Where to even begin? The benefits of using pure copper for a still are so numerous. Let’s start with the downsides. The obvious one is cost. Copper costs more than stainless steel and so do stills made with pure copper as opposed to ones made from stainless steel. The second downside, and the only other one that comes to mind, is cleaning. Stainless steel is easier to clean than copper. This starts to matter when mash gets burnt to the interior surface of the still. Nearly all of our stills are available with a built in mixer to prevent this from happening. Now let’s look at the numerous benefits and positive aspects of pure copper construction.
Copper has better heat conducting properties than stainless steel. This means it warms up faster and transfers more heat energy to the material in the still. This amounts to long term energy savings, whether it be wood, gas or electricity.
Copper has anti-pathogenic properties. Bacteria and micro-organisms that can survive for mere hours on copper can survive for months on stainless steel. So whereas stainless may appear to be easier to clean, it actually needs to be cleaned more thoroughly. Some distillers with a stainless steel still will even do an entire “sacrificial run”. That’s an entire batch run through the still and then thrown away, or “sacrificed” just for purposes of cleaning the still properly. Distilling water for 10-15 minutes is more than enough to clean and disinfect one of our pure copper pot stills, provided it has been properly cleaned and stored since its previous use. The loss of time, product and heat energy is something to seriously consider when considering the cost-benefit ration of a pure copper still.
Copper has molecular properties which allow it to absorb sulfides, acids and other impurities which are a natural result, and in fact a necessary part of the fermentation and distillation processes. These are odorous compounds which could have a major negative impact on the final product. Copper easily and naturally prevents these compounds from entering the final distillate. If it’s a quality final product you are looking for, then this is the single greatest and most important reason to choose copper. It is also the reason why copper has been traditionally used for distillation for centuries. Our ancestors surely didn’t know the scientific reasons why copper was better…but they knew what tasted good! The finest distillers around the world who are more interested in quality than quantity still opt for pure copper to this very day.
A “Materials Table” is available in the product description of all our stills in our store. Just click on the model that interests you and the relevant information can be found there.
Lead time on delivery within the continental United States from the time the order leaves the factory is 6-8 weeks. If we do not have a large enough order to justify the astronomical costs of international shipping, we ask our customers’ patience while the order grows. Obviously, whoever orders the soonest after the previous shipment will wait longer than the final one who orders before the shipment goes out. We always send several extra of our most popular models. So if the timing is right, the wait can be way shorter depending on your location. All shipments originate from the New York/New Jersey area.
We offer copper stills with capacities ranging from 1.5 liters (.4 gallons) all the way up 200 liters (53 gallons). We also produce industrial models with capacities up to 2000 liters (530 gallons). But if you are in the market for one of the big boys, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
So you’ve decided to join the ever growing craft distillation movement and purchase a still from Better Stills but can’t decide which size is right for you. That can be a dilemma considering the options and corresponding differences in price. We shall try to lay out some guidelines here that should help you
with the decision making progress and make sure that the still you purchase is the right one for you and which best suits your specific needs. These guidelines are based on personal experience (we are both avid distillers ourselves), as well as customer feedback and advice from old-timers with decades in the industry. Let’s break it down by still category and then talk about what level of distiller they would best be suited for.