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Dawning of the age of glass!

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Seems to be some interest in glass column stills lately, so I thought I'd share a project with the wider group here.

We've been working with the StillDragon crew to have them design and build what we think is the largest modular glass still ever constructed, a full 12" plated glass column atop a 300 gallon steam jacket boiler. This is a bit more than an evolution of the 8" design that some of you may have seen, mostly because the scale here is significantly larger. Of course, we will only be the first until the next one is ordered!

The entire StillDragon crew has been a pleasure to work with, Lloyd, Dan, Larry, and Gary. Lots of input, lots of creative late night design sessions. Some very impressive engineering work to come up with a design that can still be flexible and modular at this scale. Hats off to Dan and Lloyd especially. This is an incredibly ambitious project, everything was designed from the ground up. We wanted to push the limits, and that we did.

Attached is one of the design session renderings in a 4 plate configuration that also includes an additional catalyst chamber above the dephlegmator. CIP components are not illustrated here. While you wouldn't necessarily be adding or removing plates on a daily basis, adding or removing a few additional plated sections is a trivial amount of effort.

The rendering doesn't quite illustrate the scale well, I believe in this configuration the flange to piping top is just about 6 feet tall, which puts the full height just a tad under 12 feet. Also for scale, the bottom flanges are about 16" OD. The parrot assembly was designed to carry the weight of the full product condenser on an accessory table (not shown).

Post column piping follows the StillDragon modular approach using triclamp fittings, shown here plumbed with 4", and with a single 1 meter shotgun condenser, but again, trivial to add another half meter or full meter condenser for additional capacity if necessary.

Our own engineers are working to finalize the control system, but the still itself is designed to use standard triclamp RTD probes for the boiler, dephlegmator coolant temp, post-dephleg vapor temp, and product condenser coolant temp. Smaller temp probe fitting will be used for the product take-off temp alarm. So fitting your own or a third party control system should be easy enough. It does not get any more flexible than this.

Currently in manufacturing and should be in our possession in about 2 months or so.

Will share some additional photos once the components are out of manufacturing.


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I hate to burst your bubble Jamesbednar, but borosilicate glass lab stills of sizes greater than that, have been around for a long time. I still think it will be cool to see the final design in production, but Corning beat you to first. I saw one first hand at a company in Michigan who's column was at least 16 feet of glass. They weren't involved in making spirits but distillation was a big part of their manufacturing.

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Very interesting plans. Yes, glass columns have been around. I cut my teeth on distilling with a 30 foot tall glass column back in 1989 when working for a chemical engineering research company. We were making ultra pure hydrazine (rocket fuel component) for vapor-liqid equilibria studies. Talk about theoretical plates...

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