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Which still size is best for me?

posted on 15.01.2016 08:00 hour

How much schnapps will I receive with my copper still? 

Let us start by saying that it is very important to distinguish between distilling fermented mash or simply store-bought liquor. The boiler should only be filled 2/3 and up to a maximum of 3/4. This prevents the mash from boiling over during a distillation which can cause clogging of the ghost pipe and serious injuries - not to mention the cleaning work after the mash has already boiled over.

Example: You can distill 6.5 to 7.5 L at once with a 10 L copper still. It's usually best to choose a larger size, especially if you are working with foamy mash (cherries etc.) all the time.

It's also possible to increase the amount of mash if you filter your mash beforehand. The less fruit pieces the mash contains, the safer it will be. So try to filter it thoroughly so that you will only be left with the liquid itself (wine, beer). Use the filtered fruit pieces in the column if you have purchased a column still. It will further extract the aromas and transport them into your alcohol. For a 10 L copper still you could now use 8 liters of filtered mash. If you want to make sure that nothing boils over, add a little amount of anti-foaming agent and you are good to go.

How much schnapps can I expect in one run?

This strongly depends on the alcohol content of your fermented mash. You cannot increase the alcohol percentage just by distilling. Therefore, the ingredients and the environment for a successful fermentation are so important. This is especially true for the yeast culture you have selected. A good yeast is half the job. The typical mash will ferment below 5 %Vol. whilst recipes that have sugar added can ferment up to 20 %Vol. depending on the yeast that is used. Always remember, you will receive less aromas the higher the alcohol content is. This is mostly the case with turbo yeast. Some cultures can produce up to 14 % in about 24 to 48 hours whilst others produce up to 20 % within 5 to 7 days. The aroma will clearly suffer here!
Example: A wine with 10%Vol.: 10 liters of mash should contain at least 1 L of 100% alcohol. As we cannot distill this alcohol percentage, you will receive much less than that. So what do we do? We distill the alcohol in our mash and later on dilute it with distilled water (40%Vol.). Directly after the distillation, the alcohol percentage lies between 45 to 75 %Vol.

Diluting the alcohol give us more liquid in total. For 1 L of alcohol in a 10 L mash, you can easily receive 2 L of brandy. 5 %Vol. beer will give you around 1 L of finished product (Whisky or beer schnapps).  

We hope that this information will make it easier for you to choose the best still size!

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