Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

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Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Mon May 06, 2019 7:29 pm

Hi all,

I stumbled on this lovely site last week, when I finally decided that store-bought rum varies between awful and average, especially for the money they want you to shell out. The best dark rums I have had are either from Fiji with coffee infused into it, or Peaky Blinders from the UK. Unfortunately, you can't get either here, and importing is pointless (expensive).

Also, my partner is a sucker for a good gin, so something with local botanicals would make her popular with her G&T chums. After forking out $80 for a gin that is getting raves, I thought that it can't be too hard to DIY, with the right gear and ingredients...

Even though I haven't spent too many moons on this, I am a relatively quick study. Previously, I have created a couple of 1kg coffee roasters from scratch, and my results crap all over Nestle's skanky offerings.

As mentioned, I would like to have a setup that allows me to create either gin or rum. My biggest issue is cost. While I would absolutely love to jump into a $600+ still setup, as an initial purchase, I cannot justify (afford) it. I have looked at those cheapy eBay things, but I suspect that a fair bit of retrofitting would need to happen in the seals (as a minimum). Plus the hose coming out of the boiler into the thumper/condenser (depending on the model) is tiny... but if it can accommodate steam, then I suppose it may be ok... :think:

Anyhow, I am certainly here for advice. I have seen a lot of pages with recipes, washes, suppliers etc. I don't want to throw good money after bad, that is for sure. So here I am. Critique my sinister plans, please..

Cheers all.
Last edited by Shano592 on Mon May 06, 2019 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Professor Green » Mon May 06, 2019 8:33 pm

Welcome Shano.

Both rum and gin can be achieved with a simple pot still which should be the cheapest way for you to get into distilling.

Sounds like you know your way around a toolkit based on your coffee roaster comment so perhaps a DIY 2" pot with a leibig could be a good starting point for you. Have look through some of builds in the pot section of the forum for ideas.

Also might be worth keeping an eye on the for sale section of the forum as stills regularly pop up for sale there.

Cheers,
Prof. Green.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Mon May 06, 2019 9:17 pm

Hi Professor Green,

Thanks for your reply. I will definitely get my face into those sections in more detail, that's for certain.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby woodduck » Tue May 07, 2019 6:58 am

Hey mate welcome :greetings-waveyellow:

Yep a simple pot will be the go for rum and infusing gin. Only thing is you'll need a reflux still to make the neutral spirit before putting it though the pot to make gin.

Good luck mate :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Sam. » Tue May 07, 2019 8:47 am

woodduck wrote:Hey mate welcome :greetings-waveyellow:

Yep a simple pot will be the go for rum and infusing gin. Only thing is you'll need a reflux still to make the neutral spirit before putting it though the pot to make gin.

Good luck mate :handgestures-thumbupleft:


:text-+1: Welcome here as well :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Tue May 07, 2019 7:44 pm

Thanks for the generous welcomes.

I scored a tidy looking 50l keg this afternoon, so things are looking up.

The big nut/cap in the centre... does that unscrew the normal way, or left-handed? I ask because the guy wasn't sure.

Once I extract that, I can take it in to work and start laying out parts.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Cadmoon » Tue May 07, 2019 8:08 pm

Depends on the keg, if you can get a photo we might be able to help more.
I've had one with a standard thread and one with a circlip and left handed slot in it.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Doubleuj » Tue May 07, 2019 8:10 pm

Just make sure you lay it on it’s side and relieve the pressure, if it’s upright you’ll cop a face full of high pressure stale beer 8-}
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 pm

Good call.

I believe she has been emptied, cleaned and pressure tested, but I'll do that anyway. He warned that the spring under the cap is quite strong, and is capable of sending the cap a good 6m up.. I'll be careful, I think..

Here is a picture of the keg cap:

IMG_20190507_210407.jpg
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Cadmoon » Tue May 07, 2019 10:20 pm

I'm not sure on the removal method for those types of spears but you should be able to find guides online. One you let the pressure out there's nothing much to watch out for.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Wed May 08, 2019 8:23 pm

So, from the picture, you can see the white seal on the keg. I pushed that in with a pair of long-nosed pliers. She was pressurised, but only mildly.

And beer, yes... there was the distinct smell of barley juice emanating from the keg. Fortunately, I had placed a thick rag across the seal, and it caught all of the liquid blowback.

It is now de-pressurised... I just need to locate a pair of wide-mouthed pliers in the shed. They're here somewhere. Then I can give it a napisan soak, and move forward.

I played in the copper and brass shed at work today. I had a few hours' worth of orders to pick in there, and as I was going along I started making my shopping list for the elbows and joins that I will be needing. Happily, I have been able to locate 45 and 90 degree bends, reducers, tee joins, end caps. Once I'm happy with everything, I'll get my pricing for the lot, along with lengths of 50mm copper, 20mm copper and some silver rods.

One question... with the condenser in the shotgun format, what OD pipe do most of you use on a 2" build? Do you match that, or go bigger?

EDIT: For a reflux still, I believe it is...
Last edited by Shano592 on Wed May 08, 2019 8:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby dans.brew » Wed May 08, 2019 8:38 pm

Shano592 wrote:I played in the copper and brass shed at work today.

Welcome mate!
I'm thinking there would be few people on here that would love to follow you around in that shed (me included) :laughing-rolling:
I thought id hit jackpot when a local plumber showed me their copper offcuts bin... let alone a shed devoted to it. It pays to have the right job sometimes. Good luck with your build.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Wed May 08, 2019 8:42 pm

Cheers for the welcome.

For the last month, it has just been a job. But since I decided to push this out of my head and into the real world, I'm seeing a lot of potential in there.

Now then, what to do with these 6" & 8" bends? :laughing-rolling:
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby dans.brew » Wed May 08, 2019 8:54 pm

Shano592 wrote:Cheers for the welcome.

For the last month, it has just been a job. But since I decided to push this out of my head and into the real world, I'm seeing a lot of potential in there.


I bet you wouldn't be able to get home quick enough to see what you could turn some bits and pieces into. I'd be like a kid in a candy store. :laughing-rolling:

Shano592 wrote:Now then, what to do with these 6" & 8" bends? :laughing-rolling:

I could give a couple suggestions... :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Wed May 08, 2019 9:13 pm

Hehe...

I do have a question though, for those in the know...

Part of the reasoning for this, is to run some gin washes through. On a reflux-style still, where do you put the botanicals? I have been looking around the site for an insert or secondary, but what I am finding currently, is beyond my understanding right now.

Any help in the right direction will be gratefully received.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Cadmoon » Wed May 08, 2019 10:09 pm

Shano592 wrote:So, from the picture, you can see the white seal on the keg. I pushed that in with a pair of long-nosed pliers. She was pressurised, but only mildly.

And beer, yes... there was the distinct smell of barley juice emanating from the keg. Fortunately, I had placed a thick rag across the seal, and it caught all of the liquid blowback.

It is now de-pressurised... I just need to locate a pair of wide-mouthed pliers in the shed. They're here somewhere. Then I can give it a napisan soak, and move forward.

I played in the copper and brass shed at work today. I had a few hours' worth of orders to pick in there, and as I was going along I started making my shopping list for the elbows and joins that I will be needing. Happily, I have been able to locate 45 and 90 degree bends, reducers, tee joins, end caps. Once I'm happy with everything, I'll get my pricing for the lot, along with lengths of 50mm copper, 20mm copper and some silver rods.

One question... with the condenser in the shotgun format, what OD pipe do most of you use on a 2" build? Do you match that, or go bigger?

EDIT: For a reflux still, I believe it is...


I used a 2" of for my shotgun as well, I put 6 1/4" pipes inside the 2"
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Sam. » Thu May 09, 2019 8:23 am

Leave the brass for the cooling water, you don’t want brass in contact with the vapor path.

If you build a reflux still to make neutral you can soak your botanicals in the boiler and run a pot still to make gin if you don’t want to fuck around making a Carter head.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby woodduck » Thu May 09, 2019 9:12 am

If your building a reflux still you probably won't need a shotgun condenser? If you do build one I would go to 1/2" internals not 1/4", it will be far more efficient.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Shano592 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:27 pm

Hi Sam,

Yeah, no brass is planned. They are just in the same shed at work.

@woodduck, I did see a few threads where that was the case, where larger pipe equals better surface area.

What about placing botanicals in the vapour path? What would I do for these?

On another note, I managed to break into the keg, and remove the spring and spear. But for the life of me, I cannot release the lid! I have been giving it a love tap or 20, with a large set of stilsons and a lump hammer... no joy so far. Presently has some lubricant on there. Hopefully it will release after that has a chance to run through the threads.
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Re: Another noob from the NSW Central Coast

Postby Cadmoon » Thu May 09, 2019 6:29 pm

Yeah 1/2 not quarter sorry.
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