Best Thumper Keg Guide

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 your initial mash into a higher-proof spirit without having to run your low wine through a pot still for a second time.

Thumper kegs have a wide range of uses, such as making essential oils, 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 this thumper keg guide.

I 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 tasting whisky, or brandy you can boil up. With great reviews and a perfect price, the Vevor alcohol distiller model is my favorite overall brand.

Best for People Who Already Have a stillMile Hi Thumper

This is a super high-quality thumper attachment for an eight-gallon pot still. The still is not included, so this is best for someone who already has some distilling experience and is looking to add a thumper to their arsenal.

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 (also known as a thump keg, thump barrel, or thump chest) is attached to a still so that it’s not necessary to run a second distillation of low wine to further distill whiskey, bourbon, or other spirits. These kegs basically cut out a step required to strengthen spirits through more rustic stills (like pot stills and moonshine stills), and are very popular among moonshine distillers and home distillers. Some traditional craft distilleries use them as well, though it’s not as common.

Thumper kegs can be made out of pretty much anything, including steel, copper, or even wood.

Thumper kegs attach between the pot and condenser of your still, and will distill your low wines a second time to make them more potent. These are used to make very stronger alcohol by volume liquor.

How Does a Thumper Keg Work?

A thumper keg works by putting your alcohol through a second or third distillation within the still without having to start a new run from the beginning. 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. It works by adding a chamber that allows the vapor to cool and condense, resulting in only higher ABV vapors reaching the next step of the process.

Why would you want this? Well, a single run through a pot still won’t give you the ABV you’re used to seeing in your favorite spirits. A lot of people prefer a higher-proof spirit to mix into cocktails or to just get the highest alcohol content out of their distillate.

A thumper keg works to pull out more alcohol from your mash without having to distill your spirits a second time.

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 distill your own, you may want to pass on these kegs.

But, if you distill or are thinking about tinkering 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 larger volumes 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, the larger your thumper keg will need to be, as you will need heat to course through your kit in order to up the proof of your spirits.

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, I’ve created a rundown of some of the basic factors to look for in a thumper keg.


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 brandy, 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.


As I 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.


I’ll 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 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.


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 run with a vinegar solution 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 brandy, so keep this in mind before you start another run. 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.


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 alone, 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 the taste of fruit in your spirits. A thumper keg can be used similarly to a gin basket to infuse your spirit with flavor.

Add fresh fruit, spices, citrus peel, or juices to your thumper keg, or add feints that have already been steeped with these raw ingredients. The distillate will pick up the added flavors as it passes through the thumper.

Best Thumper Kegs

Without further ado, here are my picks for 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.


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


  • 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.

Mile Hi 3 Gallon Thumper

Still Water Alcohol Distiller by Marada

If you’re looking for a thumper to go with a pot still you already own, this is an excellent choice. This three gallon thumper includes a compressor and fits an eight gallon pot still. It includes safety valves, instructions, and everything you need to mount it to your still.


  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Only purchase what you need
  • Simple to use
  • Very versatile


  • You’ll need a still if you don’t already have one
  • It’s pricier than many other options
  • For the best fit, pair it with a Mile Hi still

Key Features

  • Size: Can hold up to 3 gallons
  • Price: More than $450
  • Fits an eight gallon still
  • Still not included

Who Is This Best For?

This kit is best for anyone who already has a pot still and just wants a high-quality thumper keg.

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.


  • Holds 5 gallons
  • Copper tubing
  • Circulating pump
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Full kit – not just the thumper keg


  • 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 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 Distilling 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 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.


  • Large capacity
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Stainless steel
  • Fast cooling
  • Full still kit


  • 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.


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


  • 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 Thumper 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 converts a wide-mouth mason jar into a thumper keg.

It works on half-gallon mason jars 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.


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


  • 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.


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

Answer: You can place pretty much any kind of liquid into a thumper keg before running your still. Water, mash, low wines, feints, and even fruit juice can be used, and will each impart slightly different flavors or characteristics on your final product.

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

Answer: Yes. You can add fruit juice to your thumper to impart fruit flavors on your distillate.

Question: Do You Heat the Thumper Keg?

Answer: Some distillers choose to heat the thumper keg, while others don’t. Often the heat from the main boil is strong enough to keep your thumper hot, but whether or not you need to heat your thump keg will depend on your individual circumstances and personal preference.

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 kegs and 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, or brandy 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!

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