Before you use your still for the first time, independent of its model, we recommend 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.
If you use your still just once a year, you should make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned before storing it away for next year's distillation, which is what happens here in the Iberian Peninsula after the harvesting season. 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. The joints of the alembic should be sealed using a traditional sealing technique once you have placed the hood on the alembic pot.
If however, you use your still quite frequently, say every other month, 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.
If you are using your still to make essential oils - be aware that the oils will stick to the walls of the pot and copper coil and will start to form a sticky crust. You should always clean all the parts of your still with warm to hot water to eliminate the grease, especially in the condensing coil or it may clog with time.
Please note that alembics used to produce essential oils should not be used to make alcoholic spirits as oils will naturally become impregnated into the copper with time and my influence the spirits which may become improper for human consumption.
A small booklet with complete cleaning guidelines and basic instructions will be sent to you after purchase is made.