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What is an Alembics Lab course like?

Our courses are video-based demonstrations of how to distil, with our instructors guiding you through the distillation process from start-to-finish.

Our videos are pre-recorded and on-demand, meaning you watch when it suits you and learn at your own pace. Each video course is also broken down into modules for ease of learning. There are no restrictions on the number of times you can view your course—you can go back and re-watch parts or all of the course whenever you want.

What's included in my course?

Our free courses are short (20 mins), instructional videos. Our paid courses are longer (1-1.5hrs) and include lifetime access to:

  • The pre-recorded, on-demand video course.
  • Detailed, downloadable PDF course materials, with instructions, tables, formulae and recipes.
  • Your course forum—you gain automatic membership and access to The Alembics Lab course forums for questions, support and discussion.

Where do I start?

If you are new to distilling, we recommend you start with our free introductory courses—Types of Stills, and Still Cleaning & Care. These short, instructional videos (around 20 mins each) introduce the types of stills we work with, and will help you determine which is best for your purpose.

When you’ve chosen a still (or if you already have one) our Still Cleaning & Care video will help you set up your still and workspace, and walk you through the cleaning and maintenance of your still.

Do I need to own a still to take your courses?

No, you don’t need to own a still to take these courses, or to learn from them. But as these are practical courses that will demonstrate exactly how the process works, and how to achieve it yourself at home, if you have a still, you can work alongside them if you want.

What equipment do I need to distil with you?

You don’t need anything to begin learning, except a device and an internet connection. Each course has an complete list of equipment used in the downloadable course materials, so if you’re wanting to distil alongside us, you can ensure you have everything you need to hand.

Can I use a different type of still to the ones you’re demonstrating on?

Of course. The principles of distillation are the same, no matter what type of still you are using. The only exception is that the still you have must be the right type for the distillation you’re attempting. Some still types are essential for vapour distillation, for example, while others are better suited for alcohol runs. If you’re not sure what you need, check out our free Types of Stills video, or get in touch with us.

How long do your courses take?

Our video courses are pre-recorded, and on demand—so you can learn at your own pace. Typically, each of our practical courses will guide you through a technique or process from beginning to end, and are around 1–1.5hrs long. Each course varies in length, and you can check the duration of the video content for each course. The content is broken down into shorter modules, for easier learning.

Can I watch my course over again?

Absolutely. Once you have purchased a course, you can re-watch it whenever you like, and as often as you like. There’s no limit to the number of times you can view a course or an individual module. You have lifetime access to your course.

What does lifetime access mean?

It means that there are no time limits on learning. Once you buy the course, it is available to you for the duration of your membership with us. That means as long as the platform is operating, and as long as you have an account. If you delete your account, you will not be able to download or access the courses.

Are there tests or assignments?

No, these are practical, hands-on courses that will teach you how to distil, there are not tests or quizzes.

Who are The Alembics Lab instructors?

Jill Mulvaney is our lead instructor, and there are a number of contributing instructors who will be adding to our courses in the upcoming months. You can find out about them on our About page.

Will you be adding more courses?

Yes. We are currently in the process of recording our extensive ‘Grain to Glass’ Masterclass, featuring Adam Sparks, from Sparks Brewing, and we will be adding many more courses in the future.

Purchasing and support

How does it work?

On purchasing a course, you will receive an email from The Alembics Lab with your login and password details, and simple instructions on how to access your account and begin learning.

Can I start my course straight away?

Yes. There are no scheduled start dates, these are on-demand courses. Your course(s) will be ready to watch as soon as you log in to your account. If you have any issues, you can contact us at [email protected].

Don’t forget to download your course notes before you start!

How do I view your free courses?

It’s easy—all you need to do is use your email address to create a free Alembics Lab Account. We will send you an email straight away with your login and password details, and simple instructions on how to access and watch your course. You’ll also gain access to the course forum.

The Alembics Lab will never ask for credit card details, or any other financial information from you in order to access our free courses.

How do I access my course?

You must be logged in to your account to access your courses. Once you are logged in you’ll find a complete list of all courses you’re enrolled in listed on the main page, front-and-centre, under ‘My Courses’. Click to open the course, and begin or resume viewing.

When logged in to your account you can also access your courses through the main course page.

Where do I find my course materials?

On opening your course for viewing, the course materials are available to download from the top of the left-hand-side menu, right before the first Module.

You also access and download all your course notes from your account page. You’ll find them on the Dashboard menu, under ‘Course Notes’.

What learning support is there, and can I ask questions?

Of course. Once you’re enrolled in a course, you will also gain automatic membership to that particular course forum, where can ask questions and check the topic threads already there for help and advice. You can also contact us directly if you have any questions you’d like to know before buying.

How do I get access to The Alembics Lab forums?

When you enroll in a course, you will automatically gain access to the corresponding course forum. You can access these forums via the forums page on our main website, or through your account page (in the Dashboard menu).

Note you have to be logged in to your account to access the forums.

What is a 'Foundation Course'?

Our Foundation courses are so-called because they are designed to give you a solid grounding in the three major areas of distillation and their techniques—hydro, steam and spirit distillation.

From our own work, we’d seen that there is often a division between aromatic and alcohol distillation, and that very few places (if any) taught all of these techniques. The Alembics Lab brings these together under one roof, so people can get a solid grounding in all the main techniques, and take advantage of the synergy in their practice.

Where is The Alembics Lab based?

The Alembics Lab is based in New Zealand, specifically on Waiheke Island, in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

The Customs and Excise Act of 1996 made it legal to distil alcohol at home in New Zealand, and since then there has been a great blossoming of experimentation and knowledge around home-distilling.

Where can I buy a still like the ones you use?

You can find the stills we use in our courses at our sister site Alembics NZ. Alembics ships stills world-wide.

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