Greetings from the desert.

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Uncle Artie
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Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:47 pm
Location: Desert South Western US

Greetings from the desert.

Post by Uncle Artie » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:38 pm

Hello all. I tend to be pretty terrible at these introductory posts. I never know what to say, so I usually say way too much. That will probably be the case here too, but I will make sure to start the section on my rig with **My Rig** so you can just skip to that if you want :)

I live in the Southwestern US now, but I grew up on the East coast. Most of the time we lived in NY, but my grandmama was from South Carolina, so I spent a lot of time in the south as a kid, and lived there for a spell in my early 20s. I guess what I am getting at is that I was around shine from an early age, that and Slivovtza (there are a lot of eastern europeans in my family) so I have a taste for strong home made likker. The problem is, no one in my family actually ran a still, and of course they wouldn't tell me who did. So although my upbringing gave me the taste for it, it didn't give me the skills to make it myself.

I was 16 the first time I tried to run a batch of shine. It was a white sugar wash fermented with bread yeast, and distilled through lab equipment stollen from my highschool chem lab connected to a tea kettle boiler. It tasted god awful and gave my friends and I all vicious hang overs. I would imagine that was a combination of poor cuts, and the random hoses and tubes we used containing shit that you don't want in your drink. We just scrapped the whole setup and went back to the beg, borrow or steal method of booze acquisition.

The desire to run my own likker has always been there. I love to drink, am pretty mechanicly inclined, and have always been really interested in doing things for myself if at all possible. I have always had pretty easy access to likker though, so trying to make my own again was a low priority. That is until about 2 years ago when I moved to the southwest for work. The only person I know out here is my wife, and the few friends I have made, and none of them are home distillers. So for the past few years I have had the itch again. In hind sight that was a blessing that it took me so long to get serious about the idea of distilling again. I am a lot smarter now than I was as a kid, and this go round the plan is to do things right and not poison myself. I have been eagerly devouring any info I could find on the subject, from old timer likker memiors to scientific schematics. Luckily I stumbled across this site and have been eagerly reading all the content I can.

Like I said before, my history/heritage predispose me to moonshines and rakias, so I am thinking a pot still is going to be my first real shot at still making. In a perfect world, I would have a nice plot of woods to hide an old school moonshine still in, but alas that is not the case. So my goal is to build myself a smaller home version of a moonshine still, using some more modern equipment to make it safer and easier to use.

I could just save up for a while and buy something of the internet, but I don't trust other people to do things the right way if I can't inspect it myself. I also would like to stick to a budget, and of course I want the experience of building my own still almost as much as I want the booze.

**My Rig**
I am about midway through the scroung and build process. I was lucky enough to find Stainless Steel pots at Ross at a very reasonable price. I got an 18 quart (aprx 17 liter) boiling pot, and a 12 quart (11.36 liter) to use as a thumper. I made myself a worm out of a 20' 3/8 OD copper tube that I wound into a single 4" coil. I don't have a worm tub yet, but the plan is to have it sealed in a container with a fountain pump circulating cool water. I also got a few lengths of 3/4" copper pipe to connect the boiler to the thumper, and then the thumper to the worm. The plan is to use a stainless salad bowl for the boiler head, and thumper lid. At the junction where the boiler head connets to the pipe out to the thumper I am going to mount a thermometer to keep an eye on temp.

Once everything is together I should be able to process a 5 gallon batch of wash, mash, whatever, in just two runs. If I am using likker in the thumper I shouldn't have to do a stripping run.

That was awful long winded but I figured it'd be nice to introduce myself since I'll probably be asking a ton of questions in the weeks to come. Any advice or critque would definitely be apreciated.

-Artie
Just getting started, trying not to be another idiot building a poison mill.

heartcut
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Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by heartcut » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:48 pm

Welcome. Might want to read the parent site and design blogs before you cut or solder. Lots of stuff, but it's good info. Wish I'd known about HD before I made my first and second stills. Good luck.
heartcut

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know.

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fullhouse
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Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by fullhouse » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:52 pm

Welcome to HD Unk! :wave:
3' Essential Extractor PSII High Capacity (Brewhaus) on gas,recirculating 60 gal olive barrel for cooling
Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for ~ Socrates

Bayou-Ruler
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Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by Bayou-Ruler » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:54 pm

Welcome! :wave:
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Uncle Artie
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Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:47 pm
Location: Desert South Western US

Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by Uncle Artie » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:46 pm

Thanks for the welcome, all. I have definitely been reading up. I think I read every post on the main site before I dug into the forums. So far, so good.
Just getting started, trying not to be another idiot building a poison mill.

Uncle Artie
Novice
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:47 pm
Location: Desert South Western US

Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by Uncle Artie » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:56 pm

heartcut wrote:Wish I'd known about HD before I made my first and second stills. Good luck.
Yeah I wish HD had been around when I made that poison still back in high school.
Just getting started, trying not to be another idiot building a poison mill.

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GuyFawkes
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Location: Somewhere hot, USA

Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by GuyFawkes » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:32 pm

Welcome from a fellow resident of the Sonoran :wave:

Make sure you plan everything out really well, knowledge is power. And in this case, power means a better product
Experience is what you get right after you need it.

Uncle Artie
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Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:47 pm
Location: Desert South Western US

Re: Greetings from the desert.

Post by Uncle Artie » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:17 pm

GuyFawkes wrote:...knowledge is power. And in this case, power means a better product
Hell yes.
Just getting started, trying not to be another idiot building a poison mill.

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