Which Still Should I Buy for Making Gin?
Are you an aspiring gin enthusiast looking to take your distilling skills to the next level? That was me after our second COVID-19 lockdown a few years ago. Since then I bought the Still Spirits T500 Reflux Still for making gin and it’s awesome.
Below I delve into the features and benefits of the T500, highlighting why it is one of the ultimate home stills for creating high-quality gins. I’ve cracked the code on making gin at home and written a precise guide here to save you time.
But before you can embark on a gin-making journey you’ll need a still and there are a few different ones out there on the market. In my view, whether you’ve been distilling for a while or just starting out, the T500 Reflux Still offers unparalleled precision and efficiency in producing clean, pure alcohol. Let’s explore why this still should be your top choice for crafting exceptional gins.
Overview of the T500 Reflux Still: The Perfect Choice for Crafting Exceptional Gins
Distilling Efficiency: Achieving 95% Alcohol Extraction and 93% Alcohol Purity
The T500 Reflux Still is an exceptionally efficient still in that it allows you to extract an amazing 95% of the possible alcohol from the wash. This means that you can obtain a remarkably high alcohol purity of 93%, surpassing other stills available on the market. By comparison, the ethanol that most commercial craft gin makers purchase is often about 96% ABV, which is purer but not by very much.
What this means is that if you’re using the T500 you can be confident that your gin will have a clean, pure, and well-refined character, free from unwanted impurities and flavours. In other words, the purer your base spirit – the ethanol – the better your gin.
Versatility: Suitable for Distilling Water, Hydrosols, and a Range of Spirits Including Gin
The versatility of the T500 Reflux Still is a key factor that sets it apart. While it excels in producing gin, it is also suitable for distilling other spirits such as white rum and vodka, thanks to its ability to produce high-quality, commercial-grade clear spirits.
While, it’s gin I’m particularly interested in I have experimented with two other botanical spirits – Aquavit and Ouzo. I’ll probably fine-tune my recipes for these at some stage and publish them here on my blog. Additionally, if you are interested in distilling water or extracting aromatic hydrosols, the T500 can handle these tasks as well.
In case you don’t already know, aromatic hydrosols, also known as floral waters or herbal distillates, are produced during the process of steam distillation of plants to extract essential oils. They are the water-based byproduct that carries a subtle aroma and trace amounts of the plant’s volatile compounds.
Hydrosols have similar therapeutic properties to essential oils but are milder and more diluted. I haven’t experimented with them, but the info-pack that comes with the still confirms that you can do so if you want to. I’m guessing that the non-alcoholic spirits – an oxymoron if ever there was one – I’ve seen use these kinds of distillates.
Commercial-Grade Quality: Ideal for Producing High-Quality, Clear Spirits Comparable to Commercial Offerings
One of the standout features of the T500 Reflux Still is its capability to produce spirits of commercial-grade quality. With the T500, you have the power to create exceptional gins that rival the clarity, purity, and complexity of those found on store shelves.
Crafted with precision and built to the highest standards, the T500 ensures that every batch of gin you create showcases the professional quality and excellence associated with commercial distilleries.
By choosing the T500 Reflux Still, you are equipping yourself with distillation apparatus that guarantees exceptional efficiency, versatility, and the ability to produce premium-quality gins.
Key Features and Specifications: Unmatched Performance for Gin Enthusiasts
Stainless Steel and Copper Reflux Condenser Options: Choose Your Preferred Material
The T500 Reflux Still offers two options for the reflux condenser: stainless steel and copper. The stainless steel condenser is made from high-quality 304-grade stainless steel, ensuring durability and resistance to corrosion.
On the other hand, the copper condenser imparts a unique character to your gin, enhancing its flavours and aromas. Select the material that aligns with your preferences and desired gin profile.
For me, there wasn’t really a choice. I had to have the copper condenser like you see in the picture up top.
Thoughtful Design and Convenience Features: Enhancing Your Distilling Experience
Designed in New Zealand, the T500 Reflux Still incorporates several features that prioritise ease of use and convenience. The tap (faucet for Americans) adaptor facilitates a hassle-free connection to the cooling water, ensuring smooth operation during the distillation process.
With the boil dry reset and thermal cut out fuse, you can distill with peace of mind, knowing that safety mechanisms are in place. The waste discharge tap enables effortless draining, simplifying the cleanup process after distillation. There are a few tricks for getting the set up absolutely right for home gin making but I cover all of this in my ebook.
Generous Boiler Capacity and Power Options: Tailored for Your Distillation Needs
The T500 Boiler boasts a substantial 25-litre capacity, providing ample room for your wash and allowing you to produce larger quantities of gin with each distillation run. With two power switches on the latest model, you have flexibility in controlling the heating element’s power output.
Mine doesn’t have this but if you get the latest one you can choose between full power, ideal for efficient distillation, or lower the power for more precise temperature control during delicate processes. The T500 accommodates both 220V and 120V units, ensuring compatibility with various power supply configurations depending on where you are in the world.
Impressive Yield and Purity: Crafting Gins with Exceptional ABV and Clarity
When using the T500 Reflux Still, you can expect outstanding results in terms of both yield and purity. With the recommended standard recipe using 6 kg (13.2 lb) of sugar, the T500 delivers a remarkable yield of 8 litres (2.1 US gallons) of 40% ABV alcohol per 25 litres (6.6 US gallons) of wash.
This allows you to produce a substantial quantity of gin in each distillation run. Moreover, from your wash the T500 distills at up to 93% ABV (186 US proof), which – if you must – you can then dilute to your desired strength, typically around 40% ABV (80 US proof), while maintaining exceptional clarity and purity.
Comprehensive Package: What’s Included with the T500 Reflux Still
With your purchase of the T500 Reflux Still, you receive a comprehensive package of essential components and accessories. The package includes:
- the reflux condenser (available in either copper or stainless steel)
- pre-packed condenser column
- PVC and PE tubes
- a digital thermometer for accurate temperature monitoring
- distilling conditioner to aid in the distillation process
- ceramic boil enhancers for improved flavour extraction
- a water flow controller with adaptors for various taps, and
- an instructions booklet to guide you through the setup and operation of the still.
The instructions booklet is good, but if you’re serious about gin you’ll want my guide with the extra detail.
The T500 Reflux Still offers unmatched performance and convenience for gin enthusiasts. Its thoughtful design, generous capacity, and precise distillation capabilities make it an ideal choice for those of us who aspire to create exceptional gins.
Why Choose the T500 Reflux Still for Making Gin: Unparalleled Advantages
Superior Alcohol Yield and Purity: Unleash the Full Potential of Your Wash
One of the standout features of the T500 Reflux Still is its ability to extract an astonishing 95% of the possible alcohol from the wash. With this exceptional yield, you can maximise the utilisation of your ingredients and achieve higher alcohol content in your gin.
The T500 produces alcohol at an impressive 93% purity, surpassing other stills on the market. This level of purity ensures that your gin starts with a clean and pristine base, allowing the botanical flavours to shine through.
Precise Temperature Control for Optimal Distillation: Fine-tune Your Gin’s Profile
The T500 Reflux Still enables precise temperature control during the distillation process. With two power switches on the later models, you have the flexibility to adjust the heating element’s power output, allowing you to fine-tune the temperature according to your preferences and the specific requirements of the botanicals you’re using.
This level of control empowers you to experiment with different distillation techniques, resulting in a tailored and refined gin profile that reflects your unique taste.
Compatibility with Distilling a Variety of Spirits: Versatility at Your Fingertips
While the T500 Reflux Still excels in producing gin, its versatility extends beyond that. This high-quality still can be used to distill other spirits, such as white rum and vodka, providing you with the opportunity to explore a range of spirits using the same reliable equipment.
Also, as mentioned the T500 is suitable for producing distilled water and hydrosols, making it a multi-functional tool for your distillation endeavours.
Durability and Longevity: Invest in a Reliable Distillation Companion
Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the T500 Reflux Still is built to last. The stainless steel or copper reflux condenser options ensure durability and resistance to corrosion, allowing you to enjoy years of reliable performance.
The still is designed with quality materials and components, providing you with a trustworthy companion throughout your gin-making journey. With a 3-year warranty, you can have peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected.
Designed by Experts: Tap into a Wealth of Knowledge
The T500 Reflux Still is designed by experts in the field of distillation, ensuring that you have access to a tried and tested system that delivers exceptional results. With the backing of Still Spirits, a renowned name in home distilling, you can rely on their expertise and extensive research to guide you in producing high-quality spirits.
The T500 is the culmination of years of experience and innovation, providing you with a reliable and efficient distillation solution.
Convenient and Comprehensive Package: Everything You Need to Get Started
The T500 Reflux Still comes with a comprehensive package that includes all the essential components and accessories you need to begin your gin-making journey. From the reflux condenser and pre-packed column to the digital thermometer and water flow controller, the package ensures that you have everything at your disposal to start distilling with confidence.
The instructions booklet provides clear guidance, allowing beginners and experienced distillers alike to easily set up and operate the still. What’s lacking though is specific instructions on every aspect of every process required to make gin which I’ve addressed here.
What’s Included in the Package?
Reflux Condenser: The Essential Components for Precise Distillation
The T500 Reflux Still package includes a reflux condenser that consists of several essential components. The pre-packed column is designed to ensure optimal reflux and separation of the alcohol vapour, resulting in a high-quality distillate.
The package also includes PVC and PE tubes, which play a crucial role in directing the flow of vapour and cooling water. With a digital thermometer, you can closely monitor and control the temperature during the distillation process, ensuring precision and consistency.
Also, the distilling conditioner, boil enhancers, and other accessories are included to enhance the efficiency and performance of the T500 Reflux Still. The latest model – pictured below – has an improved tap system. The tap on my model is plastic but it seems strong and works fine.
T500 Boiler: Robust Build and Powerful Heating Element
The T500 Boiler serves as the heart of the T500 Reflux Still. It is meticulously designed and constructed to meet the highest standards of quality and performance. With its robust build, the T500 Boiler ensures durability and longevity, allowing you to enjoy countless batches of gin without compromise.
The powerful heating element, with options for different power settings, provides the necessary heat for efficient distillation. Whether you’re using a 220V or 120V unit, the T500 Boiler delivers consistent and reliable performance, allowing you to achieve excellent results in each distillation run.
With the T500 Reflux Still package, you’ll receive both the reflux condenser and the T500 Boiler, providing you with almost everything you need to embark on your gin-making journey. The combination of these two key components plus my comprehensive guide guarantees a seamless and efficient distillation process, ensuring the production of high-quality spirits with remarkable clarity, purity, and flavour.
The T500 Reflux Still: User Testimonials and Reviews
Experiences of Gin Enthusiasts: Real Stories, Real Results
Gin enthusiasts from around the world have embraced the T500 Reflux Still for their gin-making adventures. Their experiences highlight the impressive capabilities and exceptional results achieved with this distillation equipment. Many users have praised the T500 for its ability to produce high-quality spirits with remarkable clarity, purity, and flavour.
Amateur gin makers from around the world have expressed satisfaction with the yield and consistency of their spirits, noting that the T500 allows them to achieve professional-grade results in the comfort of their own homes. These testimonials showcase the T500’s reputation for delivering on its promises and exceeding expectations and this has certainly been my experience as well.
Positive Reviews and Recommendations: Experts and Enthusiasts Approve
Experts and gin connoisseurs have extensively reviewed and recommended the T500 Reflux Still for its exceptional features and capabilities. Their positive feedback underscores the importance of the T500 as a game-changer in the world of home distillation. Whether it’s experienced distillers or passionate gin enthusiasts, the consensus is clear in my mind: the T500 Reflux Still is a top choice for novices and home gin-makers seeking to create outstanding gins.
Community Support and Resources: Join a Thriving Gin-Making Community
When you choose the T500 Reflux Still, you become part of a vibrant and supportive community of gin-makers. Online forums, social media groups, and dedicated communities offer a wealth of knowledge, tips, and guidance to help you make the most of your distillation journey.
From sharing recipes and techniques to troubleshooting and celebrating successes, the gin-making community is ready to support and inspire you. By opting for the T500, you get the tools to access to a network of fellow enthusiasts who are passionate about gin and eager to share their experiences and insights.
Customer Satisfaction and Ongoing Support: Trust in a Reliable Brand
Still Spirits, the brand behind the T500 Reflux Still, is committed to customer satisfaction and ongoing support. With a reputation for excellent customer service, prompt assistance, and reliable product support, Still Spirits ensures that you have a positive experience throughout your gin-making journey.
Whether you have questions, need guidance, or require assistance with your T500, you can rely on the dedicated support team to provide timely and helpful solutions. The commitment to customer satisfaction further solidifies the T500 as a trusted choice for discerning gin enthusiasts.
The T500 Reflux Still has garnered praise from gin enthusiasts, industry experts, and the distillation community at large. With real stories of success, positive reviews, and a growing and supportive community online, the T500 offers a compelling case for becoming your go-to still for making gin. Choose the T500 Reflux Still and join me and other satisfied gin-makers who have unlocked the full potential of their botanical creations.
In my view, when it comes to selecting the right still for crafting exceptional gins, the T500 Reflux Still stands out as a top choice for both novice and intermediate distillers. With its remarkable efficiency, versatility, and commercial-grade quality, the T500 offers the precision and control necessary to produce high-quality, clean spirits.
Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant flavours of botanicals or create your signature gin recipes, the T500 Reflux Still will be your trusted companion on this distilling journey. Make a confident choice and elevate your gin-making experience with the T500 Reflux Still.