So you interested in what it takes to build a pot still! With the right instructions and a bit of common sense it’s pretty easy to build your own still. I’ve been building stills for years now and like to think I’ve perfected my designs by now. In this article I’ll teach you how to build a very simple pot still. So simple in fact that anyone can do it at home with everyday items found in their kitchen. If your interested in learning how to build a more sophisticated Pot Still or Column/Reflux still visit learntomoonshine.com/category/how-to-make-a-still .
How To Build The Worlds Simplest Pot Still At Home – Tutorial
First thing your going to need some materials to build your own still. Round the following up from your kitchen.
- Largest Cooking pot you have
- Drinking glass 6 – 8 oz will do find
- A Round Mixing bowl – should be stainless steel or ceramic assuming it’s rated to take the heat ( Don’t use plastic as it can leach toxin’s into your moonshine)
- Mason Jar Filled with water or something heavy like a weight ( I’ll explain later)
- Alcohol Hydrometer
- Ice Cubes ( two bags should do )
- Homemade Corn Mash or Sugar Mash or simply a bottle of wine if your wanting to keep things easy.
You’ll be making moonshine in no time. Let’s get this pot still together follow these easy steps:
Step 1 – Grab your Pot and place it on the stove top
Step 3 – Place the Magnet inside the glass this will hold it to the bottom of the pan so it stays in place when we start distilling. ( If you can think of a better way to do this have at er) Also make sure you use a clean magnet.
Step 4 – Place the mixing bowl on top and add the weight to the bottom of the bowl and your done. You’ve made your first Pot Still see I told you that would be easy. I know your thinking it doesn’t look like but I’m sure your thirsty for some moonshine so let’s get on with distilling some.
Using Your Still to Make Moonshine
Step 1 – Add your corn or sugar wash to the pot. If your using wine to keep things simple add that * Note don’t add to much at one time! The Wash or Wine should be no higher then half the height of the glass.
Step 2 – Turn the stove on high and bring up to 120 F
Step 3 – While your waiting fill your mixing bowl with Ice. make sure the weight is still in there
Step 4 – Now that your Wash is at 120 F reduce heat to med / low and continue heating the wash.
- Watch the cooking thermometer it will slowly rise in temperature. Keep in mind Methyl alcohol evaporates at 148.5 F you don’t want to drink this so don’t start collecting until your temperature is above this. Ethyl alcohol (aka Moonshine) evaporates at 173 F and Water boils at 212 F. So will stop collecting before we get reach this temperature. If your going to be drinking this I highly recommend you read our Theory of distilling 101 section to fully understand the distilling process before you attempt this.
Step 4 – Once temperature has reached over 148.5 F Place mixing bowl with ice on top of pot to seal off any vapors escaping the pot.
- What’s going on inside your homemade Pot still is that as Ethyl Alcohol ( aka Moonshine) reaches it’s boiling point it is turning to a vapor. This vapor rises and then condenses on the bottom of the cold bowl. It then drips down into your glass giving you Moonshine!!
Step 5 – As the temperature of your mash starts to approach 212 F remove the pot from the stove and let things cool down before removing the glass of Moonshine from the center of the Pot Still.
You should have at least 3 to 4 ounces of Moonshine collected in your glass. Try testing it using one of the three Proofing test we discussed in Proofing Your Moonshine – 3 Easy Test . I’ve been able to hit 70 Proof or 35% abv with this set up.
Taking The Next Step
Check out these tutorials for more complex stills.