Putting Together a StillDragon Reflux Dash

You’ve finally decided what equipment would be best for your distillery, and it is arriving. The delivery driver dropped off a little bit of copper, a bit of stainless steel, and a whole lot of parts. What do you do now? Understanding how your distilling equipment should be correctly assembled is one of the most important things you can learn. After all, you can’t make a good product if your equipment is set up wrong. 

Setting Up Your StillDragon Reflux Dash

The first step occurs while you are unpacking your delivery. You’ll want to be able to identify each item, sort everything out by likeness, and check off that you’ve received all of the parts you ordered. Hopefully, you’ll have ordered a few spare gaskets and clamps just in case. It’s never a bad thing to have extra clamps and gaskets.

Once all the equipment is sorted, you can start assembling, this is also where being able to identify each of the parts is a good thing. You will want to start by assembling the caps onto the plates. For a quick read on the assembly of Bubble Caps and ProCaps, check out this short video. Once you’ve got the caps on the plates the assembly can go pretty quickly. 

With your kettle in front of you, you will first add your starter collar to the kettle. This will keep your first plate from getting any foam up on it. All you need to do is lay the gasket on your kettle connection and place the pipe, then secure it with a clamp. Now here is where it can get a little confusing, the next addition on top of the starter collar is the Plate Gasket. This gasket is specifically designed to allow the plate to sit on the ferrule while still creating a seal; in other words, the gasket will go around the outside of the plate.

If you aren’t using the Plate Gasket, you’ll notice that the plate sits on the inside of the gasket rather than on the ferrule and you won’t be able to create a good seal with the next addition. This leads us to the next step, adding the Sight Glass Tee. If the gasket and plate were installed properly, the tee should just pop right on and be in correct alignment. Then you can secure the tee with another clamp. You’re going to repeat these steps for all of your tees- plate gasket and plate, tee, and then clamp it together. Some distillers choose to use 4 plates in their column, while others choose more- it all depends on what final product you want to make. 

Once you’ve added your last tee, put a level on the top tee and adjust as necessary, now you want to add the Dephlegmator (aka Dephleg, Partial Reflux Condenser), this condenser has larger through pipes to allow partial reflux where some vapor can flow up while some are knocked down to the plate below. Although StillDragon cleans the equipment before sending it out, give the through pipes a good cleaning (the tools in a rifle cleaning kit can be very useful for this process) to make sure you won’t have any issues. Once you’ve made sure it’s clean, add a regular gasket to the top of your last tee and place the Dephleg on top, then clamp it down. Go ahead and add the level on the top just to make sure everything is sitting just right. 

Now that you’ve got the column assembled, you’ll want to reduce your vapor path to the size of the lyne arm pipe. StillDragon recommends using a 2” Lyne Arm because it is convenient to keep it modular, however, consideration should be made if you are moving to a larger system as vapor speed can affect the quality of the end product. The lyne arm is made up of a bend at the top of the column, whether it be a normal 180-degree bend or an elongated one to get the arm away from the kettle, connected to the Product Shotgun, and then the parrot kit. The Product Shotgun will knock down all vapor and turn it into the final distillate that flows through and out of the Parrot Kit. Don’t forget to add your alcometer to the Parrot Kit so that you can see what proof you are distilling at.

You’ve now completed the assembly of your distilling equipment. Take a rest, and a few pictures, then get back to work! If you have any questions or run into any issues, give us a call and we will be happy to walk you through the process.