Views: 53 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2023-02-01 Origin: Site
Make sure you have a proper distilling license
Use proper distillation equipment
Never distill indoors without ventilation
The best way to avoid being featured in the 5 o'clock news is to not operate a still indoors without proper engineering and ventilation. Typically, local code will require distillers to adequately ventilate their space before a permit is given for distillation equipment. In the event that your local code does not require this, adequate ventilation should still be carefully considered. The best course of action is to hire an engineer to provide these calculations and manage the installation of air handlers.
Control alcohol vapor
Never leave it unattended
An unattended still is an accident waiting to happen. Murphy's law states that any thing that can go wrong will go wrong. This doesn't always hold true, but why tempt fate by leaving a still unattended? When planning for a distilling session, make sure to calculate how long it is going to take to run the batch. A commercial distiller will never leave their still unattended.
Use stainless steel collection containers
Distillers should always collect the finished product in a stainless steel collection vessel. Why not glass or plastic? Glass is fragile and could break and some types of plastics will break down in the presences of high proof alcohol. Additionally, plastic could melt in the presence of a fire.
Keep the finished product away from the still
A commercial distiller would suggest always using a stainless steel, small mouth collection vessel and placing it away from the heat source. Small mouth collection vessels minimize the amount of alcohol vapor that escapes from freshly distilled product and will also minimize the amount of product that gets spilled in the event that the container of alcohol ever gets knocked over. If a container does happen to end up on its side, the further away it is from heat the better. Also, if distilling over an open fire there is always the risk that an ember will pop off of the fire and land in the collection vessel. Experienced commercial distillers use self contained heat sources, (not open fires) and direct the finished product well away from any potential sources of combustion.
Always discard the "head liquor"
A commercial distiller realizes that one of the risks associated with making and drinking spirits is concentrating methanol. Methanol is a potential byproduct of the fermentation process and its presence in a wash is a legitimate danger. Fortunately if there is any methanol in fermented wash, it should boil off before the ethanol because methanol has a lower boiling point. For this reason, commercial distillers will do one of two things:
They will discard the first bit of alcohol produced by the still. This part of the run, known as the head liquor, smells like high powered solvent, tastes even worse, and is potentially poisonous.
Or, they will combine and mix everything thoroughly (if lower quality alcohol is being produced), which eliminates the concentration risk.