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OfflineAsanteA
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The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! * 1
    #5197977 - 01/19/06 08:23 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Every so often you see requests for quality solvent alcohol for extractions or tinctures.

It's usually a problematic affair: Solvent alcohol contains toxic adulterants, some of which leave residue in your product upon evaporation. If you buy 190 proof Grain alcohol (such as Everclear) that IS suitable for consumption you can expect to pay through the nose for alcohol you're going to evaporate off anyway.

An option often recommended is to distill small batches of your own, but what's often ommitted is that you usually have to build a designated still or buy a still head which in many locations isnt practical.

Well this is a problem no longer! Check out the Olliver Still!



An Olliver Still can be put together from unmodified kitchenware in one minute and disassembled just as quickly. The design above works thus:

1...put a cooking pot on the stove
2...fill 2/3 with fermented alcohol mash or previous destillate
3...put a small bowl or drinking glass in the center of the pot
4...put a Chinese wok on top of the pot
5...fill the wok with icecold water and turn the stove on

What will happen is that alcoholic vapours will evaporate before the water boils (at 80'C instead of 100'C) which will then condense against the bottom of the wok, trickle down the bottom of the wok and drip into the drinking glass.

This concentrated alcohol can then be re-stilled until you, with very careful stilling, arrive at the Holy Grail: 95%/190 proof spirits.

An alcohol mash can be created by boiling 2 lbs sugar with a liter of apple juice, then diluting to make 5 liters, and ferment this with a good handfull of beer yeast in a bucket covered with a cloth (the way Pomb? is made) and then use this as a starting point for stilling.
This will form about a pint of 95% alcohol, but you won't be able to get all of that out. Still, half a pint of 95% alcohol for the price of two pounds of sugar and a bit of apple juice is truly a bargain.

You can vary on the theme.

For instance you could take an ordinary teapot warmer like this:



and convert it to a candle-powered tabletop Olliver Still by plugging the spout and replacing the wok with a small glass bowl or a watercooled bowl of aluminium foil held in place with a rubber band, and a small glass in the teapot to collect the distillate.
A tin can or mayonnaise jar may substitute for a teapot here.

Acetone and ether can be recycled using an airtight version of the tabletop Olliver, which need no heating below, only cooling above.

Thanks to designs as simple as the Olliver Still and sites like homedistiller.org nobody has an excuse to not use safe cheap alcohol for their extractions.

Warning: alcohol fumes and spirits over 50%/100 proof (and especially ether and acetone) are highly flammable, know your risks and protect yourself accordingly.


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OfflineKonnrade
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Asante]
    #5197999 - 01/19/06 08:53 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Well that was most informative, and very practical!

This should be a sticky  :laugh:


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InvisibleYoung_but_cool
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Konnrade]
    #5198007 - 01/19/06 09:03 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Yeah, good post  :thumbup:


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Offlinehnc
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Asante]
    #5198050 - 01/19/06 09:45 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

My girlfriend uses this same thing to make rose perfume. You can also just invert the lid that fits on the pot and fill with ice, also helps if you throw a brick or something similar in the pot to hold your collection dish out of the mash. Helps avoid reevaporation.


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Offlinepsychedelic_sam
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Young_but_cool]
    #5198065 - 01/19/06 09:55 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

very nice :smile: im gonna have to try that
heres a pdf i found at the same place (homedistiller.org)
using food grade buckets and a submersible heater
www.geocities.com/millennium_botanicals/Amazingstill.pdf


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Offlinelwo
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Asante]
    #5200606 - 01/19/06 11:36 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

I don't understand how the alcohol evaps off from the wine into the glass How do you get a drinking glass to float in a pot 2/3 filled with the alcohol mash... I don't quite understand the collection process

WHen making brandy from wine, how would I do this..


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OfflineLegoulash
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: lwo]
    #5200639 - 01/19/06 11:43 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Use ur imagination.

You could have a wire rack holding the cup above the mash.

Or tie it too the lid in four places so it floats above the mash.

Im sure their are tons to differnt ways.. Make work with what you have.

Thanks for the link wiccin surfer. Iv had surplus home brew beer kits layin under the kitchen cabnets for years.. I think iv finaly got a use for them.


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Offlinelwo
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Legoulash]
    #5200658 - 01/19/06 11:50 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

I have a bunch of copper wire that would be perfect for holding up the collector unit.. is copper bad for distilling?


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OfflineAnnoA
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: lwo]
    #5201605 - 01/20/06 06:15 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

>is copper bad for distilling?
No.

Simplify. Place a cup filled with water into the mash, and place your collector cup on it.

BTW, I tried the method Wiccan-Seeker postted yesterday, and it worked surprisingly well.


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OfflineAsanteA
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Anno]
    #5201739 - 01/20/06 07:45 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Please tell us more, Anno :smile:

How much liquid did you use, what liquid, and how much did you distill?

If it was alcoholic, was it combustible?  (>50% = 100+ proof spirit)
Was it tasty?

How long did the distilling process take? Were there much fumes emitted during the distilling?


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OfflineAnnoA
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Asante]
    #5201967 - 01/20/06 10:33 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

>How much liquid did you use
750 ml

>what liquid,
White wine with 11% alcohol.

>and how much did you distill?
210 ml

>If it was alcoholic
Yes.

>was it combustible? (>50% = 100+ proof spirit)
No.

>Was it tasty?
Not bad, but not tremendous. It would need further fractional distilling to make a trully palatable and stronger product.

>How long did the distilling process take?
30 minutes

>Were there much fumes emitted during the distilling?
Surprisingly not at all. The ice cooled wok seem to condense everything.


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OfflineAnnoA
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Anno]
    #5201990 - 01/20/06 10:45 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

The resulting liquid has a density of 0.946 which results in roughly 30% ethanol.


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Anno]
    #5202047 - 01/20/06 11:06 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Anno said:
BTW, I tried the method Wiccan-Seeker postted yesterday, and it worked surprisingly well.




Quote:

Anno said:
>Was it tasty?
Not bad, but not tremendous. It would need further fractional distilling to make a trully palatable and stronger product.





dont taste to good though .. well maybe im just a whiney bitch :wink:
peace ohm :mushroom2:


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Edited by ohmatic (01/20/06 11:07 AM)


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Asante]
    #5202078 - 01/20/06 11:14 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Olliver Still



I have never heard this term, it is always the wok still whenever I saw it. There are far better easy stills to make like the spiral stills.

Quote:

at 80'C instead of 100'C



incorrect, common misperception


Quote:

This concentrated alcohol can then be re-stilled until you, with very careful stilling, arrive at the Holy Grail: 95%/190 proof spirits



it will need to be redistilled about 15 times, aiming for a 1/2 pint due to losses is a bit optimistic.

The spiral stills can get 95% in a single pass with very little lost to the outside. They replicate what happens in a fractional column. I have been distilling for years and these stills caused a bit of a stir when they were first used and people reported the results. A lot of the "old hands" have still not made much comment about them, it is very odd that they were not discovered until very recently (maybe they were, but these guys are extremely knowledgeable and had never heard of them). They are so simple it is sickening, I have used one myself and got 92-93% with it, it was a poor practise design (by the way the difference in getting from 93 up to 95% is very hard, it is similar in a jump from say 40-70%)
My still was extremely simple. A 50l beer keg full of 30l of 18% alcohol, a 3.5m length of 1/2" copper tube. It points up for 1.5m and then slopes down at 45 degrees for 2m into a glass gallon jar. It is heated with a power controlled element. I run at about 400-550W, this is the tricky bit the power control. You want it so the end of the tube is warm to the touch, meaning all the power is lost through heat loss from the copper tube. The vapours are rising very very slowly, cooling on the walls and falling down concentrating all the time. Once they get to the top they go down the angled tube and the heat is lost through the tube to the surrounding air. These stills are efficient and also heat your room which can be a bonus in winter! There is nothing to stop you connecting 10 of these tubes and running at a higher power. I made plans with a guy in the US to do it but never heard if he made it or not. Spiral stills output about 1 drop per second. If you have a longer down tube it is more forgiving and you can go higher power but it will be less %, a taller up tube will allow higher % in this case.

www.homesdistiller.org is hands down the best site, it is MASSIVE I still have not read all of it many years on. It has design calculators and a forum. Some of my designs and photos are on it but I would rather keep anon!


Edited by Wiccan_Seeker (01/20/06 01:31 PM)


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OfflineAsanteA
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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: blackout]
    #5202468 - 01/20/06 01:42 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

I have used one myself and got 92-93% with it.
(...)
A 50l beer keg full of 30l of 18% alcohol, a 3.5m length of 1/2" copper tube. It points up for 1.5m and then slopes down at 45 degrees for 2m into a glass gallon jar. It is heated with a power controlled element. I run at about 400-550W, this is the tricky bit the power control. You want it so the end of the tube is warm to the touch, meaning all the power is lost through heat loss from the copper tube.





Wow! That's a very cool result for such a simple setup (copper tube - keg - heater) and you're even using air cooling!
Quite a capacity still :blush:

I'm very impressed, looking into it now!


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Asante]
    #5202591 - 01/20/06 02:22 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

It is disgracefully simple compared to some setups. With a compound fractional still with forced reflux (I have one too) you can get great cuts of alcohol and stabilize the vapour flows etc, giving you a very nice drink, far superior to any commercial vodka I have made. Cuts are harder to make with the spiral stills but it is still great stuff for drinking and can be carbon filtered to improve it greatly. Of course taste does not come into play with extractions. When distilling you get "heads, middle & tails" you keep the middle and throw out the heads and tails if you want. The heads come off first and contain ethyl acetate, which is pretty much as harmful as ethanol, it tastes and smells bad, sometimes it is nice I had a rum wash that stank of bananas! the whole house! there is methanol at the very very start in a grain wash, and a bare trace amount in a sugar water brew, so always toss out the first 50-100ml. Towards the end you get "tails" which also taste & smell bad. How much you collect in the middle is up to you. I used the heads for extractions in the past.

BUT forget all that stuff, you can make a extremely efficient extractor with a tiny volume still. I will post details about that soon. You can buy them online or make you own.


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: blackout]
    #5203419 - 01/20/06 06:02 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

This thread is very helpful.
Can anyone tell me, when making brandy, will the alcohol distilled off in the Olliver Still be later mixed back into the wine mash, for a higher alcoholic percentage? or, does the brandy flavor evaporate off with the ethanol and there is no need to mix some wine back in?


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: Anno]
    #5204185 - 01/20/06 10:08 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

some mix certain selections of early distilate back, it is a fine art of personal choice


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: blackout]
    #5204529 - 01/21/06 12:01 AM (15 years, 1 month ago)

Oh I get it..
I've read that properly mixed and aged ethanol(via an Olliver Still) can be quite tasty.?


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Re: The Olliver Still -- distilling your own alcohol... without a still ! [Re: lwo]
    #5206016 - 01/21/06 12:13 PM (15 years, 1 month ago)

There is no real way to make good "cuts" with that still, you would want to carbon filter it. It is a poor design. The "amazing still" is far better. You can buy mini table top stills with fans for cooling. They look like normal kitchen appliances. get them at www.partyman.se for europe
www.brewhaus.com sell good stills in the US, I would recommend modifying their design once you get it though. They also sell the mini stills


Edited by blackout (01/21/06 12:14 PM)


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