Split Top Rotating Column Copper Alembic Still | Al-Ambiq®

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These Al-Ambiq® alembic stills are handcrafted in a small artisan factory just outside Porto, Portugal a company formed in 1837. 

Decorative and functional, there are two sizing options 3 Litre and 5 Litre, these are an ideal gift for a beginner or hobbyist distiller. Great for making quality hydrosol, small amounts of essential oil, and artisan spirits.

3L Still expect to yield approximately 200-50ml of hydrosol 2-3ml of essential oil (depending on the plant distilled), and 750ml of spirit in a 1.5 hour distillation.

5L Still expect to yield approximately 500ml to 1 litre, 2-3ml essential oil and 750ml of spirit in a 1 hour distillation.

Still Features:

  • Thicker copper sheets that require more manual labour and as a result become hand crafted master pieces;
  • There are brass locking / unlocking unions between the lid, swan neck pipe and the condensing recipient to avoid the escape of vapours;
  • The extension pipe is provided to compensate for the increased height of the column when in use. It should be connected between the swan neck piping and the condensing recipient;
  • The column is attached to the pot with a removable metallic axle;
  • The pot includes a draining pipe and a brass stopper;
  • The condensing recipient is equipped with a water inlet tube located at the bottom of the condensing recipient and an outlet tube at the top where the water exits;
  • These still are safe, tested, certified and lead free;
  • These stills if treated well, can last an entire lifetime.

First Clean:

Before you use your still for the first time, it is highly recommended that you process a distillation of water to clean away any impurities that have been left behind from the manufacturing process. Afterwards, just like with any other piece of machinery or hardware, it is essential that you maintain your still clean to last you for years.

The cleaning process will eliminate sulphuric acids and other harmful substances that have collected and deposited on the walls of your still, from the pot to the coil. You can carry out a cleaning distillation with a mixture of rye flour and water. It is quite simple.

Fill 40% of your pot"s capacity with water and 5% with rye flour. Prior to commencing a cleaning distillation you should verify that there is no obstruction in the swan neck pipe and serpentine coil. 

If you use your still quite frequently, you do not have to clean it out with rye flour and water. A single distillation using only water will be sufficient.

With regular use and in time, copper oxidizes and will gradually take on an overall dark red colour. Should you wish to polish the exterior we suggest you use an appropriate non-toxic polish. It is important not to use abrasive cleaners. You may also clean your pot with one of two traditional methods: rub with a cloth dampened in a salt and lemon solution; or use the ashes from the wood fire (if you used this as your heating source) on a damp cloth. This last method can be used for both the interior and exterior of the still.

Sealing Still:

Hand-made and hammered from sheets of copper to form gentle and gracious curves, there are no two Al-Ambiq® pot stills that are identical in diameter. Each lid is specially made to fit into each pot. Being hand-made there might be some slight slack between the separate pieces. To seal off any eventual vapour leaks a very simple technique may be used - rye flour and water. Simply mix the rye flour with some water to make wet soft dough in a small recipient. Then with your fingers simply push and rub this mixture into the joints of all the items.

When assembling your pot still, insert the swan neck into the pot with gentle pressure. Also connect the swan neck to the condenser. When vapours start to rise, should a leak occur simply add some dough to this leaking area.

To loosen the separate parts of the still for cleaning once distillation is complete, simply give a direct blow with the heel of your palm upwards to the rim of the separate pieces. The rye dough comes off easily.

To separate the tubes simply pull these apart carefully (where brass connectors are not provided).
Vapours will always search for an easy way out - through the piping - so there is no great need to apply thick quantities of the flour mixture.

An alternative method is the use of silicon tape or any other sealing tape that will sustain high temperatures.

*Take care not to tape the alembic joints excessively as the objective is to seal off escaping vapours and allow the alembic hood to pop off should an obstruction in the piping cause excessive pressure build up.