Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and, to be honest with you, I don’t plan on distilling again for at least a month. It’s too damn cold this time of year to wait around in the cold for hours and hours watching fluid trickle out of a chemically resistant hose. I’ve been meaning to write a little bit about the equipment used. There’s no time like the present.
I mentioned in the links page that I use the Brewhaus essential extractor. I won’t say that it’s a traditional pot still. It’s not the polished copper that pulls the heart strings of nostalgia, but it, in my admittedly limited experience, is a wonderful still. The reasons I like it, in a nutshell are:
- Pricepoint – If you can find a better still at a lower price, make a comment.
- Craftsmanship – The welds on this thing are great. The steel is good and thick, and I have every faith that this thing’s going to be with me for the long haul.
- Reflux flexibility – Pack the column with whatever you like. I use copper mesh to help ferret out impurities, but you can drop in anything from steel wool to ceramic and it’s gonna be great.
- Simple, straight forward temperature control – The Essential Extractor is everything you’ll need in one kit. This includes a submersible water pump, and enough hose to run not only through the condenser, but through the column itself has pipes welded in that you can, as I say, flood. Flooding the column sends cold water through the pipes and drops the column temperature in a hurry when you need it.
Here’s a picture of my brewhaus extractor fully assembled:
It’s an 8 gallon pot (note the wide base to help keep the center of gravity low). Fully assembled (and on the burner) it stands a proud nearly seven feet tall. the wide base also keeps the heat diffusing nicely across the base of the pot, and, in case you have a small burner or hotplate, it even came with a diffuser plate. The other thing you guys should check out is the closeup shot of the column cooling system:
You can hopefully make out a couple of things here. First, you can see the hoses where the cold water enters the bottom of the condenser and exits the top. You should also note the red valve. The red valve controls the flow of water through the hoses and pipes that cross the top of the column three times. When everything’s going easy you can keep the valve shut so that the water moves back from the condenser directly into the water bucket where it gets recycled. However, when things are perhaps a little bit more intense, you open the valve and the water moves through the column cooling everything down in a hurry.
One last comment regarding Brewhaus (and I swear that I’m not on their payroll) – I really like the fact that they provide everything a novice needs. This includes stills, fermenters, yeast, reading material and all the batch monitoring tools you need. A few folks have asked me where to go to get started. I’m certainly happy that I chose Brewhaus.