New software upgrades now available!

Introduction

Existing customers and new customers now get access to new software! The new software will be added to new orders. Existing customers can upgrade over the air.

New functionality

The newest iStill software adds two functions to your iStill:

  1. Fast aging;
  2. ABV Control.

Fast aging

Fast aging is for customers, new and existing, that have iStills with agitator and boiler radiator. The new program allows you to fast age your spirits. No costs are charged. For more reading, please see: https://istillblog.com/2019/01/21/innovation-istill-fast-aging/

The new fast aging software comes with standard recipes …

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ABV Control

New customers and existing customers that use Robot v3.0 can now upgrade to ABV Control for free. ABV Control gives you total control over your output alcohol percentage. Especially in combination with the all new iStill Reflux Capacitor. For more reading on ABV Control, please see: https://istillblog.com/2019/02/22/innovation-abv-control/. For more info on the Reflux Capacitor, see: https://istillblog.com/2019/02/28/istill-innovation-reflux-capacitor/.

ABV Control for single distillation brandy, rum, and whiskey …

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How to order and install

New customers get ABV Control for free. Fast Aging software will automatically be added if you also order the Jet Propulsion Agitator System and the Boiler Radiator.

Existing customers that want to upgrade their existing software, via an over the air update, can reach out to William@iStillmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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 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

Innovation: New iStill 5000!

Introduction

iStill is all about introducing new technology that will make your life as a craft distiller easier. “Distilling made easy” is not just our tagline, it is the compass by which we navigate. And today we are proud to introduce the all new iStill 5000. Distilling made easier, bigger, and faster …

In this Blog post let’s first look at what distillation is al about. Then, as a next step, we can draw up specifications on what constitutes a well-designed still. Last, let’s take a closer look at what the all new iStill 5000 has to offer.

The iStill coffee mug on top of the iStill 5000 cooler and CIP …

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What is distilling all about?

Mashing is about turning starch into fermentable sugars. Fermentation, the next step in the spirits production process, is about yeast consuming those sugars and turning them into alcohol and flavors. So … what’s distilling all about? Distilling is about concentrating and harvesting the right alcohols and the best flavors.

For more reading on mashing, please see: https://istillblog.com/2018/12/03/innovation-mashing-made-easy/. If you want to learn more about fermenting, please check out: https://istillblog.com/2018/12/07/innovation-fermenting-made-easy/. Here, in this iStill Blog post, let’s dive deeper into the noble science of distilling.

Odin in front of the iStill 5000 …

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Distillation as alcohol and flavor concentration process

The distiller’s wine or beer, made during fermentation, has a relatively low alcohol content. Maybe 8 or 9%. Distillation helps concentrate the alcohol and make it stronger.

Given the fact that alcohol boils off with more ease than water, it’s the alcohol molecules that that are overrepresented in the gases created during distillation. When we cool those alcohol rich gases back to liquid, that liquid will be richer in alcohol. Say, for example, that we distill 2000 liters of 8% beer and we distill until we collect 1/3rd of the original boiler charge, we may expect the resulting 650 liters to be around 24, maybe 25%. Stronger than the original charge, but not yet strong enough for bottling (usually at 40%) or barreling (usually at 60%).

The above example shows that a single distillation is not enough to create liquor. That’s why usually a second distillation run is needed, where the 25% low wines are redistilled. The result of the second run? Again, a stronger alcohol concentration. Usually, depending on spirit category and still, somewhere between 60 and 80% for taste rich drinks and 95 to 96% for vodka and GNS.

As explained, distillation is about alcohol concentration. And it is also about flavor concentration. Most flavors, created during fermentation, get concentrated in low wines or final liquor we make during the first and second distillation run. As a general rule of thumb, flavor intensity follows alcohol concentration. Turning an 8% beer into a 25% low wines, concentrates the original wine or beer flavors with a factor 3. Concentrate the 25% low wines into a 75% strong Heart’s cut, and the flavor is again concentrated by a factor 3. Dilution works the same way. If you dilute a 75% Heart’s cut to 50%, using water, you loose 1/3rd of the total flavor intensity.

Assembling the iStill 5000 column …

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Distillation as an alcohol and flavor selection process

Not all alcohols are created equal. Some alcohols, like acetones, boil at very low temperatures. Others, like furfural, boil at very high temperatures. Just as with alcohol in general, which has a lower boiling temperature than water, it’s the light alcohols that come over during the first part of the distillation run, while the heavier ones come over during the later part of the run (when the low and medium boiling point alcohols are depleted).

This distinction between factions is very important and is also referred to as Heads (lower boiling point infected alcohol), Hearts (the good stuff), and Tails (high boiling point infected alcohol). During distillation we want to cut out Heads and Tails, while keeping the Hearts. The reason for that? Lower and higher boiling point alcohols like acetone and furfural are not healthy. Cutting them out results in a healthier end result.

Now, let’s continue with the flavor selection part of distillation. Basically, we can group the flavors in three factions:

  1. Base substrate flavors (e.g. grainy flavors in whiskey, molasse flavors in rum);
  2. Fruity flavors;
  3. Root-like and nutty flavors.

Base substrate flavors are highlighted by the Hearts faction. Fruity flavors come over during the first part of the run. Root-like flavors are expressed near the end of the run.

Every drink has a specific flavor profile, with an emphasis on taste intensity, fruity flavors, and more root-like, nutty flavors. Fruit brandy, for instance, has a strong emphasis on fruity flavors. Single malt whisky and pot distilled rum have an emphasis on root-like and nutty flavors. Do you start to see why distillation is so important? Distillation, supported by a well-designed still, helps you concentrate and harvest the right alcohols AND the correct flavors, given the spirits category you want to make!

The iStill 5000 is fully automated …

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What’s important in a still?

Given the above, what does the (informed) craft distiller look for in a still? Well, the following five qualities are important, when investigating what still to purchase:

  1. Versatility;
  2. Flavor;
  3. Control;
  4. Ease of use;
  5. Efficiency;
  6. Longevity.

Distillation is a process that often entails (at least) two distillation runs. A stripping run first, and then a finishing run. Versatility means that you invest in a still that can do both stripping runs and finishing runs. Or look for even more versatility: how about a still that can finish in one run and saves you the trouble of doing two runs? (For more reading on versatility, please see: https://istillblog.com/2016/05/22/revolutionizing-craft-distilling-once-more/).

Okay, strip runs, finishing runs or a one-run-distillation approach helps versatility, helps you play into market developments and changes. But how about flavor? Most flavor is made during fermentation, but if you choose a directly fired still, you can actually gain up to 25% additional flavor due to the Maillard Reaction. If the still can handle on the grain or pulp distillation, there’s another 20% of flavor to be gained. So maybe you are looking for a still that is directly fired and can handle grain and pulp distillation? (For more information, read: https://istillblog.com/2016/05/06/on-boiler-design-agitation-and-taste/).

When fermentations aren’t managed well enough, distillers beer and wine can develop sulfur infections. Part of the flavor (correction) process may be that a copper catalyst is needed to help polish your drink. For more reading, please see: https://istillblog.com/2018/12/10/copper-column-math/.

Selecting the right flavors is all about control. Heads and Tails smearing may be needed – depending on the spirit you are making. Heads and Tails cuts are decided by temperatures in the still’s column or riser (in combination with air pressure, air resistance and vapor speeds). More control translates to an enhanced capability to create the exact liquor you wanna make over and over again.

Control has a secondary benefit and that’s ease of use. Knowing what’s going on lets you know what needs to be done. And automation can help make distilling even easier, since computers are great at doing dull tasks like monitoring. You shouldn’t have to take care of your still. Instead, since your time is precious, your still should take care of you. And of making the best possible liquors in the world, while you are busy selling them, telling your story.

Efficiency is important too. Distillation is about heating up a wine or beer, and bringing it to a boil. That’ asks for a lot of energy. The more efficient your still is, the lower your price point will be. Lower costs allow for higher profits and a more sustainable business model. Here’s an interesting read, if you want to learn more on variable costs: https://istillblog.com/2016/08/22/tuesday-tech-talk-7/.

Longevity, last but not least, is another quality where stills should score high. If you buy a cheap, low quality still, it may well run you out of business. Down-time can eat away at your liquidity at a tremendous rate. A well-designed, well-build still is a tool that should help you make money instead of it causing you downtime, expenses and nightmares.

iStill Whisky Distillery …

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What still technology is currently available?

Looking around at what’s available is disappointing. Most still technology available to craft distillers is based in the Classical Era (pot stills) or the 1800’s (plated stills and continuous stills)  Let’s share our findings:

  1. Most stills out there score low on versatility. In general, pot stills are either strippers or finishers but seldom both. A one-distillation-approach is theoretically possible with a plated still, but comes at a cost: root-like and nutty end of run flavors hardly come over, creating a less interesting, 2-dimensional rum or whisky;
  2. Most stills are indirectly fired (via a steam boiler and/or jacket), meaning they don’t give you the Maillard Reaction. Some stills (especially the smaller ones) have direct submersible heaters. They could help create the Maillard Reaction, but cannot distill on the grain or pulp, limiting flavor gains;
  3. Existing still technology, at a craft distilling level, offers only manual control. This results in the distiller’s subjective taste deciding on flavor composition. Optimized cuts and repeatable spirits production become impossible to realize;
  4. Ease of use is essential for day-to-day operations as well as brand development. The craft distiller needs to be out there telling his story and selling his drinks. If he (or she) is locked-up behind the still, those two essential roles cannot be fulfilled. And remember: making drinks costs money. It’s selling drinks that keeps the lights on! Unfortunately, since manual control is the standard, most (if not all) stills need constant supervision and human control, taking the distiller out of the branding and marketing operation;
  5. Efficiency. Most units are not insulated, use non-integrated heating systems, and are not designed to optimize for energy consumption;
  6. Longevity. Our research shows that most stills are designed to last. The exceptions are some Chinese and Central/Eastern European still builders. The complaints we heard about some Chinese manufacture, is that it can be made from lower quality stainless steel or that coolers do not work efficiently enough. We haven’t witnessed this ourselves though. The complaints towards a specific Central European still builder is that sheeting is too thin, that they use (corrosive!) iron instead of (promised) stainless steel, and that electronics and agitators fail. Unfortunately, we have proof (pictures and customer testimonials) that these complaints are real.

So, understanding what makes for a successful still made looking at what’s available in the market place quite disappointing. Its either good build quality and poor control (USA, Germany, UK) or some control and bad build quality (Central/Eastern Europe). Time for the next question: what does the iStill 5000 have to offer? Or any iStill, for that matter.

Cheap Polish still breaks down on its maiden run …

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The all new iStill 5000

And here’s what makes our new iStill 5000 unique. Using the same coatrack applied when judging the still technology currently available, we can differentiate between versatility, flavor, control, ease of operation, efficiency, and longevity.

The iStill is the most versatile stills on the market. You can use them to make taste rich product as well as vodka or GNS. Without replacing any parts! The iStill 5000 can strip and finish, or do a one or one-and-a-half distillation approach. Heck, equipped with the agitator and boiler radiator, the unit can even mash and ferment.

The iStill can help you create more flavor than any other still, because it is both directly fired AND can handle on the grain and pulp distillations. Additionally, the copper catalyst can take care of any sulfur infected washes.

The iStill 5000 offers automation and robotization. It basically comes with a digital master distiller to help you out. Here at iStill we are so anal about helping you make the best cuts, about harvesting the best tasting drinks, that we have 0,1 degrees control on our thermometer probes. The robot has a resolution of 0,01 mm. We measure air pressure with an accuracy of 0,1 hPa. Why? Because it helps you make better product consistently.

The iStill 5000 is very easy to operate. On the one hand you can just select your recipe and expect the unit to do the run for you. On the other hand, you can dial in or change any parameter you want to create your own recipes.

As a rule of thumb any iStill can process 7,5 to 8 liters (2 gallons) of wash per kWh. Most other stills score below one liter per kWh spent! This means the iStill is the most efficient unit on the market.

Longevity? Every iStill is designed to run 24/7 and to do so for decades instead of years. We use the highest grades stainless steel, and sheet thickness on the iStill 5000 is an unprecedented 5 mm.

Our digital master distiller is at your service via the iStill Spirits Library …

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iStill 5000 specifications

  • 5,000 liter net capacity;
  • Insulated flush square boiler design;
  • Newly designed 12 inch diameter column;
  • Gin hooks;
  • Weight: 1350 kilo;
  • Sizes: 250x255x450/600 (wide, deep, high, in centimeters, potstill/column);
  • Power: 90 kW;
  • Stripping, gin distilling: 200 liters per hour at 30%;
  • Finishing brandy, rum, and whisky: 120 liters per hour at 60%;
  • Finishing vodka: 75 liters per hour at 95%;
  • Run time: 8 – 12 hours (stripping, finishing taste rich, finishing vodka);
  • iStill Boiler Radiator for direct (instead of indirect) cooling;
  • Manholes: 40/60 cm diameter, one at top, one near bottom;
  • Supports on the grain, potato or pulp distillation;
  • Patented indirect heater system;
  • PLC system and touch screen computer, with:
  • Automated distillation programs;
  • Cuts, time, temperature, agitator, power management and air pressure control;
  • Internet connectivity, smartphone & computer management and control;
  • Optional: WiFi, pot still column, glass column sections, extractor, etc.

iStill 5000: the complete package …

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Pricing, availability and delivery

We have build the first series of three all new iStills 5000. Two got sold to Australia, the third one will go to Scotland in a few weeks.

New orders or requests for information can be placed via Sales@iStillmail.com.  Or go to https://www.istill.com/designstudio/i5000. Current lead time is 3 to 4 months. Prices start at EUR 70.000,-.

Assembling the iStill 5000 …

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https://www.istill.com/designstudio/i5000

Example: iStill Whiskey Distillery!

Introduction: whiskey to keep you warm

Here’s the second iStill Blog post in a series of three, where we dive into how our equipment helps you out starting your distillery. Today’s topic? Whiskey distilling! What equipment do you need to make whiskey and how does an investment in iStill equipment translate to production numbers? Yes, iStill as your one-stop-shop for all of your craft distilling equipment!

iStill Masher 5000, iStill Fermenter 5000 and iStill 5000

Basically, what you need to start producing top shelf whiskey in big quantities is one 5000 liter iMasher, five 5000 liter iFermenters, and an iStill 5000. You buy in grains and mash them in the iStill Masher 5000. Then transfer the mash into one of the fermenters and add the yeast. When the fermentation is done, use the iStill 5000 to do a single pass finish and turn your distiller’s beer in an amazing whiskey.

The masher gives you full control over the saccharification process. The iStill Fermenters help you optimize both flavor and alcohol production. The automated programs give you full control over cuts and flavor profiles. The iStill 5000 will help you – like no other still out there – at concentrating the alcohol and harvesting the best flavors.

If you want to learn more about the iStill Masher, please read: https://istillblog.com/2018/12/03/innovation-mashing-made-easy/.

Wanna know more about the iStill Fermenter? Then check this link: https://istillblog.com/2018/12/07/innovation-fermenting-made-easy/.

Investment

The iStill Masher 5000 costs EUR 50.000,-. The 5000 liter fermenters are EUR 25.000,-. The all new iStill 5000 with Jet Propulsion Agitator System, indirect heaters, and Dynamic Cuts Management? EUR 89.500,-. Total investment in your craft distillery adds up to EUR 265.500,-. If you are from the USA or UK and interested in rent-to-own, the monthly costs, on a five year scheme, would be EUR 5.650,-.

Production numbers

On a four to five day fermentation schedule,  the iStill whiskey distillery outputs up to 35,000 liters of 8% whiskey beer weekly. Via distillation in the iStill 5000, this translates to around 5,800 bottles worth of New Make. Mind you: the angels’ share is not incorporated.

If you produce 50 weeks every year, your iStill whiskey distillery yields up to 290,000 bottles per year. Energy costs of mashing, fermenting, and distilling? Less than 1 kWh per bottle.

The iStill whiskey distillery …

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http://www.iStill.eu

Wanna become the best distiller you can be?

Quotes from our students …

I loved the course! It gave me a chance to be around like minded people and talk about my most favorite thing in the world: producing great spirits and enjoying the process. Trying a few things out and hearing how others go about achieving this. Dispelling the myth around spirit production allows for more innovation an this is what I have discovered here through the right amount of science. (Aris Aristidou, Cyprus)

The workshop was very enjoyable and gave us a massive amount of knowledge to build on and use in coming years. (Jonathan Heard, UK)

Thank you for an incredible experience. The iStill family was great company and incredible hosts. I would be happy to help with future applicants by speaking to them in advance if they need an outside opinion about the course. (Gavin Miklauchich, UK)

The training was top! I loved every minute and found it very informative. (Ian Mansell, UK)

I recommend the course to anyone thinking about buying a still. (Julian Curtoys, UK)

Great combination of theory and practice (and fun!). Focus on a broad spectrum of topics, not only the technical processes, with very competent speakers. The course was fantastic and I would really like to thank the whole team for creating and delivering such a first class experience! (Hans Lentz, UK)

Very enjoyable 4 days, and well organized. I appreciate the enormous amount of preparation that went into on your part. (Robin Johnson, UK)

Odin’s lectures were good. The hands on element of using en assembling the still was great. Putting together the gin recipes was very useful. (Bradley Christensen, USA)

I was very happy. Visiting iStill is like visiting an old friend, you get a warm welcome. Much of the knowledge of distilling is kept mysterious – e.g. aging periods/techniques, how to make really good whisky/rum etc. – this inside knowledge was part of the course. (Alan Milne, UK)

All the information was good, but the section on virtuous cycles to produce more flavor rich products was the highlight. The hands on components were also excellent. The external site visit and group dinner the first evening is a great way to get to know each other. (Vic Testolin, Australia)

You met all my expectations of the course and some more. I love how you evolve not only through courses but also through new innovations and technology. I’m convinced that your growth as a manufacturer and distiller will help me in the future to do the same. Thank you for sharing the knowledge and the craft. Looking forward to the future. (Hrvoje Busic, Croatia)

Very attractive presentations and open discussions. All the lecturers have experienced knowledge that they unselfishly distribute. There was no question asked at the course that hasn’t been answered. You guys are great, keep up the amazing work,  and see you in Zagreb Luftbremzer distillery! (Filip Presecki, Croatia)

I loved the overall experience. Almost all aspects of distilling have been discussed and have been explained in a very down to earth manner which makes it very understandable. Great group with great people. (Rene Kamphuis, Netherlands)

Many thanks to the whole iStill team! I loved meeting and sharing with fellow spirits enthousiasts/distillers/soon-to-be distillers and understanding how a chosen type of production (mashing/fermenting/distillation/maturation) protocol will influence the flavor of the final product. I loved Odin’s passionate, sincere and generous delivery ad engaging teaching style. I may not buy an iStill yet (have to sell cocktails first) but I am now a firm follower. (Yves Cosentino, UK)

I got a much better understanding of the basics of distilling, and also the possibilities and quality of the equipment. A great course with lots of new knowledge for me. Keep up the good work! (Bernt Gran, Norway)

Excellent explanation of all parts of the process and how to affect flavor of spirits. It was also great to meet some “real life” distillers and talk about business aspects as well as practical. (Andrea Stanch, UK)

The course was: very enjoyable, very well thought, very informative with hands on experience, aimed to teach the process and not just tell the students which buttons to push, thought in a clear, easy to understand way. Thank you very much Odin and Veronika for a very enjoyable few days! (Tom Grills, Ireland)

We were made to feel very welcome by everyone from iStill and really enjoyed spending time with all those involved with the course. Buying everyone beer and dinner was very much appreciated. Great course, great product, great people! (Peter Dignan, UK)

Odin was en excellent teacher with great ideas. The level and depth of knowledge was about right. I really love the community feel of iStill. Anything you can do to encourage that even more would be great. (Arthur Parkinson, UK)

Odin is a consummate teacher. His use of multiple teaching methods, from verbal instructions to analogies to graphs makes for lasting lessons. The breaks from classroom time to actual production floor demo’s was key. The field trip was also fun and allowed for some social interaction early in the schedule. (Ashley Cross, USA)

Thank you all for a fantastic class! The teaching style was great because we were able to have personalized questions and answers. The balance between theory and hands on training was also great; you certainly need both to become a great distiller! Not only was the class and theory easily worth the price of admission and then some, but having the chance to be in an operating distillery and connect and network with other people in the business and hear and share experiences was also priceless. It was a privilege and an adventure. (Jared Lewis, USA)

Thank you! It was an excellent environment. Odin’s patience and humanity helped. (Peter Singh, UK)

The course gave me very much energy and positive vibes and at the end of every day I was exhausted … so much to give a place in my mind … great … wonderful! Thank you!! (Bert Penning, Netherlands)

It was an excellent experience and I’m glad i attended. The science and technical explanations were excellent and helped fill in a lot of questions that I had before attending the course. It’s hard to find resources that go into the “why” part of questions and not only into “how”. When you know why you are doing something, then you can ask better questions and seek better answers. Everyone was also eager to learn and ask about their own theories. I thought that a one-on-one course would be necessary to hammer out the theory on distilling but having many different perspectives helped me better understand distilling since there were many different questions during the course. (Dave Farnia, USA)

Thank you for a great weekend, it was extremely useful. (Ulf Agger, Denmark)

The subject matter was presented in an interesting manner with good class participation. The content was excellent and sessions were designed with a variety of learning methods to ensure retention of learning. Interacting and learning from others in the class was a bonus. I really enjoyed dinner the first evening. I also think the Facebook group is a good idea! Thank you for the great course and looking forward to producing my first spirit on an iStill. (Kecia E. McDougall, UK)

Everything was excellent! (Shaun Hancke, UK)

I had a very interesting weekend and I can recommend the course to anyone who want to start distilling. (Wilco Reefman, Netherlands)

Lots of information , great new insights and a great atmosphere to meet and exchange new ideas. (Sebastiaan Smits, Netherlands)

For me as a beginner in distilling it was a lot of useful information in theoretical and practical part. It was also nice to meet more experienced distillers who have shared their knowledge and experience. The course gave me enough knowledge and confidence to start to distill. (Juri Kiur, Estonia)

Had a great 3 days! Would like to be kept informed about follow-ups. (Jaap Lindeman, Netherlands)

It was a brilliant course, it gives you confidence, and nice to share experiences. (Kevin-Cameron Cross, UK)

iStill University …

The iStill University provides amazing 4-day workshops that will unlock your full craft distilling potential. Spiritual growth uncorked. Applicable theories and top shelf procedures brought to you by the industry’s most experienced, knowledgable and innovative distillers. Students rate the workshop with an industry leading 9.7 out of 10. Wanna participate? Please reach out to Veronika@iStillmail.com

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http://www.iStill.eu/university

 

Copper Column Math!

The traditional role of copper in still manufacturing

Traditionally, copper plays an important role in still building. Originally, copper was available, affordable, and bendable. That’s why traditionally stills were made out of copper.

Nowadays, copper helps solve issues Big Alcohol faces, but it comes with drawbacks. This blog post dives into the problem copper solves, the problems it creates, and the options iStill proposes.

The problem copper solves

When the industrial revolution and globalization hit the distilling industry, in the second half of the 19th century, it resulted in fewer but bigger distilleries. Bigger stills needed to be fed, as frequent as possible, with bigger, faster ferments. And bigger, uncontrolled, and faster ferments create off-flavors such as sulfurous compounds.

High, globalized demand asked for bigger and quicker ferments that resulted in higher sulfur content spirits. Sulfurous spirits aren’t very drinkable. Luckily, though, the stills were made out of copper. Lucky why? Lucky because copper reacts with sulfur. The problem copper solves is that it takes away sulfurous smells and tastes. Copper stills turned out to be a great medicine for imperfect ferments.

The problems copper creates

Copper solves a problem, while creating a bunch of new ones at the same time. Here is a summary:

  • Copper oxidizes and corrodes, so it needs to be replaced after 10 to 15 years;
  • Copper oxidation and corrosion can contaminate your drinks;
  • The oxidation and corrosion influence column vapor speeds;
  • Copper is expensive;
  • Copper has a high thermal conductivity, leading to lower total still efficiency;
  • With a low rate of control over column vapor speeds and passive reflux;
  • Copper columns need cleaning after every run, adding 2 hours to your work day.

How iStill helps solve the problems copper creates

There are basically two questions in need of an answer:

  1. How do our designs help solve or prevent the problems copper creates?
  2. How does iStill help fix sulfurous drinks?

If we start with the second one, please know that sulfurs are created in speedy, cold, big and under-managed ferments. How we solve that? Well, by introducing a new line of revolutionary fermentation vessels that give you perfect control over time, temperature, SG, and pH! A perfectly controlled ferment will not make notabel amounts of sulfur. For more reading, please see: https://istillblog.com/2018/12/07/innovation-fermenting-made-easy/.

How we tackle the first question? How do iStills deal with the problems copper creates? Easy. Our stills are build out of stainless steel. Stainless steel is chemically inert and does not rust. It is affordable and does not need replacement. Insulated, it offers perfect control over vapor speeds and passive reflux. Stainless steel column cleaning doesn’t need detergents. A five minute cold water flush will do it.

But if you do not have access to iStill level of fermentation control, and you end up with a sulfur over-expression, ruining your drink, we can still help out. Instead of copper columns, we provide copper catalysts.

A copper catalyst is a designated part in the still or column that has copper in it so that the gases, rising from the boiler, can mingle with it so that sulfur can catalyze. A copper catalyst means the rest of your still can be made out of stainless steel. You limit the oxidation, degradation, and contamination to a small and controlled part of your still, almost completely negating the negatives deriving from copper use, while at the same time creating all the surface area needed to polish up your sulfur-infected drink.

Surface area? Yes, the amount of surface area, where copper and gases can mingle, is the real measure of how much sulfur can catalyze. The more surface area the column or catalyst has, the more sulfur is scrubbed out. So how much surface are does a copper column have? And how should we design a catalyst that performs as well as a copper column?

Copper Column Math

The inside surface area of a column (or riser) is calculated via the following formula: D*Pi*H. Column Diameter times 3.14 times column height. Let’s take the iStill 2000 column as an example. Its diameter is 20 centimeters, Pi is always 3.14, and it has two column segments of each 75 centimeters tall. The formula now calculates a total inside surface area of 20*3.14*150 equals 9,420 cm2. Were the iStill 2000’s column made out of copper, it would offer 9,420 cm2 of surface area for the sulfur to catalyze on.

Here is a picture of the iStill 2000 and its column in potstill configuration …

Copper Catalyst Math

Now, let’s do the same calculations for a copper catalyst. First, we are going to take a good look at a copper spring filled catalyst, then we will do the math for our unique copper waffles.

The copper springs we have on offer are 1 by 1 cm tall and wide. If we apply the formula, we can calculate that the inner surface area is 1*3.14*1 equals 3.14 cm2. But, contrary to a copper column, these springs sit inside the still. It’s therefore not just the inside surface area that contacts gasses, but also the outside of the spring. This grossly doubles the surface are per spring to 6.28 cm2.

We can now calculate how many springs are needed to create the same surface area as a copper column. Let’s divide the total copper column surface area by the surface area of one spring. Here it is: 9,420 / 6.28 equals 1,500 copper springs. We only need 1,500 1*1 cm copper springs to have the same catalytic functionality as a complete copper column!

And that’s without taking into consideration that the springs are not perfectly round. Instead, they are made out of copper wire, which results in a corrugated shape that increases total surface area by 50%. 1,500 of our copper springs therefore surpass the catalytic functionality of the copper column by 50%!

Just three bags (500 springs per bag) outperform a copper column by 50% …

Copper Waffle Math

The copper catalytic waffle, that can be used in the iStill 2000, has a total surface area of 7,536 cm2. That is exactly 80% of the total surface are of the copper column calculated above. This means that if you add just two waffles to your (stainless steel) iStill 2000, you get 60% more copper surface are than a completely copper column.

iStill 2000 copper waffle …

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Summary

Copper, even though a great medicine for a bad ferment, comes with various drawbacks. The iStill solution of adding a copper catalyst or waffle to a stainless steel still gives you all the benefits, in terms of sulfur control, without any of the negatives associated with copper columns.

download

http://www.iStill.eu