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How To Use Your Still

Cleaning and Maintenance

Before your first distillation take the following steps to thoroughly clean your still.

  1. Using the table below as a guide measure the correct amount of rye flour in the measured volume of water and mix to a slurry (The table is based on filling the pot with 40% water and approx 5% rye flour)
    Still Size         Volume of Water     Rye           
    40 L 16 L 1 kg
    20 L 8 L 500 g
    10 L 4 L 250 g
    5 L 2 L 100 g
    3 L 1.2 L 75 g
  2. Check there is no obstruction in the birds beak and coil
  3. Pour the rye flour and water mixture into the pot of the still
  4. Assemble the still making sure you are able to have cold running water flowing around the condenser throughout the distillation
  5. Place the still on an electric ring or gas element, quickly bring to the boil and let it boil for 5 minutes
  6. The rye/water mix will froth and bubble up. It will pass through all parts of the still and spurt out the distillate outlet on the condenser
  7. Take care as the rye slurry can foam up and spill out the pot/base of the column
  8. Take off the heat, allow to cool and empty. Wash all parts thoroughly with hot soapy water and allow to dry
  9. Some rye may have congealed on the bottom of the pot and must be cleaned off before starting a distillation.
This Cleaning Distillation should also be done if you are changing from distilling essential oils to spirits, or the reverse. Whenever you feel your still is tainted or not clean use this method.

Always rinse your still well with plenty of freah water. When you start a new distillation, just distil water until the distillate is crystal clear, tasteless and with odour. Your still will now be clean
 

To Clean Tarnished Stills
After trying all the commercial products and the old fashioned lemon juice and salt we discovered the best was a mixture of Tamarind paste and salt. You can buy Tamarind paste from most supermarkets or Asian or Indian Food suppliers. Mix 2tbsp of tamarind paste with 2 tsp of salt with enough hot water to make a spreadable paste. With a clean cloth rub over a small area of the still at a time and rinse off with clean water. You will see the effect immediately.
Hydro Distillation       Steam Distillation       Distilling Alcohol

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