In the old days, things could get downright hot for moonshiners when the “revenuer” came calling. For home distillers today, that same heat isn’t an issue, at least as long as they abide by their local ordinances (for more information on distillation laws, click here). But that doesn’t mean heat isn’t a part of the distillation process.
In fact, if there’s no heat, there’s no ‘shine. Distillation requires careful heating of the fermented sour mash held in the pot (also called the vat or boiler). Different boiling points of each component of the sour mash (water, methanol, propanol and our friend, ethanol) allow for the separation of those components, and ultimately, the collection of nearly pure grain alcohol. Proper boil temperature is critical. You want to heat the mash to approximately 173 degrees Fahrenheit, the boiling point of alcohol. Get it much hotter than that and you risk scorching the mash or “belching” mash into the column.
An experienced distiller learns to manage temperature by feel, but for most of us, a good distillation thermometer is an invaluable piece of still equipment. The Hillbilly Stills 3″ Premium Dial Thermometer fits the bill. A precise instrument, it has a 1/2″ threaded connector designed to work with many of our copper still heads. This durable unit allows you to monitor vapor temperature to within +/- 1 degree and will dramatically improve your results. Simply thread the connector into the head and you will know exactly when to dial back the heat to the boiler.
A bi-metal thermometer with a full stainless steel exterior, the Hillbilly is built to last. Double-strength glass crystal and a simple, clean design on the easy-to-read 3″ face makes monitoring a snap. The 2.5” stainless steel stem yields accurate temperature readings all the way from 0 to 250° Fahrenheit. The body and face are hermetically sealed for years of trouble free performance. A finely crafted instrument, the Hillbilly Stills dial thermometer is designed to deliver excellent shock protection.
You take distilling seriously, and you demand top-quality equipment. You shouldn’t ask any less of a thermometer. The careful craftsmanship of the Hillbilly 3″ Premium Dial Thermometer is the perfect addition to your Hillbilly Still.
Hillbilly Stills Clears Up The Washing Process
In the interest of refining a home brew product for clarity, color, and sparkle, Hillbilly Stills recommends using a clearing wash before “putting it to bed” to simmer. Washing works wonders and helps make for a fantastic final brew.
After fermentation of the homemade mash is complete, a clearing wash should be stirred gently into the mix so that the “clouds” that are present at that time will settle at the bottom, leaving at the top a blend that results in a fine, smooth flavor.
Before adding the clearing wash, pour the mixture into another container. The product will be cloudy, waiting to receive a “wash job” for further improvement of quality, look, and taste. A clearing agent allows for separation of the cloudy stuff that will settle at the bottom while leaving a clearer product remaining above the sediment. After the first “settling” and “washing”, let the mixture stand for a short period of time to make sure no sediment remains. If it does, repeat the process a second time. Let the clearing wash work its magic.
Imagine the transparent, sparkling, liquid refreshment that will be ready for sipping pleasure!
And while we are speaking of transparency and sparkle, we recommend using a clearing agent that is by far the best in clearing washes.
Hillbilly Stills Sparkolloid Powder (a hot mix formula) is the one to use to clarify high pH alcobases, and as one customer says: “a good rye whiskey is a clear rye whiskey.”
Sparkolloid is the clearing wash that quickly settles the sediment in the mash, leaving behind the quality of liquid that is necessary for clear color and great taste.
Check out Sparkolloid! Find out what other enthusiastic distillers have to say about this great product. Get acquainted with the guys involved in its creation. Meet all the folks at Hillbilly Stills who are as passionate about the distillation of home brew as everyone else who practices brewing liquors. To view our entire inventory of distillation products and accessories, visit www.hillbillystills.com.
Moonshine stills have evolved a long way from the days of bootleggers. Modern stills use high-quality, refined materials crafted by experts to make sure you produce a perfect batch every time. Every moonshine still, from a simple DIY setup to industrial distilling equipment, primarily consists of three parts:
- A mash pot to make the mash through fermentation and heat the liquid
- A distilling column to help the collect the alcohol vapor and condense it
- A condenser to cool down the alcohol vapors.
Using the right distilling column for your still setup is critical to producing the highest quality booze. At Hillbilly Stills, we have a variety of moonshine pot stills made from high-quality copper that are great for any distilling setup. Today, we are going to discuss two distilling columns and their different applications so you can pick the one that suits your needs the best- the 3 inch Simple Pot Still and the Hillbilly Flute Column.
Before we get started, one should know the difference between a pot still and a reflux column. A pot still is a simple distillation device which gives about 40-60% purity alcohol by collecting and condensing the alcohol vapor from the boiler. To get a higher alcohol percentage, the alcohol vapors should be distilled again through the pot still. A reflux column combines these steps into a single-step process through some packing in the column.
The 3 inch simple pot still is a distillation column that is 3 inches wide by 12 inches long. It is made of high quality copper and has a stainless steel base for a perfect fit. It can easily fasten to an 8-gallon milk can boiler or 13-gallon milk can boiler. It also comes with a 2-inch Leibeg condenser to cool down the alcohol vapors that was collected. You can get one with a thermoport so that you can fit your thermometer to monitor the temperature. Designed with simplicity in mind, this copper pot still is great for beginners.
The Hillbilly Flute is one of our advanced designs aimed at experienced moonshiners. We modified and scaled down a popular commercial design so everyone can use it. The Hillbilly flute is a 4-inch copper column with four perforated plates – allowing you to see all the action – a13-inch shotgun dephlegmator with complete plumbing and built-in parrot’s beak. Handmade from high quality copper, it can produce about one gallon of 90% purity alcohol in an hour. Depending on the size of your milk can boiler, the hillbilly flute can be customized to fit it perfectly. You will definitely appreciate the craftsmanship that went into building this distillation column. We also sell a demo video for the Hillbilly Flute so that you can use it to its maximum potential.
Making moonshine can be easily classified into 2 main steps: fermentation and distillation. Fermentation is the process where yeast breaks down the sugar and a chemical reaction occurs, producing alcohol as a byproduct. The alcohol is then distilled by evaporating it and then condensing the steam to get more concentrated alcohol without the water.
Depending on the type of yeast, the percentage of alcohol produced varies from 4% to 20% to pure ethanol. Yeasts are naturally available everywhere and have their own distinct flavor for fermentation. Most yeasts produce 14% alcohol but there are some yeasts which can easily ferment up to 20%; so it is important to know the type of yeast being used in the fermentation. It is generally advisable to use commercially produced yeast to ensure the percentage of alcohol being produced.
The Hillbilly Corn Likker Turbo Yeast is one of our highest quality yeasts, perfect for making moonshine. The yeast will ferment 8lbs of sugar in a 6.5 gallon wash in 8 to10 days. It includes enzymes and PH buffer and makes up to 13% alcohol. For best results with this yeast, our grain of choice is corn. This yeast is great for producing a Tennessee-style mash.
The following recipe is suggested for this yeast:
- In a plastic fermenter, place 4 lbs. Carolina white corn meal
- To soften the corn, pour 3 gallons of boiling water
- Add 1 lb of malted barley, rye flakes or malt extract.
- Let it cool down to the temperature of 104 F
- Add 8 lbs. of table sugar. Mix well until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Top up the fermenter to 6.5 gallons of cool water.
- Add the yeast and stir for 1 minute.
- Leave to ferment between 74and 95 F until fermentation ceases in about 8-10 Days.
- Stir mash twice a day.
- For best results, allow mash to settle and clear with Hillbilly Stills Super-Kleer before distilling.
- Do not airlock the fermenter otherwise fermentation my stop.
We now have malted grain that you have asked for on our website for sale. You can buy it by the 5lb bag or the 50lb bag. We have 2 types at this time, we have 2 row malted grain, and we have a premium distillers malt that is very high in enzymes to help convert the starch into sugar.
Soon will will also be offering a very nice grain grinder. I have a few ordered to test the market and see if this is something our customers are interested it.
On another note, I want to announce that my son Matt who runs our fab shop is getting married today may 12, 2012. We are very excited to add his lovely wife Ashley to our family. With this we will also be getting two granddaughters that we just love and adore. There names are Abby and Reagan, who knows what the future will bring. We Cant wait to see!