Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

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Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Bourbon_Knight » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:46 pm

Hi All.

I'm currently making use of a cheap AlcoEngine pot still and am on the verge of being able to upgrade my equipment.
My request to the greater community is your opinion of how much we might expect our great hobby to improve with better quality equipment.

I've played with several recipes, and tend to bounce between the CFW and some experimenting with corn grits, a Corona Mill and Angel Yeast.
I've learned so much in the past 12 months with my Alco, but I'm not very satisfied with the volume of output my Alco gives, and the resulting product tends to have too much of a floral flavour for my palette.
I'm looking at upgrading to the 5Star 4" Modular pot, on the pathway to upgrading it to a 4" Visualiser over the coming 1-2 years, as finances permit.

Interested to hear any feedback in regards to how better equipment has improved your product, before I make the investment.

regards
BK
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'Excalibur' - 5Star 4" Modular on modded keg

Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby BigRig » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:29 pm

I used the same setup as you (boka version) for 2 or 3 years and found it to produce ok product but the length of time was killing me. I decided to upgrade to the 2" FSD boka and pot combo and have found the quality of product has increased significantly whilst the Time has dropped with introduction of stripping runs. With shorter running times i have been able to introduce extra fermenters thus increasing my volume. Better equipment and technique is definitely worth the investment. My next purchase will be a Milk can boiler.

Sorry i cannot comment on the angel yeast or your washes as i have no experience with these.
Last edited by BigRig on Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Wellsy » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:58 am

I currently use the 5star 4inch pot still on the 50 litre boiler and love it. It is the only still I have ever had and love the product it produces but cannot comment on the difference between it and others. I can comment on the value of 5 stars product and more importantly their advice , which are both spot on. Rely on what Andrew tells you and you can’t go wrong, he is knowledgeable and honest and more interested in helping you achieve what you want than in a quick sale. This of course gets him repeat business and customers that are happy to advocate for him.
Wellsy
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equipment: FSD 4” Modular Pot Still plus 4 FSD Bubble plates on FSD 50 ltr Milk Can Boiler + 2 x 2400W FSD Element and Guard Kits

Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Carol » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:19 am

Hi BK
I upgraded from an air still to a FSD 2" Boka ( Boris) and Pot ( Natasha). There is a thread on my boka. Quality equipment. Easy to use. High quality alcohol produced.
Great resale value.
Talk to Wellsy about his FSD 4" pot. He is certainly getting good value out of his investment!

Cheers
Carol
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Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby southern45 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:17 am

Here's my "progression" through this hobby:

AirStill --> Still Spirits Reflux --> Copper 2" pot ---> 5 Star Copper Bubbler

I am by no stretch an expert, no all-grain for me yet. That said, the bubbler is an absolutely smashing piece of kit (thanks Andrew). Don't be put off by the look of it, they're far easier to use than you'd think. My product is (in my opinion at least) better than with the other three setups. It's far easier to modulate the output level, add or remove sections and set it up for different products. The single run compared to strip and spirit with the pot also saves me time.

Downsides?

- Have to do a bigger run (50L boiler minimum)
- Takes up more room
- Costs a lot more up front
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Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Bourbon_Knight » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:32 pm

Many thanks for your replies BigRig, Wellsy, Carol, and southern45.

Your comments confirm that I am indeed on the right path, and that my excitement towards upgrading isn't just reaction to getting something new and shiny, but the opportunity to take this fun hobby to the next level.

Thank you all again for taking the time.

salute
BK
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equipment: BrewZilla / AlcoEngine Pot 'Chester' (Chester Copperpot - now archived)
'Excalibur' - 5Star 4" Modular on modded keg

Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Wellsy » Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:48 am

If your brewzilla has a concealed element make sure you hang on to it , as this will enable you to do small gin and experimental runs down the track. Good luck mate although with the gear you are getting you don’t need luck :)
Wellsy
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Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Bourbon_Knight » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:55 pm

No fear of that, Wellsy.
I'm not discarding any of my equipment.
Never know when something is needed.

I call it planning.
My wife calls it hoarding.

:laughing-rolling:
Bourbon_Knight
 
Posts: 10
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equipment: BrewZilla / AlcoEngine Pot 'Chester' (Chester Copperpot - now archived)
'Excalibur' - 5Star 4" Modular on modded keg

Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Wellsy » Wed Feb 24, 2021 4:41 am

Definitely planning
That concealed element opens up a world of experiments
Wellsy
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Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Bourbon_Knight » Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:57 pm

Well, it was a leap of faith, but well worth it.
And one I probably should have taken earlier.

Firstly, the stories from the elders are all true....Andrew from 5Star is just a cool guy.
He was extremely helpful and efficient. From discussion to product in under a week.
Hats off to you Andrew :handgestures-thumbupleft:

I now have my new 4" Modular.... so very shiny.... henceforth 'Excalibur' she shall be named ('Callie' for short).

Have given her a clean, and just had my first sacrificial stripping run today.
Set up, stripped, tear down, wiped dry and put away... in half the time my stripping runs were talking me previously.
I'm over the moon.

The biggest contributor to this I believe is the MUCH larger product condenser.
My previous setup was a cheap v-bend pot with embedded internal condensing coil.
It used to get warm to the touch at the back end of a run, with the water flow on full.
The new kit is like chalk and cheese. The condenser was cold to the touch the entire time, and I only had it at 50% flow.

Long story short, we're all on our own journey with this hobby.
For me, the cheap equipment was an investment... to see if it was something I was likely to stick with.
It offered me a quick way to jump in and learn the ropes, whilst polishing my skills and recipes.
Whilst my produce wasn't the best quality, every bottle that I didn't have to buy meant $$$ being put into the change jar...allowing me to build up the $$$ for upgrading.

Now that I've been bitten, the new kit, whilst more expensive, is of a much greater build quality, and will allow me to take this hobby to the next level.

Hope this is of some value to someone else down the track that's facing a similar question, or is interested in starting out.

Thanks all for your help.
Salute
Bourbon_Knight
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:04 pm
equipment: BrewZilla / AlcoEngine Pot 'Chester' (Chester Copperpot - now archived)
'Excalibur' - 5Star 4" Modular on modded keg

Re: Upgrading Kit in hopes of taking to next level

Postby Wellsy » Sun Mar 14, 2021 4:32 pm

Congrats Bourbon you are well on the way now mate.

I got my 4" pot still last september and next weekend will be the first weekend I have not run it lol.

The product it produces is amazing, and so many recipes to try

Have fun and never be afraid to ask questions
Wellsy
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