want to know what a still is and what it works for? If you are a lover of alcoholic beverages and you like to know everything about its elaboration process, in this opportunity we will explain you everything about the Alembic. Join us and discover little by little about the instrument used to obtain the alcohol that gives rise to different liquors, distillates or even spirits.
what is a Alembic?
The alembic is nothing more and nothing less than a metal instrument used for the evaporation and then condensation of the alcohols produced by different mixtures, it is a discontinuous method of distillation.
This instrument was made of copper, which gave it the characteristic color of the oldest alembics. However, nowadays, there are different alloys that give way to new alembics with more metallic colors.
Origin of the Alembic
Everything seems to indicate that the alembic was invented by the Persian sage Al-Razi during the 10th century, with the purpose of producing perfumes, medicines and alcohol from fermented fruits. The word alembic comes from the Arabic al-inbīq and the Greek ambix and is also known as alquitara and alchemy.
how does a Alembic work?
A Alembic is a simple distillation tool which is made up of a boiler, a capital, a swan neck and a cooling vessel. An alembic works by heating the mixture to be distilled in the boiler. Once this step is completed, the temperature is increased and the more volatile products are separated. These will start to rise from the capitel, which must have a certain volume in relation to the volume of the boiler.
It is necessary that the capital is like this to avoid condensation of the evaporated liquid and then passes from there to the gooseneck, which is often transformed into a coil in which the vapor condenses by reducing the temperature and is collected in the final container in liquid form.
The stills used to distill alcoholic beverages are made of copper, because this type of material does not add flavor to the alcohol, resists acids and conducts heat well. If a better quality distillate is sought, several distillations are carried out to obtain purer alcohols.
How to make a home alembic step by step
A still is a tool that can be used for various purposes, from purifying water to making medicines, thanks to this multipurpose device. In order to make a handmade alembic you must have the following materials:
- Copper or stainless steel pressure cooker or cauldron
- 8mm copper tube
- Cork stopper
- Large thermos or small water cooler, if you don’t have one you can use a small plastic bucket
- Tube couplings
- Silicone or glue
How to make a handmade alembic step by step
If you wish to make a stove alembic, you must follow the steps below:
- Make two small holes in the cork stopper, one for the copper tube and the other for the thermometer, these should be adjusted so that they are tight and cannot move inside, it is important that the stopper fits perfectly in the hole of the pressure cooker.
- To condense the steam coming out of the vessel you will need to make a copper coil, to do this take the 8mm tube and give it a spiral shape at one end.
- The coil has to be small enough to fit inside the thermos and have about 2.5 cm on each side, so on each side of the coil you will need a long section and a short section of at least 15 cm.
- Avoid the formation of folds in the coil, so you can achieve this by blocking one end of the tube and fill it with sugar or salt, use a funnel and shake the tube while filling it.
- Drill and make a small hole on one side, the small section of the tube will come out of it, the cooler will serve as a condenser.
- Place the copper tube in the condenser and pass the shorter end through the hole in the bottom of the thermos. Then seal the edges of the hole with silicone or glue and pass a straight section of the tube through the top hole.
- You can use a lid that is easy to put on and take off, for this you can cut a little bit of the tube once it comes out of the top hole, another section should go into the pressure cooker and connect to the couplings.
- It is important that before connecting the tube to the vessel you must empty the salt or sugar added in the steps above.
- Connect the longest part of the tube to the pressure cooker and put the other end into the pot itself, this should be done a little, i.e. enough to reach the inside but not submerged in the liquid.
- Once the previous steps have been completed, proceed to place the thermometer in the hole that you had prepared in the cork stopper, this must be deep enough to submerge but without touching the bottom or the sides.
- Ready, so that you can now use your home alembic, you must fill the condenser with ice, water and rock salt.
It is important to keep in mind that you must work in an electric stove, never in a flame stove because it can cause fire and unwanted accidents.
How to make a solar alembic to purify water
If you prefer to make a solar still, you must follow the steps below:
- Get a large deep container, this can be made of plastic, aluminum or steel, but cannot be made of lead and place it outside on a sunny surface.
- Place a small container inside the large container, this should be shorter than the edges of the large container.
- Fill the large container with water, but make sure that the water level does not exceed the edges of either container.
- Cover the container with thin plastic wrap, you can use tape or rubber bands to seal it tightly.
- Place a weight in the center of the plastic, this should be placed on top of the container, and should tilt the plastic downwards, but be careful that the plastic does not touch the container.
- The sun will evaporate the water in the large container, so the water vapor will rise and condense on the plastic, and as the plastic is tilted the condensation will roll off and fall