter as when a municipal water supply issues a 'boil water notice' because they're concerned about possible fecal contamination. I am curious whether boiling would alter chemistry much or taste - not sure boiling does much else except use up time and energy.

tiramisu
Novice
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:03 pm

Re: My first still

Post by tiramisu » Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:56 am

mrplow wrote:
Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:25 pm
Moved from viewtopic.php?f=27&t=78436&p=7631186#p7631186


New 38L boiler has arrived!

I had been in contact with Broken Oar a few times. Unfortunately they're very low on stock since covid and weren't sure when the boiler I was interested in would be available. They only had keg versions in the store, which were out of my price range.

I went with the AliExpress 38L boiler from Distillex with the 2" tri-clamp lid linked below
https://aliexpress.com/item/4000128001853.html

I must say, after reading some things online about cheap Chinese stills I was afraid it'd be a thin, dented junker that wouldn't last very long. Boy was I wrong.

It is solid and heavy. I don't think I could dent it by hand. The tig welds look great. The only issue with it, as far as I can tell, is the silicon seals will need to be replaced with PTFE ones, which I knew about before hand.

My well water here isn't the best in the world and I tend to boil it before putting it into water cooler jugs for drinking. Using this new pot on the stove to boil the water (after a thorough cleaning) is a heck of a lot easier than 3 sessions of boiling it in my old chili pot

My eventual goal is a vodka. But I'm planning on setting it up a pot still initially and get use to running it. Later down the road I'll get a longer column and a reflex condenser for neutral runs. All 2" tri-clamp pieces so it'll be very modular.

I'll be running it in my shed and 240v isn't an option as it's quite far from my electric panel and I expect the cabling alone (and conduit, and running it over a cement pad) would be pretty pricy. So 120v it'll have to be.


Oooo shiny
fd78bc24-5214-46ae-af02-ffb5e7402158_1.jpg
I keep looking a chinese boilers but doubling the price for the shipping always makes me shy away.
Is there any secret to getting the ship prices down?

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Sun Nov 08, 2020 6:52 pm

Rich73 wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:15 am
Hello, How are you getting on with the DES Subotica still? I’ve looked at their site and wondered how the quality is?
That's not my still, I'm not exactly sure why it was posted to this tread...
seamusm53 wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 4:45 am
You boil your drinking water because it ?tastes bad or because you are worried it has bacterial contamination, i.e., for safety? The boiling certainly helps with the latter as when a municipal water supply issues a 'boil water notice' because they're concerned about possible fecal contamination. I am curious whether boiling would alter chemistry much or taste - not sure boiling does much else except use up time and energy.
I'm boiling it because I'm on well water and I don't trust the morons who treat the water (think Mr Lahey and Randy from Trailer Park Boys).
tiramisu wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:56 am
I keep looking a chinese boilers but doubling the price for the shipping always makes me shy away.
Is there any secret to getting the ship prices down?
Yes! Add an item to your cart and go to checkout, when asked for a payment method select other (PayPal, Western Union etc) and checkout. Don't fill anything else out (ex. don't login to PayPal when asked). You'll then get an invoice #, contact the seller and give them your inv #, ask if they can reduce the shipping.

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Sun Nov 08, 2020 7:19 pm

This should work fine for my still right?
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001014869891.html

It's just a simple 2" TC adapter for a standard water heater element

User avatar
Tummydoc
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 659
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:05 pm

Re: My first still

Post by Tummydoc » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:53 pm

That enclosure will work fine. And I agree with SOCD that I'd go with a CCVM reflux design. Less temperamental than a coolant management column.

mrplow
Novice
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:40 am

Re: My first still

Post by mrplow » Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:08 pm

Tummydoc wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:53 pm
That enclosure will work fine. And I agree with SOCD that I'd go with a CCVM reflux design. Less temperamental than a coolant management column.
Thank you sir, I'm leaning CCVM now too.

Post Reply