iStill Innovation: ABV Control!

Introduction

Today, we help take the craft distilling industry take another leap forward. How? By introducing a new and amazing innovation called “ABV Control”.  This iStill Blog post will explain what it is and how it helps you out.

Traditional pot distilling and column distilling

Traditionally, pot distilling is the best approach to most flavorful spirits. Brandy and Cognac are distilled in a potstill, and so is single malt whisky. The advantage of pot distilling is that you work with batches. Batch-wise production allows the craft distiller to cut for heads, hearts, and tails, giving him control over the endproduct’s flavor composition. Also, the relative crudeness of this old design enables many flavors to come over in the end product. Downsides can be that heads and tails cuts translate to alcohol losses, and that a double distillation is needed to get the drink to proof.

Tall columns have always been used for vodka making. They hit 190 proof and that is it. Or a lower proof when tuned down to less tall columns. Batch (as the typical fruit brandy still) or continuous (as the now often used continuous strippers used in Bourbon production) approaches are possible.

Taste-wise, a potstill is amazing for pulling over flavors, where columns distill either very pure at high proof, or at lower ABV with compromises in cuts (on a continuous still) or early tails smearing (fruit brandy still). Technically,  a potstill has a steady output and a dropping alcohol percentage during the run, where column stills have a steady alcohol percentage at the cost of dropping yield. Like this (yield in green, ABV in red):

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The iStill solution

One unique feature of the iStills is that one machine, in fact one-and-the-same set-up, can perform both functions. One riser/column combination – together with our esteemed robot and computerized control – does it all. If you choose to run the iStill in potstill mode, you get, well, exactly a potstill run. The automation makes the unit work as a potstill. And if you want purity instead of flavor, you choose our program for pure distilling and – at the sacrifice of yield as the run goes on – you create 190 proof product. Very flexible, right? Right! And now we are taking it one big leap further!

iStill ABV Control

Our latest innovation allows the craft distiller to make any spirit at the exact strength he wants it to be. Do you want your whiskey to come over at 65%? Dial it in and iStill ABV Control will make sure it comes over at 65% … All … The … Time. Perfect for barrel aging. Or if you disagree and feel 62% is better, well, then just dial that in. A light rum that needs to come over at 88%? A corn whiskey at 180 proof? Go for it. You now can.

Any percentage you like your product to come over, the iStill will deliver within a plus or minus 1% threshold. No drop in ABV, like on a potstill. No compromises in taste, like one would have with traditional fruit brandy or continuous columns. No compromises in efficiency, like basically any other (traditional) still gives you.

The advantages of iStill ABV Control

The USP’s? Here they are:

  1. Efficiency: iABV Control means you can take your wash directly to finishing strength. No more need for a stripping run;
  2. Taste: Since you can now distill your final spirit directly from an organically active boiler charge, more flavor will come over with this one distillation approach;
  3. Yield: Higher reflux ratios towards the end of the run will push tails back and increase total hearts yield.

Roll-out

New iStills 100, 500, 2000, and 5000, purchased from now onwards, will be equipped with iStill ABV Control for free. Customers that already have 2018 and 2019 model year iStills 100, 500, 2000 and 5000 will be upgraded to iStill ABV Control automatically via the software update program for free as well.

This new iStill 5000 has ABV Control …

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