Vodka is a one-dimensional, almost neutral drink, made from grains or potatoes. Its relative neutrality is obtained by a multitude of distillation cycles, where each distillation further strengthens the ABV in order to reach 190 proof, while pushing heads and tails associated flavors to the sides.
This iStill Blog post is about how we improved vodka making over the last few years, and how you - as a craft distiller and/or iStill customer can take advantage of those innovations. Quite technical maybe, but that's what it takes to make superior vodka: its a technological balancing act between purity and output after all. Or between reflux and product, if you like.
Making vodka in the old, pre-2016 iStills
The old iStills had a robot with only 35 steps. It calculated the boiling point of ethanol via stabilization.
Making better vodka in the original iStill NextGen in 2016
With the introduction of the iStill NextGen in 2016, we completely redesigned both the column and the boiler for better performance. Robot 2.0 came out, with improved 1,000 step accuracy. The actual boiling point was still calculated through stabilizing the column. The NextGen saw a boost in production of around 50% over the older designs.
Making better vodka in the iStill NextGen in 2017
The year 2017 saw another bit update, to further improve the accuracy of the iStill's vodka making capabilities. Robot 3.0 came out. It gave the iStill an incredible 2,500 settings.
Making even better vodka in the iStill NextGen in 2018
For 2018 we changed two major things. First, we added a double calibration to the thermometer probes, further narrowing their operational windows. Secondly, we added an air pressure monitor. The new monitor allows for second-to-second supervision of air pressure. The moment it changes, the iStill automatically compensates. Since the iStills are now no longer dependent on stabilization for air pressure readings, they become both more accurate and more efficient. Basically this shaves up to an hour off the total run time!
Making the best vodka in the iStill NextGen since 2019
With the 2019 innovations in place, we feel the way we help make vodka has reached its peak. No more improvements are planned, we have reached the optimum. Non Plus Ultra. What the 2019 innovations are? ABV-Control and the Reflux Capacitor.
ABV-Control does, well, what it says: it helps manage your ABV. It works via a sophisticated program, where the computer, based on thermometer inputs, predicts what will happen, and prepares the robot accordingly. No more column re-stabilizations. Instead of open or close, the unit now continuously optimizes. The result? Better performance and higher efficiency.
The Reflux Capacitor improves the overall column performance with 25%, resulting (again) in a more stable run. As a result, the take-off vs. reflux ratio can now improve even further, creating the purest product possible in the shortest amount of time.
Want to buy?
That' is perfectly possible. Easy too. If you buy a new iStill, you get ABV-Control, double calibration, the air pressure monitor, Robot 3.0, and the Reflux Capacitor as standard. Together, this incredible innovation suite maximizes and optimizes your vodka production.
Want to upgrade?
If you want to upgrade your 2016, 2017, or 208 iStill NextGen to Robot 3.0, the air pressure sensor and Reflux Capacitor, that is perfectly possible. It costs EUR 5.000,-. Online assembly support is provided and part of the offer.
No, you don't need ABV-Control or the double calibration. It is part of your service agreement and was rolled out to your iStill during the last software update.
Vodka distilling made easy with iStill ...