Make your own Vodka.....
Vodka is a great spirit, pure and versatile but refreshing. The clean taste allows to transform from the purest on-the-rocks drink into the soul of the most imaginable cocktails.
Making vodka is easy and fun! Vodka is a clear liquour, originally based on potato, but can also be made out of grain, sugar or any other fermentable material. Making vodka is quite easy and can be done in your kitchen. In a nutshell, using potato's, the process is as follows:
- Boil the potatos so that the starch will be fermentable. Adding some malted grain or enzyme powder will ease the conversion.
- Strain the boiled potatos & pitch the yeast into the cooled wash.
- Strain & distill (one or multiple times)
- Clean the alcohol with carbon (filter)
- Et voila, .................VODKA ! ! ! !
Let's get started!
Vodka (Russian: водка, Polish: wódka) has an alcoholic content of 38% by volume. Today, the standard Polish, Russian and Lithuanian vodkas are 40% abv (80 proof), although many non-export Russian brands are sold at 38%.
Preparing for fermentation
- Sterilize the vessels using hot water or good cleaning material..
- 5 gallon stained mash will require 7.5-gallon food grade bucket. Attach the bucket with lids, but do not seal it completely, as carbon dioxide production can lead to an explosive pressure. Attach an air lock so that the carbon dioxide can be released without letting in the air.
- In case of open vessels, cover them with cheesecloth, which would prevent bugs from entering them.
- Strain the mash with a strainer and take the liquid in a sanitized fermentation vessel.
- The liquid should be splashed and poured from a height, so that it is well aerated. For fermentation, the yeast needs oxygen to grow and start the fermentation process.
Distilling set up in Russian kitchen
Adding the yeast
- Add the yeast (wine yeast, Beer yeast, bakers yeast) to the liquid and stir it with a sanitized spoon, to distribute the yeast evenly.
- Regulate the temperature so that it stays about 80 deg F. In cold areas, you can use a heating belt or wrap the fermenter/bucket in a blanket.
- The liquid must be allowed to sit for two weeks so that the fermentation can take place.
Collecting the wash (the fermented liquid)
- The wash must be siphoned into a distillation apparatus.
- The yeast sediment must be left behind in the fermentation vessel. This will give a bad flavor to the vodka in case it end up in the still.
The distillation process
The wash has to be distilled in a still. It will heat the fermented, alcoholic wash to a higher temperature than the boiling point of alcohol. In this way, the alcohol will be separated from water.
The vaporized alcohol will condense inside a column. This column needs to be cooled, using cold water, which will make the vaporized alcohol turn back to liquid.
The liquid that is collected will be known as the vodka.
- The distillation process will begin by heating the wash in the still. The heat will be provided by gas burners, wood fires, or electric plates.
- The temperature must be kept below the boiling point of water, that is, it should not exceed more than 173 deg F.
- During heating, the alcohol and other substances will vaporize and condense into the cooled chamber of the still.
- The first distillation called the ‘head’ will be the harmful methanol and it must be discarded. Discard about two ounces for five gallons ovf wash.
- After the first distillation is discarded, the desired alcohol called the ‘head’ can be collected.
- The end of the distillation process, called the ‘tailings’, can be collected or discarded. Discard the last 50 milliliters.
Alcohol content & purity
- To check the alcohol content, take a sample of the distillate and cool it to 68 deg F.
- Now use an alcoholmeter to measure the percentage of the alcohol of the distillate.
- The alcohol content must be somewhere between 40% to 50%. However, since vodka is usually diluted before bottling, the distillate can have a higher alcohol content.
- To attain the desired alcohol strength, add purified water.
- If you want to remove unwanted flavors and aromas, pass the distillate through a carbon filter. You can also use a carbon water filter.
- You can redistill the distillate more than than once, to further purify and achieve vodka of high purity.