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Jolly Brewer

AirStill Distillation Guide

AirStill Distillation Guide

Distillation Guide

This is a distillation guide for anyone who uses or is considering using the AirStill we suggest you read the following which may be of some interest

This is a tried and tested method for getting maximum efficiency fro the AirStill. You can,of course, use the instructions provided and you will get a liquid which is perfectly acceptable once mixed with our range of flavourings, but you may want to consider this method as an alternative.

Stripping run

Assuming you have 24 litres of wash, run 4 litres through the AirStill, collecting until output drops to around 20%. There is no need to discard any product as cuts will be made in the spirit run. This will usually give approximately 1.5 litres of what we know as ‘low wines’.

Collect the distillate from the 6 stripping runs, and dilute as necessary to achieve 30% ABV. If your ABV is lower than 30% then there is no need to dilute further.


Spirit run

Again, running 4 litres at a time, collect and discard the first 50ml of product, termed headshots. These are probably about 80% ABV.

Now start collecting in 100 ml quantities, preferably in numbered jars to make it easier to identify the order in which is was collected.

Collect in this way until output drops to around 30%

Cover the jars with a clean cloth and leave to air.

Don’t worry very little alcohol will be lost, but the quality of your product will improve as the more volatile compounds will tend to evaporate.

Leave overnight

After a few hours, or overnight, you will now need to make cuts.

This is done by smelling and tasting each jar in turn, keeping those you like and rejecting those at either end of the run.

Dilute a couple of MLS with warm water on a teaspoon will make this easier and try not to swallow too much!

Heads will smell strong and leave a burning taste on the tongue. Keep these jars but don’t add to the ‘take’ for consumption.

At the other end of the run are the ‘tails’, which may smell slightly unpleasant. These can also be kept but not consumed.

The ‘hearts’ from the middle of the run will taste and smell ‘clean’ so mix the jars you like and dilute to your preferred drinking strength, usually 40 % ABV

The product will benefit from carbon filtering at this point.

Once you have run the same wash recipe several times you will be able to take shortcuts.

You will almost certainly have some low wines left over. These can be kept in a Demi John until you have accumulated another 4 litres, at which point proceed with another spirit run.

Heads can be collected for further processing, collect until you have 1.6 litres, dilute to 4 litres and run, making 100 ml ‘cuts’ as before.

Smell and taste, combining the jars you like to Imelda a bonus ( triple distilled) quantity of product.

Tails can be added into the next set of stripping runs which boost output a little.

No need to waste anything! (Add say 100ml to each run)


It is illegal to manufacture spirits in the UK without a distillers licence.

This licence is required under the provision of section 12 of the Alcohol Liquour Duties Act 1979.

This includes manufacture for own/ domestic use

Public Notice 39 – “Spirits production in the Uk” dated April 2010 provides further information about HM Revenue & Customs requirements