Producing iStills consist of two basic steps. First, we manufacture the boiler and column. Then, as the next step, we electrify the unit with cables, heaters, valves, PLC, touchscreen, etc. This second step is called “assembly”. Here are a few pictures of the manufacturing process:
Sheets are cut and rolled …
New iStill 200 being welded …
This iStill 500 boiler has just been acid bath cleaned …
Adding the insulation is the last manufacturing step …
After manufacturing comes assembly …
iStill – a mission of innovation
Our mission is to help craft distillers compete with big alcohol producers. Our pay-off is “distilling made easy”. Combine one with the other, and you understand that innovating isn’t something we do on a project basis. No, instead, innovating is what we do on a continuous basis!
We are proud to inform you about our newest innovation. We believe it will make distilling easier and we are convinced it will arm craft distillers with the tools needed to take the battle to Big Alcohol. How? With StillControl.
StillControl – what is it?
StillControl is our newest innovation. It combines a Bluetooth thermometer probe with an app.
StillControl – what does it do?
The probe measures the temperature in your distillation column or riser and relays the signal to the StillControl app.
In the StillControl app you dial in your cut-points for heads, hearts, and tails. As the temperature rises during your distillation run, the app warns you when to cut.
StillControl – what does it achieve?
StillControl achieves control over your distillation run. It creates consistency and reproducibility.
StillControl – for whom is it?
First, StillControl will be released to iStill customers that run the R&D iStill Mini, or that run or order one of the manual iStills:
- iStill Mini
- iStill Manual Potstill 100, 200, and 500
- iStill Manual Plated Still 100 and 200
- iStill Manual Hybrid 100 and 200
New orders for our manual stills, from now onwards, come with StillControl included. On a later date, probably in about a year from now, we’ll release StillControl to the craft distilling industry at large, so that distilleries that do not run iStill equipment can also benefit.
StillControl – wanna see how easy it is to use?
Here is a short start-up movie of an actual test run that’s being performed as this iStill Blog post is released:
StillControl – pictures
StillControl app …
StillControl probe currently being tested on the iStill 100 Hybrid Manual …
This week we are dispatching an iStill 2000 to the USA, an iStill 500 to the UK, and two iStills 100. One will go to Australia, the other to France. Quite an international audience, it seems! Here are some pics:
Things designed with the Golden Ratio, appear beautiful to us. Leg, arm, torso, and body length all follow this ratio. Not just in human beings, but in all creatures. Cats, dogs, horses … Can it be that what we perceive as beauty, is in fact a design optimized for functionality and performance?
And if this is the case, well, shouldn’t the Golden Ratio (or Devine Ratio, as it is also called) be a guiding principle when designing the best stills and the best distilleries in the world? Yes, it should. And, yes, it is!
In our stills and in our logo …
The world of certifying your distillery is a strange place indeed. It would go too far as to say “so many countries, so many flavors”, but at least every region seems to have its own specific rules and specifications. Certification, isn’t exactly a no-brainer. You want the inspectors to sign-off on your project, so that you can start producing some spirits and earn back some time, energy, and money. But what certification is needed in what region and how does iStill help out? In other words, how about we make certification easy?
The base certification for European stills and distilleries is CE. If the environment asks for explosion proof certification, the ATEX-rules apply.
UL is the base certification for the USA. If explosion proof certification is needed, IECEx-rules are applicable.
Canada has its own version of UL, called ULC. ULC is Canada’s base certification. In case of explosion proof certification, the IECEx-rules apply.
Australian Standard and New-Zealand Standard are the base norm in Australia and New-Zealand. This certification is most often referred to as AS/NZS. IECEx covers explosion proof certification.
Rest of the World
As a general rule (contrary to the very specific rules above), CE is the perfect base certification. IECEx covers explosion proof certification.
How iStill helps
iStill is one of the (very) few manufacturers of integrated distilling equipment, meaning that we provide the still together with the heat- or energy-source. As such, we have developed a tremendous amount of expertise in our teams. Simply put, we can build your iStill according to any specification:
You decide what certification you want or need, you inform us on your wishes, and we build according to your specs.
Certification made easy …
On the iStills 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000, the pre-cooler now comes as standard equipment. On the Potstills, Plates Stills, and Hybrid iStills of those sizes.
The pre-cooler takes the load of the main cooler and improves overall cooling efficiency. The same amount of coolant leads to better cooling. Ideal in warmer climates. Or, by running the pre-cooler and the column cooler from different water lines, one can increase the total amount of coolant used, making cooling more effective.
Nota bene! Distilling is about heating up liquids to the point where they boil and create gasses. And distilling is just as much about cooling those gasses down to liquid phase again. In other words, given the iStill’s efficiency, power in basically equals cooling in.
The pre-cooler is no excuse not to invest in a professional sized chiller that provides the same amount of cooling in kWh as the maximum power of your iStill. Without sufficient flow and cold enough coolant (< 8 degrees Celsius), the performance of your still will be affected negatively.
iStill offers the Potstill Series, the Plates Series, and the Hybrid Series. The potstill is, well, basically a very accurate and efficient potstill, that harvests robust flavors. The plated iStills are our take on the perforated and bubble cap plate technology. With added control and double the output rates, when compared to the older designs out there. It helps create balanced flavor profiles at great throughput rates. The Hybrid Series is the King of the Mountain. The one still that can do it all and make any spirit to perfection.
With the increase in choice that we now offer, what still should you choose? What design helps you best at creating, or better: harvesting, the flavors you are after? Let’s dive in deeper:
The “What iStill do you need”-Table …
Fruit brandy is a two-dimensional, clear drink, that focusses on front-of-mouth and middle-of-mouth, fruity flavors. It can be made on a potstill, but – especially the finishing run – needs to be done slowly for the tails not to overrun the delicate fruity flavors. Plated stills help prevent tails smearing and are perfect for fruit brandies. Our Hybrid Series is good at making fruit brandy, but just as with a potstill, production speeds have to be dialed in defensively, especially towards the end of the run.
Cognac is a three-dimensional brandy, aged in barrels. Both the Potstill Series and the Hybrid Series help make amazing Cognac. The plated still can also make Cognac, but getting enough of those tailsy flavors over, for the spirit to stand up to the wood, asks that you push the pedal to the metal, especially towards the end of the run.
Gin is a 2 to 2.5 dimensional drink. Front-of-mouth, middle-of-mouth, and limited amounts of back-end flavor. Both the iStills Hybrid and Potstill are great solutions. Plated stills, even with the plates turned off, strip out too much flavor, and are therefore not the best solution for gin production.
Rum – light
Light rums have limited amounts of heads and tails smearing, and focus instead on substrate-related, middle-of-mouth flavors. The plated iStills and the hybrids are great solutions. Potstills tend to smear too much flavor in, for this spirit category.
Rum – medium
Medium rums have medium amounts of heads and tails smearing, and branche out towards more fruity as well as rooty/nutty flavor profiles. iStill’s Plated and Hybrid series excel, the potstills do a good job too.
Rum – heavy
Heavy rums depend on high amounts of heads and (especially) tails smearing. The potstill or hybrid are the stills of choice. The iStill Plated Series gets enough tails smearing over for a 3 to 4 year old rum, but not for a 20 year barrel aging program.
Vodka has a one-dimensional, middle-of-mouth flavor profile, and needs to be distilled at 190 proof. The iStill Hybrid is the only iStill (still?) capable of reaching high enough proof to make vodka.
Bourbon nowadays is mostly a whiskey with the flavor profile of a fruit brandy. Front- and middle-of mouth. Hardly any back-end flavors. This makes the potstill the wrong choice. Unless you are after a more potstill-style Bourbon like Woodford Reserve. The Hybrid Series is probably a better alternative, while the iStill Plated Series is spot on.
There are multiple varieties, but in general Irish whiskey is lighter in style. As with Bourbon, the Plated and Hybrid Series are perfect. For a more three-dimensional product, like Connemara, the Potstill Series are the best choice.
Single malt whisky
You need a hybrid or a potstill. The iStill Plated Series can make single malt, but is more suited for younger expressions.
iStill Distilling University
Are you interested in our taste-model? Do you want to learn how to create and judge spirits professionally? Please check out the iStill Distilling University at:
From now onwards, all iStill NextGens come with the new iStill Stylus. The stylus makes it just that little bit easier to operate your touch screen …
Ceri planned to set up a craft distillery in 2018, but has been dealt an unfortunate change in his personal circumstances. The distillery plans are no longer an option, and Ceri has his 2018 iStill 100 NextGen up for sale. Together with the Extractor. For UK customers, that are willing to pick-up the unit at his location. For more information, please reach out directly via: firstname.lastname@example.org.