Heads Series, Episode 3: How to Set Up Your Moonshine Distiller Reflux Still


Posted by Jeff on 12th February 2015

 
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**Please note that we are moving away from the design with the 3 pegs in the lower part of the column. As we start switching over our inventory, you may receive a black gasket with a stainless steel screen. This should be put between your boiler and the column section of the tower that used to have the 3 pins, which should hold up whatever type of packing you prefer to use. Additionally, the copper mesh is not necessary to hold the raschig rings up due to the screened gasket, so the entire pound can be placed in the top of the still head.**

Next video in the Heads series: |How to use a hydrometer|

Products used in this video:
Dual Purpose Reflux Still Tower
Copper Mesh
Ceramic Raschig Rings
Hose Connector Kit for Reflux Towers

Video Transcription

Howdy folks, and welcome back for yet another Heads episode. One of the most common questions we get here at Moonshine Distiller is, “How do I assemble my new still?”

The first thing you’re going to want to do is take the long vertical piece, and that’s the bottom of your still tower. On the inside (I don’t know if you can see through the cameras), but there’s three little pins in there. You want to make sure those are on the bottom. You’re going to take one of your gaskets, put it in place on the ferrule, and place the tower right on top. Then you can take one of your clamps, wrap it around the still, and screw down this adjustment part to clamp it tight.

Once you have that in place, it is time to place the packing in your column. You can actually pack it several different ways, but we would recommend starting with this method and making adjustments that suit your taste. First, take one roll of copper mesh that is just about the diameter of the inside of the tube, and slide it down. The pins should keep it in place, and from there you can pour the raschig rings in on top. Generally, with the three-inch columns, if you have one roll of copper mesh in the bottom, it’s going to take you just under 2 liters to fill it to the top of this bottom section of the column. At that point, you want to take your perforated plate, and set it in place right on top of the raschig rings. This will help distribute the reflux evenly as it works its way back down the column.

Next, you want to take a second roll of copper mesh and put it in place just under the reflux condenser on the top part of the tower. This serves two purposes. One, it provides additional copper surface area for your sulfides to react with, and two, it actually helps conduct the heat so it makes this condenser slightly more efficient. Next, you will take the next gasket and put it in place on top of this piece of the tower. Place the top part of the tower on top of that, And again, clamp it shut. You can do this with only one person, but for the first couple times, it does often help if you have someone around to help you out.

So, now it is time to hook up the cooling water supply hoses. If you bought our hose connector kit, it should have come with three hoses. One that has no connectors on each end and two that have garden hose connectors on one end. You’re going to take the piece with the female garden hose connector and attach it to the bottom nipple on the final product condenser. The next thing you want to do is take the hose that has no connectors on it and run it from the top of your final product condenser to the bottom of the reflux condenser (but don’t forget to put on two hose clamps first). Lastly, you’re going to take the hose with the male hose connector and put it to the top of your reflux condenser. The last thing you want to do is take all the hose clamps and tighten them firmly into place.

The last thing you’ll want to do is attach the thermometer. One thing you’ll need to do before installing the thermometer is wrap it with some Teflon tape. All you should need is a couple wraps around the threads and that will help seal the still completely. Last, screw the thermometer into the threaded fitting at the top of the still tower. You don’t need to crank it down completely, but make sure it is firmly seated.

And there you have it! You’re new still should be ready to run, assuming you have a mash ready for it. As usual, if you have any questions, please let us know, and thanks for tuning in!

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6 thoughts on “Heads Series, Episode 3: How to Set Up Your Moonshine Distiller Reflux Still

  1. Pingback: Learn How to Distill Alcohol with Our Free Video Series

    1. Jeff Post author

      The pot still setup is very similar to the reflux still. You should connect the elbow piece to the boiler, and then the condenser piece to the elbow. Screw in your thermometer (with teflon tape) and connect the hoses so that the water runs into the bottom of the condenser and out the top. After that, you should be good to go!

      Reply
  2. Greg Greenaae

    After the rings go in, step 3, it says to place the perforated plate on top, my kit did not include this plate. Am I missing something?

    Reply
    1. Jeff Post author

      We have actually moved away from the design with the perforated plate, since we found that it was unnecessarily restricting the column.

      Reply
  3. Blake Eldridge

    Hi. Thanks Jeff for the set up primer. It should make things go much smoother when I finally get to my first batch!
    I have 2 Questions:
    1. What volume of raschig rings is appropriate for one of your dual purpose 8 gal. stills with a 2″ reflux column?
    2. What is the hose size needed for the cooling lines on the same dual purpose 8 gal. gal. stills with a 2″ reflux column?

    Reply

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