Louwrens van der Merwe,boka still,bokakob,reflux stillls,alcohol still,home distiller,moonshine still,handmade stills
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We are extremely fortunate in New Zealand that we can legally distill alcohol for personal use, without being

 labeled criminals or bootleggers, and having to go underground or do it at night by "moonshine".

We are at liberty to experiment, innovate, create and export our skills in this craft.

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR VISIT.  I HOPE YOU ENJOY DISTILLING AS MUCH AS I DO.

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My name is Louwrens van der Merwe and I live in Hamilton, New Zealand. Being a dedicated home distiller I started building my own stills many years ago and also being cash strapped and frugal (stingy!) I am a regular visitor to scrapyards and metal recyclers to find affordable stainless steel and copper to use in my stills. I soon noticed that huge amounts of recycled stainless steel, and to a lesser extend copper, from upgraded or scrapped dairy sheds and factories go through these scrapyards and metal recyclers to be crushed and melted down.

 

To me, it was such a waste to see all these perfectly fit tubes, plates, connectors, brackets and fittings go off to the smelter and I decided to start using as many of these old dairy shed/factory materials as I could in the fabrication of my stills. It is such a pleasure for me to repurpose these materials, create useful things and add value to it.

 

The problem of repurposing old dairy shed/factory materials are that they are not always treated with “respect” and “kindness” and end up in the scrapyard very “unloved”. They are dirty, scratched, bent and dented and it takes me a while to select, clean, sanitize and polish them to a state where I can use them in the building of stills. It is much more effort than just buying the materials new and building a perfect still, but I am dedicated to repurposing these excellent materials into something useful like a still column, still head, condenser or connector.

I use the professional services of SOLUTIONS ENGINEERING in Te Rapa, Hamilton

for stainless TIG-welding and fabricaton on some of my still parts and columns.

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VERY IMPORTANT: Because these  columns, still heads, coils and fittings are fabricated using RECYCLED METAL they have SUPERFICIAL SCRAPES AND MARKS on them and there are small variations in the dimensions, but that does not have any effect on their function and gives it “character” and makes it unique! I try my best to sand, polish and buff all the scrapes and marks out and the final product is clean, bright and shiny , BUT you will still SEE some faint buff and polish marks.

These columns and still heads are built to be very robust and will last a long time.

Louwrens van der Merwe,boka still,handmade stills,liquid management stills,homedistiller,home distiller,moonshine still
Louwrens van der Merwe,boka still,handmade stills,liquid management stills,homedistiller,home distiller,moonshine still
Louwrens van der Merwe,boka still,bokakob,reflux stills,alcohol still,homedistiller,home distiller,moonshine still
Louwrens van der Merwe,boka still,bokakob,reflux stills,alcohol still,homedistiller,home distiller,moonshine still

MY REFLUX HEADS & COLUMNS ARE TRUE "BOKA" COLUMNS & HEADS

 

If you are a SERIOUS HOME DISTILLER that would like the best quality of alcohol that you can produce, it doesn't matter where you start, you will end up with either a VM (Vapour Management) column or a LM (Liquid Management) column like a Boka. The Boka is known for both ease of use and quality of product (95.6% Alc - The maximum alcohol percentage achievable with distillation alone.)

 

WHAT IS A BOKA DISTILLATION COLUMN?

 

For the visitors who have never heard of a Boka here is a short description from the Home Distillers website :

 

The Bokakob (Boka or Bok for short) is the common name for a Dual Slant-Plate Single Column In-line Reflux Still designed by Alex Bokakob in 2001. This still is popular with many novices for its simplicity to build and operate, while being able to yield 95% ABV neutral spirits. The single in-line reflux column of the Boka is meant to carry vapors from the boiler up through packing material for reflux and up to the condenser.  The distillate will fall to the dual slanted plates which can then overflow (allowing the distillate to fall back into the packing, which is the basis of the reflux design) or be drawn-off for collection.”

 

(From the Home Distiller forums.)

 

 

ABOUT THE STILL COLUMNS, HEADS, COILS AND FITTINGS

COMPACT BOKA STILL HEADS - PRICE NZ $295 + P&P

 

To send complete still columns overseas is a real hassle and the shipping costs from New Zealand is eye-wateringly expensive. To send a complete column to the United States is sometimes equivalent to the cost of the column! You will find an indication of international postage for a compact still head at the bottom of this page.

 

To keep the shipping costs down I decided to start building just the still heads with a reducer at the bottom so that it will fit on any 50mm stainless tube. That way I only have to ship the still head and the customer can supply his/her own column, connector and thermometer.

 

These still heads are of all stainless construction with TIG-welded outlet tube and thermowell.

 

This still head will produce 95% alcohol (neutral spirits) at a rate of 500ml/hr on a 1 metre column packed with SS Scrubbers and 1500ml/hr on a 1 metre  column packed with SPP (Spiral Prismatic Packing). You do NOT HAVE TO FILTER the alcohol from these columns with carbon, charcoal or anything else.

 

The copper condenser coil in the Still Head is very efficient and will give you full reflux (on a 25L boiler with 2200W element) with a flow of approx 900ml water per minute.

 

To seal the still head where it meets the column I use ordinary teflon plumbers' thread seal tape. I have been using this method for years without any problems.

 

To fabricate a still head takes 24 PARTS , 49 FABRICATION STEPS and 5 HOURS of work (someone younger and more skilled will probably take only 4 hours to do the job, but I need frequent tea breaks!).

 

To see how to attach the still head to the column you can watch this video: http://bit.ly/2uaYUIy

 

Still heads come with a needle valve, but NO THERMOMETER. I can include a thermometer for NZ $40 extra.

 

Compact still heads are ±30cm tall, including the reducer. Once fitted to a column the still head will stand ±25cm above the column pipe.

 

These still heads are easy to clean and easy to store. When you remove the still head from the column your still is only a water boiler with a tall outlet pipe and not legally a still.

COMPLETE BOKA STILL COLUMNS - PRICE NZ $460 + P&P (New Zealand only)

 

COMES COMPLETE WITH EVERYTHING TO CONNECT TO YOUR T500 OR COPPERHEAD BOILER (or keg).

 

The still columns and still heads are true dual slant plate Boka stills.

 

No two still columns are ever the same as they are all handcrafted and I have to use what recycled metal/materials are available at the time. I try to build the columns in batches when I have enough materials together, but most of the time I build these columns to order.

 

Complete columns are ± 125cm tall (from bottom to top cap - coolant tubes extend a few cm more above the top cap) and consists of:

  1. a Removable compact still head.
  2. a 1m stainless column with a boiler seal, nut, SS connectors (to connect your column to a T500/Copperhead boiler or Keg) and packed with high quality stainless steel scrubbers and strips of pure copper mesh to give you the best results and a clean taste.
  3. a Stainless needle valve and outlet tubes.
  4. a High quality digital stem thermometer.

 

Condenser coils are double wound from 3 meters of 6mm copper tube. Most of the 6mm tubing for the double wound condenser coils I buy as end of rolls or off-cuts from air conditioning and refrigeration companies. The tubing is new, but was, in the majority of cases, destined for the recycle bin.

 

I clean the copper coils with a non-toxic pickle made with vinegar and table salt and and after cleaning, I dunk them in a baking soda bath and thoroughly wash them in running water.

 

This still column will produce 95% alcohol (neutral spirits) at a rate of 500ml/hr on a column packed with SS Scrubbers and 1500ml/hr on a column packed with SPP (Spiral Prismatic Packing). You do NOT HAVE TO FILTER the alcohol from these columns with carbon, charcoal or anything else. The alcohol is pure and clean tasting right out of the still.

 

These still columns and heads are of all stainless construction with TIG-welded outlet tube and thermowell.

 

All soldering/brazing on the columns are done with Harris Safety-Silv Silver Solder Brazing Alloy and all heat joints are pacified with nitric acid gel.

 

This still column is designed for use on boilers with a volume of 20-60 litres and a constant heat source of 2000-2200W.

 

Please watch this short video on the operating of the columns.

 

NB: I use sunflower oil to lubricate the press fit fittings and, although I clean the column thoroughly afterwards, traces of the vegetable oil may remain in the column and I recommend that you do a cleaning run with vinegar before you use the column for alcohol or water distillation. The Stainless scrubbers in the column is also just "as is" out of the factory and that is another reason to do a cleaning run.

THE "HEADMASTER" HEAVY DUTY POT STILL HEAD - PRICE NZ $330 + P&P

 

MAKE YOUR OWN WHISKEY, RUM, BOURBON AND BRANDY WITH THIS POT STILL HEAD.

 

This all stainless pot still head is of very robust construction with Tig-welded joints and a flush thermowell. It is designed to fit on a Turbo 500 or Copperhead boiler, but will also fit on a 50L beer keg (Sankey Keg with D Coupler) with a tri-clamp (not included, but can be bought separately). The head can easily be taken apart for cleaning and drying.

 

To get more copper in the head I use copper mesh which can be taken out and cleaned or replaced, if necessary. If you use 2 x copper mesh pads in the pot still head you get a larger copper surface area in the head as when the head was built with copper pipe.

 

When testing the first prototype I asked a friend of mine what he thinks I should call it, and he said it reminded him of a school headmaster he once had. I said "was it his nose?" and he replied "no his pipe!". Turns out the school master was a tobacco pipe smoker with a big pipe and so the pot still head became the "Headmaster".

 

This pot still head was designed for use on boilers with a volume of 20-60 litres and a constant heat source of 2000-2200W.

 

The flow rate through the head on a Turbo 500 boiler is 3 liters per hour with the optimum coolant flow around 1.5L/min.

 

The Headmaster Still Head comes with a copper mesh pad, but NO THERMOMETER. I can include a thermometer for NZ $40 extra.

 

This pot still head will stand up to heavy use and will last you a lifetime. See the Headmaster in action HERE.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HEADMASTER GALLERY FOR DIMENSIONS AND MORE PICTURES.

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ONLY ONE LEFT!

 

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VERY IMPORTANT: Because these  columns, still heads, coils and fittings are fabricated using RECYCLED METAL they have SUPERFICIAL SCRAPES AND MARKS on them and there are small variations in the dimensions, but that does not have any effect on their function and gives it “character” and makes it unique! I try my best to sand, polish and buff all the scrapes and marks out and the final product is clean, bright and shiny , BUT you will still SEE some faint buff and polish marks.

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FRUIT SPIRITS PRODUCTION:

If you plan on distilling spirits from fruit I would strongly encourage you to first read this recent publication by Nermina Spahoshed:

DISTILLATION TECHNIQUES IN FRUIT SPIRITS PRODUCTION

SPECIAL PROJECTS

Often I find myself at scrapyards (where I spend more time than I care to admit) where I buy stuff that I think(!) I can use to build something distilling related but I don't know what yet and then, some day, I eventually figure it out and make a "special project" of it. These are just two of my many "special projects".

LARGE GIN STILL

I found this old milk filter (and it's parts) in a bin at the scrapyard one day and immediately liked it so much that I just had to take it home. It sat in my scrap bin for years and one day a guy with a brewery asked me about a Gin Still. The light bulb went on in my head, and I decided to build a Gin Still out of the milk filter and mount it on an old keg I had lying around.

This still also has a removable botanicals basket and can be used to make Essential oils.

3 in 1 STILL COLUMNS

A few months ago I bought 3 Chinese-made condensers at a special sale from an importer in Auckland and wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, until I found a few short pieces of 50mm stainless tube at the scrapyard (scrapyard again!). I decided to build multi-purpose still columns from the components and built 3 in 1 columns that you can use as a Pot Still or as a Gin Still or for small scale Essential oil distillation.

NZ $520

NZ $279

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Q: Why does my distillation column/head look brand new and not like it was made from recycled materials?

 

A: Rest assure the majority of parts in your column/head are from recycled materials and at the same time, might never have been used before!

Very often I find lots of stainless tubing and other stainless parts at metal recyclers that are end-of-project left overs from dairy factories/shed upgrades/rebuilds that are brand new and even has the foundry logo/name and manufacturing date on it, BUT it was on its way to the crusher! Stainless steel is also one of those metals that, even after years of use, you can clean and polish it to a shine that almost looks new.

 

Q: Which parts on my distillation column/head is new and not recycled?

 

A: For hygiene reasons and because scrapyards are not very reliable sources of supply some parts will always be new. All seals, needle valves and alcohol outlet tubes are always new. Depending on availability at metal recyclers, press-on fittings, boiler connecting nuts, tri-clamps and end caps might be new, but is more often than not recycled.

 

Q: Can I use my pot still as a reflux still if I pack the column with scrubbers?

 

A: No, unfortunately not. To make it a reflux still you will need a reflux condenser/coil inside the column.

 

Q: Can I use my Boka column as a pot still?

 

A: Yes you can. If you remove the packing from your column, increase the water flow to your coil and run the valve wide open, you can run it as a pot still. I have done that many times even with the packing inside the column, but I would recommend that you remove the packing especially if you want to retain flavour.

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A FEW OF MY VIDEOS ON BREWING AND DISTILLING

CONTACT ME

CONTACT ME

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 Email me at kiwidistiller@gmail.com

INDICATION OF

INTERNATIONAL POSTAGE

LOCATION

Hamilton, New Zealand

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Below is an indication of international postage from NZ for a Compact Still Head.  Please contact me for a precise quote on the postage.

 

NZ to Norway = ± NZ $65

NZ to Canada = ± NZ $60

NZ to United Kingdom = ± NZ $59

NZ to Australia = ± NZ $28

NZ to USA = ± NZ $60

NZ to Germany = ± NZ $59

NZ to Argentina = ± NZ $63

Louwrens van der Merwe,boka still,handmade stills,liquid management stills,homedistiller,home distiller,moonshine still

CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS

To be able to pay with your CREDIT CARD I must first accept your order and issue you with an invoice. On the invoice you will find the easy link to pay online. Please contact me. Thanks.

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MAMPUR = MOONSHINE

MURTU = LEGLESS

Explanation OF WORDS ON LOGO