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Thread: Recommend 1st Home Stove Top Still

  1. #1
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    Default Recommend 1st Home Stove Top Still

    Hi guys, just found this website and love it. I am getting into some home distilling and am real excited about making my own stuff. I want to start small of course to experiment. What is the best (and cheapest) stove top still, say I don't know 1/2 gallon or gallon to start out with? Something that can duplicate the effect of the larger stills (small column still or something) so if I go bigger it won't be hard to duplicate what I'm already doing on a small scale. I should add I'm wanting to concentrate on Rum for now. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by PortRoyal View Post
    Hi guys, just found this website and love it. I am getting into some home distilling and am real excited about making my own stuff. I want to start small of course to experiment. What is the best (and cheapest) stove top still, say I don't know 1/2 gallon or gallon to start out with? Something that can duplicate the effect of the larger stills (small column still or something) so if I go bigger it won't be hard to duplicate what I'm already doing on a small scale. I should add I'm wanting to concentrate on Rum for now. Thanks in advance.
    Welcome and get ready to have some interesting fun.

    The easiest way to prepare a small stove top is useing a pressure cooker or canner. While this will work and others have used it, it will not give you much experiance to work with when you get a better normal size seteup. Say you have a 11qt pressure cooker or pot, about 9 qt is its safty volume. The alchohol yielc will be tiny. Say a 15% wash might give you a qt. of hearts with any reasonable cuts, double run (strip then spirit run to clean it).

    I would suggest you go ahead and spend the time to make a reasonable sized pot still that would work on the stove top. twill save you money in the long run and you will be able to make a good drinkable product. You can still do very small batches with it if you want There are plenty of plans out there to make one, or just purchase a good one which honestly is about as cheap and sometimes cheaper.
    If I were going to do small batches like you say, i would just do the pot of wash with a catch bowl in the middle whole thing covered with a tapered metal lid upside down with ice on it. Forget what they call it. Some use this strictly for prepareing essences for flavoring.

    Sorry I'm not more help, but never did small except in my thinking, before I ever started this hobby.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2010
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    PR, MW2 is right, once you figger out what to keep and what not to keep, you have put a whole lotta work into a small cooker that WILL dissapoint you in the end. I know $ is always an issue but take the advise of a expirenced stiller and do as he says. I make a 5 gallon mash and when its double run and cut to the right proof I still only get for keeping maybe 2.75 qts. I know what your thinking......5 gallons??????? but thats the mash and not the end product. Keep reading and studying before you make up your mind on a still cause the more you see and learn the better off you'll be.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. So you're saying stick with a 5 gallon pot minimum?

  5. #5
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    Well you cant put 5 gallons of mash in a 5 gallon boiler......you need head room if you see what I'm saying. You can put 4.5 gallons or so in a 5 gallon boiler. And with that cooker a 5 gallon bucket will be perfect for a fermenter. You are gettin closer all the time. You just figgered out your cooker and your fermenter. Atta boy. Now -- are you gonna buy a tower or make your own. You'll also need a condenser -- also easy to make. If you dont want to get too fancy use a coil of copper like in the old days. But remember copper is not cheap. If you can soldier you can make a Liebig condenser.
    If you drink beer just buy a small keg and thats your boiler. I used a 15 gallon keg and I think thats too big ---but it works like a champ.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, I could make one, and that would probably be fun, but I am limited on time, lots of projects going on, so I'll probably just buy one, tower, condenser and all. I think I could still fit a 5 gallon rig in my kitchen.

    I do want to duplicate the effect of a larger one, if I do end up getting a 50 or 100 gallon rig down the road. I take it you can get a 5 gallon rig with tower, swan neck etc., that will do the same as any bigger rig? Got any off the shelf recommendations on a rig like this?

  7. #7
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    They say if your gonna dream -- dream big. Just hackin on ya. But damn
    50 or 100 gallon rig, damn thats dreamin. It takes 6 to 7 hours to run a 5 gallon mash so lets stick with a small still for now. There are lots of sites to look at but to buy one finished it'll cost ya 200$ or 300$. Look on ebay too. The size of the boiler does not dictate the quality of the hooch, its the quality of the mash. I can't say this or that is the best one to buy but look around diff sites and before you spend $ post some pics and all the folks will give yeahs and neahs. I did'nt buy one so I cant say get that one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PortRoyal View Post
    Yeah, I could make one, and that would probably be fun, but I am limited on time, lots of projects going on, so I'll probably just buy one, tower, condenser and all. I think I could still fit a 5 gallon rig in my kitchen.

    I do want to duplicate the effect of a larger one, if I do end up getting a 50 or 100 gallon rig down the road. I take it you can get a 5 gallon rig with tower, swan neck etc., that will do the same as any bigger rig? Got any off the shelf recommendations on a rig like this?
    Personally, you can't beat the price or quality of Brewhause who hosts this forum. Check out their offerings. What most of us are aiming for here in this hobby and craft, is a better product than you can obtain at the box stores, as well as a safer and healthier product. no more feel like shit the next day or the night during. I am sure many here will testify to that result. With a good quality still we can eliminate the higher alchohols and fusel oils that the commercial guys can't afford to do. So much more enjoyable.

    Study a bit more and give it some thought. You will never look back except to laugh.

  9. #9
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    i think a 6.5 gallon size is good to start with because i make both wine and whiskey. It seems that all my batches turn out to be a bit larger than i start with. i am looking at a 20 gallon boiler so i can run 3 carboys of wash in one run.
    I believe that starting small seems like a sensable thing to do but its really not buying the right tool for the job.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotty View Post
    i think a 6.5 gallon size is good to start with because i make both wine and whiskey. It seems that all my batches turn out to be a bit larger than i start with. i am looking at a 20 gallon boiler so i can run 3 carboys of wash in one run.
    I believe that starting small seems like a sensable thing to do but its really not buying the right tool for the job.
    Three carboys in 1 run.....whoowhee..again thats about a 15 to 18 hour cook. Start with one 5 gallon wash first and then expirement from there. Just some freindly advise.

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