People often ask us if a thumper will work with their moonshine still's column, but it won’t simply because the purpose of the thumper is for it to be used instead of a column. Maybe some of the questions might come from the fact that our line of columns, complete moonshine stills, thumpers, etc. are all under the “Essential Extractor” name, so people often ask if the Essential Extractor Thumper will work with their Essential Extractor column, for example. If you ordered a complete Essential Extractor Pot Distiller along with a thumper, you can in fact use the thumper with it—you just wouldn’t use the column in that case. It’s a one or the other type of thing. If you’re thinking about trying a thumper, here’s what you need to know:
What is a Thumper?
A thumper is a piece of equipment that goes between the kettle and the condenser and is used in place of a column as part of a moonshine still. It’s actually sort of an old-fashioned piece that is making a resurgence: It was named “thumper” because in older versions, it would make a thumping sound as the system heated up (although most modern thumpers don’t do this). Its other nickname is “doubler” because using it is similar to “double distilling” in that it will it will give you roughly the same finished product as taking a pot distillation and re-distilling it to increase proof and purity. Keep in mind that it doesn’t DOUBLE the purity of the distillate, although it does INCREASE the purity all in one pass instead of having to do 2 separate distillations in your moonshine still.
How Does it Work?
The thumper works like this: You have liquid in the thumper. From the kettle, your vapor enters the thumper, which heats the liquid, simultaneously cooling the vapor in a heat exchange. Therefore, no vapor comes out because the temperature has been reduced; when the liquid temperature reaches a certain point, lower-boiling-point compounds will vaporize, exiting the thumper, and you’ve got your distillate. Some people have had issues with thumpers that are very wide at the base, like a 3-gallon milk cans, because the vapor doesn’t spend enough time in the liquid to actually get cooled. That’s why our thumpers are tall and skinny—so the vapor will spend more time in the liquid and get properly cooled (check out the diagram below to see how this works). Additionally, we have a diffusion screen in our thumpers to reduce the size of the bubbles because smaller bubbles cool faster than larger bubbles.
I hope this answered some of your questions about using a thumper as part of your moonshine still. If you still have questions, drop us a line on Facebook, and I’ll be happy to get the answers for you!