We had a successful Drinktec 2022 in Munich. Hundreds of brewers and distillers visited our booth, asked questions, and expressed their interest in our disruptive technology. But what did they ask? What were the questions on their mind, as they saw the iStills? In a series of posts called “Questions & Answers” we will summarize the questions that were asked most as well as our answers.
So, what’s inside your Hybrid column? Plates?
Nope. We use in-house designed stainless steel helicon springs to pack the column with. These springs are 90% open space, so without reflux being returned down the column – in potstill mode – the column internals, which consists of thousands and thousands of these helicon springs, are not activated. Gasses travel up the column, through the open space and then out, towards the condensors and cuts selector.
So, as the column packing is 90% open space, and it performs a potstill run perfectly well, why bother to add it at all, right? Well, here’s where reflux comes into play. As with a plated column, the iStill can return reflux down the column so that the plates are activated and multiple redistillation-cycles are achieved in one go. Reflux fills the springs, and as we do so, each and everyone of them starts to become a miniature little boiler that starts to redistill.
Plates redistill and our springs redistill, so why didn’t we choose plates instead? Because plates are fixed. There is a fixed number and every bubble-cap tray offer a fixed level of reflux. This results in plated stills basically being one-trick-ponies. They are optimized (well, as far as this 1870’s technology can actually be optimized) for one sort of spirits and one ABV output. I’ll get back to that.
Our springs can be filled with any amount of reflux. This makes our column versatile instead of fixed. As seen above, without reflux, it can operate as a potstill, offering one single distillation cycle. Yet, as we return more reflux, we gradually start to boost the ABV. Due to the amazing column packing that we designed, our column offers the ability to produce – in one go – spirits at any ABV you want. One column to make all products. From vodka to whiskey. From gin to brandy. With the same still and with the same column.
And there is a bonus. Remember how bubble-cap plated stills are one-trick-ponies designed for one spirit? Well, that spirit is fruit brandy. Fruit brandy is a forward oriented drink where tails smearing needs to be limited if not stopped altogether. Bubble-cap plates are essentially tails traps. And without tails smearing how can one make a good rum or whiskey? Right, with the iStill you can, but with plates stills, you end up with a compromised flavor profile.
What reactions did we get, when answering the question of what’s inside our columns?The reactions were mostly people being flabbergasted: “So ONE still can distill ANY spirit!?! Wow!”
At your service!
The iStill Team.
Our advanced column designs give the craft distiller a huge competitive advantage …