THE COMPLEAT DISTILLER 2nd Edition by Nixon and McCaw


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SKU: 9781935761037 Category:


Worldwide, there is a growing interest in distillation by those who enjoy making alcoholic beverages, essential oils, botanical extracts and perfumes. We have read books that purport to describe how distillation works, but got it wrong in whole or in part, and some that detail how to build a particular type of still and operate it but which are based more on myth than sound scientific and engineering knowledge. We came to the conclusion that there was a crying need for a book that gives a detailed account of the entire subject, avoiding old wives’ tales and dealing entirely in verifiable facts. We were proud to have recently received this tribute: I read your book. Excellent work! As a teacher of Chemistry I must admit that this book is truly a teaching book of the highest caliber. It is a proud member of my library! MC

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Fermentation

How alcohol is created
Various types of fermentation
The art of fermentation
Special fermentation techniques
Dr. Cone’s methods for high alcohol fermentation
Turbo yeast products
Techniques for employing either the Cone Protocol or turbo yeast

Chapter 2 How distillation works

Vapor pressure
Mixtures and solutions
A graphical description for mixtures
Cleaning and Polishing

Chapter 3 Putting theory into practice

Batch and Continuous Distillation
Distilling water
Types of Still

Chapter 4 Equipment design

Boiler control
Designing and building stills
Compound still management

Chapter 5 Operating procedures

General principles
Pot Distillation
Fractional Distillation
Compound Distillation

Chapter 6 Botanicals and essences

The Flavors and Scents of Nature
Essential oils
Methods of Extraction
The Product

Chapter 7 The workshop

Some basic requirements
Basic techniques
Heating elements (control)
Brazing (Silver Soldering)
A final tip for the Distiller

Chapter 8 The Science behind the Curtain

Atoms and Molecules
Moles and Mols
Molecular structures
Volumes of Vapors
Mol Fractions
Dalton’s Law for Gases
Raoult’s Law for Liquids (boiling of mixtures)
Saturated Vapor Pressures
Latent Heat of Vaporization (LHV)
Clausius-Clapeyron Equation
Antoine Equation
Equilibrium Curves
Surge boiling
Supercooling and Column Stability
They were wrong!
A Final word

Appendix 1 Weights & Measures
Appendix 2 Carbohydrates for fermentation
Appendix 3 Hydrometer table
Appendix 4 Activated carbon
Appendix 5 Vapor Management
Appendix 6 Air-Cooled Condensation
Appendix 7 Scaling Up and Speeding Up
Appendix 8 References


The Authors

This is a book that you MUST have on your shelf. There is enough chemistry and physics in the book to satisfy even advanced distillers. If you don’t have this as a reference then you don’t have all the information you may need. The money investment will save you far more than you spend on the book down the road. Enjoy

This book is a must have for anyone who wants to learn more about distillation. Written and explained at just the right level for distillers who want to improve on what they have. Some of the technical math may initially seem complex but it is explained very well, if read thoroughly I’m sure anyone can figure out the best overall mash and still setup. This book has way more than a few simple scientific equations in it. Most of it is real world information that will ultimately help the end product. I think this is a great read for even the most experienced distiller.

Additional information

Weight 12 oz
Dimensions 6 × 6 × 6 in


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