Create Your Yeast Starter
Sanitize your mason jar. There are many ways to do this, but try to avoid using any harsh chemical residue.
While youre sanitizing, heat water to exactly 110 degrees. Pour four ounces of this water into your sanitized jar. Remember that transferring water into new containers can reduce its temperature, so consider warming those containers before using them. We want to keep the water as close to 110 degrees as possible before it goes into the jar.
Add two teaspoons of sugar to the hot water. Many people use simple white sugar for this, but you can modify the flavor of your drink by using other types of sugar instead.
Add your yeast to the mix, strictly following the instructions on its packaging. These can vary somewhat, so always read the packaging for what type of yeast you bought.
Stir the mixture, then let it sit for about 20 minutes. You should see the volume double over this period.
Pick Your Mash Type & Prep
As weve already mentioned, vodka is probably one of the least pretentious spirits when it comes to mash type. You can use whatevers available at home or local grocery store.
However, depending on the raw materials you will choose for the recipe your mash prep may look different. Thats why well first make a short overview of the most popular vodka mash types and see how a choice of a particular mash will affect your overall endeavor:
Fermenting The Mashed Potatoes
Only the mash water is used in this step, so a lot of the solids included in the pre-fermented solution can be discarded.
A good high-quality fermenter is key here, as any leaks in the airlock or breaches in the seal can affect how the solution ferments.
A yeast starter will be used to ferment the main vodka compound, so a good amount of time is spent creating a reliable and high-quality starter.
Once a decent starter is made, the brewer would mix the mash solution and the yeast starter in a fermenter. Since only the water is used, you could opt for a smaller 5-gallon fermenter.
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How To Make Homemade Vodka
While many people brew their own beer and experiment with wine making, far fewer tackle the challenge of making their own hard liquor. Distilling vodka requires only simple ingredients but somewhat more substantial equipment. Allow space, time and room for failure as you learn to make vodka. Once you can successfully make homemade vodka, experiment with adding flavors and creating infused vodkas.
Dilution & Testing Your Vodka
It may feel like distilling is the final step when making your own vodka, but thats not true. Since vodka uses the cleanest highest proof spirit your still can produce, this means that it will be around 90% ABV.
Now, we dont have any intention to doubt anyones ability to gulp clean ethanol like a champ but if you want to stay around any longer for making fine moonshine wed recommend cutting that number down. And the traditional way to do this is by diluting the spirit with water.
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How To Make Vanilla Infused Vodka
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Vanilla infused vodka is simple to make at home. It’s ideal as a standalone drink or for adding to a variety of cocktail mixes.
What You Need For Homemade Vanilla Extract
All youre doing is pouring alcohol over split vanilla beans and letting the concoction age over time. Give it a shake every now and then. Its that easy.
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What Mash Method To Choose
Quick answer the one that appeals to you the most.
Unlike whiskey, bourbon or brandy, where the original mash plays a significant role in the products final flavor, vodka requires only one thing liquor.
It doesnt matter what ingredients go into the mash as long as its able to produce sufficient amounts of liquor, preferably with no off-flavors. And in order to do so, you have to take different steps at the mash prep stage.
The simplest option for the mash, as mentioned previously, is the one consisting only of sugars or fruits. Just mix it with water and pitch the yeast. A good example is our Sugar Shine recipe.
A mix of malted and unmalted grains is a bit trickier, since you have to perform a proper mash first. This means you have to keep the mix of grains and water at 150F for about an hour for all the starches to break down into sugar. Then cool it down to room temperature and pitch the yeast.
A potato-based mash is the most technically challenging, since you first have to obtain the starches.
This is done by peeling the potatoes, then boiling them for at least 20 minutes, and then mashing the potatoes. Next, add more water and keep the potatoes at 150F for at least an hour to break down the starches into sugar.
And dont forget to add some malt or amylase enzyme at the start of the mash, otherwise no starch conversion will take place. Once youre done, chill the resulting wort to room temperature and pitch the yeast.
Heat The Wash In The Still To Begin The Distillation Process
Depending on the type of still being used, gas burners, wood fires, or electric hot plates are all options. A temperature of about 173° F at sea level is desirable, but the temperature must be kept below the boiling point of water, 212° F at sea level. As the wash becomes heated, alcohol and other substances vaporize and condense in the water-cooled area of the still.
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Which Yeast To Pitch
Now, as youve probably read in our guide on moonshine yeast, theres a wide variety of options available when it comes to fermenting a vodka mash.
The most popular are bakers yeast, distillers yeast and champagne yeast. Selecting which one to go with depends partially on the availability of each particular yeast type, but theres more to it than that.
Depending on the mash type youve chosen, a different type of yeast may be recommended for obtaining the best results.
For example, a mash based on fruits will benefit from champagne, wine and distillers yeast, since these strains are best suited for converting fructose found in fruits.
A mash heavy on grains and malt is a great fit for brewers yeast because it is particularly suited for processing maltose found in most grains.
A potato-based mash will benefit the most from using distillers or bakers yeast.
How To Make Pickle Vodka
Its a short list to make your own pickle vodka. All the more reason to start making your batch now! Heres what you need:
- 1-1/2 cups vodka
- 1/2 cup pickle juice
- 1 large dill pickle
Editors note: For this recipe, we used approximately 1-1/2 cups of Titos vodka, 1/2 cup of Claussens dill pickle juice and half of a large dill pickle . The ratio of vodka to pickle juice is 3:1.
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Is Vodka The Easiest Alcohol To Make
When defining the “best, easiest, hardest”, there’s always a lot of variables that come into play. First, you have to ask yourself what you really want to make, each method has various difficulties depending on what type of beer, wine or spirit you want to make.
However, in this case we can tell you that no, vodka is not the easiest alcohol to make. Though easy, it’s not the so called “easiest”.
Mead is probably the easiest alcohol to make, at least for beginners, as it is pretty straightforward.
In case you want to make alcohol that you can enjoy fast, beer is probably the way to go for you. Wine and spirits generally have longer fermenting processes than beer.
Candy Cane Vodka Recipe Supplies List
You really dont need much in the way of equipment or supplies for this peppermint vodka.
- Mason Jar whatever size works for you, I used a 16oz jar for my recipe
- Red and white peppermint candy canes
- Strainer or cheesecloth
If you are planning on gifting this infusion:
- Red and white twine
Gift tags like my printable ones below
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Clean All Your Utensils And Prepare The Area Properly
Fermenting is the next step when learning how to make vodka. Fermentation is conducted in clean, sanitized vessels that are sometimes open but often sealed from the air to prevent cross-contamination. Fermentation usually lasts for three to five days. It can be done in unsanitary vessels, but is not recommended.
Oxidative cleaners such as B-Brite are available at homebrew shops, as are sanitizers such as iodophor.
Check The Alcohol Content
Once you have the hearts of your run separated, youll want to cool them to about 68 and use an alcometer to measure the alcohol content. To be considered vodka, the distillate should have an ABV of between 40 to 90% .
If you find the vodka too strong, you can dilute it with filtered water. If the vodka is too weak, you can redistill it to increase the alcohol content. In fact, some premium brands of vodka are distilled 4 or 5 times. However, keep in mind that the foreshots, heads and tails must be discarded in EVERY run.
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Overview Of How To Make A Vodka
So I figured this is a good time to do a step by step overview of how to make a vodka from start to finish, to give all those people out there, trying to figure this out a bit of a jumpstart.
Transcript: Welcome to still it everyone. This is the channel all about chasing the craft of home distillation and making it a legitimate hobby. So if youre into distilling or craft spirits, have a look around and subscribe.
If it looks like you also have a channel, chances are you can help me out. And I guarantee youll learn something from the other people were hanging around here, too.
Future GC here. I just need to cut in and let you know something Ive been editing this video and it turns its running over 25 minutes. You guys are awesome, but I cant expect you to sit there and watch that. Thats ridiculous.
So, unfortunately, I think Im going to have to split this video into two parts because I cant figure out a way to cut it down and make it manageable. And next week Ill release the video for the cuts. I know for those guys that have been following the channel, thats a bit of a tease and Im really sorry for that, but I just dont want to make people sit through a big ole video.
All right. So I thought it might be a good idea to summarize all of the videos that Ive done in the last few weeks that pertain to this neutral spirit to give a step by step order and tutorial on how to make a neutral spirits.
Wine & Other Alcoholic Beverages
Yes, you read that right you can make vodka from wine, beer, liquor and other fermented drinks. In fact, its speculated that the very first forms of vodka originated from ordinary wines that have been stored in cold conditions and distilled through freezing.
Whether this is fact or fiction, we dont know. But we do know that you can get some cheap boxed wine, run it through a still, and get some nice white vodka as a result. A method as good as any.
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What You Will Need
First off you will need a still to turn the low level of alcohol in to spirit, traditionally vodka is done in a pot still and is processed multiple times. I have an instructable on building a pot still using a beer keg as a boiler, here is the link.
with these stills you would have to run it through multiple times to get a pure product but this will be a more traditional way of doing it.
you can use a more modern reflux still, with this you could get away with running it once. Here is the link to my reflux still instructable using a beer keg as a boiler
2 x 25L Fermenter or a large Barrel 40L with an air lock, you need to put at least 23L of liquid in there with a lot of room at the top
Long plastic spoon.
Stick blender, or blender, or just a potato masher
Some jars or jugs, you will need a few of these
A couple of old blankets
1 x gallon Demi John or carboy
1 x alcohol hydrometer for spirits
you can also use a parrot which is optional
A charcoal filter which is Optional, but this would help to smooth the spirit out, I make one in my instructable on making Jack Daniels, go to step 5,6,7 for the filter, I will separate this out at some point as I feel it would be useful.
9kg of Potatoes
1kg Barley Malt
Yeast, I used an ale yeast but you could use bakers yeast or wine yeast EC-1118 is my fav wine yeast.
What Is Vodka And How Is It Different
Vodka is a distilled spirit, so technically speaking its not that different from traditional American moonshine. The main peculiarity of this particular drink, however, is that it has to be clean, mostly flavorless and odorless. At least, thats how the boys from the ATF tend to classify vodka and they sure know their spirits.
Another important aspect of vodka is that it traditionally clocks in around 40% ABV , so some dilution has to take place. Other than that its simply a really good moonshine.
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Homemade Raspberry Liqueur Recipe
The Spruce Eats / S& C Design Studios
|*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Raspberry liqueur is a sweet berry-flavored distilled spirit that’s easy to make at home. Chambord is the most popular commercial liqueur of this flavor , and crème de framboise is a sweeter version. Falling in the middle of the two, this homemade liqueur recipe is a great alternative that requires just three ingredients. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also significantly cheaper than that premium bottle of Chambord.
For homemade raspberry liqueur, you’ll need a good vodka, sugar, and raspberries. Frozen raspberries are the best option because they create a richer raspberry flavor there’s no need to thaw them. Fresh raspberries work just as well, though you’ll find that they make a better liqueur when at their peak during the summer months.
The raspberry liqueur recipe produces about 750 milliliters , which fills the standard liquor bottle. Reuse an old bottle that’s been thoroughly cleaned or divide it into smaller bottles and give a portion as gifts.
4cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 bottle80-proof vodka
Choose Your Liquor And Flavorings
The first and most obvious step is to choose your infusion. Most common liquors, like vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey and gin, are all great choices. More complex liquors, like mezcal, aren’t as easy to work with.
Vodka is my favorite option – it’s essentially a blank canvas that can take on any flavor combination. If you’re not a fan of vodka, tequila and rum are easy to start with, too.
When it comes to choosing flavors to infuse, think about your favorite cocktails involving that liquor. Rum, for example, is often used with tropical flavors like pineapple, mango, guava, etc. Whiskey, on the other hand, often calls for warmer flavors like cinnamon, anise, orange and vanilla.
You can infuse liquor with just about anything – fresh fruit, herbs, spices, dried fruit, and anything else your heart desires. It’s best to stick with just a few complementary flavors – don’t overdo it with too many ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients we used in these infusions:
- Vodka + Fresh strawberries + Vanilla Bean
- Tequila + Jalapeño + Lime
- Strawberry Vanilla Bean Vodka
- Pineapple Rum
It doesn’t have to be complicated. The pineapple infused rum is actually my favorite – it’s SO good in tropical cocktails!
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