The Best Proofing Parrot For Distilling (In year])

If you want to take continuous alcohol gravity measurements while distilling, then you need a proofing parrot.

It’s the last vessel in which the distilled alcohol collects and mimics a measuring cylinder to allow the safe placement on an alcoholmeter during distillation.

Though some may think it’s not required for distilling, it’s a handy piece of equipment to have. The best parrot is constructed of copper (you can make your own) although you can get them in stainless steel as well.

Stainless parrots are easier to clean, but traditionalists seem to prefer copper ones.

By placing the proofing parrot inline, you’ll not need to take a sample of your distilled alcohol to determine what the average alcohol percentage is.

It’s considered a more accurate measure based on the time at which you check the sample.

While it is possible for smearing to occur, the larger your distillation run is, the less it will affect the final alcohol quality.

Smearing refers to the blending of vapors or liquids that are distilled at different times during the run and it can affect the taste and quality of your distillate.

A parrot is great for assisting you with making cuts in your distillation process, so you do not have to stop the procedure.

This is where the head, heart, and tail come in.

The Heads

The initial part of the distillate is called the “head” and its initial part is known as the “foreshot.” This contains most of the toxic methanol produced as a fermentation by-product. For most traditional distilleries, there is a significant amount of foreshot produced by their pot stills.

As for the rest of the head, it is made up of the distillate up to the point where the distiller decides to start collecting the ethanol.

This is considered the “first cut” from the head to the heart.

The Hearts

This is the main body of the distillate that is kept in the distiller. In this part of the process, most of the ethanol comes through the still and contains pleasant flavor compounds. It is the distiller’s creative decision on how much of the distillate to keep before the “second cut” starts off the tail.

Further along in distillation is where heavier, richer flavors appear. However, there are also unpleasant, unwanted water-soluble flavors that appear.

The Tails

Once the second cut has been made and the still has stopped, the pot will take a fair amount of time to cool down. Usually to the point where the wash stops evaporating. Whatever liquid that continues to run off the still, is called the “tail.”

These three distinct parts are the fundamental distillation characteristics that are required for a distiller to perfect the craft.

How Do You Best Use a Proofing Parrot?

The best way to use a parrot is as follows:

  • Start by turning on your still.
  • Then, you will want to get all your temperatures to an optimal level.
  • When your alcohol starts to come out, your parrot will begin to fill.
  • This is when you can insert your alcohol meter.
  • Now, it will begin to measure the ABV, and you can keep track of the readings.

What Different Types of Parrots are there?

Generally, when using a parrot, whether it be copper or stainless steel, you will get the same results. The main difference is that copper is cheaper and is easy to solder. You can also easily take them apart.

The parrot also assists in removing any sulfur from the distillation, but most of the time, the sulfur is taken out in the column of the “still” when busy with distillation.

Now, if we are to consider inline vs freestanding, the same applies here. Either option should give you the same result.

This is where your preferences come into play. So, if you prefer freestanding, then purchase one.  However, inline tends to be a more popular choice among distillers.

You’ve heard the saying “size doesn’t matter”, but when considering a parrot, size does matter and can become a problem if the incorrect size is used.

It is very seldom that it is an issue if it is too big. But if your inlet is too small, it will cause a pressure build-up within the still and can lead to a dangerous increase in pressure.

Essentially, the size needs to be big enough to ensure this does not happen.

If your parrot is too small, there is a high chance of spillage due to the alcohol not having anywhere else to go.

At the end of the distillation process, the drain valve will clear out any liquids remaining in the parrot.

What do you need to look for when buying a Proofing Parrot?

There is not much you need to take into consideration when buying a proofing parrot, but it is important to be sure that the size you buy is correct as it will affect the output volume of your still.

This is common knowledge among manufacturers and retailers. However, most retailers will keep a standard size. Usually, this is because 99% of home distillers will not have a boiler larger than 100L, which should output around 3L of very high percentage alcohol on an hourly basis.

What are the best brands on the market?

Generally, there are no “best brands” when it comes to purchasing a proofing parrot.

If you decide to buy a stainless-steel parrot, it is best to have one in 316 stainless steel or better. The thickness of steel will be determined based on the size of your parrot.

YUEWO produces a well-made stainless proofing parrot although it’s quite pricey.

For copper parrots, The Home Brew Shop has some very traditional proofing parrots that work well. However, they are also pretty expensive when you consider that you can put one together for a few bucks yourself.

You’ll just have to experiment a bit with soldering copper tubing.

What are the top Three Parrots of 2022?

Regardless of whether you are a beginner, an advanced home distiller, or a professional, parrots are a great addition to your still.

Here are a few we found that we think you’ll like:

1.  Stampede Stills Proofing Parrot (Best for The Beginner)

  • This brass base parrot comes with lead-free solder.
  • It is a big help in proofing real-time during a run.
  • It is sturdy and stable, which makes it easy to use.

Pros

  • Lead-solder free
  • Traditional look and feel

Cons

  • A little pricey

2. Vengeance Proofing Parrot (Best For The Advanced Home Distiller)

  • This is another fantastic option that allows you to read the proof of your spirit a lot faster.
  • High-quality copper construction using lead-free solder.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Lead-free soldered joints

Cons

  • Tarnishes easily

3. YUEWO Proofing Parrot (Best Professional Grade)

  • This parrot is made from high-quality 304 stainless steel.
  • It is easy and effective to separate the head, heart, and tail.
  • This will make the output of your alcohol smooth and pleasant.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • High-quality build
  • This parrot is made from high-quality 304 stainless steel.
  • This will make the output of your alcohol smooth and pleasant.

Cons

  • Expensive
Still Spirits Turbo 500 Condenser
Still Spirits Alchemist Distilling Series Artisan Turbo 500 Copper Reflux Condenser
Still Spirits Complete Alembic Dome And Condenser Assembly
Title
Still Spirits Turbo 500 Condenser
Still Spirits Alchemist Distilling Series Artisan Turbo 500 Copper Reflux Condenser
Still Spirits Complete Alembic Dome And Condenser Assembly
Copper Construction
Stainless Construction
Great For Making
Vodka & Neutral Spirits
Vodka & Neutral Spirits
Gin, Rum, Whiskey, Brandy, Schnapps & Tequila
Not Ideal For
-
-
Vodka & Neutral Spirits
Typical Output ABV
90-94% ABV
90-94% ABV
50% - 80% ABV
Still Spirits Turbo 500 Condenser
Title
Still Spirits Turbo 500 Condenser
Copper Construction
Stainless Construction
Great For Making
Vodka & Neutral Spirits
Not Ideal For
-
Typical Output ABV
90-94% ABV
Still Spirits Alchemist Distilling Series Artisan Turbo 500 Copper Reflux Condenser
Title
Still Spirits Alchemist Distilling Series Artisan Turbo 500 Copper Reflux Condenser
Copper Construction
Stainless Construction
Great For Making
Vodka & Neutral Spirits
Not Ideal For
-
Typical Output ABV
90-94% ABV
Still Spirits Complete Alembic Dome And Condenser Assembly
Title
Still Spirits Complete Alembic Dome And Condenser Assembly
Copper Construction
Stainless Construction
Great For Making
Gin, Rum, Whiskey, Brandy, Schnapps & Tequila
Not Ideal For
Vodka & Neutral Spirits
Typical Output ABV
50% - 80% ABV

How to Build Your Own Proofing Parrot

If you would prefer to build your own proofing parrot, here’s a simple method to follow:

Step 1: Clean all your parts with a wire brush or sandpaper. As a side tip, add water-soluble flux to each joint before soldering.

Step 2: Solder a large reducer “T” fitting to the end of the 1-inch pipe. The end of the “T” should be flush with or slightly inset from the end of the pipe. Only use lead-free solder for this project. As soon as the solder begins to melt, stop adding heat!

Step 3: Solder a 1.5-inch to .5-inch reducer coupling to the other end of the 1-inch pipe.

Step 4: Add the connector, small “T,” another connector, and the end cap to coupling. The small “T” should face the opposite side of the pipe to the large “T.”

Step 5: Add the 90-degree elbow to the middle part of the small “T.”

Step 6: Add the longest 1/2-inch pipe to the 90-degree elbow and support it with another ½ inch pipe.

Step 7. Add a large reducer coupling to the end of the ½ inch pipe.

Step 8: Add the 45-degree elbow to the middle part of the large reducer “T.”

Step 9: Add the small ½ inch pipe to the 4-degree elbow and finish soldering.

This best parrot allows you to read the proof of your run-in in real-time. It is useful when making cuts during the distillation process and if you decide to make moonshine, a parrot is an indispensable addition to your setup.

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