Questions & Answers

Questions and Answers


This is a little insight into some of the questions I’m asked from time to time and some of the answers.  It may make interesting reading or it may bore the pants of you. You may learn something you may not. I have tried to keep people’s emails and personal information out of things so it may seem a little disjointed at times. The topics may appear in a random order.
so if i understand correctly, i should restrict the water flow to the top condenser so it reaches 60? and restrict the flow out to increase pressure inside?

It was on both runs that the max i could get was 86%. but again i kept my top condenser below 30 and the middle of the tower where the liquid comes out at 78-79. also i did not restrict the flow of alcohol out. when i did at the beginning, there was too much pressure inside and the pot started leaking from under the lid. i have bough a new inner tube of the correct diameter so i can make a proper rubber gasket. also did remove the little spring from the valve at the top like you suggested.
the steps i took.:
1) bioler on full heat to start the process.
2) when the column starts to warm up open the water valves on both condensers
3) when temperature reaches 78. lower the heat to minimum and hold at 78.
4) adjust the flow of water to the top condenser and keep it around 30.
5) first alcohol starts coming out and i collect 100-130ml and discard
6) collecting main body of the spirit. around 2.5L come out at average of 80% than when is starts dropping to 70% i collect tails and run the still at max heat to increase the speed, this is for second run in the next batch.

water temperature for cooling is around 16-17 to begin with. when it reaches around 27. i replace water with fresh cold on. usually after 4-5 hours. its a 50L tray. plenty of water.

alcohol smelled absolutely fine no nasty smells. i guess i need to practice more:) luckily sugar is cheap lol.

with regards to the parrot. yes please do make me one 🙂
can wait to see your practical work of art 🙂

how are you?
i hope all is well!
just wanted to thank you once more for supplying me with bits and pieces for the still 🙂 i am very happy how it works and looks.
i do have a few questions for you.
first question is why i am i not able to produce 90-95% pure spirit from the still? the max i am able to produce is 86-87%
i try and keep the temperature around 78.2-74-4 as much as possible and usually it fluctuates between 78.0 and 78.8. temperature at the top of the condenser is around 26-28 deg. am i doing something incorrectly?

also i have tried fitting a thumper and can categorically say it did not work. there were not enough pressure or temperature to initiate the second boiling process. the temperature in the thumper would not go above 60 deg if i keept the reflux at around 78. but only worked if i crank up the temp to about 85 in the reflux. but i though it kind of defeats the purpose of the reflux and since than removed that system out of the equation.

overal i am very pleased with how it works. from the first main run i was able to produce 2.5L of 82% good spirit and also able to collect 3L of tails at about 45% for second run later.

below are some pictures of the set up . hope you aprove.
also. do you have any more of those fancy looking copper spouts that you use with the alcoholometer  when collecting to always see you proof? usually i collect every 500ml to check for the proof and would prefer to just being able to see when its good to stop collecting main body. the good stuff)

so if i understand correctly, i should restrict the water flow to the top condenser so it reaches 60? and restrict the flow out to increase pressure inside?

it was on both runs that the max i could get was 86%. but again i kept my top condenser below 30 and the middle of the tower where the liquid comes out at 78-79. also i did not restrict the flow of alcohol out. when i did at the beginning, there was too much pressure inside and the pot started leaking from under the lid. i have bough a new inner tube of the correct diameter so i can make a proper rubber gasket. also did remove the little spring from the valve at the top like you suggested.
the steps i took.:
1) bioler on full heat to start the process.
2) when the column starts to warm up open the water valves on both condensers
3) when temperature reaches 78. lower the heat to minimum and hold at 78.
4) adjust the flow of water to the top condenser and keep it around 30.
5) first alcohol starts coming out and i collect 100-130ml and discard
6) collecting main body of the spirit. around 2.5L come out at average of 80% than when is starts dropping to 70% i collect tails and run the still at max heat to increase the speed, this is for second run in the next batch.

water temperature for cooling is around 16-17 to begin with. when it reaches around 27. i replace water with fresh cold on. usually after 4-5 hours. its a 50L tray. plenty of water.

alcohol smelled absolutely fine no nasty smells. i guess i need to practice more:) luckily sugar is cheap lol.

with regards to the parrot. yes please do make me one 🙂
can wait to see your practical work of art 🙂

warm regards I

You are a bit of a lad.  1) Yes. 2)No. Just open the top condenser water so you get a dribble of water to keep the temperature up. 3) Yes. 4) Adjust the water flow to keep the temperature up. 5) Yes. 6) Everything you collect on the first run apart from the first 150ml is kept and  watered down to 40% and put through a second time. 7) The tap on the dividing tray is to limit the flow of spirit coming out of the condenser. The slower it comes out the higher the alcohol content. This is the essence of the reflux still. This needs practice and a Parrot and a steady hand on the tap. It is in fact a fractionating still with all the cooling controls that you have. You control the temperature of the pot which in turn controls the temperature of the vapour you then control the temperature of the vapour via the water control tap which in some degree controls the liquid in the dividing tray. It is important that this is not allowed to come out at the same speed as when you do your first run. This tap needs to be turned back so that you get a steady flow of quick drips almost a continual drip not a run of liquid. Some people turn this tap back to a drip a second to keep the ABV up to the highest possible. Personally I let it go at about 80 to85% because it takes to long to do a run at higher ABV. After all you water it back to about 40% anyway. Again this is where the Parrot comes into it’s own. You can see exactly what’s going on by the second.  The Liebig is purely to keep the alcohol temperature to about 20deg.C so that you get a true alcohol reading in the Parrot. You said I like my taps, this is why. I hope I have not bored you to much.
Water temperature your last point. I run mine straight from the mains water so I do not know the incoming water temperature.
Last but not least I will make you something this week. It may not be pretty but it will be functional.

I have been interested in owning still for a while now.
I stumbled across your website today and noticed that you make and sell stills. I would be interested in purchasing one from you if the price is right.
I would like to be able to make Rum… I believe it’s a pot still I need for that?
Please could you get back to me with your thought’s and prices.
Thanks very much

I do tend to dabble a bit. This is a hobby as far as I am concerned. I do make the odd still from time to time from stainless steel pots. It all depends on what you are looking for. Do want to make a small amount at a time or something a bit more ambitious. It really comes down to what you want to spend. I can go from about 6lts to 26lts. The pots are not that expensive it is the copper content and labour time that the cost. There is a little more insight on my blog that I am trying to get going
Have a look and see what you think after the videos and books and the still I am making at the moment. This is an SS pot with all copper accessories. This will be up for sale when it is finished for around  £350 mark for the basic model. By the time you have made the equivalent amount of  25 bottles of shop price Rum  you will be in profit. All depends on what you want and what you want to spend. If you have something specific in mind please let me know or send me drawing of what you have in mind.

Kind regards.
I’m distilling/evaporating essential oils through a copper coil with a diameter of less than 1″ to a 1/2 inch from a pressurised cooker using H20 as carrier.Im used to coils with a teat on one end coiled with exit on other end but not exiting together (a long one dimension) with exit at end.
Can you supply this and price
shipped to Malaga Spain.
teat included.

Send me some pictures so I see what you are up to. It all sounds very interesting. I may be able to help if you can be a bit more specific as in photos so I can get an idea of what you would like.

Kind regards

Thanks for prompt reply .I tried to reply earlier but the images are too big, so Ive reduced in size.
Do you think that I d need a pump for the regular coil you make ?.with this method gravity works .What you think.

I am still not 100% with you. Sorry, I am old. It would appear that you cook in a pressure cooker boiler that forces your product through a coil that cools it down via a water bath. Are saying that you would like to use a coil to do the same thing? If the answer is yes then the answer is yes just connect it the same way as your existing coil and it will work the same. The pressure from the boiler will do the work providing the end is open to release the pressure and product.. I am assuming you would put the coil in a water bath as you do now but the bath would be a more reduced area. ie a bucket rather than a bath.

Thanks for that , saves alot of messing . Included diagram , So do you have a similiar coil with the arm lengths to connect with valve n teat and exit ? .
As said post to Malaga Spain if you could include prices.
again thanks 4 tip

What length coil are you looking for? If I haven’t got one made I can always make you one. I normally use 6mm pipe as it is easier to work with. If you want one 300mm long or 200mm long let me know. The tails will be as you said in the drawing? Either push fit or compression to get them through the post. If I have forgotten anything let me know. I will have to make it to weigh and get a postal quote.

200 cm would be adequate, coil around 22cm to 32 cm in height circumference is quite large ,but if you reckon it can be push fitted to valve I’m all for it (could you include an xtra teat) .

you still have not told me what you are referring to as a teat. Is it a compression fitting or some sort of rubber fitting? No 2 when you say 22cm to 32cm is this the diameter or the circumference? I am reading this as 200cm total coil length with with a circumference of between 22cm& 32cm is this correct?  What are you calling a teat?

The 22 to 32cm length would be the coil height (to fit in a bucket).
So it can be submerged !
Also the diameter as low as possible 6mm circumference sounds OK if the compression fitting can oblige the valve on the lid of cooker. (in photo) A teat is another option but can rupture over time/use. Yes a 200 cm length pipe is adequate .
I think that answers everything .

The coil height will be Ok near the 26cm mark and I’m in agreement with the price.

unfortunately I’m not clairvoyant you have to attach the photos other wise I can’t see em.

ha ha will do later

when you crack sending photos can you send me a photo of your  teat. Is this a babies bottle thing or some thing you made up to do a particular job?

when you crack sending photos can you send me a photo of your  teat. Is this a babies bottle thing or some thing you made up to do a particular job?

I didn’t know you were clairvoyant!

sorry to babble but if you look on the blog site or eBay can’t remember been drinking my produce I have put a couple of coils up for sale under Wort cooling or coolers or something.

I saw them thats why I knocked on your door , because
1 ) The reasonable price
2 )  Quality of turns
Talk tomorrow Ian ,easy on juice

Busy Hombre !!
Looks fantastic to me ! You wait for the connecters as I enquired locally but got no where , and sure I can wait a bit , no rush.
So this will fit in a bucket of diameter upto 280 mm ?
I dont see how this can fail !
As I ve seen some dodgy ones out there.
There is space between hoops for heat exchange ?
Lastly the price is still around € 40 ;~ )  ? Note from me to me I have never mentioned a price yet!
Nice One !
Hello, good evening and welcome.

I did a few things today including making an attachment to make bigger coils. See photos. The one I have made is not set in stone. It can be cut.
I made it in 8mm pipe after thinking about what you do and concluded that a larger size pipe would be better. A little less pressure build up. It is 17cm in diameter and 8mts in length and weighs in at 1kg. The length/height is 22 to 32cm depending on how you stretch it. You could make it into a 36″ coil if you wanted to. I have not got any 8mm fitting at the moment but I will have in a day or two. The black marks on the pipe are 50mm from mark to mark. If this is to long I can cut it down. Or you can take it as it is and change it your end as it were. Can you get 8mm fitting in Spain via eBay or shop at a sensible price it may be cheaper than post costs. Just a thought.

Forgot the arms (Ends ) come out together ie same end ! Yes
just had a look oposite ends , but what a job buddy you pulled out the stops n donned the thinking cap

Mike if this is what you want plus the fitting if work out a price for you once I have sourced some fittings.

No Probs

Regarding the tank fitting it would make it portable (like idea) but I’ve been do ing the stores (in me Nikes) n none of the local stores have ’em I could try Bricomar or Bauhase  ( finnish n German ) super stores near to the city .I ll try them Monday/Tuesday.
Are you sampling your samples of jungle juices ?

can you get hold of a 15mm tank connector in you part of the world?  Plumbers Merc. DIY Store. If you can, can you cut it in or  file it in to the top of your still pot. If you can do that then I can make you something that will connect into it. Then connect to the new coil.This way it will be a sealed unit through the coil into the collection jar. I can send you one but it will add to the postage. They are brass and quite heavy.

To answer last Q yes I could file in the fitting

I’m going this afternoon will get back to you right away

What’s happening. Can you you get the tank connector? I can supply if you can’t. The elbows arrived today. So my part is ready to go.

Car was in shop for 2 days n thought Id have no problem with compression joint not in any superstores even Leroy Merlins
Just post the joint with instructions on attachment and do you want me to send bank transfer or cheque ?
Ive got most plumbing gear except torch  (I did my share of back twisting)
photo attached of joint to connect to.
This is what you are looking for eBay no
As I said I can supply this but just trying to keep postage down.  Thinking about what you want to do.  !5mm tank connector in the pot / pressure cooker. Out of the pot via tank connector into compression elbow or straight coupler or gentle bend onto coil via a straight coupler. Through coil in bucket set at a lower level to aid flow of liquid. Next choice. Either rely on pressure to push vapour through the coil or drill hole in base of bucket and fit compression coupling, flange, tank connector, for product out let.  I would prefer the latter method and then into collection jar. Tell me what you would like and then I can give you a price.

Easy bends would be best , Do you not think pressure will drive vapour through ( vertical coil ) ? if doubts  maybe cut it and make it a horizontal sloping through a 30 degree angle . You should have info ( fluid dynamics ).
I’m trying to distil an expensive therapy oil ,sell it n show a profit I need something cheap to start with , and definetly defintely works .
Condensers always as I remember slope down ,maybe, stay with that but make the connection with the valve on pressure cooker.
I hope this doesn’t upset but if you guarantee the double coil vertical will work under steam pressure .. The I’m all for it !!!

M it sounds to me like you would be better off with a Liebig style of cooler and forget the coil. More a pot still set up. Have you seen this video   it will show you the type of Liebig that would be good for you. Ignore the rest of the video.

Hi Ian exactly as I laid out from the start but we got a bit carried away.
But if you do some tests and box it up with heat coming from combustion or reflective light ,gardeners would love it cos they could make their own oil ,spray in house or give to friends to invite their garden home. WE’D MAKE A FORTUNE$$$$$.
ANYWAY the liebig condenser would be my first drawing I sent you 200cm in length with 32 & 40 cm for arms incl. arounded joint with compression fitting on the arm (32cm) to the valve in photo sent.
thanks Note from me to me I think he’s been on the juice. Seems to be going off somewhere! To be continued –may be.



i have a still spirits T 500 still and i have no idea how much i would need i would like enough to replace the copper saddles at the top and to put some at the bottom to stop the ceramic saddles falling out, also to help with the sulphates
many thanks

I have no idea either. I have no knowledge of this animal at all and from what I hear I don’t want to.
Can you measure the length of the tube and the width of the tube that holds all this stuff. Give me that measurement and I’ll see what we can do. I should put a give me your broken one ask on the website so I could better understand peoples problems with these stills. I’d even pay the postage!

Hi there
Beautiful workmanship may I say
Ok then, not sure exactly what is needed for a compleat kit but I think I have it worked out.
Starting from the top of the boiler
1 boss £23
2 54MM x 1000 Pipe £34
3 mesh x10 £11 is this enough for this pipe ?
4 jumbo head £88 do I need an additional cooler for reflux in the inside the jumbo head or fitted before the jumbo head ?
Also I can see the extra cost on the 64mm pipe but what would the cost be for the jumbo head also in 64mm ? If you make them.
5 product condenser £63
6 hoze connectors and valves for product condensor. Easy to get but do you supply ?
7 parrot £49
Hopefully thats everything between boiler and jamjar.
I am hoping that by buying the best from the best and with the best advice that I wont have to buy another lol
is anything else reqd & maybe you could do a good price on the complete kit ?
thank you for your help

Morning J
-1 What are you using as your boiler?
1 Boss will you actually need it?
2 1mt 54mm tube
3 You would need 15mt to fill a 1mt tube.
4 You would fit the cooler to the outlet from the head. ie a Liebig.
5 Product condenser? Not sure what you mean exactly.
6 I do not normally supply any of these items as I do not know what situations things are used in.
7 Parrots I normally make as and when people order them. They may not be the same as the present photo.
8 Do a rough drawing and email it to me so I can get a better idea of what you are hoping to achieve. You do not need to do an architects drawing. John it sound like you are not quite sure whether you want to reflux or pot still. Depending on the boiler it is not always successful to try to do both. If you are going for a Stainless steel pot then it will be better suited to a reflux set up as the pressures are lower. If on the other hand you have a more conventional boiler ie a keg or a copper boiler that can stand a bit more pressure then you can pot still. But having said that the additional pressure is only a problem if you use a thumper and or a slobber box. You can still pot still in the normal way. Have a look on   I have listed a couple of books that are very helpful one is downloadable and you can print it out should you wish to. I hope this has not bored the pants of you.
9 Would you mind if I used some or all of the questions and answers on the blog? No names of course.

Kind regards.

Hi ian
thanks for the help and advice.
Definatly reflux, once through the worm is enough. Well for a while, must say i do like the option to change to pot still later as and when the fancy takes me but for now its reflux.
Question, your head does not contain any cooling. If the vapour does not condense you build pressure, hence your safety relief valve. If you put one of your cooling coils in the head then vapour is guaranteed to condense (asuming cooling coil is big enough) and return to the colum via the reflux valve.
I have sent you a very bad drawing of my take on a reflux system with head cooling
What is your opinion of putting the condenser into your head ? If you condense IN the head you have the option to reflux as much or little as you want. If you have allready condensed in the head, is there really nead of a seperate Liebig condenser after the head ? It would be liquid and NOT vapour exiting the head.
As i say, thanks for any and all advice.
Hi B***n,

If the tube is about 54mm 2” you will want to make a roll of about 1.5mts in length, longer if the tube is bigger. This does not want to be a tight roll but it wants to so there are no holes or spaces in it. Practice a few rolls till you get it right. Ideally you want to be able to push it in the tube easily but not so it will fall out of it’s own accord. You will need about 7mts to fill an 18″ tube. ( 18″ ÷ 4″ x 1.5mts. ) Temperature wise there will not be much difference so no worries there. Copper conducts heat very well so you may be able to run with a little less heat / energy.  I hope this has answered your question, if not come back again and we will try again.





On 26/04/2015 12:02, wrote:
Hi Ian
sorry the copper mesh I got how much do you use on an 18″ reflux
this had stainless steel mesh in it when purchased
and do you know if the temp with the copper would be slightly higher
than the ss when distilling
From: Whiskeyman Subject: Dominoes?

Hi B***n,

I’m a little bit in the dark with regard to your question. Please be a
little more specific as to how much what? Do you mean wood in the
alcohol or how much alcohol or what? Looking back to your purchase you
bought the one litre size domino. ( After a long wait. ) So one piece of
wood should do one litre of alcohol at about 65% ABV. This is as near as
we can work out as to how much alcohol is in contact with the inside of
a standard Whisky barrel when broken down to one litre. Hope this helps.



Joe and Me.

Hi Ian,

I’ve bought 100g budget dominoes from your eBay page. I wanted to buy the 5 piece untreated 1/2l dominoes from your website but I couldn’t get the link to work on my phone.

It looks like there are 6 long thick pieces in the packet, 3 are slightly thicker. I want to try baking a couple of them in tin foil then lightly flaming one side. If I were to do some experiments at 65% in 1/2l mason jars, can you advise how much you would add and for how long?



Hi Joe,
Firstly sorry about website phone thing. It is supposed to be phone friendly. I have sent the pieces that you purchased. You should have sent this email before you purchased. Hind sight is a wonderful thing. Personally I can’t get on with mobile phones so I never use them for anything like this. A phone is a phone as far as I am concerned. I do realise that they are becoming more used than the computer so I will have look into it a bit deeper.
The wood for the standard domino is cut at the time of purchase.  The pieces you have purchased are the pieces that come off to make the standard size. With that in mind it is the size in square mm’s that is the important thing.  We tried to work out what quantity of liquid  was in contact with outside of the inside of the barrel. The result is as we said on the website.  So the recommended piece of wood to simulate that is what we came up with if 1/ you use a 1lt jar and 2/ if you use a 1/2lt jar. Anything in between or above is down to you.
With regards to the length of time again that is down to your tastes. You need to  sample regularly and often. One or two days can sometimes make a lot of difference temperature can make a difference how often you open the jar to let new air in and stale air out there are so many variables that I cannot control. A little note pad and a sampling glass and a pencil. Always add a drop of water to the sample you will be surprised at difference that will make.
Kind regards.
Thanks Ian,

So is there a surface area you can recommend for 1/2l that I can work from these off cuts? I’ll buy some of your proper dominoes via a laptop next time.

I would like to go for something like an Irish whiskey. I’m aware that this requires conditioning in previously used bourbon casks, and that the casks must be new when they are used for bourbon. With this in mind, is the result with an unused domino going to be closer to American whiskey than Irish or scotch in your experience?

Best Regards,


Hi Joe,
The area is on the website in the half litre domino and like wise the 1litre domino. They are the sizes for that amount of alcohol. Just use a rule and cut or just break the wood in the approximate place. This is not set in stone. The barrels are flamed to a precise temperature and time period and then sprayed down with water. All of those things will have an effect on the end result. 
Joe I cannot say what the outcome will be. There are so many variables. A sugar wash will deliver a different taste to a grain wash. The variables with the grain washes are inexhaustible. The water, the grain, the corn,( maze ) and that is before you mash, how you mash etc,etc. There is no hard and fast answer to your question. Unless of course you are privy to the precise recipe.
It is trial and error until you find what works for you.
I think your best bet is to do a sugar wash. Run it through a reflux still twice. Then buy some Still Spirit Essence of your desired spirit and try that. This will give you a basis to work from. 
I do this all the time. Twice through the reflux still once through the polishing tube. Still Spirit. Drink. I really can’t be arsed with all the other messing about. I am making various pieces of equipment for others and the thought of mashing and all the messing that goes with it, I just have not got the time or the inclination. As I said to each his own time permitting, patience and the will.
Kind regards.

Thanks Ian, this it really useful insight. My first try will be a sugar wash. The reflux still I am planning to use claims to be able to produce 95% on a single pass. Does yours achieve this, or are you aiming for closer to 100%? What is a polishing tube?

Hello Joe,
I don’t know what you have been reading but they have certainly been pulling the wool over your eyes. If you start with a high % you will get a high percentage out, for a few minutes. A sugar wash will be around 12/15% you put that in your still. It will come out at around 75/80 for about 5 minutes or less.. If you turn the tap back to about a drip a second you may get 85/90% . It will take a whole day to complete the run. This in turn will cost. It would be cheaper to go to the shop to buy your alcohol.
These forums are for the most part crap. People say they get this and that, may be they do but it is very short lived. It is recommended that you do not distill anything above 40% 45% at the outside. At 45% you are distilling drinking % alcohol. Dangerous. It is flammable. The people that say they get these huge percentages are well, to say the least telling porky pies.
Yes it is possible but it does not last very long unless as I said you want a drip a second. If as most of us you want to get on with things then you are looking at an average of 65/70% from a 15% start. 
At the end of the day you can’t drink it. You have to water it back to 40% before you can drink it. So the conclusion as I see it is, these supposed high percentages are a crock of and unnecessary.  A 25lt sugar wash will take about 3.5Hrs from the first drip. This will yield  around 6/8lts of good alcohol of between 80/60% with another litre or two of lesser %. this is then watered back to 40% and run through again. The result of that is similar but the output lasts a bit longer with a slightly higher percentage of really good spirit. This is collected for drinking from around 80% down to 60%. Above and below is saved for the next run. However you then water it back to a safe drinking level.
At the end of all of this what does it matter if you are making 200% or 70% you have to water it back to a safe level. The maximum you can produce from a conventional still is around 94/5% this lasts for a few minutes anything above that you need very special equipment to remove the remaining water.
Polishing Tube  is on the website.
Advise. Read the forums, take from them what you want, do not, do not take any of it as gospel, people are out to impress. Most are full of their own importance. This is a very interesting and enjoyable hobby with limitless possibilities just do your own thing because at the end of the day your way is the right way.
Hi Ian,

You’re right, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. I’ve been beer making for a while and I know from that process that it’s unlikely to get this one right first time. I realise that a lot of this won’t become fully apparent until put into practice. I understand about proofing and flammability.

I like the idea of your polishing tube. I saw a YouTube video about making a filter from a wine bottle and 22ml copper pipe. I’m guessing yours is a larger scale, more advanced version of that. Do you water down/proof before or after filtration?



Hi Joe,
Mine is a 42mm x 1.2mt copper pipe as this is the minimum recommend for good flow and filtration. There is a downloadable book on one of the websites all about Carbon Filtering.  I have made it in two pieces for ease of emptying, filling and cleaning.  Some people polish/filter before they still. Some people do it after the first run and before the second run. I personally do it after the second run and after watering back. Again to each his own.
Thanks Ian, I have found the carbon book and will give it a read.

Interestingly, I bought a turbo yeast that came with a sachet of liquid carbon and a flocculant to be added to the wash. I have since read a lot of people saying that turbo yeast can result in a less pleasant end product so not sure whether to use it, particularly on the first run.

One thing I have been thinking about is suitable materials of construction. I have seen people making filters from plastic drinks bottles on YouTube. I guess this wouldn’t be so much of a problem after proofing but as I understand it, higher concentrations can become contaminated by plastics and rubber. What is the connector at the top of your filter? Could it be connected to say, a stainless steel pan with a hole drilled in the bottom? The marble at the bottom of the filter column (if I understand right) you wouldn’t want this sat directly on the inside of the outlet tap or it would act as a non return valve but facing the wrong way. What stops that sitting in the groove before the outlet tap?



Hi Joe,
The turbo yeast kit. There many types and combination. When I do a sugar wash the obvious choice is a Turbo pack. If you use a reflux fractionating still as I do then almost all taste is stripped out. By the second run there is virtually no taste and no smell in the part saved for drinking. What little there is, is removed by the polishing tube. Hence the name.  A pot still is a very different animal. You mostly get out what you put in. If a nasty taste goes in it also comes out, albeit a slightly less nasty taste. If you make a tasty mash / low wine and you want that taste to come out use a pot still.
The connector on the top of the tube fits my holder / reservoir a demi johns worth of alcohol in the top, a demi john worth of alcohol out the bottom. The marble actually 2 marbles this is a very practical thing. It stops the carbon washing out and blocking the tap. The tap restricts the flow to a fast or slow  drip. Set it around tea time and it’s all done in the morning. A demi john of crystal clear smell free 40% alcohol that I have not got to touch until it is poured into the bottle containing the flavour that I can turn into what ever spirit taste I fancy. Tip, the Still Spirit Bailie’s ( Irish Cream ) is to die for. You will never by another bottle off the shelf once you have tasted it. I don’t like Bailie’s but I do like this.
Joe I  am going to put our little book of back and forth emails in the Q & A section. When I have time.

Hi Ian,

Only just noticed the Q&A section, yes no problem.

Regarding the polishing tube, I’m very interested in this item. Can you tell me if I can use a stainless steel stock pot for the reservoir? Also I’m struggling to understand the marbles idea, I can’t envisage how it would not completely block the outlet? From the carbon book it suggests the tube would have to be full of water to eliminate as much oxygen as possible then the spirit transitioned in. At the end of the run, if you wish to do a second pass filtration, do you have to re-purge using water first?
I noticed in the Q&A you make copper parrots. How much do you make these for and how would I connect it to the end of a still? The output pipe is 8mm copper.

What are your lead times on both parrot and polishing tubes?



Hello Joe,
I am thinking it would be quicker if I came did all of your stilling for you.LOL
The reservoir is not that important as the alcohol is only there for a short period of time plus it is in my case only at 40%. Have you ever tried to stop water running through anything ??? It is notoriously difficult. So in this case not a problem. Liquid will travel come what may unless you go out of your way to stop it. I want to stop the carbon granules traveling past a point. Simple put in a glass marble or two job jobbed.
Ideally the book tells you that the liquid should be continuous no gaps in procedure. I think what they are telling us is don’t let it dry out. So if you are doing say 3 or 4 demi johns = approx. 10 to 13lts then if the system runs dry providing you refill within a short period of time I have not found there to be a problem. The longer the liquid is in the tube the better the end result.
The very first alcohol to past down the tube makes the transition between the water and the spirit heat the tube so you can feel where the alcohol and the water is as it travels down the tube.
This only happens the once. But when you think about it, it only needs to happen the once. Once the water has gone it must all be alcohol. The 42mm tube is good for about 20 / 25lts after that I chuck it out. Some mess about washing it and drying it. For the sake of £7 or£8 it is not worth the hassle of cleaning it. A 54mm tube would be better still as it would afford a much better longevity of the carbon and to all intense and purposes a better overall end result. Size does matter in some aspects of life despite what we are led to believe.
The 8mm pipe you refer to is that the cooling jacket from a Liebig or what?? I can and do make free standing Parrots and Parrots that attach to your Liebig.
The lead time would be around one to three days depending on what is going on at the time. I am loathed to post anything on a Friday as it will kick around somewhere all the week end.
This being said Monday to Thursday Posting.


From Joe.
Ha, point taken. Looking forward to getting going with this.

My first 2/3 batches of beer were boarder line undrinkable.

Hopefully I’ll get this something like right first try.

Hi Joe,
Save it and put it in your still. Run it through and you will have redeemed something from the disaster. You should get a few liters of alcohol out of it all.

Thanks Ian,

I should have said; that was a couple of years ago. It’s all been either reluctantly drunk or tipped away. I’m not too bad at beer these days!


It’s waste not want not.
Anything with alcohol in can be distilled. Even water can be distilled.



Hello. I have recently gotten into making my own spirit. Looking around at various aspects of this very interesting hobby I have noticed that certain things are not readily available so I thought I would help to address this.

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