Dephlegmator Tips

Hey everyone,

I have a 13gal hillbilly still. Using a 5500w heating element. I've made two runs after the cleaning run and sacrificial run. I'm having an issue on when to open the dephlegmator. Do you just open it all the way when you turn it on? Do you get up to a certain temp then open it by stages?

Thanks for reading and helping out.


  • I beleive that operation has a whole set of instructional video on how to run thier stills. Have to had a chance to check them out?

  • Have a read of the manual at the top of the home page on the SD forum its got a section in there about how to use the dephlegmator.

    In regards to adjusting the flow that will depend on a number of factors but mainly the water temperature and if you are recirculating water (which will heat up during the run). It took me a while to figure it out when I started (I am still figuring bits out as I go) but pretty soon you will get a feel for the balance between the power to the elements and flow through the dephlegmator and can make adjustments from there.

  • There are a couple of ways to approach.

    How much time have you spent practicing?

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  • read, read, read... practice, practice, practice... I suggest reading Ian Smiley's "making pure corn whiskey", even though it is a different kind of still.. and, as he writes in his book, you can mix the contents of a spirit run all back together and run it again, over and over...

    If you have too much water flow too early, all you are doing is wasting water and/or pump energy... If you run too much after the pot is boiling, you add in wasting heat energy...

    Step 1 - Learn how much cooling water(valve position, flow rate, RC internal or output water temp, etc) you need for complete reflux at a given amount of heat, write that stuff down...

    vary between zero and that amount of flow... measure the flow with zero RC water flow, learn how to calculate reflux ratios, that is the number you can transfer from user to user and still to still...

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