Is the iStill a potstill or a column still?
Both. The iStill offers new technology that allows one and the same unit to do both pot and column runs.
Why is the iStill made out of stainless steel?
Stainless steel is chemically inert. This makes both running and cleaning the iStill very easy, without the risk of contaminating your drinks.
But isn’t copper good for flavorful spirits?
No, copper’s only benefit is that it catalyzes sulfuric compounds that may have developed due to improper fermentation protocols. With proper fermentation protocols and control no copper is needed. Copper doesn’t add flavor, it may take bad ones away.
So, is there no copper in the iStill?
Yes, there is copper in the still. To help you control sulfur, the iStill comes with a copper waffle and copper reflux capacitor. Together they offer as much copper contact as a traditional copper column.
If they are made out of stainless steel, how come they look – for the most part – black?
All iStills have insulated boilers and columns. The insulation saves 15 to 20% in energy. The insulation material happens to be black.
Why is the boiler square? All other stills have round boilers …
The boilers of all iStills are flush square, because this results in better mixing. The wash cannot rotate with the agitator, as it does in a round boiler.
So where do we connect the pipes from the steam boiler?
You don’t. iStills do not need separate steam boilers. Instead, they are fully working solutions, with integrated heating system. Others may basically sell you a shell, but with us you get a complete, and plug and play distillery. The heating system is included.
I don’t see trays or bubble caps. How does the column work?
The column is packed with Helicon Column Packing (HCP). When liquids are returned to the column, the HCP fills up and more distillation cycles take place. Without liquid return the column functions as a potstill.
How do I manage those liquids and the number of distillation cycles?
On our production units, this is managed automatically, via the computer, the automation, and the robotization the iStills offer. You dial in what you want and the iStill takes care of the rest.
Automation? Doesn’t that take the “craft” out of distilling?
No. You design the recipe. You decide on what flavors you make, concentrate, and harvest. The automation just makes it more efficient and reproducible, while limiting your hours behind the still. It’s a better toolkit for a more successful distiller.
But I want to spend hours and hours behind the still! I love distilling!
So do we, but please be advised that distilling takes time and costs money. It is marketing and sales that earns you the money you need to continue distilling. Unless it is a hobby, of course …
Still, fellow distillers tell me that I need a manual, copper still … because it is … traditional?
Sure, and so were horses and carriages only 100 years ago. And some still enjoy riding them on weekends, when the sun shines. For actual day to day transportation, though, everybody has moved on to cars and bikes.
Now that I look at the iStill a bit closer … where is the dephlagmator?
We do not manage the iStill via cooling water. There are just too many variables to cope with, which results in poor control and different results on every run. Instead, we have a robotized valve manage liquids. Much more precise!
Okay, that’s great. But how about longevity? Modern-day technology is a nice addition, I get that, but does it last?
Good question! First, do you remember how stainless steel is chemically inert? It does not rust, corrode, and oxidize away like copper does. Secondly, we build double spec. Meaning we calculate what size, strength, and thickness parts need to be, and then double them. You don’t want to just start a distillery, but run one trouble-free.
All right, I like what I hear. But can it make the spirit category I …
Wait, I wasn’t finished and didn’t tell you what I actually want to make …
That’s okay. The iStill can distill any spirit. You don’t need upgrade kits, other columns, new and different iStills for various products. One machine can do it all.
Ok, but if I check out the design center on your website, there are still options I can choose from. What are those for?
The agitator, boiler radiator, and indirect heaters allow you to also mash and ferment in the iStill. The additional manhole is, well, just convenient. Glass column segments can make a difference if you want to showcase your still and have it be part of the customer experience.
Hold on! Did you just say that I can use the iStill for mashing and fermenting as well?
Yes, with the iStill you can basically do the whole spirit production process in one machine. Quite frankly, they also provide fast maturation technology.
Is that efficient? I mean, fermentation takes longer than mashing or distillation …
It is a very efficient way to start. Once you grow larger, and know what products sell best, you can always add dedicated fermenters and mashers.
I really like what I hear! The iStill isn’t just a still, it is a complete distillery. Where and how can I learn more?
You decide! You could visit an iStill distillery near you and hear what our customers think of them. Or you can register for one of our courses, where we teach the latest science of distillation, and train you in recipe development and in how to use the iStill. In that case reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com!