The Only Commercial Woodfired Still in Canada

Yep, still on vacation in scenic eastern Canada. Chasing children, swimming, and working on my tan. About 30 minutes away from some sea caves you’ll find the small, historic town of Lunenburg. It was the birthplace of Bluenose, a sailing ship that’s super famous if you’re into such things. It’s on the Canadian Dime, Google it if you want.

Anyway, after an uneventful 3 hours on a ship looking for whales and holding barf bags for tiny humans (I do not recommend whale watching with small children…live and learn) I found myself at Ironworks Distillery. It’s a microdistillery housed in an old blacksmith shop. The building fits in well with the historic atmosphere. In fact, I almost overlooked it, but the pungent scent of fermentation was as a siren song leading me to an unexpected treasure. In the corner of the tasting room is a beautiful Müller pot still. By now you’re probably thinking, “shut up and show us the goods”. Here you go.

See the little door on the bottom right? Just next to the lady in black’s shoulder? Yeah, believe it or not that’s like a woodstove. I don’t want to say that I wasn’t convinced, but I did ask him to open it. Sure enough, inside was the remnants of a wood fire. Honestly, the woodfire thing threw me for a loop. While I am past (knock on wood) the temperature control issues that plagued my early attempts I am no where near ready to consider moving from propane to wood. Now that I know it’s a thing I am very, very interested.

Having seen the still and discussing it’s operation, I believe that a lot of the control is in the precision of the design and build processes. The still is legit. I was surprised to see the alembic hood on it. Unfortunately, no one was available to walk me through that purchase decision or discuss their fermentation process in any depth (for those who are interested, there is a tour you can do…but I showed up about 30 minutes before closing).

After operating for a while, they decided they needed a little bit more horsepower and purchased “Ruby”. It’s an amazing multi column still complete with whiskey hood.

It’s quite the still. The gentleman walking me through it, Goldie, said that by the time the ethanol hits the top of the second column and moves down the condenser it’s 95% ABV. I buy it, and I am in love with the multi column design. All in all, my trip to Lunenburg was saved by Ironworks Distillery. Seriously, don’t go whale watching with children under 10…it’s awful. The hospitality at Ironworks was fantastic, and you had better believe I picked up a few souvenirs.

I’m headed home momentarily now, and still expecting the agave this week (delivery forecasted between yesterday and EOD tomorrow). I have no set delivery date yet, but I know it’s entered the country having come all the way from Spain. Who knew? I guess the Agave went from Mexico to Spain and on to Canada. If all goes well, I’ll be publishing the fermentation kickoff here in the next 72 hours.

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