Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Just starting out and need some advise? then post it in here.

Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Finley44 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:30 am

Hi Guys,

I'm looking to get set up with distilling, would like to be able to make flavored vodkas, gin & jim beam style cherry flavoured liqour.

I currently brew on a Braumeister 50 L single vessel system, I have 2 x SS Brewtech 50L unitanks both set up with the FTSS system, heat/cooling for controlled temperature fermentation, they're hooked up to a glycol chiller, the fermentation is taken care of by a brew pi spark system.
The brew PI spark is capable of controlling heat elements, mashing schedules etc.

I'm thinking of buying a 58L kegmenter, having an additional 4" sight glass fitted & two 2" tri clover ports for two 3500w heating elements that I already have, I will also get a drain fitted to the bottom of the kegmenter.

I plan on the brew PI spark controlling the heating elements?

I'm not sure how well this will work but I have the equipment so might as well try it?

My question/s are what type of column would be best for me, do I need the bubble plates or should I get a hybrid type of column, what diameter should I be looking at?

Would the glycol chiller be worth running for the cooling side or is it overkill?

thanks for any help or information received :)
Last edited by Finley44 on Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Sam. » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:01 pm

Well you are obviously serious about your beer brewing :scared-eek:

If I was you I would go straight for a 4" nuetraliser from 5 star, you don't seem like the type to fuck around :D
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Finley44 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:07 pm

I started off with kit N kilo, then bought a grainfather, then a second GF, then a 3V system, then the BM 50, so I would rather buy something that is capable of doing the job now, rather than keep upgrading down the path, I've had 4 fridges running at once before getting the glycol chiller etc.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Finley44 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:12 pm

Oh I forgot to mention that I also have a 100L SS water tank that is having legs welded on, two 2" triclover ports, a drain in the bottom & another valve fitted at the bottom before the dome part, the two 3500w heating elements were for that & I was going to use it as a mash tun/BIAb/water underletting tank set up, but could have a lid constructed & a column fitted but, I feel it will be too big for my needs & pretty costly to have the lid made.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Professor Green » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:25 pm

Sam. wrote:Well you are obviously serious about your beer brewing :scared-eek:

If I was you I would go straight for a 4" nuetraliser from 5 star, you don't seem like the type to fuck around :D


:text-+1: on this. You definitely seem like someone that likes to use the best gear and it doesn't get any better than the above recommendation. If you don't mind spending the extra cash, you could expand that with the bits for a carter head and you'll have everything you need for neutral, brown spirits and vapour infused vodkas/gins.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby RC Al » Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:07 am

Welcome mate
You will need a voltage controller over a brewing temp controller :handgestures-thumbupleft:
Ignore any YouTube vids that tell you otherwise
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby db1979 » Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:02 pm

All excellence advice above :handgestures-thumbupleft: you're in good hands here Finley44
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Ned » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:02 pm

Finley44 I am with Sam on that. I have been brewing for 15 years. Did the GF thing with a Alembic Dome and T500. Eventually got a 4" Neutraliser with 4 plates and 500mm packed section. 50 litres milkcan and 2 x 2400 elelments and I have a voltage controller on for use when I am heating and stripping and doing tails. Wish I had have gone there in the 1st place. Easy to use, just ensure you get a good water flow. My advice is don't use the stainless steel braided ones from the big green shed not enough flow. Also get good control on your Reflux condenser. Could not be happier. I only do TFFV at the moment ,no more tomato's for me. :laughing-rolling:
Just upgraded my brewing to the Grainfather G70. (Batch size is 60 litres) Aim is still to do all grain whiskey if I can get some cheap barley to malt.
Last edited by Ned on Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Finley44 » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:27 pm

Will be looking at diving straight in with a 4 inch bubble plated type, big difference in price for glass, stainless or copper, even more of a price difference in buying from Australia or from overseas, I'd really like to stay local but $800 is a lot of money, the overseas supplier has good reviews but no idea on quality until it arrives, I have someone local who can make me a suitable boiler just need to get the column etc.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby scythe » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:29 pm

Go local,
Less chance of discovery,
This is after all, not exactly a legal hobby.

If you don't want to pay local prices build it your self.
But really local prices are competitive once you consider build quality.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Professor Green » Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:10 pm

I would be very careful ordering a still from overseas, you could end up in all sorts of hot water if customs open it up.

Further to this when you buy local, you get local help and in the case of 5 Star, that help is second to none.

One thing you could consider is starting of with the just the 4" pot still and making whiskies to begin with. Add the plate sections as and when you can, then the RC followed by the packed section.
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Finley44 » Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:52 am

I would prefewr to buy local but as I've already mentioned, the cost savings are too much to miss, I thought it was legal to manufacture hand sanitizer & essential oils etc?
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Re: Brand new to distilling but been brewing a few years

Postby Sam. » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:16 am

Finley44 wrote:I would prefewr to buy local but as I've already mentioned, the cost savings are too much to miss?


This is part of the reason our country is so fucked at the moment, this attitude needs to change moving forward.

Finley44 wrote:I thought it was legal to manufacture hand sanitizer & essential oils etc?


Essential oil and distilled water you can legally make with a still of maximum 5L capacity.

If you want to make ethanol for hand sanitiser to sell you need to have a license to manufacture and a concessional spirits license.

Spirits are heavily regulated compared to beer and wine.
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