Which moonshine stills are best?
Whether you’re starting your moonshine journey or you’re well on your way to becoming an expert distiller, choosing your moonshine kit can be a challenge.
Generally, the best moonshine stills, like the Clawhammer Supply Copper DIY Still Kit, all have a few key factors in common. However, the best still for your home ultimately depends on your space, your budget and where you are on your home distilling adventure.
What to know before you buy a moonshine still
While distilling is a fun hobby, it’s extremely time-consuming. It involves hours of experimenting with various ingredients and messing with the still to get it set up perfectly.
If you’re limited on time, using a column might be best. It allows you to focus more on distilling and formulation rather than wasting time tinkering with your still.
Ease of use
Even if you’re an experienced home brewer, it’s much simpler to go with a still that’s easier to use. Moonshine kits that come with numerous parts can be exciting to put together, but the same excitement can quickly turn to frustration.
This typically leads to incorrectly setting up the still and potentially causing fires or a dangerous final product. It’s always best to go with a moonshine still kit that’s simple to set up and simple to use.
Size and space
Before purchasing the largest still on the market, consider where you’ll be using it. They come in various sizes ranging from 3-8 gallons.
Unlike the best home brew kits, 3 gallons of moonshine is typically more than enough for the average home distiller.
It’s worth checking your state’s restrictions and regulations if you require more than 3 gallons. Depending on the state, there may be restrictions imposed on the still size based on your license.
You must also consider where you’ll be distilling your moonshine. Regardless of size, you’ll need ample space with adequate room for ventilation.
What to look for in a quality moonshine still
The majority of home moonshine distillers use either a pot or column still. However, some prefer using hybrids which are a combination of the two.
- Pot: A pot still has a large, round boiler, Lyne arm, cap, swan neck, condenser and an optional thumper keg. Mash is boiled in the pot until it generates vapors, which are collected at the cap and sent through the neck, Lyne arm and into the condenser.
From the condenser, the vapors cool and form into a liquid you know as moonshine. Repeating the process creates the higher-proof moonshine behind legendary stories.
- Column: On the other hand, a column still is taller and shaped like a column rather than a pot. Its unique design allows it to distill the mash a number of times at once, removing the need to repeat the process to create higher-proof moonshine.
It’s able to distill the mash multiple times at once because the vapors rise toward cooled plates at the top of the column and fall down in liquid form to get distilled once more. Once the desired components reach a certain level of purity, they move on their own into the condenser to liquefy, cool and collect.
Moonshine stills are made with stainless steel, copper or a combination of both. Copper is an excellent choice for home distillers because it heats up rather quickly, is easier to work with and produces a higher-quality product.
A big drawback of copper stills is that they’re not ready-made and require some time and assembly work before you can get to the fun part — distilling.
On the other hand, stainless steel is much cheaper, easier to clean and much more durable.
The issue that many home distillers have with stainless steel is that it can leave residual compounds that may compromise the flavor and quality of the final product.
While it may not seem like much, putting a moonshine still together takes time and precision work. Depending on the still, it’ll likely require some soldering on top of other general assemblies. If the idea of spending a few hours a week putting your still together puts you off, consider getting a ready-made one.
How much you can expect to spend on a moonshine still
Depending on the size, style and material, you can expect to spend $90-$700 on a high-quality moonshine still.
Moonshine still FAQ
Can moonshine expire?
A. The only certain answer is that the only moonshine with an indefinite shelf life is plain, unflavored bottled moonshine. When it’s mixed with other flavors like fruit and sugar, its shelf life shortens a considerable amount.
How much alcohol will a 5-gallon still yield?
A. A 5-gallon still typically yields 1-2 gallons of alcohol, but the final amount depends on the starting alcohol, fermentable sugar and yeast quality.
What’s the best moonshine still to buy?
Top moonshine still
What you need to know: This fully DIY moonshine still is reminiscent of times past.
What you’ll love: This kit is perfect for people who love building things from the ground up with their hands. The traditional design makes it an excellent decoration and conversation piece for days when you decide to hang up your distilling hat. It’s a hybrid still that’s part pot and part reflux designed to get higher proof with minimal alcohol flavor.
What you should consider: It requires several tools like a soldering iron, torch and hammer to assemble.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top moonshine still for the money
What you need to know: Vevor offers a complete moonshine still kit that’s beginner-friendly and cost-effective.
What you’ll love: This moonshine still is easy to use and can be used on most surfaces. It’s perfect seasoned brewers who like big batches (it holds 9.6 gallons) and uses a copper coil alongside food-grade silicone. Despite its size, it’s simple to set up. The Vevor also has a built-in thermometer.
What you should consider: The fittings may require some work to avoid leaks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Copperholic offers a moonshine still for those who want something delicious to drink as well as something beautifully designed.
What you’ll love: This handmade still comes with a built-in thermometer, and its uniquely beautiful design makes it worth every penny. It’s built ready-made and works with any heat source.
What you should consider: The condenser coil could be longer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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