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Distilling Essential Oils with the Turbo 500

Distilling Essential Oils with the Turbo 500


It is best to use the Alembic Condenser and Dome Top that can be attached to the top of your Turbo 500 / Mangrove Jacks Boiler if you wish to do this. Here's a link to the instruction for this: Making Essential Oils With The Alembic Pot StillHowever, if you already have a Turbo 500 and want to give it a go, here are some instructions for you.

Essential Oil Extraction - Using The Turbo 500


The first decision you need to make is whether you want your extraction in an Alcohol Base or a Water Base.

The Alcohol Base will preserve the flavours for longer so there is a real benefit here doing it this way. The Water Base is easier to do but the choice is entirely your own.

Alcohol Base:
You need to make a pure spirit first if this is your preferred route. If you’re not sure on how to do this, here's a link to the instructions: Making a Pure Spirit with the Turbo 500

You need to ferment some sugar in water using a yeast to make the alcohol. It really doesn’t matter what type of yeast you use as you are not going to be drinking this. 

Having made your decision about whether to do an Alcohol or Water base you now need to do the extraction.

For this you can use the Botanicals Basket. The Flowers/Plants go inside the basket.  When the vapours from the liquid (either Water or Alcohol) pass through the Flowers/Plants they will pick up the essence. 

The Turbo 500 is designed to heat up to 78 to 82 when Alcohol Vapour will come off the liquid. If using water it will take longer to do the extraction. Here are the step by step instructions to do this:

  1. Add the water or alcohol into the boiler and top up to 25 L (6.5 US Gal) with water.

  2. Remove all saddles from the column. Assemble the Turbo 500 unit as per water distilling instructions by having the cooling water directly through the condenser, by-passing the reflux coil and water outlet block. Here are the water distilling instructions in case you don't have your instruction booklet: Water Distillation Instructions for the Turbo 500

  3. Attach only the threaded section of the basket to the condenser column and underside of the lid in place of the stainless steel plug.

  4. Fill the bottom piece of the botanical basket with your desired botanicals. Orientate the pieces you have just assembled so they are the correct way up and screw in the basket from the bottom.

  1. Turn on unit. It will take approximately 1 hour to heat to boiling temperature. Before the liquid starts to boil, turn on the cooling water approximately 30 minutes after the unit was turned on. Adjust the cooling water to a rate of 2.5 L (2.5 US qt) per min or so that the distillate doesn’t become steaming, but rather flowing in a liquid form.

  2. Collect all the alcohol into a 5 L (1.5 US Gal) demijohn. Stop collecting when the spirit reaches 20% ABV.

  3. Leave to settle before taking the essential oils

WARNING: Make sure botanicals do not fall into condenser column as this may cause a blockage. If this does occur please contact customer service before trying to extract the blockage.

Note: It’s important to remember that when you’re done you need to thoroughly clean the machine otherwise these smells will be picked up next time you do the process.

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