iStill employs the best welders in the world!

If you want to deliver top shelf product, you need top shelf equipment. And since we want to deliver the world’s best distillation units, we need the best staff the world has to offer.

We are proud to have some of the world’s best welders work for us. They help us deliver the best quality products the industry can wish for. If you know anything about welding, see the picture underneath, where we are hand-welding an 12 inch shotgun column cooler.

Eat your heart out …

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http://www.iStill.eu

iStill Innovation: Reflux Capacitor!

Introduction

Today, we introduce another iStill Innovation: the Reflux Capacitor! The Reflux Capacitor increases the performance of your iStill. Wanna find out more? This post dives in deeper … say … back to the future kinda deep?

What it does

The iStill Reflux Capacitor boosts the ABV that enters your column. Higher proof gases lead to a more stable and faster run. The output rates increase with around 25%, translating to around 2 hour faster run times and/or a higher ABV, depending on what your goal is.

In column mode, the iStill produces at a fixed ABV or proof. During the run the yield per hour drops to compensate for an ever lower alcohol strength boiler charge. With the iStill Reflux Capacitor, the column is fed with higher proof alcohol, resulting in up to 25% more output and a related decrease in run time of up to two hours. Here is a graphical representation of the extra performance the Reflux Capacitor gives:

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In potstills, the output in liters per hour is pretty stable. Contrary to column distilling, the ABV or proof gradually decreases during the run. In potstill mode, in combination with the Reflux Capacitor, the strength of the output of your iStill increases by around 25%, decreasing run times with 25%, while mitigating the need for an additional, second or double, distillation. Please see the graphical explanation underneath:

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Applications

Especially combined with ABV Control (for more reading, see: https://istillblog.com/2019/02/22/innovation-abv-control/), the all new iStill Reflux Capacitor has huge benefits. Its applications? Here we go:

  1. Faster runs (up to 25%) in both column mode and potstill mode;
  2. Ultra-pure vodka and GNS hearts, with smaller heads and tails cuts;
  3. One distillation run on flavor rich products like brandy, rum, and whisk(e)y;
  4. No more need for double or 1.5 distillation approaches on flavor rich spirits;
  5. Instead, very efficient and taste rich single distillation approaches are now possible;
  6. Tails are pushed back, resulting in a bigger hearts yield;
  7. Further improved heads compaction;
  8. The Reflux Capacitor is made out of copper so it helps catalyze sulfur rich washes.

Roll-out and pricing

The new Reflux Capacitor can be ordered right now. We’ll add it to the iStill Online Design Center in the coming days. The Reflux Capacitor is available on all new orders for iStills 100, 500, 2000, and 5000. The Reflux Capacitor can be retrofitted to all NextGen iStills 500, 2000, and 5000.

The costs are as follows:

  • iStill 100 Reflux Capacitor: EUR 250,-;
  • iStill 500 Reflux Capacitor: EUR 450,-;
  • iStill 2000 Reflux Capacitor: EUR 650,-;
  • iStill 5000 Reflux Capacitor: EUR 850,-.

The Reflux Capacitor on the iStill 500 …

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http://www.iStill.eu

iStill 100 with potstill column!

We are currently doing a test run on the iStill 100 with potstill column for one of our UK customers. At full power, after only 49 minutes of heat-up time, it started producing an amazing 15 liters of spirits per hour! The need for cooling water during the distillation process? Only 2.9 liters per minute.

Heating up …

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iStill 100 performing a test run …

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Water consumption …

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https://www.istill.com/designstudio/i100

iStill Leasing Now Available in the EU!

When you buy iStill equipment, you already had the option to lease. At least in North America and in the UK. We now extend leasing to the EU. So if you are a craft distiller from a EU country, looking to lease your iStill Distillery, just send us an email and we’ll help you out.

Here are two examples of lease tariffs:

  • A base model, 25k iStill 500 would cost around EUR 532,- per month during 5 years;
  • A base model 40k iStill 2000 would cost around EUR 851,- per month during 5 years.

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http://www.iStill.eu

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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http://www.iStill.eu

Designing New Technologies at iStill HQ!

We are working on some great new technologies, here at iStill HQ! Of course, all innovations are aimed at making distilling easier. I can’t yet reveal what they are, since we are still doing finetuning on ‘m, but all the info will be shared in the coming three weeks. On this very iStill Blog, so stay tuned!

Working on new technologies for the craft distilling industry …

http://www.iStill.eu

How to mash 1000 pounds of grain in the iStill 2000!

Hi Odin,

Received and installed the indirect heaters, thanks. They’re a huge improvement. I know you’ve started selling the iStill Masher, but we’ve had pretty good success with our iStill 2000 and our “iHopper”. I’ve attached a video.  

With this system, we have a hopper, a pneumatic vibrator on the frame for grain flow and a small grist hydrator at the bottom of the hopper as the grain goes in.  We can get 1,000 pounds of grain in our 2000 with this system in under 30 minutes with little to no clumping.  (We put the mirror on the ceiling to monitor the grain as it goes in).  Just thought I would pass this along for anyone struggling with getting 1000+ pounds into their iStill.

Markus Kypreos, Blackland Distillery, Fort Worth, TX

http://www.iStill.eu

Innovation: iStill Fast Aging!

Fast … what?

There has been a great deal of talking about flash aging or fast aging spirits lately. The idea goes like this: “Why store spirits for years and years, when there are other, more modern ways to speed up the aging process?”

To be able to “cheat” the aging curve and make drinks more palatable in a shorter time, would be a great benefit. Product could be released sooner and at better quality, speeding up the time to market while freeing up liquidity, both spirits and money wise.

This iStill Blog post dives into aging, how the process can be speeded up, and how we now offer a unique innovation to help you fast age your product, if you want to go down that route.

The theory

Simplified, the process of aging white spirits basically consists of two steps:

  1. Oxygen, meeting and mingling with your product, will oxidize your spirit, making it softer, easier on the palate;
  2. Molecules in your product, that meet and mingle, recombine to form new taste molecules (also called esters) again softening your spirit while making it more complex at the same time.

Oxygenation, the first aging process, is induced by adding an outside element (oxygen) to your spirit. More oxygen means faster oxygenation. Oxygenation is an aging process that especially benefits the late Heads that may have smeared into your Hearts cut. Oxygen develops the taste formation of Heads associated, fruity tastes.

Recombination, as I call the second aging process described above, does not need external agents. It’s an autonomous process, where molecules, inherent to your Hearts cut, meet, mingle and recombine into new molecules. It is a process however, that can also be speeded up. How? By creating a warmer environment. In warmer temperatures, more of the desired chemical reactions take place. Recombination concentrates its benefits on the early Tails faction that may have smeared into your Hearts cut. It’s the root-like, nutty, multi-dimensional tastes that get developed by adding heat.

The Arrhenius Equation teaches us that adding 10 degrees Centigrade of heat doubles the chemical reactions (recombinations) that take place. Turn that around and you get the following: “If we mature our spirits in an environment that’s 10 degrees C warmer, aging will go twice as fast.” Stay with me and compare this: a Scottish barrel room at 12 degrees … and a fast aging vessel at 62 degrees C. That’s a 50 degrees difference speeding up Tails related aging immensely.

There you have it. If you want to speed up the aging process, oxygenate and heat-up your spirits!

Adding wood flavors

Barrels are perfect for aging. The barrel room allows for warm temperatures that help the process of esterification via recombination of molecules. And, since part of the barrel contents evaporate, air is added to your product, enhancing oxygenation levels. Barrel aging enables both aging processes (oxygenation and recombination) to take place, but at a slow pace. Some whiskies and rums age up to 20 years.

Barrels do more than providing an environment for aging. Barrels also infuse your spirits with wood particles (tannins and vanillins and more). These wood particles give of tastes of themselves and allow for the alcohol molecules to form new esters again.

A fast aging approach

If you want to speed up the aging process of your white spirits, this is what you do: add oxygen and energy to it. A fruit brandy, that’s Heads (fruity tastes!) oriented will benefit from more oxygenation, while a rum or whiskey, that’s Tails (nutty, root-like tastes) oriented will benefit more from heating-up.

Are you into brown spirits? Then add wood chunks to your product, and proceed as above. Due to the warmer temperatures, the wood chunks will give off more taste and color faster.

How to oxygenize? By adding oxygen. Set your agitator high and you’ll cavitate air (and oxygen) into your product.

How to beef-up Tails-oriented esterification and aging? By putting the heaters on and heating your product up to 60 to 65 degrees C.

And here comes the fun part: both processes reinforce one another! If you heat up your product to 60 degrees C, many of the lower boiling point alcohols (right: Heads!) will evaporate and then condense. During the evaporation phase they oxygenate at a very fast rate, because they get suspended in oxygen rich air.

The reinforcement also works the other way around. If you agitate to introduce oxygen to your product, you will also force the Tails oriented esters and molecules to meet and mingle and recombine at a higher rate.

Agitation and heating, with wood chunks or without, that’s all that’s needed to fast age your spirits. The results? Please see underneath.

Results

Many now investigate fast aging techniques. And the claims they make are … ridiculous. Like this: “If you use our machine, our aging reactor, you can achieve 20 years of aging in just six days!” I know that’s ridiculous because I have tried and tested it. Heck, it was probably my research into ultrasonic aging that created this hype!

Here’s why the statements made by others are ridiculous:

  1. Six days of fast aging gives you the equivalent of three maybe four years of aging, not 20;
  2. You don’t need a special machine, and you certainly don’t need to call it an aging reactor (even though that’s a cool name)!

iStill Fast Aging

You know that our iStill NextGen boilers are incredibly versatile, right? You can use them to cook, to mash, to ferment, and to distill.

Now add this to the mix: with all my research in fast aging techniques, starting over a decade ago, I prepared the design of the iStill NextGen boiler to also support fast aging. And today, we are introducing iStill Fast Aging to the market! How? Well, via this blog post. And via a software update that – if you have an iStill NextGen equipped with an agitator and boiler radiator – from now onwards makes your unit even more versatile. Starting today, you can use the iStill for fast aging. We have updated the software and added three base fast aging procedures:

  • Fast aging fruit brandy;
  • Fast aging whisky and rum;
  • Fast aging gin and vodka.

All programs are a careful combination of agitation and heating. The higher temperatures create more early Tails related esterification (or molecular recombination). With rum and whiskey you are after the root-like, nutty tastes associated with those early Tails. That’s why it pays out to fast age at slightly higher temperatures. The more early Tails there are, the longer (or in this case: warmer) one needs to age them.

The higher the agitation frequency, the more oxidation takes place. With fruit brandy, you want to make sure your Hearts cut contains more late Heads and none (or for a brandy: very little) early Tails. That’s why fruit brandy benefits from higher agitator settings. The higher level of oxidation is needed to age out the bigger amounts of Heads related congeners.

Fast aging made easy …

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Roll-out

All existing customers that have an iStill NextGen, equipped with the agitator and boiler radiator (because they play an essential role in fast aging), will get the new iStill Fast Aging functionality with their yearly software update. New customers that buy an iStill with agitator and boiler radiator get this new functionality as well. In both cases, the upgrade is free of charge.

iStill Fast Aging is a new, automated, and free upgrade …

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http://www.iStill.eu

New iStill Mini Now Available!

We have finished manufacture and are now starting with final assembly of the next batch of iStills Mini II. What it is? Our 6 liter / 1.5 gallon (net) product development still. With power manager, reflux manager, gin hooks, agitator, column and extractor, it is all you need to design your best possible spirits!

It is another batch of 50 of which 20 have already been sold. Do you want to take spirits design to the professional level? Please know you can order one for EUR 3.000. For more information, reach out to Sales@iStillmail.com. If you want to order, reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com

Highest grade stainless steel boilers …

Fine machined coolers, columns, and extractors …

The finished product …

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https://www.istill.com/products/imini