Navigation Menu

Newbie still safety


Home Forum… Beginners distilling Forum Newbie still safety

Viewing 12 reply threads
  • Author
    • #3093

      I have recently inherited a 5 gal pot still. I have always been interested in distilling my own spirits but never had the means or knowledge. I have a fairly good knowledge of how to distil a spirit, but I am concerned about saftey. The still is a 5 gallon pot still with a 3/4″ arm to a 2 gallon glass thump keg which leads to a 1/2″ worm. I am not sure that this still has ever ben run or tested before. Can anyone provide safety information or things to look out for when distilling. Like head pressure? How much of a concern is this, and what would be an indication that things are not working out. I am anxious about trying this out on my own for the first time but don’t want to end up on the 5 O’clock news? Any and all information will be greatly appreciated.

    • #3097

      Sounds interesting.
      I would be most worried about how the 2 gallon glass thump keg is setup- do you have any pictures of the rig?

    • #3099

      I’m not sure how to upload a pic here. The arm is approx 28″ long with the first part tapering from 1 1/2″ to 3/4″ in the first 14″. Then converts to 3/4″ pipe and drops right into the thump keg. Then the 1/2″ pipe leaves the thump keg to the 1/2″ worm. I suppose the still could be run without the keg with the use of a reducer.

    • #3100

      If you upload a picture to photobucket you can link the picture into the forum

    • #3112


      Well not sure if this will work but here it goes. finally got a picture to show

    • #3113

       photo d2420ee2-5d26-497d-ac6b-5cd97609c565_zps4c7c6801.jpg” title=”still”>

      or this one

    • #3115

      Very nice!- It looks like this is using the Mason Jar thumper setup- I have seen these a few times but I have never personally used one. I’m sure someone with more experience will chime in.

    • #3116

      Nice Rig!

      A lot of folks run mason jar thumpers with great results. I would fill the still and thumper with water and do a water run- make sure you have no leaks. Did it come with a worm to cool the vapor?

    • #3117

      Some folks worry about the materials that coat the lid.
      If you are worried about that I would just replace the lid with sheet copper.

    • #3118

      Okay. So can anyone tell me the Saftey concerns about running a lot still like this. Is there a concern about head pressure and should I worry about the potential of the cap blowing off. Or the thump keg exploding? Any advise would be appricaited. Thanks.

    • #3126

      What a great set-up. Pressure build-up is something that should always be in the back of your mind, you can never be too safe. The first thing I would do is make a water run. That way if you do have a pressure issue, you won’t have to worry about burning the whole place down. The glass thumper is idea for your concerns. If you can see that the vapor is being pushed into and out of the liquid in the thumper jar, you’ll know that everything is moving. It’s always good to blow through any tubes you can just to make sure there is nothing inside. I always have spider webs or insect cocoons in my tubes after sitting for a while. Make sure and keep an eye on vapor leaks, too. Seeing where the loose joints are with a water run will save you liquor and heartache. There’s a million ways to seal them up but I use 1 part water & 2 parts flour, made into a dough and packed around seams. Keep your heat moderate, not low and not high. Remember that every wash and run is a learning experience.

    • #3127
      Zymurgy Bob

      Without the thumper, I’d tell you that you should never see any pressure in that still, but with the thumper there will be a small amount of pressure that you may have to deal with. If the liquid depth in the thumper got up to 12″, the still would have to produce a pressure of about .43 lbs per square inch to blow bubbles through it. If the diameter of that cap hole is 3″, then its area is (pi)(1.5)^2=~7.1 square inches, and with .43 pounds per square inch pressure, you’ll have a force of about (7.1)(.43)=~3 pounds trying to lift that cap out of the boiler.

      Old timers using that design would put a rock on top of the cap to compensate for that lifting force, and you may need to do that, even though 3 pounds isn’t much. As WharfRat points out, if that clear thumper stops bubbling, you may have pressure that will lift, or even blow off, your cap, always a bad thing.

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    • #3131

      Thank you all for the information. I will let you know how the first runs go.

Viewing 12 reply threads

you should log in to reply to this topic.

Need an account? Click here to register