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What are the different types of dephlegmators?

Devices are made of different materials: glass, stainless steel, copper. They may also look different, but the basis is one of the two types of construction:

    A film (or straight-through) dephlegmator

Is a device in the form of two cylinders of different diameters. The smaller one is inside the larger one.

The outer vessel has two holes for the supply and outlet of water-coolant. It moves in the gap between the tubes.

Steam is directed into the inner cylinder. The heavy fraction condenses and flows down the walls. Volatile impurities and alcohol come out through a hole in the top.

The film dephlegmator can be jacket (with one outlet opening for steam) or shell and tube (with more than one outlet opening).

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This is a more advanced device due to the larger contact area of the coolant with the spirit vapour.

Inside the metal or glass flask is a coil of water. It looks like a spiral tube.

Steam flows between the coil and the outer casing.

Condensate collects directly on the surface of the coil and flows down it back into the distillation cube.

Advantages and disadvantages of distillers made of glass

Along with the most popular models of stainless steel distillers and distillation columns, the distilling equipment market sells glass stills, as well as. accessories.

The apparatuses are made of tempered “laboratory” glass capable of withstanding high temperatures

That is, it should not burst from heat. But the impact, most likely, will not withstand. The complete distiller consists of these parts:

  • The flask, which acts as the distillation cube.
  • Alcohol burner on which the flask is heated.
  • Refrigerator under flowing water with a coil inside.
  • Connecting tubes. The one where they are in contact with alcohol. made of silicone, for the water inlet/outlet to the cooler. made of PVC.
  • Sometimes a dry evaporator is included. for additional purification of the distillate during distillation.
  • A novelty on the market is “Alexander Butlerov” apparatus, made completely of glass, which has three degrees of purification thanks to Le Chatelier dry evaporator, Bunsen flask and dephlegmator. However, we will not recommend it as a “starter” apparatus, as it is more of a gift option for a venerable distiller.


This is the part where the alcohol vapors are cooled by water coming from the tap through one connection and draining through the other. As a rule, the distillator is installed vertically, or obliquely (depending on the design), so that the condensate can flow freely.


Do not install the distiller horizontally. This prevents the condensate from flowing down, it lingers in the apparatus and can cause an explosion.

Distillation cube

A large glass flask performs its function

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It is possible to find a bigger one, but as practice shows it is not worth doing this because the bigger the flask, the more chances it has that it will crack when heated when there is the brew in it.

But you don’t have to buy an all-glass apparatus.

For example. you can buy a glass fridge with a coil (distiller) for 1000, and at home of pressure cooker (multivarka) and a pair of hoses to construct a device which will allow to receive moonshine.

With double distillation with separation into fractions. decent quality.

Different from other devices

  • Material: glass vs. metal is a loser, and the useful life of glass is until the first shock or sharp difference in temperature or pressure.
  • The design doesn’t vary much, but there are some very fancy examples.
  • Special glass withstands heat up to 500°C. However, it is not the one that makes the budget versions.

Step by step instructions

Update from 14.09.16г. After about 10 distillations the still started leaking in one spot. Apparently the glue dried up and there was a gap. I ended up filling all the cracks with aquarium sealant, which was left over from making a pressure cooker moonshine machine. Already tested successfully several times in combat conditions.

Update from 15.11.2019г.

Improvement of the cooler design was suggested by blog reader Evgeny. Below is his text:

I made mine out of stainless pipe with a diameter of 10 mm and a wall thickness of 1 mm.

The problem for me was sealing the end outlets. None of the sealants I tested worked with the polypropylene that the cooler jacket is made of. It only lasted about 1-1.5 times.

Then I bought a stainless steel collet clamp with ½ male thread and a ½ female thread end coupling. And it’s been over a year since anything leaked!

I also wanted to say that using a pipe with an outside diameter of 10mm and PVC pipe as a jacket with a diameter of 20mm can get in the way of the passage of water in the mating area of the pipe and tees.

When soldering these elements on the inside there is a kind of bump, which fits tightly around the tube and does not allow the passage of water. At least that’s how it worked on my first refrigerator. I had to get PVC pipe and stuff for a diameter of 25mm.

Types of refrigerators and their structure

All condensers of moonshine devices are divided into two categories. direct flow and coils. Samogonovation is a creative process that makes classic refrigerator designs have a myriad of configurations. Listed below are the main varieties of coolers for moonshine apparatus.


The Liebig refrigerator is used in most low-power distillers. Refrigerators are a simple construction of two straight tubes, soldered into each other. In the outer tube or jacket is the coolant, most often water, in the inner condensation of vapors. Liebig refrigerators are made in two versions. top-down and backward. In the reverse form, the condensate from the inner tube is returned to the distillation cube. In this form the refrigerator is used as an additional condenser or dry evaporator, which assumes the function of pre-cleaning of coarse impurities. The classic distillator design uses a top-down cooler, from which the distillate flows into the vessel for the finished product. The obvious disadvantage of the Libich refrigerator is its fragility; the glass part is easily damaged in the process.


The design is a little more complicated than the Libich refrigerator, but much more efficient and productive. For laboratory use, the inverse of the ball cooler (or Allin refrigerator) is used more frequently. But in moonshine distillation it has long been tried as a top-down. High performance is achieved through the inner bulb, which consists of a series of ball-shaped expansions. The balls increase the cooling surface area and reduce the distance between the inner bulb and the cooling jacket. When using this type of cooler, it is important to consider the angle of inclination to prevent condensation from collecting in the expansions.


Dimrott refrigerator is often used in distillation columns as a deflegmator. a back cooler. But also applied in moonshiners, a high degree of purification with little loss of distillate is achieved. The design of this device has many configurations and can be made of glass or stainless steel. The Dimroth cooler is a flask with a spiral inside. The cooling agent, cold water, flows along the coil and the alcohol-containing vapors enter the inside of the flask and condense on the outer walls of the coil. This is the main difference from classical refrigerators in which condensate collects in the inner tube.

This device is used not only as a main cooler but also as a dry evaporator for pre-cleaning from distillation oils.


Otherwise, the Graham refrigerator is a commonly used type of cooler, compact and fairly simple to make yourself. It is a spiral metal tube, placed in a closed container with running water. The cooler can be a non-flow cooler, but the capacity will be much lower in such a case. This variant is suitable for low-power distillers. As with other condensers, the coil has its disadvantages. There is a high probability of the condensate plugs appearance which leads to pressure drops and charging of the raw material in the fridge. At the expense of a big area of a twisted tube, it is more difficult to regulate the temperature of the heat exchanger, unlike a direct flow, which quickly reacts to the change of water temperature.

Refrigerator varieties

Refrigerator with a coil considered above is the classic and most common design, but in addition to it there are others. Differences can be both in the implementation of individual parts and in relation to the whole design. In the latter case, as a rule, we are already talking about dephlegmators. We will consider them further. For now, let’s list the varieties of refrigerators for stills :

  • Classic flow-through. We have considered them above. Structurally, it is a closed vessel with a coil inside.
  • Flow-through straight-through. They differ from the classical ones only by their internal contents. Instead of a coil a straight tube is used here.
  • Non-flow straight-through. Characterized by the fact that to work it does not need to be connected to the water supply. Instead, a separate vessel with a coil inside is used.
  • Continuous-flow shell-and-tube. They somewhat resemble a direct-flow cooler but in this case several separate tubes are used whose contents are cooled independently of the others.

Among the listed implementations, the direct-flow coolers stand out. They are used in stills and distillation columns as both deflegmators (pre-coolers) and as endcoolers. Straight-flow coolers are also used in pot-still stills.

Still Still Still in pot-still mode

How the column works?

Distillator makes moonshine and distillation column makes pure alcohol. The rectification process is based on the interaction of liquid and vapor. With the right equipment a pure spirit is obtained. extraction towers may be either tray towers or packed towers.

Still moonshiners use stills that lead to a splitting of the spirit into fractions.

The liquor is in the distillation cube, which is heated. Evaporation occurs as the temperature rises. The vapors (alcohols, ethers, etc.) travel up through the tower to a refrigerator with a extraction unit. At the initial stage the tap is closed.

Phlegm. condensed steam. flows down the column through a tube. Heavier fractions accumulate at the bottom and lighter ones at the top.

Column filled with nozzles. The vapor condenses repeatedly and the liquid evaporates on the elements of the unit. As a result of this exchange between liquid and vapour, part of the easy boiling component is carried downwards.

The phlegm number is the ratio of the quantity of condensate that goes back into the column to the quantity that goes into the still. The PM is 8-9 for spirits and 6-7 for the noble distillates. As soon as you open the tap it is important to have the correct phlegm number.

  • Distillation. Passes without splitting.
  • Noble distillates. If you reduce the number of nozzles or pipe in the column, you create conditions for getting Calvados and Chacha. At this mode of distillation the FS is 6-7. The alcoholic strength is 94,5⁰.
  • Getting rectified spirit. The nozzles in the column are all the way to the top. Phlegm number is 9. The alcohol strength is 96.4.

Conditions for obtaining quality moonshine

Making home alcoholic beverages is a synthesis of creativity and craftsmanship. Having gained a little experience, amateur moonshiners start experimenting with recipes and technology, achieving exceptional results. But there are a few basic conditions, without observing which it is impossible to get a good drink.

  • Precise Recipe. Preparation of mash and broth is a very important moment, which affects the final volume of the distilled vodka as well as its characteristics. The raw material for the mash can be sugar, fruit, berries, cereals, starchy vegetables. The non-observance of the proportions when making wort will lead to a weak fermentation and a low alcohol content in the broth. The proportions of the classic recipe for sugar broth. 1 kg of sugar, 4 liters of water, 20 gr. yeast. This is a simple and proven recipe that always gives a good result without gross violations of technology. With fruit and berry wort, the finished drink is more effective, but it is more difficult to calculate the sugar in the brew in the process. In addition, it is not recommended for fruit and berry brews to use commercial yeast, which can impair the flavor and aroma of the product. Instead of them, fruit must is made by a type of fermentation on wild fungi or by the use of wine yeast. the most difficult in the preparation of the mash on grain or starchy vegetables, such as potatoes. Yeast is not able to independently process the starch from these crops, so an additional step is needed. saccharification with natural or artificial enzymes.
  • Fermentation conditions. To let the yeast in the broth process the sugar into the spirit as efficiently as possible, it is necessary to give it optimal conditions. Fermentation temperature should be in the range of 20-30°C without sudden temperature fluctuations. Not lower than 18 ° C and not higher than 38 ° C. Fermentation period depends on the starting material, but usually not more than 2 weeks. A longer fermentation is possible, but even though the brew will begin to lighten, the harmful impurities in it will begin to increase.
  • Fraction separation. In the process of distillation the distillate is divided into three parts. “kervak” or “novak”, “moonshine” and “tails. This division is caused by the difference in the boiling point of the alcohol and the impurities.

The next distillation step is raw spirit or moonshine, in common parlance “body”. This fraction starts to separate when the temperature of the vapor in the distillation cube reaches 73 °С. The moonshine is distilled as long as the temperature stays at 73-73.5° C. From the moment the temperature rises above this mark, the distillate collection is stopped. At 74° C the third fraction is separated. the tails, which contain toxic syrup oils.

  • Second distillation. The second distillation is resorted to if there are complaints about the quality of the broth or doubts about the separation of fractions. Often the raw spirit is sent for a second distillation if the brew was made from grain or starchy vegetables. For the second distillation measure the alcohol in the raw spirit, dilute it to 20% and send it for distillation. Distilling a solution with a higher m of alcohol is dangerous.

Materials for the Refrigerator

The refrigerator for the moonshine apparatus is made of a variety of materials. But the four are the most popular:

The first material is found on almost every still from the factory. It was chosen because of its price and ease of cleaning.

Copper is found in more expensive models. Has a much higher thermal conductivity. It takes much less copper tube to condense the same amount of alcohol from steam, all other things being equal. Through it the heat is more efficiently removed, so the alcohol goes from gaseous to liquid state earlier.

Aluminum is a popular material. Almost any homemade still cooler consists of it. And all thanks to the adequate thermal conductivity, small price and easy availability of aluminum tubes.

Glass. Conducts heat well. In addition, it is also transparent, so you can control the process of condensation. Unreal to make yourself. Sold in chemical stores.

About the samodel

To make a moonshine fridge at home, you need to take two pieces of different diameters of tubes, metal cups and weld the construction so that one tube was inside the other. Welded joints must not leak. Two spigots are welded on the side. You have a thermos with four outlets. Two of them side by side for flowing water. Inlet diameter 5. 6 cm and outlet diameter 5. 6 mm. Diameter of the inner tube is 4 cm and the outer tube from 6 to 35 cm, depending on capacity. For the model DP-05s straight-flow distiller the cold water flow rate is 15 liters per hour with the alcohol yield of 700 ml at the same time. And for DP-3s already flowing water will need 85 liters per hour in getting alcohol 4.2 liters (in the same hour).

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