While many people brew their own beer and experiment with wine making, far fewer tackle the challenge of making their own hard liquor. Distilling vodka requires only simple ingredients but somewhat more substantial equipment. Allow space, time and room for failure as you learn to make vodka. Once you can successfully make homemade vodka, experiment with adding flavours and creating infused vodkas.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Small home still, available from many home-brewing supply shops
- Distilled water
- Flaked wheat
- Wheat malt
- Citric acid
- Large stock pot
- PH testing strips
- Dairy thermometer
- Two 30-plus litre fermenters
- One packet vodka yeast
- Wine-making hydrometer and cylinder
- Straining bag
- Activated carbon filter
Assemble your vodka still. A still should have a heat source, a boiling chamber, cooling pipes and a collection bottle. Thoroughly sterilise all equipment using bleach or a sanitising solution made for baby bottles and similar items. Be sure to also sterilise your stock pot and any utensils you will use to make your mash.
Fill a large stock pot with 23 litres of tap water to make your homemade vodka. Add 2 tsp of gypsum to this water and mix well. Test the pH and adjust, if needed, with citric acid. Add citric acid 1/4 tsp at a time until it's reached a pH of 5.8 or 6.0. Place the pot on the stove, cover and allow to heat to 73.9 degrees C.
Remove from heat and stir in 8 litres of flaked winter wheat. Stir for approximately five minutes, then every five minutes until the temperature is 66.7 degrees C. Add 1.5 litres of malt to this mixture. Leave for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture then may be left overnight to allow it to cool to fermentation temperatures.
Use the hydrometer to check the originating gravity of the clear liquid on top of the mash once the mixture has thoroughly cooled. The measurement should be around 1.060-1.070. Transfer the mash to the fermenter and pour quickly from one fermenter to the other four to six times to aerate the wheat mash. Add a packet of vodka yeast and stir well. Allow the mixture to ferment for 72 to 84 hours.
Strain the mash and place into the still. Heat the mash. The alcohol will evaporate and collect in the collection bottle. Be sure to filter through a carbon-based filter. Dilute at a ratio of 3 parts vodka to 4 parts water and bottle in sterilised bottles.
Tips and warnings
- Consult books on distillation and a good brew shop. Poorly made liquor can pose health hazards.
- Be sure of the legalities of home distillation in your area before proceeding.
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