Good day y'all

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Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Sat Mar 30, 2024 3:55 pm

Good afternoon and happy Easter to you all,

I hope all of you and your families and loved ones are well.

My name is Patrick and I live in the western suburbs of Melbourne. I have been fascinated for decades as to how centuries ago, people could make alcohol with no equipment, no Reece or Bunnings and no internet, and be trail blazers of what we know of today.

Well after all the wasted years during Covid, just sitting at home on my PC getting fatter and dumber, i decided that 2024 would be the year to start a hobby that was more mature and befitting of someone my age :)

Therefore, just like most people today, I started looking into this by just generic Googling and Youtubing my way over the interwebs, which in turn lead me to Still It, Bearded and Bored, Still'n the Clear, etc and slowly, after trying to get some understanding of the new jargo/lingo, i found myself here... and i can tell you, after trolling through countless pages here, i still understand very little haha!

What am I considering to distill?

Well im looking into Air Still (as an entry) due to its simplicity, then reflux and pot stills for Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Bourbon and maybe Rum, probably a T500 - though i did see this all copper still (and keg boiler) sold in 2020 for $1400 that was made by Mac that could do both, and boy i wish i could have got that sale :D

Anyways, enough about me and my rambling... thank you again for inviting me to this forum, thank you also for all the content I've absorb so far... appreciate the knowledge!

Sincerely,

Pat
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Wellsy » Sat Mar 30, 2024 7:57 pm

Welcome aboard Patrick
Lots of experience here to draw on and even a few of our elder community, we prefer to call it experienced community.
Ask lots of questions mate and don’t be afraid to give Andrew a call as he will give you honest advice, even if that gives you something to aim at in yoUr upgrade path.
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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: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Sat Mar 30, 2024 11:11 pm

Thank you kindly! :D
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Carol » Sun Mar 31, 2024 2:00 pm

Welcome Patrick.
Lots to learn.
Have a look at the newbies section.

I have a FSD 2" Boka and pot. Cost effective and produces an excellent result.

You can read about it on my thread

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12638

Cheers
Carol
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equipment: Still Spirits Air Still
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Re: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Fri Apr 05, 2024 7:19 pm

Hi Carol, apologies for the late reply (I know i need more posts to DM :handgestures-thumbupleft: ) but between house painting and moving house (ultra-slowly), Ive been hard pressed to express my thanks.

In the early days of research i did hear about a "Boka still" but there was not really much that i could find on the net, so i let it go. However, since you mentioned it I read that thread you linked, i went down yet another rabbit hole... which has now made me reconsider my thoughts about a T500 / pot still combo setup i was pricing together.

While researching the Boka, i went down ANOTHER rabbit hole with regards to cooling (since it seemed so important max flow wise) and ran into a fair bit of advice here... I want a close circuit cooling system to avoid wasting water, but im not sure if i need a radiator/fan cooling setup or just a large wheelie bin sized container... i dont plan on large distilling volumes at this stage, but eventually... ;)

So saying all of that... this is what I am considering for best value for $$$ (ignoring the ancillary items like fermenter, alcometer, etc) :

- Alcoengine Pot still bundle (gives me the boiler, the pot still and lid) from Kegland,
- Alcoengine "Boka" reflux still again from Kegland, and a
- Stillmate Pure Alembic dome from Brewer's Choice,

This would give me all the necessary still components for both neutral spirit and brown spirits, if i am not mistaken. I am wondering however, does the Kegland Boka still come with packing, or do i need to source that as well?

Hmmm, interesting...
Last edited by Thrudd on Fri Apr 05, 2024 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Carol » Fri Apr 05, 2024 8:03 pm

Hi Patrick
Talk to Andrew (the Stig). My setup is 5SD not Kegland etc.
In my humble opinion, 5SD products are high quality ( i am 69 and my still will still be going strong when I am pushing up daisies) and have excellent resale value so if you want to go on to bigger and better things the 2" will easily find a home. Best value forr $$$ is something that will do the job properly and hold its value if you want to upgrade.

I ran Boris (and Natasha) in the pool because it was there. I did extra runs before I moved house so I have a lot of spirit in reserve (no pool here ) and am planning on a wheelie bin for water when I need to start again.

Andrew does know what he is talking about and there is no pressure.

Cheers Carol
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Re: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Fri Apr 05, 2024 11:39 pm

Thanks Carol, i do appreciate the time youve taken so far.

I did look initially at 5SD and started some pricing but stopped due to cost, well not cost per se - ive been working a sh!t tonne of overtime to prep SWMBO for this - but just compared to the other HBS, but you are right, i will contact The Stig once i get a bit more educated and have met the DM post requirement...

There was a post I saw a few weeks back where they had a diagram of their cooling set up, but for the life of me i havent been able to locate that thread again and i didnt save the bookmark :angry-banghead: but like you and everyone else has been saying, a big part of this hobby is the learning and research :D

I am considering quite a few options, the radiator/fan, getting an old AC unit into a esky, searching through scrapyards for old instant hot water heat exchangers... quite mind-blowing how much stuff is out there...!

As always, kind thanks.

p.s. I would love to see your cooling setup once its up and running...
Last edited by Thrudd on Fri Apr 05, 2024 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Wellsy » Sat Apr 06, 2024 4:31 am

Hello Patrick
There is no way of getting away from the fact that five star is not the cheapest, but like Carol, I believe five star gear is absolutely the best value for money.
Have a chat to Andrew, there will be no pressure, consider also what your future needs will be and factor that into the equation. Perhaps stagger the purchase get boka or pot this year and the other next year.
Also pick Andrew’s brains about cooling options.
We all have budgetary constraints mate so understand sometimes the cheapest is the only realistic option we have. Good luck what ever you decide.
Wellsy
 
Posts: 2230
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:48 am
Location: Victoria
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: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Sat Apr 06, 2024 10:22 pm

Thanks Wellsy, wise words...

It is clear that I have been caught up with trying to get everything at once, and you and Carol are right... it is wiser to invest in a top quality product slowly, than settling for a lot of average quality gear that wont get used straight away - AND i will probably upgrade on in the long run!

Sounds like Andrew is my go-to guy...

Also, if there any/many distillers out in the western suburbs of melbourne, please "shout out" as I'd like to pick your brains for suppliers that are still currently around and helpful to the craft (i found an earlier post but that was back in 2013)... kind thanks :D
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Carol » Sun Apr 07, 2024 7:18 am

Patrick
I believe that you have come to the right conclusion.
There are lots of people who have bought less expensive equipment at the home brew shop only to find it does not live up to the salesman's hype and they are disappointed and need to buy another lot!

What does your wife like to drink? That might be a good starting point.

Cheers
Carol
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Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:29 pm
Location: South Australia
equipment: Still Spirits Air Still
FSD 2" Boka (aka Boris)
FSD 2" pot still ( aka Natasha)

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Tue Apr 09, 2024 1:18 am

Carol wrote:Patrick
I believe that you have come to the right conclusion.


Sadly she doesnt drink :)) even a tiny amount, like the ones they serve at Costco from the CDS sample vendors, gets her head spinning :laughing-rolling:

But she understands why i worked a fair bit of overtime last month, which i will repeat once im back off leave in a few weeks... FSD is going to be a big part of it seems lol!

So while i research and do a bit more OT, I will be working on my fementer options, closed circuit cooling design and price up a keg (instead of buying a 35l Digiboil).

I have a few more questions but i will save them for the appropriate forum location :D
Last edited by Thrudd on Tue Apr 09, 2024 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Carol » Tue Apr 09, 2024 6:58 am

Well that plan did not work.

However making your own saves lots of money in the long run. A simple wash with tomato paste or weetbix costs less than $20 for a run. ( I have 3 Coopers ferrmenters as the lids are easier for my wonky hands.) That gives me a high quality neutral spirit that I have made into a very nice gin.

People have commented that my gin is as good the premium gins they have paid lots of $$$ for.
So your still will pay for itself over time.

Carol
Carol
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Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:29 pm
Location: South Australia
equipment: Still Spirits Air Still
FSD 2" Boka (aka Boris)
FSD 2" pot still ( aka Natasha)

Re: Good day y'all

Postby B-Man » Tue Apr 09, 2024 9:03 pm

The amount of times I have told someone to buy something a bit better as they will upgrade not long after only for them to buy the cheaper/ smaller items only to then want to upgrade later on!

honestly while alot of people seems to love the T500 and PD column they normally only want to run turbo yeast and think its great :o you best off getting a boka that can do alot more or got for a 4" bubbler.
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Re: Good day y'all

Postby The Stig » Tue Apr 09, 2024 9:42 pm

Or what Wellsy did , the modular pot that can be added to slowly to build what you want in the end.
Buy yes , I always say the same thing , buy what you want to end up with from the start , your not wasting money that way .
Thing is , not everybody can afford the ducks nuts from the start
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Re: Good day y'all

Postby Wellsy » Wed Apr 10, 2024 6:03 am

I am recommend completely getting something you can add to and up grade as you go.
Not only do you save money in the long run due to not having superseded gear. It also gives you the chance to learn on simpler fear before moving on to the more complicated equipment
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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: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Sat Apr 13, 2024 12:07 am

Hey guys,

Completely agree with everything everyone has said. The only reason why i havent called Andrew yet is because of this never ending house painting and moving... half way through my annuals and its only about 40% complete... Boooo! Why would anyone want to be a painter beats the fuk out of me!

But I have decided that the modular setup is the end goal, with the boka as a starting point and then going on from there - but Andrew will shed more light on this I am sure. I mean it cant be that hard, I just want to make vodka, gin, whiskey bourbon and rum... so something that can do both reflux and pot (see, I am learning! :-B )

While I am waiting though I just research as much as I can.

I have also designed, in my head, my closed circuit cooling setup... and I am slowly gathering my gear for the fermenters. I have some 30l and 60l bins on the way. Just need to visit Kegland to get the heating elements and airlocks/bungs.

The current thing that is making me scratch my head is the boiler. Do i get a 35l Digiboil (or equiv) or, do i modified the current keg i have sourced (but i have not welding/soldering experience or serious tools), or do i go the 5SD route - but that will hit my initial budget (not a massive problem, just one i didnt factor for)

Always appreciative..

Pat
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Wellsy » Sat Apr 13, 2024 5:55 am

Just as a point of reference I started with the 50 litre milk can as I wanted to do brown spirits. I can to the gin party much later and needed to buy a digi boil boiler to do the small batches that are usually done with gin.
The digi boil is not strong enough to take the weight of a 4 inch bubbler hence the milk can boiler. But it does have hidden elements so very small batches can be run 2 litre.
The milk can boiler has exposed elements and needs at least 10 litres in it after the run is done or the elements will overheat.
Each boiler has different strengths and there is a massive chance that over time you will end up with both. Apologies if I have just made things worse lol, we did say it was. Rabbit hole.
I would suggest given you are going the boka route , it sounds like you are going the vodka gin option first so the digi might be the best first option.
I am certainly not saying do that :)
If you can work out what you want to do first then the boiler that suits will become a bit clearer. It seems boilers like stills have strengths and weaknesses.
And we dive a little deeper lol
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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: Good day y'all

Postby The Stig » Sat Apr 13, 2024 7:15 am

If you already think a Boka is the starting point , a 30L concealed element boiler is the way to go: https://5stardistilling.com/product/30l ... ler-2000w/
And the entire Boka will fit inside the boiler for shipping :handgestures-thumbupleft:
On this boiler your looking at a 5 or 6 hour run , on a 50L keg you doubling that .
You then have the option of the pot head etc etc
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Re: Good day y'all

Postby Thrudd » Tue Apr 16, 2024 9:10 pm

Wellsy wrote:And we dive a little deeper lol


Thanks Wellsy :)) yes, that rabbit hole goes down a long, long way I have found!

I managed to pick up a 30l keg for $30, smashing deal! So now with the 50l, I will need to get double the parts i need, and source a TIG welder that has a reasonable hourly rate. Just need to highlight to the welder my concern of "coralling" inside the weld, but I am sure i will find someone decent.

So boiler-wise, it looks like i am committed to kegs... so although harder to get going, unless i use the non-weld adapters or learn to solder, it will give me that strength you were alluding to.

In the mean time, my aim is to learn small ferments (and clearing them) and distills using my air still pro... when i get around to it LOL!

Picking up some 30l containers tomorrow to do the ferments in, just need to order some heat bands and airlocks (and bungs) from Kegland. Though if i cant beat Kegland's fermenter at $25, I'll just cut my losses and use them to store grains in the future :))
Thrudd
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:31 pm
equipment: Sadly, none as of yet as I am just starting out into the hobby, but I am looking at the T500, Air Still Pro or Vevor stills. Also looking to make spirits only, esp the big 4 (whiskey/bourbon, rum, vodka & gin) so reflux and pot distilling.

Re: Good day y'all

Postby Wellsy » Wed Apr 17, 2024 5:35 am

Nice work on the keg Patrick.

I have a couple of stainless 30 ltr kegs that make great aging vessels as they are much easier to fill than 50 litre ones. Just putting it out there :). Not sure if you have the squat 30 litre keg or the tall one. If it is the tall one you might need to consider how stable it will be if you put a still on top and hoses attached etc all causing sideways drag. Don’t forget the keg will only be full at the start of the run.

Not saying to convert it or not convert it but I would suggest you look at what the conversion to a boiler is going to cost you. I suspect converting a 30 litre will be the same as a 50 litre. One of the big reasons many get a 30 litre or 25 litre boiler is because most of these have a concealed heating element and auto shut off so you will be able to do very small batches. Small batches are great for gins where you have let the botanicals sit for a fortnight before redistilling.

I am not trying to confuse you, just want to make sure you have considered all sides of the equation.
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:48 am
Location: Victoria
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

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