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Obviously New Here

edited December 2016 in Introduction

Hey to all who is reading this,

Well obviously I'm new here. I am Dumbass and from here on I can only get smarter. I live somewhere in the EU.

For a couple of years now, the idea has been brewing to start with this nice niche of a hobby to make my own spirits. Reading... reading... & research. A couple of times I thought I made up my mind where to start only to do more research and changing my mind again. So to get ahead on my New Year' s resolutions I made up my mind to just "start" in the beginning of 2017. I figured I could research until the day I die, but sometimes you just need to make the decision to get productive.

It is pure for entertainment, good taste and fun, I have 0 commercial intentions. I've got to say that research can be fun too, but sometimes you dig deeper and deeper into a subject just to realize you actually know nothing at all and you're back to start. Now it is time to blend in the research with some experience and make some mistakes while producing.

I want to start small, three reasons, first obviously starting small (but not too small) gives the room to explore and learn in a manageable way. Second and third, I have limited space available and the same goes for the cashflow for a startup hobby. As I don't have the experience nor the workplace to build and experiment with a self build setup and I'm one of those dudes that buys a set-up right the first time to later recreate stuff on my own, I figured it is a good idea to follow the same trusted path here.

Beginning of autumn I made up my mind for the 2017 New Year' s resolutions and for a while I was leaning heavily towards the T500, but research showed me there is little to no room to experiment with the setup. Dumbass likes to experiment, screw ups teach the most, so the T500 is a nono. Then I got interested in the SD modulair system that obviously gives a lot of room to experiment, but is well... more pricey.

So for now I am leaning towards a setup made of the 2+2.5" Baby Crystal Dragon with a Top Stove as that is the most basic setup available and pretty much ready to go (once applied all the connectors and additional components). I'm kinda contemplating about the Milk can setup too, but that both needs some more installation & research for and about the heating element and controller as well it would be another good chunk of cash (both known for the milk can as well as unknown for the heating element up unto completion).

As I didn't find much reviews or discussions about the Top Stove on here I am curious what you guys think of it, for a starting personal home distiller. Are there any other noobs and dumbasses already using it that want to share their thoughts? Or am I overthinking the heating element too much and is it pretty average (with some common sense from a dude that hasn't got two left hands)?

Anyway, I will be reading here some more... and then some more... wondering if something would pop up that would change my mind again.




  • edited December 2016

    Hi! Welcome!

    I am most probably the girl, who will process your orders.

    I like the stove top, since it can be used as a mash tun or as turkey bath as well. Also, that it can be run on a simple kitchen stove is convenient. It is smaller, yes, but it does not use so much space in the shed (or better kitchen) and you can still make more alcohol than you can drink alone. ;)

    On the other hand, we sell far more Milkcans than stove top boilers, which leads to the question: do people drink so much or do they just like to have many friends over that drink much ? ;)

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • gday DA, (from Aus) You are in the right place (modular still systems). This is where you can start out with components for one type of still which you can add to for different stills/ products as your journey in this great hobby progresses. I discovered this forum and StillDragon some distance in to my journey. I already had a beer keg boiler with electric element and power controller. If I were in your position and had the ready $$ I would get the milk can boiler. You can start out with an even more basic 2" pot still system, a 305mm riser, two 90 degree elbows, a long product condenser, one endcap reducer (long) and 5 triclamps and gaskets and you're good to go once you have the coolant sorted. The pot system I describe is essentially the top bit from the Baby Crystal Dragon (buy the glass column bit later). cheers

  • Welcome, i'm with Kimbo in that i'd recommend a pot still as well, either on a stove top boiler or milk can.

    Use the 2" long product condensor, use a 90, 45, condensor, 45 and a parrot and when you want to go ahead with either a 2.5 or 4" system all the parts you have for your potstill will translate and be used in a Dash or Crystal Dragon.

    Much fun and plenty of learning comes from a potstill, and lots of very fine spirits.

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

  • edited December 2016

    Thank you all for the quick responses, lots to think about. At least I know I'm in the right place for a modulair system that can expand on my wishes.

    My intention was to get the Baby Crystal Dragon but first run it as pot still so my thoughts on the right track.

    @Sunshine: The milk can would also sell more because of the aesthetics and "cool" factor for noobs.

    @kimbodious: Why do you chose the milk can over the top stove? Is that about sheer size or is that about the use of an electrical heating element?

    @punkin would a 4" setup also work on a stove top? As it runs faster then a 2.5" is the stove top too small and creates a really short run because of the energy needed to make the right usage of the plates.

    btw i'm sorry if I don't have the right definitions and so.

  • edited December 2016

    Yes, the 4" is too big for a 25-30l boiler, also too heavy for the lid. Fits right in at 50-120l.

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

  • A lot of fermenters are 20 litres plus. I chose to do a single still run than a number of smaller runs. Actually my boiler is 50 litres so I combine the contents of two fermenters and just do a single run.

  • Hi DA

    I started off making my own home made column, I didn't have the spare cash to splash out on a full SD setup and I too wanted something more flexible than the T500, over the last two years I've slowly replaced or added parts one or two at a time, that's the beauty of the SD modular system, you can keep the initial cost down by adding bits as you go along and have lots of fun learning and experimenting along the way.

  • When I started, I bought a 5 gal copper pot. Beautiful but a royal pain to run & clean.

    With low invest, I was able to get going but spent a lot of time setting, running and cleaning. After some point, I figured out how much my time is worth and switched to SD

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