Serious Distilling with Brewcraft, Still Spirits and Grainfather – Part 6 – Steam Distilling

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Serious Distilling with Brewcraft, Still Spirits and Grainfather - Part 6 - Steam Distilling
Recipe type: Distilling
Hi and welcome to episode 517 with Whats4Chow and the 6th in our series serious distilling with Brewcraft, still spirits and Grainfather. In today's episode we're going to convert the Still Spirits Alembic Still to make magnificent batch of steam distilled Cointreau. Cointreau, Triple Sec, and Grand Marnier are all orange flavored spirits and they are excellent drinking as well as key ingredients in classic dishes like duck a 'l orange.
  • 4 Liters 55% ABV vodka from sugar wash
  • 4-5 Oranges
  1. In today's episode we're going to convert the Still Spirits Alembic Still to make magnificent batch of steam distilled Cointreau.
  2. Cointreau, Triple Sec, and Grand Marnier are all orange flavored spirits and they are excellent drinking as well as key ingredients in classic dishes like duck a 'l orange.
  3. To start, let's have a quick look at the principal behind steam distilling.
  4. In the regular setup, we have a large heating pot with a dome lid.
  5. The heated alcohol vapors rise and exit through the condenser in the top of the lid. The vapor condenses and drips into a catch bowl.
  6. With steam distilling we're going to add an extra component in the form of a sieve dangling just below the vapor exit.
  7. The vapors pass over the contents in the sieve and are flavored and aromatized in the process.
  8. With that behind us, slice 4 oranges into 4 thick slices each.
  9. Place all of these in a large non-reactive bowl.
  10. Pour in 4 liters of vodka. This is vodka made from distilling sugar wash and the ABV is around 55%.
  11. Cover the bowl with cling-wrap and allow this to steep for 48 hours.
  12. To set up the steam distilling basket, remove the condenser and the threaded nut from the dome lid.
  13. Thread a length of butchers twine through the nut and tie a knot to make large loop.
  14. Take cheap dime store sieve and bend the handle over the sieve.
  15. Create a twin half hitch with the loop of string and attach this to the handle of the sieve.
  16. Screw the nut and condenser back onto the lid and you're ready to go.
  17. Remove the cling-wrap from the bowl and carefully remove the orange slices with a pair of tongs.
  18. Pout the alcohol into the distiller and place 4 or 5 slices of the orange in the hanging sieve.
  19. Turn on the distiller. When the head temperature reaches 40c the first drips will emerge from the condenser. Turn on the cooling water.
  20. All of the foreshots have already been removed from this batch during the first distillation, so all you want to do is collect the product.
  21. At first the alcohol will come out at around 85% ABV and then drop gradually to 40%, and then very quickly to below 20%.
  22. Switch off the still. By this stage you will have collected about 2.5 liters of very robust alcohol.
  23. Dilute this with filtered water to 43% ABV and bottle this in suitable bottles.
  24. If you would like to oak and age the spirit, dilute it to around 64% ABV and add 1 to 2 grams of French oak chips per liter of distillate. Let this age until the coloring is to your liking.
  25. And there we have it.... a perfect batch of orange infused, steam distilled heaven.


How to Make Cornflake Whisky from Start to Finish – Part 2 – Homemade Corn Whisky from Cornflakes

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How to Make Cornflake Whisky from Start to Finish - Part 2 - Homemade Corn Whisky from Cornflakes
Recipe type: Home Distilling
Hi and welcome to episode 512 with and the second part of Making Cornflake Whiskey. In the previous episode we made the cornflake mash. This episode deals with clearing the mash and distilling the corn whisky,
  • 5 Liters hot water
  • 12 liters cool water
  • 4kg Refined white sugar
  • 700g Cornflakes
  • 20g Still Spirits Whisky Yeast
  • Juice of one lemon
  1. To strain the mash, place a straining bag in a 25 liter bucket.
  2. Pour the mash into the bag.
  3. Gather up the edges of the bag and lift it from the bucket. Twist the bag to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  4. Pour in part A of the Still Spirits Turbo Clear and stir this in thoroughly. Allow the mash to stand for 30 minutes before proceeding.
  5. Pour in part B of the Turbo Clear. Use your stirrer to top stir the liquid. All you want to do is spread part B across the surface of the liquid.
  6. Put the lid on the bucket and allow this to stand for 24 hours to clear.
  7. The following day, rack the mash and pour it into the distiller.
  8. Lock the distiller lid and attach the cooling pipes and distillate pipe.
  9. Drop the probe thermometer into the thermometer receiver.
  10. Turn on the power to the still.
  11. As the head temperature reaches 42c, the first drips will start coming from the still. Collect the first 100ml as the foreshots.
  12. This consists mainly of acetone and methanol, and is discarded.
  13. As the head temperature reaches 60c, the flow will increase.
  14. Collect this in 100ml batches. Measure each batch with your alcometer.
  15. When the ABV reading drops below 80%, this marks the end of the heads. Keep all of these batches separate for blending later.
  16. Continue collecting batches of 100ml. When the alcometer reading drops below 60%, this marks the end of the hearts. Put these batches aside.
  17. Continue collecting batches until the alcometer reading drops below 20% ABV.
  18. At this stage the head temperature will be around 95c.
  19. Turn of the power.
  20. Allow all of your heads, hearts and tails to cool completely. Cover these with lint free cloths and allow them to stand overnight to dispel any volatiles.
  21. The following day, blend the batches as explained in the cutting and blending video, and pour your final blends into bottles.
  22. At this stage, the ABV of the blends will be between 60 and 70%. Don't dilute these yet.
  23. Add 1 to 2 grams of French wine barrel oak chips to each liter of alcohol.
  24. Cap the bottles and place them in a cool place to age and mature.
  25. As they age, the oak will color and flavor the whiskey. There is no rule regarding aging time. When the whiskey attains a golden color that you like, it is ready. Strain the whisky and dilute it with RO water to 43% ABV and re-bottle in suitable bottles.


How to Make Cornflake Whisky From Start to Finish – Hand Crafted Corn Whisky at Home!!!

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How to Make Cornflake Whisky From Start to Finish - Hand Crafted Corn Whisky at Home!!!
Recipe type: Distilling Whisky
In our previous 2 Serious Distilling episodes we covered the equipment and the theory behind alembic and reflux distilling. Today we're getting into the real stuff when we make a batch of amazing corn whiskey from cornflakes.
  • 5 Liters hot water
  • 12 liters cool water
  • 4kg Refined white sugar
  • 700g Cornflakes
  • 20g Still Spirits Whisky Yeast
  • Juice of one lemon
  1. Start by machining the cornflakes until fine in your food processor.
  2. Pour the sugar into a 25 liter fermentation drum and ad 5 liters of hot water.
  3. Put the cap on the drum and give this a vigorous shake until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Pour in the lemon juice, followed by the ground conflakes.
  5. Add another 12 liters of cool water to the drum.
  6. Pour in the Still Spirits Whiskey yeast and allow this to stand for 15 minutes before stirring this in gently.
  7. This yeast contains amyloglucosidase enzymes which convert the complex sugars in the corn to simpler structures resulting in a better fermentation and a broader spectrum of aromatics and flavors.
  8. Leave the drum open overnight.
  9. The following day, screw on a cap with a fermentation lock.
  10. Allow the mash to ferment for 10 to 14 days. At this stage, the bubbling will have stopped completely and if you taste a sample, the mash will have no sugar left at all as this has been converted to alcohol.
  11. Please click HERE to go to part 2 of this episode where we will strain and clear the mash, before distilling it using the Still Spirits Alembic still.


Serious Distilling with Brewcraft, Still Spirits and Grainfather – Part 2 – Alembic VS Reflux

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In the previous Serious Distilling episode I introduced the Still Spirits Turbo 500 distilling system.
Today we’re going to look at the differences between the alembic pot distilling configuration and the reflux distilling setup.
Historically, the alembic or pot still came first, so let’s start there.
The alembic setup consists of a copper dome which replaces the existing stainless steel lid on the boiler. The copper condenser unit attaches to the top of the dome by means of a large threaded nut.
When distilling spirits in an alembic setup, some of the flavor of the mash or wash naturally passes through the process into the end product. In other words, if you distill a mash made from apples, some of the flavor, aroma and characteristics of the original fermented apple juice will end up I  the distillate.
This is what gives pot distilled drinks their unique taste, aroma and character.
When a mash is pot distilled, the alcohol content of the resulting distillate starts at between 80 and 86 percent ABV and decreases steadily as the distilling run progresses.
Here we can see the condenser attached to the dome. During the run the vapors rise up and exit through the top of the dome.
As the vapors travel through the condenser, the cold water running through the cooling sleeve condenses the vapor to liquid which drips from the end of the condenser into a catchment.
And now onto the reflux setup. The reflux column attaches to the stainlees steel lid of the boiler.
The column is pre-packed with a layered combination of stainless steel saddles and pure copper saddles. These saddles increase the efficiency of the reflux action by dramatically increasing the surface area inside the column.
A large threaded nut secures the column, and the lid fits onto the boiler as normal.
During a reflux distilling run, the vapors rise up the column and continually condense and run back down the column. Only the lightest vapors escape to the secondary condenser. This is the ethanol.
This means that none of the flavors or aromas of the wash will pass on to the end product. Acetone, being the lightest and most volatile compound will pass through first, and this is removed as the foreshot and disposed of. The remaining result of the distilling run will be ethanol with an ABV between 95 and 97 percent purity. The 3 to 5 percent impurity is water that has passed through in the run as a result of the hygroscopic nature of pure alcohol.
The resulting ethanol is then blended with specially formulated flavoring syrup to make a multitude of different drinks. Still Spirits has literally dozens of flavorants to choose from, and these are just a few. You can see these on the Brewcraft website by clicking the link in the description.
Once you have chosen your preferred configuration, whether it be alembic of reflux, you need to understand the dynamics of the yeasts used for each setup.
With the reflux setup, you want to produce alcohol. You are not concerned about flavors or aromas. To achieve this you need a robust yeast like the Still Spirits Turbo Yeast range. These will produce a high alcohol sugar wash in anything between 24 and 48 hours. The trade-off for this insanely quick fermentation is that you should use the matching turbo carbon to absorb excess volatiles that are produced in the wash. This is not absolutely necessary, but will lead to an improvement in the quality of the end product.
In addition, it is advisable to clear the wash using the kieselsol and chitosan 2 part clearing agent. This precipitates any left over yeast and particulate in the wash which may lead to off flavors in the distillate if not removed from the wash before distilling.
When it comes to alembic or pot distilling, specially developed yeast are made specifically for this. These yeasts contain enzymes which break down complex sugars into simple consumable sugars resulting in a more consistent fermentation and a more rounded flavor profile.
These yeast have been developed specifically for pot distilling and produce only negligible quantities of acetone and aldehyde during fermentation.
These volatiles, however small are still removed from the run as foreshots and tails, as they will negatively affect the flavor of the end product.
Again, it is advisable to use the 2 part Turbo clearing kit to clear the wash before distilling.
In summary, if you’re after a setup that will produce artisan style products, then the alembic setup will be your choice.
If you’re looking for a setup to produce absolutely consistent, high commercial quality drinks, then clearly the reflux setup is for you.
Stay tuned for the next serious distilling episode where were going to put the alembic setup through its paces when we make a batch of corn whiskey from start to finish.

Serious Distilling with Brewcraft, Still Spirits T500 & Grainfather – Part 1

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Over the past couple of months our short course in brewing and distilling has covered all the basics from freeze distilling to very basic pot distilling. Today is the start of the serious stuff with unboxing of the Still Spirits Turbo 500 distilling system.

Designed in New Zealand and sold across the globe, in South Africa this system is supplied and serviced by Brewcraft. All of their contact details are below in the description, and on our website.
I contacted Ryan from Brewcraft and he has very kindly sent us a full T500 system and a full Grainfather brewing and distilling system to complete this series. The series will run at 1 episode per week for the following 16 weeks and by the time you’re finished the course, you should know just about everything you need to know about brewing and distilling, and both of these magnificent brewing and distilling systems.
In this first of the series, we are going to introduce the Still Spirits T500 in all it’s glory, and get real close up and personal as we unbox the unit. The system does come in various configurations, and you can find these details on the Brewcraft website.
The core of the system is the boiler. Immediately the quality of the build is apparent.
The brushed stainless steel is at least 800 microns in thickness… certainly not a flimsy unit. There is a solid, quality drainage tap fitted, and the double spring loaded lid clips are superb. The finish on the edges and in fact everything so far is amazing.
The following item is the column reflux condenser. Once again, the build quality is outstanding. This comes with all of the required piping. Included is the digital probe thermometer and all of the various tap fittings you could possibly need to hook up the cooling system.
You also get a complimentary bottle of distilling conditioner and a pack of reusable ceramic boil enhancers. All of these will covered in much more detail during the course of this series.
Next up is the alembic dome for pot distilling. Beautifully finished in heavy gauge brushed copper, the finish is protected with a good coat of heat resistant polymer.
This fits to the top of the boiler and is capped off with the copper condenser.
This option also comes with all the necessary piping, the matching digital probe thermometer and all of the necessary tap connections.
All of the aforementioned equipment comes with full and comprehensive operating manuals.
Other very useful optional extras include the water flow regulator which will control the flow in the cooling system and the EZfilter System for filtering your reflux distilled alcohol.
In our next episode we will be covering the differences between pot distilling and reflux distilling, including the different types of yeast used, additives and clearing agents.
In summary, when you see this system first hand, you cannot help being impressed. Stick with us for the next 15 episodes where we put all of this and more through it’s paces while you learn just about everything you need to know to distill amazing drinks at home.
For those viewers not interested in distilling, our regular food programming will continue as normal.


How to Make Strong Orange Wine – Super Charged Orange Wine – 18% ABV

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How to Make Strong Orange Wine - Super Charged Orange Wine - 18% ABV
Recipe type: Brewing and Distilling
Hi and welcome to the monumentous 500th episode with To celebrate today, we're going to make a batch of really good orange wine. The process is very simple, however you will be looking at at a good few weeks of patience before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
For the Wine
  • 4 Liters orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1kg White sugar
  • 50g Turbo yeast (Still Spirits brand, #8)
To Clear the Wine
  • 1g Gelatin
  • 60ml Water
  1. To start, I have juiced 4 liters of juice from 9kg of oranges. Place this in a 5 liter food safe container and pour in the sugar.
  2. Put the cap on the bottle and shake it up vigorously until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Remove the cap and pour in 50g of Still Spirits Turbo yeast. This yeast is amazing in that it has anti-foaming agents and nutrients included in the mix.
  4. Place the cap back on the container and give another vigorous shake. This will dissolve the yeast and introduce more oxygen into the wash.
  5. Remove the regular cap and screw on a cap with a fermentation lock.
  6. Fill the lock with water up to the line and you're ready to start the waiting game.
  7. From here you want the fermentation to continue for 7 to 10 days until it comes to an absolute stop.
  8. During this time, we had a sudden heat wave which caused just over a liter of our brew to bubble out through the airlock. Bare this in mind if you live in a warm climate. You may want to use a much bigger fermentation bottle.
  9. Notice that the mash has cleared substantially and that there is a layer of fruit solids and yeast at the bottom of the bottle.
  10. Rack this of using a syphon pipe into another sterile bottle.
  11. To clear the wine, sprinkle 1 gram of gelatin into 60ml of water.
  12. Allow this to stand for 30 minutes until it has re-hydrated.
  13. Once hydrated, heat this in your microwave to 70c or 158f.
  14. Give it a good stir and pour it into the wine. Use a long sterile stirrer to gently stir this into the wine.
  15. Screw a regular cap onto the bottle and place this in your refrigerator.
  16. Let this stand in the refrigerator undisturbed for 7 to 10 days to clear.
  17. After this time almost all of the remaining haze will have precipitated to the bottom of the bottle.
  18. Use your siphon to rack this off onto bottles. Attach a toothpick to the end of the siphon to hold the pipe clear of the precipitated haze.
  19. Cap the bottles and return them to the refrigerator. You can drink the wine immediately, however it does improve significantly after a few weeks of aging in your refrigerator. It will also continue to clear significantly as well.
  20. And there it is, a magnificent batch of orange wine... just in time for episode 500 with


Distilling Alcohol – Making Cuts and Fractions – Learning to Blend Better Alcohol

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In our previous distilling episode we built a basic pot still. Today we’re going to distill a batch of fermented wash and learn how to make the cuts or separations between the foreshots, heads, heats and tails during the run.
If you have followed this series, you will remember that sugar wash does not produce methanol, and also only insignificant quantities of acetones and aldehydes. For this reason, if you’re distilling sugar wash, the only thing you really need to remove is the foreshot, and even this is not absolutely necessary,  but will improve the flavor of your product.
Although I am using sugar wash, I am going to demonstrate the cuts as if I were using a fermented mash. By mash, I mean and fermented wash that contains bio-matter, whether this be raisins, grain, spices or even unrefined sugar. As soon as a wash contains biomass, it becomes a mash, and we have larger quantities of acetone, methanol and aldehyde. These need to be removed during the distillation to ensure a safe and pleasant tasting product.
Starting with the foreshots, or acetone. The acetone starts emerging from the still when the head temperature reaches 50c or 122f. This is when you turn on the cooling pump.
The calculation is simple. For every 5 liters of mash, you will collect 30ml of foreshot. If you’re distilling a 25 liter batch, you will collect 150ml of foreshot. This acetone cannot be used for anything and is discarded.
From here onwards, the distillate is collected in 100ml fractions. These are measured using your alcohol meter as you go.
The heads will contain alcohol levels of over 80%, with a percentage of this comprising methanol, or wood alcohol.
When the alcohol reading drops below 80%, your collection of heads is complete. Keep the 100ml heads samples separate and put them aside.
Continue distilling and collecting 100ml samples until the alcohol reading drops below 65%. This lot of samples is the good stuff, and is called the hearts. These can be combined and put aside.
The next lot of samples is called the tails. You will continue to collect 100ml samples until the acohol level drops below 20%.
By this stage the head temperature of the still will be approaching 95c or 203f. Turn the off the heat but leave the cooling system running until the still cools down.
Keep the 100ml samples from tails separate and put these aside.
Cover all of the distillate with lint free towels and allow this stand ovenrnight. This allows any unpleasant tasting volatiles to evaporate.
The following day, sniff and taste each sample of heads, and  blend the decent samples with hearts in quantities that you see fit.
Repeat this with tails. Any samples that don’t get blended into the finished product can be saved and added to your next distilling run.
It is important to note that the head temperature of the still must not exceed 95c or 203f. This is how we cut the aldehyde out of the mix. Aldehydes smell and taste terrible and will ruin your blend.
As far as the blending process is concerned, this is very much a matter of personal taste… there is no right or wrong blend.
After a few batches, your nose and taste will become more adept and your blends will become more and more refined.

Most impotantly, have fun, and feel to send any questions through to me via our Youtube Channel.


How to Make a Pot Still for Under $60 – all Parts Available on our Website!!!

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In this episode we’re going to build a pot still for under $60. This is the cost at the time of filming, and does not include the pot and lid.
Let’s look at the list of items you require. Click on the photos to go to the relevant product pages.

Riser Column
First in line is the angled 3-way riser with a thermometer adapter. This gets glued into a 22mm hole drilled through the pot lid. You will need a dome lid like this wok lid or a high hat lid. If you cannot find a dome lid or high hat lid, you will need an elbow joint like this one –

Bend Connector

The riser need to be almost horizontal in order that down-pipe is almost vertical. I have sealed the joint with clear silicon polymer to combat pressure leaks. I have also sealed the glass joint in the top of lid and the handle.
To accommodate the thermometer a plastic cap unscrews at the top. The thermometer goes through cap and is held in place by a silicon grommet.

Silicone Tubing
To seal the joint where the lid meets the pot you will need natural medical grade silicon rubber tubing. The tubing gets cut down one side along the length, then clipped over the edge of the pot. We will look at that shortly.

Lab Clamps
Next up is the lab clamp clips that hold the glassware securely together.

The second piece of glassware is the condenser. This condenses the alcohol vapor back to liquid.
The vapor enters the top from the 3 way connector and passes through the cooling coil, then drips out the bottom as liquid alcohol.
Cooling water is pumped from the bottom of the column and exits at the top. This increases the efficiency of the condenser.

Water Pipe
To connect the cooling pump, you will need a few lengths of pvc fish tank pipe. For this setup you need to order about 2 meters of 6mm pipe.

Pump 220Pump 110To pump the cooling water you need a small submersible pump. These come in 110v and 220v. These pumps are very small and very inexpensive, however amazingly reliable. Bare in mind that these small pumps don’t have a substantial head, only about 40cm or 16 inches. This means that they have to mounted in the cooling reservoir at the same height as the condenser. If you want your coolant to be on the floor, you will need to look at a much bigger pump. These are available from the same supplier, just be sure to order the correct voltage.

Alcohol Meter
You will also want to have a set of spirit alcohol meters to measure the alcohol content of your efforts. This set comes with these graduated measures giving a capability of measuring anything from 0% ABV to 100% ABV. The set also comes with thermometer and a conversion table to adjust readings of alcohol according to the temperature of the liquid.

Measuring Funnel
To use these devices you will require a small 100ml measuring cylinder. The cylinder is filled with distillate, then the alcohol meter is floated in the distillate.

Dripper Tube
Finally, but not absolutely necessary is the angle dripper joint. This finishes off the condenser column neatly and drips the distillate precisely into the catch jar.
I have included links to all of these products on our website, and you can get there by clicking the onscreen link.
Here is the system as I set it up and do a test run.
First, notice the silicon rubber tubing has been slit down the length on one side only and clipped onto surround of the pot. The two ends are glued together using silicon glue.
I have poured 3 liters of wine into the pot.
Place the lid on the pot and secure the lid with at least 8 bull clips.
Notice the lab clip used to secure the joint between the riser and the condenser.
Place the pump in the cooling reservoir and attach the pipes to the condenser.
The outlet pipe simply feeds water back to the reservoir.
Insert the thermometer into the grommet above the riser.
Place bowl or beaker below the condenser to catch the distillate.
Turn the power or gas on. After a while as the head temperature reaches about 50c you will see condensation start forming in the riser.
Turn on the cooling pump.
As the temperature rises, the distillate will condense and run into the catchment.
In our next episode we will look more closely at how to fraction the distillate. You will see how to calculate the foreshots, heads, hearts and tails. You will see what to dispose of and how to blend the remaining distillate to make a pleasing and tasteful product.

Please note that you will be buying these products from offers various methods of transport. The free transport option can take up to 8 weeks depending on where you are situated, and how useless your customs department is – paid transport options are far quicker.

Any questions to do with damages in transit, or incorrectly supplied products must be supported by

That being said, I have ordered a ton of stuff from and have had nothing undelivered, broken or incorrectly supplied. All of the equipment featured in this post was purchased from Banggood. It was very well packaged and nothing arrived damaged. Due to the low prices, I did not have to pay import duties in SA, but this may differ from country to country.


Whats4Chow Channel Update August 2016

Whats4Chow channel update 2016

This episode serves as our periodic channel update bring you news and a quick look at whats coming in the near future.

First and foremost, I am going to be away for 2 weeks from the 12th of August and as a result, our next episode will be around the 28th of August.
We have just finished with the 2 simplest forms of distillation in our distilling course, and this will continue on my return. I will be demonstrating how to built a proper water cooled pot still for next to nothing, and a whole load more interesting stuff on distilling at home.
In addition to this, my short course on molecular gastronomy will continue as well, with more advanced forms of spherification, edible dissolving films and many other interesting things.
It goes without saying that while the distilling and molecular course unfold, our regular food programming will continue as normal.
That’s me for now, and I’ll look forward to seeing you all again towards the end of the month.

Distilling Vodka from Sugar Wash – Part 2 – Sugar Wash Fermentation & Distilling Vodka

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In yesterday’s episode we fermented a pure sugar wash using turbo yeast and refined white sugar. In the second part today, we’re going to take the partially cleared wash and distill this in a stock pot still. If you missed our episode on stock pot distilling please click HERE before continuing.

Here is the sugar wash from yesterday’s episode. The wash has been partially cleared by refrigeration and is ready for distillation.
In place of the plain ice blocks used in the stock pot distilling video, I have made up about 45 small ice packets by heat sealing water in small bags and then freezing them. This makes the cooling process much easier as when the ice melts you simply swap out the melted packets for more frozen packets. The added bonus is that these ice packs can be reused many times.
Pour the fermented sugar wash into your stock pot.
Place an upturned colander into the wash.
Place a large jug or bowl on top of this to catch the distillate.
Place the upturned wok lid on the pot and you’re ready to go.
Set your heat source to 80c or 176f. This is just 2 degrees higher than the boiling point of ethanol.
Fill the upturned wok lid with the ice packs and lets process take its course.
As a heat source, you need to use something controllable like an induction cooker, or what a digital pot like this one.
And now it’s time for some calculations. 5 liters of wash at a 15% alcohol content will give us a total alcohol yield of 750ml of ethanol.
The first distillation of the wash will only yield an ABV or alcohol by volume strength of around 50%.
This means that to obtain 1.5 liters of 50% ABV vodka, you need to collect 1.5 liters of the distillate.
If you want higher alcohol content, you can continue with a second distillation of the distillate which will give you an alcohol content of around 80 percent ABV.
As the wash approaches the target temperature, you will notice the condensation on the chilled lid, running down the curved surface and dripping into the cat bowl.
Swap out the ice packs as necessary.
Empty the catch bowl or jug periodically to keep an eye on your progress.
Once you have collected 1.5 liters, the run is complete.
Here is the absolutely clear distilled 50% ABV vodka. At this stage it can be cooled and consumed, you can dilute it slightly to the standard 43% ABV, or you run it through the distilling process a second time for a much purer, stronger liquor.

How to Ferment Sugar Wash to Make Vodka – Part 1

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How to Ferment Sugar Wash to Make Vodka - Part 1
Recipe type: Fermenting and Distilling
This episode is Part 1 where we're going to ferment a high alcohol sugar wash. In part 2, tomorrow, we will distill it using the stock pot distilling technique we looked at in the previous distilling episode. Vodka is by definition pure ethanol in water... it has not distinctive smell or flavor. However, this only true for vodkas that have been distilled using refraction, or column stills. When vodka is distilled using a pot still, or in this case a stock pot still, a portion of the aroma and flavor of the fermented liquid does pass on to the distilled product. This will give every different type of pot stilled vodka its own distinctive taste and aroma. We are going to make a fermented sugar wash which ideal for producing vodka. Sugar wash has become increasingly popular with distillers as it produces no methanol, and insignificant quantities of fusel oils. It is the perfect wash for beginner distillers, and especially when using a stock pot still where it is really inconvenient trying to remove heads and tails during the process.
  • 5lt Filtered water
  • 1.5Kg Refined white sugar
  • 60g Turbo yeast (this comes in many brands, and is available from your local home brew supplier)
  1. Add the water and sugar to you fermentation vessel. Heat the water and stir the solution until the sugar has totally dissolved.
  2. Allow the solution to cool to 40c or 104f, then add the turbo yeast. Stir this in briefly.
  3. Reduce the heat to 30c or 86f, place the lid on the pot and allow this to ferment for 48 hours.
  4. Due to the anti-foaming agent, this fermentation will only show a thin film of bubbles on the surface, but you will certainly be able hear the bubbles in the pot.
  5. To achieve the relatively high alcohol content of between 14 and 19%, we are using specially formulated yeast called Turbo yeast. This yeast enjoys higher temperatures, does not develop any nasties, it has yeast nutrient built into the formulation and as an added bonus, an anti-foaming agent.
  6. After 48 hours listen to the fermentation. If the bubbling has reduced significantly, it is ready, if not, allow it to continue.
  7. Mine is ready, and it is ready to rack, or syphon off the wash.
  8. Take a food grade container and a length of polyethylene pipe.
  9. Use a silicon elastic band to strap a skewer onto one end of the pipe so that just a half inch of the skewer protrudes past the end of the pipe. This keeps the end of the pipe clear of the precipitated dead yeast at the bottom of the pot.
  10. Place the skewered end of the pipe in the fermented wash, get the syphon going.
  11. Place other end of the pipe in the bottle and run the fermented liquid into the bottle.
  12. This is a quick look at the precipitate at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
  13. Here is the racked, fermented sugar wash. You will notice how cloudy it is. This is very fine yeast particulate that has not precipitated.
  14. We want to clear most of this before distilling.
  15. Put the cap on the bottle and place the wash in your refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  16. After this time, notice how much clearer the wash is. It is ready to distill. Once again, notice the precipitated yeast at the bottom.
  17. Rack this off again, and you're ready to distill the wash.
  18. Please stay tuned for tomorrow's episode where we will distill this using a stock pot distiller.


How to Make a Reverse Pot Still – Quick & Easy Reverse Distilling at Home!!! Stock Pot Distiller.

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In our previous 2 episodes covering distilling we looked at freeze distillation which relied on the massive disparity between the freezing point of water and the freezing point of alcohol. Today’s episode takes us to the next step in the evolution of distillation…. the pot still.
This relies on the disparity in boiling temperatures between water and alcohol. Water boils at around 100c depending on barometric pressure, whereas alcohol boils at 78.3c.
This means that if a fermented wash is heated to around 78c, the alcohol will vaporize while the water remains in liquid state. This alcohol vapor is cooled and collected.
I must stress that this video is not a recipe. It is merely a demonstration of how the process works. Fermentation recipes and actual distillations will start in the next few episodes of this course. Also, I must remind you that distilling is illegal in some countries, so please check with your local authorities before getting involved.
Back to pot stilling. Today we’re looking at the simplest form of pot still… the stock pot still.
To understand this, let’s first look at a real pot still. You have large pot. To cover the pot is an air-tight dome lid. From the center of the lid a large gauge pipe rises up, then turns downward.
This pipe joins with another pipe in the form of a spiral.
This cooling coil is encased in a circulating water cooler.
The fermented liquid or wash is placed in the pot. Heat is applied to the pot. When the temperature reaches 78.3c the alcohol starts vaporizing, and escapes through the tube.
On running through the coil it is cooled and it condenses to liquid alcohol which drips into a catchment.
The stock pot still does not require any fancy cooling coils, and can be achieved with simplest of kitchen basics.
You need a large stock pot. You will need a dome lid…. I use my wok lid, and some sort of stand inside the pot. For this I use an inverted colander. You cannot use a solid up-tuned bowl as gasses will be trapped inside the bowl.
Then you need something non-reactive to catch the distillate, either stainless steel or food grade plastic.
The fermented liquid is placed in the stock pot.
Heat is applied.
The inverted wok lid is filled with ice.
As the alcohol vaporizes at 78.3c it rises and immediately condenses on the chilled lid, runs down the curved surface of the lid and drips into the collection bowl.
Let’s have a look at this in real life. I am using a big digital pot, but you can use a regular stock pot over any heat source. It is however, preferable to have control over the heat, so I would suggest using an induction range.
Here is the wok lid, from which I have unscrewed the handle and left the bolt in place to close the hole.
For this demo, I am using el-cheapo rose wine. Commercial wines are fermented using yeasts that result in very low levels of methanol and volatiles. In our next episode on distilling we will make a high alcohol sugar wash which is ideal for this process.
Empty the wine into the pot. Place the inverted colander into the pot. On top of this is where you will catch the alcohol in another bowl.
Place the inverted lid on the pot and set your heat to around 80c.
Pour ice into the inverted lid.
Owing to heat below the ice you will need to drain the melt from the lid and top up the ice a few times during this process.
I started with 5 liters of wine with an ABV of 13%. This means that there is a total of 650ml of ethanol in the wine. If I collect 1300ml of distillate, I will have a subtly flavored distillation with an ABV of 50%.
Stay tuned for our next episode on distilling next week where we will make a fermented sugar wash from scratch and distill the wash to make Vodka.


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