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xpd



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Topic # 179262 2-Sep-2015 15:03
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Wife won a home brew starter pack (like this) but we've never done home brew before but would like to give it a go.

I know we'll need a still of some description etc but what we'd really like to know is if we can use the same equipment etc to produce spirits (primarily bourbon)  as well as we prefer spirits over beer. Or is there quite a bit of different gear needed, and we'd be better selling off the beer pack and use the funds to get into the spirits ? If we can do both, that'd be great but dont want to spend a fortune.... ;)

Cheers







XPD / @DemiseNZ / Gavin
 
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  Reply # 1378379 2-Sep-2015 15:44
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Home brewing spirits is far more dangerous than beer as you can end up with methanol - which is super poisonous - quite easily. 

Home brewing beer is much safer in comparison and the worst you get is really gross beer. I wouldn't start with spirits (might be dodgy legally too, I forget).



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  Reply # 1378385 2-Sep-2015 15:57
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Any alcoholic beverage starts in a fermenter of some kind, which is basically all you need for home brew kit beer.  

No reason you can't use the same fermenter for your spirit base later.  In fact, most of the gear you need for brewing beer will also be used in the spirits process.

Are you in Auckland? In which case I can point you towards some good shops to get advice.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1378393 2-Sep-2015 16:25
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wasabi2k: Home brewing spirits is far more dangerous than beer as you can end up with methanol - which is super poisonous - quite easily.


 

While this is true to an extent, methanol and ethanol have different boiling points so they are very easily separated.

If I recall you can have a still up to 5 litres but I see plenty of larger ones at the home brew shops.
A friend of mine says they use a lot of water to keep the condenser cool, he has used a barrel of water and a pump and he was amazed at how warm the water was after distilling a batch.

Most home brew will basically make alcohol with yeast, sugar and water, you then distil that to a pure ( ish ) spirit, add your favourite flavour and dilute to a suitable limit.

 

This time of year you may want to strap a tropical fish water heater to your fermenting drum to keep it at a good temperature, if it gets too cold it will not ferment properly and you can have issues.

 

If you try brewing beer keeping the temperature at the correct level is very important otherwise you can create paint stripper even though my grandfather thought it was natures nectar.

 

Have fun and be careful, keep everything super clean and DO NOT use dishwashing liquid on ANYTHING.

 

 

 

Cheers

 

John

 

 

 

PS I feel like a beer now.




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  Reply # 1378399 2-Sep-2015 16:31
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xpd: Wife won a home brew starter pack (like this) but we've never done home brew before but would like to give it a go.

I know we'll need a still of some description etc but what we'd really like to know is if we can use the same equipment etc to produce spirits (primarily bourbon)  as well as we prefer spirits over beer. Or is there quite a bit of different gear needed, and we'd be better selling off the beer pack and use the funds to get into the spirits ? If we can do both, that'd be great but dont want to spend a fortune.... ;)

Cheers




I started home brewing beer and cider in a starter kit much like that. I'm still using and enjoying it. I have a pilsner brewing right now that should be rather tasty.
I bought an airstill a couple of years ago and have been distilling spirit with that reasonably successfully.

The airstill is a pot still and produces vodka at about 60% which you then flavor into whatever your favourite tipple is. It cost a bit under $200 to get the gear, and makes a litre of 40% spirits in a batch from 4 litres of wash in about 2 hours. Of course you ferment more than 4 litres of wash at a time. Because the 40% that isn't alcohol isn't entirely water, there are some flavours that make it through to the finished product - they aren't awful, but they are distinctive, generally you charcoal filter as much out as you can. 2 litres of vodka takes 10-14 days from scratch and costs roughly $12 to produce, then add a couple of bucks for your favourite bourbon flavouring.

A full sized reflux still will distill larger batches at a time, and put out up to 95% pure alcohol (that you water down and flavor), but they cost upwards of $700.

The airstill is air cooled (hence the name) while reflux stills are water cooled and, as above, use quite a bit of water.

Distilling for personal use is completely legal in NZ, but it is illegal to produce for supply which in practice means its illegal to sell what you make.

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  Reply # 1378400 2-Sep-2015 16:34
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SATTV:
wasabi2k: Home brewing spirits is far more dangerous than beer as you can end up with methanol - which is super poisonous - quite easily.


While this is true to an extent, methanol and ethanol have different boiling points so they are very easily separated.



If you are aware of that, the risks of producing it and manage the risk appropriately - if you are just mucking around might be safer to start with beer? 



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  Reply # 1378477 2-Sep-2015 18:31
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Make the beer first. Its rediculously easy its hard to muck it up unless you don't clean your gear properly before you start. And it will probably come with the first brew in the kit.

Yes some of the equipment will be useable to brew spirits. And you can go on later to do that.

The trick with brewing anything is making sure everything is super clean.





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  Reply # 1378481 2-Sep-2015 18:40
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For spirits

http://www.brewerscoop.co.nz/spiritProds.php

Very easy to do, and easy to make some very nice tasting flavoured vodkas.  I never found a spirit flavour that I was happy with but it all depends on the person.

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  Reply # 1378721 3-Sep-2015 08:15
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I tired home brew a few years ago and it was average, I tried 3-4 different types of beer and most came out a 3/10 I found the Mexican Cerveza the easiest to stomach after a few beers form the shop, the only problem is I had miscalculated and it came out as a 8% beer and when your drinking that sort of beer as though its a 4% beer you end up quite happy rather quickly.

Water quality also plays a massive part, if your water is chlorinated don't expect good beer, my local water supply was so I used to get the water from my mums as hers wasn't.

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  Reply # 1378775 3-Sep-2015 09:41
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xpd: Wife won a home brew starter pack (like this) but we've never done home brew before but would like to give it a go.

I know we'll need a still of some description etc but what we'd really like to know is if we can use the same equipment etc to produce spirits (primarily bourbon)  as well as we prefer spirits over beer. Or is there quite a bit of different gear needed, and we'd be better selling off the beer pack and use the funds to get into the spirits ? If we can do both, that'd be great but dont want to spend a fortune.... ;)

Cheers



First up. Don't buy a still from the brew shop until you have done some reading. You wont necessarily have to build your own, but you will end up with the right product if you hold back. You will want to ferment corn and use a pot still for bourbon. A recipe like Uncle Jesses Sour Mash might be for you.

I don't know what you get in the box, but for spirits you will need a container for the fermentation process, an airlock for the container and of course, a still.
Home distillation is extremely safe, as most fermentations do not produce (any at all or much) methanol. Any is removed and discarded as 'foreshots' when distilling. Some exceptions are some types of fruit, and particularly twigs which are included with grapes when fermenting for making grapa.
If you are doing sugar (or dextrose) washes for making white spirits like vodka and gin there is no methanol produced and in fact a glass of orange juice contains more naturally formed methanol.

If you want to get into distillation take a read through this:
http://homedistiller.org/equip/types

But if you want to join a forum I highly recommend this one over the one above:

http://www.artisan-distiller.net/phpBB3/index.php

It seems really complicated but if you can meet up with someone who is already doing it it is less daunting. Reflux distillation for Vodka is the simplest. Adding essences to make vodka into bourbon does not work well. Using essences to make London dry gin is not bad as it's not far from the maceration process used to make the authentic stuff.








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  Reply # 1378781 3-Sep-2015 09:56
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ubergeeknz: Any alcoholic beverage starts in a fermenter of some kind, which is basically all you need for home brew kit beer.  

No reason you can't use the same fermenter for your spirit base later.  In fact, most of the gear you need for brewing beer will also be used in the spirits process.

Are you in Auckland? In which case I can point you towards some good shops to get advice.


Yup, in Auckland (Whangaparaoa) - cheers :)





XPD / @DemiseNZ / Gavin
 
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  Reply # 1378782 3-Sep-2015 09:56
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Thanks all for the responses, will let you know how I get on :)





XPD / @DemiseNZ / Gavin
 
Corsair Carbide SPEC-02 / Corsair VS550 / G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB / Zotac 760GTX AMP! / ASUS H81M-E / Intel Pentium K Anniversay G3258

 

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  Reply # 1378804 3-Sep-2015 10:01
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xpd:
ubergeeknz: Any alcoholic beverage starts in a fermenter of some kind, which is basically all you need for home brew kit beer.  

No reason you can't use the same fermenter for your spirit base later.  In fact, most of the gear you need for brewing beer will also be used in the spirits process.

Are you in Auckland? In which case I can point you towards some good shops to get advice.


Yup, in Auckland (Whangaparaoa) - cheers :)  


I suggest you drop in to Hauraki Home Brew.  http://www.haurakihomebrew.co.nz/content/12-store-location  They've got all the gear and the owners are pretty knowledgeable in beer, wine and spirit making and will be able to point you in the right direction whatever it is you are wanting to do.  

Warning: making your own alcoholic beverages can be very addictive!

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  Reply # 1378828 3-Sep-2015 10:22
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xpd: Wife won a home brew starter pack (like this) but we've never done home brew before but would like to give it a go.




That kit is really aimed at somebody who is already into brewing and has all of the equipment and other bits and pieces.

You will need some hardware for fermenting plus brewing sugar (which is not included in that kit) plus chemicals for cleaning and sterilising plus some bottles.

If you buy all of that from a brewing shop, it will cost you around $100.

If you do not have proper fermenting hardware, your beer will probably taste bad because it will become infected by organisms other than brewers yeast.

If you try to re-use other bottles, take great care to make sure that your chosen bottles will stand the pressure of home brewed beer. Bottle bombs are inconvenient if they detonate in a cupboard. They are life threatening if they go off in your hand.


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