What is it?
The Airstill is a table-top still, cooled by air. Very easy to operate and completely safe. The still holds a maximum of 4 litres of liquid at a time. It will take approx. 1 hour to get to the correct temperature to distil alcohol, and a further 1 hour to collect 800 ml of spirit.
The box contains the Air Still, A carbon filter system, collecting container, distillers conditioner, boil enhancers, DVD and full instructions.
How does it work?
You fill the still with a maximum of 4 litres of an alcoholic liquid - this is called a "wash". Usually the wash is made from sugar and water and fermented with a special yeast called a "turbo" yeast and has an average 14% abv. This is put in the still along with boil enhancers (small ceramic parts that go along the bottom to break up bubbles) and a cap of distillers conditioner (to stop the liquid foaming up and lifting the lid off). The collector is placed underneath the spout to catch the distilled alcohol. The Air Still is then plugged in and it starts to heat up gently. As alcohol vapours are produced at a lower temperature to water vapours (78C), the first thing to be produced is alcohol. The vapours enter the cooling chamber at the top and pass round a coil that is cooled by a fan, as it cools the vapour is condensed back into a liquid and it drips into the collector. This is the distilling process. The heat will continue to rise and eventually water vapours will be mixed with the alcohol vapours and eventually, it will be mostly eater that is distilled. To prevent this, you only collect a small volume before turning the machine off. Collect between 700ml - 800ml of distilled alcohol only. When switched off, the remainder of the liquid in the still can be discarded but remember to keep your boil enhancers for the next run. Repeat this process until all the wash has been distilled. What you have collected will have an alcohol strength between 40% abv - 60% abv. You can then dilute the alcohol to a more realistic level of 40% abv with the addition of water. To ensure that it is ultra pure, you can pass the diluted spirit through the carbon filter provided. This will remove the last of the impurities and make the spirit smoother. You now have a completely neutral spirit that can be stored until needed, or mixed with a flavour to make a whisky, rum, brandy, gin etc.
What can I distil?
You can distil any alcoholic liquid. For a neutral alcohol that can be mixed with any of the many flavours available, the most common "wash" will be made from sugar, water and yeast. To achieve a completely neutral flavour, use a specially designed yeast like the Still Spirits Pure Yeast and also add carbon in the fermentation stage to absorb unwanted smells and tastes. You can also distil beer to achieve a whisky style spirit, wine for a brandy style spirit and anything else that has alcohol. Remember, that this is a pot still so any flavours in the wash get carried over in the spirit.
How do I dilute the alcohol?
The simplest way is to add water. You will need an alcometer (spirit hydrometer) to measure the alcohol content of the spirit. This is very easy to use; you will need a tall thin container to hold a sample of the alcohol and drop the alcometer (spirit hydrometer) in the liquid. This will have a scale from 0 - 100. See where it floats against the top of the liquid, and that is the % abv. For instance, if it is floating at 55, then the spirit is 55% abv. We have homebrew calculators at the bottom of the page, where you can enter your spirit strength and also how much you have in volume, enter what final strength you want to achieve and press the calculate button to see how much water needs to be added. We use tap water, but you can also use bottled water it you want to.
Can I re-use the used liquid in the still?
This liquid has no more alcohol in, so cannot be distilled anymore. This liquid is full of nutrients, so it will make a good fertiliser for your garden when cooled.
Is it Legal?
It is illegal to manufacture spirits in the UK without a distiller's licence which is required under the provisions of section 12 of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and this includes manufacture for "own/domestic use".
Public Notice 39 - "Spirits production in the UK" dated July 2006 provides further information about HM Revenue & Customs' requirements.
If you require further assistance then please contact the National Advice Service on Telephone 0845 010 9000 or www.hmrc.gov.uk Where you can obtain & view Public Notice 39.
Spirit Dilution Calculator
Enter the amount of alcohol collected, the strength and the %abv that you want, then click the calculate button to work out how much water you need to add. You can select either litres, ml or pints.