Purchasing a Still

Many hobbyists build their own still and have a great deal of fun doing so. Every part of a still can be made from materials lying around, or purchased locally, and being made of metal can be easily worked and put together by the average handyman. It's mostly just copper tubing and a tank for boiling the crude "beer". There's also the legality question to consider. Remember that in many countries it is illegal to buy, sell, own or use a still.

However, this hobby is now coming out of the closet with the realization of just how innocent a pastime it is, the tabling of Bill HR 3249 in 107th US Congress demonstrating that we are very close to having small scale distillation of spirits put on a par with beer and wine-making. Amateur distillation of alcohol is coming of age. Knowing this, hobbyists can start to think in terms of somewhat more elegant stills than they've been used to, made of fancy materials such as stainless steel or glass, instrumented, and with hi-tech performances rivalling that of the most advanced commercial distilleries.

Without a doubt, the finest material for a small-scale still is glass. It is chemically inert, very hygienic, and its transparency not only allows the visual control of liquid flows inside the apparatus but also forces a high degree of cleanliness. If you can see dirt and discolouration you can deal with it. It adds immeasurably to the pleasure of distillation, and that's what hobbies are all about---the pursuit of a pleasurable pastime.

The only real problem with glass is that it cannot be worked by the average person. To make a still-head, for example, you need a high-temperature oxygen/gas flame, some special graphite tools and a lot of
experience. The solution to this problem is to employ a professional glassblower to make the glass parts, and then make the rest yourself out of metal (and wood if you're going to mount it in a cabinet as shown in the photograph). In the book "The Carriage Still", diagrams and photographs are provided which you can take along to a professional glassblower and he'll know immediately what to do. And what to charge you!

Another solution is to buy the glass components from us. We have professional glassblowers, and by locating them in the customer's home country, and by sending them by courier, fast and confidential delivery can be guaranteed. In the United States, for example, the glassblower's shop is in New York state, and from there glass stills and still-heads have been sent as far afield as Hawaii and Alaska. No problem.

Depending on your budget and on how much of the work you wish to do yourself, we sell two different glass items. One is a glass still-head kit selling for $195 + shipping while the other includes a glass column and sells for $425 + shipping. We call this all-glass model The Saguenay Still. Click on either one to see a description and photograph.

John Stone at: gin-vodka@brewhaus.ca

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