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Distillique - Miscellaneous

Articles Relating to Miscellaneous Distilling Topics by Distillique

The Section for articles that cannot be easily categorized - here we talk about building your own Stills, Automation, Research and Reference Materials, Books, etc. Distillique prides itself in being a source of verified and accurate information for Home and Craft Distillers. There is a lot of information out there that is either completely incorrect, or misunderstood, or just plain made-up. Here we try to sort through some of this information that does not fit into our other article categories.

Can I build my own Still?

Still construction is a skill that we are rapidly losing in South Africa, and in the interest of both our Cultural Heritage and Skill Retention, Distillique encourages the Safe and Legal construction of stills, even providing training in the construction of Adjustable Reflux Column Stills.

In the same breath however, it must be understood that there are VERY clear and specific rules and legislation regarding the Manufacture, Import, Sale and Maintenance of Stills in South Africa. It is illegal to pursue any of the activities if you are not registered with SARS as a Still Manufacturer.

Distillique is in the position to assist clients that want to build there own stills legally, through our still serialization service, where we ensure the safety of stills, and allow you to legally register the still with SARS in order to use it.

Where can I find information on Distilling?

With the advent of YouTube, Facebook and the broader Internet Community, information exchange has become relatively easy. The challenge now is sifting through all this information, verifying it, and seeing what we can actually believe and use, and what not. Most information regarding distillation on the Internet, and in many books, is either incomplete, out-dated, misunderstood, or blatantly false - not because the author or publisher wants to intentionally mislead, but more so because the basis of their assumptions or interpretations is false, their source material is incorrect, or they are not considering all the variables in making certain claims.

Any reference material we publish on this blog will either be verified, or we will place a disclaimer on the information shared, in cases where we agree with the assertions, but have not yet fully verified it.

  • Want to Import Distilling Equipment? Do your Homework!

    Want to Import Distilling Equipment? Do your Homework!

    If you would like to import distillation equipment yourself, please make sure you do your homework well! Is it Cheaper to Import a Still myself? A client recently claimed that: "I can import it myself at much less than what you're selling it!". Off-course this was a big concern for us and we did some investigation. The claim presented seemed to be factually correct ...or...
  • Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 4 of 4: Attributes of Malted Barley

    Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 4 of 4: Attributes of Malted Barley

      During COVID-19 Lockdown, several basic Home Distilling (and Brewing) supplies – equipment and consumables - have been difficult to get hold of. Yeast, Nutrients, Enzymes and even Bubbler, SG Hydrometers and Alcoholmeters.          One of the most problematic however, was Malted Barley. Not just because stocks and supplies had run out, but because the plants producing it was shut down....
  • Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 3 of 4: The Barley Malting Process – Kilning

    Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 3 of 4: The Barley Malting Process – Kilning

        During COVID-19 Lockdown, several basic Home Distilling (and Brewing) supplies – equipment and consumables - have been difficult to get hold of. Yeast, Nutrients, Enzymes and even Bubbler, SG Hydrometers and Alcoholmeters.      One of the most problematic however, was Malted Barley. Not just because stocks and supplies had run out, but because the plants producing it was shut down. Even...
  • Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 1 of 4: Barley for Malting

    Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 1 of 4: Barley for Malting

    During COVID-19 Lockdown, several basic Home Distilling (and Brewing) supplies – equipment and consumables - have been difficult to get hold of. Yeast, Nutrients, Enzymes and even Bubbler, SG Hydrometers and Alcoholmeters.   One of the most problematic however, was Malted Barley. Not just because stocks and supplies had run out, but because the plants producing it was shut down. Even under Level 3...
  • Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 2 of 4: The Barley Malting Process – Steeping

    Barley, Malting and Malt – Part 2 of 4: The Barley Malting Process – Steeping

        During COVID-19 Lockdown, several basic Home Distilling (and Brewing) supplies – equipment and consumables - have been difficult to get hold of. Yeast, Nutrients, Enzymes and even Bubbler, SG Hydrometers and Alcoholmeters.     One of the most problematic however, was Malted Barley. Not just because stocks and supplies had run out, but because the plants producing it was shut down. Even...
  • Air Sanitising and Purification Technologies

    Air Sanitising and Purification Technologies

    “Ozone gas has been proven to kill the SARS coronavirus and since the structure of the new 2019-nCoV coronavirus is almost identical to that of the SARS coronavirus, it is relatively safe to say that it will also work on the new coronavirus, though it must be noted that there is only one current ongoing study in China at the Institute of Virology in...
  • Spirit Changes in the Bottle

    Spirit Changes in the Bottle

    PLEASE NOTE: This article does not refer to Bottle Maturation as we experience with Gin, where a Gin flavor profile can change greatly within anything form a week to a couple of months. Here we are discussing the changes that occur over long periods of time, specifically in Aged Spirits like Whisky and Brandy.     The official line is that spirits do not...
  • A Little Known Fact - Corked Spirits

    A Little Known Fact - Corked Spirits

    While people know that corkiness exists in wine, many think it’s not possible for the same fault to occur in Spirits. Admittedly, the incidence of cork tainted spirits is lower than wine – possibly because spirits’ higher alcoholic strength and aromatic intensity make it more difficult to pick up. But it does happen and manifests itself in the same way – a smell of...
  • Bottles and Bottling - What do I need to keep in mind?

    Bottles and Bottling - What do I need to keep in mind?

    Finding the right way to bottle your product is as important as finding the right way to make your product. Many Craft Distillers make some avoidable mistakes in their initial setup, that can lead to them having to change their packaging, capping their growth potential, or spending a lot more on bottling and packaging than they should.      A couple of factors need...
  • How to fix a Mechanical Seal on a Boiler Agitator

    How to fix a Mechanical Seal on a Boiler Agitator

    At first glance, the mechanical seals on bigger boilers with agitators may seem ""over complicated"". Once you understand them, it however, makes perfect sense.     Lets start with an explanation on how the mechanical seal works.     The seal consists of two main parts: A locking collar and a rotating seal holder. The shaft from the electric motor connects through the centre...
  • Incorrect Readings - Comparing Refractometer and SG Hydrometer Readings

    Incorrect Readings - Comparing Refractometer and SG Hydrometer Readings

    From time to time Clients contact us with a question relating to the different readings obtained when using both a Refractometer and a floating SG Hydrometer in the same liquid.    These readings can be quite far apart and we should be aware of that and the reasons behind it.    The general “truth” that more dense liquids have greater Refractive Indexes (i.e. sugar...
  • Can the use of Copper Stills cause Cancer?

    Can the use of Copper Stills cause Cancer?

    Recently an Article has been spread around through various Online Forums and Social Media pages, calling into question the use of Copper in Stills.   The basis of this article is that during distillation Copper catalyses substances found in the fermentation into a compound called Ethyl Carbamate, and that this compound is Carcinogenic, and we should therefore not be using Copper Stills or Copper...
  • Cleaning a New Still for First Use

    Cleaning a New Still for First Use

    Once you have purchased a still from Distillique, the urge to set it up and immediately start using it is great, but there are a couple of steps you need to follow first. Any metal manufacturing process leaves a residue of manufacturing oils on the item manufactured, and these oils (and other residue) can negatively impact on your distillate and spoil it. The following...
  • I Bought a Small Barrel - Now What?

    I Bought a Small Barrel - Now What?

    Congratulations. You are now a proud owner of a fine barrel, hand-made from French Oak, and most probably it has a bit of history attached to it. Most of our barrels started off their lives as Wine Barrels. Then they were used for Fortified Wines like Sherry or Port, And now they are finally ready to receive your spirits. But, like all beautiful things,...
  • How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 3: Record Keeping

    How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 3: Record Keeping

    PLEASE NOTE: This is the third Article of Three, dealing with the Process of Legal Home Distilling. Please read all three Articles for a full idea on how it works.     Probably the most common question we get from clients visiting our store: Is it Legal to Distill at Home? This is followed closely by the second most common question: How do I...
  • How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 2: Registration

    How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 2: Registration

    PLEASE NOTE: This is the second Article of Three, dealing with the Process of Legal Home Distilling. Please read all three Articles for a full idea on how it works.    Probably the most common question we get from clients visiting our store: Is it Legal to Distill at Home? This is followed closely by the second most common question: How do I Register...
  • How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 1: Stills

    How do I Legally Distill at Home in South Africa? - Part 1: Stills

    PLEASE NOTE: This is the first Article of Three, dealing with the Process of Legal Home Distilling. Please read all three Articles for a full idea on how it works.     Probably the most common question we get from clients visiting our store: Is it Legal to Distill at Home? This is followed closely by the second most common question: How do I...
  • Chocolate Bourbon Balls Recipe

    Chocolate Bourbon Balls Recipe

    DISCLAIMER: Distillique does not believe in providing and selling recipes, as this goes against the Craft of producing your own products. The recipes we share have been sourced from clients and other sources, and as such, Distillique takes no responsibility and makes no guarantees regarding the quality, accuracy or safety of these recipes. Recipes are used at own risk, and are for the purpose...
  • Factors to Consider to Increase the Perceived Value of your Product

    Factors to Consider to Increase the Perceived Value of your Product

    In an ideal world, our products will speak for themselves, value would be determined by quality and taste alone, and customers would pay accordingly. In an ideal world … But the world is not ideal, or fair, and we are faced with this little thing called Marketing and Hype that plays a role in determining the price of our products – or at least...
  • Micro Liquor Manufacturing Licenses - What to watch out for

    Micro Liquor Manufacturing Licenses - What to watch out for

    For some time now the whole South African Liquor License Industry has been chaotic. What issues have Distillers experienced with Liquor License Applications? If it’s not a question of waiting for inspectors (up to 7 months), then you have to deal with inspectors that don’t know what they are doing, or people blatantly holding you for ransom for bribes, or inspectors that have no...
  • Closed Cooling Systems and their Challenges

    Closed Cooling Systems and their Challenges

    More and more we receive inquiries regarding Closed Cooling Systems. This refers to a closed loop for the water used during cooling to minimize water use. The reasons for these requests and wish to minimize water use are varied, but can be for economic reasons (to save money), for ecological reasons (environmental awareness) or practical reasons (a local water shortage). Before we discuss the...
  • Alcohol Poisoning First Aid

    Alcohol Poisoning First Aid

    You know the drill. In case of emergency, you should immediately call emergency services or the paramedics, and follow directives from the emergency responder. But even though this is an elementary instruction, many people disregard the importance of professional medical help, especially when it comes to alcohol intoxication, thinking that they can fix the problem themselves. It is very important to recognize the seriousness...
  • Responsible Drinking - The Two Types of Alcohol Poisoning

    Responsible Drinking - The Two Types of Alcohol Poisoning

    One of the dangers involved with the consumption of alcohol is Alcohol Poisoning. Not really new information. But what many people do not know is that there is actually 2 types of alcohol poisoning. The First Type of Alcohol Poisoning The first of these is the “garden variety” alcohol poisoning – excessive consumption of alcohol, although this should more accurately be described as consumption...
  • What makes one Distillery stand out from Another?

    What makes one Distillery stand out from Another?

    Note: The following is clearly a question of personal taste, but it is based on research conducted by students in Tourism Management who are focusing specifically on Spirits Tourism (and more particularly Spirit Tourism). What is Spirit Tourism? The definition of Spirit Tourism (in this discussion) refers to the visit of Spirit-related attractions which can be museums, distilleries or spirit events. In general, if the...
  • Recipe for Whisky Rusks

    Recipe for Whisky Rusks

    During every Whisky Course we like to mention to trainees the possible uses of the grain solids after Gelatinization and Conversion. Following his attendance, Chimpi Nortje took it one step further ... Thanks for sharing Chimpi Ingredients 3 packs (500g) self-raising flour 20 ml baking powder 10 ml salt 300g sugar 4 eggs (beaten) 500 ml buttermilk 250 ml milk 650 ml melted butter...
  • Books on Distillation and Fermentation

    Books on Distillation and Fermentation

    It happens quite often (at least two or three times per week) that clients, visitors and followers ask us to recommend a useful book to read regarding distillation. Personally, I find most books to be quite lacking, either focusing more on cocktails, brand stories and tasting notes, and less on the actual arts of distilling and fermentation or repeating too many marketing stories and...
  • Small Batch vs Single Barrel

    Small Batch vs Single Barrel

    Confused between small batch and single barrel? A Practical Example Let us say you receive three barrels of Whisky, filled with distillate from the same batch. You decide to store one barrel in your basement, the second on your main floor, and the third one in your attic. Assuming you have no central heating, air conditioning or insulation, it is expected that you will...
  • Can you Build the Perfect Fermentation Water?

    Can you Build the Perfect Fermentation Water?

    Water quality matters. Not to the extent that some bottled brands would have you believe in their advertising, but it can have a large impact on yeast health, and hence on fermentation success. Recently, several of our clients have had trouble with water quality. This has often been the result of excess minerals or iron, especially in borehole water, or the result of excessive...
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