Used Still ( $4,000 )
This still has been federally licensed twice already…
Starting with the Cleveland Kettle, a Steam Jacketed Natural Gas 40 gallon Soup Kettle, I removed the lid arm and welded a Stainless steel 4” tri-clover ferrule on to the lid. Using high temp food grade silicone caulking I sealed the lid to the kettle adding several clamps along the way. All pieces of the column are 4” SS Tri-clover. A 5’ vertical column attaches to the lid an has a thermometer mounted at its max height. The second Piece is an 8” vertical cold finger. Two 90 degree elbows are next then a 18” condenser. There are separate valves for the cold finger and the Main Condenser so the can be used separately or in tandem. The still is all stainless steel except the copper heat exchange coils in the condenser. From the condenser there is a line to the copper parrot then out to a collection tank (5 gal SS beer keg). The pot has a dump spigot with a 2” tri-clover fitting.
This is the standard configuration for Brandy and Rum distillation. Standard 35 gal run usually yields .5 gal of heads, 5 gal of 140 proof hearts and 5 gal of 80 proof low wines.
For whiskey distillation I built a copper insert for the main column. it consists of a series of 10 perforated copper plates separated by three 5 “ copper tubing spacers. This adds considerable copper surface area to the still that fulfills many of the flavor profile needs of copper in the whiskey profile. A Whiskey 35 gal run usually yields ~0.5 gal of heads, 5 gal of 160 proof hearts and 5 gal of 80 proof low wines. These can be kept separate or together as low wines. The results of 4 stripping runs are combined to make the final hearts run. Yielding ~23 gallons of 160 proof whiskey. 8 gal of low wines and the remaining 8 gal of water in the pot. The column can also be packed with herbs for Gin and Absinthe production.
For Vodka or NGS distillation the column is packed with SS scrubby pads. And the cold finger is filled with glass marbles.
We used the typical triple distilled technique yielding a first run of 140-160 proof. Second run yielding 180 proof and the final run achieving the goal of 196 proof. What a PITA! I think my vodka was every bit as smooth as Valentine and Tito’s it beat out Absolute and Grey Goose easily in direct blind taste comparisons. It’s a crap ton of work over many days and weeks to make a product that tastes like nothing. For all practical purposes the water used to cut NGS to 80 proof provides the only difference in flavor between the worlds ten best vodkas… ymmv.
This is a great little combination Still and it served filling out my brewpub needs well. It is not a great vodka still. It can and has been done repeatedly, but is simply not big enough in volume to make vodka for package distribution. I only sold on premise, over the bar. If you want to produce package vodka this is not the still for you, for that you need a dedicated vodka still of at least 100 gallons imho… that being said there are other refinements that could be made to make vodka production easier… disassembled it will fit in a 40” door
pricing. A new Cleveland Kettle is $26,000. Used 4-10,000. I have about $2,000 into this conversion. I think it’s worth $6,000, but will list it at $4,000. It’s time to sell.