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This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Read our complete summary for more info.

September 29, 2015
Last updated

Stainless Steel Distillation Equipment

Owner of Clawhammer Supply
Stainless steel distiller

All stills are not created equally. There is a big difference between copper and stainless steel stills. There can also be a significant difference between different stainless steel stills.

If you're looking to buy a stainless steel still there are a few things you'll want to consider. Below is a guide to stainless steel distillation equipment. We're going to shamelessly focus on Clawhammer Supply's 8 gallon stainless steel still for a reference point. Hope you don't mind. 

Read on for some pros and cons of the material itself as well as a list of features that one should expect to find in a high quality stainless steel unit. We'll start with some of the pros and cons of the material itself.

However, 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 and local permits. In some cases even owning a still is illegal, regardless of use case. 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.
 

Stainless Steel Drawbacks

Everything has its pros and cons. Stainless is a great material choice for a still, but it comes with a few drawbacks.

  • The material itself isn't that great of a conductor. As such, heating with propane or over a fire can take longer and be somewhat wasteful. 
  • Stainless is significantly more difficult to work with than copper because the material is not as malleable and it requires higher heat for brazing.
  • Stainless doesn't remove sulfides from distillate during the distillation process.

Stainless Steel Benefits

Stainless also offers some benefits over other potential material types.

  • Stainless is very durable
  • Stainless is very easy to clean
  • Stainless is less expensive than copper

What Can Stainless Stills Produce

Stainless steel stills can be used to produce the same products that are produced by copper stills. However, a commercial distiller would prefer a stainless still when producing ultra high proof alcohol (fuel alcohol, vodka, rum, etc.) because they're built to contain at least a slight amount of pressure and are compatible with bubble plates.

Here's a list of some (but not all) of the items that a commercial distiller can make with stainless steel stills. Again alcohol cannot be legally distilled without the permits. The list below is for educational purposes only and is meant to show what a commercial distiller could make with a stainless steel still.

  • Distilled Water - can be made with no federal permits
  • Fuel Alcohol - requires permits
  • Essential Oils - can be made with no federal permits
  • Vodka - requires permits
  • Gin - requires permits
  • Rum - requires permits
  • Whiskey - requires permits
  • Bourbon - requires permits
  • Moonshine - requires permits

Clawhammer's 8 Gallon Stainless Steel Still

Clawhammer's 8 gallon stainless steel distiller can be used to produce all of the items listed above only if the distiller possesses the proper permits. It utilizes a simple and compact design, but includes a ton of features and only takes a few minutes to set up. Here's a time lapse video of the setup.

If you want a complete overview of the still, watch the following 15 minute video. We discuss, in detail, all of the features of our still. 

Essentially, if you're going to purchase a stainless steel still, you want to make sure it includes, at a bare minimum, the following features.

  • 100% food grad 304 stainless construction.
  • An electric heating element port in the boiler.
  • A thermometer port in the boiler.
  • A pressure relief safety valve.
  • A port for a pressure gauge.
  • A port for a column thermometer.
  • A reliable condenser with 5/8" ports.
  • Features for easy transport and storage.
  • A sturdy, heat resistant discharge hose.

As a visual reference, here's a picture of Clawhammer's new 8 gallon stainless unit, which includes all of the features listed above:

 Stainless Steel Distillation Equipment Features

Kyle Brown is the owner of Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company which he founded in 2009. His passion is teaching people about the many uses of distillation equipment as well as how to make beer at home. When he isn't brewing beer or writing about it, you can find him at his local gym or on the running trail.

  • pls send more detail with price

    Posted by shailesh on May 26, 2023
  • i need it so how can i get it in ethiopa because i’m Ethiopian

    Posted by Henok simachew on September 29, 2022
  • Prices in Australian dollars please

    Posted by Geoff simpson on February 21, 2022
  • How much for the complete unit Inc all gauges

    Posted by Geoff simpson on February 21, 2022
  • How much and do you have a 15 gallon ???

    Posted by Conrad on December 02, 2020
  • If it is uselessly meant for distilling agarwood oil, then I want to buy one, let me know if it can be delivered in assam guwahati, if yes then cost

    Posted by Rajib Hatiboruah on December 02, 2020
  • I am looking for a column that is a foot to two foot 2" in diameter. What would be the price

    Posted by CHip on November 27, 2016
  • is there extra parts that make the still work for extracting essential oils?

    Posted by John BrOtzman on July 08, 2016
  • Bruce—- how much?

    Posted by pat russell on December 01, 2015
  • I recently purchased a 10 Gal cu still I do love it and enjoyed building it. I have to say though seeing the SS I would have purchased it.
    If you no any one who wants a 10 gal but does not want to build I would love to sell them mine so I can purchase the Stainless.
    I use my still in my sugar shack and I’m very familiar with SS since my evaporator is all stainless, I do love the ease of cleaning the SS and the size of the port. I’m trying to make a old family reciep for schnapps and the port would be ideal for the different fruits I’m trying. if you have any thoughts i would love to hear them. Thanks so much

    Posted by Bruce Harrington on October 06, 2015

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