This blog provides information for educational purposes only. All copper "moonshine" distillers featured on the site are non-functional props. All recipes and "how to's" are theoretical. All scenarios are fictitious. No laws were broken during production of the material found on this site. Products sold are intended to be used in accordance with the proper licensing or permitting procedure of the respective jurisdiction of the user. Read our complete legal summary for more info.

March 28, 2013

How to Distill - 101

How to Distill

10 Gallon Moonshine Still Kit

Although our still parts kits can be used for many things (homebrew beer, water, essential oils, etc.) we've had a ton of requests for a simple video on how to distill alcohol.  It may seem counter intuitive, but we've resisted for a few reasons.  First, there is already a lot of information out there on distilling, using just about any kind of still imaginable (column stills, pot stills, fractioning stills, reflux stills, pressure cooker stills, keg stills - you name it). Also, there is a lot to learn on the topic of distilling. Finally, distilling alcohol is illegal without the proper permits. 

The only permit that allows for production of distilled spirits for consumption is a commercial federal distilled spirits plant (DSP) permit. This is only available for commercial operators. Federal law provides no exemptions for the production of distilled spirits for personal or family use. Read our summary of distillation laws for more information. Additionally, state laws apply to the ownership and operation of distillation equipment. Rules on distillation vary from state to state, but in general, it is illegal to produce alcohol for consumption or for fuel, on the state level, without proper permits. Make sure to review your state's laws for rules on the ownership and operation of distillation equipment before purchasing parts from us and manufacturing a still. 

Under no circumstances should you ever distill or sell alcohol without a permit. If you choose to distill alcohol, make sure to obtain all applicable fuel or spirit permits (explained in the distillation law summary, mentioned above.).

We'll never be able to explain everything there is to know about distilling in a YouTube video. We also don't have the time to make a feature length film on the art of distilling, so we've always just suggested that one purchase a book on the subject.  

However, distilling isn't rocket science and we've received so many requests that we decided to put together a simple video. Here it is:

Distilling is pretty dang easy stuff once you get the hang of it, but to make the highest quality product, and more importantly, to make sure you're doing it safely, do the following before you actually start making your own alcohol: make sure to read our article on "moonshine" safety and also get yourself a good book on the topic.

As always, feel free to call or email us with questions on this article or questions about our copper "moonshine" still parts kits.

  • I bought a 5 gallon steel from you. My questions are I need to know all of the temperatures for ethanol methanol and water evaporation for high altitude 4000 feet. Thanks

    Posted by jeremy on September 04, 2014
  • What is a good ratio for all the ingredients for a five gallon bucket.

    Posted by James on July 28, 2014
  • How long does it normally take to run a five gallon batch to get a gallon out of a five gallon still?

    Posted by Scott on May 09, 2014
  • How long does it normally take to run a five gallon batch to get a gallon out of a five gallon still?

    Posted by Scott on May 09, 2014
  • getting ready to order a 5 gal. pot read a lot and learned a lot but on the five gal. when you run honey shine I no you throw out the foreshot but do you have to run the head, heart and tail on a small pot.

    Posted by mike on March 12, 2014

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