What Liquid Do You Put In A Moonshine Still With Thumper

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The thumper keg is an intrinsic part of the small-scale distillation process. While traditionally jerry-rigged, this piece of equipment is now mass-produced and commercially available. But what is a thumper keg, and how does it work?

The thumper keg is a cheaper alternative to having multiple stills and more complicated distilling equipment. A thumper keg is used to reduce the amount of water in distilled liquid. In producing alcoholic beverages and spirits, it’s used to increase the alcohol content.  

This article will explore the function and use of thumper kegs. But first, we’ll explain how distilled beverages are produced.

Contents

How Distilled Beverages Are Made

Distillation is the separation of component liquids in a mixture through selective boiling and condensation. It takes advantage of the differing vaporization temperatures of different molecules.

What Liquid Do You Put In A Moonshine Still With Thumper

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Distillation is performed by heating a volume of mixed fluids to the boiling point of one of them. If one or more fluids in a mixture have a lower boiling point and the mixture is heated to that temperature, the constituent fluid(s) with the lower boiling point will evaporate. The hot vapor can then be cooled, condensed, and collected to produce a purified form of that liquid. 

Fermentation Explained

The alcohol in alcoholic beverages is produced by microscopic single-celled yeast, relatives of fungi. The yeast used in alcohol production is closely related to bread leaven. They can actually be used interchangeably.

Yeast cells eat sugar.

Under normal conditions, yeast ingests and metabolizes sugar and releases carbon dioxide, among other metabolic wastes. That’s essentially how human metabolism works as well. But when yeast is placed in an oxygen-deficient environment, they switch to a different metabolic process called “fermentation.” 

Fermentation uses a different and less energy-efficient enzyme path to break down sugar into more simple molecules. The important part is the ultimate byproduct of fermentation: ethanol.

Alcohol producers introduce yeast to a closed container full of a sugar-rich food source and water. Wine and brandy producers use grapes or other fruit, most beer producers use barley and/or wheat, tequila producers use blue agave, and most whiskey and vodka producers use cheap grain. The water and food source mixture is called the wort (“must” in winemaking).

The container is closed once the yeast is introduced. The yeast multiplies rapidly and soon exhausts the oxygen left in the container when it starts fermenting. Fermentation is often accelerated by heating the container.

Fermentation is a self-destructive survival strategy for yeast. Brewers’ yeast can only tolerate an alcohol concentration between 6% and 15%. When the alcohol level in the wort nears or exceeds the yeast’s alcohol tolerance, it either dies or goes into an inactive state.

What happens now depends on what alcoholic beverage the producer is trying to make. Wine, beer, and malt liquor producers filter the now ethanol-infused wort/must to remove leftover solids and yeast and bottle the remaining distilled spirit as their finished product. Spirit producers distill the wort to extract the alcohol.

In the spirit industry, the fermented wort is called “wash.”

Alcohol Distillation Explained (Hard Liquor)

Once the wort/must is fermented, the alcohol has to be extracted. This is done through distillation.

Why Use a Thumper on a Distilling Kettle?

So you have taken up distilling for spirits production and have decided that, since you are a whiskey enthusiast, you’ll be pot stilling to produce the most authentic flavor profile. After all, pot stills have the oldest pedigrees on the planet, and pot-stilled whiskies, rums, and brandies are some of the most sought-after spirits on the planet.

However, the rub here is that pot stills are not really the most efficient tools to use if production speed factors heavily into your planning. The main limitation is that a pot still can really only render an aggregate ABV of 35% to 45% alcohol from an 8% to 10% beer with a single distillation.

Furthermore, because of the pot still’s inherent inefficiency, the resulting distillate from a single distillation can be highly contaminated with high and low boiling-point constituents that can impart an unpleasant quality in the finished distillate.

For this reason, most operators choose to run the distillate a second time to produce a more desirable finished product. Of course, this all adds up to the utilization of more resources to produce the most desirable pot-stilled finished product.

Namely, more heating, more cooling and, especially, more man hours.

What Is a Thumper?

A thumper is essentially a parasitic kettle connected to the primary distilling kettle. The thumper gets heated with the heat already produced to feed the primary kettle. Evidently, the thumper gets its name from the sound it makes while in operation.

Thumper or No Thumper?

How To Make A Thumper For A Still

  • Make the Thumper. Take the Nano keg and cut away any plastic parts that are attached. Then measure the height of the keg.
  • Make the lid of the Still. Take the lid of the cooking pot and drill a hole as close to the centre of the lid as possible.
  • Making the Column.

    To make the column you will require a length of 15mm copper pipe, two 90-degree 15mm copper elbow joints, flux and lead-free solder (lead-free must

  • Assembling the Still. To assemble the still, first you will have to wrap the edge of the cooking pot lid with PTFE plumbers tape which can be found
  • Add the condenser.

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    The worm and bucket condenser is the easiest of the two to put together, and the cheapest.

  • via

    What can I use to make a thumper? (video)

    Do you need a thumper on a still?

    Making moonshine with a thumper instead of a pot still is great because thumpers essentially perform two distillations in one—without stripping the flavor the way reflux distillation does. Depending on your thumper, it's typical to plan to fill it about halfway with liquid. via

    Do you heat the thumper on a still?

    Now, you may ask yourself how this magic happens. Well, the way a thump keg works are extremely clever. The thumper keg uses the waste heat emitted by the steam pot, making it a very efficient distillation apparatus in moonshine stills. A standard still will heat the wash or fermented solution to a high temperature. via

    What is the purpose of a thumper in a still?

    The purpose of the Thumper Still is to provide you with a finished product that is very similar to what you would achieve if you were to re-distill a distillate that was first run through a pot distillation. via

    Do you need a thump keg to make moonshine?

    The main purpose of a thump keg is to distill your output of a pot still a second time without having to run the product through the still a second time or to alter the taste and potency of your moonshine. You can produce a low-quality whiskey with just a pot and no thump keg. via

    How much does it cost to put in a thumper?

    filling it about 1/4 full. The options are: left over mash, tails from a previous run, etc. But if you want the thumper to do what it is supposed to do (increase the alcohol % in the final product), there needs to be some kind of alcohol in the thumper. The higher the alcohol concentration, the better. via

    What liquid goes in thumper?

    The simplest way to clean a thumper keg is with a vinegar run. Fill your boiler to 20% capacity with a mixture made from 50% hot water (distilled is best) and 50% vinegar. Run it through the still as if you were making a spirit. via

    Does a thumper add flavor?

    Finally, it should be added that a thump keg can be used to impart flavor

    Thumper Keg Explained (Info & 5 Best To Buy)

    Moonshine making is a historically illicit business but it is a thriving one in modern times. Depending on where you live, you may enjoy more relaxed laws allowing you to produce “legal” moonshine.

    Several states, including Arizona, Missouri, and Michigan, permit alcohol distilleries at home as long as the product isn’t sold in public.

    Read Also: The Best Moonshine kits – Complete Buyers Guide

    If you are one of those lucky few, it’s easy to try your hand at making moonshine or even craft beer. All you need are the right tools to get started. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to find high-quality and complete stills for your stock of moonshine.

    For the people after my own heart, or those interested in highly potent spirits and reliving the history of hillbilly, backwoods moonshine, then you need a good thumper keg for your still.

    TL;DR: A Quick Keg Summary

    In this guide, I’ll be going over everything you need to know about thumper kegs — starting with the five best ones available online.

    Before diving straight into the nitty-gritty, though, let’s go over some thumper keg basics:

    • What Is a Thumper Keg: A thumper keg is a wooden, steel, or copper container placed between your still pot and condenser.
    • What Does a Thumper Keg Do: Its main purpose is to speed up the alcohol distillation process. A thumper keg distills your low wine again, transforming it into a spirit with higher alcohol content or proof.
    • What Else Can You Do With a Thumper Keg: Aside from hastening your distillation process, a thumper keg is also used to infuse flavors into your moonshine.
    • What Size Thumper Keg Should You Get: I recommend getting a thumper keg that is around 25% to 40% of the size of your main boiler if you are not big on infusing your moonshine with flavors.

    Using a thumper keg basically lets you produce high-proof moonshine and spirits while skipping the double-distillation method. All you need to do is connect your thumper keg to your main pot boiler and condenser, then you’re all set.

    As long as you have a good grasp on these basics, you’re good to go buy and use your first thumper keg.

    Top 5 Thumper Keg Recommendations

    If you’re ready to make your moonshine distillation more efficient and take your moonshine flavors to the next level, here are my top five thumper keg recommendations.

    1. YUEWO 3-Pot DIY Stainless Steel Moonshine Still with Thumper Keg (2 gallons)

    This is my go-to thumper keg recommendation for both budget buyers and moonshine beginners.

    Stainless steel is usually cheaper than both copper and wood thumper kegs. And at around $100, this product includes not only the thumper but everything you may need to start distilling your moonshine, including a 3-gallon or 12-liter pot still or boiler.

    It uses lead-free and food-grade materials, including safe and non-toxic red copper tubing. It also has a built-in thermometer to make it easier to check and maintain the temperature.

    Last update on 2022-10-18 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

    2. Stampede Stills Copper Moonshine Still Thumper Keg (3.3 gallons)

    For my seasoned moonshiner readers who just want a high-quality thumper keg to add to their setup, then this one’s for you. The 3.3-gallon Stampede Stills Copper Moonshine Still Thumper Keg may seem too expensive at first glance with its $355 price, but it ultimately offers the best bang for your buck.

    This container is made from a pure 20-ounce copper sheet and holds up to 3.3 gallons of liquid. It is also already fitted with a temperature gauge, 3-inch locking clamp, a bottom valve drain, and copper pipe handoffs to attach pipes going to your pot still and condenser.

    Last update on 2022-10-18 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

    3. AOKEL Moonshine Still Home Brewing Kit (9.6 gallons)

    The AOKEL 9.6-gallon moonshine still home brewing kit is perfect for anyone planning to make a large amount of alcohol. Since this is a complete brewing kit, take note that the 9.6-gallon capacity refers to the main boiler, not the thumper keg.

    All three pieces of this home brewing kit are fitted with an airlock top for added security and to aid the fermentation process if you choose to go down that route. The containers are made from safe, premium-quality stainless steel while the pipes connecting all the pots are made from safe, non-toxic red copper.

    Last update on 2022-10-18 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

    4. VEVOR Moonshine Still Home Brewing Kit (5 gallons)

    For a medium-sized complete home brewing setup, I always recommend the VEVOR Moonshine Still Home Brewing Kit. This particular one has a 5-gallon main boiler and a 7×4-inch thumper keg.

    The basics of this kit are quite similar to the AOKEL one. The main differences lie in the VEVOR’s energy-efficient and reusable water pump and food-grade silicone tubing. This product also has a one-way air exhaust valve for easier air control, especially during the fermentation stage.

    Last update on 2022-10-18 | *Contains Affiliate links | *Images sourced from from Amazon

    5. Jaybird Distilling Thumper for 64-oz. Canning Jars or Stampede Stills Copper Half-Gallon Mason Jar Thumper Kit

    Explaining The Thumper Keg: The Basics

    If you’re someone who has zero knowledge about this and is hearing the words thumper and keg together for the first time, you might be thinking that this is what rabbits and bunnies use to party.

    Don’t worry. We made this guide for the home distiller who needs to know everything about thumper kegs, what it does, what it’s for, its purpose, and how it works.

    A Quick Summary

    If you’re in a hurry and just need to know the most essential information about the humble thumper keg, here it is.

    • What Is It? A thumper keg works to distill your low wine a second time. It may be made of copper, steel, or wood, and sits between the still pot and condenser.
    • What Does A Thump Keg Do? It speeds up the distillation process and transforms your low wine into a liquid with higher alcohol content, which is critical for making moonshine or bourbon.
    • What Size Thump Keg Do You Need To Use? It should generally be about 25% to 40% of the size of your main boiler.
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    Now, if you need to know more about the thumper keg, keep reading.

    What Is a Thumper Keg and Where Is It From?

    A thump keg, aka. the doubler, thump barrel, or thump chest, is usually referenced along with the backwoods whiskey still. It has a very old, classic design.

    Quick History Lesson

    The prevailing theory is that early settlers brought this design of the thump keg along with them and incorporated it into the stills that they eventually started constructing once they’d, well… settled.

    Best Liquid To Use in Thumper

    Making moonshine with a thumper instead of a pot still is great because thumpers essentially perform two distillations in one—without stripping the flavor the way reflux distillation does. Depending on your thumper, it’s typical to plan to fill it about halfway with liquid.

    This is the case for our Brewhaus thumpers, but if you are using a different thumper, check with the manufacturer or adjust the fill level as you see fit.

    But what’s the best liquid to use in your thumper when you’re making moonshine? Just water? That’s what I used to think, but it turns out that water is one of the last things you’d want to use.

    Tails From a Previous Batch: Best

    The way the thumper works is that it takes the vapor from the head of your kettle and travels down a tube into the bottom of the thumper.

    This vapor is cooled when it enters the liquid in the thumper, which condenses the vapor while also heating that liquid in the thumper.

    So the temperature of the liquid in the thumper gradually rises and then vaporizes up into the condenser and out as product.

    Ideally, you should use tails from a previous run for the liquid that you put in the thumper. This is because you’ll be able to get a bit of additional alcohol from those moonshine tails as the liquid heats.

    If you do use tails for this, only go for the ones that you collected earliest.

    As tails are collected, the traces of congeners and fusel oils increases, so your most pure tails are the ones that you got right after the hearts were finished.

    Some of Your Current Wash: Good

    Another option is to use some of the liquid you’re about to distill. Even though this won’t have as much alcohol present in it as tails from a previous run, it’s better than water because it’s still got some alcohol in there. It is also readily available since you’re about to use it to make moonshine anyway, so go ahead and fill your thumper up about halfway and start distilling.

    Water: Better Than Nothing

    When I first learned about thumpers, I assumed that you would just use water in it, but Rick says that water would actually be your last resort. He said that it technically works, but if you use water then you’re not getting the benefits of using something that already has alcohol present.

    If you don’t have tails from a previous batch handy, then he recommends to at least use some of your current wash. Again, there’s no real harm done if you’re using water, but you’re simply not going to get as much from this “double-distillation” as you would if you used one of the other options above.

    What Is A Thumper In Moonshine?

    A thumper is a device that is used in the distillation process of moonshine. It is essentially a kettle that is connected to the primary distilling kettle, and it is heated with the heat that is already produced to feed the primary kettle. The thumper gets its name from the sound that it makes while it is in operation.

    Do You Have To Use A Thumper For Moonshine?

    No, you don’t have to use a thumper for moonshine. However, if you want to achieve a high alcohol content, you’ll need to distill the liquid through various stills. This multiple distillation process is expensive and time-consuming.

    How Much Liquid Do You Put In A Thumper?

    A thumper is a device used to increase the proof of distilled spirits. It is essentially a small barrel or cask, in which liquid is placed and then agitated.

    The amount of liquid placed in a thumper will depend on the size of the thumper and the desired proof of the final product. For example, a small thumper might be filled with 1 quart (0.

    95 L) of liquid, while a larger thumper could hold up to 5 gallons (19 L) of liquid.

    How Does The Thumper Work On A Moonshine Still?

    The Thumper works by condensing the vapors from the still into liquid. The vapors are piped into the Thumper Keg and injected into the liquid in the keg. Some vapor will bubble to the surface, but most will re-condense into liquid.

    Does A Thumper Need To Be Heated?

    Many moonshiners prefer to heat the thumper because it helps keep the alcohol in vapor form, which allows it to rise into the condenser. Wood barrels are often preferred as thump kegs because they have natural isolative abilities that help maintain the temperature.

    How Much Moonshine Will A 10 Gallon Still Make?

    A 10 gallon still with a starting alcohol of 10%, a final proof of 100, and a collection efficiency of 85% will yield 1.7 gallons of moonshine. A 10 gallon still with a starting alcohol of 20%, a final proof of 100, and a collection efficiency of 85% will yield 3.4 gallons of moonshine.

    How Do You Keep Moonshine Flavor Clear?

    The main way to keep the flavor of moonshine clear is to distill it properly. This means using a good quality still and ensuring that it is cleaned thoroughly between batches. It is also important to use good quality ingredients and to age the moonshine for at least a few weeks before drinking.

    What Do You Charge A Thumper With?

    A thumper is a fractionating column used in distillation that helps to purify the alcohol. It is charged with either water, low wines, tails, or wash, depending on what is being distilled.

    What Size Thumper Do I Need?

    The size of the thumper you need depends on the size of your main boiler. A thumper should be 30-40% the size of your main boiler, so if you have a five gallon main boiler, the thumper should be no more than two gallons. Plumbing is simple: the inlet from the main boiler should extend almost to the bottom of the thumper; the outlet should just penetrate the lid.

    What Proof Is Moonshine?

    As mentioned, moonshine proof can range from 100 to 150. To put that into perspective, most vodka that you purchase from the store is around 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume. So, as you can see, moonshine is a much higher proof spirit.

    The term “proof” actually has origins dating back to the 18th century when alcoholic content was measured by mixing gunpowder with the spirit in question.

    If the mixture was able to ignite, then the spirit was “proven” to be above a certain percentage of alcohol. These days, proof is simply double the alcohol by volume percentage.

    So, if a spirit is 40% alcohol by volume, it is considered 80 proof.

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    Moonshine got its name during the prohibition era in America when distilling alcohol was illegal. The illicit nature of moonshine led to it being produced in secret, often in remote areas or “on the moon,” hence its name.

    Nowadays, moonshine is becoming more and more popular as a craft spirits category. Many distilleries are popping up all over offering their own take on this historical beverage.

    What Is A Slobber Box?

    A slobber box is a device used to collect condensate from a distillation process. It is typically a simple container with a spout or outlet that allows the condensate to be collected and removed from the system. The slobber box is an important part of many moonshine operations, as it allows for the removal of unwanted water and other impurities from the final product.

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    Why Do You Throw Out The First Batch Of Moonshine?

    The first batch of moonshine produced during a distillation run is referred to as the “foreshot.” This portion of the distillate contains undesirable compounds such as methanol, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. For this reason, commercial distillers always discard the foreshot before selling or consuming the moonshine.

    Why Is My Moonshine Blue?

    This is caused by the alcohol vapor corroding the copper metal. As the copper is literally eaten away, fragments transfer into the moonshine batch, which ultimately gives it a bluish tint.

    How Much Yeast Do I Add To 5 Gallons Of Mash?

    When using distillers yeast, follow the directions on the packet. If there are no directions, we suggest 1 tablespoon of yeast per 5 gallons of mash.

    Can You Run A Thumper Dry?

    Almost no way possible for thumper to go dry during a run, in fact they will usually gain volume.

    Can You Drink The Heads Of Moonshine?

    No, you should not drink the heads of moonshine. The heads contain a high concentration of methanol, which can be toxic. The distiller will generally dispose of the heads or redistill them in order to collect more alcohol from them.

    Why Is My Moonshine Low Proof?

    There are several reasons why moonshine may be low proof. One reason is that the alcohol content of the wash was low. This can be due to not using a recipe that includes nutrients for the yeast to live on.

    Another reason is that the distillate was not properly distilled. This can be due to not boiling off all of the water, or not using a sufficiently high proof distillate.

    Finally, the moonshine may have been diluted with water after distillation.

    How Long Should You Age Moonshine?

    Moonshine can be aged for as little as a few weeks, or up to several months. The longer it is aged, the more flavor and color it will develop.

    What Kind Of Water Do You Use To Cut Moonshine?

    The type of water used to cut moonshine is important, as using tap water can introduce impurities that can affect the final product. It is therefore advisable to use distilled water, which does not contain any of these impurities.

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    Is Everclear Moonshine?

    Everclear is a brand of unaged distilled spirits, produced from fermented grains. It is potent alcohol with a neutral taste. moonshine is an illegally produced whiskey, made from corn.

    How Big Should A Thumper Be For A 5 Gallon Still?

    The thumper should be approximately 1.65 gallons (6.25 liters) in order to distill 5 gallons of liquid. The thumper works by heating the liquid and then condensing it back into the still, which increases the proof of the final product. Adding a thumper will also help to retain flavor that is lost during the first distillation process.

    What Size Thumper Do I Need For A 10 Gallon Still?

    The size of the Thumper you need for a 10 gallon still will depend on how much alcohol you want to produce. If you are looking to produce a large amount of alcohol, then you will need a larger Thumper. If you are only looking to produce a small amount of alcohol, then you can get away with a smaller Thumper.

    What Size Thumper Do You Need For A 15 Gallon Still?

    The size of thumper you need for a 15 gallon still depends on the design of your still. If you are using a reflux still, you will need a larger thumper than if you are using a pot still. A good rule of thumb is that you need about 1 gallon of thumper capacity for every 5 gallons of still capacity. So, for a 15 gallon still, you would need a 3 gallon thumper.

    How Do You Make Moonshine Infused Flavour?

    There are many ways to make moonshine with infused flavors. One way is to add the desired flavoring agents directly to the mash, while another is to add them after the distillation process is complete.

    When adding flavoring agents to the mash, it is important to keep in mind that some flavors will be more prominent than others depending on their boiling point.

    For example, adding fruit directly to the mash will result in a more subtle flavor than if the fruit is added after distillation. The type of still also plays a role in the final flavor of the moonshine.

    A pot still will produce a moonshine with more of the congeners present, which will give it a more robust flavor. A reflux still, on the other hand, will produce a moonshine that is cleaner and higher in alcohol content, which will allow the flavors from the infusion to be more pronounced.

    Can You Drink 180 Proof Moonshine?

    Yes, you can drink 180 proof moonshine, but it is not recommended. Proof is a measure of the alcohol content in a beverage. The higher the proof, the more alcohol it contains. Therefore, 180 proof moonshine contains 90% alcohol.

    While it is possible to drink 180 proof moonshine, it is not advisable. Drinking high proof alcohol can be very dangerous. It can cause severe intoxication and lead to potentially fatal health complications. If you do choose to drink 180 proof moonshine, please drink responsibly and be sure to stay hydrated.

    Why Do You Shake Moonshine?

    Moonshine is a type of alcohol that is distilled without government oversight, which means that it can be made with lower quality ingredients and techniques.

    One way to test the alcohol content of moonshine is to shake it in a jar and observe the size and duration of the resulting bubbles.

    This method is not foolproof, but it can give the moonshiners an idea of the proof (alcohol content) of their product.

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    What’s Stronger Everclear Or Moonshine?

    Moonshine is typically between 40 and 50% alcohol, while Everclear is 95% alcohol. So Everclear is much stronger than moonshine.

    What Is The Difference Between A Doubler And A Thumper?

    A doubler is a type of still that is used to re-distill low wines in order to produce high wines. A thumper, on the other hand, does not use condensed low wines, but instead relies on low wine vapors to produce high wines. The main difference between the two types of stills is that a doubler will typically produce a higher quality product than a thumper.

    What Proof Is Moonshine If It Burns Blue?

    What liquid goes in thumper?

    Just fill your boiler up to 20% capacity with a mix of 50% distilled hot water and 50% vinegar. Then, start distilling from your pot into your thumper, just like how you normally would when separating tails and distilling spirits.

    Do you need a thumper on a still?

    It was traditionally used in hillbilly stills to increase the alcohol content of the distillate because, traditional stills only output product with about a 50-60 percent alcohol content. In short, the answer to whether our stills need a thumper keg is: NO.

    How much does it cost to put in a thumper?

    filling it about 1/4 full. The options are: left over mash, tails from a previous run, etc. But if you want the thumper to do what it is supposed to do (increase the alcohol % in the final product), there needs to be some kind of alcohol in the thumper. The higher the alcohol concentration, the better.

    How long can mash sit before distilling?

    It depends on what type of wash you have but as a general rule of thumb, it is best to distil within 2-3 days after fermentation is complete. The wash will keep for up to a month so long as the fermenter is airtight. The period can be extended if the wash is racked off into a clean airtight container.

    How does a Mason jar Thumper work?

    How Does a Thump Keg Work? With a thump keg, the hot vapor that exits the still arm into the wine that is already condensed at the bottom of the thumper once again evaporates before it reaches the condenser. When the alcohol is vaporized again, the alcohol content increases dramatically.

    What is a stripping run in distilling?


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