Bigger Manual Potstills Now Available!

The iStill Manual Potstills, supported by the StillControl Probe & App, allow for semi-automated runs. You dial your recipe into the app, the probe measures your run progress, the app instructs you when to cut for heads, hearts, and tails.

Up until now, we had the manual, semi-automated potstills available in 100, 200, and 500 liter boiler sizes. Bigger manual potstills are now available! How big? Any size you like. Orders can be placed as of right now. For sizes and prices, see underneath:

  • iStill 100 Potstill Manual: EUR 10.000,-
  • iStill 200 Potstill Manual: EUR 15.000,-
  • iStill 500 Potstill Manual: EUR 20.000,-
  • iStill 1000 Potstill Manual (new!): EUR 35.000,-
  • iStill 2000 Potstill Manual (new!): EUR 50.000,-
  • iStill 5000 Potstill Manual (new!): EUR 75.000,-

iStill 500 Manual Potstill, third from the left …

https://istill.com/potstill

StillControl: Distilling Made Easy!

The StillControl App will see a few amazing updates:

  • Android version (both tablet and phone);
  • Run logs = see old runs;
  • Run naming = name runs;
  • Run commenting = add notes and comments to runs;
  • Improved Bluetooth connectivity = easier to switch between probes;
  • Updated interface = clearer communication on functionality.

What the package offers? Temperature controlled cuts management. To put it differently: near perfect control over your distillation run for reproducible results, over and over again. The normal price is EUR 500,-. It is only EUR 350,- when you order before December 31st 2020!

If you want to order the StillControl Probe and App, please know we’ll have a link up and running on the website from Monday onwards.

Semi-automated cuts via the StillControl App …
The StillControl App …

Why Cooling Sometimes Sucks!

Starting a boil in your still results in vapors being produced. That’s how distillation works: you apply heat at one end to create gasses and you apply coolant at the other end to liquify these gasses.

Heating and cooling, and they should work together in perfect harmony. And they do. Well, as far as we design the iStills. Each and every design has a cooler that matches the power input. The cooler on an iStill 500 can cool down 18 kWh, while the iStill 100’s cooler matches its own, smaller, power input.

No worries then? Well, no, if you use water as the coolant of choice, and when you make sure it is below 10 degrees Celsius.

Now, I can hear you think … “What if our water isn’t 10c, but warmer?” And that would be the perfect follow-up question. Many live in warmer climates, where tap water is well above 10 degrees Celsius. And with the warmer cooling water comes a progressive decline of that water’s cooling capacity.

See the problem? In warmer climates, you need a chiller. That chiller is a device that cools the water down to below the required 10 degrees Celsius. The slightly higher electricity bill off-sets the lower water usage easily. Problem solved.

So why cooling sometimes suck? Well, because your distillery is situated in a warm climate. Congrats on the nice weather and our condoleances for having to invest in a chiller. That easy? If only it were … because, wait, there is more!

It turns out that cooling doesn’t just potentially suck in warmer climates, but that – quite often – it is distilleries up-north that struggle. How is that possible? Don’t they have access to cold water? Yes, they do, but since it is so cold, they are afraid the water might freeze, when put outside. “Outside” as in that’s where their chiller sits. Why a chiller in colder climates? Because of the warm summers.

What do distillers up-north do, in order to prevent their cooling water from freezing? They add glycol to it. “Glycol” as in an anti-freeze agent that has close to no cooling capacity. By adding it to the cooling water (and water has an amazing amount of cooling capacity), they are now diluting the overal cooling capacity of the coolant!

An example. Say, a distillery from Canada is advised to add a chiller to manage the temperature of their coolant downward. Because it can get pretty warm in the summer, right? And since it gets pretty cold in winter … well, they add 25% glycol to prevent the coolant from freezing over in winter. Since the cooling capacity of the glycol is very low, they (cutting only minor corners here) just “diluted” the cooling capacity with 25%! Start to see why cooling can suck even up-north?

The solution? Well, iStill provides one. Our bigger stills (500 liters and more) are now equipped with an additional pre-cooler. It adds 30 to 40% additional cooling capacity, off-setting slightly warmer cooling water and/or the addition of a limited amount of glycol.

But our pre-cooler is a band-aid. A great band-aid, but a band-aid altogether. Here’s what you, the distiller, needs to do. In a warmer climate, add a chiller and let it chill water. You don’t need anti-freeze. In a cold climate, limit the amount of glycol to a minimum and set your chiller up inside rather than outside.

Chill to know your cooler works just fine …

When do iStill Fermenters rock?

iStill Fermenters are, in general, more expensive than other fermenters. This makes for an important tradeoff: should you, as a craft distiller, invest the additional money and purchase our fermenters?

Here are three considerations to keep in mind, when investing in fermentation equipment. Or three explanations, as to why our fermenters are more expensive. Here we go:

  1. During fermentation, over 80% of your flavors are created. Flavor creation and composition result from managing your fermentation’s temperature, pH, and saccharification. Our fermenters are the only ones out there with temp, pH, and saccharification control.
  2. Since fermentation helps create over 80% of your esters, we feel it is a very important step. Robust control over flavor creation and composition demands robust engineering. Where other fermenters are made from 0.8 to 1.2 mm thick steel, we use 4 to 5 mm sheeting.
  3. Recipe development is fun, but producing the same spirit for the coming 20 years is repetitive work. iStill Fermenters are integrated in iStill’s Central Distillery Management, that allows you – via a single work-station – to manage your complete distillery single-handedly.

Thinking about it, makes us wonder … why are our “competitors” willing to make other choices? Why offer a fermenter with very limited controls, if that directly translates into non-reproducible results? Is it because they do not understand how important flavors are to the craft distiller?

And why ferment in an under-engineered vessel, unless you feel that the process of fermentation itself is not important? Why invest money in non-essential tooling, right? Unless maybe it is essential?

And finally: why automate and integrate fermentation management into the complete distillery … unless one feels that craft distilling isn’t about integrating various processes, but rather about some separate steps, mostly unrelated, and fermentation being the less important one?

If the goal is to make cheap drinks inconsistently, well, then the iStill Fermenters should not be part of your equipment portfolio. Our fermenters only rock for those interested in making better tasting drinks consistently.

iStill Fermenter for Shakespeare Distillery …

http://www.iStill.com

iStill now offers finance and leasing in Canada!

For Canadian craft distillers, iStill now offers finance and leasing options! Very exciting stuff! If you are interested in purchasing an iStill distillery, and want to learn more about finance and leasing, please reach out to Esther@iStillmail.com. We also have finance and leasing options to the UK and the USA.

Towards even more Canadian customers …