What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

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kennyjb
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What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by kennyjb » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:09 pm

I'm looking to buy my first still and right now I'm looking at Clawhammer Supply and Mile Hi Distilling. The 8 gallon stills on both sites. Any advice on which one to pick from the two or any other suggestions? Also is the full kit from Mile Hi any good?

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by cayars » Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:18 pm

What kind of spirits are you looking to make?
Do you want to make vodka or neutral spirits or Rums, Brandy or Whiskey type spirits?
Or do you want to easily be able to make both types?

How much spirits do you want to make per session?
Do you want to make a gallon a month or 5 gallons a month of various spirits?

Will this be an enjoyable hobby for you or do you just want to make stuff fast and be done with it?

Give us more information to help give you information/guidance.
Programmer specializing in process control for ExxonMobil (ethanol refinery control), WT, Omron, Bosch, Honeywell & Boeing.
More than a decade working for NASA & FAA Tech with computer code used on Space Shuttles and some airline flight recorders.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Durhommer » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:18 am

The mile high kit is ok you just have to have a bit of skill
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason....

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:43 am

If your looking at this one from Mile High https://milehidistilling.com/wp-content ... -Tower.jpg
It's advertised as " duel purpose" dont be sucked into thinking it's a reflux still for making neutral and a pot still.
It's just a pot with a tiny bit of reflux built in......not a true reflux still.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Avo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:36 am

I have the Mile Hi 8 gall dual purpose still (milk churn) The boiler is very strong and well made. I did make a mistake (cry) I went for the standard dual purpose, it is not modular. It has the reflux water jacket & product condenser as a one piece unit. Pay the extra and get the Dual purpose 'Pro' model if you decide on Mile Hi. I dealt with Evan at M.H. he was very helpful. I decided to keep my standard column for doing essential oil extraction and as a spare back-up. I ended up getting separate units for a column. 2" spool tube in the beginning, but I have upgraded since to a 3" spool tube, 2" reflux condenser 'T' piece, elbow, shotgun final condenser finishing with a parrot. I am so pleased with my present set-up which I have no intention of changing. P.S. Get the boiler domed lid with the 3" tri-clamp ferrule so your set to upgrade to 3"- If you plan to go for a 2" column you can get a 3"- 2" adapter. It makes it a bit more 'Future proof' - I am hoping to order another dome lid 3" from them; but they are under 'the cosh' at the moment with reduced staff.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Avo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:50 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:43 am
If your looking at this one from Mile High https://milehidistilling.com/wp-content ... -Tower.jpg
It's advertised as " duel purpose" dont be sucked into thinking it's a reflux still for making neutral and a pot still.
It's just a pot with a tiny bit of reflux built in......not a true reflux still.

In hindsight I would have bought a different column (modular) assembly. But to be fair it did a good job, I found the water jacket worked well and gave adequate reflux; although to get it running at it's best I fed each condenser with it's own water supply each having it's own pump/needle valve/ball valve. I made some excellent spirit with it.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by cayars » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:13 am

Avo, the head you originally purchased was the one Saltbush Bill linked to?
It's not modular and needs a cork or something at the top which turns me off on it & has a cooling jacket but other than that how did it perform for neutrals?

How many inches did you pack yours? What did you use (ie copper mash)?
What kind of flow did you get (ie mL per hour)?
What ABV were you able to sustain?
Any idea how many watts the Deflag was able to knock down being a jacket?

Did you ever try running it with an extension to add height to the column? If so, how did that work out?

Love to hear some real world numbers from someone who has moved on past using it and won't be biased.
Programmer specializing in process control for ExxonMobil (ethanol refinery control), WT, Omron, Bosch, Honeywell & Boeing.
More than a decade working for NASA & FAA Tech with computer code used on Space Shuttles and some airline flight recorders.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by dieselduo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:43 am

Take a look at the Brewhaus stills too

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:02 am

Your budget and what type of product(s) you want to make will dictate what you actually should get. But as others have stated, going modular is best. I'd specifically recommend you do tri-clamp modular pieces if possible. I would also say, give the size (boiler and column) some real consideration. Just like most women, distiller rarely regret something larger, but they will regret getting something too small.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Avo » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:43 am

cayars wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:13 am
Avo, the head you originally purchased was the one Saltbush Bill linked to?
It's not modular and needs a cork or something at the top which turns me off on it & has a cooling jacket but other than that how did it perform for neutrals?

How many inches did you pack yours? What did you use (ie copper mash)?
What kind of flow did you get (ie mL per hour)?
What ABV were you able to sustain?

Any idea how many watts the Deflag was able to knock down being a jacket?

Did you ever try running it with an extension to add height to the column? If so, how did that work out?

Love to hear some real world numbers from someone who has moved on past using it and won't be biased.
Hi Cayers,The Still was as the illustration (I was a 'Greenhorn' at the time :roll: ) I didn't like the cork idea & got the Temp' gauge upgrade.

As mentioned before, I improved cooling. After trying out different yeasts/nutrients, I settled on a combination; which to my taste gave me good neutrals. I got an awful lot of variations with abv etc using different packing combinations. With 2 x 5" copper mesh and a 16" depth of mini raschig rings I was getting between 92 / 93 abv @ 20c . amps ranged from 4.5 increasing to 6.5 (approx) at the end of run.

Extensions took the form of 2 x sight glasses which contained three single bubble plates. This added a depth of 12". This actually gave me a max' of 96% @ 18c abv on part of the run. I found each fermentation/run ran differently. Delivery was painstakingly slow - around 45 mins per .500 ml; nothing consistent.

Briefly getting off topic - I chatted with you previously about my upgrade. (I still need to evaluate it) This consists of a 3" x 20" spool with 2" to 3" adapter. I am running my second strip as I type. It all looks promising. :)

In conclusion, I recommend the M.H. boiler it's great but not the standard dual purpose column.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by kennyjb » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:55 pm

Thanks for the input everyone. I would like to be able to make both neutral spirits and non-neutral so a good reflux design would be good. Also I am looking at the 8 gallon starter kits, not the ones you make yourself. I have the ability but not the desire to build it.

Also I just took a look at brewhaus based off the suggestion in this thread and they seem to have more of what I'm looking for. Only thing I'm worried about right now is all the add ons and all of the other equipment I need to purchase. Don't want to buy all this stuff and be one necessary item short

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Avo » Thu Apr 02, 2020 12:45 am

kennyjb wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:55 pm
Thanks for the input everyone. I would like to be able to make both neutral spirits and non-neutral so a good reflux design would be good. Also I am looking at the 8 gallon starter kits, not the ones you make yourself. I have the ability but not the desire to build it.

Also I just took a look at brewhaus based off the suggestion in this thread and they seem to have more of what I'm looking for. Only thing I'm worried about right now is all the add ons and all of the other equipment I need to purchase. Don't want to buy all this stuff and be one necessary item short
You ought to do a lot more reading up on the hobby to help yourself. I made a list of everything I needed and worked through the process in my mind. Go to the Distillers Wiki page https://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page & New Distiller reading lounge you will find everything you need. Asking specific questions and getting answers is fine, but you will get so many readers giving different advice that you will find it confusing. :)

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by GCB3 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:27 am

AVO is exactly right. Hit the new distillers reading lounge hard and often. I, like many of us, was so excited to get started that I probably did not do enough research before deciding what to buy. And as is true with most beginners “you don’t know what you don’t know”. The reading lounge can help answer most of your questions.
The Brewhaus equipment is very well made and their customer service is excellent.Their reflux units are completely modular which allows you to run them in either a pot mode for flavored spirits or the full reflux column mode for making neutrals. Many members here prefer other styles ofreflux columns but the Brewhaus CM has worked adequately for my purposes.
kennyjb wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:55 pm
Don't want to buy all this stuff and be one necessary item short
So, have you seen members referring to the “rabbit hole“? Trust me, you will never have everything you “need”! :lol: :esurprised:
Enjoy the journey, it’s very addicting.
Good luck.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by kennyjb » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:34 am

I have read about what is required. I do not know specific brands. Need help. I would not be so stupid as to just spend $1000 with no knowledge of the subject.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by GCB3 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:24 am

kennyjb wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:34 am
I would not be so stupid as to just spend $1000 with no knowledge of the subject.
I certainly hope that is not what you thought I was saying. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Best regards.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Dennis » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:41 am

I was told when you purchase a still it Is recorded and federal agencies can get copies of all transactions. Don’t know if that is still the case but I would have much preferred to purchase one than build one. I opted to build only for this reason as stills are illegal in several states even though you can still buy one. Does anyone have concerns about this other than me?

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by GCB3 » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:58 am

Dennis, the folks at Brewhaus stated that they are obligated to maintain a customer list of purchases of boilers, Columns, condensers, and complete rigs. They are obligated by law to provide these lists to the government upon request. You rotate off the list three years from your date of order. Apparently they used to have to send the list to TTB regularly. Then the law was changed to make it an as requested basis. They told me they have not had a request since it was changed several years ago. This is one reason many prefer to build their own equipment.
I will forward to rotating off their list later this year.

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Re: What still to buy? Clawhammer Supply? Mile Hi? Anything else?

Post by Corsaire » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:55 am

I ordered a bunch of parts from aliexpress to piece together a keg still. Ferrules, triclamps, gaskets, a t, couple of bends and heating elements.
I had a welder fit all ferrules to the boiler and riser. Told him it was for a brewing system. Be sure to tell them to purge the welds. Ask me how I know.
So not much of a build, more a meccano type deal for me. I'll try and build a copper condenser though.

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