Why Buy a SmartStill?Jimmy | May 23, 2008
In home distillation circles, the accepted practice is to construct your own still, either from a published design or from scratch using your own ingenuity. There are some places that will sell you a ready made column or a complete still, giving similar results for those without the required metalworking skills. The whole scene is full of interesting and varied approaches to making and distilling alcohol. However, there is a tendency to look down upon the SmartStill, but why is this?
Understandably, those who have laboured over constructing their own still are going to look upon them with a certain pride, and for those who can afford the time and have the skills it is undoubtably a rewarding option. Not everyone is in the same situation though, and there are many who are interested in home distillation but live in apartment buildings, have limited space, etc. For those people, a SmartStill is the ideal solution – it’s small, quick, quiet, safe, easy to clean – perfect for small scale usage.
But what about the quality? Again, the traditionalists make a good point – a full reflux column still is capable of distilling alcohol at a very pure level, 95% ABV or even higher. A SmartStill cannot do that. The reason for this is that a SmartStill is effectively a pot still, and no pot still can distill to those purity levels. However, the results from a SmartStill are very good for a pot still, and it is certainly possible to get 80% ABV or more.
We triple-distilled a vodka wash using our SmartStill and got 88% ABV the other day, so good results are not hard to achieve – even the second distillation was at 76%. Besides, some alcohol is actually better when produced using a pot still, notably those requiring more flavour such as whiskey. If you want ultimate purity, in a vodka for example, you’ll need to get a reflux column still. If you favour simplicity but still want good quality, a SmartStill is easily capable of achieving this.
Another advantage of the SmartStill is that it is very predictable in operation. Once you get used to how it works, you can set it off using a plug-in timer device (like you would use to control a lamp in your house when you go away) and you can be sure that you’ll get the results that you expected. It is very dangerous to leave traditional stills unattended, and while I would still advise you to keep an eye on your SmartStill, it doesn’t require anything like the same amount of babysitting.
A SmartStill is also a bona fide water distiller, and so there is no need to hide it from the authorities if you happen to live in an area where they frown upon such activities. It distills water very well, which gives the benefit of allowing you to store bottles of distilled water for diluting your spirits as they’re required. The entire unit is quite compact, so there is no need to store a bulky column or fragile pipework either. It will fit in a kitchen cupboard, or on a shelf with your pots and pans.
Hopefully you can see that there are many good reasons to buy a SmartStill, just as there are good reasons to buy/build other types of still. For me, the SmartStill is the smart choice, and I would recommend one to anyone. If you’re convinced, why not check our suppliers page to check prices and availability!