In this episode we’re going to build a pot still for under $60. This is the cost at the time of filming, and does not include the pot and lid.
Let’s look at the list of items you require. Click on the photos to go to the relevant product pages.
First in line is the angled 3-way riser with a thermometer adapter. This gets glued into a 22mm hole drilled through the pot lid. You will need a dome lid like this wok lid or a high hat lid. If you cannot find a dome lid or high hat lid, you will need an elbow joint like this one -
The riser need to be almost horizontal in order that down-pipe is almost vertical. I have sealed the joint with clear silicon polymer to combat pressure leaks. I have also sealed the glass joint in the top of lid and the handle.
To accommodate the thermometer a plastic cap unscrews at the top. The thermometer goes through cap and is held in place by a silicon grommet.
To seal the joint where the lid meets the pot you will need natural medical grade silicon rubber tubing. The tubing gets cut down one side along the length, then clipped over the edge of the pot. We will look at that shortly.
The second piece of glassware is the condenser. This condenses the alcohol vapor back to liquid.
The vapor enters the top from the 3 way connector and passes through the cooling coil, then drips out the bottom as liquid alcohol.
Cooling water is pumped from the bottom of the column and exits at the top. This increases the efficiency of the condenser.
To pump the cooling water you need a small submersible pump. These come in 110v and 220v. These pumps are very small and very inexpensive, however amazingly reliable. Bare in mind that these small pumps don’t have a substantial head, only about 40cm or 16 inches. This means that they have to mounted in the cooling reservoir at the same height as the condenser. If you want your coolant to be on the floor, you will need to look at a much bigger pump. These are available from the same supplier, just be sure to order the correct voltage.
You will also want to have a set of spirit alcohol meters to measure the alcohol content of your efforts. This set comes with these graduated measures giving a capability of measuring anything from 0% ABV to 100% ABV. The set also comes with thermometer and a conversion table to adjust readings of alcohol according to the temperature of the liquid.
Finally, but not absolutely necessary is the angle dripper joint. This finishes off the condenser column neatly and drips the distillate precisely into the catch jar.
I have included links to all of these products on our website, and you can get there by clicking the onscreen link.
Here is the system as I set it up and do a test run.
First, notice the silicon rubber tubing has been slit down the length on one side only and clipped onto surround of the pot. The two ends are glued together using silicon glue.
I have poured 3 liters of wine into the pot.
Place the lid on the pot and secure the lid with at least 8 bull clips.
Notice the lab clip used to secure the joint between the riser and the condenser.
Place the pump in the cooling reservoir and attach the pipes to the condenser.
The outlet pipe simply feeds water back to the reservoir.
Insert the thermometer into the grommet above the riser.
Place bowl or beaker below the condenser to catch the distillate.
Turn the power or gas on. After a while as the head temperature reaches about 50c you will see condensation start forming in the riser.
Turn on the cooling pump.
As the temperature rises, the distillate will condense and run into the catchment.
In our next episode we will look more closely at how to fraction the distillate. You will see how to calculate the foreshots, heads, hearts and tails. You will see what to dispose of and how to blend the remaining distillate to make a pleasing and tasteful product.
Please note that you will be buying these products from Banggood.com
Banggood.com offers various methods of transport. The free transport option can take up to 8 weeks depending on where you are situated, and how useless your customs department is – paid transport options are far quicker.
Any questions to do with damages in transit, or incorrectly supplied products must be supported by Banggood.com
That being said, I have ordered a ton of stuff from Banggood.com and have had nothing undelivered, broken or incorrectly supplied. All of the equipment featured in this post was purchased from Banggood. It was very well packaged and nothing arrived damaged. Due to the low prices, I did not have to pay import duties in SA, but this may differ from country to country.