How to Build a Still?

Plenty of people enjoy creating their own alcohol at home. There are home brewers who make beer in their kitchen and amateur vintners who have small grape orchards in their backyards. Some people even distill their own alcohol right in their homes. Laws about making your own alcohol vary from state to state, so make sure you understand yours before beginning the process. In most cases, the building of the still is legal, but the using of the still is governed by lawmakers.

 Materials for Building the Still

Stills are relatively simple to make and primarily use items already in your home. Common items include a large cooking pot, a mixing bowl, a drinking glass, ice cubes, and a double magnet. You will also need table wine, a cooking thermometer and a ten pound weight. Evaluate your equipment before you begin the distilling. The magnet needs to secure the drinking glass to the pot. The mixing bowl must fit into the pot, too. This should form a tight seal. Finally, the thermometer must be capable of reaching at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, you need to assemble the still. Make sure all of the items are clean and place the drinking glass into the center of the pot. Place the magnet in the glass and put the pot on the stove. Pour a half gallon of the wine into the pot, but not into the drinking glass. The mixing bowl needs to be filled with ice and then the other end of the magnet should be placed on top of the ice. Place the bowl over the pot, making sure it creates a tight seal.

 Using the Still to Cook

Now you can begin to cook. Turn the stove on high and let the wine reach 120 degrees. At this point, turn the stove to low. Controlling the temperature is an important part of the distilling process. Over the course of 45 minutes, let the temperature slowly rise to 212 degrees. Once it reaches this point, remove the pot from the heat and remove the glass from the pot.

The distilling process is caused by the evaporation of the wine at different temperatures. Your goal is to collect the alcohol from the wine, which evaporates at 173 degrees. The evaporating alcohol comes into contact with the ice and condenses on the bowl. As it builds up, it turns to liquid and drips back into the glass. For each half gallon of wine you use, you will get less than five ounces of alcohol. There are other recipes available, but they usually require a more complicated distilling process. If you are simply experimenting with the process, this is the most basic still you can make.

 Safety Issues

Keep in mind the alcohol you create is not considered safe to drink. If you are trying to make drinking alcohol, you are better off trying home brewing or wine making. Building a still is an interesting science experiment, though, and is a valuable way to learn about the process.


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