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Yet Another Victim Succumbs to the SD Gateway Drug…

edited September 2015 in Introduction

First of all, my most heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you from whom I have learned so, so much. I only wish I had stumbled on this forum earlier than I did – it would have saved me from myself and SWMBO several times.

Anyway, allow me to introduce myself – I was a pro brewer for a couple of years in the US in the late 80’s early 90’s after one of earlier my hobbies, “ran amuck” as you know who, periodically proclaimed. Long story short - too early into the micro brewing game, no capital, so I exited, changed direction, finished up my career, retired and now – “running amuck yet again.” Oh darn the luck!

Currently, I run 12% 50 liter sugar washes into a ½ bbl keg acting as the primary for a week long fermentation, transfer it then to a ½ bbl keg acting as the secondary to clarify, then to the boiler for processing. Fermentation temperature control in the primary is managed by a 19” tall coil of 3/8 SS submersed into the keg through which flows temperature controlled water fed from a pump inside a ¼ bbl keg outfitted with an aquarium heater. I’m currently using a ½ bbl keg for the boiler - its propane fired, capped with a 4” to 2” thermowell sight glass torpedo, and then topped with a 4 foot 2” packed column controlled by a CM system. The cooling water is fed from a submersible pump in a swimming pool and returns to it a little warmer. I monitor the temperatures of the wash, vapor into the torpedo, top of the CM, exit flow of the CM and the final output. As you can see in the pictures (pre-production, not cleaned equipment) all the ½ bbl kegs will be outfitted with 2” and 3” SGKs once the new ones are available. Currently, the SGK locations are capped. Ball-valve drains on all. The ¾” ferrules on the 4” TC end cap pictured with the coil are for the in and outs of the coil (which rests on the inside bottom of the primary and is fitted with custom cut silicone gaskets), a 16” thermowell probe and a blow-off port.

Neutrals are currently my end game, which after a few tweaks and weeks, becomes Aquavit, my drink of choice. . I’m happy with my yields and the run times are exactly what others on the forum have said – about 1 to 1.2 liters per hour. As I’ve come to learn more and more of the nuances and subtleties of the flavoring and maturation process though, I’ve decided that I haven’t quite hit that proper “aged in sherry barrels” profile… so… a good friend of mine and I might experiment with forcing sherry into oak spears utilizing a vacuum chamber to see if we can’t just nudge that profile along a bit. I’ll keep you all posted on the outcome.

Now I clearly see the game plan for my future -> Oh yeah, adios 2” CM, hello defleg, Pro Caps, PC, electric controllers, gin basket - all hopefully headed my way (after receiving the perfunctory SWMBO nod). It’s sometimes difficult to go to bed at night these days ‘cause I keep dreaming about all the SS components to be had. I look forward to constantly learning and living vicariously through all of you…




Skål's Setup.jpg
800 x 600 - 65K
Skål's Temp Mgt.jpg
800 x 452 - 45K


  • congrats!!! welcome to our little club!

  • Welcome Skal,

    Very nice introduction.

    How do you make that little symbol thinggy above the a in your handle?

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • on the bright side, after researching how to do that to put you in suspense, I now can do degree symbols like this:

    212°F = 100°C

  • Are those the droids from the new Star Wars movie?

  • Now to get him onto electricity instead of propane... life for him would be 1000% simpler with controlled heat ... i bet we get him there ;)

  • Welcome mate. I recall lunchtime Skalls of aquavit in Sweden VERY fondly. I'd love to see some of your recipes for Aquavit, there has been some posted on the different forums before, but they never seemed to be similar to the ones my girlfriends grandfather had on the table.
    It had some colour to it i recall and maybe even some seeds or herbs in the bottle although it was a long time ago. Couple of shots with lunch was a grand thing, but the bottle was put away just when you got the urge to keep going :))

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • The sickness spreads......

  • A STAINLESS double-wound reflux coil! Daaamn!! That is gorgeous!!!

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @FullySilenced : You'd better believe it - when I got the boiler, I left one (or two if needed) of the bottom ferrules on it reserved for electricity. I was just taking baby steps into the craft, utilizing old beer making equipment lying around. It's the first item on plan for this winter once I ramp up production again.

    @punkin: All the Scandihoovians make their own special hooch. Being Norwegian I'm required to inform you that your recollection of any Swedish Aquavit being actually drinkable was undoubtedly clouded by the fondness you had for your girlfriend :)) - just kidding - every family seems to have their own concoction of seeds and spices for "the" recipe. I have one that I like and my friends approve of, which I will of course post.

    @Kapea: You're right about "Daaamn!!", that's why I didn't think twice and scooped it up when I found it.

    All: Thank you for the kind welcoming words.

  • I only saw Oslo, but everytime in in my shed the trolls remind me of it. Great spot and top people.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited September 2015

    @Skål said: ... I was just taking baby steps into the craft...

    That's one of the biggest understatement that's I've seen in a while

    Mhhhhhh... Looks like the rest of my comment got cut off....

    Welcome! Looking forward to your Akevitt recipe!

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