The All New iStill Nano!

What is it?

The all new iStill Nano is the newest addition to the iStill suite. It is a little potstill with a one liter gross capacity. We designed it to give our customers tools to run their consumer oriented gin, rum, whisky and brandy schools professionally. Not just any tools, iStill tools.

The unit is very easy to operate, and allows you to have your customers make their own gin or rum, whisky or brandy at your distillery, swiftly, effectively, and safely. Put in 0.75 liters of wine or beer or vodka. Add herbs to your liking. Within the hour, the iStill Nano will help make a bottle of freshly distilled spirits.

Build to last a lifetime and more …

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Features?

The iStill Nano is made out of high-grade stainless steel and is constructed to last! The boiler and column and cooler are made from 2 mm thick sheets, while the bottom is a whopping 4 millimeters.

The unit comes with an easy to bolt on, tri-clamp riser/lyne-arm/cooler with easy connects for cooling water in and out.

The iStill Nano comes with a dedicated 500 Watt hotplate and a power manager for 0 to 100% power regulation. In the smallest, incremental steps possible.

The iStill nameplate can be replaced by your nameplate or logo, at a small price increase.

Also included is the all-new Bluetooth thermometer probe. It measures your gas temperatures every second and relays the signal to the new iStill App.

The complete iStill Nano set-up …

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App?

Indeed. For your convenience we designed an App. What it does? Well, first of all, it tells you at what temperature you are distilling … and so much more!

  • You can upload recipes for gin, whisky, rum, and brandy;
  • You can perform your own run and save the recipe for later use;
  • The app informs you when to cut for Heads, Hearts, and Tails;
  • Temperatures and cut points are automatically adjusted for air pressure on a per second basis;
  • Ensuring your customers can make the same high-quality drup over and over again!

The iStill App …

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Project status?

We have tested a first batch of beta’s with great success. Next step is that we’ll build 60 iStills Nano. Enough to serve up to 10 customers that want to take their customer experience to the next level. Given our busy production planning, I think that’s as many iStills Nano we can make in 2019. For sure in 2020 more batches will follow though. Delivery of the first batch will start in October 2019.

Wanna buy?

We sell the iStill Nano in packages of six. Each package contains six iStills Nano, with the thermometer probes, hotplates, water lines, quick connects, and power managers included.

A package of six costs EUR 3.600,-. Shipment, via airplane and all over the world, adds EUR 400,- and brings the total price point to EUR 4.000,-.

For more information, please reach out to Sales@iStillmail.com. If you want to order, please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com. Orders can be placed as of right now and it is first in, first out. Again, first deliveries will take place from October 2019 onwards.

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New Batch of our Product Development Still Almost Ready!

We have finished the fabrication of 50 more iStills Mini, our 8 liter / 2 gallon product development still. Currently, the units are insulated, equipped with heaters, assembled, and tested.

The first units of this batch are expected to be ready for shipping in about just three weeks from now.

Interested in purchasing a still specifically designed for product development? Please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com.

A new batch of boilers …

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And part of them are now insulated and water tested …

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Cooling and Chilling!

Introduction

Cooling is an integral part to distilling. The process starts by bringing liquids to a boil, and creating vapors richer in alcohol. The process, from a scientific perspective, ends with the still cooling down those gases to liquid phase.

How cooling affects distillation is important. So let’s dive in deeper and figure out how it works, what iStill does for you, and what is the craft distiller’s own responsibility.

What you get

What you get, when you purchase an iStill, is an integral solution to distilling. Instead of buying an empty shell, that still needs a steam boiler, boiler room, and a lot of piping, the iStill comes with heaters and power management included. Well, yeah, but lets be realistic here … the heaters and power management systems only work, when you connect the iStill to the grid. Without electricity no power, without power no heating-up.

And the same holds true for cooling. Yes, the iStill comes with a column cooler and a product cooler, but if you don’t connect them to an adequate source of coolant, well, no cooling (or not enough cooling) takes place, hindering total efficiency.

What you need to do

What the craft distiller needs to do is check his mains. What is water pressure and water temperature? What does water cost? What’s the climatic conditions of the distilling location? Recirculate water or just flush it down the drain?

In hotter climates chillers are probably needed. What size and strength? Well, that really depends on your location and on what your set-up is. Do you run an iStill 500 or 2000? Do you anticipate growth? Do you need the chiller to also cool down some fermenters you ordered?

As a general (and slightly overkill) rule-of-thumb, and as far as the iStills are concerned, please look at their maximum power. An iStill 500 has 18 kW and runs, while making vodka at around 15 kW. A run may take 8 hours, which adds up to a total power input of 120 kWh. So that’s what you are looking for, when investigating chillers: a cooling system that delivers those numbers.

Do you run an iStill 2000? Then the numbers will be different. It makes vodka at 36 kW, so you need a bigger chilling system.

Our iStill Wizards can probably help you find direction, but adequate cooling, just as adequate electricity are the responsibility of the craft distiller.

Cooling made easier

In order to help customers out that live in (very) hot climates and need to rely on mains water for cooling, we added an item to our option list: the iStill Pre-Cooler. The iStill Pre-Cooler is an additional column cooler that sits under the standard column cooler and can be fed by its own coolant supply.

This addition comes especially handy for those that make vodka, since the associated high power settings as well as high vapor speeds, put more stress on the distiller’s cooling system.

The iStill Pre-Cooler comes does what the name says: it pre-cools part of the gasses offered by the column, creating an overall bigger cooling capacity for those restricted on coolant.

Pre-coolers can now be ordered via your iStill Wizard. We have designed additional pre-coolers for the iStill 100, 500, 2000, and 5000:

  • iStill 100 Pre-Cooler: EUR 500,-
  • iStill 500 Pre-Cooler: EUR 1.500,-
  • iStill 2000 Pre-Cooler: EUR 2.000,-
  • iStill 5000 Pre-Cooler: EUR 3.000,-

iStill 2000 Pre-Cooler and Column Cooler …

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Vodka Distilling Made Easier!

Introduction

Vodka is a one-dimensional, almost neutral drink, made from grains or potatoes. Its relative neutrality is obtained by a multitude of distillation cycles, where each distillation further strengthens the ABV in order to reach 190 proof, while pushing heads and tails associated flavors to the sides.

This iStill Blog post is about how we improved vodka making over the last few years, and how you – as a craft distiller and/or iStill customer can take advantage of those innovations. Quite technical maybe, but that’s what it takes to make superior vodka: its a technological balancing act between purity and output after all. Or between reflux and product, if you like.

Making vodka in the old, pre-2016 iStills

The old iStills had a robot with only 35 steps. It calculated the boiling point of ethanol via stabilization.

Making better vodka in the original iStill NextGen in 2016

With the introduction of the iStill NextGen in 2016, we completely redesigned both the column and the boiler for better performance. Robot 2.0 came out, with improved 1,000 step accuracy. The actual boiling point was still calculated through stabilizing the column. The NextGen saw a boost in production of around 50% over the older designs.

Making better vodka in the iStill NextGen in 2017

The year 2017 saw another bit update, to further improve the accuracy of the iStill’s vodka making capabilities. Robot 3.0 came out. It gave the iStill an incredible 2,500 settings.

Making even better vodka in the iStill NextGen in 2018

For 2018 we changed two major things. First, we added a double calibration to the thermometer probes, further narrowing their operational windows. Secondly, we added an air pressure monitor. The new monitor allows for second-to-second supervision of air pressure. The moment it changes, the iStill automatically compensates. Since the iStills are now no longer dependent on stabilization for air pressure readings, they become both more accurate and more efficient. Basically this shaves up to an hour off the total run time!

Making the best vodka in the iStill NextGen since 2019

With the 2019 innovations in place, we feel the way we help make vodka has reached its peak. No more improvements are planned, we have reached the optimum. Non Plus Ultra. What the 2019 innovations are? ABV-Control and the Reflux Capacitor.

ABV-Control does, well, what it says: it helps manage your ABV. It works via a sophisticated program, where the computer, based on thermometer inputs, predicts what will happen, and prepares the robot accordingly. No more column re-stabilizations. Instead of open or close, the unit now continuously optimizes. The result? Better performance and higher efficiency.

The Reflux Capacitor improves the overall column performance with 25%, resulting (again) in a more stable run. As a result, the take-off vs. reflux ratio can now improve even further, creating the purest product possible in the shortest amount of time.

Want to buy?

That’ is perfectly possible. Easy too. If you buy a new iStill, you get ABV-Control, double calibration, the air pressure monitor, Robot 3.0, and the Reflux Capacitor as standard. Together, this incredible innovation suite maximizes and optimizes your vodka production.

Want to upgrade?

If you want to upgrade your 2016, 2017, or 208 iStill NextGen to Robot 3.0, the air pressure sensor and Reflux Capacitor, that is perfectly possible. It costs EUR 5.000,-. Online assembly support is provided and part of the offer.

No, you don’t need ABV-Control or the double calibration. It is part of your service agreement and was rolled out to your iStill during the last software update.

Vodka distilling made easy with iStill …

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New Batch of iStills Mini!

Introduction

We have begun fabricating another batch of iStills Mini. As you probably know, the iStill Mini is iStill’s product development still. We designed this unit to help our customers create their specific drinks on a small scale.

The smaller scale of this product development still translates to faster and lower costs of spirit design. The fact that it is an iStill makes translating your recipe to the bigger, production oriented iStills a no-brainer. It’s now just a matter of scaling up.

Specifications

The iStill Mini is an 8 liter (gross), direct fired still. It is made out of stainless steel, while the boiler is insulated. It comes with power manager (0 – 2 kW). The Purity Selector allows to distill both taste-rich spirits like brandy, gin, rum, and whiskey or very pure vodkas or GNS. It comes with an additional extractor column. In fact, it comes fully specced: power manager, boiler, column, packing, agitator system, heater, blue tooth temperature probes, coolers, and an app.

What’s new or changed?

Nothing major, but let’s dive in anyhow:

  • Lower placement of heating element for a minimum charge of 5 instead of 6 liters;
  • Some redesigned power manager internals;
  • Product cooler now comes with tri-clamp connection (just like the rest of the still);
  • New, bigger knobs to screw on the lid;
  • Different boiler drain design;
  • Minor changes to the extractor column to optimize suction and through-put.

Pricing

The price of this new batch of iStills Mini stayed the same. EUR 3.000,-. We transport them to most parts of the world via air mail, which adds around EUR 500,- to the invoice. A wheeled trolley bag is included in the transport costs.

Production and availability

We expect to have the new batch of 50 iStills Mini ready in about five weeks from now, so that’s when we’ll start deliveries again. Of this new batch, 13 have already been sold. If you want to start product development, and feel the iStill Mini can help you out, please order soon. The last few batches sold out in weeks rather than months and we only expect to manufacture a new batch after the summer.

Want one? You order it, we invoice you, you pay for it, and we ship it. You get the iStill Mini a few days later via air mail, assemble it (instruction available), and run it!

For placing an order, please reach out to your iStill Wizard:

  • Avian@iStillmail.com for the UK;
  • Jason@iStillmail.com for the Americas;
  • Sarah@iStillmail.com for Asia and Australia;
  • Sales@iStillmail.com for Europe and Africa.

The iStill Mini …

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Meet Hal 9000!

Introduction

HAL 9000 is the advanced computer from Arthur C Clarke’s movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In that movie, the computer, integral part of the space ship Discovery, becomes self-aware and sentient. You can imagine that things get pretty interesting and intense after that event takes place.

iStill is upgrading its advanced computer systems, in order to make running your distillery easier again. Don’t worry, our new computer won’t become self-aware or sentient any time soon, but it does have some clever and helpful tricks up it’s sleeve!

HAL 9000 in “2001: A Space Odyssey” …

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Distilling as a process

Distilling usually is a process, involving mashing (converting starch to fermentable sugars), fermentation (turning sugars to alcohol while creating flavors), and distillation. And since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, making sure that all process steps are performed to perfection is adamant.

Distilling is a process …

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The iStills (when properly specced) can mash, ferment, and distill. One computer helps check and regulate what goes on during each step of the alcohol and flavor production process. We also produce stand-alone and specialized mashers and fermenters. Again, one computer regulates the mashing procedure or fermentation.

So … what does iStill’s HAL 9000 bring to the market? Basically this: Central Distillery Management.

Central Distillery Management

iStill’s HAL 9000 is a new option, that allows you to centrally manage your distillery. By adding HAL 9000 to your iStill 2000 or iStill 5000, you can now use that unit to manage up to five additional iStills Mashers and/or Fermenters.

The additional equipment can be run centrally from the unit equipped with HAL 9000. Or remotely, from your computer or tablet, via WiFi or an ethernet cable. Remote as in away from the distillery.

The HAL 9000 option can be added to the iStills 2000 and 5000. It comes as an extra module in the PLC box at the rear of the unit. Included is a bigger (wider) and more advanced full-color touch screen, and a new user interface.

Benefits

HAL 9000 gives you:

  • Central Distillery Management for up to six units total;
  • Insight in and management of all of your iStills from one central location;
  • In the distillery or remote;
  • For additional iStill Mashers and Fermenters;
  • A bigger touch screen pannel with an updated user interface.

Central Distillery Management …

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Investment

The HAL 9000 option adds EUR 10.000,- to your investment. It can be ordered immediately. We are currently uploading this option to the online iStill Design Center. It will be online in just a few days. If you can’t wait, please just send us an email.

Example of HAL 9000’s new screen and user interface …

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Tell your noisy still to shut up!

Introduction

There is virtue in silence. Personally and professionally. On a personal level, I hate loud noises. As a still designer and manufacturer, I don’t like noise either. This iStill Blog post is about what I think of noisy stills and why I don’t like them.

Distillery engineering

From an engineering perspective, noise is not a good thing. Unless you are a sound engineer, probably.

In general, when we compare two equal-purposed machines, it is the one making the most noise, while performing its major functions, that is less well put together. Whether it is the original design specifications, the fabrication, assembly, or all these combined, a machine creating increased noise levels indicates something is amiss. This is so, because noise production, in a machine, is the result of either friction or bumping. And both friction and bumping are the result of the constituent parts of that machine touching, meeting or cooperating badly instead of perfectly.

Noise levels, therefore, are a great indicator of the accuracy and precision with which a machine is designed and put together. If design and manufacturing precision is low, more bumping and friction takes place. Bumping and friction leads to enlarged wear & tear as well as to increased noise levels. A noisier machine indicates higher wear & tear, just as that higher wear & tear is the result of sub-optimal design and fabrication processes, of that machine. Like this:

Sub-optimal build => more bumping & friction => high wear & tear => higher noise levels

The opposite is also true. The better a machine is designed, and the more precisely and accurately it is manufactured, the smaller the tolerances. Small tolerances lead to less bumping and friction, resulting in lower wear & tear, and lower associated noise levels. Like this:

Precision build => less bumping & friction => lower wear & tear => lower noise levels

iStill and others

Given the above, noise levels matter. Low noise level stills have limited bumping and friction, resulting in lower wear & tear. A low noise level still can be defined as a precision-build tool. High noise level stills indicate higher levels of bumping and friction, inevitably resulting in higher wear & tear.

Even though there are no specific industry definitions on what noise levels are bad, mediocre, or good, it is possible to investigate and compare how different stills perform. And that is exactly what we will do in the remainder of this paragraph:

  • The iStill 2000 measures a bit above 50 DB. That’s with the agitator at its normal power setting and the heaters on full power. For comparison, a quiet room is 50 DB, while a quiet street is around 60 DB.
  • A 300 liter Mueller measures around 62 DB. For comparison, a quiet street is around 60 DB, while a conversation is around 70 DB.
  • A 2000 liter Holstein distillery system creates around 80 DB. This can be compared to loud singing.

The iStill 2000 is the quietest still on the market …

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Translating decibels into loudness

So it becomes clear: the iStill is the quietest quality still out there. But how does 51 DB compare to 62 DB or 80 DB? Let’s translate decibels into loudness:

  1. The iStill is very silent;
  2. The Mueller’s extra 10 DB makes it twice as loud as the iStill is;
  3. The Holstein’s additional 30 DB make it up to eight times louder than the iStill.

From decibels to loudness …

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Conclusion

iStills are the most silent stills on the market. A testimony of how well-designed, well-engineered, and well-manufactured they are.

Two other esteemed and well-established still manufacturers score significantly higher on noise production than iStill does.

By their precision-engineering iStills not only limit wear & tear, they also create a safe and sound (pun intended) working environment for you and your staff.

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