Serious Distilling with Brewcraft, Still spirits and Grainfather - Making Gin, Part 1 and 2
Recipe type: Distilling
In this distilling episode we're making gin from start to finish. Starting with the sugar wash, clearing the wash, and distilling the neutral alcohol. This is followed by the actual ginning process where there are 3 different methods to choose from to infuse the gin flavors into the alcohol.
- 1 Pack Still Spirits Fast Turbo Yeast
- 1 Pack Still Spirits Turbo Carbon
- 1 Pack Still Spirits Turbo Clear
- 6kg Refined white sugar
- 21 liters water
For the Ginning Spices
- 2g Star anise
- 3g Cardamom
- 15mm Cinnamon stick
- 6 Cloves
- 4g Coriander seed
- 20g Juniper berries
- 5g Fennel seeds
- 2g Lemon zest
- 2g Orange zest
To Make the Sugar Wash
- Gin requires a base of neutral spirit, and although we have covered sugar wash previously, we're going to do it again, this time with the textbook recipe using all of Still Spirits products resulting in a batch of really clear, quality wash.
- To do this we need a pack of Still Spirits Fast Turbo Yeast. This yeast is specially developed for sugar wash and will ferment a batch of wash in as little as 24 hours. The yeast already contains yeast nutrients and anti-foaming agents which make it incredibly easy and reliable to use.
- You will also need a pack of Still Spirits Turbo Carbon. This thick liquid carbon absorbs most of volatiles and unwanted flavors that often accompany very fast fermentations.
- And finally, you will need a Still Spirits 2-part clearing pack which includes chitosan and kieselsol to clear the wash.
- To start, pour 6kg of refined white sugar into a 25lt bucket and fill the bucket to one third with hot water. Stir this thoroughly until the sugar has dissolved.
- Continue filling the bucket with cooler water, adjusting as you go to achieve a target temperature of between 36 and 38c.
- Pour the yeast over the top of the sugar solution and stir this in thoroughly.
- Give the carbon a good shake to break down any lumps, cut it open and pour this in. Stir this in thoroughly.
- Put the lid on loosely and let this ferment for 24 to 48 hours.
- The time the fermentation takes to complete will be largely dependent on the ambient temperature.
- Once the fermentation has ended, which will be quite apparent by the subsiding of the sizzling sound it makes while fermenting, we need to clear the wash.
- Use your paddle to stir the wash vigorously. This gets all of the yeast and carbon into suspension and well as degassing the wash. This may take a few minutes of stirring, but be sure not to skip this step.
- Cut open part A of the clearing pack and pour this in. Give it another good stir then leave this for 60 minutes to do its work.
- Snip the corner off of part B and sprinkle this gently over the surface of the wash. Use your paddle to distribute this across the surface.
- Cover the bucket loosely with the lid and let this clear for 24 hours.
- The following day, the wash will be amazingly clear and ready to rack off into the distiller.
- Distill the wash twice using the alembic setup. On the first run you will achieve about 50% ABV, while on the second you will end up with a neutral, almost flavorless spirit of over 80% ABV.
- Please go on to the second part of this demonstration to see the 3 different techniques for ginning the alcohol.
Infusing the Gin Spices into the Alcohol
- To continue with gin.... we have fermented our wash and double distilled it to above 80%ABV.
- We need to measure out and assemble the ginning spices and botanicals. This includes star anise, cardamom, cinnamon bark, cloves, coriander seed, juniper berries, fennel seeds, lemon zest and orange zest.
- Cut a square piece of cotton cloth and place the spices in the center of the square. Gather up the edges of the cloth to enclose the spices. Tie this closed with a length of twine.
- This is where you choose which method you're going to follow.
- The first, and easiest method is to dilute your neutral spirit to 43% ABV. Pour the spirit into a large non-reactive container and drop the spice bag into the spirit.
- Let the spices steep in the spirit until you are happy with the aroma and flavor of the gin.
- The second method is to calculate the quantity of water required to dilute the spirit to 43% ABV and pour this into a pot. Add the bag of ginning spices and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Allow the liquid to cool and add it to the neutral spirit. In both of the aforementioned techniques, the resulting gin will end up pale golden in color.
- The 3rd method, the traditional method, the undiluted spirit is placed in a non-reactive container. The spice bag is added to the spirit and left to steep overnight.
- The following day, the bag is removed from the spirit and tied to the vapor outlet in the alembic lid of the distiller.
- The spirit is poured into the distiller and distilled a third time. The vapors which are already flavored, pass over the spice bag on their way to the condenser and extract even more flavors from the ginning spices.
- The result is a very strong aromatic gin. Dilute this to 43% ABV and you're done.
- Bottle the gin in suitable bottles, and voila, you have a batch of magnificently aromatic and flavorful gin.
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