Distillation Safety Tips
Moonshining is an art. There are countless ways of doing it, and almost all of them are correct. However, it is a potentially dangerous art that requires planning and care. Distilling is a science that can at times involve risk. As such, it is important that you take proper precautions to minimize risks. Here are some tips you should follow in order to create safe-to-drink, high quality spirits:
Never Rush The Process
It never pays to rush the process. Make sure you have an appropriate work space area that is well lit, clean, and adequately ventilated to prevent the accumulation of alcohol vapors. Performing a cleaning distillation before distilling is great for maintaining the still in top condition. Make sure any pipes in your still (such as the swan neck in our copper stills) are unobstructed so excess pressure doesn't build up.
Never Leave The Distiller Unattended
As many people become ever more confident with their distillation skills, they end up becoming more careless. While leaving your distiller for a minute or two while running the mash through may be okay, it usually it is at times like these that accidents do happen. It is important that you never leave your distiller unattended, especially during the most complex moments of the process and to always be vigilant and watchful of what you are doing to avoid common distillation mistakes and accidents.
No Smoking or Drinking
Distillation and handling flammable liquids is not a game and nothing should be left to chance. Never smoke while distilling. Never drink while distilling. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy. Make sure the distillate is collected carefully and isn't spilled. Always conduct yourself responsibly while distilling!
Pay constant attention to the temperature and don't allow the contents of the still to boil continuously. The heat source can be set near its maximum at the beginning, but should be reduced when approaching the boiling point. After that keep it to a simmer.
Avoid Math Mistakes
While the math that governs the distillation process is relatively simple, if not double checked, it could lead to a distillation mess. You could end up having too much sugar in the fermentation process or having a host of other distillation-related issues arising because of wrong calculations.
Label Your Containers
Any container that holds an ingredient needs to be labeled and safely stored. Labelling will help you find whichever ingredient you need fast and will keep you from mixing the wrong ingredients when creating moonshine. While it certainly isn't deadly to mix the wrong ingredients, it certainly will affect the product you get at the end of the process.
Never Use Plastic In Your Homemade Still
If you are planning on creating your own still, never use plastic at any point or on any part of the still. Plastics cannot handle the heat and usually give the end product a horrible plastic taste. If you plan on creating your own still, invest in copper or steel.
There’s plenty more information out there on how to and what to do when moonshining, but by following these basic tips you can minimize risks and make great tasting moonshine! homedistiller.org is a great resource to use, check out this topic on moonshine safety tips: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=13263
Check out this youtube video, it also provides some great tips:
- Moonshine Stills Company