How to install a Thermometer in a Moonshine Still

The number one question we get asked VIA email and over the phone is this: "How do you add a thermometer to the still and where is the best place to install it?" When making moonshine it isn't critical, or even absolutely necessary to measure temperature, but there are a few benefits. A thermometer can be used to help detect the presense of methanol in moonshine and can also be used to determine when to shut down the still at the end of a run

 

Measure Liquid Temp and/or Vapor Temp with a Permanent Copper Fitting and 3" Thermometer

The absolute best way to add a thermometer to your copper moonshine still is to permanently install a 1/2" copper bung and then screw a stainless steel thermometer with 1/2" NPT threads into that.  You can solder the copper fitting into the boiler of the still or solder it into the column with the column thermometer kit. Apply Teflon tape to threads on thermometer and screw thermometer into copper fitting. Hand tighten and then snug with pliers. Do not over tighten!! We searched high and low for a thermometer that we are extremely happy with. You can purchase our boiler and column thermometer kit by clicking on the pictures below.

Top Secret Pro Tip: Use a Stepped Drill Bit For Boiler Wall Hole

After we created and published our thermometer video someone emailed us and mentioned that we should use a stepped bit to make the hole for the thermometer in the still boiler wall. If there is a right tool for this job, the stepped drill bit is it! We managed to get by with our tin snips, but it's not the easiest thing to do and also doesn't produce a very clean opening. Stepped bits are self piloting and they make a super clean hole in the copper. We definitely picked one up for the shop after seeing how awesome they are.