Distilling Basics for Beginners

The Basics of Distilling With a Moonshine Still

Distillation is basically a process used to separate a mixture into base elements. Whether you are distilling water, vinegar, fuel, perfume, or alcohol, you are separating the vapors to collect only the part (or parts) that you want.

A distillation unit, which is commonly referred to as a moonshine still even if you're not necessarily making moonshine, works by boiling a liquid, which separates the "pieces" that the liquid is comprised of. You collect only those pieces that you want and discard the rest. You can precisely decide which pieces you collect because the individual compounds boil at different temperatures.

Below is a diagram of a complete moonshine still with an electric heating unit. Scroll over the targets to learn more about each part of the still and click on the links in the pop-up descriptions for more information about each part.


Click on a topic below to learn more about distilling.

General Information About Distilling

Brewing Beer vs Distilling Spirits

What To Know When Choosing Which Moonshine Still To Buy

Learn the Difference Between The Various Brewhaus Moonshine Stills

Should I Buy a Copper or Stainless Steel Moonshine Still?

How We Build Your Still

Why Would I Get a Coupling Welded Onto My Kettle?

Which Type of Distillation Column Packing Do I Need?

Which Thermometer Should I Get?

What's a Distiller's Parrot and Do I Need One?

What's a Thumper?

After You Buy: How-To's & More

Brewhaus Moonshine Still Instruction Manuals

Using a Pot Still: Where To Make Your Cuts

How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Moonshine Still

How To Distill Essential Oils

How To Assemble and Hook Up Hoses To Your Flute Column

How To Age Spirits in Oak Barrels

About Filtering & Fermentation, Yeasts & Grains

How Do I Choose a Yeast?

Which Grain Should I Use?

How Do I Use Activated Carbon in My Filter System?

Moonshine Recipes

Beginner's Moonshine Recipe

Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe

3 Different Recipes For Homemade Amaretto

All-Grain Wheat-Mash Vodka Recipe

How To Make Honey Moonshine

How To Make Cranberry Moonshine

Alcoholmeter or Hydrometer?

You can't just use one or the other for both types of readings. Although both meters look the same, they are calibrated to different density liquids. Learn about what each one does so you can make sure that you're getting accurate readings.

Still have questions?

Brewhaus' forum has been online since about 2002 and contains nearly 30,000 posts with over 7,000 registered members. The forum remains active through its community of dedicated members, many of whom can answer your questions if you're new to distilling.