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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.

  • I would like to be added to your distribution list. Thanks

    Posted by Jerome Bailey on December 08, 2017
  • how do yo run the condensing part the water hose?
    do I need ice in the dripper were it collects?
    if I hook the water hose in bottom will it get mix in the collecting jar . recently bought one its my 2 run with no luck thanks

    Posted by steve on October 02, 2017
  • Please Add me to your distribution list

    Posted by DAve on September 25, 2017
  • Please add me to the mailling list!
    I just bought the 1 gallon copper still and was wondering if it will produce a good quality produce or is it even worth it to get this size of still?

    Posted by MAtthieu on September 15, 2017
  • Can you show me a diagram of how and where water hose hooks up to a 8gallon stainless copper still

    Posted by rob on August 24, 2017
  • If you have a question and answer section please add me.

    Posted by Joseph Mcclain on July 11, 2017
  • I read an article that the 10 gallon all Cooper would only make ? to 120 by it self. But add copper wool to colon along with thumper and proof would go up to 130 to 160. Is this right. The statement I ask where could you install a thumper caig?

    Posted by Joseph Mcclain on July 11, 2017
  • I read an article that the 10 gallon all Cooper would only make ? to 120 by it self. But add copper wool to colon along with thumper and proof would go up to 130 to 160. Is this right. The statement I ask where could you install a thumper caig?

    Posted by Joseph Mcclain on July 11, 2017
  • A tip to save water: I use a sump pump in a 50 gal barrel and recycle the water through the still. As the water warms up, I dump a couple of pre made ice
    blocks into the barrel. Using “city water” even with a low flow , to cool the still requires more water than you might think.

    Posted by Raymond on June 12, 2017
  • I am looking for some recommendations. I have the following in my cart.

    -5 gallon copper still
    - proofing hydrometer
    -column packing
    -boiler thermometer

    do I need a column thermometer? Do you recommend anything else.

    I am a plumber and would like to build my own parrot. can you send me the cut lengths of tubing?

    Thank you, kevin.

    Posted by kevin on February 05, 2017
  • how thick is the bottom plate of your copper still and are you going to make a doubler kit

    Posted by scott on January 29, 2017
  • i would like to be added to your to your distribution list.i was also wondering if a second distillation is necessary with you style still, or if one is sufficient?

    Posted by Kurt on September 08, 2016
  • Hey i was wondering if there is a place to see the answers to these questions? if so, sign me up! thanks

    Posted by colton on August 18, 2016
  • please add me to your distribution list. I would like to read the answers to these questions.


    Posted by stephanie on July 07, 2016
  • How much shine will I get from a 5 gal. Still. Do I through away first bit of shine ( how much) when first starts to run. And when do I stop my run.

    Posted by James Smith on May 18, 2016
  • when you run a 1.060 to 1.070 SG, approx. 6% ABV distillers beer through one of your stills would you expect your cuts to occur somewhere between 110 and 70 proof?

    what do you typically expect??

    Posted by Robert B. Brandt on April 28, 2016
  • Please add me to your distribution list.
    Thank you

    Posted by Michael Czerwonka on March 23, 2016
  • When distilling How much if any alcohol do I have to discard when running my second run at the beginning. Like your forshot on your first run.

    Posted by TROY on March 16, 2016
  • Just want to get on board so I can read some of the answers to these questions. Thanks

    Posted by TROY on March 16, 2016
  • I would like a cost for 8 gallon cooper still ready to go with temp gauge on boiler and top of colum, also heating element and electric hot plate,and roughly how long would it take to distill 8 gallons ,

    Posted by PAul on March 04, 2016

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