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March 31, 2013

Distillation Equipment Guide

Essential Distillation Equipment Gear Guide

distillation equipment guideWe aspire to provide the highest quality all-copper still kits at the best price possible. We also offer a beautiful 8 gallon pre-built stainless steel still. We’re 100% focused on that goal so we don’t carry much additional distilling equipment in-house. Basically, we don’t want to be distracted trying to manage a big inventory of odds and ends. 

We’ve found the best priced, highest quality goods (the stuff that WE prefer using) and have provided info below. If you're interested in buying this stuff for yourself, just Google the title of the items.

Basic Distillation Equipment (Level 1):

Here is a turn-key kit (actually made for beer) that includes everything necessary to complete simple recipes (Corn Whiskey recipes, Honey Shine, Rum, Sugar Shine). It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles necessary to make all-grain batches (like Rye Whiskey) but it’s plenty enough to get started. You'll need to use a few items around the kitchen during, but most of the essentials are provided in the kit.

  • Gold Complete Beer Equipment Kit (Available for about $90.00 on Amazon): Includes 7.8 gallon plastic primary fermenter, 6 gallon glass secondary fermenter, fermentation thermometer, stopper and air lock, hydrometer, bottle brush, sanitizer, and free bottle capper.

Intermediate Distillation Equipment (Level 2):

Keep in mind that there are higher quality versions of all of the items included in the “turn-key” kit listed above. Also there are a few additional items you'll want to consider picking up. This equipment will allow you to make the same beginner to intermediate recipes listed above, but you’ll be able to dial in the process a bit better with this stuff and the finished product should be a higher quality if you do things right.

  • Distilling 101: Moonshine and Whiskey-Making Basics (An awesome online course that includes interactive quizzes) Highly recommended!
  • Making Pure Corn Whiskey (A great intermediate to advanced book) Caution: this book can get pretty complicated.
  • 8 Gallon Stainless Steel Boil Pot (for heating water or making simple 5 gallon mashes)
  • 15 Gallon Stainless Steel Boil Pot (heating water or making simple 10 gallon mashes)
  • Nylon Mash Bag (for making easy all grain mashes)
  • Boil Pot Thermometer (measuring water temp during boil)
  • Wort Chiller (for cooling mash before introduction of yeast)
  • 6.5 Gallon Primary Fermenter - Plastic Bucket (for initial fermentation)
  • 6.5 Gallon Secondary Fermenter - Glass Carboy (for more refined fermentation finishes)
  • Carboy Thermometer (measuring fermentation temp)
  • Carboy Brush (cleaning carboy)
  • Rubber Stopper (for air lock / glass carboy)
  • Air Lock (get two, one for both fermenters)
  • Auto-siphon (for sanitary, easy siphoning
  • Racking Cane (a must have for proper siphoning)
  • Racking Cane Clip (another must have item)
  • Vinyl Tubing (for siphoning, etc.)
  • Beer Hydrometer (for determining starting alcohol)
  • Spirit Hydrometer (for determining final proof of whiskey)
  • Hydrometer Test Jar (for use with hydrometer)
  • Beer Sampler (for filling hydrometer test jar with sample)
  • Cheese Cloth (filtering mash and wash)
  • Star San (for sanitizing all equipment)
  • Large digital scale (for measuring grain, etc.)
  • Small digital scale (for measuring yeast, etc.)
  • Copper Scrubbers (for packing your column)
  • Stainless Steel Thermometer (for measuring the vapor temp of the still)
  • Stainless Steel Spoon (for stirring and mixing the mash)

Expert Distillation Equipment (Level 3):

For the advanced distiller or for the novice distiller who isn’t messing around, we’d suggest picking up everything on the “intermediate” list above AND all of the items in this category. You’ll be able to make any kind of spirit you want (everything from Sugar Shine to Scotch Whiskey).

  • Grain Mill (for milling your own grain)
  • 20 Gallon Stainless Mash Tun (for 5 or 10 gallon all grain runs)
  • Mash Paddle (long paddle for stirring mash)
  • Brix Refractometer (determines sugar content of liquid)

Heating Sources

 Get either a gas heating system or an electric.

  • Electric Heating Source (the preferred method if power is available)
  • Gas Heating Source (for when power is not available)
  • Wood Stoves 2.0  (guide to making ultra-efficient wood stoves)
  • Do you still use the copper filling/scrubber in to the column of a stainless steel still

    Posted by DEBRA JOHNSON on June 17, 2016
  • I was wondering if I was going to get an answer from the first question I asked on May 30 which was how big of a hot plate and how many watts wood I need for a 5 gallon copper still pot


    Posted by KEith cUrry on June 26, 2015
  • I have a five gallon copper still. Where can I get a hot plate and how many watts would I need?

    Posted by KEith on May 30, 2015
  • how big of a still would i need for 5 gallon mash recipes….thanks in advance

    Posted by adam on March 31, 2015
  • @ ERIC
    you can find the controllers at

    Posted by MASHMAKER on July 16, 2014
  • Excuse me,… I’d like buy the temperature controller box that was shared on your site last year. Can you tell me how to find it sir.


    Posted by Eric Taylor on July 16, 2014
  • great site , i have been making schnapps for years
    but nice to see a site where you can learn something new
    thanx so much

    Posted by hedge on March 25, 2014
  • takeme to next level.great,I learn are lot from you guys how to make moonshine thanks. ET.

    Posted by Eddie on March 08, 2014
  • i’ve been distillen a wile i keep seeing stuf that says u get 2 gal shine from 10 gal. of (wash mash) is there a rule and no one talkes proof

    Posted by joe on November 23, 2013
  • I have a 5 gallon stainless steel still. I have never used it but am getting ready. I have a friend with an apple press and he is going to make cider. I want to take the left over pressings and make apple moonshine but am not sure how to make the mash. should I use the pressing left overs or just the cider itself and what would the proportions be for a 5 gallon still ie sugar, water yeast? thanks for any help you can give. your site is AWESOME

    Posted by pete on August 26, 2013
  • I would like to buy a therometer for my three qallon pot still.Do you have a catlog I can look at?

    Posted by Bob Fredrickson on July 31, 2013
  • You all inspire me!

    Posted by Hoss Lors on April 17, 2013
  • under the intermediate distillation equipment u have a 15 gal boil pot recommended for preparing mash for a 10 gal run, but only 6.5 gal carboys… do u split the mash up into two carboys of 5-6 gal each or is there equipment better suited for 10-11 gals of mash?

    Posted by anon on March 18, 2013
  • from the “honeyshine” recipe u have on ur site, i assumed that u needed only a single glass carboy to ferment the mash. the beginners kit above says it contains a plastic primary fermentation vessel AND a glass carboy for secondary fermentation… is it necessary to have both? or do u just use the plastic jug for aerating the mash?

    Posted by Anon on March 18, 2013

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