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March 30, 2013

Thermometer - Custom Moonshine Still Mod

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.
  • what is the advantage of a column thermometer or a boiler thermometer, will a turkey burner work, will it get to hot.

    Posted by Kevin on December 22, 2014
  • Hello, I’m looking for a sealent for the copper fittings on my still. What would be safe and work the best? Stock pot is stainless and pipe is copper so it would have to adhear to both . Thanks

    Posted by Sketch on July 31, 2014
  • I have not checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend ckefedfffabb

    Posted by Johne728 on July 30, 2014
  • Your piping what type of copper do you use L,M or DWV .

    Posted by Bruce W Shoemaker on March 31, 2014
  • Kyle, I am looking into getting an electric burner instead of using flames. Can you recommend any particular one. Thanks and as always shine safely.

    Posted by Shawn on February 16, 2014
  • I just completed my sacrificial run in my 5 gal CH. It came out real nice.
    My question is. The temp. reading I get in my gauge which is a portable digital, installed through a small hole in the plate starts out in the low 190 deg and finishes in the 200s.
    II assume I would get lower temps if one was is installed in the top of the column.
    However I just ran by smell and taste and got a wonderful 1st run, but new to this, I was wondering if the vapor temps coming from the vapor cap are reasonable.
    This was pretty much an easy, enjoyable build, and looks awesome.

    Posted by Ron Carl on February 06, 2014
  • im trying to install a therometer on a pressure cooker still and my holes to big and idk how to seal it. would kock be ok to seal it or would it b poisionous??

    Posted by colt g on February 02, 2014
  • what is the best solder to use?

    Posted by joe mcdonald on January 15, 2014
  • 1) What is the typical yield in gallons of shine if I run a batch using your 10 gallon still?

    2) I’m a newbie. I will need help. If I buy your still kit, will you provide telephone support?

    Posted by greg on January 15, 2014
  • How would I install a thermometer in a stainless steel keg?

    Posted by Randy on January 08, 2014
  • hello, i was curious to know if maybe yall had any plans to make a kit for a still bigger than 10 gallons.

    Posted by justin on January 05, 2014
  • I have built a copper Internal Reflux Condenser Still. I’m considering installing a thermometer/pressure gage on the cap at the top of the column head close to where the alcohol vapor enters the condenser jacket. Is measuring the vapor temperature on the column head a good option or should I install a thermometer in the boiler to measure the fluid temperature instead? I have a stainless steel boiler that I would prefer not to drill a hole to install the thermometer.

    Posted by Jon on December 13, 2013
  • I’m attaching the boiler with rivets and I started to soldering iron the copper. It looks lime there is a gap in between the joint but its not visible with a flash light. My question is can I add more solder to the joint?

    Posted by Scott Pack on November 19, 2013
  • are the pieces in your kit pre cut or do I just get a flat sheet of copper

    Posted by bill sheridan on November 08, 2013
  • I was thinking the same thing about the stepped drill bit after having to drill many holes in brew pots for beer. What I appreciate is how you guys are humble and accept alternative methods of achieving the end result with less effort instead of being all knowing and arrogant like some sites.

    Posted by David Phelps on October 25, 2013
  • Interested in buying the 10 gl still kit. However, until I see answers to these questions, not committing. There are very valid questions/concerns which could determine success or failure. Look forward to reading solutions.
    R/S Dan

    Posted by Dan Whitehead on September 25, 2013
  • not sure about ordering a kit from claw hammer cause I’ve been reading the comments posted and no one from clawhammer ever replies. considering taking my business else where if they cant answer a question

    Posted by frank on August 25, 2013
  • When I soldered the bottom on the boiler some solder leaked out to the bottom on the outside. If I use a propane turkey fryer, will it melt the solder?

    Posted by dan on July 27, 2013
  • Kyle I finally got my still togeather looks great haven’t got to use it yet but I was wondering if I use a propane burner or eletric will it get hot enough to re-melt the solder one more ? When I make a run will I have to put it back thru the still again and do you reuse the mash Looking forward for your reply

    Posted by Josh mabery on June 05, 2013
  • Kyle, I’m wondering if you are required to report to the Feds or any other authorities the names of those who you send your kits to?

    Also with your still how many runs does it take to make a good whiskey? Is one run enough?

    On a ten gallon run of wash, how much drinkable whiskey is produced?

    Thanks Kyle.

    Posted by Allan on April 27, 2013

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