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Doodle Maier
Level 1: 10 points
Alltime Score: 365 points
Last Logged In: May 26th, 2009


45 + 45 points

Bathtub Gin Part 1 by Doodle Maier, Duck Monster, Mudlock

November 18th, 2007 2:01 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Make your own liquor. Distilling wine into sherry doesn't count.

On an autumn afternoon in a place much like Canada (where distilling liquor is legal), three brave sfzeroers gathered with a half case of old homebrew and a whole bunch of equipment, to make themselves some liquor.

The setup consisted of a big flask, surrounded by sand (to diffuse the heat) in a pot; a condenser; a tube that fits into the tops of the flask and condenser, with a hole above the flask for a thermometer; the thermometer; a gasket to seal the tube; a burner for heating the flask; a stand for holding the condenser; water to cool the condenser, as needed; a funnel; and beer.

At some point, for successful distillation to occur, one must take a tea break. The gods of liquor require it. Doubly so if one has not documented one's homebrew-making. Our teatime came after the sand was funnelled in around the flask.

We then began assembling our equipment and pouring the beer, using roughly 3 and a half bottles for this distillation. (As you can see, the beer is still drinkable, just ... not as good as it once was. It was Dale's and Duck's first homebrew, significantly helped along with the expertise of Doodle Maier. Poetic, perhaps, that it should be the first thing we distilled together, as well.) We affixed all the necessary tubes in all the right places, hit "go," and ... went for Pho, because it was going to be almost an hour before anything would happen.

Upon returning, we saw the first few drops of distillate dropping into the jar. Unfortunately, the first of the distillate had to be thrown out; therein lies blindness! (Methanes, ethanols, and other nastiness all have a lower boiling point than alcohol, which has a lower boiling point than water. Thank goodness!) Arguably, we lost a significant portion of our alcohol that way, but it was better than risking it. We shut off the boil when the temperature hit 95 degrees. (We'd started around 20. Man, Canada's cold!) It seems that, toward the end, there was a lot of water sneaking in with our alcohol; it's not super high proof, as shown by the "shake test" video.

We each tried a taste before heading our separate ways; it smelled nasty (something that will dissappear with age) but wasn't precisely unpleasant to drink. Woohoo!

There will be more distilling in the future (since most of that half-case is still around), and we'll probably try re-boiling what we get from the beer distillation down into something more potent, just to see if we can. Pictures will be posted and updates will be made, as the process continues.

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5 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Charlie Fish on November 19th, 2007 4:52 AM

You guys are awesome players.

Are you going to do part 2?

(no subject)
posted by Duck Monster on November 19th, 2007 5:58 AM

Aww! Thanks, Charlie!

We might. I missed that the tub had to have water (or alcohol) in it... Though I guess if it were empty, that would just be too easy. :)

I have to ask....
posted by Fonne Tayne on November 20th, 2007 6:23 PM

...not to be a stickler, but if distilling wine / making sherry doesn't count..... what's the difference with distilling down beer?

Beer isn't typically made in the process of making whiskey, though the same grains and a similar process are used. Would you be willing to just ferment grains in order to make mash for liquor production, instead of gleaning some strong alcohol from leftovers?

(no subject)
posted by Duck Monster on November 20th, 2007 7:01 PM

Dude, we made the beer ourselves, too. Granted, it was a few months ago, but we started with malt, hops, and barley, and we ended with distilled alcohol.

The big difference is that we didn't need the hops, to end where we are.

(no subject)
posted by Doodle Maier on November 21st, 2007 6:46 AM

The tasks instructions don't specify any particular type of liquor (ours is votchka!) and they don't rule out sherry, explicitly, only implying that the liquor should be stronger than sherry which technically doesn't require distillation (unless the author meant to specify brandy which is what distilled wine is called). But all commercial mashes, regardless of the spirit being produced, start with a 8-15% abv mash, whether it's based on fruit, grain, a combination of grains, sugar, molasses, honey, or whatever because that's the limit of alcohol tolerance of most yeasts, other than those employed to make fuel. Not only are we willing to ferment malted grains to in order to produce liquor, we do so on a routine and on-going basis. I think what we need to complete this task is a short clip of the distillate taken directly from the condenser poured over a small pile of gunpowder and lit with a match (which, had I authored this task, I would've specified - proof liquor!)