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Old 26-04-2008, 00:07   #31
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Originally Posted by PhantomBoatwork View Post
I tried the whole gamut of homemade alcohol production a little while back, and even made a rather large reflux head copper still from some internet plans, along with homemade beer and wine. Short story, the distilled vodka I made ranged from not too bad to varnish remover.
And who said finding fuel for alcohol stoves was difficult overseas?
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Old 26-04-2008, 17:15   #32
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Pappys always made the best squeezins in all of North Carolina for years. He even does Christmas shine from Georgia peaches every year. If you guys want some that bad I can get it for ya by the Mason jar to a truck load full.
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Old 26-04-2008, 20:16   #33
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Originally Posted by PhantomBoatwork View Post
I tried the whole gamut of homemade alcohol production a little while back, and even made a rather large reflux head copper still from some internet plans, along with homemade beer and wine. Short story, the distilled vodka I made ranged from not too bad to varnish remover. !
Must be doing something wrong, mine comes out more than drinkable straight out of the still.

Did you discard the bad bits (fusile alchohol ?)
Home Distillation of Alcohol (Homemade Alcohol to Drink)


I have to say , I cant drink anything else now ( in quantity) without getting extremely hungover.

The only comercial brew that is pallatable to me are premium spirits like Bushmills Irish, 4 bells rum or Inner Circle rum

Of course the $35 to $70 for 700ml can't compare to the $2 per 700ml for mine.

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Old 26-04-2008, 22:23   #34
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Here in Australia and New Zealand you can buy a Reflux Still from any home brew shop. Apparantly sold for making "essential oils".
We call ours our "alternate water maker".
Great stuff, as Dave from Cat man do, says.
No hangovers.
The trick is to make it from sugar,throw away the first cupful and then pass it through a tube filled with activated charcoal, a couple of times.

It works out at $2.00 a bottle.
It is much better than anything off the shelf.
The rule here, seems to be that you can make it for your own use but DO NOT sell it.
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Old 27-04-2008, 01:17   #35
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Here in Australia and New Zealand you can buy a Reflux Still from any home brew shop.

The rule here, seems to be that you can make it for your own use but DO NOT sell it.
In NZ is definitely completely legal to distill whatever quantities you need for personal use - as said, not allowed to sell it unless got a customs licence though. One of the very few countries where it is legal.

I believe that in Australia it is illegal to distill your own spirits without a customs licence (unless changed very recently), but I suspect the law is not a great deterrent :-) .
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Old 27-04-2008, 01:49   #36
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Had a bit of a search around on this as is something I have been interested in and thought I might get into trying once my son gets all his car builds out of MY garage :-).

In North America (both Canada and USA) it is illegal to own a still for the purposes of distillation of spirits in most states (I don't know which ones are legal)

In Australia it is only legal to own a still without a customs licence except for the purposes of water purification or essential oil purification. (So why do so many NZ'ers move to Oz? )

It is legal to own stills for the distillation of spirits in NZ, Italy and Switzerland. The stills in the shops here are generally 25 litre capacity and cost around NZD350 (very roughly USD275).

So, as another has said, if getting into distilling on board you would probably have very few legal cruising destinations - and Switzerland is pretty difficult to cruise to in any event .

If interested, for those into bittorrents there are many interesting books on spirits making (including old traditional brews and still manufacture), and home brewing available for downloading.
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Old 27-04-2008, 06:48   #37
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Something to contemplate if you're planning to run a still on your boat...Fire

The next greatest risk to distillers is that of fire. You're producing a liquid which is on a par with gasoline with flammability, yet doing so around heating elements (or even gas flames).

Make sure that there is no way you can build up pressure inside your still - say by blocking the outlet piping (accidently crimping it ?). Make sure your equipment is in good condition when you use it, that its clean (don't want the packing material clogging up & blocking), and that there are no leaks. Don't bury the outlet tube under the surface of the liquid level in the collection jar, rather have it dripping into it openly. If using gas, keep the collection jar quite away from it. Don't set up your collection jars so that they are easily knocked over, and cap them when not in use. Keep your area well ventilated, and never leave the still unattended.

At all times keep a fire extinguisher close.

From: homedistiller.org
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Old 27-04-2008, 08:28   #38
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A couple of quick thoughts about alcohol production on a boat.
Producing paletable alcoholic beverages requires good temperature control which may be difficult to achieve on a boat. That goes double for distilling.
Even good clean strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae will produce some fairly nasty flavors if fermented too warm. The wild yeasts you would be using to ferment local fruits would be even more prone to do this. Is it really worth going to so much trouble to make something which is likely to taste nasty? One other concern is that yeasts are also more prone to produce heavier (poisonous) alcohols when fermenting outside of their ideal temperature range. Further when not fermenting clear liquids, say sour mash as opposed to must or wort heavier alcohol production is more likely. If you then distill the mash or whatever you need to be very careful to control the temperature in the still so that you don't wind up concentrating volatiles other than ethanol. Typically the foreshots and feints are discarded or reprocessed. Stills also are fairly energy intensive in an environment where energy is usually expensive and at a premium, they also require a good source of cooling water. If you are in a warmer climate you will heat up the boat running the still and then need to refrigerate the water for cooling. Even though I have more than 25 years of brewing experience and love the craft, I would not waste my time trying to make alcohol on a boat. Just go out and buy something you actually like to drink.
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Old 27-04-2008, 18:01   #39
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At all times keep a fire extinguisher close.
Is that when you are making it or when you are drinking it?
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Old 27-04-2008, 18:03   #40
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Making it.

You only need the fire extinguisher when drinking it if you're smoking a cigar, too!
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Old 28-04-2008, 05:01   #41
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Isn't distilling your own alcohol going to pretty much produce something with the potency and "taste" of Everclear?
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Old 29-04-2008, 07:49   #42
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Here in Australia and New Zealand you can buy a Reflux Still from any home brew shop. Apparantly sold for making "essential oils".
We call ours our "alternate water maker".
Great stuff, as Dave from Cat man do, says.
No hangovers.
The trick is to make it from sugar,throw away the first cupful and then pass it through a tube filled with activated charcoal, a couple of times.

It works out at $2.00 a bottle.
It is much better than anything off the shelf.
The rule here, seems to be that you can make it for your own use but DO NOT sell it.
Those are the Still spirit contraptions and are a load of junk. They have a very short, about 4", column. They only produce about 60% alcohol and have a lot of fusel oils left in the product, means foul taste and a huge hangover. As Catmando suggested go to homedistiller.org and learn how to build and operate a propper device with a four foot column. These will give you 96% and the smoothest thing that has ever passed the lips. I have seen many people pissed to the point where they can not walk and none have ever had the slightest trace of a hangover the next day. They get so pissed because it is so smooth nobody believes it is very strong and over consumes it.

The stories about temperature are just that stories. As the temperature of a liquid, made up of various componets, rises the components with the lowest evaporation temperature will obviously evaporate first. The latent heat of evaporation will prevent the temperature of the remaining liquid increasing untill most of the first fraction is removed. The temp will then step up to that of the next fraction and will stay steady until that fraction is essentially removed. This process repeats with each fraction until all components have evaporated. The more energy that is directed into the heating will only cause each fraction to evaporate at a faster rate. It will not upset the fundamental principles of a refractory column.

Watching a still in operation with a digital temp gauge near the top of the column the temp will stay very low until the first fraction starts to evaporate then settle at this fractions temp. It has been quite a while since I have run one but I think the temp was 92 celcius,. If the ouptput is set to reflux 100% it will sit there all day at this temp. While the first fractions are being removed the temp stays stable until near the end and then the temp steps up, to 94 if I remember correctly. The second stage is the good stuff and the temp will stay put for a fair while. It will then start to rise and I would cut off at a 2 degree rise and discard the tails.

All of this and I am teetotal.
Mike
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Old 29-04-2008, 20:15   #43
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Here's an idea I'll dare to share. It was recipe passed to me from family and it involves brewing/fermentation, not complicated process of distillation. I brew this on Angel all the time and during its early stages, it's pretty tasty. It takes about 11 days to finish. Materials include one or two plastic gallon (or larger) containers, sugar, baker's yeast, fresh ginger root and lemons. In some cruising grounds, its not easy for me to find the ginger and this brew's results are affected by ambient temperature (warmer temps = faster results)
Google "hard ginger beer" and you'll get more details than I can do here so I don't clutter this site... Okay, I Googled it and there are a variety of methods, some not correct. The trick is to feed the "plant"- a yeast, sugar, ginger mixture daily for 7 days to get the alcohol making process started. Then, when it's bottled with water, a bit of lemon juice and sugar, takes a few more days for acohol content to rise. It can bet around 15% or more. Avoid storing it in glass bottles as I had one explode one day on a particularly rough sail which shook up the fizz and the cork wasn't loose enough. I now use plastic containers and crack the cap to allow air to escape. It's legal in the states to brew, but not to sell. For Angel's simple recipe and procedure, feel free to email me for more details. A cup of the brew is a pleasant sundowner after a long day's sail. I'm not a lush, but it's nice to be self-reliant and be able to have a simple brewski in a remote island area where there are no convenience stores.
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