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Anyone Got a Still? 
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Enthusiastic Gardner

Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:42 pm
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Location: Michelago NSW
Post Anyone Got a Still?
I was at the brew shop the other day and got some information on a set of apparatus to make moonshine or white lightning (included everything you need except 10 generations of in-breeding and a banjo!!!! :lol: )

Apparently you make the make the pure alcohol in much the same way as you brew beer, and then add essences etc to replicate just about anything you want - rum - whisky - gin etc and it works out at less than $10 a bottle. It seems like a very tempting proposition to me.

Does anyone here do it? Is the grog any good?


Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:47 am
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
I don't have one but I have drunk many bottles of booze made from a home still & they taste great, some of the essences are a little second rate particularly the wild turkey one smells like nail polish remover. The best one is the swiss choc almond one.

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Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:06 am
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
Hi Robbo

I knew someone who used to own a home brew shop so I am relatively well versed in this. I dont know much about making the white spirit, the friend had a still and used to do that and give it to me with all the stuff to make it into whatever I wanted.

Basically, once you have the white spirit its simple - you buy the essences, sugars, creamers etc, and then its basically just following a recipe. The essences come in these little bottles and you normally use one bottle of essence to make up a batch of spirit. Different spirits are made up in different sized batches, dont know why. Depending on what you are making you'll need to add other things on top of the essence.

The sweeter spirits, like say Kahlua, have other things added. There are powdered bases you can buy in packets from the home brew store, or you can use liquid glucose and/or sugar. The essence bottles have instructions (basically the recipe) on them. Personally I found the packaged spirit bases easier, but the booze comes out much the same if you do it the other way, its just a lot more stirring and then it has to sit for a while. With the powdered bases, you just stir them in with the essence, give it all a good whisk, and its ready.

Like Cai said, some of them are great and some really suck. My friend made some wild turkey once, and it was horrible. He put smoked wood chips in it to give it authentic flavour - apparently this is the done thing with wild turkey, and really, it was just foul!! Paint stripper! Also, don't ever make midori - never ever ever. I dont like midori, I just made it because my uncle gave me the stuff. Even though it was free - just awful. Never ever again.

The white spirits work well - gin, vodka etc. The sweeter ones are also usually pretty good. Kahlua works very well. I once made one called swiss chocolate almond liqueur and it was amazingly popular - even people like Cai who dont like sweet spirits loved it.

The harder spirits, like rum, scotch etc - not as good. They aren't horrible, they just dont seem to be as good as nice quality bought ones. Admittedly though, I didn't do a lot of experimenting with this because I was working with a limited supply of white spirit.

I would say it is worth doing. We have been thinking about getting one ourselves.


Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:45 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
It should be noted that home distillation is illegal, it is illegal to own a still with a capacity larger than 5 litres, and if you own a still smaller than 5 litres you can only use it to distill things like essential oils and to purify water.

http://www.ato.gov.au/businesses/content.asp?doc=/content/66216.htm&page=2&H2=&pc=001/003/043/003/004&mnu=12124&mfp=001&st=&cy=1

The main issue that the tax department have with distillation is the loss of revenue from alcohol tax (greedy buggers...), which is contrary to the popular belief that it is because of the risk of poisoning from methanol and other complex alcohols that become concentrated through distillation.

Distillation isn't really like brewing beer. You need a base to distill, which is produced in a similar way to beer (fermentation of sugars in solution by yeast), but the actual distillation process is completely different. It's done by separating the different fractions of a brew, the alcohols and the water have different volatilities, so when heated to a particular temperature the alcohol will vaporise, travel vertically, and as it cools moves into a separate vessel. The distilled alcohol can't be 100% pure- some water always evaporates out with the ethanol, but you can increase strength by distilling the distillate again.

I had a friend in high school who had a home made still and he made white spirits with potatoes and rice, and they were horrible! I'm surprised I didn't go blind just from looking at them. The were about 80% ABV through multiple distillations, and burned like hell! I don't condone underage drinking or home distillation :D


Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:04 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
I remember that Slim - it was pretty gross!


Fri Sep 17, 2010 7:25 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
Ive seen them in the local brew shop here - have thought about getting one for extcacting essential oils ;)

The ones I have seen are a reflux still - produces good qualty product with in a compact size.

but cost around $500 :(

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Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:36 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
I've been tossing one up from making essential oils too ;)

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Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
In inverted commas?


Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:42 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
perhaps so ;)

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Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:46 pm
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Post Re: Anyone Got a Still?
I have soo much lavender growing I figgured it would be a good use for it.

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Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:48 pm
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