How to build a homemade still

Written by mark spowart
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How to build a homemade still
Stills are used in commercial and home production of alcohol. (Distillery still image by zimous from

Stills are an apparatus that uses a heating and cooling process to separate various liquids from other liquids, or solids from liquids. Stills are also the main equipment used in the production of alcohol. By boiling the fermented liquid, the still separates and concentrates the alcohol in a vapour; when cooled, the resulting liquid will have a high percentage of alcohol. Large stills are used in commercial applications and there is a committed number of hobbyists who produce their own personal alcohol through homemade stills.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Five to six feet of copper tubing
  • Rubber stopper
  • Tea kettle, non-electric type
  • Single cooking element with temperature dial
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Large metal or plastic jug
  • Bottle or glass flask

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  1. 1

    Form the copper tubing into a coil. You can use any cylindrical object as your template to bend the copper. Copper is a very soft metal; during the process make sure you do not bend the copper so that the tube itself becomes closed or bent. You will want to leave six to eight inches of straight pipe at both ends.

  2. 2

    Insert one end of the copper coil into a jug. The jug can be any size, provided that the opening is large enough for the copper piping to be inserted in. Drill a hole in the bottom of the jug to match the diameter of the copper tubing.

  3. 3

    Create a stand for the jug that will allow you to place the bottle or flask under the drilled hole.

  4. 4

    Drill two holes into your rubber stopper. One hole needs to be small enough to securely the hold the cooking thermometer. The other hole needs to be slightly smaller than the diameter of the copper tubing.

  5. 5

    Pour the mash into the kettle. Insert the stopper into the kettle's spout. Insert the cooking thermometer into the stopper.

  6. 6

    Crimp the copper tubing so it can be inserted into the second hole that was drilled in the rubber stopper.

  7. 7

    Place the kettle on the single element, turn the element on and heat the mash to a temperature between 76.7 and 93.3 degrees Celsius. The mash will create a vapour that will travel through the copper tubing, and, as it cools, will collect in the jug and drip into your final container.

Tips and warnings

  • The copper tubing will become quite hot; be sure it is out of reach of any children.

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