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Author Topic: moonshine still  (Read 27866 times)
BjornBee
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« on: December 27, 2010, 06:18:47 PM »

I have made a bit of mead over the years. And recently I saw a still on a TV show, and of course now I'm thinking of getting a still.

My questions are....is it legal to have one, operate one, and under what limits?

Can you produce moonshine for home use?

I see plans on how to build one and also actual stills on Ebay.

Anybody have details they pass along?

I would like to build my own.

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2010, 06:49:09 PM »

I have all the parts for a I think it was called a refractory still. I was going to make fuel out of the sugar od sorghum. You can do it, but you have to register it with the Feds and once you do that you open your property to inspections anytime without warning.  That was to use it as fuel , which you need to put methanol in the ethanol so you are not drinking it all day long lol......  Anyways yeah i was going to distill  55 gal longs of sorghum sugar but i decided it wasn't worth doing it illegally nor legally
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skatesailor
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2010, 07:02:41 PM »

One of the problems with stills is that when you ferment some things you produce both good and bad alcohols. In the original product like wines the bad alcohols are in low concentrations and your body tolerates them. When you use a still you are concentrating the alcohols and can bring the bad alcs up to a point where they cause harm. Growing up I remember stories of people going blind from the wood alcohol in the homemade hooch.Different alcs have different boiling points so that is how you seperate them. Just need to know what you are doing. If I remember correctly the wood alcohol has a lower boiling point so comes off first. Discard it.Use a thermometer in your condenser to know when the different alcs are boiling off. I'm not sure if your mead will have any methanol as it seems to be more associated with fruits. I make a lot of fruit wines and sometimes I'm a little suspect of what I am producing, but they are good.
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2010, 07:34:21 PM »

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_bills&docid=f:h3249ih.txt.pdf
Home distillation of ethanol for commercial purposes is illegal in the United States. Legislation was introduced, but failed to pass in November 2001 to legalize home distillation in much the same way as home brewing of wine and beer were legalized in 1978.   
From Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonshine_by_country
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deknow
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 09:20:23 AM »

i've been impressed by the stills on this site:
http://www.amphora-society.com/
...there was someone on one of the beekeeping lists who had a custom lid built for a maxant bottling tank (to use it as a heat source) for one of these stills.

deknow
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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 12:24:36 PM »

Thank you for all the replies and information.

I'll have to give this some more thought.
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 01:41:07 PM »

Just an after thought. Why would you want to take any quantity of good tasting Mead and reduce it down to 10-15% volume for something that would burn your throat and is not as enjoyable. If you want the cheap way to do this just freeze the Mead and drink what didn't freeze.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 01:45:13 PM »

Just an after thought. Why would you want to take any quantity of good tasting Mead and reduce it down to 10-15% volume for something that would burn your throat and is not as enjoyable. If you want the cheap way to do this just freeze the Mead and drink what didn't freeze.

I'm not suggesting I want to distill down the mead.

Although I like your freezing idea. This may make some tasty ice treats.  grin
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 01:48:24 PM »

I looked into building an ethanol still at one time but gave up because it would be too expensive to convert my truck over to pure ethanol. I even have most of the stuff to build one (only lacking the thermostat).

Some sites touted a distillation rate of 10gal/hr and claim that you could make it for as little as $.68 per gal.

Why use it for fuel when the rednecks around here would pay $35-40/gal for it?

Scott
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 02:03:18 PM »

I read a little about it a while ago...I think it is only legal to distill water. 

There were several commercially produced small water distillers that could be modified to handle alcohol.

But it is only illegal if somebody else knows about it, right? Wink   grin
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Rick
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2010, 09:00:48 AM »

i read somewhere that only a select few places are actually allowed by the gov. to make it, but it can only be 100 proof. which makes no sense to me because you can buy bacardi 151 and everclear which is 190 proof. my guess is it is similar to why germany passed the beer purity law in 1516. which was an attempt to keep people from starving to death by  using all the wheat and rye for beer when they ran out of barley. perhaps the gov doesn't want us using all our corn for making moonshine for similar reasons, but i think mainly it would be too hard for them to get their share of the profits if everyone had a backyard still.
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2010, 01:17:10 PM »

I think the primary reason was due to the government losing the taxes off of  backwoods shine stills. The secondary concerns was probably due to people making a poisonous product for a profit. i.e using lead lined radiators for condensers, placing old car battery's in the mash etc. I come from a long line of moonshiners-I have several uncles that have served Federal time for it back in the day, however it was a way of life here in the south. My one uncle managed to put his 3 daughters through college selling liquid corn. Small amounts can me made using a pressure canner.
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marksmith
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2010, 02:31:43 PM »

If not careful one can brew a batch of formaldehyde... it takes specific temperatures and time.


Formaldehyde is also where the going blind stories stem from.  Copper or glass for the still.  Stainless is OK but tempermental and gives a bad taste.
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Mark Smith - Elkton, OR
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2010, 02:32:44 PM »

DANG REVENUERS !
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Confucius say "He who stand on toilet is high on pot"
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2010, 10:11:15 PM »

Some previous discussions -> http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,11348.0.html
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2010, 10:21:47 PM »

Dagummit. You fellers gonna get me fired . Now I have a hankering for keeping up with family traditions.  Wink

By the way, those Foxfire books I have spoke of in the past, have plans on making the pot type stills.
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phil c
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2011, 01:55:44 PM »

Many years back I worked as an Animal Control Officer. One day we got a call from some people about a raccoon in the house. Went to the house, it was a big old three story with a full unfinished basement, The man who owned it was in a nursing home(terminal illness) and his relatives had hired the church he belonged to too sell all the stuff in the house so the house could be torn down and the lot sold. Anyway, While looking around in the basement for raccoon access I went into the "unused" coal bunker/furnace room. I was awestruck, in the room behind the old coal furnace/boiler was an absolutly beautiful 10 gal copper still along with alot of very old mason jars and long rotted away sugar bags. The church people had no idea what it was I made an offer for it and bought it for $20.
I havent tried making anything in it but it sure looks cool in the back of my barn! Maybe someday when I aint feared of revenuers!
BTW never did find the raccoon
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2011, 06:01:57 PM »

wow all that copper for 20.00 is a steal alone... good find
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2011, 02:59:14 PM »

Knew a old Tarheel once who kept a legal still (at least it was legal in those days), a teapot still sit on the side of his wood range.  The cooling coil dropped into a coffee mug sitting on the counter.  He drank it often enough that the cup never ran over.  He started it up each morning when he poked the stove into fire for cooking breakfast.
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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2011, 08:21:02 PM »

Knew a old Tarheel once who kept a legal still (at least it was legal in those days), a teapot still sit on the side of his wood range.  The cooling coil dropped into a coffee mug sitting on the counter.  He drank it often enough that the cup never ran over.  He started it up each morning when he poked the stove into fire for cooking breakfast.
Probably lived to a rich old age also....
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