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Still Alcohol Spirits

Things you should know before getting Started

 
Is it legal to use a still in Australia?
Is it legal to use a still in Australia?

Please note: It is illegal to use a still in Australia to produce alcohol for consumption without a license
It is not legal to separate water and alcohol in a still. You can purchase a 5L still in Australia to use it to distill water or essential oils. In New Zealand it is legal to use up to a 25L still at home to produce spirit for home consumption. For further details see below.

NEW ZEALAND
In New Zealand, it is legal to operate a still at home for personal consumption.

AUSTRALIA
In Australia it is legal to own a still under 5 litre capacity as long as it is for either water purification or essential oil extraction. In New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy it is legal to own a still, and 25 litre stills appear the most common size.

Is making my own spirits safe ?
Is making my own spirits safe ?

The Still Spirits process involves the controlled manufacture of alcohol from a known mix of nutrients, sugar and yeast. The distillate is then cleaned with activated carbon to remove unwanted flavours. Following the instructions will result in pure clean alcohol that in most cases has less byproducts than alcohol produced from more traditional sources.

How difficult is it to make spirits at home?
How difficult is it to make spirits at home?

It is really simple to make spirits you will love to drink. It is an easy 4 step process.

Firstly the sugar and water is turned into alcohol by fermenting with yeast. Secondly, you separate the purified alcohol from the water in the wash by distilling. Distillation is done by heating the wash in a still, boiling off the alcohol and condensing the vapour back into a liquid. Thirdly, use a carbon filter to filter out most of the remaining trace impurities. You will now have a clean spirit at 40% with no flavours or tastes.

Finally, simply add your favourite spirit or liqueur essence to make your favorite, scotch bourbon rum or liqueur. There are hundreds to choose from

How much does it cost to make spirits at home?
How much does it cost to make spirits at home?

A fraction of what it costs to buy spirits such as scotch bourbon rum gin and liqueurs. It will vary a little depending on the ingredients you use or the type of spirit you make. Most spirits you make will cost between $8 and $13 per 700ml bottle. Making spirits at home can become a brilliant hobby and you will be able to amaze your family and friends with the quality of the drinks you have produced.

How long does it take to make each batch of spirits?
How long does it take to make each batch of spirits?

Depending on the type of yeast and nutrients and the process you follow, you can be drinking your own home made spirits within 7 days.

Freight

 
If I order with ispirits how much does it cost to send out my goods?
If I order with ispirits how much does it cost to send out my goods?

No matter where you are in Australia, our delivery costs are cheap and start s low as $7.95.  We will keep your freight costs to an absolute minimum.

Click here for full freight information & terms

How long does it take to get my goods sent out after I order?
How long does it take to get my goods sent out after I order?

We will always do our best to process all in-stock orders within 1 – 2 business days of receiving your order and payment. 

Delivery times are approximately 2-3 days for major capital cities and a little longer for some remote locations. 

The Carrier will vary depending upon your order contents and location. Most orders are sent via Australia post and we also use a number of selected national couriers. Ispirits will select the most appropriate carrier for you.

Click here for full freight information & terms

Cleaning Your Equipment

 
Is it important to clean & sanitise my still & equipment?
Is it important to clean & sanitise my still & equipment?

It is important to clean all stills properly without damaging them with corrosive chemicals. For example, your 25 litre (6.5 US Gallon) Super Reflux Still is made from Stainless Steel. It is very important that you empty the Still after each use and rinse it out with clean water and then dry it thoroughly. Do not use corrosive cleaners on your still. Everything used in the fermentation process must be cleaned and sanitised before and after use. This includes the fermenter (pail), airlock and stirrer. For optimum leaning & sterilizing we recommend Brewclean & Brewshield No Rinse Sanitiser.

Do I need to clean my ceramic saddles? How?
Do I need to clean my ceramic saddles? How?

Yes it is important every few batches to clean your ceramic saddles found inside the column or in the case of an Air Still they are used inside the boiler. These saddles obtain deposits which changes the surface area and do not function efficiently when they are dirty. We strongly recommend you spray them with a good dose of Brewclean and leave them for 20 minutes then rinse them thoroughly with warm water.

I suspect I have a build up of dead yeast cells passing through the column and building up on cooling coils
I suspect I have a build up of dead yeast cells passing through the column and building up on cooling coils

Be sure to use Turbo Clear on your wash before distilling to remove any unwanted yeast cells. If this does occur, empty the column and separate the copper saddles from the ceramic saddles. Soak the copper saddles and wash the inside of the column and the main condenser with white vinegar. Hold column upside down and fill with white vinegar, being careful to hold the end of the spirit outlet above the level of the white vinegar in the column. Shake gently, then run out through spirit outlet and discard vinegar. Repeat 3-4 times. Rinse column with water.

Fermentation

 
What is fermentation?
What is fermentation?

Simply, fermentation is the process by which yeast converts sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

What is Yeast?
What is Yeast?

Yeast is a single cell organism which multiplies vigorously in the presence of oxygen. When all oxygen is used up yeast will convert sugar into alcohol. You need very specialized spirit specific yeast to make alcohol. The still spirits Turbo range are specifically designed for this purpose.

Why does fermentation have to be enclosed in a fermenter under airlock?
Why does fermentation have to be enclosed in a fermenter under airlock?
  1. Yeast needs to have a controlled access to oxygen. During the first stage of fermentation (aerobic) oxygen is used by the yeast to multiply. The second stage (anaerobic) takes place when the oxygen is exhausted and the yeast looks to the sugar for it's food source. It then stops multiplying and starts producing alcohol and Carbon Dioxide.
     
  2. With all forms of fermentation we are producing a sweet mix with good nutrients suitable for a very wide range of organisms to thrive. We then introduce the organisim that we want to multiply ie. yeast. It is important to restrict access to other organisms by sanitising everything and keeping the mix sealed in an air tight fermenter. Regardless of how careful you are with your sanitising, some bacteria and unwanted organisms will make their way into your mix. Yeast multiply approx every 2 hours and bacteria every 20 minutes however when yeasts start to multiply they reduce the ph (increase acidity) and remove the oxygen. Both of these factors will destroy the bacteria. For that reason it is essential for good fermentation to keep everything sanitised and sealed and to get the yeast added as soon as possible.
What is an airlock?
What is an airlock?

An airlock is a device which allows carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation without letting oxygen or unwanted organisms in.

Why is sediment formed during fermentation?
Why is sediment formed during fermentation?

As the yeast convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, other byproducts are produced. These include dead or dormant yeast cells along with unfermented solids. The only way to remove these unwanted dead yeast cells before distillation is to uses Still Spirits Turbo Clear.

Why did my yeast stop working before all the sugar was used?
Why did my yeast stop working before all the sugar was used?

The most common cause of this is overheating of the mix. Always refer to the recommended temperature range for the specific Turbo you are using. During fermentation a lot of energy is released which results in an increase of temperature sometimes by as much as 8o C. For this reason, do not cover the fermenter nor use heating of any sort for the first 24 hours unless you are in an extremely cold area. If you do believe you need to does this then monitor the temperature regularly. Remember if the mix gets too cold you can start it again by stirring and heating. If the mix gets too hot then you may weaken or kill the yeast.

Also leaving the mix in a position where the sun will shine directly on the fermenter during the day may result in excessive temperatures. Try to keep the fermenter in a position where the temperature will be constant throughout the day. Most damage to yeast occurs in the first 24 hours of fermentation but does not show up until the end off fermentation when a higher SG is noticed.

Always ensure you have used one of the Still Spirits range of Turbo yeast. Our yeast and nutrient mixes are balanced and will guarantee trouble free fermentation if the correct temperatures are maintained. Do not use more sugar or less water than what is recommended. The ratio of sugar, nutrients, yeast and water are essential. High temperatures coupled with higher concentrations of sugar will result in stuck fermentations as you have two adverse conditions working together.

Also ensure that all equipment is sterlised and cleaned before use to prevent bacterial infection in your wash. Use Brewclean and Brewsheild to clean and sterilise every brew.

If I add more sugar to my wash will I get more alcohol?
If I add more sugar to my wash will I get more alcohol?

You may do, but do not add more than the recipe or manufacturer recommends as yeast varieties are selected for different properties. A yeast variety which can ferment rapidly may not be very resistant to alcohol. If this is the case, adding too much sugar may result in unfermented sugar remaining in the wash. This may cause the wash to froth during distilling and it will significantly lower the quality of your final product.

What liquid temperature do I start fermentation at?
What liquid temperature do I start fermentation at?

The simplest answer is to ensure start liquid and fermentation temperatures between 20o - 30o C. Each Turbo will have its specific liquid temperature requirements to always refer to the instructions.   It is important to start the brewing process by preparing the correct volume of water at the correct temperature and then adding the sugar to it. These are all detailed in the Turbo flyer or on the web at this link. Or at least for the start liquid temperature to be 30o C - then, even when the air temp is low, enough ethanol will be produced during the first 24 hours to protect against such contamination.

Is the Fermentation temperature Important?
Is the Fermentation temperature Important?

Yes it is very important to stick to the recommended temperature range for each Turbo that you use. Please note the recommended temperature range always refers to air temperature not liquid temperature. As the Turbo is doing so much work breaking down the sugar it creates a lot of heat and as a result the liquid temp is often warmer than the air temp. Depending on the Turbo yeast you uses it will have a different recommended temperature range. For Example Still Spirits Classic Turbo Yeast ferments when the room temperature is between 18°C to 30°C (64-86°F). When the air temperature is above 33°C (91°F) it’s important to use Still Spirits Heat Wave Turbo Yeast instead as it is able to deliver excellent quality alcohol in hot conditions.

Is fermentation temperature Air temperature or Liquid Temperature?
Is fermentation temperature Air temperature or Liquid Temperature?

The fermentation temperature range recommended on the turbo packet or instructions always refers to air temperature. The liquid temperature is almost always warmer than air temp especially in the first couple of days of fermentation because the activity of the yeast breaking down the sugar creates a lot of heat. If you stick to within the air temperature range then you will never have a problem with your fermentation overheating.

Why do you need to ferment at a certain temperature?
Why do you need to ferment at a certain temperature?

Yeast is a living organism. Most yeasts used in distilling are active and produce fermentation in a temperature range of between 18o and 26o C. This is the temperature range where we have the best chance of achieving good results. Above this temperature very rapid fermentation may produce unwanted byproducts. If the temperature is too high the yeast will die. At lower temperatures fermentation will be slower and may cease completely (stuck ferment) meaning the yeast has become dormant. The latest release from Still Spirits, the new temperature tolerant yeast, will even ferment in temperatures as high as 40o C.

How do I warm my wash during fermentation in cold climates?
How do I warm my wash during fermentation in cold climates?

The only sure way is to use a heating pad or heating belt which will maintain a constant temperature. These devices are almost essential in the winter months.

How can I stop my brew from overheating when my room temperature is too high?
How can I stop my brew from overheating when my room temperature is too high?

There are two methods that you can use.

  1. Fill some PET soft drink bottles with ice and freeze them. You can add them throughout fermentation to control the temperature.
     
  2. Another method is to use the evaporation technique.  Sit the fermenter in a tray with about 25mm of water. Drape some fabric over the fermenter so it dangles in the water (toweling or an old sweatshirt is ideal). If it is still too hot, turn a fan onto the fermenter.
Which Turbo Yeast do I use? Is there any difference?
Which Turbo Yeast do I use? Is there any difference?

Every Still Spirits Turbo has been designed for a specific purpose. The Turbo Classic is the easiest to use and a great all round turbo that operates anywhere between 18 and 30 degrees. It is a set and forget turbo. The Turbo Triple Distilled is the highest quality Turbo as it produces virtually no bi products. If you want the best then this is it. Turbo Express is when you are in a hurry and need a 48 hour fermentation. Turbo heat wave is when it is hot and can be used at up to 40 degrees. Turbo Power is for those that want to produce the maximum amount of alcohol possible. It will make up to 20% from fermentation alone.

What do I do if the airlock does not bubble?
What do I do if the airlock does not bubble?

Within 24 hours carbon dioxide should start bubbling through the airlock if the wash is working correctly and the fermenter is sealed properly. If the gas does not start to bubble through the airlock, then loosen the top and have a look inside. The wash should be bubbling and will probably have a foam or froth on top. If the wash is not bubbling and there is no froth around the top of the wash then check the temperature is in the recommended range. A vigorous stir at this stage with a sterilised paddle (not wooden) will speed up fermentation. Stir gently to begin with to avoid a froth build up and then make sure your air temperature is within the recommended range for your particular Turbo.

Assuming the air temperature is correct and if it still does not bubble after this, then use your hydrometer by taking a specific gravity reading, write this down and then wait 24 hours and take another reading. If the reading has dropped that means sugar is being fermented and you simply have a leak in your lid where gas is escaping. This is very unlikely to affect your wash so just leave a lid on and you can determine when it is finished when you get a hydrometer reading of 990. Float the hydrometer into a sample of the wash in a test tube, and take the reading where the surface level of the liquid cuts across the scale on the hydrometer;

How do I check that I have a good airtight seal on my fermenter?
How do I check that I have a good airtight seal on my fermenter?

If the airlock is not bubbling after 24 hours it is most likely that the fermenter is not sealed properly. Check you have pressed the lid on correctly. Next check you have a good seal by lightly pressing the sides of the fermenter to force some air out through the airlock. When you release the pressure on the barrel the air should try to get back in through the airlock. If sealed properly the water level should remain uneven in the airlock (more water on one side than the other).

How long should fermentation take?
How long should fermentation take?

Fermentation can take as little as 3 days. In cooler weather it could take up to 7 days or more. For the first 24-48 hours, heat is generated from the fermentation process. DO NOT ADD ANY HEAT DURING THIS TIME. After this period a Heater Pad or Heat Belt may be used in cooler weather to maintain the temperature.

Fermentation is complete when the yeast has used up all the sugar. There will be no bubbles rising through the wash and the wash hydrometer reading will have been static for two days. Float the hydrometer into the wash or a sample in a test tube, and take the reading where the surface level of the liquid cuts across the scale on the hydrometer; the reading should be about 990.

How important is it to use Turbo Clear or can I just let my wash settle for a week or two?
How important is it to use Turbo Clear or can I just let my wash settle for a week or two?

The only way to remove all carbon and unwanted spent yeast cells prior to distilling treat the wash with Still Spirits Turbo Clear. If you choose not to use turbo clear literally millions of microscopic yeast cells will remain in the wash. This will cause yeast cells to break open during boiling releasing off flavor and smell into your spirit. Also impurities absorbed by fermentation clays and carbons will be released back into the spirit. Turbo Clear is vital to help you achieve the best alcohol quality.

How do I cool my fermenter down in a hot climate?
How do I cool my fermenter down in a hot climate?

Fill some PET soft drink bottles with water and freeze, and then add throughout fermentation to control the temperature. Another method is the evaporation technique. Sit the fermenter in a tray with about 25mm (1 inch) of water. Drape some fabric over the fermenter so it dangles in the water (toweling or an old sweatshirt is ideal). The water is drawn up the fabric and evaporates causing slight refrigeration. If it is still too hot, turn a fan onto the fermenter or drop some frozen plastic bottles in the tray water to further cool it down.

What can I do if the yeast stops working before all the sugar is used? How do I tell?
What can I do if the yeast stops working before all the sugar is used? How do I tell?

In some circumstances the yeast can stop working before all the sugar is used. This will be indicated by a final hydrometer reading higher than 990. Any reading above 1000 on a standard Wash, Wine &Beer Hydrometer suggests that something has gone wrong. This is called a stuck ferment. In most cases a good stir to get the yeast back into circulation should get the wash fermenting again. The most common cause of stuck fermentation is low temperature. In this case simply move the fermenter to a warmer place and stir the yeast back into the liquid. An inexpensive stick-on thermometer will help monitor the temperature. If you are having problems maintaining A warm temperate use a Heating Pad this will be especially important if you want to continue to brew throughout winter.

Another reason for a stuck ferment but less common is the liquid gets too hot and kills the yeast. Also if you put more than the recommended dose of sugar it may produce too much alcohol which kills the yeast.

My wash started to ferment but stopped and my hydrometer reading is not down to 990 SG? Why?
My wash started to ferment but stopped and my hydrometer reading is not down to 990 SG? Why?

It’s probable the temperature rose too high in the first 24 hours of fermentation. It’s important to note that yeast activity can raise the wash temperature by as much as 8°C (46°F) in the first 24 hours of fermentation. It’s essential to start the wash at the recommended temperature for the specific Turbo yeast you are using. Also do not use any heat in the first 24 hours. If the wash overheats during this period the yeast may not have the energy to finish fermenting. If this has occurred, first stir the wash vigorously to stir the yeast back into circulation. You have two options at this point

Option One: Distill the wash only when you are satisfied it will not ferment any more. You may not get as much alcohol as you would from a normally fermented wash. Watch the temperature on the condenser and stop when you have reached the appropriate maximum temperature for your model.

Option Two: Restart your wash the best way to guarantee a restart is to put on a new Turbo (Turbo Classic Yeast is best) but use only 6kg of sugar. Allow to ferment for only 48 hours and then split into 2 fermenters and add half the stuck brew to each half of the fresh fermentation

What do I do if my yeast stops working before all the sugar is used up? How do I restart my fermentation?
What do I do if my yeast stops working before all the sugar is used up? How do I restart my fermentation?

Make sure that your mix has not actually finished by checking the Specific Gravity (S.G.) with a hydrometer. The S.G. should be around 990. If the SG is higher and all sign of fermentation has stopped the best way to guarantee a restart is to put on a new Turbo (Turbo Classic Yeast is best) but use only 6kg of sugar. Allow to ferment for only 48 hours and then split into 2 fermenters and add half the stuck brew to each half of the fresh fermentation.

Couple of facts:

  • The 'special thing' about re-start strains is they have in-built tolerance to around 10% ABV but if added to 12% ABV they die.

If a turbo sticks, often times the %ABV will be above 12%ABV because even when the wash has overheated during fermentation it would usually hit 12%ABV anyway.

Alternately, it may be because the wash has cooled down below 15°C (59°F). In this case, warm the wash up and stir vigorously to get the yeast back into circulation. Once the wash is warm fermentation should continue normally.

I have tried to get the wash going again but nothing seems to start it?
I have tried to get the wash going again but nothing seems to start it?

Distill it anyway. You will not get as much alcohol as you would from a normally fermented wash. Watch the temperature on the condenser and stop when you have reached the appropriate maximum temperature for your model.

Why would my alcohol yield from the still be down? (This needs to be in fermentation and distillation)
Why would my alcohol yield from the still be down? (This needs to be in fermentation and distillation)

If for any reason the wash has not fermented completely, (i.e. above 990 SG all the sugar has not been converted to alcohol), then you will not collect the full amount of distillate through the Still. If you have not collected the full amount of alcohol, check you have used the correct amount of Turbo sugar/ dextrose in the Wash; and/or the specific gravity is below 990 before distilling; and/or there is no steam leak during distillation. If the wash is not fully fermented out, then the unfermented sugars can foam causing the wash to come through the condenser with the distillate. In this instance Top Shelf Distilling Conditioner can be used to increase yield or avoid problems.

My wash has turned to jelly!
My wash has turned to jelly!

The problem described is the result of a bacterial contamination from Leuconostoc. Under certain conditions, this bacterium produces a polysaccharide. This polysaccharide looks like jelly. Whilst it is totally harmless, customers would definitely complain if they saw such a contamination.

This bacterium can live on surfaces within a brewing environment, especially where there is a lot of repeat brewing, this is likely to be the source of contamination. But, for leuconostoc to contaminate a brew would require very low temperatures - under such conditions, very little ethanol would be produced during the first 48 hours allowing the Leuconostoc to take hold.

Distillation

 
How much cooling water do I need to flow through my still?
How much cooling water do I need to flow through my still?

This will vary between stills so check your instructions. With a Still Spirits Super Reflux Condenser, during most of the distillation process the cooling water flowing through the condenser should be flowing at about 500mls (17 US fl oz) per minute. To measure the flow, fill a calibrated jug from the outlet pipe for one minute. Note: 500mls per minute (17 US fl oz) is the ideal flow rate for cooling water that is under 20°C (68°F) . If your cold water supply is warmer than this then a higher flow rate may be required alternately cool the incoming water by connecting it via a copper tube and submersing this in a container of iced water.

My tap water is too warm so how do I cool down my cooling water?
My tap water is too warm so how do I cool down my cooling water?

If your cold water supply is too warm a higher flow rate may be required. Alternately cool the incoming water by connecting it via a copper tube and submersing this in a container of iced water. The temperature of your water also influences the amount you require. In summer you may need more water than in winter when the water is cooler.

What happens if I slow my cooling water down or if it is too hot?
What happens if I slow my cooling water down or if it is too hot?

The slower the cooling water flows through the condenser, the higher the temperature will rise producing a faster flow of spirit. Running the cooling water at less than 500mls (17 US fl oz) per minute may result in a loss of alcohol through steaming from the spirit outlet. The lower the cooling water flows through the condenser the higher the temperature in the reflux column, this will show on the thermometer with a steady and rapid rise in temperature.

What happens if I run too much cooling water through my condenser or if the water temperature is too cold?
What happens if I run too much cooling water through my condenser or if the water temperature is too cold?

If you run more than 600mls (20 US fl oz) of cooling water through the condenser or if it is too cold then this will slow the process down. The more cooling water that flows through the condenser the lower the temperature in the reflux column, this will show on the thermometer.

How do I know how much water flow the condenser needs to run correctly?
How do I know how much water flow the condenser needs to run correctly?

Water flow is extremely important for the correct operation of any condenser. For example if you have a Still Spirits Super reflux Condenser, first the water runs through the main condenser, then into the reflux condenser. The water warms up in the main condenser as it removes heat from the condensing spirit. This hot water is then fed into the reflux condenser. If the flow of water is too high then the reflux condenser becomes too efficient which reduces the flow of steam into the main condenser.

The reduced flow will also result in a higher alcohol content as more of the heavier molecules like water are returned to the Still and what does get past the reflux condenser is the lighter molecules or the alcohol – When a condenser is running properly the top two bands of the main condenser should be very hot. The bottom band of the spiral should be cool and the one above it should be hot but not too hot to touch.

What should I do as the temperature rises on the still condenser thermometer?
What should I do as the temperature rises on the still condenser thermometer?

The thermometer temperature will rise as the alcohol is boiled off. Water boils at 100 degreesC so as the alcohol content is reduced temperature naturally increases. Increase the flow of water through the condenser to hold the temperature. This will vary between stills so refer to your instructions If you are using a super reflux condenser keep the temperature under 92°C (197°F). The flow of alcohol from your still will slow toward the end of the distillation.

I did not get as much alcohol as the instructions said I would?
I did not get as much alcohol as the instructions said I would?

Check that you have used the right quantity and type of sugar. Check there are no steam leaks from your still. Another cause could be that your wash has not fermented out completely. Also, make sure you do not exceed the maximum temperature allowed at the top of the Condenser for the type of still you have.

Why would my alcohol yield from the still be down? (this needs to be in fermentation and distillation)
Why would my alcohol yield from the still be down? (this needs to be in fermentation and distillation)

If for any reason the wash has not fermented completely, (i.e. above 990 SG all the sugar has not been converted to alcohol), then you will not collect the full amount of distillate through the Still. If you have not collected the full amount of alcohol, check you have used the correct amount of Turbo sugar/ dextrose in the Wash; and/or the specific gravity is below 990 before distilling; and/or there is no steam leak during distillation. If the wash is not fully fermented out, then the unfermented sugars can foam causing the wash to come through the condenser with the distillate. In this instance Top Shelf Distilling Conditioner can be used to increase yield or avoid problems.

How long does it take to distill a batch of alcohol?
How long does it take to distill a batch of alcohol?

This will vary between stills. A typical 25L wash will take around 4.5 hours to run through the Still Spirits Super Reflux Still. It will take about 1 hour and 35 minutes to heat up before any condensate will run out of the condenser. It will then take about 5 minutes to collect the Head, and nearly 3 hours to collect3 litres (6.3 pints) of alcohol at 80%. This is a rough guide only.

Why does my wash foam through the condenser? How do I fix it?
Why does my wash foam through the condenser? How do I fix it?

If the wash is not fully fermented out, then the unfermented sugars can foam causing the wash to come through the condenser with the distillate. In this instance Top Shelf Distilling Conditioner can be used to increase yield or avoid problems.

Can I recycle cooling water through my still using a pump?
Can I recycle cooling water through my still using a pump?

Distillation Water Savers are available here and the pump system recycles cooling water through your still to completely eliminate water wastage. You can save well over 150 liters (40 US Gallons) every time. The water saver is used in conjunction with a water drum or tank (60 litres (16 US Gallons) or larger) and frozen ice blocks to keep the water at a constant temperature below 50°C (122°F).

My distillate is blue?
My distillate is blue?

Ensure you have used Still Spirits Turbo System products (some brands produce a blue spirit due to an imbalance of nutrients). Use only one Turbo Yeast sachet per 25 Litre (6.6 US Gallon) wash—if the fermentation sticks do not add another Turbo sachet as this will result in an imbalance of nutrients.

My distillate is cloudy when it comes out of the still?
My distillate is cloudy when it comes out of the still?

The wash has probably frothed and come out the condenser with the distillate. To avoid this use Turbo Clear prior to distilling and or Distilling Conditioner.

My distillate is clear when it comes out of the still and has been filtered but it goes cloudy after a few days?
My distillate is clear when it comes out of the still and has been filtered but it goes cloudy after a few days?

Mineral Salts have been washed out of the carbon and have reformed in the distillate. These are harmless but unsightly. This problem can also appear as coloured sediment when flavour essence has been added as the salts pick up the colouring from the flavouring. Wash the carbon cartridge more thoroughly with water by running at least 2-300mls of water through before using it for spirit. Also during fermentation ensure the temperature is kept as close as possible to ideal fermentation temperature. Chill the spirit containing sediment as it may drop out. You can then decanter it into another container leaving the sediment behind.

My distillate comes out of the condenser discolored or has dark flecks in it?
My distillate comes out of the condenser discolored or has dark flecks in it?

If the condenser is used for the first time then this could be residue from the manufacturing process. Soak with White Vinegar to clean this away then rinse with a weak solution of dishwashing liquid and warm water. If this has not occurred the first time the condenser has been used but occurs on subsequent uses then it can be traced to collecting too much distillate. This will result in the problem showing up next time the condenser is used. Clean as above and only collect the correct amount of distillate. Before distilling ensure that the SG is down to 990 otherwise make sure that you do not distill above the temperature limits of your condenser.

No spirit comes out of my condenser and the lid pushes off?
No spirit comes out of my condenser and the lid pushes off?

There is a blockage in the condenser – When the condenser is removed from the still it should be easy to blow in through the spirit outlet tube. Any resistance here would indicate a blockage that will most likely be at the back of the nipple that the outlet tube is attached to. Using a 4mm (1/6th of an inch) flat punch and a hammer just tap the punch up the outlet to push the inside wall of the main condenser away from the back end of the nipple. This should clear any blockage.

Why is my spirit coming out of the still cloudy?
Why is my spirit coming out of the still cloudy?
  1. The wash has not been allowed to settle with excess sediment dropping to the bottom of the fermenter.
  2. Turbo Clear has not been used to settle the wash
  3. Fermentation temperature is too high causing the production of unwanted but harmless proteins.
  4. The distilling equipment is dirty or faulty.
  5. The wash is not fully fermented.
Can I treat the cloudy spirit to make clean spirit?
Can I treat the cloudy spirit to make clean spirit?

The usual carbon filtering process will in most cases remove the cloudiness, but a sure way is to redistill the cloudy spirit mixed with water, or, with your next wash. Helpful Hint: Make sure that you add enough water to ensure that the element will still be covered when all the alcohol has been boiled off.

Carbon Filtering

 
How does carbon cartridge filtering work?
How does carbon cartridge filtering work?

The Still Spirits EZ Filter is the latest development in alcohol filtration. It uses a specially formulated solid activated carbon cartridge to remove unwanted flavours from distilled alcohol. The cartridge’s porous design allows the spirit to pass through and the unwanted flavours to be absorbed by the activated carbon. The cartridge eliminates the need to handle powdered or granulated carbons.

How do I accurately water my spirit down to 40% before filtering?
How do I accurately water my spirit down to 40% before filtering?

Using a test tube float a Spirit Hydrometer in a sample of the distillate that spirit to measure the alcohol content. Alcohol is thinner than water so the higher in strength the alcohol is, the further down the hydrometer floats. Read the line where the level of the spirit cuts across the hydrometer, this is your alcohol %. Additives such as flavouring will distort the hydrometer readings. Spirit hydrometers should only be used to test spirit at the calibrated temperature. Spirit Hydrometers are calibrated at a temperature of 20°C (68°F) if the spirit is a different temperature to this then you can refer to the Temperature Correction Chart below.

for above answer please copy this from the pdf SS 25L super-reflux still instructions jun08
for above answer please copy this from the pdf SS 25L super-reflux still instructions jun08
How does activated Carbon work? How does it help purify alcohol?
How does activated Carbon work? How does it help purify alcohol?

Activated carbon is are prepared in a manner which causes the carbon crystals to become porous and develop a very large surface area. One gram of activated carbon may have 500 – 1500 square meters of internal surface area. This large surface area and the many internal pores in the carbon are able to absorb many different chemical compounds including those which cause unwanted flavours in your spirit. The absorption process is very complex and depends on concentrations, molecular weight etc. In the case of alcoholic spirit the process works best if the alcohol concentration is 50% or less. This is why we recommend adjusting the alcohol level before purification.

Do I need to flush my carbon with water before running spirit through it?
Do I need to flush my carbon with water before running spirit through it?

Mineral salts are present in the ingredients used for manufacturing activated carbon. If these are not flushed out they can be absorbed into the spirit. Later these salts can become insoluble in the spirit, especially at lower temperatures, and can form a fine sediment or haze.

After I filtered my spirit it became hazy? Why?
After I filtered my spirit it became hazy? Why?

Mineral salts are present in activated carbon and if you do not flush your carbon with water they may be absorbed into the spirit. These salts can become insoluble especially when it is cool and a fine sediment or haze may occur. These salts are not dangerous, but you do not want them in your spirit as they form crystals or haze in the spirit. Always recommend flush your carbon filter with clean water before use. If a haze forms it will sediment out over a few days and you can decant your spirit off. If this occurs you should increase the water flush volume next time.

Can I use an EZ Carbon Cartridge more than once?
Can I use an EZ Carbon Cartridge more than once?

One EZ carbon cartridge is suitable for one batch of spirit from a 25 litre still (about 8L of 50% spirit). A fresh cartridge should be used for each batch. The reason for this is that the carbon is like a sponge which soaks up the impurities in your spirit. The impurities are bi-products from the fermentation process which are not harmful but do add unwated unclean flavours to your final spirit. Imagine a sponge that is full of water, extra water simply does not get soaked up. It is the same with carbon.

How often do I need to change the washers /filter papers on my carbon filter?
How often do I need to change the washers /filter papers on my carbon filter?

The washers are reusable for up to 3 times but should be replaced if they flatten with use and no longer recover to normal thickness. They must remain spongy to work properly.

I have a z carbon filter which uses carbon granules how many times can I use it before changing the carbon?
I have a z carbon filter which uses carbon granules how many times can I use it before changing the carbon?

Filtering, strictly speaking, is the process of removal of particles by passing them through a material finer than the particles we want to remove, With a carbon granule filter such as the Z Filter what we are really doing is absorbing the by-products into microscopic holes in our carbon. The carbon is full of impurities after spirit is passed through it, the carbon cannot be reused.

My spirit comes out gray from the filter, why?
My spirit comes out gray from the filter, why?

The carbon has not been flushed properly prior to use. Flush the carbon as per the instructions making sure to repeat this. Or it may be that you require new filter papers. The papers must remain soft and spongy so swap them over every couple of batches.

I have a carbon granule Z Filter and the spirit runs very slowly?
I have a carbon granule Z Filter and the spirit runs very slowly?

The filter has been over packed with carbon. When the carbon gets wet it expands and may block. Leave a 10mm gap at the top of both chambers of the filter.

Flavouring & Aging

 
Can I drink my spirit straight away after adding the essence?
Can I drink my spirit straight away after adding the essence?

T Yes you can drink it immediately but we believe the flavours in the spirit will intensify and improve after 2 to 3 days. This gives the subtle flavours of the essence enough time to be thoroughly immersed in the spirit.

Classic Finest Reserve Scotch Whiskey goes cloudy when I mix it?
Classic Finest Reserve Scotch Whiskey goes cloudy when I mix it?

This essence is prone to going cloudy if the alcohol content is below 40% A/V or the spirits is very cold - Make sure the alcohol content is above 40% when mixing. If possible mix it in at 50% then slowly water the spirit down. Make sure the spirit is warmer than 25°C (77°F).

Can I age my spirit?
Can I age my spirit?

By storing some of the spirit you produce in glass in a cool dark place for a long period of time it will mellow. Some distillers age their spirit in oak barrels to imitate the commercial brands. This process may be imitated by the addition of oak chips, or Still Spirits Mellow Oak or Still Spirits Premium French Oak essences to the spirit. Age spirit in bulk for best results. You can also age your Bourbons in Bourbon Chips. Choose from Tennessee, Kentucky or Gobblers.

Still Spirits Turbo Air Still System

 
The lid is lifting on mu air still when I distill alcohol
The lid is lifting on mu air still when I distill alcohol

This can occur for the following reasons;

  1. The “wash” has not completely fermented out. Please check to make sure that the Specific Gravity (SG) of the wash is below 990.
  2. Make sure that the still only has 4 litres of wash per cycle, overfilling can also cause problems.
  3. Add more ceramic saddles to the still when distilling a wash to prevent “foaming”. This foaming can block the outlet pipe causing the lid to lift.

Add distilling conditioner to the wash before distilling to avoid foaming. This is probably the fail safe way to prevent this problem.
 

My air still cartridge won't take in any water when I pre soak it
My air still cartridge won't take in any water when I pre soak it

This cartridge is faulty. A very small number of cartridges are affected. We have changed suppliers and don’t expect this problem in the future. If this problem affects you then please see your retailer for a replacement cartridge.

My alcohol flows straight through the air still filter
My alcohol flows straight through the air still filter

Make sure you have washers fitted to each end of the cartridge and also make sure the cartridge is secured correctly with plastic nut and holder. Some cartridges are more porous than others will flow through quickly. If this is the case, run the spirit through a few times.

I run my air still continuously and can't filter fast enough
I run my air still continuously and can't filter fast enough

Collect all the alcohol and filter using the “EZ Filter” or “Easy Filter Inline Filter” that way you can do all the spirit with one filter pass.

My air still filter runs too slowly
My air still filter runs too slowly

There is an issue of variable flow through the Air Still Filter cartridges. This is caused by variable pressure during manufacture. We are working with the manufacturer to fix this problem. It is worth understanding that you are getting improved carbon treatment when the spirit takes longer to pass through the filter.

Terminology

Alcohol – Most commonly used to describe Ethanol, the type of alcohol in wine, beer, spirits and other alcoholic beverages. It is a chemical with the formula C2H5OH.

Distillate - The concentrated component that condenses from a Distillation process.

Distillation – Method of separating 2 or more substances by heating the mixture to a temperature that is higher than the boiling point of one component and lower than the boiling point of the other component. The vapour of the lower boiling point component is captured and allowed to condense and is more concentrated compared to the original mixture.

Frementation – Conversion of carbohydrates (sugars) into Alcohol and Carbon Dioxide by Yeast.

Spirit - An alcohol beverage containing at least 20% alcohol v/v and with no added sugar

Wash - Liquid containing Alcohol which has been produced by yeast fermenting sugars.