The Basics

Everyone starts somewhere. Depending on the hobby, that starting place can be pretty painful. Thankfully, for us, the starting point is more delicious than painful. Welcome to distillation for the novice.

The things you need to start distilling:

  • A Pot Still- Ours is an Alembics 10L. They are handmade in Portugal
  • A condensor- this comes with your still and is used to cool the vapor into liquid
  • A Pale of Ice- To hand feed into the condensor to keep it cold or a hose and pump- to pump water into the condensor
  • A run off hose-keeps the condensor from over filling
  • A beaker- to measure volumes and cut out the Methanol (the stuff that makes you blind!)
  • Some sealable recycled jars- to hold the goods
  • A heating element- preferably closed and able to get hold steady heat
  • Some friends & Something to do to pass the time
  • A mash- the liquid you will use to extract alcohol from. (can be old beer, wine or a home made fermented mash)

Slowly, the temperature rises, as indicated by the built in thermometer. Our day becomes consumed by the tiny dial. Slowly, it reaches the golden vapor point for alcohol, which is around 78 Celsius. A small drip begins to appear. Tension builds. Ever so slowly, it accumulates on the end of the condensor tube. Drip. The three of us let out a small cheer. We are on our way!

Eric and I use some vintage bottles that we picked up at the op shop.


NEXT WEEK: Alcohol Trial & Error- A week of experiments. Follow us as we search to make a decent, or at least drinkable spirit. 

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