Best Thumper Keg

Best Thumper Keg Guide for Homebrewing

If you have never heard of a thumper keg before, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one! A thumper keg is a great tool for distillers or alcohol enthusiasts as these kegs can help distill wine a second time to get some more alcohol content into it.

Thumper kegs have a wide range of uses but distilling and making moonshine or bourbon are the most common reasons to own a thumper keg.

If you’re not sure if you should purchase your own thumper keg, or you are just curious, and you’d like some more information on these kegs, then keep reading.

We have provided a whole rundown on all the most important facts you should know about thumper kegs and even a list of the best thumper kegs you can buy based on their constructionquality, and versatility.

Top 3 Picks

Best overallVevor Alcohol Distiller

The Vevor alcohol distiller comes complete with copper tubing to help circulate your home brewing kit pump for the best tasking whisky, brandy, or wine you can boil up. With great reviews and a perfect price, the Vevor alcohol distiller model is our best overall brand.

Best for BeginnersAlcohol Distiller by Marada

Complete with three pots, the Marada moonshine distiller uses a Stillwater system to help you make delicious whiskey, wine, brandy, or any other kind of delicious alcohol you love. This kit is ideal for anyone who is a beginner as this kit comes with an extensive guide and setup manual.

Best PriceMason Jar Kit

If you are interested in trying out a thumper keg but don’t want to commit to a very large one, then a mason jar kit would be perfect for you. We’ve all seen those iconic mason jar moonshine jars, so this takes out the middleman and allows you to create your own moonshine right in the jar.

What Is a Thumper Keg?

Thumper Keg

A thumper keg is a barrel or thumper chest that is known to distill whiskey, bourbon, or wine. These kegs are basically a still that is most popular among moonshine distillers and distilleries.

Thumper kegs can be made out of pretty much anything, including copper, steel, or wood – the most common material.

Thumper kegs are a variation between a still pot and a condenser that will distill your pot a second time to add in more potency and to run the distillate through the system again to get the most of your brew. These are used to make very strong alcohols and beverages.

How Does a Thumper Keg Work?

A thumper keg works by putting your alcohol through a second or third distillation. A standard pot still will only distill a liquid once to create a very low ABV content. A thumper keg will take that lower ABV and distill it up to three more times to create more potency.

Why would you want this? Well, a lot of people prefer a higher-proof spirit to mix into cocktails or to just get the highest alcohol content out of a spirit.

A thumper keg works to distill your spirits a second time to add in more alcohol. A third time can be used to get the most ABV possible, but watch out because this will be super strong stuff.

Do You Need a Thumper Keg?

If you are someone who does not like whiskey, bourbon, or moonshine, maybe a thumper keg isn’t the best investment for you. Or, if you like to drink these types of spirits but do not necessarily have the time to brew your own, you may want to pass on these kegs.

But, if you love to homebrew or make your own wine or moonshine, and you love to tinker around with distilling, then absolutely a thumper keg would be a great idea for you.

They are fun to use, easy to customize, and the best part is you can easily make hundreds of different kinds of spirits and play around with your favorite flavor profiles.

What Size Thumper Keg Do You Need?

If you are just starting, you will not need a super huge thumper keg. Something around 25 percent to 40 percent the size of your main boiler will do just perfectly.

If you want to play around with other flavors, such as botanicals, or you are working with low wines, you may want to consider a thumper keg that is at least 50 percent the size of your main boiler to give you plenty of room.

The larger your main boiler is, as you will need heat to course through your kit in order to up the proof of your spirits, the larger your thumper keg will need to be.

Keep this in mind while you are shopping around for your next thumper keg; always compare it to the size of your main boiler and plant for it to be larger.

What to Look for In a Thumper Keg

Thumper Keg

A thumper keg is pretty much just like a spirit choice – it’s going to be different for everyone based on his or her personal preference. But, to help you along the way, we’ve created a rundown of some of the basic factors to look for in a thumper keg.

Materials

Thumper kegs are traditionally made from copper, steel, or wood. For moonshine specifically, wooden thumper kegs are the most common as barrels are typically used for moonshine and whiskey.

The wood helps infuse woody, natural flavors into your moonshine or whiskey that creates a robust, woodsy finish that people love.

A copper or steel thumper keg will bring in a bit more of a refined taste with a neat, clean finish. These thumper kegs are great for wine, bourbon, and even some forms of clear spirits.

These thumper kegs will give you a smooth taste but may not be as pronounced or versatile as a wooden thumper keg.

Size

As we stated before, your thumper keg should be at least 25 percent the size of your main boiler. Ideally, a thumper keg of about 40 percent the size of your main boiler is great as this will allow your spirit to distill effortlessly with a smoother action.

The size of your thumper keg really depends on the size of your main boiler and how much of the spirit you want to make. The bigger your thumper keg is, the more moonshine, whiskey, or bourbon you will be able to put out.

Just make sure your main boiler is of matchable size to keep things flowing smoothly.

Flavors

We will go into more details about how to infuse flavors into your thumper keg below, but you should know that it is great adding flavors to your spirits. This will add a whole new, complex taste and wonderful mouthfeel to pretty much anything you are making.

Whether you prefer fruit infused spirits, oaky smokey finishes, or you just love the smell of great raw ingredients such as coffee, herbs, or spices at the back of your nose as you go in for each sip, then feel free to play around with some infusion flavors to create your favorite spirit ever.

Maintenance

It’s very important to maintain and clean your thumper kegs to prolong their life. A great way to maintain your thumper keg is by giving it a good vinegar wash every few months, depending on how often you use it, of course.

This will help clear the lines of any residue and will provide fresher tasting spirits each time you make them.

No one wants to have a residual taste of coffee or wood chips if you are trying to make fruit wine, so keep this in mind before you start another brew. Cleaning your thumper keg may be a bit time-consuming, but it is very important to uphold the integrity of your spirit’s taste in the future.

Price

The price of your thumper keg will really depend on the type of thumper keg you are buying, the size, and how much comes with it. For example, a standard kit will be pricier than just a thumper keg along, and a kit complete with jugs, flavor add-ins, and tubing will cost you much more.

Overall, if you want to keep it simple, start small and with a kit that comes with easy-to-read instructions to make smaller batches of spirits.

If you are a pro who is familiar with distilling, then you may even have some of the items on hand that would traditionally come with a kit, so you won’t need a whole lot of extras anyways.

Infusing Flavors with A Thumper Keg

Infusing flavors into your thumper keg spirits is easy if you follow these basic steps.

Fruit Infusions

Adding fruit-infused spirits into your thumper keg is a must if you love wine or the taste of fruit in your spirits. All you need to do is place your chosen fruits, spices, or herbs into a container of low wines and let that sit for about a week.

These flavor infusions will infuse, and you are ready to add them to the bottom of your thumper keg before you get to your final moonshine.

Adding in Juice

You can also add in juice flavors, whether you prefer apple, cranberry, or blackberry, right into your thumper keg without any prior infusing distillation. This is a faster process, but the taste of the fruit may not be as forward as using actual fruit that has been infused for two weeks or more.

Raw Ingredient Flavors

The most attractive way to add in flavor, but not the most effective, is adding in raw ingredients such as orange rinds, mashed fruit, herbs, and spices won’t get you as strong of a flavor as a basic infusion will.

You will need to add in pretty large amounts of whatever fruit or spice you are using, as it will take a lot to break down and add in the flavor you want.

Cleaning Your Thumper Keg

We briefly talked about using a vinegar wash to clean out your thumper keg, but here are a few basic steps to follow to do it properly.

  • Fill your boiler at about 20 percent capacity with a healthy mix of distilled hot water and a good amount of vinegar. Your water to vinegar ratio should be the same, at 50/50.
  • Distill your solution normally to bring in that heat.
  • Make sure you let your concoction reach at least 170 degrees F for at least five minutes, but ten minutes will be better.
  • After it reaches temperature, turn it off and let it cool down. Then it is safe to handle, and you can simply dump it out, rinse, and your thumper keg is clean!

Best Thumper Kegs

Without further ado, we have a perfect list of the best thumper kegs you could buy online right now if you want to. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there is something for everyone on this list. Happy distilling!

Copper Moonshine Still

Copper Moonshine Still

Classic copper moonshine still, this Stampede still comes in a large 3.3-gallon size, so you can make a lot of moonshine with it. It has a three-inch access port and vertical ½ inch piping to give you an accurate boil time. It is constructed from copper sheets and includes a temperature gauge, so you will always know the temperature.

The still is completely lead-free and comes with a silver-based solder. Attached are ½ inch copper pipe handoffs and a drain at the bottom for easy pouring.

Pros

  • Made from copper sheets
  • Holds 3.3 gallons of liquid
  • Includes temperature gauge
  • It comes with a locking clamp

Cons

  • It may be too expensive for some
  • Not everyone may prefer copper stills

Key Features

  • Size: 3.3-gallon size
  • Price: More than $300
  • Range: Made for moonshine
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty through the manufacturer

Who Is This Best For?

Stampede moonshine stills are best for anyone who is experienced with distilling moonshine and a variety of moonshine flavors. Definitely not for the beginner moonshine distiller.

Still Water Alcohol Distiller by Marada

Still Water Alcohol Distiller by Marada

If a still water distiller is what you’re looking for, look no further than the Marada moonshine still water distiller. It can hold a whopping 9.6 gallons and comes complete with three pots. With this setup, you can easily make all the whisky, wine, or brandy you want.

All the pots in this kit are made of stainless steel, so they won’t rust or wear down over time. This is a great complete kit for experts or those just starting out.

Pros

  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Precision designs
  • Simple to use
  • Very versatile

Cons

  • It May be too large for some
  • It May be too intricate for some

Key Features

  • Size: Can hold up to 9.6 gallons
  • Price: Less than $150
  • Range: Wide range
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

Who Is This Best For?

This kit is best for anyone who wants a great stainless-steel kit, whether you are an expert or a novice who plans on making a good amount of whiskey, bourbon, wine, or moonshine.

HOLHUO Moonshine Making Kit

HOLHUO Moonshine Making Kit

If you have always been interested in making moonshine, but you weren’t sure how to get started, this kit would make a perfect purchase for yourself or as a gift for someone who loves all things distilled. This is a huge 8 gallon still kit that comes complete with a thumper keg and wine starter sets.

All the tubing within this setup is made from food-grade silicone tubes, which makes them more flexible and tough. This is great for better water flow and an ultimately smoother process altogether.

Pros

  • Complete kit
  • Stainless steel
  • It comes with three pots
  • Great starter kit for wine or moonshine

Cons

  • It May be too large for some
  • Pots may be too thin

Key Features

  • Size: 8 gallons
  • Price: Less than $200
  • Range: Versatile range
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

Who Is This Best For?

This kit would be best for anyone who is just starting in the distilling world and would like to make a wide range of wine or spirits.

Moonshine Still by VEVOR

Moonshine Still by VEVOR

VEVOR has made a wonderful moonshine still kit that can hold up to five gallons of alcohol. This kit comes with copper tubing with a high-capacity circulating pump, so you are getting a good temperature swirl of water. This also comes with a built-in thermometer so you can easily see where your temperatures are at all times.

Pros

  • Holds 5 gallons
  • Copper tubing
  • Circulating pump
  • Built-in thermometer

Cons

  • It may be too simple for some
  • Smaller size

Key Features

  • Size: Five gallons
  • Price: Less than $130
  • Range: Wide range
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

Who Is This Best For?

This kit is best for anyone who is just starting out who is interested in making wine or brandy. This is an easy-to-use kit, but it is not of a very high capacity, so it may not be great for ongoing distillers.

VEVOR Home Brewing Kit

VEVOR Home Brewing Kit

A bit larger than the last VEVOR stilling kit we just saw, this kit holds a larger, 9.6-gallon capacity. This kit is ideal for making wine, whisky, and brandy as it comes with a professional-grade water alcohol distiller and a copper tub within the pots. Much like the previous version, this kit also comes with a built-in thermometer for temperature precisions at all times.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Stainless steel
  • Fast cooling

Cons

  • It may be too large for some
  • Tubing may be too intricate for beginners

Key Features

  • Size: 9.6 gallons
  • Price: Less than $200
  • Range: Wide range of alcohols
  • Warranty: Free returns through Amazon Prime

Who Is This Best For?

This VEVOR kit is best for proficient distillers who prefer to make whisky, wine, or brandy. The intricate pot and tubing system may not be great for beginners.

Alcohol Distiller by OLizee

Alcohol Distiller by OLizee

Ideal for moderate to professional distillers, the OLizee brand home brewing and distilling kit comes to compete with a stainless-steel professional construction that has been hand welded.

This is a multifunction kit that can be used for distilling fruited wine, other spirits, or even water if you want distilled water. This system holds an independent airway design that will help your spirits reach a higher purity.

Pros

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Professional welded inside
  • It can be used for various distilling
  • One year warranty

Cons

  • It may be too expensive for some
  • It may not be great for beginners

Key Features

  • Size: Can hold up to eight gallons
  • Price: More than $250
  • Range: Has a wide range of uses
  • Warranty: One year warranty through the manufacturer

Who Is This Best For?

This kit is best for professional to moderate distillers due to the professional-grade welding design inside of the pots. This kit comes complete with a thumper keg and copper tubing.

Wide Mouth Mason Jar Distilling Kit

Wide Mouth Mason Jar Distilling Kit

If you do not want to commit to an entire thumper keg setup, then maybe this simple wide-mouth mason jar design will be better suited for you. This is a smaller distilling kit with a thumper kit attached to it.

It can hold up to half of a gallon of spirits or moonshine and comes with an inlet pipe inside to prevent any super-hot spots from forming at the bottom of the glass, preventing any breaks or unwanted accidents.

Pros

  • A smaller, easier to use kit
  • Great for moonshine
  • Made from copper and glass
  • Silver-based lead-free solder

Cons

  • It may be too small for some
  • It holds only a half of a gallon

Key Features

  • Size: Holds half of a gallon
  • Price: Less than $40
  • Range: Perfect for moonshine
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty through the manufacturer

Who Is This Best For?

This kit is best for anyone who wants to try making their very own moonshine in a very small batch. It’s great to use on a kitchen counter and would make a great gift for your favorite moonshine lover.

FAQs

Question: What Liquid Do You Put in a Thumper Keg?

Answer: You can place pretty much any kind of spirit into a thumper keg if you would like to give it a second or third distillation for more alcohol content. Typically, low wines, bourbon, whiskey, and moonshine are placed into thumper kegs for more distillation time.

Question: Can I Put Fruit Juice in a Thump Keg?

Answer: Yes. Usually, you can add in your fruit juices at the bottom of your thumper keg before the rest of your spirit.

Question: Do You Heat the Thumper Keg?

Answer: Yes. Thumper kegs need to reach at least 170 degrees F to activate and distill your spirit.

Question: What is Best to Put in a Thumper Keg?

Answer: Moonshine is the most common spirit used in thumper kegs. You can add fruit flavors, herbs, or spices with it to create a different flavor profile.

Question: How do You Clean a Thumper Keg?

Answer: Using a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water will get your thumper keg super clean.

Final Words

So, there you have it, some of the best thumper keg kits you can find, along with some super helpful information on how to use a thumper keg. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there are plenty of thumper kegs here that will get you well on your way to making the tastiest moonshine, whiskey, wine, or bourbon yet.

Personally, I’d pick the Vevor Alcohol Distiller for its overall design, function, and price point.

Did you find this article useful? We hope you did. Do you have any experience working with a thumper keg and distilling your own spirits? We would love to hear from you.

Feel free to share your experiences and insight in the comments. And for more helpful homebrewing tips, check out our complete guide to home brewing, and the science behind it.

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