Making your own spirits is a simply four stage process
- Making/fermenting alcohol from sugar, water and a turbo yeast
- Distilling to separate the alcohol (ethanol) from the water and other by-products
- Filtering the 40% alcohol through a carbon filter to remove any further tastes and aromas
- Mixing the spirit and liqueur flavours to create your favourite tipple
The ‘Still Spirits’ Air Still is a great entry level still able to create 6 L of 40% ABV spirit from 6 kg of household sugar.
So what equipment will I need …
- 30 L fermentation bucket with a seal-able lid, grommet and airlock
- Thermometer to check the fermentation temperature (18-25C)
- Stirrer for mixing
- Steriliser powder
- Syphon for transferring the wash into the still
- Hydrometer to check fermentation has completed correctly
- Alcoholmeter for reading the alcohol level of your distill spirit
- The ‘Still Spirits’ Air Still
- Alcohol collector and carbon filter unit (Included with the Air Still)
If you have not home brewed before we strongly recommend you purchase our complete Air Still starter kit. This contains everything you will need with full instructions and is great value for money.
What other equipment can I get?
The Turbo Yeast requires a slightly higher fermentation temperature to work efficiently so by using the heat pad you will ensure full fermentation in the stated time. It uses only 30W of power so can be left running throughout. Especially handy for the winter months.
You will need very little space to do the fermentation. A bucket will fit in an area which is 30 x 30 cm. Remember this can be really good fun and rewarding as there is big saving to be made.
Follow these simple step by step instructions
- Wild yeasts and bacteria can affect the taste and flavour of your spirit so to avoid any problems you’ll need to sterilise all the equipment that will come in contact with it. Mix 1 teaspoon of sterilising powder with roughly 2 L of warm water and add to the fermenter. Fit the airlock and grommet into the lid and attach. Shake the fermenter a couple of times over a 5-10 minute period to ensure good coverage. Rinse out a couple of times with cold tap water.
Fill the fermenter with 21 L of water at 30C. Then disolve 6 kg of either household sugar or 7 kg of brewing sugar (this will take the level up to about 25 L)
Add the Turbo Carbon sachet to the fermenter and stir. Then sprinkle the’Triple Distilled’ Turbo Yeast sachet into the mixture and gently stir it in. Attach the lid and half fill the airlock with water (preferable pre boiled).
Sit the fermenter somewhere safe at between 20-25C for 5 days to complete the process. The fermentation is complete when the airlock stops bubbling though it’s advisable to leave it for the full 10 days.
Test the specific gravity of your wash by opening your fermenter and using the hydrometer tube removing a small sample and testing it by by placing the hydrometer in it. Check it has reached therequired S.G. of between 980 and 990. See (How to Use a Hydrometer)
Vigourously stir the wash to degas it of CO2 bubbles then add part A of the clearing agent and stir a few times over a period of 5 minutes. Replace the lid and leave to sit for 3 hours then gently stir in Part B to the top 10-15cm of wash.
After 1-2 days 95% of the solids will have dropped to the bottom of the fermenter and your wash will be clear like water but contain 14% alcohol.
In certain countries the production of distilled alcohol for home use is illegal. For people in the UK please see the advice given from HMCE on our UK Disclaimer page.
Now that you have your wash ready it’s time to distill and purify it using the ‘Still Spirits’ Airstill. (Click here for details of the Turbo 500 distiller)
- Remove the lid of the Airstill and make sure your still is clean of dust and dirt (there is no need to sterilise the still), then add the packet of ceramic boil enhancers. Syphon or scoop out 4.5 L of wash into the still up to the level marking. Add a capfull of distilling conditioner.
- Refit the top and connect power lead to base and plug into wall. The fan in the lid will start and the wash will start to heat up. Place the spirit collector container beneath the outlet nozzle.
- After approx 1 – 1 1/2 hours liquid will start dripping. The first 50 ml that comes out is primarily methanol and must be discarded ~ (this is easily done and will ensure the spirit is safe to drink)
- Collect the next 700 ml of spirit then turn off the still and leave it to cool before emptying and discarding the waste.
- Add 300 ml of water to the spirit. this will then bring it to 40% ABV.
The next step is to filter your spirit to remove any remaining tastes and aromas. These are not poisonous but they can affect the flavour of your final product.
- Assemble the filter ensuring the carbon cartridge is well sealed.
- Pour some water into the top reservoir and let drip for approx 20 min to ensure the carbon is fully wet, discard the water.
- Pour in your spirit leave it to slowly drip into the collector. This can vary in time so it’s best to leave it overnight.
- Congratulations you now have what is basically 1 litre of 40% ABV vodka.
Now it’s time to flavour it to make your favourite spirit or liqueur.
Don’t forget you also pay VAT on top of that tax as well!!
If you’d like more details look at the ‘Brewing Tips’ menu under ‘Distilling Spirits and Liqueurs’
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