Skip to main content

With PicoStill, Home Distilling Has Never Been Easier

picostill
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Up until, well, now, if you wanted to distill anything at home — such as essential hop oils to elevate your craft beer game — you would’ve needed to not only find a way to make or buy a still, but had the space for the copious amount of equipment. The home distillation game, though, is set to change with the arrival of the PicoStill.

Made by PicoBrew (check out more about their homebrewing systems here), the PicoStill is the first of its kind: a device that will allow anyone to create essential oils at home without the risk that come from a still that your Uncle Jimmy put together in his barn.

In a statement, PicoBrew CEO Dr. Bill Mitchell called the PicoStill an exciting development for the company. “Just as we pioneered the craft brewing appliance space five years ago with breakthrough professional-grade brewing innovation, now we are pioneering the small batch distillation space with innovative, professional distilling equipment.”

picobrew picostill
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Now, we know what you’re all thinking. But, it’s a still. That means I can make hooch with it!

Technically, yes. You could. Would it be illegal? Also yes. In most states, home distillation for personal consumption is illegal. Like, go to jail illegal. To make a spirit, you would need to be licensed to do so by your state. That doesn’t mean you can’t make plenty of other things, though.

Aside from essential hop oils — which can be made in less than an hour and then used in place of dry-hopping when making beer — you can also distill water, herbs, spices, and more.

picobrew picostill
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In terms of safety, the PicoStill is crafted to reduce the threat of incredibly dangerous situations (read: explosions) that could happen when alcohol vapors are in the air near sources of ignition (like the open flames that might be heating the still). PicoStill is basically a modern vacuum, which helps lower temperatures and prevent vapor leaks. The keys for the creators of PicoStill, Mitchell said, was safety and ease.

“Precise, repeatable performance under tight process-control is the key to addressing traditional challenges that distillation has posed,” he elaborated.

If the vacuum does happen to break, PicoStill is built with a patent-pending mechanism to shut the heat off while a special methanol collection chamber isolates cogeners.

If home distilling is your next venture (new year, new you!), PicoStills are up for preorder for $249. The MSRP when they go on sale will be $349.

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
A beginner’s guide to Burmese cuisine
Plus, a recipe to make the national dish
Tofu dish from Top Burmese in Portland, Oregon

When it comes to Asian cuisine, there are several heavyweights. Chinese, Japanese cuisine, and Thai jump to mind, three major cooking styles that have crossed many oceans and created solid footings abroad. But what of the smaller nations and their unique culinary customs?
Burma is one of those Asian countries, roughly the size of Texas and wedged between Bangladesh to the west and Thailand and Laos to the east. It’s important to note that the nation also goes by the Myanmar name, depending on who you ask. Political turmoil over the last several decades has seen not only a tug-of-war regarding its national title but also a struggle to define itself. Generations of British colonialism faded into brutal military rule and several uprisings.
This is the land of large pythons and precious stones. Some 90% of the globe’s rubies come from Burma. Rice is Burma’s biggest export and the landscape is dramatic, with towering mountain ranges, verdant jungles, and incredible old towers from bygone civilizations. Some 100 ethnic groups call Burma home, making the population of more than 53 million extremely diverse.
With tons of coastline, thanks to the adjacent Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, Burma cuisine is unsurprisingly driven by seafood. This is the land of fish sauce and dried prawns. The national dish is mohinga, a breakfast dish made with rice noodles and fish soup. Inland, there's more in the way of pork and beef and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Local Burmese restaurant in the U.S.

Read more
How to build the perfect charcuterie board for your date night
Check out these charcuterie board ideas to top off your evening
Charcuterie board and glasses of wine on a wooden table

The art of the charcuterie board goes far beyond the fancy ones you’ve seen on your screen. These Instagram-worthy adult Lunchables have ancient origins and meticulous methods that make them an even more appealing option for your dinner party. From the authentic to the adventurous, here’s how to take a pedestrian cheese plate and turn it into sensational charcuterie.
How to make a charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards should offer an array of flavors and textures that offer contrasting and complementing tastes in each bite. How the board elements are displayed is quintessential to its allure, but there are no specific rules to follow. Be as whimsical as you wish, playing with colors and layers, adding as much or as little as you think your guests will enjoy.

Read more
The best hiking snacks to fuel your time on the trail
Consider these foods to have with you on your hike
Man eating a hiking snack

Warmer weather is here, and it's finally time to dust off the hiking gear that’s been hibernating in the back of your closet all winter, and make some hiking snacks that will get you ready to hit the trails. From getting fresh air and exercise to enjoying scenic vistas, hiking is one of the best ways to get outdoors and enjoy nature. But, whether you're taking on one of the most physically challenging hikes in the U.S. or embarking on a short and simple day hike, it's important to be prepared with the right equipment -- and that includes the best hiking snacks. 

If you're keeping your hike relatively short, there's no need to reach for the dehydrated meals. What you do want are snacks that won’t spoil, don’t take up a ton of space in your backpack, and help you stay energized and feel good all day long. That means you'll want a mix of carbohydrates and protein, both of which your body needs to perform at its best during the hike and recover properly once you're done.

Read more