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Ideal Reflux Ratio for a Homemade Moonshine Still

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Gweedo Decker
Homemade Still Ethanol chart, figure  1

Homemade Still Ethanol chart, figure 1

In the modern world, where life is fast, perhaps efficiency has become the key to success. It is human nature to rush, and in every aspect of our lives, we want things to come our way quickly. While operating the Moonshine still, again, as the human nature sparks up the urge of having quick results; you will want your homemade still to be efficient and fast. This efficiency, however, depends on the reflux ratio. Reflux ratio is the ratio between the distillate which is taken as the output and that which is returned to the column. The most important factor which is directly linked to the purity of the distillate is the amount of reflux involved. Thus, you can conclude; purity achieved is proportional, if not directly proportional, to the reflux employed.  Visit for more information.

Nevertheless, a practical experiment will teach you that the reality contradicts the above mentioned theory. Yes, in reality, the greater the reflux ratio, the rustier the process. And there might come a point, when the whole process becomes inefficacious in terms of time and the heating expenses.

This explains that the reflux ratio is not something very elastic and has to be controlled within very narrow parameters. So the question is what is the ideal reflux ratio to use in the homemade moonshine still? But first, we need to know about the reflux ratio controls in both types of the still i.e. the internal reflux still and the valved reflux still.

In a homemade internal reflux still, the reflux ratio is measured by taking out the maximum distillation rate at a specific heat level where the cooling is set to minimum. After this, the cooling is delimited to provide a suitable fraction of that rate.  Note that the reflux ratio in this kind of still is controlled by regulating the cooling flow. Suppose that you are working with 1000 ml of water and want a reflux ratio of 3:1. In order to achieve this ratio, you need to set the cooling flow in such setting that only 250 ml of water is distilled as the output while the remaining 750 ml is refluxed. The time it takes to do so depend on the time it takes to distill the total amount of the liquid. The best reflux ratio, however, depends on several different factors. It depends on the liquid which is being distilled, the column design, an evaluation of purity of the output, and the money invested in producing that purity. With full control over the refluxing; the more you experiment, the befitting the reflux ratio becomes.

With the valved reflux still, it becomes a lot easier to control the reflux ratio. This is because the still gives you direct control over the volume of

Homemade Still Ethanol chart, figure  2

Homemade Still Ethanol chart, figure 2

liquid which is to be refluxed and that which is to be collected as a product output. This facility is made available by separate valves to monitor the latter. The method to determine the maximum distillation rate for this still is a little different to that of the internal reflux still. You need to shut off the reflux flow with a needle valve and follow it by measuring the volume of output flowing out from the still per unit time.  Once the maximum output is determined, you can easily regulate that back by fully opening the reflux valve. Thus, the reflux rate here will be the difference between the maximum output rate and the observed output rate. Here, the dual valves offer a great number of blends once the maximum flow has been determined, that you may try in order to increase or decrease any of the flows, without disturbing the proper reflux ratio.

Experimenting gives experience and for you to get the best results while distilling the liquid, it is essential to experiment and then adjust the reflux ratio accordingly. Remember, according the theory; reflux ratio is proportional to the purity achieved, which is not entirely the real case. Be very careful regarding heads and tails or you may

Homemade Still Ethanol chart, figure  3

Homemade Still Ethanol chart, figure 3

find your homemade still making pure yuck. For more queries, you can also visit:

Note: Remember, the distillation of ethyl-alcohols is illegal without a permit per federal moonshine laws and is inherently dangerous because of ethanol’s flammability (never operate a homemade still indoors). For more moonshine laws and other moonshine still permit information, visit: Sorry, ya even need a license for personal use due to TTB federal distillation moonshine laws.

For more info on your own homemade copper still plans for home, see