Frequently Asked Questions
If your question isn’t answered below, email us at Support@moonshinestill.com and we will happily assist you!
Are your stills made of 100% copper?
Yes, with the exception of our welded joints which may be made of copper, brass, tin or silver.
Are all sales private? Can a government agency trace my purchase?
Yes, all sales are private and untraceable. The only way a government agency can trace purchases is if they specifically request customer information from us. They have never requested any information from us. We think it unlikely they will do so in the future. If they do request customer information, we have to comply, but we would also immediately contact all of our customers and inform them of this.
How do I operate the still? Are there instructions?
A quick-start guide is included with all of our stills that includes a basic moonshine recipe, links to other great resources for recipes, and detailed information on how to operate the still.
Is owning a moonshine still legal? Is distilling legal?
Short answer: Under Federal Law it is legal to own a still but illegal to distill alcohol. Under state law (which you are subjected to) the law can vary state to state. If a police officer or government official asks you what your still is, you can safely tell them it is a copper garden ornament or water distiller.
Long answer: Under United States Federal Law it is legal to own a still of any size but it is illegal to distill alcohol without a federal distilled spirits permit or a federal fuel alcohol permit. States also have their own laws which residents are subject to. These laws vary state to state. Federal regulations require our company to keep appropriate records regarding sales to customers. The government can compel us present these records if requested. We have never been issued such a request and if a request were ever made we would notify all of our customers immediately. Distilling equipment can be used for many legal uses such as distilling water, distilling other nonalcoholic materials, or for decoration pieces. We do not sell alcohol or promote illegal activity. It is solely the responsibility of the user to abide by the laws of their country and state. Our company discourages any unlawful use of the products we sell, and is not responsible for any damage or injury caused by misuse or unlawful use. Consult your local, state and federal laws. The distillation of spirits is governed federally by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) www.ttb.gov – a sub-department of the U.S. Treasury.
Do you sell thump kegs?
Nope, we don't sell any thumpers. We feel that adding a thump keg is unnecessary. Thumpers are mainly used in large scale production of alcohol to increase proof and remove sediments, which strips the flavor from the moonshine. Our stills remove sediments during distillation thanks to the bulb design on top of the head of our stills.
What heat source should I use?
Our stills do not include a heat source; you will need to purchase one separately. Electric stoves or hot-plates work very well. Glass top stoves do NOT work because they induction heating which can't heat a copper pot. Propane burners are also very effective but they should be used outside to minimize risk. We also advise avoiding a natural-gas or oil stove when distilling indoors.
How is the connection between the head and pot sealed to prevent steam escaping?
Our stills need to have the head sealed. The sealing can be done using a thick water/flour mix and pushing it in and around the seam here the top and bottom meet. Another option is wrapping the bottom of the onion head with plumber’s Teflon tape before setting it in the bottom part of the still. It’s an easy no-mess way to seal it
How do I measure the proof of my moonshine?
Measuring is done with a tool called a hydrometer. We sell a hydrometer bundled with a parrot spout on our website. We don't sell individual hydrometers, but you can find them at local Brewer Supply stores. You can also find them online. Here's a good one from Amazon:
Is distilling dangerous?
All our stills are manufactured in accordance with safety and security measures. However, distillation can at times involve some risk. These risks can be minimized by not smoking or drinking while distilling, always distilling outdoors, and by making sure there are no obstructions in the tubing of the still so pressure doesn’t build up.
What kind of materials may I distill?
There is an almost endless list of materials that you can distill. You can distill excellent beverages from fruits, cereals or other botanicals. You can distill water. Essential oils and floral waters may be obtained from flowers, leaves and the stems from aromatic plants.
What type / amounts of results will I achieve from a distillation?
The amount of moonshine that you'll get depends on the alcohol content of your mash. The results will vary depending on what you are distilling and what methods you are using but generally you can expect our stills to yield between 10-20% of their capacity. So for example on a 5 gallon still you could yield between .5 gallons and 1 gallon. The proof depends on how fast or slow you choose to distill.
What are the differences between copper stills and stainless steel stills?
Copper has better heat conductivity. Moonshine you make with copper stills tastes and smells better. Copper stills are more expensive. Stainless steel stills can't compete on appearance; our copper stills feature amazing craftsmanship and truly double as works of art.
Do your stills contain lead?
No. Our stills are 100% copper. Any welding is made with brass or copper thus obtaining a non-lead construction. All soldering/welding is lead-free.
What is difference between a pot still and a column still?
Distilling with a column gives you a pure, high-proof alcohol because the steam has to rise higher than in a regular pot still (which increases the steam pressure). Filling the column with packing material like raschig rings or copper scrubbers will increase the proof even further.
Do you sell columns separately?
Not at this time. Our stills are handcrafted and each piece of an individual still is made in proportion to the other pieces of the still.
Can I use the same still for making alcohol and essential oils?
No, we do not recommend it. If you use a still for essential oils, the oils always leave behind residue in the copper, no matter how well the still is cleaned afterwards. This residue can make future alcoholic distillate harmful for human consumption. We recommend the use of two different stills, one for alcohol, and one for essential oils. However, if you insist on using your still to make essential oils, be sure to clean the 'swan neck' and condensing coils thoroughly so the oil residue doesn't clog up those tight areas of the still.
My still is leaking, what should I do?
Mix a small batch of linseed oil and flour to a doughy consistency and plug the leaky area on the inner side of the still. This is very simple to do and will waterproof the leak.
This linseed oil solution should never be scraped off or the leak may reappear. Any excess solution will disappear with continuous distillation and what is left over will not affect or influence whatever you want to distill.
Alternatively, you (or a local mechanic or welder) can solder the leak.
How much does shipping cost?
Shipping is free for all continental United States customers. We will email you a tracking number when your order ships. Most of our stills ship out of a shipping center in Toledo, Ohio .