Making a Worm for Your Homemade Still

This describes how to make worm for your homemade still, and a bit about the distillation process.

The different parts of the still have to be made out of copper or glass. Of the two copper is preferred because other metals will put contaminants into the alcohol that could be dangerous to your health. Copper is one of the few metals that would not be dangerous to your health and is readily affordable.

On the body of the still you make in two pieces. One part is to hold the beer to be boiled the other is the cover with the arm jutting out of the top of it. The cover needs a port to pour the beer into the still that has to be covered with a cover that can blow off in case the still builds up too much pressure in the boiling process. Attach the cover with some paste of tape so it can blow off.

If you are going to distill ethyl-alcohol or ethylene you’ll have to get a permit from the government as it is illegal to distill ethyl-alcohol because you can drink it. As a fuel for your car you can make it as long as it is denatured but you should check with your lawyer first.

The worm is the most important part of your still because this is where the alcohol is actually produced. Making a worm is a real project, and they are usually made out of about 20 feet of copper tubing. For a small still you should use copper tubing with an inside diameter of 3/8 of an inch. If you are making a larger still the tubing should be one half of an inch in diameter.

The very first thing you have to do is to fill the copper tubing with dry sand, and cap the ends of the tube to keep the sand from running out. The reason for the sand is that it keeps the tube from flattening out as you make a coil out of it. The old-time moonshiners used to make a coil by wrapping the copper tubing around a fence post. A more effective way of making a worm is with a piece of 8 inch PVC pipe that is 6 feet long and 2 feet of it are buried in the ground and the other 4 feet are sticking up into the air.

To make the worm you have to wind the 20 feet of copper tubing around the PVC pipe until you have used up the whole 20 feet. It’s easier to do this with two people, one holding in the tubing against the PVC pipe and the other one to wind it around the pipe. Leave enough of the upper end of the worm long enough to attach to the arm of the still. After you have formed the worm you then remove it from the pipe by sliding it off the upper end. Then pour the dry sand out of the worm. It is then finished, and ready for use.

The worm is then placed in the water jacket which is nothing more than a plastic pail that allows the water to run in the top and out through a small hole in the bottom. The worm sticks out the side of the pail near the bottom of the pail about an inch or so. The other end of the worm is attached to the arm arm of the still. The arm of a still is the piece that juts out of the top of the still at an angle. Its purpose is to condense the vapors of the alcohol into a liquid.

What drips out at the end of the worm Is the finished alcohol. The first liquid that comes out of a worm is highly contaminated with dangerous organic chemicals and must be discarded. The good alcohol as it comes out of the worm is sort of cloudy and tea colored. Periodically you have to test this by flipping a few drops into an open fire. If it flares up it is good alcohol. Conversely, if it doesn’t flare up it no longer contains enough alcohol.

Runoff the last of this alcohol, and it can be used by placing it back into the still and re-distilling it along with a fresh batch of new wort or distillers beer.

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Published in: Cooking


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