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Distilling Alcohol

Save money and have fun by learning a new skill - Learn the art of  distilling alcohol from start to finish.

It is equally as easy to make distilled spirits or liqueur as any other alcoholic drink. Use a spirit making kit for distilling alcohol, then once ready, add a Still Spirits flavourings to blend the drink of your choice.

Brew Mart has all the essences, spirit making kits, botanicals and equipment for distilling alcohol. 

Our stock includes many different varieties of whiskeyrum, gin, brandy, and vodka, enabling any brewer to produce a spirits or liqueurs for themselves at a fraction a commercial bottle in the high street would cost.

Brew Mart can offer you the latest spirit making kits. 

Click here to see how to make spirits

Distilling Spirit - A Guide for Beginners

What is the distillation process

Making homebrewed spirits and liqueurs is quite an easy process, not much dissimilar to brewing wine, beer or cider.

When making Spirits, you can also use most of the equipment needed for other homebrewed drinks.

As with all home brewing, the mantra is cleanliness. All the equipment you use should be clean and sterilised as any bacteria can spoil your brew.

Even temperature control is also essential as significant fluctuations can be harmful. If you find that this is a problem, there are different kinds of homebrew heaters available at a very reasonable cost to solve this problem, and they will ensure you have a good mash.

A word of warning!. It is illegal to distil alcohol in the UK if you don’t have a license. 

If you have any doughts here is the link for you to read https://www.gov.uk/guidance/spirits-duty

Naturally, fermented alcohol is, however, permitted if it is for your use. 

You can use naturally fermented alcohol to make spirits and liqueurs using special yeasts which are alcohol tolerant, and you can achieve spirits of 20% ABV.

Take a look here to see the Spirit Starter Kits that Brew Mart has to start you on this exciting and rewarding hobby.

 

DISTILLATION APPARATUS NEEDED FOR BREWING SPIRITS, most of this you will have already if you have been brewing beer or wine.

 

1 x 25 L Fermentation bucket with lid and hole and grommet

1 x 20 L Fermentation bucket

1 x 20 L Solid lid fo 20L bucket

1 x Long-handled spoon or paddle

1 x Hydrometer for wine and beer

1 x Hydrometer for spirits

1 x Thermometer

1 x Syphon

1 x Air still 

1 x Heater for brewing

BREWING SUPPLIES NEEDED

 

7 x 1 Kilo bags of brewing sugar

1 x Turbo carbon

1 x Pure turbo yeast

1 x Turbo Clear

A selection of your choice of Liqueur or Spirit Flavourings

 

Below are the five steps required in the distillation process

 

  1. FERMENTATION ( Making your wash)
  • Using the 25L bucket, fill with 21 litres of hot water (30 C), add 7 kilos of brewing sugar, and stir until dissolved.
  • Next, add the turbo yeast and stir well and lastly, the turbo carbon, taking care not to spill as the name suggests this is dark and can stain. 
  • Attach the lid with hole and grommet plus airlock and allow to ferment. ( The yeast will turn the sugar into alcohol ) 
  • The fermentation process takes, on average, seven days, and the bucket should be kept at room temperature 18 C to 24 C.
  • A brewing heating pad is handy for keeping a constant temperature. 
  • Also, take care not to move the fermenting bucket. Not moving the bucket will allow any sediment to settle.
  • Once the fermentation has finished, take a reading with the hydrometer to determine the gravity of the liquid, which is now called a wash. The gravity should read between 980 and 990
  • Stir the wash to release any build-up of carbon dioxide
  • Add the Turbo Clear, which as two parts. You should add these one hour apart.
  • Leave the wash in a cool place for 24 hours allowing it to clear.
  • Syphon the wash into the 20L bucket taking great care not to disturb the dark sediment at the bottom.
  • You now have the clear wash, which is the basis for the distillation process in the clean bucket. Cover with a solid lid ready for use when needed.

2. DISTILLING

  • Using the Air Still, place the ceramic boil enhancers inside plus a capful of distillers conditioner.
  • Fill the Air Still with 4 litres of your wash. Take care not to overfill. There is a marker inside the Air Still denoting the 4-litre mark.
  • Put the lid on the Air Still making sure that the nozzle is in place and switch on.
  • Place a 1-litre capacity jug under the spout to catch the distilled liquid. The distillation duration is approximately two hours.
  • The Air Still takes about an hour to heat up and then boil the wash over the next hour, causing the alcohol to drip into the jug.
  • It would be best to discard the first 100ml in the jug as the head contains methane, which is not drinkable.
  • The middle part is the potable safe portion. The central part should give you approx 700ml of pure alcohol.
  • Do not try to get any more as 700ml is the optimum anything after that, the quality reduces.
  • Allow the Air Still to cool before opening.
  • The alcohol in the jug should be about 60%ABV
  • Any wash left in the Air Still should be discarded as the quality of the alcohol reduces and is not fit for purpose.
  • Clean the inside of the Air Still with warm soapy water. DO NOT IMMERSE IN WATER. Take care just to wipe the outside.
  • The Air Still is now ready to make your next batch.

3. FILTRATION

  • Once the distillation is complete, the resultant liquid needs to be polished using the carbon cartridge to remove any impurities.

4. WHAT IS THE DISTILLATION PROCESS OR STRENGTH OF THE SPIRIT

  • The distillation process has coverted the wash (liquid) into vapour, which then when cooler turns back into a liquid which is much stronger, in this case 60% ABV.
  • Alcohol of 60%ABV is not safe to drink. Diluting the distilled alcohol with 50% water will bring the ABV down to 40%. Diluting the alcohol will make it safe for the next stage which drinkable.

5. FLAVOURING

  • Now is the fun part. You can make as many different spirits and liqueurs as you wish. Still Spirits has a full range of flavours from which you can choose. Each one comes with full instructions on the label on the bottle for you to make your favourite tipple. Sit back and enjoy.
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