Anatomy of the Still

The black handles enable us to control the time and intensity of the distillation by moving the plates on each porthole level up or down, to force the boiling distillate to puddle around the sides of the plates in order for the steam to rise up the column, or conversely, the handles can be turned so that the distillate has a straight run up the column, which shortens the time of the distillation, but roughens the cut.

The red handles are connected to the still's water tank; when cleaning the still we run water successively through the plates, the main pipe clatters and the equipment emits a small moan. The lowest red handle is for a spray nozzle inside the chamber of the still and when turned, causes water to surge over the interior to help clear any residue left from the distillation.

The gauge in the picture measures the distillate's temperature in the column. When the steam reaches 80 degrees Celsius, it can pass the dephlegmator (a cooling water reservoir at the top of the distillation column) and move into the condensation column.