Does Size Matter?

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking to buy my first still... my goal is to get an experimental still that I could use to make small batches.
(I will not be able to drink all of it, and I don't really want to get into trouble by selling any, so no point in making volumes until I'm ready for the next step)

I'm thinking about building still around a variation of the Baby Dragon... but I'm worry about scalability (ie: will I get similar results if I multiply the size of everything by x10?)

Ie: Let say that after a bunch of try an error I determine that I really like the results that I get with a 3 plates on a 2'' column, will I get similar results with a 3 plates on a 12'' column (with a proportional amount of heat), or it's a big try and error all over again???

Also, how do you know if your column is too small or too big for your kettle?

Thanks in advance


  • try starting with a 2" packed column and 50L boiler with 5500W. a 60" column should get you to azeotrope pretty easily I think and it's cheap to play with until you know where you wanna go.

    as for scaling, it's not always linear and there is an amount of trial and error with the setup AND fermenters IME. the basics of distilling still apply on larger setups tho. you will be learning your setup each time you change tho.

    words from experience: more power input is good. choose far more cooling than you think you need. if it's too much, at least water is being conserved now and the setup could be used in future builds.

  • edited October 2016

    Columns are sized to the boiler by the time it takes to complete a run. If it takes too long to make a full run thn the diameter of the column needs to be increased. If there is not enough alcohol in the boiler to fill your column and make proper cuts then the boiler size needs to be increased.

    A 2" packed column on a 50l keg of stripped low wines will take 12-16 hours to run for neutral. On plain wash it will be considerably shorter but the results will likely not be as good.

    3 plates and a rum or whiskey from wash will be much quicker, you'll take about 1 hr heatup, 1/2hr stabilising and takeoff around 1l hour. A 10% wash will take about 3-4 hours to run through.

    It won't be a straight scale up but should be enough to work with.

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

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