How to Make Moonshine

By Philip Brewer on 25 September 2007 (Updated 8 June 2011) 911 comments

It has been legal to make wine at home since the end of prohibition, and legal to make beer since 1978, but it's still illegal to distill spirits for beverage purposes without going through so much fuss and bother that the government admits flat out that it's "impractical." That's too bad, because homemade moonshine is incredibly frugal. (See also: 21 Great Uses for Beer)

Making moonshine is easy. In one sense, making any alcoholic beverage is easy, because the yeast do all the work. But moonshine is especially easy because running it through a still makes all the delicate balancing of flavors that mark a great beer or wine irrelevant.

I learned most of what I know about moonshine from the classic book Possum living: How to live well without a job and with almost no money by Dolly Freed. (A great book and well worth reading.)

[Updated 2010-01-14 to add:; I've just learned that Tin House books has reissued Possum Living! It's wonderful to see this classic once again available a reasonable price.]

Alcoholic beverages all start with yeast and with sugar for the yeast to eat. The sugar for wine usually comes from grapes (although other fruits are used, especially for homemade wine). The sugar for beer usually comes from malted barley (although other grains are also used). The sugar for commercially produced spirits can come from almost anything — corn for bourbon, barley for scotch, rye for rye, sugar cane for rum, and so on. For moonshine, what you want is the cheapest sugar you can find. Dolly Freed found that the cheapest sugar she could find was white granulated sugar. Nowadays, corn syrup might be cheaper.

Let me take a moment here to praise yeast. I'm a huge fan of yeast. They work tirelessly to make our bread and our booze, then uncomplainingly give up their lives that we may eat and drink. If there were an American Yeast Council, I'd want to be their spokesman.

The main difference between brewer's yeast and baker's yeast is that brewer's yeast has been bred to survive a higher alcohol content. That lets wine makers work with natural fruit juices that have a high concentration of sugar and get a higher concentration of alcohol before the yeast die of alcohol poisoning. If you're going to make your own sugar solution to grow the yeast in, though, you can just make the sugar solution's strength match what the yeast can convert before they die. It all comes out even with no waste.

According to Dolly Freed, it is a happy coincidence that 5 pounds of sugar in 3 gallons of water works out just right for ordinary baker's yeast.

[Updated 2007-12-30 to add:

A lot of people have asked how much yeast to add. I answered that in comment #16 below, but that's an obscure place to look for the answer, so I'm copying what I said up here.

I'd add one packet.

Since the yeast reproduce, it almost doesn't matter how much you add — after 20 minutes you've got twice as much, so if you add half as much it changes your total fermentation time from 10 days to 10 days 20 minutes.

All you need to do is add enough that your yeast overwhelms any wild yeast that happen to get in. (There are wild yeast in the air everywhere, so you really can't avoid them.)]

There are lots of good books on making beer and making wine. Any of them will describe the fermentation process, but very briefly you just:

  1. add sugar to the water
  2. bring to a boil (to kill any wild yeast in it and make it easy to dissolve the sugar)
  3. wait until the temperature comes down to 110°F (so you don't kill your own yeast)
  4. add yeast
  5. wait

The fermenting liquid is called the "must." You want to leave it loosely covered to keep other things from getting into it (wild yeasts, mold spores, etc.), but the yeast produce carbon dioxide as well as alcohol and you want to make sure the carbon dioxide can easily escape. If you seal it up tightly, it could explode.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Give it 10 to 25 days (depending on various things, but mainly how warm it is). You'll know its done when it:

  • quits bubbling
  • begins to turn clear
  • no longer tastes sweet

Now, if you were making beer or wine you'd have several more steps: bottling, aging, etc. Making moonshine, though, all you need to do is distill the stuff. For that, you need a still.

moonshine still

You can buy a still, but you probably don't want to. (They cost money, and the federal government — which scarcely polices this activity at all — probably does keep tabs on people who buy stills from commercial outlets.)

A still, though, is just:

  • a pot with a lid with a hole in it
  • a tube, closely fit to that hole, running to a jar
  • something to cool that tube

You bring the pot to a boil, the alcohol evaporates, the vapor goes out the hole, into the tube, and the condenses back into liquid alcohol.

Conveniently, an old-fashioned pressure cooker is a pot with a hole in the lid. Modern pressure cookers won't work as well, because they have a fancy valve to release the pressure, but with an old-fashioned one you just remove the weight and then fit the tube to the valve.

If you've got some room, you can just make the tube long enough and you don't need to do anything extra to condense the alcohol. Using a tube that coils some can save space. Alternatively, you can run your tube through a sleeve and run cold tap water through the sleeve. (Dolly Freed has a diagram of just such a setup.)

The things to be sure of here are that your entire set-up needs to be of food-quality materials: copper, aluminum, stainless steel are all fine. Plastics are iffy as some may leach stuff into the alcohol. Lead is right out, as is putting the pieces together with solder that includes lead.

Make sure the hole can't get plugged up, which could lead to your still exploding.

Set up your still and bring it to a light boil. Pretty soon you'll have almost pure alcohol dripping into your jar. The water content of the distillate will gradually increase. At some point a sample taken from the tube will no longer taste of alcohol, and you're done.

As I said, it's too bad it's illegal. Otherwise you could make some pretty good booze (well, let's say barely drinkable booze) for the price of a few pounds of sugar.

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Additional photo credit: Lisa Brewster / Flickr
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Guest

Ok, let me make sure I understand the flavoring part. After distilling, mix fruit in and let it sit for a couple of weeks. At this point I will distill again? Also, when I distill again, will I pour the fruit in the still also or do not put the fruit in the still? Also, how important is it that the still is completely sealed? I will be making one of the homemade jobs out of an iron/steel pot and assume I will need to use the flour/water mix. Lastly, how can you tell what temperature your liquid is if it is sealed up in a pot with out a thermometer on it? Do you just slow heat until you get dripping and then back heat off to cause the top of your pot not to blow off? Thanks!

Guest's picture
hippieshine

I've been trying to make moonshine for awhile, when i do i seal it up in a container and have a tube transporting the carbon dioxide into water, last time i tried it never bubbled due to bad sealing technique. But how do i know when it is supposed to start bubbling or does it start instantly?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

It should start to foam within a short time, 20 minutes or less. You should get bubbles in the airlock within 24 hours. If it is not aggressive enough for you, check the temps and maybe drop a crushed Bean-o in there.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

I'll leave the technical stuff about the still to philip and zorcy. As for the flavouring, yes, add whatever it is you want after distilling it, let it sit for a week or two, and then distill it again.Some things obviously carry more of a flavour as they contain essential oils; juniper berries, anise, and so on. Probably the easiest and most reliable flavour is orange or lemon. Just grate the peel off an orange or lemon or two and add it to your moonshine for a few weeks and run it through again. The citrus oils come through first and make it taste like limoncella or lemon grappa. Have to admit, I haven't really experimented with soft fruits like strawberries or blueberries......

Guest's picture
willie-boy

And, yeah, nearly forgot...........I always put the flavouring substance in the still myself, but I use small stuff like lemon peel or juniper berries. I don't know what would happen with a lot of soft fruit pulp like strawberries and so on. Could settle to the bottom and scorch and ruin the flavour. Might be better to strain it out first.

Guest's picture
Guest

Fruit pulp can also clog the tubes, and cause the still to blow.
strain out pulp before putting in still, and dont overdo fruit in fermenenter as it can clog the blow off tube (voice of experience, glass carboy is now SHRATNEL in sheetrock).

Guest's picture
Zorcy

You can check the temp of the pot itself. Try to get near the top part of the liquid level. Near the fire, the pot can get a small bit warmer then the rest. You can crank the heat right up to full blast if you like, it can only climb as high as the contents will allow to boil. For alcohol, that is about 180. When the temp starts to rise, you are running out of alcohol and it will try to climb to the boiling point of water from then out.

The lid does not have to be perfect. Just try to minimize the leaks. Steam will try to escape to the easiest exit point. You want this to be the copper tube. If there is a leak in the lid, it will back up there if the condenser tube gets stuck, backed up with moonshine.

If you look back, I walked you thru a way to flavour you product with fruit. It will be sweet and does not use an extra distillation. You can use soft fruit this way, like peaches and plumbs. If you do not want to wait the time out, put the juniper berries and so on in the thumper. The steam will carry off the oils during the first run. You will want to have a liquid in the bottom like before, bubbling thru it. Then have some shelf to keep the herbs above the liquid, so the steam can pass thru them to get to the coil.

If you created a column still, took out the packing and filled it with rose petals, this is how they may essential oils for fragrances. There are essential oil stills out there you can buy and do this with. The herbs and fruit peels work the same way.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

zorcy, if some of these oils, like the lemon stuff, have an evaporation point of about 76 degrees, like sort of halfway between your fusels/ (methanol) and the good stuff/ (ethanol), its a killer trying to get rid of the heads and still keep the flavour in. Unless it's already been pre-distilled and you've got rid of the fusels. Or made a near enough methanol-free wash. I'm with you on the thumper thing though; just a couple of questions. Do you need to have the liquid in your thumper already a sort of alcohol-saturated mix? And incidentally, is a "slobber-box" just another term for a thumper? I gave my pot-still away to a cousin a few months back, ( made from a "burco" boiler and a 40 foot coiled copper "worm" type condenser),when I got an air-cooled "smartstill" from a new-zealand guy I know; it just isn't possible to use a thumper with with it, which is why I've been putting my flavourings through a second distillation.And what would you use to get a DARK rum flavour?I've tried making a wash from dark muscavado sugar, but it just doesn't taste like rum.Apart from even going into the subject of colouring it dark.................!1

Guest's picture
Guest

Lol good info bro it cost for the sugar but still people out there that got the money and time but great info injoyed readin lol and I hate to read

Guest's picture
Guest

Couple of questions:

1. I just finished fermenting 23 litres of corn brew, and I just transferred it to my carboy for clearing. If I decide to distill over a period of time instead of all at once, can I just siphon so much at a time into the still and leave it in the carboy until it's all gone, or would it be best to bottle it?

2. Can I add a clearing agent to make it clear faster?

3. Do I really need to clear the brew like I would with beer or wine?

4. When sealing around the tubing that comes out of the cooling bucket, what would work best for that if I want to break it down after each operation? Would silicone work for hoplding in the water?

Thanks

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Willie, Yes, you should start flavouring after you distilled it once. You should have an alcohol in the thumper, but with all art, you change it to your personal feel and change it as your taste do. If you put water in, you would have to wait for it to collect alcohol from the still before it starts to steam. The slobber box is more like a water filter on an air compressor, its to pull off stuff and drain out. If you had a really high output production, you may need one. Most of us would not. see http://wiki.homedistiller.org/Slobber_Box. Rum is from molasses. Try brown sugar if you can't find any at a feed store.

Bro, how much would you spend on 10 pounds of sugar? Compare that to a bottle of Grey Goose. You can make Vodka as good as them at a fraction of the price. Besides, this is more of a folk art and you really can't put a price on that. This is for knowledge and fun.

Questions, Yes, you can pull it off a little at a time. Sealing it and putting in a fridge would be a great idea. If you get the wrong lil bug in there, you have vinegar. You could drop a few campden tabs in there to kill everything, including the yeast. It will slow it down from changing the flavours so much. You can add clearing agents, you can use left over beer or wine too. You don't HAVE to clear it, but the cleaner it is, the less chance of carrying over some odd flavour and scorching it. I don't think the old timers worried, they left the corn floating. I would seal off the water in the cooling bucket with a rubber grommet. Oil it so it slides well.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

You can buy wine or beer finings from any home-brew shop, but most of them are just some form of dried and powdered albuminim anyway. That's just egg-white. it's cheaper and easier to seperate an egg and keep the white; whisk it up with, say, a pint of your wash; let it stand for about 10 minutes and then pour it into your wash and stir it up. Use about one egg-white for every 2 gallons or so. It should settle clear in a few days. And it really DOES make a difference to the end taste. I was getting a lot of "off" flavours until Zorcy pointed out that it could be from scorched yeast in the still.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Nice to learn. I have always liked to learn the original way to do something. So eggs clarify, malted grain has enzymes to break down complex sugars, tea has tannins and lemon juice has citric acid. These are all used in some form or another in fermenting different recipes. Does anyone have some old time additives?

Guest's picture
guest

is it possible to distill alcohol by freezing the fermenting liquid until the water is frozen extracting the alcohol? if anyone has tried it or is willing to try it comment back please.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've been thinking about making a still from a 3L kettle with no lid, just a spout. I'm sure that I can simply plug the spout with a stopper or a cork and run the tubing into that, but I would also like to install a deep frying thermometer. Where should I install the thermometer, in the stopper, or somewhere in the body of the kettle? The kettle is stainless steel with a copper bottom, which seems ideal.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Freezing is legal in most areas that allow you to make beer or wine. You simple freeze your mash, then strain it. Hang it in the freezer in a cloth sack to let it drip off. We went over it before with Apple Jack. It works best if you can freeze and then thaw it out, without mixing it, a few times. You can use a salad spinner if you like, or just let it drip in the freezer once it is frozen. This will concentrate the flavours too, so expect INTENSE taste.

The kettle sounds great. You can tap the lid for the thermometer. You may not need it at all if you will be watching it.

For the egg whites, I would consider these items: http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/fining.htm

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Just re-read your post. So sorry to just catch on. You have no lid? You will have to get one. More them likely, any stainless steal lid that comes close to fitting, will work. You will need to seal it with wet bread.

Guest's picture
Guest

I first mixed my cornbrew to ferment 17 days ago. I let it ferment for 10 days, then I transferred it to my carboy to clear a bit because I got a lot of the cornmeal juice into the wort. It's been in the carboy now for a week, but there is still considerable movement still going on in the airlock and I can hear fizzing when I put my ear to the carboy. Should I wait until there is no movement at all? I feel that maybe I should let it go until all action stops in order to reach it's full strength before distilling. I just don't want the stuff to turn to vinegar if I let it go for too long. Thanks.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

If you have an airlock on it, it'll be okay; it won't turn to vinegar unles some outside contaminants can get in and affect it, which they can't, through an airlock. Let it ferment completely.
Zorcy.. I think when the guy above says he has a kettle without a lid, my first thought was that he meant one of those one-piece jobs; you know the things I mean? Some of them used to have a whistley thing that came with them to grab your attention when it boiled? The only outlet was the pouring spout. I can't really envisage one of them being big enough to hild enough wash to use as a still unless you were running through VERY small amounts at a time.
I actually used a wallpaper steamer one time; connected it up to the worm/ condenser and ran a couple of bottles of Frosty Jack cider (that's hard cider to you in the USA) through it. Turned out good enough, but tends to foam a bit of wash through and spoil the taste.
Incidentally, my uncle Mick used to put a losd of bits of broken crockery in his pot-still when he made poteen; he said it stopped it foaming down the worm; anyone else ever heard this? Is there any correlation between this any the modern use of porcelain raschig rings, or whatever they're called, in a reflux still?

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Guest

Willie, The kettle I decided to use is a 3L unit. If I filled it 3/4 full, that would be 2L. I plan to distill 23L of what I fermented. Would it be more practical to use something else that would be at least 4L?

Guest's picture
Guest

As I said in post #69, this kettle has no lid...the only opening it has is just the spout with the whistle-cap on it.

Guest's picture
Rinaldo

I would like to add a little more technical information here that may be helpful. I am no expert, and do not claim to be. I am simply a chemist who would like to fill in a few gaps here. I'll try to break this up into a few posts.

Fermentation of sugar to produce ethanol certainly yields other compounds, which most of us refer to as fusel alcohols (or fusel oils because of the minor presence of organic acids, aldehydes and esters, some of which may seem "oily"). Getting to the point quickly (trying to hold your interest!), the fusel compounds are ALMOST ENTIRELY concentrated in the "tails".

The only fusel compound to bother with in the "head" fraction is Acetaldehyde (an aldehyde, not an alcohol), with a boiling point of 20.2 °C, 68 °F. The boiling point of ethanol is
78.4 °C, 173 °F. So Acetaldehyde distills in the initial fraction (the "head"). This isn't so bad, because very little is produced. It isn't great for you, but your body metabolizes ethanol into acetaldehyde anyway. Some research indicates that acetaldehyde is most responsible for hangovers, whether it's in your beverage or produced in your body. Basically, it's nice to remove, but you don't need to get rid of unnecessary volumes of "heads" by any sort of random guess method.

Okay, more in my next post.

Guest's picture
Rinaldo

We have all heard the warnings about methanol, and most people realize that it is not such a big concern. There are comments on this thread, in fact, that point that out. Actually, it can be stated more bluntly that methanol is no concern at all.

Methanol is often mentioned when individuals have concerns about discarding the fusel alcohols in the "heads". Breathe deeply and relax, because methanol is not even a fusel alcohol. Fusel alcohols are "higher order" alcohols. Methanol has one carbon atom, while fusel alcohols have a backbone of at least 3 carbon atoms. Basically they are larger molecules (which often implies higher boiling points). In fact, ethanol has a backbone of only 2 carbon atoms. Knowing this, it should be obvious that it is smaller than the fusel alcohols (and follows the trend of having a lower boiling point). Most of the fusel alcohols are in the tails.

It seems possible that any remaining belief that methanol is a fusel alcohol which may be produced by fermentation of sugar could be the result of an actual fusel alcohol with a VERY similar name; methionol (a.k.a. 3-(Methylthio)propanol; 3-Methylthio-1-propanol; or 3-Methylthiopropanol). It is a common product of fermentation. This seems like a very easy thing to have people confused. Also, just because they sound similar doesn't mean that they have extremely similar chemical characteristics.

Okay, I have a little more information I would really like to share (in other posts), and then I will post a little wrap-up and try to provide some practical applications of my ramblings. Few people would care to hear any of this, but I hope the people reading this thread may appreciate it even just a little.

Next post coming ... well ... soon (after I sleep I guess)!

Guest's picture
Barron

When fermenting any compound that contains pectin you get ethanal. there are minute amounts of compounds in sugers from plants.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

If you're only running 2 litres through at a time, it shouldn't be a problem. Stick a few glass marbles or something in it to absorb some of the heat and stop it foaming. And let it settle clear or use finings first. But with 23 litres you're going to have to run it through, what, 12 times?? More, if you double-distill it to get it stronger/cleaner......And even if you're using a turbo yeast that'll give you a 20% wash, you'll only be getting about a half bottle of good stuff at a time. Having said that, it's still enough to sit and unwind with every evening, isn't it???

Guest's picture
willie-boy

And as regards the heads/ fusels/ methanol debate, as everyone already knows, the whole thing is a myth. They don't exist.Every good poteen-maker/ moonshiner knows that the REAL reason we discard the first shot-glass or so is to appease the leprachauns!!!!

Guest's picture
Zorcy

If it's a seals container, no lid, then its fine. Here in the states, we don't do as much tea as other parts of the world. I still can not wrap my head around what it looks like. I did google it, but the best I can think of, my great grandmother had a rooster tea kettle that whistled. I can not remember if it had a lid.

3 liters is a small container. To break it down and refill every run will be time consuming. Try to use the kettle as a steam generator. the water steam that comes of would coil thru the mash and heat it up quickly, in a larger container. That would heat up and start to steam off alcohol. You could have another worm coming off that as your product. It is a shame we can not post pictures here. It would help to see this set up(and share the kettle with us yanks).

Guest's picture
Guest

I got the idea for the kettle still from Youtube. The poster says in one of his comments that he can run off 3 pints in 1 hour.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

The kettle idea is fine, it just doesn't hold enough really unless you're aiming at only making about a half bottle at a time. The guy on youtube must have had bigger kettle than the one you have; to get 3 pints from 3 litres you have to be distilling something that was already above 50% alcohol.
And Zorcy, can you talk me through this again to see if I've understood the steam thing.
You run a tube from the spout of the kettle, shaped like a conventional worm. You said in an earlier post about crimping the end of it and making holes in it to let the steam out, is that right?
Then THIS goes into your wash in another sealed container, with another water-cooled worm to condense it?
Basically distilling your whole wash in a doubler or thumper?
Have I understood this correctly? It seems a very efficient way of doing it, alright; you could connect a series of them and do a triple distillation for the cost of heating one run??
A question or 2 here. How much steam do you need?? Do you need to apply the same input of steam as the alcohol you'll get out? Like for instance, if i have enough wash to give me say 4 litres of alcohol from a 20 litre batch of it, do i need to put 4 litres of steam through it?
Your man above with the kettle would have to keep a sharp eye on it and refill the kettle a couple of times, wouldn't he??
And how would he even KNOW (with using a sealed unit) if the kettle was in imminent danger of boiling dry??
Just wondering............

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Friend of mine in the steam boiler business told me water expands to steam about 600 times the original value! But that does not really mater too much. We are not transferring the volume of water from one kettle to the next, but transferring the heat.

Water at sea level boils at 100 C. about 212 F I think. But the steam can increase to melt steal. If you heat it to steam, it's 212 F, do not coil it to cool on the way to the thumper. Insulate it if you like so it carries the heat better. The shorter and fatter the pipe, should be the better. If it expands at 600 times the original volume, we should be safe to use it to transfer 212+ degrees to the thumper without running out of water. The more back pressure you build, the higher the boiling point and the hotter the steam. Remember to not pinch off too much of the end as to stop the steam, only slow it down so it can come out the extra holes. From this thumper, we run the condenser. If you run multiple thumpers, you run the risk of loosing too much heat, and building up too much pressure. That could result in an explosion.

The more you ask, the better picture we can draw. The more people that read this, with diverse skills, can help us tweak it for laymen, not lab techs.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Check this out............it'll give you a laugh!!! http:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTyY8dQtyi4&NR=1&feature=fvwp . Like something out of that movie, Deliverance. Toothless 'billies cooking up some 'shine in a confined space on a propane burner. With the foulest-looking wash you've ever seen, from an enamel bucket. Nice still, though. Just hope that's TIN soldering, and not lead.....!

Guest's picture
willie-boy

If that link doesn't work, just check it out by googling.... youtube/still making moonshine........honest-to-jasus, it'll slay you!

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Found this while searching for pics of a steam supply boiler.
http://www.tutorvista.com/content/chemistry/chemistry-iii/organic-compou...

In simplest terms and even some more complicated.
The steam boiler and low pressure are the 2 that I like the idea of best. Taking what you see here, what you have learned on column stills and add the ideas together should get you a nice set up. The steam still is used for stripping oils from plants. If you use that idea, you should be able to get the oils from citrus rinds to make lemon vodka. As seen here, http://www.lavishproducts.com/images/knowledge_eointro_steam.jpg you can see how the steam passes the plants and strips away the oils without destroying the plant too fast. It's kind of bottom up for us, but you can feed the steam from the top too.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

It's figure 16.7 we're looking at on the "tutorvista" page? The steam distillation illustration? Yeah, I can see what you mean now. I take it that the mathematical formula accompanying it is the answer to what I asked you before about how much steam I would need to put through a run of wash to get the maximum amount of alcohol without the steamer running dry? Unfortunately, I left school too early without any qualifications to be able to work out the algebraical thing like that: I'll just stick with your "steam expands to 600 times the volume of water" post, and assume that if I'm running 10 gallons of wash, actually IN a thumper, 2 gallons in a steam-generator will be MORE than enough. Is that about right???

Guest's picture
Swinny

What is the proper way to clean copper pipeing and how often should the pipeing be cleaned?

Guest's picture
willie-boy

I used to just clean steam-clean mine by putting a run of water in the still and not cooling it; just let the steam blast thtough it for a few minutes. Haven't got a clue how everybody else has been doing it. A straight condenser is a lot easier to keep clean than a coil or "worm". Just get about 6 foot of plastic pipe (the square profiled 4 inch stuff, like guttering downspout), fit each end with a 4 inch square block of wood, (about an inch thick), drill a half inch hole through the middle of each one and run a staight 7 or 8 foot length of half inch copper pipe through it. Seal it all up with mastic, or on the end that heats up, glazing putty. You now have a king-sized liebig condenser. Of course, before you put the wooden bits in place, you need to fit a hose connecter to each end for the water inlet and outlet. "Hozelock" have fittings that you can just drill a hole for and fit a locking nut on the back of it.Connect it to your still with a hand-tightening re-usable fitting. The beauty of it is that it's simple to clean, you don't need to mess around bending pipes, and you can just leave it lying around your garage or workshop without it obviously being a piece of illegal equipment. Who's going to look twice at a length of guttering?

Guest's picture
Guest

why square pipe? why noy not round , it's easier to get  hold of.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Willie, 2-10 should be great. I can not see any reason for it messing up. Keep a gauge on the 10 gallons, when it starts to climb over the 180ish temp that it will hold at for ever, then stop. Someone said earlier that the heads do not have as much trash as the tails, so keeping an eye on that would be more important. I am sure it's not hard to test and see how long it takes to boil off 2 gallons of water. If you can get by with less, use it. It is faster and cheaper to heat half gallon then it is to heat 2 gallons.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hey zorcy, just a quick question. I used silver non lead solder for my copper / thermometer holes on the pressure cooker. I flipped the lid and gave the under the lid a quick solder also. Is that ok?? I also gave a quick layer of JB weld on the top of the lid holes, not underneth. Is that ok also? Thanks for the help!!! Awesome forum!!!

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Silver solder is the way to go. Not sure the reason to use it on the underside of the lid. I would just use the rubber seal it comes with so you can remove the lid for filling and cleaning.  Not sure if JB is chemical resistant. I know it can hold up to the temps, but it may leach off some chemicals when it does. I like to use red or black silicone. It is made to resist heat and chemicals.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

ok, this new setup for posting is a little confusing for me, I hope this attaches to the right post.

Silver solder is correct. Don't bother soldering the lid down, just use the rubber gasket it came with. Someone will need to know more about JB Weld, it may not be food grade or chemical resistant. Use black or red silicone, it is.  The pressure cooker comes with a safety plug, leave it in. There is usually a steam vent that controls the amount of pressure, leave it, too. You should never reach that kind of pressure to start with. These will be your safeties. Not sure the pressure you need, but i would think less then a pound.

Guest's picture
Guest

Oh, I forgot to ask as well, what's the best thing to use for a pressure relief? Just in case of over pressuring? Again, thanks!

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Guest

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL (CARBON)

I read all questions and replies and saw no answer to my questions: 

1. Is all (coal, coconut shell, wood, aquarium etc)) activated charcoal created equal for our filtering purposes ?

2. Some say to pour the liquid through the charcoal.   Some talk about putting the charcoal IN the liquid.  Thoughts there?

Guest's picture
willie-boy

If you put some activated carbon IN the wash, it'll absorb most of the bad flavours while it's fermenting. Don't let it get into the still afterwards, or you'll just be releasing them back. And secondly, filter the moonshine THROUGH activated carbon, in a coffee filter in a funnel while it's coming out of the still, ( and a couple of times afterwards for good measure). Don't know the answer to your first question, unfortunately.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

I like to use the charcoal after you distill and cut it to drinkable levels. Heat releases what ever it caught, so cold is best. If you reuse the charcoal, you will need to clean it. You can do that in an over for about 15 minutes. Make sure you rinse it in water first, alcohol is flamable!

Coal is not charcoal, it is a petrolium product. Don't use it. Aquarium may be ok, but if you are going to buy it, just get a cheap Britta filter. It's made for human use. I have a PVC pipe with a filter in the bottum. It is put together loose, so you can take apart and clean. It goes together like this,,,, very bottum up,,, 6 inches pipe, union joint, filter with top cut off, 18 inches pipe, back fill at least a foot of pipe with the insides from reused filters. The union joint allows the 2 pipes to pinch the filter in tight so no extra carbon will pass thru. Strap this to a brach and pour in enough water so it comes out clear. Let it drain, then start to filter your shine thru. You can use cheap vodka too. Will come out smooth like $100 vodka, amazing!

Guest's picture
willie-boy

If you put some activated charcoal in the wash while it's fermenting, it'll absorb a lot of the bad flavours. Don't let it get into your still, or you'll just re-release them. And secondly, filter the moonshine through some activated charcoal in a coffee filter paper in a funnel while it's coming out of your still, (and a couple more times later for good measure). Don't know the answer to your first question, unfortunately.

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Guest

Thanks for the comebacks on the Activated charcoal, Zorcy and Willie Boy.  I know coal is not charcoal, BUT one of the big suppliers of devices and supplies (for the stuff we like) brags about his activated charcoal being the best he has tried and says it is "bituminous".  I think that means charcoal made from coal. I could be wrong.   So I would like to hear of any success stories with different charcoal products and brand names and suppliers, other than Brita.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Zorcy, thanks for your help. Gotta admit, I've been making poteen for years, but this site has been a real revelation to me. I was vaguely aware of reflux stills, but never looked into it closely; but the steam distilling is a whole new idea to me. And i'd never even HEARD of a thumper before. Round here, it's all pot-stills. The only variation is how high or what angle you pitch your lyne-arm. And 99% of the stuff made here is just white sugar/potato poteen. Real traditional drink. But sad to say, most of it is just "culchie" quality. (that's "redneck" to you folk!). You know the sort of stuff i mean; slight green tinge and coppery taste because it's only been run once and only filtered through cotton wool (if at all). I set up a thumper and a steamer and ran some potato wash through it; triple-distilled it. It's great stuff; really smooooth! commercial quality. Thanks again!  Oh, and yeah, this new set-up is odd; i ended up posting things twice.........

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Not quite a road map to your house, but culchie did help he get where you are generally from. Working from that, I think we should find you a specific recipe. Can you get cracked grains and smoked peat moss? Some VERY good water is abundant too I see. A Walking Man clone would be good too.

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Guest

You want to bring it up to the temp at which the light fractions that are unpleasant/toxic boil off, get rid of them, then get it a bit hotter for the main product. Hotter still is when you stop, to avoid the unpleasant tasting tails. Lots of info at homedistiller.org (New Zealand site, it's legal there)

Guest's picture
GREG

can i use bread if i dont have yeast

Philip Brewer's picture

The yeast that made the bread rise was killed when the bread was baked. So, no.

Having said that, there are wild yeast everywhere, including in your kitchen. Wine, for example, is routinely made with the yeasts that grow wild on the skins of the grapes.

In fact, there's even a Wise Bread article on harvesting wild yeast.

Really, though, at the price of a packet of yeast, you're probably better off just buying it, unless you want to go to the trouble of keeping a live culture going. (I've got an article on doing that. It's in the context of bread baking, but the parts for handling the yeast would be exactly the same: How to bake sourdough bread (and save a buck on every loaf).)

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liviiniuk

Ok, so I asked a genuine question on here and no response. Not gonna llie, kinda pissed off. As I said before, after reading 300 some posts, I used non lead silver solder on the underside of my lid. Is this ok? And I used jb weld on top of my lid over the solder. Is this ok? I'm using a ball bearing as a pressure relief. Any thoughts? I saw the attention to the last charcoal bs question, but were playing with a still here. I need a little help. Thank you if you come through.

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Zorcy

 

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liviiniuk sorry you are upset. I did reply to your post. If you look at the original, you will see. Maybe going from here forward, we should all post the replies as new post so we can read it in a flowing chronological order. Again, this new version is hard to follow.

 

greg once the bread is cooked, the yeast is dead. if you have no access to store bought bread yeast, then just leave it out side in the shade. Natural yeast is all around. It will be a LOT slower. You need to leave it uncovered, as it is carried by wind and mostly bugs, like household flies.  The natural yeast is what makes sour dough.  Each area has its own type of yeast.  San Fran sour dough taste like no other, because it has its own unique wild yeast in the air.

 

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Zorcy

so much for copy, spell check and paste back. messed up a lot

Philip Brewer's picture

Hey, everybody—

I just wanted to say thanks for bearing with us over the course of the past week during the Wise Bread redesign.

I think things are starting to settle down now, and I hope you'll find the new design even better than the old one, once the admins get the last few settings tweaked just right and once we all get used to it.

Thanks!

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Zorcy.haveI got this right? If you post a comment on the "reply" box, it'll come up on the box after the  one you have just replied to, even if there have been other posts in the meantime/ But if you go to the top of the page and "post new comment" or whatever, it will appear as the last thing anyone said? In which case, we'd all be better advised to "post new comment" to keep this in some sort of chronological order. I saw your reply about the silver solder even if liviniiuk didn't; but it seems to have been erased now.And cracked grains are a bit hard to get hold of round here........peat moss of any description is a protected species!!Have to stick with the white sugar and potatoes for the meantime......

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liviniuk

Ok, sorry I got a little pissy. I still didn't get an answer. Again, my questions. Silver solder. Is it ok underneth my lid? JB weld ontop of my lid. Is this ok? Its ontop, not underneth. Again, is a ball bearing or marble on my lid a good enough pop valve. These questions would be greatly repected to be answered. If this forum isn't working my email is liviniuk@hotmail.com any and all responses would be very appreciated. I moonshine for a hobby and the more responses the better. I appreciate guys who've done this longer and have more experience than me, and would love the input. Thank you. Any emails are welcome. Thanks guys

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Zorcy

liviniuk

Believe it or not, this will be the 3rd time I've typed this.  Silver solder is good, JB is bad. Don't solder the lid, use the rubber seal so you can take apart and clean. Use black or red silicone sealer, its temp and chemical resistant. There was a safety on the original lid, you should leave it. There is usually a relief that releases steam or chatters on the older units, leave it there. It releases at a pretty low pressure. That will be way above what you need the still to run at and will work as an extra safety.

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Zorcy

willie-boy, you are correct on the post. Too bad about the grains and moss.  I made some vodka with sugar and aged it with burned and toasted white oak shavings. Added a touch of vanilla and sugar. It would fool you if you saw it in a crown royal bottle. Very nice taste. Colour was right on. All I had to do was run the wood off with a triple coffee filter 2 times.

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liviniuk

Thanks zorcy. Ya I put some JB on the lid, but only on top and not underneth, so I think that should be ok. The solder has a good seal underneth, just gave it a shot of JB on top just to make it look good and smooth.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Zorcy, like i said, the thumper thing is a new idea to me. Is saving the "tails" from every run and using them in the thumper a good idea? What i mean is, the stuff in the thumper is only a condensing medium, yeah? So "tails" stuff is already alcohol-saturated, and would work quicker? I'd still cut it off at the point before it would come through the worm/ condenser. Am i thinking along the right lines here? And also, the smoked peat moss thing. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure what you mean by smoked peat moss. Peat moss here is a fibrous stuff you buy in big bags for potting up plants. What i DO have is peat briquettes. Thats compacted peat from a peat-bog; people here burn it as fuel. Were you thinking of something like getting a smoky peat taste; a bit like a scotch single-malt whiskey? I might try charring a small piece of it and using it like you did with the oak shavings, just to see what it tastes like. And do the oak shavings add colour as well as giving the "aged" taste; or do you need to caramelise sugar for that effect?  I don't really like putting long posts on here; too many subjects that get sidetracked and leave unanswered questions. But you're a VERY patient  guy, so thanks!!

Guest's picture
Zorcy

willie-boy

The moss idea may work that way as well, but try to use it like to add to the wash as you start it. It carries a flavour. The aging idea sound interesting though, that should be shared when you are done so we can tell what it does. As far as the colour, yes, it turns colours. Very nice, rich, colour. It picks up the vanillins also. The charred part of the oak will absorb the nasties some too!

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Thumpers

Here is another way of looking at a thumper. It is the 2nd distillation. The first is from the still, it comes off and collects in the thumper like a condenser. Now it is another still, that is steam powered.  It heats up and distills to the coil. What you put in here, will come out the end as the product. It will be the 2nd run, so it is cleaner, more pure. What you put in here to start, comes out too. If you put in methanol, you will get methonol out the end. This would be a good time to use a fruit wine or beer to implant a taste in the product. Willie Boy, I think the heads and tails would be a bad idea here. Save it and put in the next wash you start. Or use it to clean the copper. Someone asked about that before. Very hot alcohol, methanal too, cleans copper when dipped in it.

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Zorcy

You should check out Popcorn Sutton on YouTube. He is a character!!! There is a lot of knowledge coming from him too.

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Guest jarrett

i have a question. if you use corn syrup instead of sugar. how much corn syrup is equivilant to 1 pound of sugar.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Jarrett, Did some research on some beer blogs about corn syrup. Seems it WILL work. There are some drawbacks. Most corn syrup has some vanilla in it. If you don't mind the change, then it wont matter. There is also some added water. Use 10-20% more syrup than granulated dextrose to account for water content.  The good thing, is that is will ferment faster by a few days.  To bottom line it, unless you can get it for a great price, then just use sugar. BUT. If you can get it for free, then by all means, us it. Check the alcohol level in the mash at the end. If it is low, the mash is not sweet, then add some more. You will have run out of sugar and not reached your potential for %.

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Guest jarrett

thank you zorcy. one more question tho. in making brandy from wine do you need to add yeast and let it ferment again or just distill the wine. thanks. jarrett

Guest's picture
willie-boy

jarrett,

if it's a dry wine, there's no point in adding more yeast; there's nothing left to ferment. if it's a sweet wine, it might ferment a bit more if you add yeast. Or maybe just distill it anyway, and use what's left in the still, (which will be even further concentrated with sugar), as the basis of your next wash.

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Zorcy, check out the Bruichladdich scotch whiskey (or whisky, as the Scots spell it). The peat taste is supposed to be from using peat to dry the sprouted barley malt. I reckon that using a homebrew beer malt kit and running it through the still and putting a bit of charred peat (the fuel stuff, not the grow-bag stuff) would give the same taste. And then "age" it with oak shavings for the "10 year old barrel" effect. i'll give it a whirl and see how it goes. and did you ever get around to building that copper still you mentioned on one of the very early posts?

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Check this scotch out.............Auchentoshan 1957..............THAT'S the the sort of stuff I'm aiming for!!!  The $2000 a bottle moonshine!!

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Zorcy

jarrett

Using the wine as is would be the most authentic way. If you wanted to get a higher production, you could make a strong wash and distill them together. Put some wine in the thumper. When you are ready to age it with oak, try soaking the toasted oak shavings in the wine first, then age the brandy over the wet oak.

Willie Boy

I have a dry fit column right now, I have not sweat it together yet. One day.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Bruichladdich

mmmm, that looks good. Started reading up on the tasting notes, very impressive.  Auchentoshan has a very nice animation of the distillation they do. I do not see the benefit of their triple distillation process. Looks like they just keep mixing it back together. Maybe they are not showing a step where the water that falls out is removed and not put back in the still? Willie Boy, if you visit the site, ask them for us. There are a lot of distilleries in the states. Living in the east, I can get to many with only an 8 hour drive. If you have a passion for the hobby, that is a small amount of time for a holiday trip.

Guest's picture
liviniuk

So my still came off with great sucess, the shine came dripping out perfect, my first go was a complete sucess! With the sweetfeed recipe, this shine sure tastes and smells like tequila, but that's ok. Got pretty rocked off a couple of drinks anyways!! Next mash is in the process!

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Nice one,man! Welcome to the club. If you you can restrain yourself from drinking it all at once, run it through again; it'll taste GREAT!! Cheers!

Guest's picture
willie-boy

Zorcy,

The Penderyn welsh whisky site is well a worth a look. It has a few pages regarding their still; a pot still with a seven plate reflux column as far as I can make out. And peat-flavouread and oak-aged as well. I'm halfway through the "scotch" thing. Fermented a home-brew beer stout kit (boosting it up to 15% instead of the 5%);  then double distilled it. Should be the equivalent of a malt whiskey.Got a nice block of seasoned oak and grated a few ounces of it into a saucepan and toasted it until it was nearly black. Am i doing this right? And likewise with a bit of peat, to give it the scotch whisky flavour. Added about a good tablespoon to each bottle. It's only been bottled for a day, but it's starting to take on a whiskey colour already. Do I need to flavour it further, with sugar or vanilla or so on?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Willie Boy

The vanilla flavour comes from the oak itself. No need to add it. You may want to change the temp on the bottle daily. It speads up the flavour diffusion. In the oak barrels, as it heats and cools day and night, the expansion and contraction soaks up and releases alcohol in the wood. Every time it goes in and out, it carries the flavours and colours with it.

I have to say, you have a great batch started. Depending on the amount of wood, size of shavings and the temps you keep it at, you could have a 10 year old in a month or 2.

Pulled out a brandy sniffer and a batch of whiskey for a christening. Did the typical, drop of water, covered the glass, the whole deal. Passed some around to the whiskey drinkers. First sip, VANILLA, 2nd sip, orange. Ended kind of sweat, but that can be good too. Got some more people interested in the hobby :)

Next step, help build them a still.

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Guest

can you use marshmallows to make alcohol instead of sugar, along with yeast and water?

 

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Marshmallow
It contains gelatin. Not the best thing to ferment. It is made from animals. You would be fermenting sugar and beef.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Shhhhh

Philip, I have not seen it this quiet here, ever!! Did the Federales talk to the web masters or something?

Philip Brewer's picture

Well, at least we're still here.

Hopefully, everybody else is off fermenting something. (Speaking of which, I've got some bread that's ready to come out of the oven. Is yeast great or what?)

Guest's picture
SKINNER

I HAVE BEEN MAKIN MY OWN WISKY FOR YEARS. YOU NEED TO ADD A FEW SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE IT SAFER. A CONDINSER IS A MUST TO GET THE RIGHT FLOW FROM THE WORM. AND, IT WILL MELLOW OUT THE TASTE (NO CONDINSER = ROUGH TASTE). ALSO, YOU SHOULD ALSO ALWAYS FILTER YOUR CATCH THROUGH A FUNNEL WITH A COFFEE FILTER AND HARD WOOD CHARCOAL (ACTUAL CHARRED OAK, MAPLE, HICKORY ETC) TO REMOVE THE BARDY GREASE. THIS IS THE SKIM STUFF ON THE SURFACE THAT CAN MAKE YOU SICK. REMEBER, BE CREATIVE AND ITS' A LOT OF FUN.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Anyone got any reliable info on this?? Caffeine is an alkaloid, yeah? Does it distill? Thing is, someone gave me a whole load of 2 pound jars of instant coffee that were past their sell-by date; I brewed them all up with a heap of white sugar just for the experiment of it. Foamed like crazy for a few days but fermented right out. I've got 10 gallons of wash at about 20% here that justs smells like the strongest coffee you've ever seen. I was just wondering if the caffeine would come through when i run it through the still? It would turn out to be a real high-alcohol "energy-drink" if it does!At the very least, by using a pot-still without a thumper, i'm hoping for some kind of coffee-liqueur flavour.

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guest

..

Guest's picture
Guest

Hi there,

I need a little tech advice. Using your a 2" reflux tower:

I had a successful first batch, but I think I did not finish it off to get as much as I could out of the batch. I measured it closely as it was coming.

It started coming at 172 degrees (we are at 900 feet). I caught 1/2 a cup of the first stuff. Heads ?
It jumped and staid at 173/174 for a long time. I got about 3/4 of a gallon . It was reading 90/92 % area on the alcohol meter.

The temp started climbing a little, not much and the percentage started dropping slowly . I could notice a slight smell and taste difference as it dropped to 85%..

Then the temps started rising slowly. I INCREASED THE WATER FLOW TO KEEP IT AT, OR NEAR, 174 degrees. The Alcohol % continued to drop slowly. At the point that it was still giving 50%, the oder and taste and slightly cloudy look, suggested perhaps carmelized sugar.

I let the wine clear by settling for 2 weeks. It was a little yellowish still.

Those are the facts.
--------------------------------------------------------

QUESTIONS

1. At what % do you stop the process ?
2. Should I have increased the water flow to keep the temp at 174, until I got only water?
3. From the time the percentage dropped below 85%.....is that the "TAILS" ? To go into the next batch for 'reprocessing?
4. Will that taste and oder be removed in the next batch?
5. If I was not supposed to increae the water flow as the temps climbed from 174 to 190, should I have let it run it course all the way to water only, and reprocessed that product?
6. Should I have cleaned the wine better?

As you can see, I am a little confused about the water regulation thing. Any help and answers to my questions would be appreciated.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Willieboy
Caffeine boils at 178 deg C. Looking at an article, you have to use ethyl acetate. You would distill it off and then use vacuum to get rid of the rest and leave caffeine behind. I had hoped it would distill out, but can not find how to get it to come thru yet. I will keep looking into it, could be an interesting drink.

I used a pack of instant coffee, a triple shot of smooth vodka and a shot of very cold heavy creme in a drink. I was getting sleepy from too much juice. So I used this to wake me up some during a party at the house.

If you just want the smell off coffee, it should come thru fine. Here is a link to some recipes for making coffee liqueurs. http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8357

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Hi There

1. At what % do you stop the process ? You should have stopped when the smell and taste changed. Save the rest for the next batch to ferment in/
2. Should I have increased the water flow to keep the temp at 174, until I got only water? Once you have it set to a fast and strong output, stay there. You can maintain better this way.
3. From the time the percentage dropped below 85%.....is that the "TAILS" ? To go into the next batch for 'reprocessing? Yes
4. Will that taste and oder be removed in the next batch? If you distill again, and stop at the right temp, it will go away.
5. If I was not supposed to increae the water flow as the temps climbed from 174 to 190, should I have let it run it course all the way to water only, and reprocessed that product? You should have stopped collected it for a short time in another container. Put that back in to ferment too.
6. Should I have cleaned the wine better? Sounds fine. If you do not get off taste and smells, then the wine is clear enough. The heads and tales do not count on the clarity. But I think you did fine on that.

Guest's picture
Guest

Follow up requested

10 MAY. 2010 | 9:57 AM ZORCY
Hi There

1. At what % do you stop the process ? You should have stopped when the smell and taste changed. Save the rest for the next batch to ferment in/
PUT IT BACK IN THE BUCKET WITH THE FRESH SUGAR WATER AND YEAST BATCH ?

3. From the time the percentage dropped below 85%.....is that the "TAILS" ? To go into the next batch for 'reprocessing? Yes

IF IT IS 85%, WHY NOT KEEP GOING TO SAY 30%? IT WAS ONLY 14% TO 20% TO START WITH. WHY NOT SAvE TAILS DOWN A LOT FURTHER?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

1. At what % do you stop the process ? You should have stopped when the smell and taste changed. Save the rest for the next batch to ferment in/
PUT IT BACK IN THE BUCKET WITH THE FRESH SUGAR WATER AND YEAST BATCH ? Yes

3. From the time the percentage dropped below 85%.....is that the "TAILS" ? To go into the next batch for 'reprocessing? Yes

IF IT IS 85%, WHY NOT KEEP GOING TO SAY 30%? IT WAS ONLY 14% TO 20% TO START WITH. WHY NOT SAvE TAILS DOWN A LOT FURTHER? The more you try to squeeze it out, the more junk will get in. You will find that the more pure it is, the less hangover you have. The taste will be better too. If you are going to make more later, just reuse it and keep quality.

Guest's picture
willieboy

Thanks, Zorcy. The pages I read were mainly saying how caffeine could be distilled in a suspension of chloroform. Not exactly what I had in mind! I was aiming at making some sort of caffeine vodka rather than a liqueur: the local gurriers and gougers drink of choice around here seems to have shifted from beer to industrial-tasting cheap vodka mixed with Red Bull; a combination of alcohol and caffeine that's guaranteed to keep them awake and aggressive at the same time! just wondering if I could come up with something a bit more palatable. I'll see how it goes anyway.
Skinner......."Bardy grease"??? Talking to a few old guys round here. VARDY grease is the local term here. You mean the green slick you get from un-cleaned copper pipes? yeah, that filters out fine with charcoal. I always assumed it was just the local way of saying "verdigris" myself.

Guest's picture
Guest

On a quest for knowledge

OK, let me run this past you Zorcy. If I understand you correctly.....

Assuming I start the distill with 5 or 6 gallons of wash:

Once I get to the good stuff at about 173 or 174, keep it till it starts smelling/tasting a little off. In real life it seemed to be 3/4 to 1 gallon of good stuff.

As it starts to smell/taste a little off, and the temp begins to rise, STOP the RUN.

Use the remaining ingredients in the pot as a start for the next batch of mash.

Assuming that I understand correctly, I probably have 3 ½ to 4 ½ gallons of stuff left in the pot. How much of that do I use towards my next 5 or 6 gallons , along with the yeast and new sugar wash ?

I really appreciate the help. I think my questions will help others.

Thanks.

Guest's picture
Zorcy

On a quest for knowledge

Use all of it. Why waste all the alcohol you have in there now? It may be difficult to separate the small amounts, but when you add small bits together from multiple batches, it gets to be a big bit and easier to pull off. You do not want to do this indefinitely, since it will add up methanol also. 2, 3 or 4 times should be more then enough.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks Zorcy,

You have been a big big help.

Guest's picture
willieboy

zorcy,
the general opinion seems to favour using oak/ hickory/ maple and so on. I have a nice length of mahogany here. Dark golden brown, almost red. would that be suitable for using as roasted / charred shavings to age and colour a few bottles of moonshine?Or is it just not used because it isn't widely available?

Guest's picture
Guest

Willieboy
The wood used is for several reasons. One thing that they use specifically, white American Oak, is for the flavours. There is a sweet vanilla flavour you can get. It seems important enough to ship it from the states. Here is a link so I won't have to type a lot and plagiarize the author. fsmomaha.com/spirits/2009/4/oak-aging-and-its-effect-on-wine

Guest's picture
Guest

how much yeast do i add

Guest's picture
Willieboy

j
Just put a good spoonful in. The exact quantity doesn't really matter. It grows; whatever you put in will double in size in no time at all.

Guest's picture
ColinB

For the 5 lbs of sugar for 3 gallons of water recipe, if you could estimate how much moonshine will this produce after being run through the still?

Guest's picture
ColinB

For the 5 lbs of sugar for 3 gallons of water recipe, if you could estimate how much moonshine will this produce after being run through the still?

Guest's picture
Zorcy

Colinb

Not good. Only 11.7%. You can not get much more with bread yeast. If you can get Turbo yeast, you can get closer to 20%. Try 8 lb sugar with 3 gallons, you can get 18.8%. The sugar and 2.41 gal of water makes it to 3 gal of wash. I hope this helps.