Distilling alcohol and all you need to know
The basics in home distillation
The starting point in
at home is to have a raw ingredient that already contains some alcohol.
Alcohol distillation is about purifying that starting ingredient by splitting the alcohol away from all the other ingredients.
Your home distilling regime can start by either taking a neutral spirit, which is the most simple starting point, where at some stage you will flavour it later on in the process, or you take a spirit that will keep its flavour and character.
The starting point in distilling alcohol, I believe should be start with a neutral spirit.
Get this right and then move onto home distilling a top quality whiskey or flavoured vodka.
In distilling alcohol, you will need three basic items- water, a source of sugar, and yeast to consume the sugar and convert it into alcohol.
Each of these ingredients has a great bearing on the final quality of your product, as discussed below.
The selection of a good quality yeast such as a turbo yeast is very important and you should always go to a reputable supplier.
Don't go for the cheapest as it has to be remembered that yeast is a living organism and as such where that yeast has been stored and how it has been looked after is of paramount importance when you are considering your end result.
The process of alcohol distillation is the yeast consumes sugar and then converts it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
A good yeast strain, nutrition, and optimal conditions such as the temperature during fermentation, will see varying amounts of by products produced.
One of the objectives in distilling alcohol at home is to minimise the by products during fermentation, and to do so we must avoid stress on the yeast.
As stress on the yeast increases, we will see both an increase in by product production, as well as a decrease in the ability of the yeast to perform optimally, resulting in lower alcohol production.
A good Turbo Yeast will contain not only a large dosage of a premium yeast strain, but also a well matched nutrient, mineral, vitamin mix.
Having worked with many Turbo Yeasts, the best quality available in my opinion are those in the Prestige brand.
A very important part of the process is to ensure that temperatures remain as constant as is possible.
If temperatures get too high then the yeast will either produce too many unwanted by products or it will just stop working.
While the maximum temperature tolerance for most Turbo Yeasts is listed on the package, it is important to remember that this is the maximum working temperature of the yeast.
Elevating the temperature above this limit will result in the yeast dying, and fermentation will immediately cease.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to remain a minimum of 5 degrees Celsius below the recommended maximum temperature for the specific yeast.
This will not only decrease the by product production, but also insure that the alcohol tolerance of the yeast strain remains at its maximum.
Whenever you buy a good whiskey or indeed any other spirit or beer, a huge part of their marketing is almost always the wonderful spring water they use, or the wonderful water source.
So please take note that whilst you can use a basic tap water home distilling is elevated to the next level when you use a good water.
Remember that tap waters contain all sorts of chemicals that can have an effect on the yeast.
In my mind go and find yourself a source of purified water!
Alcohol is created when yeast consumes sugar and converts it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Generally, you want to use simple sugars, which are readily available for the yeast to ferment.
Fortunately, sucrose (i.e. common white table sugar) is readily available to the yeast for fermentation, and also found inexpensively in all grocery stores.
For these reasons, it is the best and most commonly used sugar for basic neutral spirit production at home.
Distilling Alcohol or Water
Reflux distillation is a simple process that does not change, irrespective of the drink that you wish to distill.
What is changeable is the boiling point of the specific component that you intend to pull together.
Reflux distillation offers the chance to produce an extremely highly purified product.
This is superbly well suited to any liquid distillation where you wish to collect specifically one component from a mixture.
I would then suggest you visit my other pages that for more information.
All about making Whiskey at home
An introduction to making whiskey at home
Making whiskey at home
The Whiskey rebellion was all about Moonshine