Louwrens van der Merwe,home brew stills
Turbo 500 still upgrade

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.

Louwrens van der Merwe,boka stil

BUILDING MOONSHINE STILLS FROM

RECYCLED MATERIALS.

moonshine still

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.

Turbo 500 still

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.

Homebrew still
Turbo 500 still,liquid management stills
home distiller,moonshine still
home distiller

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

BOKA (LM) STILL COLUMNS - PRICE NZ $490 + 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.

 

Columns are ± 127cm tall (from bottom to top cap - coolant tubes extend a few mm more above the top cap) and consists of:

  1. a Removable compact still head with a ferrule and reducer at the bottom that slides into the column and lock in place with a seal and tri-clamp.
  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.

 

NO THERMOMETER included. Thermometer in picture is just to indicate where thermometer sits on column.  I can include a high quality digital stem thermometer for NZ $40 extra.

 

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 1500-2000W.

 

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.

Boka still Complete Boka still column
Liquid management still head

COMPACT BOKA STILL HEAD - PRICE NZ $345 + P&P (Export only - not for sale in New Zealand)

 

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 2000W 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.

 

The condenser coil is attached to the head with a tri-clamp and can easily be repositioned or removed for cleaning. See gallery.

 

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 high quality digital stem thermometer for NZ $40 extra.

Thermometer in picture is just to show where the thermometer sits on the head.

 

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.

Export boka still head
Pot still,homebrew,home distilling,make brandy,make gin,make whisky,distill fruit

2 in 1 POT STILL HEAD - PRICE NZ $330 + P&P

 

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

 

I am already using short off-cuts of 50mm stainless tube (between 30-40cm) in the building of my Boka Heads, but off-cuts of between 50cm-70cm are abundant at the metal recyclers (scrapyard!) and had me thinking of how I could utilise these short pieces to build still heads.

 

I coincidentally met an importer of quality Stainless Chinese Condensers at a sale in Auckland and used a few of his condensers to build a multi-purpose still head that can be used as a Pot Still and an Infusion (Gin) Still.

 

After my success using the Chinese condensers I tried to build the condensers myself and, although I could get the materials very cheaply at the scrapyard, the fabrication and TIG-welding costs quickly exceeded the price of the imported condensers by a large margin, and to add insult to injury, I couldn't match the quality of the finish!

 

In the end I decided to go with the imported condensers to enable me to utilise an excellent source of recycled materials.

 

The lack of copper in a Pot Still head is always a concern (for sulfide removal), but this is easily solved by just inserting a copper mesh pad into the column. If you use 2 x Copper mesh pads in the column you will have a bigger copper surface area in the column than if the column was built using copper tube. It is easy to remove and clean (or replace) the copper mesh pads and there is no wear on the column.

I recommend that you use the Spirits Unlimited CCC Reflux Tower Pads.

 

The 2 in 1 Pot Still head comes with a Stainless Scrubber to put in the bottom of the column to keep your botanicals in the column when you distill Gin or make herbal extracts.

 

NO THERMOMETER INCLUDED. I can include a high quality digital stem thermometer for NZ $40 extra.

 

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.

 

It is for use on boilers with a volume of 20-60 litres and a constant heat source of 1500-2000W.

 

The flow rate through the head on a Turbo 500 boiler is 2.5 liters per hour with the optimum coolant flow around 2L/min.

 

This pot still head will stand up to heavy use and will last you a lifetime.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 2 in 1 GALLERY FOR DIMENSIONS AND MORE PICTURES.

home brew stills,homebrew,home distilling, Boka still,mooonshine stills,gin still,pot still,Turbo 500 still upgrade
Homebrew still combination - Boka head with pot still head

ALL THE ALCOHOL STILLS YOU WILL EVER NEED IN ONE COMBINATION!

 

1 x 1 METRE (50MM) DISTILLATION COLUMN WITH TWO (2) QUICK CHANGE STILL HEADS. A  LM (LIQUID MANAGEMENT) STILL HEAD AND POT STILL HEAD COMBINATION.

 

With the LM reflux head on the column you can make 95.6% neutral Alcohol and with the POT STILL head you can do your strip runs and make your own RUM, WHISKEY, BRANDY and GIN.

 

Column with LM head on is ± 128-130cm tall (from bottom flange to top cap - coolant tubes extend a few cm more above the top cap).

 

The 1 metre stainless column has everything you need to connect your column to a T500/Copperhead boiler and packed with high quality stainless steel scrubbers and strips of pure copper mesh to give you the best results and a clean taste.

 

THERMOMETER NOT INCLUDED. Thermometer in pictures is just to show where thermometer sit on the heads. I can include a high quality digital stem thermometer for NZ $40 extra.

COMBINATION STILL - PRICE NZ $649 + P&P  (Save NZ $170)

Special order Homebrew still combination - Boka and pot still head
home brew stills,homebrew,home distilling, Boka still,mooonshine stills,gin still,pot still,Turbo 500 still upgrade

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.

Essential oil still
Large pot still

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 had a removable botanicals basket and can be used to make Essential oils.

Headmaster pot still

HEADMASTER POT STILL HEADS

I built these Pot still heads as a special project to make a pot still that would be able to stand up to heavy use and abuse. This was an all stainless pot still head with Tig-welded joints and a flush thermowell. It had a double wound copper condenser inside the head. It was easy to take apart and clean and very few parts outside that could be damaged. Only 10 of these pot stills heads were built and I sold 9 and kept one for myself. I stopped making them as they were expensive and very labour intensive to build.  SEE VIDEO

SOLD

SOLD OUT

Homebrew stills

A FEW OF MY VIDEOS ON BREWING AND DISTILLING

home brew stills,homebrew,home distilling, Boka still,mooonshine stills,gin still,pot still,Turbo 500 still upgrade
THE ECONOMICS OF HOME DISTILLATION

A WHOLE INDUSTRY SUPPORTING HOME DISTILLATION

 

For more than two decades it has been legal to distill your own alcohol in New Zealand and a whole industry has been built around Home Distillation of alcohol.

 

Various companies now produce flavourings and essences of high quality with which you can make a bewildering variety of drinks for any taste and that is just as good as, or even better than, the stuff you can buy in the bottle store. I would add just one condition to that : that is provided you use high quality neutral alcohol! NOT the stuff you have to filter through several feet of carbon to just make it safe to smell!

 

THE ECONOMICS OF HOME DISTILLATION

 

In New Zealand today you can buy a good bottle of Bourbon (86 Proof) for around NZ$40 (NZ$28 of that is tax!).

 

For about $9/litre you can make your own neutral spirit of 95% ABV (190 Proof) and if you water that down to 43% ABV (86 Proof) you've got a bottle of 1 litre neutral spirit for NZ$4.50! If you add a sachet of high quality bourbon flavouring (like Still Spirits Classic Tennessee Bourbon) at NZ$8 to that 1 litre of neutral spirits, you have made yourself 1 litre of very nice bourbon for NZ$12.50c.

 

You can make yourself 1 litre of fantastic Peach Vodka for just NZ$9.50c (Still Spirits Peach Vodka Essence) and so I could go on and on. You can work it out for yourself. Overall home distilling is a much cheaper alternative, provided you have the right equipment.

 

 

11/01/2019

QUICK AND EASY RECIPES

EASY SUGAR SYRUP

PEACH SCHNAPPS

TENNESSEE BOURBON

"JAGERMEISTER"

"FRANGELICO"

"COCONUT RUM"

reflux still

YOU WILL NEED THIS SYRUP FOR MOST RECIPES - MAKES 200ml

 

1. Pour 150ml of sugar into a measuring cup.

2. Fill up to the 200ml mark with boiling water and stir.

3. Put into microwave for a minute or until it boils. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

4. Let it cool down completely.

Alcohol still

EASY PEACH SCHNAPPS

 

1. 200ml sugar syrup.

2. 1 x Sachet of Still Spirits Peach Vodka.

3. 200ml of 95% ABV Alcohol (To make 25% ABV Schnapps).

4. 350ml water.

5. Stir thoroughly, refrigerate and serve ice cold. Goes nicely with beer!

For schnapps DO NOT dilute to make 1 litre, make only 750ml. The peach taste will be too weak if you make 1 Litre.

Make whiskey

TENNESSEE BOURBON (I don't like Bourbon much, but I LIKE this!).

 

1. 50ml sugar syrup.

2. 1 x Sachet of  Still Spirits Classic Tennessee Bourbon.

3. 480ml of 95% ABV Alcohol (To make 45% ABV Bourbon).

4. Fill up to the 1 litre mark with water and shake well.

5. Let it stand for one day before drinking.

 

Moonshine still

HERBAL LIQUER (CLOSE TO JAGERMEISTER).

 

1. 200ml sugar syrup.

2. 1 x 50ml botlle of Still Spitits Top Shelf Herbal Liqueur flavouring.

3. 370ml of 95% ABV Alcohol (To make 35% ABV liqueur).

4. Fill up to the 1 litre mark with WATER. DO NOT use the LIQUEUR BASE.

5. Let it stand for one day before drinking.

6. Serve ice cold.

7. Goes well with Red Bull!

Turbo 500 still

HAZELNUT NOISETTE (CLOSE TO FRANGELICO).

 

1. 200ml sugar syrup.

2. 1 x 50ml botlle of Spitits Unlimited Hazelnut Noisette liqueur flavouring.

3. 240ml of 95% ABV Alcohol (To make 30% ABV liqueur).

4. Fill up to the 750ml mark with WATER. DO NOT use the LIQUEUR BASE and only make 750ml.

5. Let it stand for one day before drinking.

6. Serve ice cold.

7. Goes well with a layer of cream on top, on ice cream or on waffles!

 

Bokakob

COCONUT RUM

 

1. 100ml sugar syrup.

2. 1 x 50ml bottle of Spirits Unlimited Cocobu liqueur flavouring.

3. 475ml of 95% ABV Alcohol (To make 45% ABV Rum).

4. Fill up to the 750ml mark with WATER. DO NOT use the LIQUEUR BASE and only make 750ml.

5. Let it stand for one day before drinking.

6. Mix with Coke or Sprite.

Fruit brandy,mampoer,calvados,applejack,cider brandy,Kirschwasser,Slivovitz,Obstler,home brew stills

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

home brew stills,homebrew,home distilling, Boka still,mooonshine stills,gin still,pot still,Turbo 500 still upgrade

MY WORKSHOP

Moonshine

People always ask me about my workshop thinking that I have a dedicated workshop where I tinker and play and build my stills. However, the truth is that my workshop consists of a few small foldable workbenches and a few shelves in my garage.

I have a huge array of tools and machinery available to work with in my garage, but I can only use the tools and machinery I need on the day and have to do very good housekeeping to fit everything on the shelves in my garage.

By keeping to the motto "a place for everything and everything in it's place" I manage to keep it neat and tidy and enjoy fabricating my stills. I also have a stainless table outside where I can work if the weather permits, and a few bigger and heavier items in my shed like my 10 ton press, anvil and compressor.

Every evening I have to break up my workshop, clean and put away everything I used as my wife refuses to let her car sleep outside! That’s it.

Nothing is automated and every piece of every still head and column is built by hand.

home brew stills,homebrew,home distilling, Boka still,mooonshine stills,gin still,pot still,Turbo 500 still upgrade

CONTACT ME

CONTACT ME

Please use the contact form below or

 Email me at kiwidistiller@gmail.com

INDICATION OF

INTERNATIONAL POSTAGE

LOCATION

Hamilton, New Zealand

liquid management stills

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.

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

handmade stills,moonshine still

MAMPUR = MOONSHINE

MURTU = LEGLESS

Explanation OF WORDS ON LOGO