iStill 100 Redesign!

Introduction

The iStill 100 NextGen has always been our smallest production still. Its column was designed to work optimally with 3.5 kW, because that is – in many places around the world – the maximum household electrical power draw.

As times change, and since the iStill Mini is now well-established as the distilling industry’s recipe development still, we feel it is time to upgrade the iStill 100 in order to boost its performance and functionality. This iStill Blog post explains the new features, their benefits, the different varieties of the redesigned iStill 100, pricing, and the sort of customers the unit aims to serve.

New features

  • Bigger diameter 3 inch column (80 mm DIN internal, so 3.15 inch to be exact);
  • Bigger diameter 2.5 inch drain;
  • Bigger diameter 3 inch legs (yes, 3.15 inch actually);
  • Beefed-up, 5.7 kW heating system;
  • Indirect heating is now an option;
  • Jet Propulsion Agitator System (J-PAS) is now an option;
  • StillControl App & Thermometer for Manual Series.

BenefitsĀ 

  • Performance increase: 51% (liters per hour at matching vapor speeds);
  • Easy discharge of pulp or on the grain left-overs;
  • More sturdy design;
  • Faster heat-up, faster runs;
  • Both off the grain and on the grain and pulp distilling are now possible;
  • Manual Series: StillControl helps you manage your run and replicate recipes;
  • NextGen Series: automation and robotization executes runs and replicates recipes.

Varieties

  • iStill 100 Potstill;
  • iStill 100 Plated;
  • iStill 100 Hybrid.

Options

  • Manual or Automated & Robotized;
  • Agitator and Indirect Heaters.

Pricing iStill 100 “Redesign”

  • iStill 100 Potstill Manual: EUR 10.000,-;
  • iStill 100 Plated Manual: EUR 12.500,-;
  • iStill 100 Hybrid Manual: EUR 15.000,-
  • iStill 100 Potstill (Automated & Robotized): EUR 15.000,-;
  • iStill 100 Plated (Automated & Robotized): EUR 20.000,-;
  • iStill 100 Hybrid (Automated & Robotized): EUR 25.000,-;
  • Agitator and Indirect Heaters: EUR 3.750,-.

Customer profile

  • Starting distilleries;
  • Gin and liqueur distilleries that work with GNS;
  • Big, existing distilleries that want enhanced recipe development capability;
  • Small batch distilleries or distilleries that want to add small batch production to their portfolio;
  • “Bauern Brennereianlagen” (farmers doing seasonal fruit brandy distillations in f.i. Southern-Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary and the Elzas.

Ordering process

Any new orders for the iStill 100 from now onwards will be build according to the new specs, that we released today. Please know that our website will see a major overhaul in July. The new options, features and benefits, introduced here, are not yet shown on our current website. For more information and ordering, please reach out to Sales@iStillmail.com.

Bird-view new iStill 100 …

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http://www.iStill.com

Potstill by iStill!

Introduction

The majority of the stills used today are plated stills and pot stills. Hybrid stills, like iStill’s original design, find their fanbase mostly among early adopters and early majority distilleries, not (yet) among late majority distilleries and so-called “laggers” or “traditionalists”.

Potstills have risers, instead of actively managed columns, like the hybrid and plated iStills. This helps the potstill perform one distillation cycle per run … and one distillation cycle only. It brings an 8% beer to 25-30% in one stripping run. It distills 25-30% low wines or GNS base for gin into 65-70% New Make Spirit during the finishing run.

Up until now, iStill has sought to innovate everything, combining newly developed automated control systems with new packed column designs. Targeting early adopters, that made perfect sense. But over time, more and more distillers reached out to us, often from more mature segments of the industry or with a slightly more traditional inclination, asking us why we didn’t help them with an iStill-improved potstill as well. That was the question. The introduction of the iStill Potstill is the mother of all answers.

Robust Flavors, Distilled Consistently

Listening to the industry taught us that existing distillers, that have been in operation for decades, in general don’t value the newest or latest technology per se. They have product on the shelf. They often already invested heavily in a certain distillery set-up. What they are interested in, instead of the newest or the latest, is higher production volumes, more efficient means of operation, savings on staffing or at least the ability to grow without adding to personnel costs.

Existing distillers are often looking for established technology: the technology they established their distillery with. Not just any version, but the best performing, the most efficient, and the most productive version of that technology. Existing distillers are interested in innovations, but only if there is extensive training included in the package, so that innovations become assets rather than production challenges.

In order to comply, we have set the standards high, when we started designing the iStill Potstill. We didn’t just add our amazing automated control systems to an existing potstill, but redesigned the riser, the bridge, and the cooler to facilitate optimum performance in output, efficiency, and consistency.

The result? This all new iStill Potstill blows any other potstill out of the water. It produces single (gin), double (rum and whiskey) and triple (Irish whiskey) distilled spirits with perfect control over heads, hearts, and tails factions. Its design and insulation help boost production efficiency by 200%, basically halving your energy expenses. The automation limits the need for constant supervision, reducing staffing requirements by 75%. There you have it: the all new iStill Potstill made all other potstills obsolete over night!

Features & Benefits

Dual Riser Design (DRD)

The iStill Potstill’s unique Dual Riser Design combines a wide lower riser with a more narrow upper riser. The wide lower riser guarantees a very stable vapor supply, while the narrow upper riser provides the higher vapor speeds needed for the full-bodied flavors associated with pot distillation.

Insulation

The insulation lowers energy losses and supports a speedier distillation process. The insulation on the wide lower riser prevents unwanted passive reflux, while stabilizing vapor speeds, translating into more control over the associated flavor profiles.

Power Management (PM)

You can dial in any power setting from 0 – 100%, for faster or slower runs, for more or less smearing and/or separation power.

Automated Cuts Management (ACM)

Depending on what flavors you are looking for in your drink, you can dial in how you want the iStill Potstill to execute the heads, hearts, and tails cuts. It has three dedicated taps: one for heads, one for hearts, and one for tails, and switches between them automatically. ACM works together closely with iStill’s build-in air pressure controls.

Air Pressure Control (APC)

iStill’s APC unit measures current air pressure on a second-to-second basis. If the air pressure changes, the iStill automatically adapts the cut points for heads, hearts, and tails, to secure spirit reproducibility. In plain English? The iStill Potstill helps you make the same product, consistently, over and over again.

Industrial Computer and Touch Screen

The iStill Potstill comes with an industrial computer (PLC) and touch screen. The automation allows you to select preset distillation programs or design your own programs … and save them for later use and exact run and recipe replication. The PLC is equipped with Central Distillery Management, that helps you manage up to 8 additional mashers and fermenters.

Auto Sanitation & Cleaning (ASC)

The iStill Potstill uses the last bit of alcohol from the run to sanitize the still post operation. It does so automatically. The iStill Potstill also uses the first bit of alcohol of the next run to automatically clean out risers, bridge, cooler and cuts selector at the beginning of that next run. The benefit? It saves you two hours of cleaning per day or per run and you don’t have to invest in detergents.

Copper Foam Technology (CFT)

In case imperfect fermentations result in higher than wished for sulfur counts, copper – as a catalyst – can clean up the contamination. But a copper column or riser would add two hours to your daily cleaning protocols and copper facilitates the formation of ethyl carbamate (a carcinogenic). That’s why we developed CFT. All iStills come equipped with a CFT waffle that can be inserted low in the riser and that takes care of any sulfur contamination without any of the downsides of a completely copper column or riser.

Application

The iStill Potstill excels at the consistent distillation of full-flavored spirits like Scottish single malt whisky or Jamaican potdistilled rums. Cognac? The iStill Potstill will give you the bold flavors you are looking for! Those familiar with Odin’s Theory of Distillation, know that a potstill is very well suited at creating three-dimensional drinks.

The iStill Potstill is also perfectly suited for gin, akvavit, and liqueurs production. Drinks that only need one distillation cycle, because the recipe start with (higher proof) GNS.

Sizes & Prices

The iStill Potstill comes in 100, 500, 2000, and 5000 liter configuration. The iStill 100 Potstill features a 3 and 2 inch wide/narrow riser combination, where the 500 liter model is equipped with a 5 and 3 inch riser combo. The iStill 2000’s riser system measures 8 inch at the bottom and 5 inch at the top-end. The iStill 5000 Potstill has a wide lower riser of 12 inch and a narrow higher riser diameter of 8 inch.

Pricing:

  • iStill 100 Potstill: EUR 15.000,-;
  • iStill 500 Potstill: EUR 30.000,-;
  • iStill 2000 Potstill: EUR 60.000,-;
  • iStill 5000 Potstill: EUR 90.000,-.

First Edition Series

Orders placed in May and June 2020 get upgraded with the additional square manhole and WiFi for free!

Performance

  • ABV output range: 25% to 90%;
  • Run times (on an 8% boiler charge): 4 to 5 hours;
  • Production rate iStill 100 Potstill: over 20 lph;
  • Production rate iStill 500 Potstill: over 50 lph;
  • Production rate iStill 2000 Potstill: over 100 lph;
  • Production rate iStill 5000 Potstill: over 200 lph.

Availability

The Potstill Series by iStill can be ordered from today onwards. Lead time is around 3 to 5 months (depending on size and options). If you want to order one, of if you want to learn more, please reach out to Sales@iStillmail.com.

Impressive bit of kit: iStill 2000 Potstill …

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Optimized riser design for stunning performance …

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iStill Potstill Timepiece …

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It’s never too late to buy an iStill …

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Industrial computer and touch screen and Central Distillery Management …

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http://www.iStill.com

New Standard Feature: Education!

With the iStill University Program going online, we can fulfill a long-time dream and goal. Which one? The one of us providing education for everyone that purchases an iStill!

So far, some 80% of new customers followed the iStill University Course. Flying over, spending a week in the Netherlands just wasn’t a feasible solution for each and everyone of you. But now that we have the iStill University available online, why don’t we have all of our customers participate? No need to spend money on flying over. No more need to be away from your family and job for a prolonged period of time, so what’s holding you back?

From our end, we are integrating equipment and education. What this means? When you order your iStill it now comes with the iStill University Course included!

If you want to learn all about distilling, create your own gin, design your whiskey, or develop an amazing liqueur, this is where you need to go to:

https://istill.web.app/university

Upon purchasing an iStill, the iStill University Course will be included. If you want to follow the educational program first and order later, we’ll discount the course costs from your equipment purchase.

Standard feature: education …

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Plated Still by iStill!

Introduction

The majority of the stills used today are plated stills and pot stills. Hybrid stills, like iStill’s original design, find their fanbase mostly among early adopters, not the industry majority.

Plated stills have columns with plates in them. The plates help redistill the base beer or wine into a higher proof New Make in one go. Bubble cap plates offer fixed liquid baths above the plates, hampering tails smearing and making post-run cleaning more difficult. Perforated plates offer more flexible liquid baths above the plates, allowing for both some early tails smearing and easy cleaning.

Up until now, iStill has sought to innovate everything, combining newly developed automated control systems with new packed column designs. Targeting early adopters, that made perfect sense. But over time, more and more distillers reached out to us, often from more mature segments of the industry or with a slightly more traditional inclination, asking us why we didn’t help them with improved plated stills as well. That was the question. The introduction of the iStill Plated Still is the mother of all answers.

Balanced Spirits, Produced Efficiently

Listening to the industry taught us that existing distillers, that have been in operation for 10 to 15 years, in general don’t value the newest or latest technology per se. They have product on the shelf. They often already have a distillery. What they are interested in, instead of the newest or the latest, is higher production volumes, more efficient means of operation, savings on staffing or at least the ability to grow without adding more personnel costs. Existing distillers are looking for established technology. Not just any version, but the best performing, the most efficient, and the most productive version of that technology.

In order to comply, we have set the standards high. Very high. We didn’t just add our amazing automated control systems to an existing plated column, but redesigned the original 1870’s specs to new, modern, improved plates, that we nicknamed “Performance Plates”.

The result? This all new Plated iStill blows any other plated still out of the water. It can achieve 87% with two instead of three plates in operation, which is the norm (out of an 8% boiler charge). Its production rate trumpsĀ  existing designs times two. Double the output, at half the energy consumption, and with only a quarter of the manual labor. There you have it: the all new iStill Plated Still made all other plated column stills obsolete over night!

Features & Benefits

Performance Plate Technology (PPT)

iStill optimized the perforated plate design for minimized vapor speed disruption. Minimized disruption translates into a more free, less interrupted vapor flow for higher run performance (more liters per hour) and better flavor consistency (better control over smearing, cuts, and taste).

Cold Finger Mini Thumper (CFMT)

The specially designed downcomer boosts inter-plate heat-transfer. Colder liquids above a plate are transferred to the warmer environment below that plate, resulting in a more gradual temperature gradient in the column. The almost complete absence of temperature shock inside the column further boosts performance (in liters of output per hour) and stabilizes flavor composition.

The slightly colder reflux, as it returns through the cold finger downcomer, gets heated up so that it starts acting as a mini thumper or small re-distillation chamber. This gives another boost to performance.

The final important role the CFMT plays, is that it centralizes reflux. It helps feed the plate underneath with centered reflux, thus optimizing the performance of that lower plate as well.

Liquid Management (LM)

“How do you create and manage reflux?” is the central question, when operating a plated still. Traditionally, a plated still is managed via cooling management. Add more coolant to the dephlag and you create more reflux, higher proof, more purity, and less flavor. Add less coolant to the dephlagmator, and the plated column starts to smear more flavors into the New Make, at lower ABV.

The drawbacks of this traditional management system are huge. Because the coolant can be hotter or cooler, in itself and in relation to the temperature in the distilling hall, the amount of reflux produced is never the same, disrupting the production of reproducible drinks. Further interrupters are the pressure with which the coolant is provided (a slight pressure drop results in more smearing and lower ABV directly) and air pressure.

In the Plated iStill we replaced the inaccurate and antiquated Cooling Management design (often – and correctly so – considered the bottle-neck in any plated still design) with our very accurate, state-of-the-art Liquid Management controls. In the iStill all gasses are cooled back to liquid phase, thus reducing the number of variables that otherwise influence column performance and flavor production. No more coolant temperature or coolant pressure variability. The only variable left to deal with in iStill’s unique Liquid Management design is air pressure. The only thing that still influences flavor variability and optimized production rates is air pressure. So guess what? We invented Air Pressure Control …

Air Pressure Control (APC)

iStill’s APC unit measures current air pressure on a second-to-second basis. If the air pressure changes, the iStill automatically adapts the cut points for heads, hearts, and tails, to secure spirit reproducibility. In plain English? The iStill Plated Still helps make the same product, consistently, over and over again.

Auto Plate Deployment (APD)

No need to manually deploy additional plates. No more need to bypass plates either. You dial in what strength and purity you want your spirit to come over, and the iStill Plated Still will deploy the exact needed number of plates and the depth of the redistillation baths automatically.

Automated Cuts Management (ACM)

Depending on what flavors you are looking for in your drink, you can dial in how you want the iStill Plated Still to execute the heads, hearts, and tails cuts. ACM works together closely with iStill’s build-in air pressure controls.

ABV-Control (ABV-C)

You can dial in the proof or percentage at which you want your spirit to come over. The iStill Plated Still supports any percentage from 40% to 94%. You dial it in, the iStill does the rest, saving you time and money.

Reflux Capacitor (RC)

The RC processes reflux one final time, before it exits the column, and re-enters the boiler. In doing so, it boosts total column performance, just by itself, with a whopping 20%. This results in a more stable run, energy savings, and higher production rates.

Anti Entrainment Zone (AEZ)

The Plated iStill comes with four perforated plates. The two bottom plates and the two top plates are separated via an Anti Entrainment Zone. The AEZ prevents unwanted, late tails traveling up the column and infecting your New Make Spirit.

Auto Sanitation & Cleaning (ASC)

The iStill Plated Still uses the last bit of alcohol from the run to sanitize the still post operation. It does so automatically. The iStill Plated Still also uses the first bit of alcohol of the next run to automatically clean out column, plates, coolers and cuts selector at the beginning of that next run. The benefit? It saves you an hour of cleaning per day or per run.

Copper Foam Technology (CFT)

In case imperfect fermentations result in higher than wished for sulfur counts, copper – as a catalyst – can clean up the contamination. But a copper column would add two hours to your daily cleaning protocols and copper facilitates the formation of ethyl carbamate (a carcinogenic). That’s why we developed CFT. All iStills come equipped with a CFT waffle that can be inserted low in the column and that takes care of any sulfur contamination without any of the downsides of a completely copper column.

Application

The iStill Plated Still excels at the efficient production of medium-flavored spirits like American whiskies, Bourbon, and Irish Whiskey. Fruit brandy and brandy? Oh, yes! It doesn’t have the raw, robust flavor concentration power of a pot still, so well suited for single malt whisky or Cognac production, spirits that need extensive aging. It does not have the versatility of the original iStill Hybrid Still / Packed Column Still either, that can make any spirit.

Those familiar with Odin’s Theory of Distillation, know that a potstill is very well suited at creating three-dimensional drinks. The original iStill, with its hybrid, packed column can make one-dimensional spirits (vodka), two dimensional drinks (Bourbon, gin), and three dimensional drinks (the more traditional whiskies). The iStill Plated Still sits on the sweat spot in the middle. It shines when you want to make two-dimensional and 2.5-dimensional drinks. Drinks that will take 6 to 24 months to age, not 3 to 12 years to mature into their own.

Sizes & Prices

The iStill Plated Still comes in 100, 500, 2000, and 5000 liter configuration. The iStill 100 Plated Still features a 3 inch column, where the 500 liter model is equipped with a 5 inch column. The iStill 2000 and 5000 Plated Stills have column diameters of 8 and 12 inch respectively.

Pricing:

  • Plated iStill 100: EUR 20.000,-;
  • Plated iStill 500: EUR 40.000,-;
  • Plated iStill 2000: EUR 70.000,-;
  • Plated iStill 5000: EUR 110.000,-.

First Edition Series

Orders placed in May and June 2020 get upgraded with the additional square manhole and WiFi for free!

Performance

  • ABV output range (on an 8% boiler charge): 50% to 94%;
  • Run times (on an 8% boiler charge): 4 to 5 hours;
  • iStill 500 Plated: over 35 lph at 50%;
  • iStill 500 Plated: over 30 lph at 60%;
  • iStill 500 Plated: over 20 lph at 80%;
  • iStill 2000 Plated: over 75 lph at 50%;
  • iStill 2000 Plated: over 70 lph at 60%;
  • iStill 2000 Plated: over 45 lph at 80%;
  • iStill 5000 Plated: over 175 lph at 50%;
  • iStill 5000 Plated: over 160 lph at 60%;
  • iStill 5000 Plated: over 110 lph at 80%.

Availability

The Plated Series by iStill can be ordered as of today. Lead time is around 4 to 6 months (depending on size and options). If you want to order one, please reach out to Sales@iStillmail.com.

Optimized plate design for better performance …

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Column assembly is a breeze …

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Impressive bit of kit …

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Power Plate Technology in action …

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Power Plate Technology in action (video) …

iStill 500 Plated: start of hearts collection …

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Shipping more iStills around the World!

As mentioned in previous posts, we are putting in massive overtime in order to meet the ever growing demand for iStills. March was the best month ever and April isn’t exactly lagging behind.

Here are pictures of us shipping more iStills all over the world. Where to? Well, to the Ledgerock Distillery (USA), to Staunstrup Distillery (Denmark), and to Fox & Seeker (again USA) …

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http://www.iStill.com

Extra Shifts and Staff for Additional Stills!

We are working on overtime to produce as many iStills as possible. Where demand already sky-rocketed in the first two months of this year, we now see a huge additional corona-driven hand-sanitizer offensive. From our end, we try everything to keep up, including extra shifts and more staff.

More iStills are picked-up for crating and transport every day …

http://www.iStill.com

Aspects of Distillation (3): Insulation!

Introduction

“Aspects of Distillation” is a new series the iStill Blog hosts. It aims to cover as many aspects as possible. Aspects of – you guessed it! – the distillation process. Think alcohol formation, flavors, mashing, distillery design … and more. In fact, if you have a suggestion, please email us the aspect you want us to dive into. Via Odin@iStillmail.com. Today’s topic? The influence and importance of insulation on distillation.

Insulation

There are three things I want you to consider, when investigating the importance of insulation of your still (or absence of it) for the distillation process:

  1. In general: saves energy, which lowers run times and operating costs;
  2. Top of boiler insulation: minimizes inner-boiler reflux, which improves production rates;
  3. Column insulation: maintains vapor speeds, which lead to consistent flavor composition.

An insulated still radiates out less heat. As a result more of the energy input is used for the actual distillation process. Depending on distilling hall temperatures, these gains can easily result in 25% lower energy bills and 25% faster runs.

When the top of your boiler isn’t insulated, it acts as a heat-exchanger, that returns gasses to liquid state. The drops that form fall back into the boiler and decrease your distillation system’s overall efficiency. By insulating the top of the boiler, gains of up to 2 or 3 liter in spirits produced per hour can easily be achieved.

Finally, an uninsulated column or riser experiences variability in vapor speeds. Like the top of the uninsulated boiler, an uninsulated column acts like a heat-exchanger, returning gasses back to liquid state and thus lowering the total amount of gasses (and associated speeds) in the column. Variability in vapor speeds translates into inconsistent flavor composition of your drinks.

So guess what? Insulation is important for efficiencies, savings in time and money, and for flavor consistency. In short: you want your still insulated.

Feature

iStills have insulated boilers as well as insulated columns. It is a standard feature on all iStills.

Benefits

The benefits of the iStill insulation is that you save time on your run and money on your electricity bill. Unwanted inner-boiler reflux is minimized, which results in – again -faster production rates. The insulated column maintains stable vapor speeds, translating to a consistent flavor profile.

Insulation in black …

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http://www.iStill.com

Super Fast Production & Delivery, iStill Style!

A customer from across the pond, urgently needing an iStill 2000, ordered the unit we had on display in the iStill University. He contacted us last Friday. The money came in on Monday morning. We managed to have the unit disassembled and ready for crating by noon. Crating was done on Monday afternoon. The unit flew across the pond in an airplane on Tuesday.

Now, please know that our normal lead times are currently 4, maybe 5 months due to overall high demand. But for those that help battle corona by making hand-sanitizer, please know that we still have the capability to put in extra shifts and produce units outside of normal batches.

It comes at a 15% increase in costs (overtime, non-optimal steel purchase quantities, etc.), but we are – as an exception – still able to push out units in 6 to 7 weeks. That’s not as fast as the above example, but then again, we have all but sold-out our iStill University. Only thing left that’s ready for transport in days instead of weeks is an i500 and some iStills Mini.

iStill 2000 leaving for Canada in a hurry …

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http://www.iStill.com

Aspects of Distillation (2): Power Management!

Introduction

“Aspects of Distillation” is a new series the iStill Blog hosts. It aims to cover as many aspects as possible. Aspects of – you guessed it! – the distillation process. Think alcohol formation, flavors, mashing, distillery design … and more. In fact, if you have a suggestion, please email us the aspect you want us to dive into. Via Odin@iStillmail.com. Today’s topic? The importance of power management.

Power Management

The possibility to manage the power setting on your still is important, because it allows you to distill faster or slower. There are four more things I want you to consider, when investigating the role power management plays in the distillation process of taste-rich spirits like whiskey, rum, brandy, and gin:

  1. Higher power settings translate into more heads and tails being pushed into your hearts faction;
  2. Lower power settings translate into less heads and tails being pushed into your hearts faction;
  3. Power settings influence the flavor composition of the drinks you produce;
  4. And also have an influence on the size of the hearts cut: your yield.

Higher power settings result in more smearing, longer aging periods, and a lower total yield of new make spirit. Lower power settings result in less smearing, faster aging, and a higher total yield of new make spirit, at the low cost of the distillation run taking a bit longer. Since power settings have a huge impact on both yield and flavor composition, it is an important tool that any distiller should have on his or her still.

Feature

All iStills come standard with power management.

Benefits

All iStill customers have perfect control over their still’s power setting. They can manage the power setting to 1% accuracy for total control over flavor composition and yield.

iStill’s Power Management …

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http://www.iStill.com