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How Hot Does Your Thump Keg Get Making Moonshine? (Best solution)

The heat of about 172 degrees is then applied to the still so the alcohol can start to evaporate. This alcohol steam will then rise through the cap arm into copper pipes. In these copper pipes, the vapor is transferred into the thump keg.

How does a thump keg work for moonshine?

  • With a thump keg, the hot vapor that exits the still arm into the wine that is already condensed at the bottom of the thumper once again evaporates before it reaches the condenser. When the alcohol is vaporized again, the alcohol content increases dramatically. In most home moonshine kits, there is only one thump keg built into the system.


Do you put water in the thump keg?

Making moonshine with a thumper instead of a pot still is great because thumpers essentially perform two distillations in one—without stripping the flavor the way reflux distillation does. Depending on your thumper, it’s typical to plan to fill it about halfway with liquid.

What temperature do you make moonshine?

The alcohol that makes fine, high-quality moonshine, is ethanol, which boils at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Other chemicals and types of alcohols, such as methanol, boil at lower temperatures and will be collected in your cup or jar after being condensed in the coil.

Is the thump keg heated?

The thumper Keg is a small copper, steel, or wooden vessel which is placed between the stillpot and condenser. It receives low wine from the stillpot and heats it again, sending highly purified alcohol vapors to the condenser.

Can I put fruit juice in a thump keg?

What is this? You will have several options for doing this. Add fruit-infused spirits to your thumper keg – You can place your chosen fruits, spices, and herbs into a big container of low wines or head/tail spirits. Then, let it sit for about a week or two to gradually infuse these flavors into the liquid.

What happens if you distill wine?

Distillation is used to produce many types of spirits, but in the wine industry, distilled wine can be used to produce brandy and port. Although the base beverage determines the neutrality and flavor of the distilled spirit, distillation can also be used to remediate some wine defects.

Does a thumper need to be heated?

Does a Thumper Need to be Heated? Many moonshiners do prefer to heat the thumper. The alcohol does need to stay in vapor form to be able to rise into the condenser. Wood barrels are often preferred as thump kegs because of wood’s natural isolative abilities.

What temperature is best for moonshine mash?

The higher the temperature, the faster the rate of fermentation, but the lower the alcoholic yield. The optimum temperature is 78º F. Never exceed 90º F.

What temperature does methanol boil?

As you can see, the process of fermenting and distilling moonshine is quite time-consuming. In general, you can expect it to take between 1-3 weeks to make moonshine, as the mash must ferment and the distillation process must be continued until the final shine is safe for consumption.

How long can mash sit before distilling?

After 14 days, it should be about done. If it still bubbles, let it sit for another few days, or until you see no bubbling for at least a minute or two. Once there is no activity in the airlock, your mash is ready to run.

How does a Mason jar Thumper work?

How Does a Thump Keg Work? With a thump keg, the hot vapor that exits the still arm into the wine that is already condensed at the bottom of the thumper once again evaporates before it reaches the condenser. When the alcohol is vaporized again, the alcohol content increases dramatically.

What’s the purpose of a thumper keg?

Basically, a thumper keg is a container that is installed in the distillation apparatus between the still pot and the condenser. It was traditionally used in hillbilly stills to increase the alcohol content of the distillate because, traditional stills only output product with about a 50-60 percent alcohol content.

What is the best fruit to put in moonshine?

But you can subdue its potent taste by flavoring it with almost any fruit, including watermelon, peach, strawberry, raspberry, apple, lime or lemon. Just remember to add your fruit of choice while making the moonshine in order to avoid reducing the alcohol content.

How much liquid goes in a thumper?

You need to put some kind of liquid in the thump keg filling it about 1/4 full. The options are: left over mash, tails from a previous run, etc. But if you want the thumper to do what it is supposed to do (increase the alcohol % in the final product), there needs to be some kind of alcohol in the thumper.

The Thumper Keg Explained – What it does and how it does it! – Learn to Moonshine

Thump kegs, also known as “doublers,” are a very old design element that was most likely brought to North America with the first settlers and incorporated into the stills they built upon arrival. While they are most commonly associated with backwoods whiskey stills, the thump keg, or “doubler,” is not (Fig. 1). Because some older European stills made use of what looks to be thump keg-like chambers, the idea was almost certainly well-known to colonists from both the British Isles and continental Europe when they arrived in North America.

Figure 1, Typical backwoods whiskey still. Smaller copper pot in center is thump keg.

In the absence of a thump keg, a standard pot still is capable of distilling a wash into merely a “low wine,” which will contain around 40-50 percent alcohol. A second or even a third distillation is required to attain the high alcohol concentration required to produce high-proof whiskey or other spirit at the desired strength. European distillers still employ swan-neck pot stills, and they will have two stills: one for distilling the wash to a low-wine condition, and another for rectifying the low-wine state into a high-proof spirit.

This is accomplished in an exceptionally smart manner by the thump keg, which utilizes waste heat from the still pot to do its task.


Figure 3, Diagram showing flow of vapor through still and thump keg

In spite of the fact that it has apparent benefits over the traditional pot still, how does it compare to a more complex reflux column still? Of course, for the backwoods moonshiner, there’s the obvious advantage of having materials on hand at all times. The cost of purchasing enough Raschig rings or copper scouring pads to fill a big fractionating column is far less than the cost of locating and reusing an abandoned wooden barrel. A properly constructed column, on the other hand, is capable of producing alcohol concentrations that are close to the theoretical maximum, in some cases exceeding 95%, while also providing better separation between the ethyl alcohol and the esters and ketones in the heads and the heavy fusel alcohols in the tails.

These people include traditional moonshiners and connoisseurs of single-malt, pot-distilled Scottish whiskeys.

How Does a Thump Keg Work?

Do you want to produce high-quality moonshine with the least amount of effort? The thump keg is your new best buddy, and we’d like to introduce you to him. It might be quite a puzzle to figure out how to make your own moonshine if you are new to this activity. Understanding the many processes involved in making your own alcohol, such as fermentation and distillation, will be essential. Before you can begin brewing, you will need to become familiar with several pieces of equipment like as the still, thump keg, and warm box.

The thump keg, on the other hand, is one of the components that you might not be as acquainted with.

Hump kegs are so named because particles of maize occasionally rise to the surface of the vaporized alcohol and produce thumping noises when they fall into the heated barrel in which they were originally stored. In this essay, we will go through what we mean by

What is a thump keg?

Since the beginning of time, the thump keg has played an important role in the production of whiskey. One of the most important functions of a thump keg is that it allows you to distill your output from a pot still a second time without having to pass the product through the still a second time or modify the taste and strength of your moonshine. You can make a low-quality whiskey with only a pot and no thump keg, if you choose. After a single run, these spirits typically yield between 40 and 50 percent alcohol by volume.

Thump Kegs allow you to produce significantly higher-quality results without having to go through the full procedure again.

The Design of a Thump Keg

This traditional whiskey-making tool has been used for hundreds of years to make bourbon. To distill your moonshine output a second time, you must use a thump keg. This eliminates the need to pass the product through the still a second time, as well as the possibility of altering the taste and potency of your moonshine. If you just have a pot and no thump keg, you can still make a low-grade whiskey. After a single run, these spirits typically yield between 40 and 50% alcohol by volume. Those who wish to produce a high proof whiskey will then run a second batch of the same product in order to improve the flavor and quality of the whiskey.

A further advantage of using the thump keg is that the still and thump keg arrangement will take care of all of the work for you.

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A thump keg can be replaced with a reflux column still

A reflux column still can be used in lieu of the thump keg if desired. Some of these stills contain different types of materials, including copper mesh. After passing through the column still, the liquid is treated and interacts with the copper, which removes sulfur from the product as a result of the reaction. Reflux column stills have the ability to create spirits with an alcohol content of up to 95%. The majority of beer enthusiasts, however, prefer to use a thump keg atop the reflux column since these are easier to come by or make, and they are far less expensive to purchase.

In addition, some whiskey manufacturers are content to skip the thump keg entirely and restart the entire process using a sour mash in order to retain a precise alcohol percentage and flavor profile for their whiskey.

Thump kegs can be used to impact whiskey flavor

It is also because of this that so many moonshine makers choose to employ thump kegs: they can use them to alter the flavor of their whiskey.

With the addition of various substances such as fruits, herbs, and spices, the flavor and essence of the alcohol may be altered, resulting in the creation of more intriguing spirits.

How does a thump keg work?

If you are using a thump keg for the first time, always remember to give it a thorough cleaning before using it to reduce the possibility of infecting your still with foreign matter or bacteria. Once the thump keg has been well cleaned, you may begin assembling your system. Here’s a brief rundown of what you’ll require:

  • If you are using a thump keg for the first time, always remember to give it a thorough cleaning before using it to reduce the possibility of contaminating your still with foreign matter or contaminants. As soon as the thump keg has been well cleaned, you can begin assembling your set up. What you’ll need is summarized as follows:

Before you begin combining components, make sure that your whiskey making kit is completely assembled. Many moonshiners construct their own whiskey-making equipment, replete with thump keg, from the ground up entirely by hand. You may, on the other hand, save a significant amount of time by purchasing the finest whiskey making kit that is already completely assembled. After you have completed your setup, you may begin utilizing your thump keg right away. Follow these steps to learn how to use this configuration:

Make your mash

Before the finished product can be transferred to the thump keg, it must first be mashed in the still pot. Inside the still, cornmeal will be steeped in hot water for the duration of the procedure. In some cases, sugar is used in place of the grain substitute. The mixture is then inoculated with yeast, which begins the fermentation process. It takes a few days for this mixture to completely convert into what is known as mash. The still is then subjected to a temperature of around 172 degrees in order for the alcohol to begin to evaporate.

The vapor is transmitted into the thump keg through the copper pipes in the keg.

Can you Add Fruit to a Thump Keg?

Some moonshiners choose to include special items in their thump kegs, such as fruits or spices, to enhance the flavor. Because of this reaction, a portion of the fragrance is absorbed into the liquor, resulting in alterations to the flavor and scent of the whiskey.

Can you Increase the Potency of your Still with the Thump Keg?

Moonshiners who wish to make more strong alcoholic drinks can “charge” the thump keg by adding undistilled mash or alcohol to the keg before distilling the mash or alcohol. The steam that passes through the liquid will take up part of the alcohol vapor before rising to the top of the condenser and re-entering the system. This is the time when the liquid still in the heated thump keg begins to re-evaporate. This procedure also removes any mash bits that may have gotten into the thump keg during the brewing process.

Condensate your Still

When the vapor emerges from the thump keg, it climbs to the top of the condenser and condenses. In certain circles, the condenser is also referred to as the worm because it is made of a length of coiled copper pipe that is housed within a worm box that is filled with cold water. Many worm boxes are powered by cold water that is continually cycled, ensuring that the condensation process remains constant. In addition to being instantaneously triggered by surrounding cold water, the condensation process is also initiated as soon as the vapor enters the worm.

The steam is converted into liquid alcohol, which is discharged by the faucet, hose, or spout into a bucket. Many moonshiners would additionally filter their moonshine a second time before bottling and distributing their products to the general public.

Does a Thumper Need to be Heated?

Many moonshiners prefer to heat the thumper instead of using it. The alcohol must remain in vapor form in order for it to be able to climb to the top of the condenser. Because of the natural isolative properties of wood, barrels used as thump kegs are frequently favored over other materials. It is less necessary to use artificial heat to evaporate the alcohol in a thump keg since condensation is reduced in this method.


As you can see, utilizing a thump keg does not add to the amount of labor you have to perform. If the thump keg in the whiskey-making kit is set up correctly, the still will naturally flow through the thump keg and into the barrel. If you want to make things as simple as possible, you may leave the vapor to just travel through the thump keg without adding any further components. The alcohol content of your still will continue to rise substantially, but the flavor may be completely lacking. When making your still, you have the option of adding fruits or spices to your thump keg if you want to enhance the flavor.

Beginner whiskey producers should concentrate on making a low alcohol content still, with an alcohol content of about 70 – 80 percent, until they gain more experience.

What Is A Thumper Keg and How Does It Work?

It is recommended that you purchase a thumper keg for your still if you are interested in raising the strength of your spirits or manufacturing a classic backwoods moonshine. It is an ingenious invention that will improve the potency and purity of your distilled spirits significantly. In this article, I’ll cover all you need to know about thumper kegs, including how they operate, what they can accomplish, and how to use one to infuse flavor into your beer or other beverage. I’ll also include a list of some of the top thumper kegs currently available on the market.

The Most Important Takeaways

  • Thumper Keg: A jar made of copper, steel, or wood that is put between the still pot and the condenser to collect the distillate. What Thumper Keg Size Should I Use? A thumper keg should be 25 percent to 40 percent the size of your main boiler, depending on how much steam you need. What Is the Function of a Thumper Keg? Its primary function is to speed up the distillation process
  • However, it may also be used for other purposes.

Thumper Keg: A receptacle made of copper, steel, or wood that is put between the still pot and the condenser. When should you use a Thumper Keg? If your main boiler is 25 percent to 40 percent the size of a thumper keg, you should use one. A Thumper Keg Is Used For What Purposes? Its primary function is to accelerate the distillation process; however, it may also be used for other purposes as well.

What Is A Thumper Keg?

In distillation, a thumper Keg is a tiny vessel made of copper, steel, or wood that is positioned between the stillpot and condenser. It receives low wine from the stillpot and warms it again, resulting in the production of highly purified alcohol vapors that are sent to the condenser for cooling. Consequently, there is no need for a second distillation to produce a high-proof spirit (more on how a keg thumper works, below). The thumper keg, also known as a Thump Barrel, Thump Chest, or Doubler, was extremely popular among distillers and moonshiners in the Appalachian Mountains during Prohibition.

Thumper Kegs are so named because of the pounding sound that the vapor and condensed low wine produce when the still is in operation.

To the dismay of some, the pounding sound is not created by mash dropping into the container as is commonly believed. Moonshiners who were interested in producing strong spirits would occasionally add more alcohol to their mixtures.

How Does A Thumper Keg Work?

When using a standard still, the wash (fermented solution) is heated to a high temperature in order to produce alcohol vapors, which are then caught by a condenser. It is through the condensation of vapors that low wines are produced, which are generally 25 to 35 percent alcohol by volume in composition (ABV). The low-alcohol wines must be distilled again in order to produce a distillate with a greater alcohol content. Beer strippers (a very basic still) are used by most distilleries to convert wash into low wines, which are subsequently transformed into high-proof spirits using a separate spirit still.

Even though repeated distillation is a time-tested procedure, it can be time-consuming and expensive to go through more than two or three distillations at once.

Its purpose is to assist the distiller in avoiding the

How To Infuse Flavor Into Moonshine with a Thumper Keg

Distillers typically add spirit tails, low wines, water, or whiskey to their thumper keg in order to chill the alcohol vapors that escape from the potstill during the distillation process. However, you may experiment with different fruit, herb, and spice combinations to create unique taste combinations for your spirits. The most effective method of incorporating these tastes is a hotly discussed issue. The following are some ideas to consider experimenting with:

  • Adding fruit-infused alcohol to the thumper keg is a fun experiment. Using your favorite fruit and herb combinations, combine them in a big container with low-alcohol wines or head/tail spirits and let them marinade for a week or two. The taste of your components will gradually permeate into the solution as it is prepared. Pour this solution into the bottom of the thumper keg to impart the flavors that it contains, and shake well. Making direct additions to the thumper keg of juice or oils To add taste to the thumper keg, ingredients such as apple juice, peach juice, blackberry juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut oil can be put straight to the keg
  • However, this is not recommended. Making direct additions to the thumper keg of raw components Some distillers may immediately add fruit peel, herbs, spices, and mashed fruit to the thumper keg, while others will use a mash tun. Only thing to keep in mind is that mashed fruit will need to be put in big numbers and that it may be messy to clean up afterward. If you’re utilizing this approach to incorporate fruit, make sure your produce is fresh.

In order to get the greatest taste out of your spirit, it’s ideal to add your components after the spirit’s heads have been removed from the thumper keg. This will ensure that the tastes are having an influence on the portion of the distillation that you will actually consume. Beginner Moonshine Stills is a related article.

How Big Should a Thumper Keg Be?

When it comes to size, your thumper keg should be between 25 and 40% the size of your main boiler. For large charges (botanicals, low-alcohol wines, wash, water, etc.), use a thumper keg that is at least half the size of the main boiler (preferably more).

What Size Thumper Kegs Are There?

If you’re seeking to purchase a thumper keg, you have a number of alternatives to choose from. One alternative is to purchase a whole thumper keg, which can be constructed of copper, stainless steel, or wood. Complete kits, which contain the main boilers, a thumper, and a condenser, are also available for purchase. If you’re searching for a more affordable alternative, you may get a mason jar jumper kit. This set includes a copper tube and seal that can be screwed onto any mason jar, and it is dishwasher safe.

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DIY 2 Gal 10 Liters Home Distiller Copper Thumper Keg

a DIY Copper Alcohol 2 Gal 10 Liters Copper Alcohol for sale Stills for making moonshine, ethanol stills, spirits, boiler water distillers, and more.

  • Moonshine Stills – full distillation apparatus, appropriate for both novices and experienced distillers, with simple handling and installation
  • Material and construction – non-toxic red copper and stainless steel are used in the construction of the structure. There is no lead in any of the pieces, and all of the parts are made of food-grade materials, with the exception of the fermenter, which has been particularly thickened. (Dimensions: capacity: 2 gallons / 10 liters, height: 9.8 inches, diameter: 9.8 inches. ) Metal Thermometers with a built-in thermometer display the following temperatures: Celsius Fahrenheit, so that the operator can readily check the temperature while operating the distiller, as well as a free stainless steam plate and gauge bag, which helps to prevent burnout and performs significantly better during distillation. When using a large pot as a fermenter, a free temperature sticker may be placed on the fermenter so that the temperature can be checked.

This high-quality stainless steel thumper is an excellent alternative for the home distiller looking for a high-quality product. It makes use of 100 percent lead-free, food-grade components that are completely non-toxic and are specifically designed for the distillation process.

It is possible to purchase this thumper keg kit in four various sizes (2 gallon/10 liters, 3 gallon/12 liters, 5 gallons/20 liters, and 8 gallons/30 liters) depending on your needs.

Stampede Stills 2 Gallon Copper Moonshine Still Thumper Keg (Doubler)

A copper thumper keg built entirely of copper sheet (20 ounces) is featured here. It has a capacity of 2 gallons and is equipped with a 12″ ball valve drain as well as 1/2″ copper pipe handoffs. All of the ingredients, including the silver-based solder, are free of lead.

Stampede Stills Copper Widemouth Mason Jar Thumper Kit

Mason Jar Thumper Kit made of Stampede Stills Copper Half Gallon Widemouth Mason Jar Thumper Kit

  • 1/2 inch thick and made from 20 ounce copper sheet, silver-based lead-free solder, and a gasket “Copper pipe is a type of pipe made of copper. The entrance pipe is equipped with an elbow to prevent hot spots on the bottom glass
  • 1/2 inch diameter “Copper pipe that has been stubbed out to make it simple to connect to your existing still. There is no need to purchase additional pipe/coupling/unions to attach to your setup because everyone’s still is somewhat different
  • Nonetheless, Mason jars half-gallon size with regular wide mouth lids work well for this project.

Handcrafted copper tube and seal that can be used to convert any wide mouth mason jar into a thumper-keg like container. The beauty of this kit is that it is quite reasonably priced, allowing you to simply set up a multi-jar configuration in which you treble or quadruple distill your spirit with relative ease. Because the pipes are stubbed out, you will be responsible for connecting your own pipes.

YUEWO 3 Pots DIY 2 Gal/10 Liters Moonshine Still

Yuewoo 3 Pots DIY 2gal/10Litres YUEWO 3 Pots DIY Moonshine Still Copper Water Alcohol Distiller Home Brew Wine Making Kits with Thumper Keg for Do It Yourself Moonshine Making Essential Oils of Brandy, Whiskey, and Wine

  • Moonshine Stills are a comprehensive distillation system that is suited for both beginners and experienced distillers. They are simple to use and install. 3-Pot Distiller, which is unique in that the steam enters from one side of the fruit/spices pot and exits from the other, allowing the operator to brew his or her own flavor with relative ease
  • Material and construction are both secure. Red copper and stainless steel are used in the construction of the fermenter, and there is no lead present in any of the components. A stainless/copper coil cooling tube and other food-grade materials are used throughout the fermenter, and the fermenter has been particularly thickened. (Dimensions: capacity: 2Gallons/10L, height: 9inch, diameter: 9inch
  • Dimensions: height: 9inch, diameter: 9inch Build-in Thermometer – Metal Thermometers display temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit, allowing the operator to readily check the temperature while operating the distiller. Free Stainless Steam Plate and Gauze Bag, which help to avoid burnout and perform significantly better during distillation. When using a large pot as a fermenter, a free temperature sticker may be placed on the fermenter so that the temperature can be checked.

This is a full moonshine still kit that can be used to make any type of spirit from the ground up in your home. It includes a huge 10 liter boiler, a thumper, a condenser, and all of the necessary connecting pipes. It is made entirely of non-toxic red copper and stainless steel components, and it is completely safe and non-toxic to use. With built-in thermometers, it’s easy to keep tabs on the progress of your distillation process. In what way does a Thumper Keg serve a purpose? The primary function of a thumper keg is to expedite the distillation process.

The other advantage of having a thumper keg is that it allows you to include botanicals into your spirits.

List of Moonshine Distilleries is a related resource.

How To Clean A Thumper Keg?

With this full moonshine still kit, you can make any type of spirit from scratch, no matter what the recipe calls for. All of the necessary components are included, including the 10-liter boiler, the thumper, the condenser, and any other necessary piping. Because it is constructed entirely of non-toxic red copper and stainless steel components, the product is completely safe and non-toxic to use. With built-in thermometers, it’s simple to keep tabs on the progress of your distillation process.

The primary function of a thumper keg is to expedite the distillation procedure.

It is possible to add botanicals to your spirits by utilizing a thumper keg as well.

See also: Moonshine Distilleries in the United States of America

Distillation Temperature

The article “How are Commercial Spirits Made? ” is highly recommended prior to reading this one, since it gives an excellent summary of the concept of distillation. Continue reading if you are already familiar with the fundamentals. Before we get started, here’s a little reminder: If you do not have a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as the necessary state permissions, you are prohibited from distilling alcohol.

Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information contained in this paper is intended solely for educational purposes. We encourage you to read our comprehensive legal statement for further information on the legality of distillation.

The Boiling Temperature of Ethanol

We receive a large number of queries concerning distillation and temperature control. According to a large amount of evidence, the boiling temperature of ethanol is 174 degrees Fahrenheit. The truth is that this is only half true. Pure ethanol has a boiling temperature of 174 degrees Fahrenheit. ethanol in a wash, which is to say ethanol combined with water, boils at a temperature that is fully dependent on the ratio of ethanol to water. The boiling temperature increases in direct proportion to the amount of water present in the solution.

In this case, the boiling point of a solution containing 100 percent ethanol is 174 degrees Fahrenheit.

In reality, a 50/50 mix of ethanol and water yielded a result.

Should a Still Start Producing Alcohol At 174 Degrees Fahrenheit?

Among the many questions we receive is this one: “Should I expect to see alcohol escaping from my still after the temperature has reached 174 degrees F?” No, a commercial distiller should not engage in this practice, according to the response. Why? Pure ethanol has a boiling point of 174 degrees Fahrenheit, as previously stated. The wash produced by a still is not pure ethanol. If such were the case, why would anybody bother distilling it? A first-run wash is typically no stronger than 20 percent ethanol in concentration.

Rather of being 100 percent alcohol (ethanol), it’s more likely to be 90 percent water.

A wash with a starting alcohol concentration of 10 percent ethanol will not boil anywhere near 174 degrees Fahrenheit.

Those who are

Should a Still Maintain a Constant Temperature During Distillation?

The following is another question we receive: “Should I maintain the temperature of my still at exactly 174 F during a distillation run?” “No, certainly not,” is the response to this question. Why? The solution, as it turns out, has a lot to do with the chart above. A professional distiller, for example, may begin with a strong wash that contains a beginning alcohol concentration of 20 percent and may predict that ethanol will begin to boil out of the solution after the liquid temperature has reached around 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Assume that halfway through the run, half of the alcohol has been removed from the wash and the wash has a 10 percent alcohol by volume content.

At that moment, one may anticipate the liquid temperature to have climbed to around 198 degrees Fahrenheit. The basic fact is that as long as a still is in operation,

Where Should a Thermometer Be Installed on a Still?

During a distillation run, another question we receive is “should I maintain the temperature of my still at exactly 174 F?” “No, certainly not,” is the response to this. Why? What the chart above demonstrates is that the answer has a lot to do with the chart. A professional distiller, for example, may begin with a strong wash that contains a beginning alcohol concentration of 20 percent and may anticipate that ethanol will begin to boil out of the solution after the liquid temperature has reached around 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suppose that half of the alcohol in the wash has been removed from it by halfway through the run, and the wash is now at 10 percent alcohol by volume.

Bottom line: while a still is in motion, it is a moving object.

Should Vapor Temperature and Wash Temperature be the Same?

The temperature of the vapor and the temperature of the wash should be quite different. As soon as vapor begins to develop in the pot and is forced to migrate up the column, the temperature of the vapor temperature probe at the top of the column (if one is mounted there) will climb from ambient to 175 degrees Fahrenheit in less than a minute. Hypothetically, the boiler thermometer may be reading something like 195 F (again, depending on the starting alcohol) at this stage, while the vapor probe may be reading as low as 175 F.

How to Use Temperature During Distilling

The temperature of the vapor and the temperature of the wash should be significantly different.. As soon as vapor begins to develop in the pot and is forced to migrate up the column, the temperature of the vapor temperature probe at the top of the column (if one is mounted there) will climb from ambient to 175 degrees Fahrenheit in less than one minute. The boiler thermometer may be reading something like 195 F at this stage (again, depending on the starting alcohol) while the vapor probe may be reading as low as 175 F.

Regardless of the temperature differential between the two (boiler and vapor), it is not a significant difference.

Best Liquid To Use in Thumper

Thumpers, as opposed to pot stills, are ideal for making moonshine because they effectively conduct two distillations in one—without losing the taste from the spirit, as occurs when reflux distillation is employed. If you have a thumper, it is customary to fill it approximately halfway with liquid before using it. For our Brewhaus thumpers, this is the case; however, if you are using another kind of thumper, verify with the manufacturer or modify the fill level as needed.

How do you know what kind of liquid to use in your thumper while you’re creating moonshine, though? Is it only water? Although that was my initial assumption, it turns out that water is one of the last things you’d want to use in a fire.

Tails From a Previous Batch: Best

Essentially, how the thumper works is that it draws water vapor from the head of your kettle and directs it via a tube to the bottom of the thumper. Once it enters the liquid in the thumper, it cools and condenses, while simultaneously heating the liquid in the thumper, which results in a condensed vapor and heated liquid. The temperature of the liquid in the thumper steadily rises, and the liquid vaporizes up into the condenser and out as product as a result of this. Ideally, you should use the liquid from a prior run to fill the thumper with tails from the current run.

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If you do decide to utilize tails for this, be sure to use only the ones that you gathered first.

Some of Your Current Wash: Good

The utilization of part of the liquid from the distillation process might be another possibility. However, although while this will not include as much alcoholic content as tails from a previous run, it is preferable to water since it has some alcoholic content. Given that you’re going to be using it to produce moonshine anyhow, fill your thumper up approximately halfway and get to work distilling your concoction.

Water: Better Than Nothing

At first glance, I figured that thumpers were simply filled with water, but Rick explains that water would be the very last choice in such a situation. Despite the fact that it theoretically works, he asserted that if you use water, you would not get the benefits of utilizing anything that already contains alcoholic content. If you don’t have any tails from a prior batch on hand, he advises using at least a portion of your current wash as a substitute. Although there is no real harm done if you use water, you will not obtain nearly as much benefit from this “double-distillation” as you would if you used one of the other methods described above.

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Distilling and Temperature Control

When distilling, it is critical to maintain precise temperature control. Don’t take a nap while on the job. Distilling alcohol at home is a fun and rewarding process that demands patience and ability to complete. If you want to be the best at something, you must be aware of several critical variables about temperature. Distillation necessitates the use of a lot of heat, and it’s critical to keep that heat under control so that you may distill safely and produce a high-quality product (known as the “distillate”).

Temperature Safety When Distilling

High temperatures are used in the distillation of alcohol, which is typically around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the high temperatures that will be present in your distillation environment, it is important that everyone who will be present is aware of how hot your equipment will become. Controlling and monitoring the temperature will assist you in maintaining the safety of your distillery.

How to Monitor Temperature

The temperature of your still fluctuates depending on where you are standing. There are three critical areas on your still where you should keep an eye on the temperature: the pot boiler, the top of the column, and the condenser coil (see diagram). The temperature of the liquid within the pot boiler will tell you how much liquid is boiling in the mash. Continue to raise the temperature, aiming to keep it between 175 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as feasible. When the temperature hits 212 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat.

Keep an eye on this temperature, keeping an eye out for anything beyond 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

When working with a big column still, it is extremely vital to employ a built-in thermometer at the top of the column.

It is important to keep the coil cool.

Why is Distilling Temperature Important?

As you begin your run, the seams of your still will get tighter due to the natural expansion of the metal caused by the heat. When the temperature hits roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit, prepare your own flour paste so that you can easily seal the seams with it when the temperature rises. Unless you close the seams of the still quickly, the metal will burn both your fingers and the dough if you wait too long.

2: Tells you when to make your cuts

A variety of liquids boil at a variety of temperatures: while pure ethanol has a boiling point of 174 degrees Fahrenheit, there are additional trace components that boil at slightly lower or higher temperatures than ethanol. By adjusting the temperature of your still, you may gather trace elements in different cuts during your production process. The temperature of the alcohol vapor is used by experienced distillers to create cuts, which is the process of partitioning the distillate into sections.

3: Tells you when your run is ending

Water boils at a greater temperature than alcohol, and when the alcohol evaporates from the pot, there is more water being cooked in the pot overall. To summarize: The more water that boils into steam during your still’s final phases of operation, the longer you run your still and the hotter it gets. There is no need to allow the temperature to rise over 212 degrees Fahrenheit, because it is the temperature at which water boils.

When the temperature reaches 205-207 degrees, many distillers will stop their run because they know that the final 10 percent or so of alcohol left in the mash will not be worth it. If you’re trying to distill water, though, raising the temperature of the still over 212 degrees is ideal.

4: Tells you about your distillate quality

As a general rule, the longer you run your distillation at temperatures between 175 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit, the more time you will have to produce a substantial volume of distillate of good quality. Without exception, this temperature range generates the purest ethanol, and it will often be the “hearts” cut of your alcohol run, unless there are certain deviations or exceptions.

Tips for Temperature Control:

  1. Make use of a number of thermometers. The most accurate information comes from monitoring both the boiling temperature within the still’s pot and the temperature at the top of the still’s column. Never use a thermometer that is powered by laser (or infrared). They can bounce off highly polished surfaces (such as copper) and provide erroneous readings, and they also only monitor the surface temperature of the still, not the inside temperature of the vessel. Insulated gloves should be used. Never attempt to grip or make modifications to hot metal without first ensuring that you are safe.

When you keep track of your still’s temperature along with other pertinent information such as your mash recipe, your still’s model number, the distillate’s description and other pertinent information about the run, you can replicate batches that were outstanding and avoid repeating costly mistakes in the future. Make the most of your moonshine still by getting the most out of it every time. Jim Thomas contributed to this article. Photograph courtesy of Eli Christman

On slobber boxes and thumper kegs

One of the most often asked questions we receive is whether or not it is required to put a thumper keg on our stills in order to be successful in distilling. We believe that it is not. First, it would be good to understand what this contraption is all about before we can respond to it. To put it simply, the term “thumper keg” refers to a container that is fitted in a distillation system between the still pot and the condenser. Traditionally, it was employed in hillbilly stills to raise the alcohol percentage of the distillate because conventional stills only produced products with an alcohol content of approximately 50-60 percent.

Then, when additional hot vapor passes over this low wine in the thumper, it is heated to the boiling point of alcohol, resulting in a larger alcohol concentration in the vapor that flows into the condensing unit – normally about 85 percent.

Why Use a Thumper on a Distilling Kettle?

So you’ve chosen to start distilling for the purpose of making spirits, and because you’re a whiskey fan, you’ve opted to use pot stills in order to get the most genuine taste profile possible. Indeed, pot stills have the most ancient histories on the globe, and pot-stilled whiskies, rums, and brandies are among the most highly sought-after spirits on the planet. However, the catch here is that pot stills are not the most efficient technologies to utilize if production speed is a significant consideration in your decision to use them.

The pot still is also inefficient, which means that the distillate produced from a single distillation can be heavily polluted with high and low boiling-point ingredients, which can add a disagreeable flavor to the finished distillate.

What Is a Thumper?

Thumbers, as the name implies, are secondary distilling kettles which link to the primary distillation kettle.

Heating the thumper is accomplished by the use of the heat that has already been generated to feed the primary kettle. According to the manufacturer, the thumper derives its name from the sound it produces while operating.

Thumper or No Thumper?

A thumper configuration makes it possible to do a secondary distillation without having to send the distillate through the apparatus a second time. According to the design criteria, the use of a parasitic kettle may require more BTUs to operate than the use of a single distilling kettle, but it is probable that the use of two fully distinct distillations will require less BTUs to operate. The presence of liquid in the thumper, which will permit another phase-change cycle, will also result in heat exchange within the thumper, which may result in a reduction in the amount of cooling capacity necessary to chill the completed distillate.

The significant savings, on the other hand, will be the number of man hours required to create a product that is more appealing for consumption.

Enter the Double Thumper

In addition to a single thumper, a double thumper (also known as a double retort) can be employed in certain situations. The double thumper, like the single thumper, contributes to the ABV enrichment of the finished product by stabilizing the ABV of the distillate produced as a consequence of the distillation process. This type of apparatus, which is still in use for the production of traditional Jamaican rum, is perhaps the most well-known application of double thumpers (retorts). This application charges one of the retorts with low-quality wines, while the other is charged with high-quality wines.

As previously stated, this method permits an extra increase in ABV while also increasing the possibility of beneficial carboxylic acid production.

You could say that this style of arrangement lends more “rummyness” to the rum’s flavor profile.

A More Flexible Double Thumper

The StillDragon twin thumper (retort) system takes this concept a step further by including extra elements that provide the operator greater freedom when in operation, as seen in the diagram below. In the StillDragon system, the vapor supply manifold (lyne arm) is fitted with three-way valves at each retort, allowing the operator to bypass one or both retorts at the same time. The operator will find this useful whether he or she chooses to perform a more basic stripping run or to send vapor to a totally separated distillation equipment.

Each StillDragon retort is also equipped with a specific heat input capability as well as a traditional column attachment function, which is standard equipment.

This enables the distiller to use each retort as a smaller, primary distillation kettle for smaller batches, if that is what is required. Other options are available for inclusion. StillDragon, for example, may design an unique piping solution that will allow for different configurations.

How Moonshine Works

There needs to be a compelling reason for going through all of the bother of manufacturing moonshine in the first place. Several factors contributed to this, but they all boil down to one thing: government control of the alcoholic beverage industry. Moonshining was practiced very early in the history of the United States. A short time after the Revolution, the United States found itself in the difficult position of having to pay for the costs of fighting a protracted war. The answer was to impose a federal tax on alcoholic beverages and spirits.

As a result, they decided to just continue creating their own whisky while fully disregarding the government tax.

Farmers were able to endure a terrible year by converting their maize into lucrative whiskey, and the extra revenue helped them to get through the year.

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