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Thread: Making alcohol ?

  1. #1

    Default Making alcohol ?

    Alreet.i'm just sat at home thinking about camping and the woods.getting lost in my own thoughts about living of grid an living a life in the forest.one thing i would really miss its sad I know is alcohol.would it be possible too actually make decent alcohol from scratch when life is stripped back too the bare bones.?

  2. #2

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    Maybe I should discribe my day dream existence better.i'm a lone woodsman.ive already fashioned a log cabin.ive worked hard too secure a reliable food and water source but what I'm really missing is a bevy too help me relax and in wind of an evening.how am I gonna scratch that itch


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  3. #3
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    Look at the steps.
    Yeasts will act upon fermentable 6 carbon sugars.
    Break those into 2 x 3C pieces and toss away one C each as carbon dioxide (aka yeast furfies.).
    The other 2 x 2C pieces become ethanol.

    Different yeasts have different alcohol tolerances, wine yeasts don't kill themselves until 12% - 14%.
    Bread and beer yeasts can't get much past 6%, as I recall.

    You need a fermentable sugar source. Even canned peaches will do. Canned pears and make perry?

    What have you got to forage for fruit sugar? Now's the time, I'd guess.
    Make some skull-buster from apple mashings or rhubarb, raspberries and more.
    You must keep everything scrupulously clean. "Very clean" isn't good enough.

    In a past life, I was using a ton of California Zinfandel grapes and making many 450 liter batches of rather good red wine. To you, maybe 40p per liter.
    I still grow grapes. I don't care any more as long as I can find a crew to pick off the crop. I won't even save a kg for my table.

  4. #4
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    I've just got into home brewing, and have about 45 litres of mead bubbling away as of today.

    People have been making alcoholic brews since long before they knew what yeast was, or sterilisation for that matter. You can brew from anything with sugar in with simple cheap bread yeast from Asda. Wild fruit (that is, not sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals) will have natural yeast on it that can do the fermenting too.

    The biggest problem is cleanliness. Batches get spoiled if any other stuff gets to grow in the wort before the 'good' yeast make a big enough colony to keep them out. That said - boiling is easy and kills almost everything.

    I think making alcohol in such a situation wouldn't be too hard, given a bit of knowledge and inginuity. Just how 'decent' it would be probably depends on how desperate one is for a drink...

  5. #5
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    Last edited by Janne; 19-08-2017 at 01:51.

  6. #6
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    If you have a supply of apples then it's as easy as pressing them and putting it in a demijohn with an airlock.
    I've cleaned the equipment with very hot soapy water then rinsed off with hot and it's all worked fine.

    You can also make apple wine, but by killing any natural yeast with a camden tablet and putting in a sachet of controlled yeast. This gives a higher chance of getting booze and not vinegar, but I've yet to make vinegar from any of my brews accidentally.

    If you've made a strong cider and want to make a type of calvados with no still. You can put it in the freezer and wait for the water to freeze and pour out the alcohol. It's not perfect, and is a bit of a waste of cider, but it's good as a test.

    By the way. In England you can distill for your own consumption, but it's super flammable and people have burnt down their houses trying to make moonshine.

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    Last edited by Janne; 19-08-2017 at 01:51.

  8. #8
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    Aye, freezing cider to make traditional applejack! Traditionally made in winter, obviously.

    I wasn't aware we could legally distil for personal use. I wondered about it a few days ago but didn't bother checking; I just assumed it would be illegal.

    I have a two litre laboratory distillation rig* in the loft somewhere, with a big jacketed condenser etc. Hmm...

    (N.b. I used to be a science teacher, not a drug dealer!)

  9. #9

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    This sounds more like what I was thinking about.would this work with berries.how long would the process take


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  10. #10
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    You are soon to learn that people have been trying to ferment everything for millenia.
    Starchy grains work OK if you let them sprout, that's the starches being converted into sugars.

    The time depends a little bit on the temperature. The "yeastie-beasties" don't want to work in the cold.
    Like making bread in a cold room with cold flour.

    From small fruit/berries, I'll say at 25C, it should finish fermenting in a week.
    I've never done the freezer trick, JamPan will know.
    I wanted to learn to make a respectable red wine from good wine grapes. I did that.

    Distillation: water boils at 100C. Drinkable alcohol, ethanol, boils at approximately 72C.
    So, simmering hot is plenty. How will you catch and condense the alcohol vapors?

    Here, there are brewing clubs and hobby brewing stores of supplies and recipe instruction books.
    You must have such places all over Britain.
    But distillation, even for private consumption, is illegal in Canada. Very popular, when you learn where to look.

    Have fun. It's a very interestiung process to learn to be able to do.
    So you screw up a batch. Look at the store prices for fruit vinegars (eg strawberry). Sell it.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamPan View Post

    By the way. In England you can distill for your own consumption, but it's super flammable and people have burnt down their houses trying to make moonshine.
    Are you sure? http://www.hopsandvineshomebrew.co.u...al-consumption

  12. #12

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    This is all new information too me.every post is a point of research.i like too learn new skills.my main point of the thread was to try and strip the process of brewing down too its bear bones and understand what could be accomplished with the littlest of resources.


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  13. #13

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    Am I right in the thinking making alcohol wine,cider or spirits is a fermenting process and long as this process is done properly and kept clean it's that simple ?


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  14. #14
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    OK, I've just done a quick bit of reading of the legislation (disclaimer: I am not a solicitor, I know didly-squat, don't take what I say as fact )

    Producing spirits by whatever means without the relevant licenses is illegal, personal use or not, and they are not easy to get: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/spirits-duty

    Spirits means anything other than wines, beers and ciders produced solely by fermentation: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1979/4

    So, we can ferment anything we like to make anything we like, but not then distil it, freeze it, or crack ethylene gas to make it into a spirit.

    Boo, hiss!

    Note that there are some additional bits about percentage alcohol in the fermented beverage, but not anything that's likely to be an issue as long as it is only fermented.
    Last edited by FoxyRick; 13-08-2017 at 01:11.

  15. #15
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    Yes. Making a fermented beverage is that easy. Paperback recipe books contain recipes and detailed instruction.
    I know there are vineyards in the south of England. There's all sorts of fruit to forage.
    Right now, just juicing my grapes, I get a liter of juice from approx 3lbs grapes.

    Clean equipment. Clean fruit. Mash fruit (aka "the must") and add a yeast which makes a predictable result in the byproducts.
    In other words, buy a recognizable wine yeast. Watch and stir the bubbling for a week.
    That's the primary fermentation.
    Filter into a carboy/jug with an airlock for the secondary fermentation.
    The sludge left behind is the "lees." Great addition to any veg garden.
    Let it sit until the cloudiness settles.

    Duplicate the process several times, say a month apart, and create a steady supply.

    I was using 10 x 10gal carboys with 2 in reserve for a 100gal/450liter batch. The finished red wine was very good for a price of $0.75/liter
    which is about 50p to you. Corks are the killer. I was buying 1,000 at a time (chamfered, dusted & waxed) and never saw the
    price go below $0.25 (18p) each. Go for the soft plastic ones, never bottle less than liters.

    Look at it this way. Fermentation is just another way to keep all that fruit from going moldy, right?

  16. #16
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    Snake recommended this book to me. It's quite old (long since out of print) and has simple recipes without needing anything too modern. It's only a few quid second hand and it looks really good. I got a copy but haven't read it thoroughly yet.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-made-C.../dp/060034424X

    You might also find this interesting; making mead like a Viking (without access to Asda to buy yeast):

    http://www.earthineer.com/blog/24208...ented-mead-101
    Last edited by FoxyRick; 13-08-2017 at 02:36.

  17. #17
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    I won't ever comment about mead. My Dad thought he was a brewmaster.
    Thin, insipid fruit and berry wines and mead I could have used as weed killer.

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    xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Last edited by Janne; 19-08-2017 at 01:50.

  19. #19
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    Pre-Pasteur, beer and ale were at least clean water.

  20. #20

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    You can buy kits, at least in the UK - Home Brewing Kits - great sellers for those who like their 'Craft Beers/Ales'

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxyRick View Post
    OK, I've just done a quick bit of reading of the legislation (disclaimer: I am not a solicitor, I know didly-squat, don't take what I say as fact )

    Producing spirits by whatever means without the relevant licenses is illegal, personal use or not, and they are not easy to get: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/spirits-duty

    Spirits means anything other than wines, beers and ciders produced solely by fermentation: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1979/4

    So, we can ferment anything we like to make anything we like, but not then distil it, freeze it, or crack ethylene gas to make it into a spirit.

    Boo, hiss!

    Note that there are some additional bits about percentage alcohol in the fermented beverage, but not anything that's likely to be an issue as long as it is only fermented.
    That's interesting Foxyrick. I remember a long time ago reading personal consumption was okay, and even remember on the news a few years ago of a guy trying to make vodka in his apartment and blew it up, but even on there they said he wouldn't be arrested as he was only making it for personal use.

    Not that I rarely drink even wine nowadays. I'd like to try making an essential oil at some point, but I think it's going to need lots of whatever plant used.

    I used to distill the tap water for my soap making too until a chap in the next town who owns a soap factory told me the local tap water was fine as it is yo use.

  22. #22
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    Maybe the powers that be just didn't think it was worth trying to prosecute. I do vaguely recall that when I was teaching chemistry, I knew it was not legal to distil ethanol even for lab purposes. Buying ethanol for lab use still has to have the duty paid, and is now subject to police checks on the person/company buying it.

    I think for essential oils the yield is generally 1:100 to 1:1000. But then, if it's just for personal use you don't need much oil. Steam distillation is often used, or sometimes solvent extraction but that can contaminate the product. Lab kit for doing the distillation is commonplace and not restricted, although the government has occasionally made noises to do so. Buy some before they think of it again!

    We're fortunate to have very soft water around here, you might be the same (could even share the aquifer). When I need distilled I empty the dehumidifier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
    I won't ever comment about mead. My Dad thought he was a brewmaster.
    Thin, insipid fruit and berry wines and mead I could have used as weed killer.
    Don't say things like that... I don't want to spend the next twelve months ageing weedkiller

    Yeah, alcohol made the water safe(r) to store and drink; or at least hid some of the foul taste. Same on ships during the age of sail with rum and grog. Hmm... Rum!

    Quote Originally Posted by Janne View Post
    Making a beverage you get drunk on is easy. Making a beverage you enjoy while getting drunk is difficult.
    Yep, that's the trick. With the mead, a lot of that is down to temperature control. Warmer = faster fermentation but more nasty fusils which then need ageing out. Too cold and the yeast sulks. Plus the choice of yeast makes a big difference. That's probably the biggest advantage we have over the alcohol(ic) pioneers.

  23. #23
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    The Biology Department where I worked supplied the rest of the entire college wth distilled water.
    Buying a BIG new still, I had to sign off as the federal license holder for the dang thing.
    Promptly ignored all cautions and warnings to let our lab technicians get on with the job.

    Dad's mead was a crushing disappointment. I'd read about mead for years then he made some.

    What's almost worse, some fools are making "maple" beer as this is Canada's white 150 anniversary of Confederation.
    Maple in beer? Bad. Just ugly.

    Making really good red wine from California Zinfandel grapes was easy. Making large quantities was easy.
    The only hard part was lugging 25 x 36lb cases of grapes into the cellar.

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