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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http://www.iStill.com

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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http://www.iStill.com

 

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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http://www.iStill.com

Another Dispatch Day!

Another busy day, here, at iStill HQ in the Netherlands. We just put five stills on transport. Here is an overview:

  • iStill 500 and iStill Mini to a customer from the USA;
  • iStill 2000 to a customer from Cyprus;
  • iStill 500 to a French customer;
  • iStill 5000 for a leading wine and spirits manufacturer from Australia.

Pictures? Here we go:

In goes the iStill 5000 …

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Next? The iStill Mini and two iStills 500 …

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With the iStill 2000 added, the truck is basically full …

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http://www.iStill.com

iStill is the Swiss Army Knife of Distilling!

Definition and advantages

The Swiss Army Knife is a compact pen knife with multiple blades and tools. The advantages of a Swiss Army Knife are fourfold:

  1. You can use it in many ways;
  2. You can bring it anywhere;
  3. You can rely on it for years;
  4. You can save money on one purchase.

For more information on The Swiss Army Knife (SAK), please see:

http://www.gardencamping.net/4-impressive-benefits-you-can-enjoy-with-a-swiss-army-knife/

If iStill is the Swiss Army Knife for distillers, how does it compare, and where does it make an impact or at least a difference over traditional stills and distillery set-ups? Let’s dive in deeper.

The Swiss Army Knife …

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You can use it in many ways

The Swiss Army knife is a tool with many attached features. It can have any of these items – scissors, pliers, blade, corkscrew, can opener, nail file, screwdriver, wood saw, wire cutter, toothpick, nail cleaner, wire stripper, peeler, ruler and key ring. 

The iStill is a tool with many attached features. It can be a potstill as well as a column still, at the push of a button. It can distill any drink, be it whiskey, rum, brandy, gin, liqueurs or vodka. With add-ons like the boiler radiator and mixing system, it can also be used as a masher, fermenter, and fast aging machine.

You can bring it anywhere

Aside from the SAK’s multi-functionality, it is best known for its portability. You can bring it with you anywhere because the attached tools are bendable. You can push them into the handle for safe-keeping. If your priority is a tool’s portability, an SAK answers that.

Granted, carrying an iStill 500 – let alone an iStill 5000 – around is not an option. But it is very compact in design, when compared to traditional stills and distillery set-ups. And it just takes a tap and a wall outlet, and its basically “plug-and-play”. Also, it comes equipped with all functionality attached, meaning that you just select the program you want to run and the iStill will do it for you.

You can rely on it for years

Victorinox has maintained the SAK’s steel component. Over the years, it has been modified regarding design and features. However, its stainless steel has been the same and users, enthusiasts and experts always recognize its quality. Even when you grip its handle intensely, it remains intact because the tools are securely attached. Many owners have been utilizing their SAK in many ways and for a long time. If Superman is the man-of-steel, the SAK is the object-of-steel. That is guaranteed!

If Superman is the man-of-steel and the SAK is the object-of-steel, iStill – for sure – is the still-of-steel. Just like the SAK (and Superman), iStills are build to last. Everything is double engineered, meaning that where 2 mm thick steel or a 0.75 BHP agitator engine would suffice, we opt for 4 mm Stainless Steel and a 1.5 BHP motor.

You can save money on one purchase

Another complimented feature of an SAK is its affordability. Despite its multi-faceted design, stainless steel material and portability, the SAK is perfect for any budget. Reviews have remarked on how the item is underpriced given its many usage and durability. If you are looking for an all-in-one, handy, and long-lasting tool, purchase an SAK now.

Another complimented feature of an iStill is its affordability. Despite its multi-faceted design, stainless steel material, and 21st Century advanced technology, the iStill is perfect for any budget. Reviewing prices of a multi-plated Holstein or Mueller or a potstill from Forsyth’s, remarks on how the iStill is underpriced given its many usage and durability. If you are looking for an all-in-one, handy, and long-lasting tool, purchase an iStill now.

iStill is the Swiss Army Knife of distilling …

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http://www.iStill.com

iStill to Revolutionize Craft Brewing?

Introduction

Was it only six years ago that iStill made a big splash into the craft distilling industry? Only six years ago that craft distillers finally got access to 21st century tools to make distilling great again? It was. And in those six years we have not just made a big splash, entering the industry, but we have established ourselves as the lead player for distillery equipment, education, product development, and contract distilling. Now the question arises: “Will we do the same to the craft brewing industry?”

Craft brewing

Why ask that question? Well, because over the last year, more and more craft brewers have reached out to us, asking for our help and/or equipment in furthering the growth of their businesses.

As you are well aware of (or should be), craft brewing is well ahead of the craft distilling game. Their growth, shelf space, has preceded craft distilling by 10 to 15 years. Mature brewers have established themselves in any major and minor city in both North America and Europe.

More and more, it seems, those successful to craft brewing look for ways to increase their presence, highlight their uniqueness. And what’s easier to add to your brewery than a still, right? Just chew out some beer and turn it into vodka, whiskey, and gin.

Wrong. The problem – up until now – has not been buying the still, but learning how to operate it. Most stills out there are based on 18th century technology and hard to drive, let alone manipulate into doing the right thing. The craft brewer can’t just add a still to his brewery line-up and be done with it, no, he also needs to hire a distiller to go with it, probably a team of two, if he wants to make any significant impact. Guess what? That is about to change!

iStill for craft brewers

If you are a craft brewer, interested in adding distilling to your portfolio, you’d want to use 21st century technology. Just as you are using in your brewery. Stainless steel equipment, automatic programs with remote management and control, automated cleaning programs, etc. With iStill becoming available to craft brewers, that is just what you will get.

Our equipment can mash, ferment, pot distill and column distill. It can help make you whiskey, vodka, and gin at the touch of a button. The automation and robotization is so advanced, you will not need an additional distillers team. Yes, you will need some training. Please know we provide that as well.

To support craft brewers into expanding into distilling, we organize a special 4-day workshop. We’ll train you in the noble science of distilling. We’ll train you in making base beers for vodka and whiskey. How to mash and how to ferment and how to distill. We’ll train you in gin making. In fact, the course is so hands-on, that you will make your own whiskey, vodka, and gin yourselves!

Interested? Visit our stand at the Craft Brewing Convention 2019 in Denver. Or reach out to Jason@iStillmail.com. Jason is the North American iStill representative.

iStill at the Craft Brewing Convention in Denver …

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http://www.iStill.com

Neutralizing Dephlag Induced Taste Variance!

Introduction

If you, as a craft distiller, want to make the best spirits possible, you need to have full control over all variables. If you want to make the beste spirits consistently, you need even more control. This iStill Blog post dives into the influence of dephlagmator induced taste variance, how it can screw up your run, and how iStill’s innovations help solve the issue.

The influence of a dephlagmator on distilling

A dephlagmator is a pre-condensor that sits high up in the column. When a beer or wine is brought to a boil, gasses rise up through the column. In a potstill, the gasses go up  via the riser and then migrate horizontally via the line arm and then are bend downwards before entering the secondary or product cooler.

Dephlagmator: a partial heat exchanger …

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In a (traditionally plated) column a dephlagmator or dephlag is added near the top of the column or riser. The aim is for the dephlag to cool a certain percentage of the gasses back to liquid state. This liquid, called reflux, falls back down in the column and can be reprocessed by that column for further purification and concentration. For instance via bubble cap plates or perforated plates in that column, under the pre-condensing dephlag.

As a result of part of the gasses being cooled back to liquid phase – and them being redistilled lower in the column – rising gasses and reflux exchange molecules, making the reflux lower in ABV, while the gasses get a boost in alcohol percentage. When those now enriched gasses hit the dephlag again, another portion of them is turned into reflux, while another faction leaves – as gasses – the top of the column to be cooled down into spirits.

The dephlag is in use since the 1860’s and is still in use on most column stills for its capability of creating reflux. Here is a schematic drawing (yes, by yours only) of how a dephlag works:

Dephlagmator: reflux vs. enriched gasses …

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How dephlag induced variance screws up your run

The dephlag is fed by gasses from the bottom and by cold cooling water from the side. The cold cooling water condenses (part) of the gasses. Near the top redistilled gasses leave the system, to meet-up with the secondary product cooler. Also near the top, now warmer cooling water exits the dephlag.

Even though dephlagmators do a good job at creating reflux, they come with a set of severe drawbacks. Drawbacks have to do with that dephlags run depending on cooling water. More water in means more cooling, more reflux, more purification, and less product. Less cooling water throughput means less reflux, less purification, and more product comes over per hour. But cooling water isn’t a given. It, and a number of other variables, has certain properties that are vulnerable to variance. Here are the biggest confounders:

  1. How cold or warm is the cooling water to start with?
  2. At what water pressure does the coolant come over?
  3. What’s the delta between the cooling water, the still, and the gasses?

A dephlag “controlled” column has a lot of variables to deal with. And each variable shows variance. Cooling water may be colder in the winter or in the morning, resulting in seasonal or temporal changes in cuts, flavors and ABV.

Water pressure may be lower early in the morning and later in the evening. Less water pressure means the dephlag doesn’t cool so much during (at least) parts of the run, resulting in lower ABV hearts cut and more smearing of heads and tails.

How hot is your distilling hall? And how does that change over time? For sure the delta between the coolant, the still’s outside and the gasses is important. And when it is constantly changing, so are your cuts, so are the flavors you bring over in your spirits!

When using a dephlagmator, the craft distiller will struggle to make a spirit the best way possible. And recreating the same drink over and over again becomes neigh impossible. In short?

Due to dephlag induced variance, you just screwed up your run …

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The iStill solution to dephlag induced variance

Our mission statement is “Distilling made easy”. And in order to help make distilling easier, it has been our goal to minimize dephlag induced cooling water variance. We succeeded. This paragraph explains how we did it.

iStills do not have a dephlag. Instead of a pre-condensor high up in the column, we placed a full-size condensor above the column. “Full-size” means ALL the gasses are cooled down to liquid phase. “Above the column” means just this: there is no U-tube with consecutive after cooler on top of the iStill condensor. All the gasses are cooled down to liquid and fall down to the collection plate system. It is at the collection plate system, with the help of the robot, that selections between “product out” (spirits) and “product back into the column” (reflux) are taken.

Since all gasses are cooled back to liquids, the iStill design has no variance at all. Cooling water temperature does not influence cuts or purity or ABV. Nor does water pressure (or changes in water pressure). Finally, delta’s between column, distilling hall, and coolant don’t play a role anymore either.

As long as there is enough coolant, the iStill creates a distilling environment free of dephlag induced cooling water issues related to temperature, pressure, and delta’s! The innovative iStill column and condensor set-up allows you to make your drinks the best way possible. With the same cuts, ABV, and flavors … each and every run.

This is how iStill’s full-size column condensor works …

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http://www.iStill.com

 

 

Irish Whiskey now GI!

The European Commission has confirmed geographical indication (GI) status for Irish whiskey as well as Irish cream liqueur and Irish poitin.

For more reading, please see:

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2019/04/european-commission-approves-irish-whiskeys-gi-status/?fbclid=IwAR1JzutcCoxJQUU8dOJk5cBJ1_Lji-Ltf3pDGw3bPluVVolKXAuIqYnX1VA

iStill 5000 Copper: the ultimate Irish whiskey still …

copperistill

http://www.iStill.com

Update iStill Mini Availability!

We are delighted to see that our new, small product development still, the iStill Mini, is a huge success. We just shipped four more to customers all over the world. After delivering four others personally, just a week ago, when we did the Denver based iStill University Workshop.

Why share this information? Well, guess what? The last batch of iStills Mini is nearing depletion. There are now only five more left. Of course, we will start building another batch of 50 new iStills Mini, but that will only be ready in 10 weeks from now.

So, if you want to order an iStill Mini, and you need one quickly, please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com today …

Four more iStills Mini fly out to customers all over the world today …

http://www.iStill.com

 

Scottish Whisky iStill!

Introduction

Any iStill can make any product. Whisky, vodka, rum, brandy, or gin … you name it, the iStill can make it. But that’s just the production side of things. Sometimes additional rules or laws apply. Scottish single malt is an example. Additional rules are set in place.

In this iStill Blog post I will explore what those additional rules are and how iStill helps customers – with its advanced technology – at making amazing Scottish single malt whisky. Yes! iStill made Scottish single malt whisky according to the rules of the Scottish Whisky Association.

Scottish single malt whisky

Scottish single malt whisky is a full bodied, three dimensional spirit, produced by batch distillation. But there are more rules applicable. For instance: it has to be made in Scotland, but there is more, so let’s dive in deeper.

Scottish single malt whisky needs to be distilled in a potstill. Otherwise it cannot be called Scottish single malt whisky. Not just any potstill though! The potstill needs a lyne arm and at least all the gases need to touch copper only. In practice, this means that the top of the boiler, the riser and the lyne arm need to be all copper. The boiler and product cooler can me made out of other materials as well.

The iStill solution to Scottish single malt production

We are proud to announce that we can now help out Scots that want to produce single malt whisky. We hereby introduce the iStill 500, 2000, and 5000 Copper. Not because it makes better whisky, but simply because it is the only way in which we can help out our Scottish customers that want to produce single malt whisky.

The units come with a PLC, automated run programs, and automated cuts for heads, hearts, and tails. The units are directly fired and can be fitted with our famous Jet Propulsion Agitator System (J-PAS). The new range comes standard with Dynamic Cuts Management for an unmatched batch consistency and production efficiency.

The 500 liter version produces 50 liter of spirits per hour. The 2000 liter still produces up to 100 liters per hour. The iStill 5000 Copper produces up to a whopping 200 liters per hour.

Pricing

The iStill 500 Copper costs EUR 75.000,-. The iStill 2000 Copper costs EUR 125.000,-. The biggest (so far) version is the iStill 5000 Copper. It sells for EUR 175.000,-.

On a five year rent-to-own basis, the iStill 500 Copper can be leased for EUR 1.596,- per month. The iStill 2000 Copper would cost EUR 2.660,- per month. The iStill 5000 Copper can be leased for EUR 3.724,- per month.

Request for more information

For more information, please reach out to Sales@iStillmail.com.

copperistill

http://www.iStill.com