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Been working on setting up a small farm distillery for a couple years now  and ran across a hoga still that seems like a potentially good fit for what I want to eventually do (brandy mostly)

The still appears to have a steam coil in the jacket and the original posting listed the heat source as a steam coil but when I spoke with the owner she said they were planning on bricking it in and running direct flame. 

Two main questions: is their increased risk with running direct flame under a pot with a jacket and a coil in it? Would it even work? My gut says yes and no, but maybe I'm off. Guess I don't know all that much about steam coils on an alembic. Last place I worked had a steam jacket that covered the bottom as well as the bottom half of the still walls. I would think that the space would insulate against heat transfer from a direct heat source, and could also increase risk of still failure leading to leaks and other bad things by heating air in a confined space and other fun physics stuff. (I do not mean to spark the 'is direct fire safe?' argument all over again. I know there are lots of divisions on the subject. I know the guy in ky got killed running direct heat on an electric still, and was wondering if the same issues would exist with a steam coil?)

Second question: Assuming I dont want to try to run a mash tun or anything else and just focus on brandies and fruit or sugar based spirits what kind of steam boiler would I need for a 500l heat up in say 1.5 hrs or 2 hrs? Would guess a minimum of 250,000 btu? If there is a good forum I have not seen on here on this topic please do tell. 




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I’ve seen quite a few Hogas, and I’ve never seen a jacket.  So I don’t believe the hoga has one, and the coil is in the kettle proper.  Could the seller be confusing jacket with the direct fire skirt?

On the boiler - just keep in mind that there is barely any price difference between a 250kbtu and a somewhat larger boiler.  Sizing for minimum is asking for regret.  One you factor in labor, steam trim, traps, condensate, it’s only going to be $1000-$2000 more to go double the size.

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