The Old Library Archives




Distillation of Alcohol & Denaturing, 1907

 By F. B. Wright.  2nd edition

Comprehensive technique and drawings about all types of commercial spirits production in the early 20th century.  A must read.  301 pages.

 APV Distillation Handbook 4th Edition

Great overview of the theory and design techniques of modern distilling plants.  52 pages

Build a Spiral Still

A no-fuss simple air-cooled still designed and developed by the members of, a Swedish distillers group.  Courtesy of Johan & Riku.  27 pages.

Artisan Distilling

by Prof. Kris A Berglund

An excellent book on small distillery fruit brandy and schnapps production.  Very in-depth and recommended reading for anyone interested in perfection.  102 pages.

Great-Great-Grandad's Rum

By Harry Jackson

Translation & Notes

 Original handwritten recipe, method and still construction passed down from my ancestors.  Queensland Australia circa 1870.  Caution, the measurements are British Imperial gallons, not U.S.  9 pages.

Simple Low-cost Stills

by Riku (abbababbaccc)

Another excellent offering from Riku.  Detailed construction methods for air-cooled & water-cooled designs, pots, reflux, Automatic Reflux Control (ARC), computer & power control etc.  51 pages.

The Home Winemaker's Manual 

By Lum Eisenman

 A much needed marrying of ready-to-run concepts and technical theory.  Great for beginners and old hands alike.  178 pages.

An Introduction to Professional Plumbing Skills

by CDC Australia Ltd.

A "must have" for anyone interested in building their own copper distilling equipment.  This metalworking guide has been developed by the Copper Development Centre Australia Limited, with the help of Cliff Hensby,John Williamson of MM Kembla Tube and Fittings and representatives of various TAFE Plumbing Schools.  82 pages.

Theory of Distillation

Designed as a series of slides to be used in conjunction with a lecture, this offering is for the technical and theoretical-minded professional.  35 pages.

Build A Practical
Home Still

by Howard (Harry) Jackson

My contribution to still building at a practical level.  It includes all plans and instructions for the Crossflow Condenser and recirculating coolant system.


The Alcohol Textbook 3rd ed

by J. E. Murtagh

Reputed to be the "Bible" for beverage distillers.  We have available a few specially selected chapters to enhance your prowess as a hobby maker of fine spirits.  Check the following listings.

Ch 06  Molasses as a Feedstock

by J. E. Murtagh

All you need to know to use molasses as the raw material for alcohol production.  8 pages.

Ch 11  Production of Scotch and Irish Whiskies

by T.P. Lyons

The history, evolution, comparisons between, GC analysis, production techniques of Scotch and Irish whisky.  It's all there.  32 pages.

Ch 12  Production of Canadian Rye Whisky

by J.A. Morrison

This chapter presents the essential features of the process and quality control procedures developed over the years to understand, control and exploit the special attributes of rye grain in the manufacture of beverage spirits.

Ch 13  Production of neutral spirits, preparation of gin and vodka

by J. E. Murtagh

If you are looking to make base neutral spirits for vodkas, gins and blenders, then this chapter is definitely recommended.

Ch 14  Production of American whiskies: bourbon, corn, rye and Tennessee

by R. Ralph

Many details of mash bills, methods etc. are presented here, along with some interesting historical dialog.  If you want to try making these classics, then look no further for information.

Ch 15  Production of Tequila from Agave

by M. Cedeño Cruz and J. Alvarez-Jacobs

Traditional and modern processes are examined in this treatise of a famous uniquely Mexican spirit.

Ch 16  Production of Heavy and Light Rums

by J. E. Murtagh

Rum is the stuff of legend.  The technique of splitting and mixing fractions to achieve a particular style is covered in this chapter.

Ch 17  Fuel Ethanol Production

by P.W. Madson and D.A. Monceaux

This chapter is interesting for it's comparisons between beverage and ethanol fuel production techniques.  It's of value as many hobbyists dabble in both related fields.



Alcohol & Pregnancy - DON'T!!

by Harry Jackson

 "If you're trying to have a family, do not consume alcohol.  If you want to drink and are sexually active, practice birth control.

PLEASE heed the warning"

Fire Awareness

by Harry Jackson

 "Fire is a good servant, but a very bad master.

Do NOT let this happen to YOU!"

 Egyptian Beer

by Hideto Ishida

 A look at the way it was done in ancient Egypt.  8 pages.

 Yeast Nutrients Guide

By Lallemand

 A comprehensive guide to feeding yeast during fermentation.  7 pages.

Great-Great-Grandad's Rum

By Harry Jackson

 Original handwritten recipe, method and still construction passed down from my ancestors.  Queensland Australia circa 1870.  Caution, the measurements are British Imperial gallons, not U.S.  9 pages.

Unit Conversion Chart

Handy for converting weights & measures.  Metric, Imperial etc.  1 page.

Distillation, How it Works

By Mike Nixon

A comprehensive treatise on how and why distilling is possible.  Mike has many years experience in the field of hobby distilling and still building.  10 pages.

Distiller's Yeasts

By Lallemand

A description of the specialty distilling yeasts developed by this company.  2 pages.

The Composition of Oak

by Gunther C., & A. Mossandl.  1986

An in-depth study of Oak wood and how it affects maturation of wines & spirits.  Highly recommended reading.  10 pages.

How Wine Barrels Work

by A. E. Flecknoe-Brown

This article explores basic "barrel physics", oxygen addition rates, and experiments in cutting evaporation losses.  2 pages.

An Introduction to Yeast

What it is, what it does, how it reproduces, it's history, recent developments etc.  Good article with graphics.  1 page.

Column Designing & Costing

by Andreas Linninger

For the Chemical Engineers among us. Very technical calculations.  30 pages.

Alcoholometer Correction Table

by Geoff Redman

Most alcoholometers (they measure %abv) are calibrated at 20°C.  But what if your spirit temperature is different?  You need a correction table.  This one has charts, graphs and a description of how to do the calcs.

Islay Distilleries Fact Files

by Mal Taylor

Ever wonder what the secrets to Islay malt whiskies are?  Now you can find out.  Mal Taylor has put together a summary set of facts to help you understand and possibly reproduce some of these fine expressions.  Fascinating reading.

Diluting The Still Charge

by Howard (Harry) Jackson

"Why should the spirit run be diluted before distilling?"  A simple valid question, given that one of the objectives of distilling is to remove water.  The answer is far from simple.

Australian Distillation Act 1901 (2004)

Distillation Act 1901 Act No. 8 of 1901 as amended.  This compilation was prepared on 8 September 2003 taking into account amendments up to Act No. 107 of 2002.

Module 2:  Heat Exchangers

by U.S. Department of Energy

Describes the purpose, construction, and principles of operation for each major type of heat exchanger: parallel flow, counter flow, and cross flow.

Basic Equations for Heat Exchanger Design

by Wolverine Tube Inc.

If you're into mathematics, this is for you.  From the Wolverine Tube Heat Transfer Databook II.

Production of Heavy Rum

by Rafael Arroyo

Rafael Arroyo is considered to be the guru of rum makers.  This 1945 patent explains his techniques in detail.  There are a few surprises, so don't skip over anything.

How Barrels are Made


The art of barrel making, known as cooperage, is an ancient skill.  The following information is adapted from the famous French cooperage, Seguin Moreau.



To give people an idea of the scale of operations in a modern distillery, here are a few videos from the now-defunct Seagram's Distillery in Waterloo, Canada.  In it's day it was renowned for the excellent Canadian Rye Whiskey's that it produced.  Sadly, modern economics have caught up and another piece of history is wiped away.  Gone, but never forgotten.

Hopefully you will enjoy these videos, and perhaps gain a tip or two to help you improve your own offerings.


 Making Barrels For Seagram's Whiskey

Making The Whiskey

The End Of An Era



The Cooper’s Craft:  The Art of Colonial Barrel Making

Here are some selected extracts from this fine video.  Modern day craftspersons are trained, under a master-apprentice system, to use the tools and techniques of the eighteenth century to create 21st century replicas of colonial objects.  Master cooper George Pettengell transforms an oak tree into a solid watertight container suitable for almost any shipping or storage need.

View with Quicktime Movie player


The Cooper Trade

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