The Double Dragon or the Pot Belly Kettle

What is a DoubleDragon Kettle?

The DoubleDragon concept was originally inspired by a request for a distillation system from a customer with extremely limited floor space. We initially thought we could solve some floor space issues by mounting the product condenser to the kettle. Nothing new there really. It had been done before and seemed a reasonable solution to help recover a bit of floor space. But the customer also wanted a traditional Alembic hat for pot stilling/stripping and a small column for flavored spirits production but did not want to waste the floor space of the more common divorced side column arrangement. So, we created a simple solution that allows for two types of distillation heads to be mounted to a single kettle.

The vapor circuitry for this system as well as the column bottoms return for this design is what makes the design more specifically useful than simply plopping two heads on a kettle and allowing vapor to find the easiest path. The vapor circuitry is set up so that the vapor can only exit the kettle from connection #1. At that point, the vapor can be directed to the finished product condenser or routed to the base of connection #2.

Connection #1 or #2 can have any type of distilling head. The most popular head for connection # 1 seems to be the traditional Alembic head. This head provides for traditional pot stilling as well as satisfies the more traditional, old-timey aesthetic that many distilleries are looking for. Connection #2 more often is the mount for a short column that can be used for flavored spirits. However, it would be no problem to outfit the kettle with a short column on connection #1 and yet a taller column (or the same size) mounted to connection #2. The choice of stilling head configurations is really predicated upon what goals the distiller has with respect to the mouthfeel and the brightness of the finished product.

The vapor path of the system is controlled by several 3-way valves that can direct vapor accordingly. As always, safety matters so we do outfit the kettle with a pressure relief valve so that the vapor pathways do not accidentally get closed off and create an unwanted pressure build-up in the kettle.
The ability to direct vapor to either distillation head allows the operator to create multiple flavor profiles from the same base fermentation. The modular nature of the assembly also allows for an easy gin basket addition or even a more typical divorced side rectifying column.

If flexibility is a key consideration for your production still, you should seriously take a look at the DoubleDragon kettle.