Basic overview of making spirits ( in theory )

Talk about methods, equipment and recipes for making brewed and distilled spirits at home.

Basic overview of making spirits ( in theory )

Postby MagooMan » Sunday May 06, 2007 5:27 pm

Ok, I have surfed around and seen people talking a "standard 25 litre wash". I understand this is what comes out of the fermenter before you distill it. What I am curious about is how much a 5 litre still can handle. Does the 5 litres mean that you can't fit all of that 25 litre wash in? Or that you can but you can only feed 5 litres into the still at once. So only 5 litres can be distilled every 4-5 hours or whatever it is.
Just asking cos by my calculation you only get about one spirit bottle's worth (700ml or so ) from 5 litres of wash and I am interested in "distilling water" in bulk. But it seems only 5 litre "water stills" are available in oz.
I am hoping you can just do up a 25 litre batch in my beer fermenter and distill 5 litres into spirits at a time, over a couple of days.

Also i havent been able to see how you would vary the alcohol strength, most info i have seen simply says it comes out at 80%. I am more looking at around 40% as a desired strength. Is this determined through temperature,water etc??

Appreciate any advice
:D
Deutsches Reinheitsgebot: Deutsches Bier ist von Wasser, Hefe, Hepfen und Malz gemacht. Wenn nicht, DASS IST GAR KEIN BIER!!! Ich liebe Kuupers Koelsch und Frueh Koelsch.
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Postby Chris » Sunday May 06, 2007 7:16 pm

Make it to 80%, and water it down.

It is also illegal to either own or operate a 5L or 25L still in Aus, so careful who you ask about it. :)

Finally, it's not hard to adapt to a 25L still from a 5L. Do a bit of research (NZ websites are good for that info).
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Postby lethaldog » Sunday May 06, 2007 9:23 pm

A 5 litre still can only take 5 litres at a time ( hence the name) and it takes about 1 hour, a 25 litre will take about 5-6 hours but will do the whole batch at once :lol: :wink:
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Postby MagooMan » Sunday May 06, 2007 10:15 pm

Ok cool....how about the other option of making a "liquer" strength substitute around 20% . I am guessing this is done by using around 7-9kgs of dextrose and turbo yeast in a beer fermenter, ferment it, then add the spirit essence? Does this stuff taste all right?
Deutsches Reinheitsgebot: Deutsches Bier ist von Wasser, Hefe, Hepfen und Malz gemacht. Wenn nicht, DASS IST GAR KEIN BIER!!! Ich liebe Kuupers Koelsch und Frueh Koelsch.
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Postby Chris » Sunday May 06, 2007 10:31 pm

Without distillation, you are asking for trouble. You get all the nasty higher order alcohols, esters and screwed up hydrocarbons all swimming around in there. I wouldn't do it if you like seeing.

Aside from that, as far as the flavourings go, they are ok. Just remember that you get what you pay for.
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Postby MagooMan » Sunday May 06, 2007 10:51 pm

But isn't there some sort of a brew it yourself option from the HBS. Where you can do like a rum-flavoured weaker substitute as it is illegal to distill to get the higher strengths?? Am sure I have seen something like this...
Deutsches Reinheitsgebot: Deutsches Bier ist von Wasser, Hefe, Hepfen und Malz gemacht. Wenn nicht, DASS IST GAR KEIN BIER!!! Ich liebe Kuupers Koelsch und Frueh Koelsch.
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Postby Chris » Sunday May 06, 2007 11:01 pm

Haven't heard of it.
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Postby wambesi » Monday May 07, 2007 8:09 am

What your talking about sounds like the Alcobase system from brewcraft:

http://www.brewcraft.com.au/wawcs019613/ln-make-your-own-spirits.html

You ferment up your base alcohol, filter it and then add your flavours.
Have not yet done it myself but am looking into it to give the missus a baileys type drink without spending a fortune on a still.
Apparently it dilutes down again with the creams etc to about %5 from the original 20% but hey, only takes her a drink or two and she's feeling it.

Obviously if your looking for a kick it's not up there, but tastes wise they tell me it is pretty good. Anyone else able to comment on it?

Plus as it does not utilse a still it is legal (again from what Brewcraft store tells me).

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Postby MagooMan » Monday May 07, 2007 6:09 pm

Wambesi, do have a rough price for that one...couldn't seem to find one with that link. Do you reckon a 20% whiskey would taste alright, or would the whole lower strength just be to weird. :?:
Deutsches Reinheitsgebot: Deutsches Bier ist von Wasser, Hefe, Hepfen und Malz gemacht. Wenn nicht, DASS IST GAR KEIN BIER!!! Ich liebe Kuupers Koelsch und Frueh Koelsch.
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Postby wambesi » Monday May 07, 2007 6:41 pm

Well the bloke down at the HBS has some to taste test but I couldn't when he offered the day I was there :(

I'm not sure about the whole setup but the Z filter is about $70 and then you need to buy the carbon, glucose, turbo yeasts and flavours and I have no idea about those prices. If you dont already have a 30L fermenter you need one of those too.

I will try and dig up some of the info he gave me on it, see if I can find some further prices for you.

When I first heard about it the 20% put me off, but he reckons you can get the taste there its just the strength that is lower, and depending on what you mix it will be lower again eg. Irish creams.
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Postby lethaldog » Monday May 07, 2007 6:44 pm

Chris wrote:Without distillation, you are asking for trouble. You get all the nasty higher order alcohols, esters and screwed up hydrocarbons all swimming around in there. I wouldn't do it if you like seeing.

Aside from that, as far as the flavourings go, they are ok. Just remember that you get what you pay for.

Magoo man, this is good advice trust me, i dont care what they are offering but without distilling it then its just to toxic, you will be risking your health and eyesight for something that is only half the strength anyway..

My advice is do it right or dont do it at all :wink:
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Postby wambesi » Monday May 07, 2007 7:07 pm

Makes me wonder why this is being advertised then by a large company (Still Spirits through brewcraft).

It does say that is can be distilled then if you are in NZ but here in Oz obviously due to legal reasons it cant, so then it should be filtered through the carbon then flavours added.

I don't know alot about spirits - only what he has said in the shop but I would have thought that was the filtering is for too? To get rid of the impurities?

Anyway the following link actually has prices on their online shop.
http://www.liquorcraft.com.au/afawcs0113247/tn-shop-online.html

I'm still in two minds about it all, I need to read up more. I dont want to be drinking nasty stuff now.
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Postby lethaldog » Monday May 07, 2007 8:03 pm

Carbon filtering is for getting rid of minor off flavours and odours which may be left behind after distilling, it wont get rid of by products that are caused by the fermenting process :wink:

I think you will find that the only reason that stilling is not mentioned is because as you say it is illegal, it is still necessary though :wink:
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Postby wambesi » Monday May 07, 2007 8:14 pm

Ok good to know, will ask what the testing stuff went through.

Stills are out of my league though, have been looking at the amazing still to do on the cheap as have almost everything needed but not much info on results though.
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Postby MagooMan » Monday May 07, 2007 8:34 pm

Well how covert do you have to be when using a still to distill something other than water? Is it like how you can buy a bong from the tobacconist, except it is marketed as being a "water pipe". Am wondering how large scale alcohol websites can sell these freely when they are for "water".
Deutsches Reinheitsgebot: Deutsches Bier ist von Wasser, Hefe, Hepfen und Malz gemacht. Wenn nicht, DASS IST GAR KEIN BIER!!! Ich liebe Kuupers Koelsch und Frueh Koelsch.
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Postby lethaldog » Monday May 07, 2007 8:53 pm

Pretty much magoo, lots of people do it and as long as your not out trying to sell it then you should be ok, places can sell them because they can be used to distil all sorts of things..

stilling doesnt mean alcohol, it is merely a way of seperating certain substances from each other to create a pure product ( thats not scientific either, just my understanding)
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Postby Brewaholic » Monday May 07, 2007 8:53 pm

I agree with the dog hate the idea myself but dont really see how natural fermentation of sugar to 20% then drinking a bottle could be any diffrent to drinking 4 bottles of home brew at 5% especially after carbon filtering it should be better i think the main problem with bad alcohols is when using a poor design still or distilling at the wrong temp- keeping the first bit which would contain all the methonol.
That being said i still distill at over 90% water down to 40 then carbon filter it and you couldnt tell the difference between it and real vodka :wink:
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Postby MagooMan » Monday May 07, 2007 10:10 pm

What type of area do you need to do this at home. The reason I ask is I live in a unit and don't want to do this in my garage in front of the neighbours. Nor do i want to do it in the kitchen if the missus is going to chuck a spack over the smell/danger/space taken up.
Deutsches Reinheitsgebot: Deutsches Bier ist von Wasser, Hefe, Hepfen und Malz gemacht. Wenn nicht, DASS IST GAR KEIN BIER!!! Ich liebe Kuupers Koelsch und Frueh Koelsch.
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Postby lethaldog » Monday May 07, 2007 10:22 pm

It will take up most of the sink area, there is a little bit of rank smell when filling and emptying the still and if you no what you are doin there is practically no danger, just dont touch it while it is turned on cos it gets very hot and make sure it is on a heat resistent surface :lol: :wink:
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Postby Chris » Wednesday May 09, 2007 4:44 pm

It can't not be distilled for *legal* reasons, it can't for TAX reasons. They don't want to give up that little lucrative business.
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