Testing the new iStill Mini: set-up and numbers!

We have dedicated a new floor in one of our assembly halls to the iStill Mini. It is where we build the power managers, where we insulate the units, where we add the heaters, and where we do final testing. Sjors, Mitchell, and William have build a test-site, where we can run three iStills Mini simultaneously.

Here are a few pics of it. Testing three iStills Mini in one go? Yes! We are almost ready to start shipping the first units of the latest batch! We have finished the first nine, with 21 more seeing their final accid baths as we speak. Nine to be shipped out by the end of this week. Exciting, isn’t it?

And there is a bonus! Towards the end of this iStill Blog post, we’ll share the outcome of the actual data analysis of the iStill Mini in potstill mode. ABV, output, timelines, and more!

Mitch and William discussing the test set-up …

Setting-up the first three units for testing …

See how it’s quite the beast, even at “just” 10 liter boiler capacity …

Power managers on … let the testing begin!

Willem’s data analysis of the iStill Mini in potstill mode with packing: 10L@30% stripping run:

  • Heat-up time around 8 minutes;
  • Even at 100% power, the packing does an amazing job at heads compaction (see the first blue dot to the left!);
  • Total run time < 50 minutes.

Willem’s data analysis of the iStill Mini in potstill mode with packing: 10L@30% finishing run:

  • Heat-up time 32 minutes;
  • Extremely good compaction of heads cut;
  • Tails cut probably at 19% after 110 minutes.

Data comparison stripping run vs. finishing run:

  • Stripping run is fast and furious: it trades ABV for high production rates;
  • Finishing run trades in production rate for higher proof and better cuts separation;
  • Normally, a finishing run would heat-up at 100% power, decreasing total run time from 110 to 86 minutes.

http://www.iStill.com/mini

Game-changing: the iStill Mash Pump!

What is it?

The iStill Mash Pump is a new high-performance, heavy-duty pump for mash, ferment, and stillage transfer. It helps fill or empty mashers, fermenters, or stills in mere minutes.

The best mash pump in the world:

How is it a game-changer?

It is a game changer for two reasons. First, it transfers 550 liters per minute. That is 145 gallon in 60 seconds. Fast? Yeah, pretty much the fastest mash pump the craft distilling industry has ever seen.

Secondly, the iStill Mash Pump – due to our engineering prowess and batch production model – creates a price revolution. How competitive the purchase price is? Well, it costs only one third of its nearest competitor! How’s that for empowering the craft distilling industry?

Simple, robust, elegant … and affordable:

What hoses does it work with?

Any brew hose will do. We don’t ship ‘m with the pump, because hoses are readily available locally. Us shipping them with the pump would basically triple transport costs. Not worth your money, not worth our time.

The iStill Mash Pump comes with 77.5 mm flanges and triclamps. 60 mm hose diameter is perfect. The unit ships with two additional flanges that can be connected to your brew hoses (one in, one out). There is 90 mm of space to insert ‘m and to fasten them.

Like this:

Is it for iStills only?

The iStill Mash Pump is tailored for working with the iStills. Flange sizes of the iStills and the pump match. But anyone can purchase our pump. We do not limit sales to iStill customers. Any craft distiller (or craft brewer) that wants wan, can get one.

Attention to detail:

Performance figures, please?

The iStill Mash Pump:

  • Transfers up to 550 liters per minute (145 gallons per 60 seconds);
  • Handles particle sizes up to 18 mm;
  • Has a 1.1 kW engine that runs on 230-240v, 50 Hertz;
  • Has an elevation height of up to 9.5 meters (31 feet);
  • Handles fluids with temperatures up until 110 degrees Celsius;
  • Works in environments of up to 40 degrees Celsius;
  • Is build into a frame, with push bar, and braked wheels;
  • Has an on/off switch;
  • Comes with 2 year warrantee.

Exoskeleton for added protection and safe-keeping, and improved ease-of-use:

Do you have more info on pricing and delivery?

Yes! The complete unit costs EUR 2.500,-. Crating and transport will add around EUR 500,- to the bill. The units will be crated professionally and shipped to you by airplane.

If you want to order one, please reach out to Esther@iStillmail.com. We’ll dispatch the first units in less than two weeks. Transit time is expected to only add a few days to total delivery time.

That’ll make for a nice pumping experience:

http://www.iStill.com

Automation – What Equipment Do I Need?

Introduction

Planning a distillery can be daunting. What equipment do I need? A simple question, but there are so many answers that are rooted in even more considerations and assumptions. This post is the third of a series called “What Equipment Do I Need?”. Each post highlights one consideration. This week? Automation! What level of automation do I need?

Levels of automation

There are basically three levels of automation a distiller can choose from:

  1. No automation – subjective sensory assessments control the run and all work is done manually;
  2. Semi-automated – objective measurements control the run and all work is done manually;
  3. Automated and robotized – objective measurements control the run and the work is done automatically.

The higher the level, the more support and control you get. Let’s dive in deeper, so you can make a better judgement call on what you need!

No automation

Without automation, you will find it impossible to reproduce spirit profiles successfully. You’ll need extensive batch-mixing to create any level of consistency. Since all the work is done manually, your distillery need to invest in labor, which leads to higher staffing costs. iStill does not support this kind of operation, since we strongly believe that spirits reproducibility is conditional to becoming a successful craft distiller.

Semi-automated

A semi-automated still measures what goes on inside your still objectively. This allows you to reproduce spirit flavor profiles. Since the measurements result in manual actions, performed by your staff, you run the risk of introducing some proces-operator bias into your spirts, where the distillers preferences shine through, rather than yours. Because most of the work is done manually, you’ll still need to invest in higher staffing costs. iStill supports this level of automation via our semi-automated line-up of iStills.

Automated and robotized

A fully automated and robotized still measures what goes on inside your still objectively, and makes the associated cuts itself. This leads to your distillery being able to fully reproduce the exact flavor profile time and again. No risk of proces-operator bias. No need to invest heavily in additional staffing. You’ll produce the best quality spirits in the most reproducible manner, and in the most efficient way. iStill is the only distillery manufacturer that offers this level three automation and robotization to craft distillers.

Automation => Control => Quality …

iStill USP’s!

Introduction

By introducing innovative and disruptive new technology to the market, iStill aims to empower the craft distilling industry. But what does our technology give you? How do we empower craft distillers all over the world? Or – to put it in marketing terms – what are iStill’s unique selling points or USP’s? Let’s dive in deeper.

Reproducibility

More than any other still out there, iStills are designed with perfect process control in mind. Our focus on technologically advanced monitoring and management systems, allow the craft distiller to make the same product over and over again, while deleting the risk of output variability.

Quality

The total control over taste formation, concentration, and separation processes results in higher quality spirits. More flavorful whiskey, gin, brandy, and rum. More neutral vodka.

Efficiency

iStill’s application and incorporation of 21st century technology results in more efficient distilling. Operational costs of an iStill distillery are only about 25%, when compared to a traditional set-up.

Versatility

An iStill can make any product. Instead of having to invest into new equipment for each and every new spirit you want to release, our technology supports the production of any spirit, be it whisky, rum, brandy, gin, vodka, tequila, or liqueur.

Continuously

Our stainless steel stills don’t rust and deteriorate. Careful material selection and a focus on over-engineering, results in the industry’s best longevity and lowest down-time ratio’s.

Column Type – What Equipment Do I Need?

Introduction

Planning a distillery can be daunting. What equipment do I need? A simple question, but there are so many answers that are rooted in even more considerations. This post is the second of a series called “What Equipment Do I Need?”. Each post highlights one consideration. This week? Type! What type of column do I need?

What type of column

There are basically three types of columns a distiller can choose from:

  1. Potstill column;
  2. Plated column;
  3. Hybrid column.

Each type of column offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, when making certain spirits and high-lighting certain flavor profiles. Let’s dive in deeper.

Potstill column

The potstill column excels at bringing over big, bald flavors. Since a potstill column can only perform a single distillation cycle in one run, it is relative inefficient. At least two distillation runs are required, leading to higher throughput times and or your distillery needing multiple stills.

The potstill column is great for full-bodied single malt whiskies and Jamaican style rums. It also does a great job at making gin. If we apply Odin’s Theory of Distillation and, more specific, the Holy Trinity of Distillation Model, potstills are great at making 2.5 and 3-dimensional flavor profiles.

Plated column

Plated columns are designed to minimize tails-associated flavor contamination. As such, they are great for 2-dimensional spirits like fruit brandy, or Bourbon, or Irish whiskey.

The plated column is more efficient than a potstill column. Depending on the number of plates, the design, power, and reflux management, this type only needs a single distillation run, saving you throughput time and additional investments.

There are two generic types of plated stills. The bubble cap plated still focuses on lighter style spirits like fruit brandy. The perforated plated still focusses on medium style spirits like Bourbon or Irish whiskey or medium rum.

Hybrid column

Hybrid columns, when designed correctly, offer the best of both worlds. Due to huge advancements in still design and control in the last decade, iStill Hybrid columns can help the distiller make any flavor profile he or she is looking for.

The hybrid column can make bold flavored, 3-dimensional spirits, like Jamaican-style or single malt whisky. But it can just as easily make 2-dimensional medium flavored spirits or even one-dimensional vodka or GNS.

The hybrid column is very efficient. All spirits, save one-dimensional vodka, can be made in a single distillation run.

Type vs. hype …

Blue Rabbit Distillery, Tokyo

Hi Odin,

My iStill 100 has finally arrived in Japan and I was, after a somewhat lengthy process, able to do my own customs clearance and take delivery of this beautiful piece of distilling engineering!

If you recall, I first made contact with you back in June 2020. I was looking seriously at several still manufacturers/suppliers prior to communicating with you at that time but I was taken by your honest and straightforward communication style and was drawn by the unique design and functionality of your iStills. I didn’t know a whole lot about distilling back then if I am honest but after taking your lectures (more than a couple of times) through the iStill University course, it was clear to me that I couldn’t have made a better choice of company for my distilling operations. Your knowledge and wisdom has Been so inspiring to me and your philosophies on how we craft distillers can win over big alcohol through understanding of flavour extraction and profiling just made so much sense.

Before my initial contact with you, I had already committed to the globally-recognised IBD distillation course (which I have just passed with credit) but your lectures clarified much of the theory I was learning in a simple and easy to understand approach (with some interesting drawings!) that just makes so much sense. In retrospect, I could have chosen a copper/stainless steel still from anywhere else in the world that could have been delivered to me soon afterwards but I decided to choose iStill. I soon learnt an additional bonus of choosing iStill would be gaining access to the Facebook iStill group has proven an invaluable tool for me. I have already learnt so much from other iStillers around the world.

Now I know I have taken receipt of something much more than just a still for making my gin, my vodka, my brandy and my rum. My iStill 100 and my iStill mini will become great talking points in the promotion of my brand “Blue Rabbit Distillery”. I understand now why you are fast increasing your market share of the global craft distilling market and I hope your will continue to stir up the well-engrained traditions of the distilling industry with your innovations and technology.

Let me just add, that many businesses have good quality or value for money products but sadly do not pay enough respect to the whole customer experience. Your whole team, from finance through to support and shipping, has communicated promptly, courteously and efficiently. That is what adds great value to iStill. I am so looking forward to making some great craft spirits on my iStill and for your continued support as my business grows.

In the meantime, please wish me good luck in obtaining my alcohol distillation licence from the Japanese government. That’ll be the second most amazing thing for me to get!

All the Best,

Mark Smyth, Tokyo

Copper iStill Plated Stills!

Proudly introducing …

With copper particle contamination solved, we are now proudly introducing a line of automated copper plated stills. About 30% of craft distillers now buys stainless steel stills. Stainless steel iStills, mostly. That means 70% of the craft distillers does not have access to our innovations. As a market leader devoted to empowering the whole craft distilling industry, well, here’s us introducing copper iStill plated stills to empower those that must (due to legislation) or want (due to previous investments) to keep on working with copper.

The iStill 2000 Copper Plated Still:

Features and benefits …

  • 4x the performance due to innovative PowerPlate technology;
  • Anti Entrainment Column Design;
  • Copper plated column for stable vapor speeds and control over associated flavor profiles;
  • Extensive use of borosilicate glass for an amazing customer experience;
  • Square copper boiler for perfect mixing, on or off the grain distilling, and higher filling levels;
  • Wide boiler design for stable gas release, stable vapor speeds, and consistent flavor-composition;
  • Integrated heating, so no need for additional steam boilers or piping;
  • Direct or indirect heating for fine power control;
  • Up to 25% more flavor due to the Maillard Reaction;
  • Boiler insulation for a more efficient and speedier distillation;
  • Cuts selector for automated heads, hearts, and tails cuts;
  • Automated cuts for improved distillation run reproducibility;
  • Air pressure sensor for automatically adapted, weather independent cuts and flavor consistency;
  • Automation and digital controls for a less staff dependent distillery and more accurate production;
  • Internet connectivity for support, remote control, and more;
  • Automated as well as manual programs for whisky, rum, and brandy runs;
  • iStill’s Copper Particle Filter for a clean and healthy new make spirit;
  • All the copper you’ll ever need for sulfur control!

Sizes and starting prices …

  • iStill 100 Copper Plated Still: EUR 30.000,-;
  • iStill 200 Copper Plated Still: EUR 45.000,-
  • iStill 500 Copper Plated Still: EUR 65.000,-;
  • iStill 1000 Copper Plated Still: EUR 90.000,-;
  • iStill 2000 Copper Plated Still: EUR 120.000,-;
  • iStill 5000 Copper Plated Still: EUR 190.000,-.

The iStill Copper Particle Filter costs EUR 5.000,-.

Availability and ordering process

Due to huge demand for our stainless steel units, we’ll only be able to build limited numbers of the iStill Copper Plated Stills. The year 2021 will see us construct one iStill 100, one 200, one 500, one 1000, one 2000, and one 5000 liter copper plated still.

We started production as we speak. First deliveries are expected to take place in November 2021. If you are interested in the world’s most advanced copper plated still, please reach out to our Management Assistant Esther Burns via Esther@iStillmail.com for an introductory meeting and interview via video call.

Welcome to the family:

http://www.iStill.com