Mr. Sigma likes to share his first experience as the proud new owner of an iStill 50 with us. Any faults in the translation are mine:
After ordering the iStill 50 on http://www.iStill.eu, I got a message from Odin, informing me the order was in and the iStill was about to be produced. At the moment production was complete and the order was going to be shipped, I got a “track & trace” message, so I could follow where the packages containing the iStill were. Just a few days later, the iStill got delivered at my home address. One box contained the boiler and electronics, the other held the column.
Normally, I wouldn’t post about the packaging, but since compliments are in place, I will do it anyhow. The iStill is packed “moron proof”. Every single item is wrapped in bubble foil. The boxes are wrapped in multiple layers of plastic. Even though the packages showed some wear & tear due to transportation, the parts in the boxes were in perfect condition.
After sorting things out, I started assembling the iStill. A very specific and clear building instruction with pictures made assembly a no brainer. Putting the still together and testing it with the automated test programming took me less than 2 hours.
Next day, I did a cleaning run, using water and vinegar. Cleaning the iStill after a run proved to be easy: just connect the hose to the top of the column (cleaning center) and flush the column and the boiler. Like that, it just takes a few minutes to clean up.
The next day I had around 50 liters of Alcotec 48 ready to run. After loading it into the boiler, I turned on my iStill. I settled for the factory (default) settings. The only thing I changed was the time for column stabilization. I upped that from 15 to 25 minutes.
I learned that after heating up, the iStill automatically draws off fores. After tossing those fores, I started collecting in small glasses. As someone relative new to distilling at azeotropic ABV’s, that helped me in identifying heads from hearts and tails.
What I noticed, is that the way the temperature develops, shown in the iStill’s display, concurs with the transition points from heads to hearts. At that transition point, the iStill stops collecting for a minute. The temperature management on the iStill is so strict that dialed in or automatically computed azeotropic temperature trash holds are never breached.
The process of distillation seems to go at a very stable rate. Relaxed, by the book, stable. Something I never experienced with my pot still.
I understand iStill is currently investigating and developing new programming, where the temperature gradient mentioned above is used to automatically separate heads from hearts. The new program is all but done and Odin informed me that I will receive a new computer with the extra programming in a few weeks time.
What more did I notice? Well, that every drop that comes out of the iStill reaches the theoretical maximum of 96%. From the first drop until the last drop, even when the temperature at the bottom of the column is like 98 degrees Centigrade.
My conclusion is that the iStill 50 is truly a game changer that completely fulfills its promise: “Distilling made easy”. As someone who is looking for “perfect neutral” in order to make liqueurs, the iStill is the way to go. My new iStill takes away many of the problems or challenges I had, being relatively new to the craft.
And since distilling is easy now, I find I have more time left making the liqueurs I love to make so much.
My conclusion after 4 runs with the iStill 50 is very positive. As stated before: the iStill 50 is a real game changer.
When I purchased the iStill, I told Odin I would use my (now) old pot still for stripping runs. I planned to feed the low wines to the iStill. Odin told me he would be surprised to see me use the pot still at all, since the iStill can take whatever ABV wash to 96% in one run at a very fast rate. He was right. Since I have my iStill, I did not use my pot still anymore. Not for stripping, not for anything else.
Mr. Sigma, I did my best translating your post as well as I could. Please check it and correct my omissions if and where I should have done a better job.
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