Which Moonshine Still Is Right for You?
Some moonshiners are looking for any still to get right into the artisan craft and art of distillation, but there’s a fair number of our customers who know what they want to specialize in, but don’t know what they need to achieve it. Some only want to use their stills for whiskey and/or brandy, some for super pure neutral spirit, and some for a gin. We’re here to discuss what still is best for your specialization, and what parts best accompany the still for the most productive results.
Let’s start with our most popular tower, the Dual Purpose alcohol moonshine distiller:
The Dual Purpose is an all-around great piece of equipment. It’s named because obviously it has two purposes. It can be ran as a pot still for whiskies or brandies, and as a reflux still for high purity spirits. If you’re looking to have some variety with your product, you’ll be content with this still. It’s capable of producing at 180-190 proof or up to 94%. The still will come in a lot of different types:
An 8 Gallon Dual Purpose,
A 13 Gallon Dual Purpose,
An 8 Gallon two-piece Dual Purpose,
An 8 Gallon Dual Purpose with a Gin Basket
And an 8 Gallon Copper Dual Purpose.
The 8 Gallon will hold about 6.5 Gallons of a distilling wash, making about 1 gallon of distillate, while the 13 Gallon holds close to 10 Gallons. Really, what it comes down to when picking the right Dual Purpose, is how much you’re looking to make. An 8 Gallon will make about a quart of distillate per hour and you’ll end up with about a gallon to a gallon and a half of product when finished. The 13 will work at the same output (a quart an hour) but end up producing around two gallons to two and a half gallons. This is estimated and depends on what the alcohol by volume ( ABV ) that is in the wash and what proof you want to run. Final yield also depends on your cuts. See blog article about making cuts.
For the two-piece, the only difference is it’s with the removable bottom extension, which will make it better when making whiskey, as the shorter column carries over more flavor. If you’re looking for a tower that can do both neutral spirit making and whiskey/brandy making but would like to emphasize more on whiskey making, this is a great option for you.
Even better for moonshiners looking to emphasize on making whiskey while having the freedom of neutral spirit is the Copper Dual Purpose looks sweet and has more copper in the vapor path. This is great when making neutral spirit, brandies, and whiskies. The copper dual is a beautiful tower with all the capabilities of the stainless steel one, but adds the benefit of more copper to pass through during your run. The copper dual comes stock with an upgraded thermometer as well which gives a higher-end look.
The Dual with Gin Basket is a reflux fractionating column that breaks down into three different parts. A bottom extension with a reflux jacket built in will start off the column. Your gin basket will clamp on to the top of that to work as an infusion chamber. Add your juniper berries to make gin or something like cinnamon sticks to infuse your spirit with that kick of cinnamon. The third piece is a little piece of pipe we call a “cup” with a condenser arm welded on. The gin basket on this still can detach for you to run this still for neutral spirit, and both the basket and the bottom extension can detach for you to run this still as a pot still.
Pot Still Moonshine Still
Does making neutral spirit not interest you? The Pot Still is designed for high-flavor, lower-purity spirits with it’s shortened column and simple design. Best part is, if you ever got curious and wanted to try making a neutral spirit, it can still be accomplished with a pot still by distilling your product a second and/or third time and adding something called Rashig Rings and copper mesh to the inside of the still tower. The Copper Pot Still is a winner for whiskies and brandies due to copper alembic onion head and copper condenser.
Believe it or not, there’s even stills that bring more to the table than what the Dual Purpose with Gin Basket. It’s called the Hybrid 4-in-1 Distiller, and it’s some moonshiner’s dream. The Hybrid looks similar to the Dual Purpose with one specific difference: it’s Essential Oil Basket in replace of the regular domed lid. Clamp on the full tower with the bucket to your boiler and run the still as an Essential Oil Distiller capable of vaporizing lavender and other botanicals for infusion, or run it as a regular reflux still the same way. As you’d probably guess, you can also run this as a pot still by collapsing the tower and just using the top with a condenser arm. Here’s what sets it aside from other stills at Mile Hi: It can be used as a filter unit. This means if you want extremely high purity in your spirit without spending the extra money on a separate filter unit, you can have them both with this still. I highly recommend this still for anyone who wants to experience to the fullest with your craft and get the most value for the money spent. The Hybrid comes in both an 8 Gallon model and a 13 Gallon model.
Torpedo Moonshine Still
The Torpedo and the Two-Piece Torpedo is like a Dual Purpose, which will run as a pot still or reflux but with a bigger diameter and length, meaning. The larger diameter will produce more output per hour and the taller column will help purify. Three inch towers will produce about 2 quarts per hour. This tower will come in a 13 Gallon and a 26 Gallon model for serious distilling. The Torpedo utilizes a reflux condenser called a “cold finger” which is a cylinder-shaped reflux condenser built inside of the tower. Use this Torpedo as a reflux still to produce a high-purity neutral spirit, or run this as a pot still for whiskeys and brandies. The two-piece Torpedo will come in handy if you’re looking to focus more on whiskies, as the detachable bottom extension will come out for a shorter column and retain more flavor also easier storage.The bigger 26 Gallon boiler and the bigger diameter makes this still incredibly popular!
Maybe you have a different idea for what you want in your still. The Essential Oil Distiller can take botanicals and certain ingredients and extract the oils using steam extraction. The 8 Gallon Essential Oil comes with a 4L (1 Gallon) bucket and a top with a condenser connected. Not enough? The 13 Gallon model will double the size of the bucket (2 gallons worth) and upgrade the top with a stainless thermometer, as well as a 3 inch diameter tower instead of 2 inch.
I recommend the Mighty Mini for customers looking to get a still that does what the Dual Purpose does on a budget, or someone with minimal space for their still such as an apartment. The Mighty Mini only comes in a 3 Gallon, so you’ll make an estimated yield of about one quart. This is also a good thing for some though. We also just launched a new Mighty Mini still known as the PRO model. It’s a section still design that comes with a 2” sight glass for gins and infusing flavors into your product, as well as a bottom extension that can be taken off for some killer whiskey making.
The Outback was originally designed for international customers to save on shipping and for easy storage. We wanted customers to be able to get the full experience of our best-selling still the Dual Purpose without getting hammered on shipping costs. The Outback is a genius design that can collapse and fit straight into an 8 Gallon milk can for portability. Like all our other reflux stills, the Outback’s bottom extension can be taken out and ran as a pot still, or a full tower for neutral spirit. You’ll also get an upgraded thermometer as a stock option on the still, giving you the upgraded stainless thermometer. If you’re overseas, I’d highly recommend this still to you or if you want to be able to store the complete still in the 8 gallon milk can for easy storage then this is it.
The Traditional Pot Still takes you back to the old pioneer days of moonshine where the moonshiner was responsible for fine-tuning his distillate based purely on the smell and taste of it. No high-tech thermometers or boil enhancement rings, just pure taste-testing. This still will come in both an 8 Gallon with a 2” diameter tower and a 13 Gallon model with a 3” diameter tower. On top of it’s relatively inexpensive price compared to other stills, it teaches you the value of your own intuition when making a craft whiskey or brandy. No trusting a thermometer to do some of the work for you, it’s all up to you.
Thumper Moonshine Still
The Thumper moonshine still is another design that dates way back to the old days of moonshine. This is the very beginning of the reflux still in a way. Thumpers are also known as “doublers” for the sheer reason of utilizing two milk cans rather than one to distill. One milk can will do it’s job of heating up your wash, as usual. As the vapor the still is creating passes through the condenser and into the second milk can, the still cold water in it will “condense” the hot vapors. So, in other words, both milk cans will be distilling the same product at the same time! This results in a double-distillation, saving you time and netting you a nice reward at the end. Thumpers will come in a variety of sizes and types. Take a look at all the different types:
Flute Moonshine Still
Last but for sure not the least is the Mile Hi Flute moonshine still. This still is the most versatile still we offer. This design allows you to add sections or remove sections to adjust the height of the tower. You can remove plates and run as a stripping still or pot still. Add plates and more sections to run as a reflux or fractional still. This still will run high percentage neutral spirit for vodka and will also run all the flavor spirits as well like whisky and brandy. The modular design will allow you to add in a sight glass with screen gasket for a gin basket or infusion chamber. Add a packed column extension to boost the percentage. This design comes in 4″ diameter and 6″ diameter. The design and versatility is the same the only difference which is a big difference is output per hour. The 4″ produces about 3/4 of one gallon per hour running high percentage at 95% and about 1.5 gallons at lower proof brandies at 150 proof. The 6″ tower will produce about 2 gallons per hour at 95% and 3 plus gallons per hour at 150-160 proof. You wont go wrong with the beauty. Boiler sizes are 26 gallon, 53 gallon and 135 gallon. I suggest to use the 6″ diameter towers on the 53 gallon and 135 gallon. Use the 4″ diameter on the 26 gallon.
With all this information provided, think everything over and choose what’s right for you. Here’s a link to our Still Page if you’ve made up your mind and want to get cooking right away!