Things You Need to Assemble Your Still

Style of Stills

In the past we’ve discussed how to get a license, what you’ll need from your building (especially if you’re getting started in  whiskey or gin), and various parts of a still. But lots of people call in and ask us exactly what they need to effectively set up their still, so if you feel confused by it you’re not alone. There are a multitude of variations and styles of stills that you can use to make high quality spirits and depending on what type of still you want to use will help you decide what things you need to assemble your still. 

Main Types of Stills

The two main types of stills are pot stills and reflux column stills. Both have pluses and minuses and depending on the type of spirit you’re creating so selecting the right still plan will be essential to getting the best final product possible. There are a lot of similarities in the basic setups and the types of things you need to assemble your still. Both still plans require some kind of vessel to hold the fermented material, a way to heat the vessel, piping for the vapor to pass though, a condenser to turn the vapor into liquid, and something to collect that liquid. While that sounds easy enough in principle, there are endless variations on the types of equipment you can incorporate into the still plans, just make sure you have a plan!

Create Your Still

If you’re going to create a still from scratch that’s a very different skill set and tool requirement than buying something that is already welded together and just needs assembly. If the still you purchased uses tri clamp fittings and you decide to pot still, the only things you need to assemble your still are something to cut the hose to your product condenser and your hands to tighten the tri clamps. If you decide to go with a column and purchase one of our Dash or Crystal Dragon set ups then you’ll just need to add a level and a wrench to assemble the caps and tighten some connections on the smaller systems. Once you get into heavier equipment you may want to invest in something to help you move it but by that point you’re likely starting a commercial distillery and that’s a whole now can of worms. Heating the kettle can be a little trickier if you’re not used to working with electrical wiring but it is fairly straightforward to assemble. For this you’ll need a set of wire cutters and a soldering iron added to the list of things you need to assemble your still. We highly recommend using a properly wired heating element on a small system instead of a more traditional open flame because of the fire hazard involved. Ethanol vapor is heavier than air and having an open flame below your kettle may not be the most intrinsically safe design. On that note, make sure your welds are solid and you don’t have any leaking connections, if not for the sake of safety then at least don’t waste good alcohol!

Another thing to keep in mind while you’re developing your still plan is that you may want to make sure your components are interchangeable and that you leave room for customization. It can take a lot of tinkering to get your recipe just right and sometimes you’ll want to switch up the tools a little to see what kind of affect that has on the final flavors that come through. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to put together a still so experiment with a few and try what works best for your favorite flavor profile. We’re more than happy to help you pick out a system and help you figure out what type of still will best suit your needs. Just give us a call at (561) 931-6746 to discuss the different options!