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Re: [new_distillers] First draft of an FAQ

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  • Christopher Noyes
    Tony exelent info. I think most would assume gallons are u.s.. Or you could state u.s. or imperial gallons. chris noyes ... From: Tony & Elle Ackland
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 10, 2000
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      Tony

      exelent info.

      I think most would assume gallons are u.s.. Or you could state u.s. or
      imperial gallons.

      chris noyes

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Tony & Elle Ackland <Tony.Ackland@...>
      To: 'new_distillers@egroups.com' <new_distillers@egroups.com>
      Date: Monday, July 10, 2000 12:09 AM
      Subject: [new_distillers] First draft of an FAQ


      >
      >Here's my stab at a Draft version of a NEW DISTILLERS FAQ.
      >Any comments, suggestions, additions, corrections, clarifications, etc
      >needed ?
      >
      >************************************************************************
      >********************
      >1) Is distilling hard to do ?
      >2) Is it legal ?
      >3) Will it make me blind ?
      >4) Whats the difference between a pot still, reflux still, and
      >fractionating column ?
      >5) How do I get or make a still ?
      >6) How do i make a whisky / rum / vodka ?
      >7) Should i use sugar or grains ?
      >8) Can I use fruit wine ?
      >9) How do i get rid of that "off-taste" ?
      >10) How do i measure the strength of it & dilute it ?
      >11) How do i flavour/turn the vodka's into something else ?
      >12) What web resources are there ?
      >13) How do I contact the NEW DISTILLERS news group ?
      >
      >************************************************************************
      >********************
      >
      >1) Is distilling hard to do ?
      >
      >Nope - if you can follow instructions enough to bake scones, then you can
      >sucessfully distil.
      >
      >
      >2) Is it legal ?
      >
      >Probably not. It is only legal in New Zealand, and some European countries
      >turn a blind eye to it, but elsewhere it is illegal, with punishment
      >ranging from fines to imprisonment or floggings. This action against it is
      >usually the result of either religous beliefs (right or wrong), but more
      >generally due to the great revenue base it provides Governements through
      >excise taxes. So if you are going to distil, just be aware of the potential
      >legal ramifications.
      >
      >
      >3) Will it make me blind ?
      >
      >Not if you're carefull. This pervasive question is due to moonshine lore,
      >which abounds with myths of blindness, but few actual documented cases.
      > The concern is due to the presence of methanol (wood alcohol), an optic
      >nerve poison, which can be present in small amounts when fermenting grains
      >or fruits high in pectin. This methanol comes off first from the still, so
      >it is easily segregated and discarded. A simple rule of thumb for this is
      >to throw away the first 50 mL you collect (per 20 L / 5 gal mash used).
      > Probably the greatest risk to your health during distilling is the risk of
      >fire - collecting a flammable liquid near a heat source. So keep a fire
      >extinguisher nearby.
      >
      >
      >4) Whats the difference between a pot still, reflux still, and
      >fractionating column ?
      >
      >A pot still simply collects and condenses the alcohol vapours that come off
      >the boiling mash. This will result in an alcohol at about 40-60% purity
      >(80-120 proof), with plenty of flavour in it. If this distillate were put
      >through the pot still again, it would increase in purity to around 70-85%
      >purity, and lose a bit of its flavour.
      >
      >A reflux still does these multiple distillations in one single go, by
      >having some packing in a column between the condensor & the pot, and
      >allowing some of the vapour to condense and trickle back down through the
      >packing. This "reflux" of liquid helps clean the rising vapour and
      >increase the % purity. The taller the packed column, and the more reflux
      >liquid, the purer the product will be. The advantage of doing this is that
      >it will result in a clean vodka, with little flavour to it - ideal for
      >mixing with flavours etc.
      >
      >A fractionating column is a pure form of the reflux still. It will
      >condense all the vapour at the top of the packing, and return about 9/10
      >back down the column. The column will be quite tall - say 600-1200mm (2-4
      >foot), and packed with a material high in surface area, but which takes up
      >little space (pot scrubbers are good for this). It will result in an
      >alcohol 95%+ pure (the theoretical limit without using a vacuum is 95.6%),
      > with no other tastes or impurities in it.
      >
      >
      >5) How do I get or make a still ?
      >
      >If you're after a pot still, these are generally home made using what-ever
      >you have at hand - say copper tubing and old water heaters or pressure
      >cookers. Reflux stills can be made from plans on the net, or bought from
      >several manufacturers. For reflux stil plans see Stillmakers :
      >http://stillmaker.dreamhost.com/ (free!) or Gert Strands :
      >http://partyman.se/Engelsk/default.htm (US$5), or for a fractionating
      >column see Nixon & Stones : http://www.gin-vodka.com/ (US$8). See the list
      >of "web resources" below for links to sites selling ready-made stills.
      >
      >
      >6) How do I make a whisky / vodka / rum ?
      >
      >Whiskey : Heat 4 kg cracked or crushed malt with 18 L of water to 63-65C,
      >and hold there for 1-1.5 hours. Heat to 73-75C, then strain off and keep
      >liquid, using 250 mL of hot water to rinse the grains. Cool to below 30C
      >(should have an initial specific gravity of 1.050). Add hydrated yeast &
      >leave to ferment (maintain at 26C) until airlock stops bubbling and final
      >SG of around 1.010. Let settle for a day, then syphon carefully into a pot
      >still. Discard the first 50 mL's, collect the next 2-3L of distillate or
      >until you start noticing the tails coming through.
      >Vodka : dissolve 5 kg of sugar & 60g of nutrients in 20L of water, cool to
      >below 30C and add hydrated yeast. Leave to ferment at 25C until below an
      >SG of around 0.990, then settle for a day. Syphon into a reflux or
      >fractionating still, and collect as per usual.
      >Rum : as per vodka, but use some brown sugar or mollasses, to give an
      >initial specific gravity (SG) of around 1.06 - 1.07. Run through either a
      >pot still, or a not-so-great reflux still.
      >
      >
      >7) Should I use sugar or grains ?
      >
      >It depends on what sort of still you have, and what you are trying to make.
      > If you have a reflux or fractionating still, only use whatever is cheapest
      >(usually sugar), as the refluxing will strip out all the flavours anyhow.
      > If you have a pot still, and are after a bourban or whiskey, then you need
      >to go the grain route, or mollasses if after a rum. If you are trying to
      >make a neutral spirit for flavouring, go for sugar.
      >
      >
      >8) Can I use fruit wine ?
      >
      >Sure, if you have it available. Again, using a pot still will result in a
      >brandy/grappa/schnapps, whereas a reflux still will just strip it down to
      >neutral spirit.
      >
      >
      >9) How do I get rid of that "off-taste" ?
      >
      >That "rough moonshine edge" or "off-taste / wet cardboard smell" is due to
      >impurities such as the higher order alcohols, known as cogeners or fusel
      >oils. These will be present more when using a pot still, less if using a
      >reflux still, and just about absent if using a fractionating column. So
      >one way is to use a taller packed column and increase the amount of reflux
      >occuring. They can also indicate that you've tried to collect too much of
      >the alcohol, and have run into the "tails"; so finish collecting a little
      >bit earlier next time. Soaking tainted alcohol with activated carbon for a
      >week (or even months) will help remove some of this flavour - this is known
      >as "polishing" the spirit.
      >
      >
      >10) How do I measure the strength of it & dilute it ?
      >
      >You need a hydrometer. This is a wee float, with a scale inside it. The
      >more alcohol that is present, the lighter the density of the liquid, so the
      >hydrometer sinks a bit lower. You then just read off the scale how much
      >alcohol is present. You need a seperate hydrometer for measuring the
      >density of the mash, as this is generally > 1.0, whereas the spirit is <
      >1.0, and they can't accurately do both ends of the scale.
      >
      >
      >11) How do I flavour/turn the vodka's into something else ?
      >
      >There are now many commercial flavourings available, which turn vodka into
      >pretty decent gin or whiskey, or all manor of liqueurs. See the commercial
      >sites, like Des Zines http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~topkiwi or Ray Toms
      >http://moonshine.co.nz/ for details.Or you can soak it with oak chips and
      >make whiskey, or soak fruits in it to make your own liqueurs.
      >
      >
      >12) What web resources are there ?
      >
      >For more details, see :
      >Tony Ackland's http://www.geocities.com/kiwi_distiller
      >Aaron Smiths's http://www.go.to/distillation
      >Steve Spence's http://www.webconx.com/ethanol.htm
      >
      >
      >13) How do I contact the NEW DISTILLERS news group ?
      >
      >Both the NEW DISTILLERS and the DISTILLERS news groups are available via
      >Egroups, at http://www.egroups.com . NEW DISTILLERS is, as the name
      >suggests, intended for those of you new to distilling and after simple,
      >straight-forward discussions, whereas the DISTILLERS group is a bit more
      >advanced, throwing in bits of design philosophy, theory, and alternative
      >ways of achieving the results. Both tend to overlap to some extent.
      >
      >------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >Find long lost high school friends:
      >http://click.egroups.com/1/5535/4/_/834209/_/963212953/
      >------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      >new_distillers-unsubscribe@onelist.com
      >
      >
      >
    • Young Des Zein
      Very good work Tony and the suggestions Im sure are welcome, its comming along well. Maybe a reference to the various measurements used in distilling may be
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 18, 2000
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        Very good work Tony and the suggestions Im sure are welcome, its
        comming along well. Maybe a reference to the various measurements
        used in distilling may be helpful as well. As has been pointed out
        in previous postings confusion reigns where measurements are
        concerned.

        Young Des






        --- In new_distillers@egroups.com, "Christopher Noyes" <cnoyes@o...>
        wrote:
        > Tony
        >
        > exelent info.
        >
        > I think most would assume gallons are u.s.. Or you could state
        u.s. or
        > imperial gallons.
        >
        > chris noyes
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Tony & Elle Ackland <Tony.Ackland@c...>
        > To: 'new_distillers@egroups.com' <new_distillers@egroups.com>
        > Date: Monday, July 10, 2000 12:09 AM
        > Subject: [new_distillers] First draft of an FAQ
        >
        >
        > >
        > >Here's my stab at a Draft version of a NEW DISTILLERS FAQ.
        > >Any comments, suggestions, additions, corrections, clarifications,
        etc
        > >needed ?
        > >
        >
        >*********************************************************************
        ***
        > >********************
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