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July 31, 2014

Distillation Equipment - Max Fill Guidelines

Before we get started, a reminder: Distilling alcohol is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits. Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation.

A topic we have recently received some questions on is the max fill capacity of distillation equipment. To clarify, only the boiler of the still should be filled; liquid should never fill the “vapor cone.” If the vapor cone of a still is partially or completely filled, there won't be enough headroom in the still for vapor to exit properly and a dangerous situation could arise where liquid is forced into the column and could potentially, temporarily, increase pressure and leak, depending on what type of seals are used on the still.

Clawhammer's 5 gallon copper distillers still hold approximately 4.65 gallons of liquid below the vapor cone. The 1 and 10 gallon copper still kits hold a full 1 and 10 gallons of liquid to the bottom of the vapor cone.

Thanks for reading this article. Be smart, be safe, and use common sense when distilling. Remember, it is illegal to distill alcohol without the proper permits. Do not distill alcohol at home for consumption. Do not distill fuel alcohol without a fuel alcohol permit. Always check your state laws before distilling.

  • Should I fill above the thermometer?

    Posted by randlewhitney400@yahoo.com on May 16, 2022
  • I really WANT TO THANK YOU GUYS FOR A REALLY FANTASTIC SITE. ALL THE QUESTIONS THAT I’VE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT STILLING AND WHAT TO DO AND WHEN TO DO, YOU GUYS SEEM TO HAVE COVERED THEM ALL. EVEN EXTRA THINGS THAT I HADN’T EVEN THOUGHT OF . I’M IN SOUTH AFRICA, AND WILL DEFINITELY RECOMMEND YOUR SITE AS NUMBER 1 TO ALL THAT I TALK. I THANK YOU AGAIN,, REGARDS BRUCE.

    Posted by Bruce on April 20, 2020
  • my 5 gallon works best for me with the boiler about 2/3 full, well below the vapor cone. too full causes it to puke and makes it hazy. I have a 6.5 gallon fermenter and make two stripping runs down to about 30% abv. then one spirit run.

    Posted by dw on January 18, 2016
  • How long should it typically take for a 1 gallon still to heat up and start running?

    Posted by SEan on May 01, 2015
  • i tried 6 dam times and still not a drop. can you say how to do this the right way instead of beating around the dam bush huh

    Posted by michael ingram on August 30, 2014
  • How much yeast do I use in a ten gallon mash. They say two pac of yeast well how much is in a pac 8 10 14 ounces, not clear on how muc to use?

    Posted by gd on July 31, 2014

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