Building the "Right" Still

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

Building the "Right" Still

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Hi All,

I want to make great corn whiskey (eventually) for myself and need some feedback on my potential still build. I already have a great stockpot (30L) for cooking my mash, very good quality ingredients (I am using Briess flaked maize and I am changing to Red Star bakers yeast) and the right fermentation vessels. I have read Macs recipe as well and am looking at some quality LME’s and malted grain.

As I had to start somewhere with my still, I stupidly went down the path of a cheap Chinese setup that was a mix of a stainless boiler with copper pipes and worm. While this was great to get me going but after some long reading on this site and others, it is very apparent that this will not give me a great product and is dangerous. I guess I am not the only one that has gone into this all guns blazing or as Elvis said, “only fools rush in”! In saying that, some of the product I have produced has been reasonably good!

Having learnt my lesson and understanding a lot more about this awesome hobby, I am now at the point of constructing a proper setup for distilling. As I am totally hopeless at welding (actually never have attempted it) and fabricating, I have to piece together my boiler and have someone weld it professionally so it is ready to add the still I am considering.

So, here goes…….

My first step is to go with a keg for my boiler. I have found the below “new” product and it seems like a great option as it already comes with a drainage valve. I still am looking for a plate for the top but I assume the welder I find here in Canberra will be able to fabricate this. I will be using my existing gas burner instead of the electric element. The details are;
Keggle;
304 Solid Stainless (1.5mm think)
½” large bore 2” valve
$189.00
Keggle__95312_zoom.jpg



Other things I need to add are;

Thermometer
A 4’ fill port with handle or maybe a screw on sight glass instead?
A 4” connector for still

Still
After reading about all the varieties of still, I have settled on the 5 Star 4” Eliminator.

Reading Brendan’s “6 week challenge”, I wish I was good with my hands and could hand build my own but I cannot. I am hoping my selections will last me for years to come and give me great results in whiskey making!! I still have a lot of learning and reading to do but I guess that is half the fun!

I am going to take a couple of weeks to compare and check everything is right so any thoughts or recommendations would be most welcome!!
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby pulsetech » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:50 pm

Just get a regular keg and have it modified. That keggle from keg kig would make a nice mash tun but it's a lot more work to have a top made and welded in. Regular kegs can be found on eBay for around $40~$50. If it was me I would grab 2 weldless 2400w element kits from 5star ('unwelcome advertiser' ones are junk I'm told)and buy a weldless tap kit online. Then you only need to drill 3 holes in the keg and your good to go.
You could also have a welder add a fill port and sightglass(both optional) if you wanted. I used a 4 inch fill port kit from 5 star on my boiler. You don't need a thermometer in your boiler. A 4 inch connection for the still is nice but not required. Many guys just use the 2 inch connection already on a std keg.
Hope that helps
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Kimbo » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:14 pm

Yep.. thats pretty good advice there :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby badbird » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:19 pm

Keep an eye out at the Green sheds, they have kegs from time to time and can usually be had for $15 if you haggle :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby djfrestyla » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:34 pm

Head out to the scrap metal place in Fyshwick, he often has kegs there, and charges about $25 ea.
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby MacStill » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:39 pm

I like the option of buying a new keg as "you own it" nobody can legally take it off you :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Flipping the keg upside down & mounting legs/wheels/adjustable feet also gives you a 2" tri clamp center drain point, leaving the top clean for fill port, still mount, temp probes etc...

Still choice is fine for what you want, straight to the top of the range no mucking about.... too easy :handgestures-thumbupleft:

.... and yeah you want an untouched keg, not a keggle ;-)
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Zak Griffin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:52 pm

Definitely want an untouched keg... There is ways of legally acquiring a second hand one though.

As Mac said. Flip it upside down, use the 2" ferrule as a drain and add whatever you need to the top. 4" still port and 4" fill port would be a good start, a thermometer on the boiler is by no means necessary, but once you have some experience it won't be a bad thing.
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:56 pm

*Update*

So, I have gone with a new 50L Keg, 4" ferrule and 4" Fill port (with glass). I couldn't go with the upside down keg for the drain as I am using gas as my heat source (only recently purchased). I have today given the parts (including ball tap and thermometer) to a local SS fabricator and sat down with him while we worked out the mudmap on how this will come together including the legs. He will have it finished mid next week and then it is off to the electropolisher to get pimped!!! Mac has kindly given me the cooling build for the Eliminator and its' dimensions (ordering the still in about 10 days) so I can start putting that together next week. :happy-partydance:

Will upload some pics of the keg pre and post electropolishing!
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Zak Griffin » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:01 pm

Sounds good mate... Are you not going to run a drain at all?
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:49 pm

Zak Griffin wrote:Sounds good mate... Are you not going to run a drain at all?


Yes mate, at the bottom but on the side.
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:35 pm

My Plumbing hardware;

While pulling together my components for my FSD Eliminator, I found it quite frustrating getting the right connections and parts for the cooling part of the still. I actually had to go to Bunnings and Masters to get all the parts. So I have put together this cheat sheet showing the inlet and outlet requirements. This is based on using your tap supply, not a recycled supply (will move to this eventually). The components below cost me $70.20 and I am sure there maybe better priced items around (ie; plastic etc).

Inlet requirements;

2 x 1/2 BSP (15mm) Gate valves
2 x 1/2 BSP Male to female adapters (to attach gate valves to still)
2 x 1/2 BSP Male to Male adapters (to attache inlet hose to gate valve)
2 x 1/2 BSP Stainless Steel water hoses
1 x 1/2BSP Y connector (2 x Female to one male)
2 x 1/2 BSP Male to Male adapters (to attach Stainless hoses to Y connector)
1 x 1/2 BSP Hose adapter (to attach your water supply - size varies in different States)

Outlet requirements

2 x 1/2 BSP Stainless Steel water hoses
1 x 1/2BSP Y connector (2 x Female to one male)
2 x 1/2 BSP Male to Male adapters (to attach Stainless hoses to Y connector)
1 x 1/2 BSP Hose adapter (to attach your water drainage - size varies in different States)

Cooling Hardware for FSD Eliminator.jpeg
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Urrazeb » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:26 pm

That drain on yhe side will piss you off in time. It's better than nothing but I'm getting mine moved to the bottom center, as there remains about 5L and is just a pita having to run about 40L water to wash it out.

But hey a drain on the side is much better than handling hot backsrt without a drain :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Zak Griffin » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:43 pm

You found it frustrating having to go to a hardware store to pick up a few fittings?
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Kimbo » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:50 pm

Geez :roll: I recon it would have taken less time to get the parts than it would to post that list and picture ;-)
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby MacStill » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:04 pm

I find a trip to Bunnings soothing and uplifting, there's no customer service their to annoy you and you're left alone to freely & aimlessly wander around. Masters on the other hand it's rare to change isles without being pestered if I need help while asking me intelligent questions about why I'm there, so yes I guess that could be frustrating to a degree :teasing-tease:

:))
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:24 pm

Zak Griffin wrote:You found it frustrating having to go to a hardware store to pick up a few fittings?


Probably because I went to Masters first and as Mac mentioned every time I turned around, there was another staff member giving me another version of what I needed, lol. When I did get to Bunnings, they were missing a couple of the components so had to go back to Masters and go through the "sales chat" again!

Ps: the pic was easy to do Kimbo, copy and paste :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Kimbo » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:18 pm

Whiskyaugogo wrote:
Ps: the pic was easy to do Kimbo, copy and paste :handgestures-thumbupleft:

My point exactly :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:35 am

Hi All,

Update on my build;

FSD Eliminator ordered - check!

Keg drilled and welded - check!

Keg legs welded - today

keg 2.jpeg
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby Sam. » Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:39 pm

Probably just the angle of the pic but I hope you have room to get the clamp on the still :?
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Re: Building the "Right" Still

Postby MacStill » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:59 pm

your still is now unbuilt and awaiting dispatch, hope you like bubble wrap :D
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