Making a pot still using a keg as a base for making flavoured spirits, this is my second instructable on making a keg still the first one was a reflux still and you can see that here


Now before I continue lets get the boring legal stuff out of the way....

Check the laws in your local area, some places you cant even own a still let alone use it to make a drinkable product, check it out first. I know in New Zealand you can make your own booze and in the UK you can have a still that makes up to 5L if you have a permit.

ok lets carry on, so why am i making another keg still if I already have one? well its turns out that even in pot still mode the reflux still does not give enough flavour on the spirit, it strips it out due to refluxing too much. When you want to make rum and gin and other flavoured spirits you need a Pot Still as a reflux still will just strip out the flavours.

Now it is worth having a column for the reflux still as you can use this to make vodka which can be used to make gin in your pot still later on. I have both a pot still column and a reflux column now and they both fit on the same boiler, Now I will be repeating the boiler making process as some people may be reading this and have not seen the original instructable so I have to assume they don't have a boiler yet.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

OK so here is your list of materials, I will be following what most of the guys in the distilling community recommend which is a 2 inch column, here in the UK that is 54mm, and its expensive to buy so I didn't want to make too big a column.

you should use as much copper as possible, as the copper removes a lot of the impurity's from the alcohol as its produced.


Hack Saw


Blow torch

heat mat for soldering copper

a metal file

spanners and grips

Gloves (very important)


tape measure / ruler

Materials for the still
Lead free Solder

Flux for pipe work

54mm (2 inch) length of copper pipe, I bought might at a small local independent plumbing store, 1 meter long cost me about £24

54mm copper reducer to 15mm, got on eBay costing about £10

a length of 15mm copper pipe

a length of 28mm copper pipe

2 x 28mm copper piper couplers

2 x 28mm to 15mm copper reducers

1 x compression fitting 15mm pipe coupler.

1 x 15mm copper 135 degree elbow

1 x 15mm copper 90 degree elbow

a stainless steel keg 50L, you must buy this legally

a 2 inch tri-clamp also known as a tri clover clamp

Equipment For Making the Spirits and Fermenting
Fermentation Vessel, I'm using a 25L tub bought from a local store


Test flask

Alcoholmeter, make sure it's one for sprits

Wine Siphon

18 inch plastic spoon

Airlock valve and rubber bungs

materials for cleaning the still
5kg sugar

Baker's yeast


1 x lemon

1 x tomato puree

sterilizing compound


dish soap


NOTE:  making alcohol is dangerous and can cause serious side effects, you should read up on whats safe and not safe at www.homedistiller.org
Hi mate that steel flange does that come with the heating element or did you buy separate? Thanks
hi, As per the instructable, I had to buy it seperately
thanks for the step by step guide here's my attempt. and my control box.
<p>cool, good work ;-)</p>
This looks perfect???
<p>yep that looks like it will do the job</p>
Can't wait to get started on mine! I plan on building interchangeable columns so I can run either a pot still or a reflux still. Maybe try a couple of different designs of pot still column too to see if it affects the taste - I found this article quite interesting https://www.whisky.com/information/knowledge/production/details/the-scottish-pot-stills.html<br>Keep up the good work n1cod3mus!
Hi I can't find a phase controller, do you have details of where you got yours please
I just got it on ebay, there are loads on there, search for voltage controller, that might help
Hey all after contacting crusader kegs i got told to buy a keg from brewuk.co.uk incase anyone having trouble finding keg
I have a 500mm length of 2&quot; copper pipe. I was going to use it all or is it too long? cheers
for a pot still that is too long yes, you will get too much reflux in it and lose flavor. Use 300mm tops.
<p>Many thanks ☺</p>
<p>nevermind on previous question. Crusader kegs do not sell kegs by itself i would have to order at least 25 products from them. Sucks!</p>
<p>email then, i bought just one from them</p>
<p>email then, i bought just one from them</p>
<p>hi quick question im on the crusader website got a 50l keg for 59 quid and its asking me what kind of safety spear do i need. was this the valve thing you asked to be taken out</p>
oh and that price is probably not including vat or delivery, I think I paid about &pound;72 for my keg inc delivery but that was a few years ago, prices change.
well they do do them single, you have to email and ask them. ask them not to put the valve / spear in or to take it out. I got my keg from them ;-)<br><br>but you have to be sure its stainless steal and not aluminium, otherwise you could get pitting.
<p>have a look at this </p><p><a href="http://shop.crusaderkegsandcasks.com/50-litre-stainless-steel-keg-145-p.asp" rel="nofollow">http://shop.crusaderkegsandcasks.com/50-litre-stai...</a></p>
Cheers bud, doing a cleaning run now then is rum is next on the list
yeah it's just a cheap 24v submersible pump off ebay, I just keep swapping out frozen water bottles to keep it cool :)
<p>Nice one N1cod3mus and BraydenJ i was thinking of building one with a thumper and worm coil instead of liebeg. i can pick and choose now thanks guys</p>
<p>Hey BraydonJ i assume the water cooler has a pump in there to constantly pump the smae water in and out. how did you make that as it would save countless wastage of litres while making quality. Cheers bro you should do a insturtable on yer setup</p>
by the look of that I would say he's using a pond pump or small 12v water pump
<p>Hey, me again.<br>How do you clean the barrel?<br><br>Thank you!</p>
<p>read a couple of comments below, i had said there</p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
Nice work, I followed ur instructions and everything came out great. I am havin one prob that not sure what's causing it. Tastes of tails instantly after first start. Tryed half power to no avail. Any ideas?it was a rum.
Could try cleaning your copper, the sulphides stick to the inside of it.<br><br>give them a good scrub with soapy water and the parts you cant get to put in a bucket or tub and submerge in vinegar over night. then rinse everything with clean water.<br><br>also try cleaning your still, I put a mix of vinegar and water in mine, make sure the element is more than covered and its a strong vinegar mix. run the still and for a short while allow the steam to come out the pipes, then put the condenser on for a bit, run it like that for about 30 minutes. then allow it to cool and dump out the boiler, rinse it out, then fill it with clean water well over the element and run it again in the same way.<br><br>should give you a nice clean still and take away the nasty flavours.
Thanks I'll have to give that a try again. Cleaned it like that awhile back but never tried soapy water. I heard ppl use oxy clean without the perfumes.
<p>HI there. This all looks awesome! Great work . </p><p>Quick question. When you ordered your keg from Crusader what Safety Spear Type did you get ? does it make a diffrence? what is it ? ha</p><p>cheers</p>
I just ordered a keg and asked them not to put the valve in
<p>Another question:<br>You used compress fittings(the l fitting), don't you care about the o-ring?<br><br>Thanks you very much for your help, if I am done some day, I will post some photos!:)</p>
yes you should use the olive, this gives a air tight seal so its important you use it.
<p>Where did you put the thermometer in?</p>
in the tube below the top plate
<p>Thanks, do you mean on top of the 54 to 15mm reducer?<br>I will post my photos of the still, when I made it!:)</p>
<p>sorry my mistake i thought it was my reflux still instructable I answered from another interface.</p><p>you don't use a thermometer with a pot still</p>
<p>Thanks for the fast response!<br>I asked earlier about pressure.Can the 15mm handle the 2800 watt, or do you have to slow down to stay safe?<br>Thanks!:)</p>
<p>well yes it can, i wouldn't use it if it couldn't, and you don't run it at full power all the time, once its heated up and its running i have it at half power or lower. you know when its at temp as you can feel the tubes heating up so you turn the water on to the condenser and as the steam moves through the pipes it hits the cold pipe and turns from steam to liquid. its just a case of maintaining the flow without steam coming out and to do that you reduce the power.</p>
<p>Hey, how much energy can you put in this device?<br>Isn't the 15mm copper pipe to thin?<br>What about pressure?<br><br>Thanks for this great instructable!</p>
<p>After much toil and trouble, we finally made a batch. We discovered that Mason jar replacement rubber is exactly the right fit, and very cheap. Put the element power control in a junction box and had it checked to make sure it was safe. Added a ground on the advice of the electrician. As you can see, the thumper is a repurposed 20L pressure cooker (our first still) sitting on a hot plate to control additionnal heat.</p><p>Nicodemus, you are a genius, your design is what inspired us for our own project.</p>
nice worm chiller!
<p>you should do a write on on here ;-)</p>
Oh, I don't know about that, I'm just a humble hobbyist, besides, I don't think I have enough pictures to properly convey how we overcome the challenges of this project. <br><br>Cheers !
<p>funny that, I'm just a humble hobbyist too ;-) you don't have to be an expert to write an instructable. I think it would have been good to see yours as you are using a worm and not a liebig, would have been good to see how that was wound, for the users ;-)</p>
<p>Wound it the old fashioned way : two of us winding it around a scuba tank by hand. We did it slowly to avoid kinks in the soft copper piping. This video was our inspiration : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah_tcY1pZvs</p>
<p>lol I wouldn't say I am a genius, just did the research ;-) but thanks.</p><p>nice adaptation to the design, liking the thumper, I ditched my thumper as it wasnt big enough. and I 3D printed an enclosure to my controller, and it had an earth (ground in the US) too ;-)</p><p>I'm actually going to sell my still, I need the room for my latest project, building a life sized version ED-209 from the 1987 film robocop. check out and like the facebook page to keep up to date with the project, <br><br><a href="https://www.facebook.com/lifesizeded209" rel="nofollow">https://www.facebook.com/lifesizeded209</a></p><p>I will build a new still at some point which I am thinking will be a copper pot :-D</p>
<p>i have a question where did you buy your heating element? i live in USA any suggestions for looking for a heating element. im trying to keep it in my budget so i figured id buy two 1500W heating elements would this be enough to get a good boil for the mash ? and would you recommend using the variable control for the element or could i just use the 120 v plug to get 1500 watt ? </p>