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February 26, 2016
Last updated

Clawhammer Supply Still Design

Chief Operating Officer at Clawhammer

Clawhammer Supply Still Anatomy 101:

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.

Components of a Clawhammer Supply Copper Still

  • Boiler: Holds the low alcohol wash, which is heated and distilled into high-proof alcohol.
  • Vapor Cone: Directs the alcohol vapor into the column.
  • Cap Skirt: Allows the column to slide into the vapor cone. The cap skirt is attached to the bottom of the column. The cap skirt and boiler are joined together with teflon tape. This makes the column removable from the boiler, allowing for filling, emptying, and cleaning.
  • Cap Plate: Provides structural support for the column.
  • Copper Column: Directs the vapor from the vapor cone into the condenser. The column can be run with a packed column or left unpacked. If the column is not packed, the unit functions like a pot still. If the column is packed, the unit functions more like a reflux still. 
  • Condenser: Uses cool water to drop the alcohol vapor back into a liquid.  The condenser is simply connected to a garden hose that provides the necessary cool water. 
  • Drip Arm: Directs high-proof alcohol from the still and heat source into the collection jar. The drip arm is a length of copper pipe.

Clawhammer Supply’s still design is known as a hybrid column or fractioning still design. Our design is not a true pot or reflux still.

According to federal rules and regulations, our stills can be used to purify water or make essential oils without any permits. However, states generally require permits for any type of alcohol production and sometimes even for the stills themselves. The information below is predicated on the assumption that the user has procured federal permits as well as the proper permits required by their state and local govnernment.

Reflux stills are very effective at making rubbing alcohol, fuel alcohol, and other types of flavorless alcohol, but can be overkill for making more flavorful products, such as traditional whiskey. They also generally do not include copper parts, and thus, the final product does not benefit from the removal of sulfides, making it less desirable than whiskey distilled with a pot or hybrid still.  

Pot stills allow for more flavors to transfer from mash ingredients into the final product. The subtleties of these flavors from a pot still increase the complexity and overall character of the whiskey. Pot stills are less efficient than reflux or hybrid stills, usually creating a lower-proof spirit.

Clawhammer Supply’s design borrows the best features from pot still and reflux column designs. Our design uses a pure copper boiler, an all-copper fractioning column without the reflux coil, and a simple and efficient in-line condenser. These elements allow for greater efficiency than a standard pot still and more flavor retention than reflux stills. Essentially, our stills distill quickly and efficiently without stripping the character from the final product.

Copper Moonshine Stills for Sale

Emmet Leahy is the Chief Operating Officer and lead product developer at Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company. He loves the process of developing new equipment for making beer at home just as much as he does using it to brew his own beer. He's also passionate about teaching people how to use distillation equipment to produce distilled water, essential oils, and with the proper permits, fuel alcohol and distilled spirits.

  • Add me to the list as well. And where can I find the answers to the questions asked? I have some of the same questions.

    Posted by Bill on December 13, 2023
  • Please add me to the list

    Posted by Erik on May 20, 2022
  • I too am interested in access to the answers to the questions; particularly with respect to attaching the hoses.

    Posted by Charles Mays on May 16, 2022
  • Please add me to your list, I would like to read answers to the questions posted on your site.

    Posted by Chris on February 08, 2022
  • How is the garden hose connected to the column on the 5 gallon still?

    Posted by Jeremy Lemons on December 03, 2021
  • Please add me to your list. Thanks.

    Posted by Jennifer steketee on November 13, 2021
  • Please add me to the list. Thanks!

    Posted by Andrew on November 13, 2021
  • Please add me to your list

    Posted by Craig on January 28, 2021
  • Add me please wouldike to read answers

    Posted by Bird on December 14, 2020
  • I put together the 5 gallon still. Looks great and I can’t wait to get started with some cooking. Thanks the assembly videos were excellent. Great product. Please add so I can see responses. Thanks again!

    Posted by BRent DAvis on March 02, 2020
  • Where can I read the answers? Please add me to the list.

    Posted by Phillip Payne on February 17, 2020
  • I would like to be added to the list

    Posted by DP on January 13, 2020
  • I’d like to be able to see the answers/replies to the questions/comments on your board please. What do I need to do?

    Posted by Mike on December 30, 2019
  • Where can I read the answers to the questions asked in this forum? Please add my address to this continuing discussion thanks.

    Posted by mAhesh on December 17, 2019
  • For a 5 gallon copper still what size clawhammer would be needed, can a hot plate be used instead? How is the garden hose hooked up and Drained from the cooling column?

    Posted by JAcob on October 14, 2019
  • yes I would like to see the answers to all the comments

    Posted by bearman on June 19, 2019
  • Put me on the list for the answers

    Posted by Michael on January 28, 2019
  • Add me to the list

    Posted by Parry on July 31, 2018
  • How do you hook up garden hose to 1o gal still plus do you need the the paste ?

    Posted by Parry on July 31, 2018
  • Yes, add me to the list.

    Posted by Don T on January 31, 2018

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