Saturday, December 16, 2006


This is not a picture of moonshine on the surface of juptier. It is my round-bottom flask.

(click pic's for large pic's)

I had to clean my glassware because some amoebic sediment was having a party in my flask. The glassware had been in my shed for three weeks.

I found other weird things there...

No, it is not my haute cuisine insect soup. It is my oil bath.

Three weeks ago I distilled the last batch for this year. It takes some time before you can get drunk.

Starting with inexpensive and readily available sugar, the show begins.

You need : from left to right:
citric acid, yeast, yeast nutrient (diammonium phosphate), and sometimes activated coal.

The sugar is cooked in water with citric acid to hydrolyse the glycosidic bond of sucrose turning it into invert sugar. The monosaccharides are fermented much better than the disaccharides. Oxygen rich water is added together with the nutrients and the yeast. The yeast starts to multiply. Ofcourse you use something like TurboYeast to obtain as much ethanol as possible (up to 18% can be reached using these types of yeast). The fermentation is done under anaerobic conditions.

People say : "It is dangerous, watch out for the methanol. If you drink it, you will not be able to read the newspaper anymore!!" That is bullshit, methanol can not be formed when using pure sugar. It can be formed when fermenting fruit (pectins), but with a good still you can remove it with the the first fractions of the distillation.

With the TurboYeast it takes about two weeks to complete the fermentation. Now in December it is too cold here to do this. I usually ferment 10 litres every time. After fermentation you decantate the solution to remove the dead yeast and the first destillation is done. I have a three litre flask so I have to distill 4 times. (I do this in about 4 times 50 minutes). The 10 litres give about 1.7 litre of 70% ethanol after the first distillation. Sometimes you have a bit of nasty sulphur smell in it. This is often occuring when the yeast was too old, or the fermentation was left for too long. You can remove the nasty smell with activated coal (or by using a real copper still).

The purity of the ethanol is meassured with a density meter.

Let it float in the distillate, and read the percentage.

This one is only for ethanol water mixtures, so it will not work for wine wich has other ingredients. The water ethanol mixture can be diluted to about 40% to have a nasty shot of vodka.

I do not like vodka, so I flavour the ethanol with herbs. Crush the herbs in a mortar like an alchemist, and let it stand in the ethanol for a week.

I like (from left to right) : juniper berry, rosemary, tyme, nutmeg and pepper.

After a week the herbs are filtered out and the ethanol is distilled again. I usually get 1.4 litres 80% flavoured ethanol. I dilute this to 40% to have 2.8 litres of nice jenever. Optionally you can mature the jenever on roasted chips of oak wood.

This will give the jenever a nice color and an extra flavour.

The 2.8 litre of korenwijn-like spirit will cost you about $50 in a shop. The used ingredients for my 2.8 litre cost about $3 and an additional $5 for the butane/propane mixture to heat my oil bath. All the stuff can be bought easily. Biggest problem is the lab-glassware. You can make a still yourself from an old copper boiler, or milk can. Or search for real lab glassware on E-bay. You can not walk out of your lab with a 3 litre round bottom flask under your arm, I presume (you might want to keep your job).

I have 9 bottles of this stuff right now, so I hope I can get through the winter. In april the show can begin again

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