Posted on March 25, 2010
-If you are under the age of 21 don’t do this. Also don’t give it to people under the age of 21.
-Do not sell this to anyone. You may give it as a gift if you have a friend you don’t like.
-Do not drive or go on ebay after drinking this stuff.
That being said. First a little biochemistry. What is alcohol? Getting technical about it, the alcohol that we drink is ethanol. It is a molecule with 2 carbon atoms, 5 hydrogen atoms and then an oxygen and another hydrogen atom stuck onto it. Think of it like this CH3-CH2-OH. But however do we make it? Before it is alcohol, it is sugar, which is a large molecule with 6 carbons, 12 hydrogens and 6 oxygens. Yeast eats sucrose (sugar). So it takes in 1 molecule of sucrose and it poops out 2 ethanols and 2 carbon dioxide. C6H12O6 => 2C2H5OH + 2CO2. Better yet:
Sugar + Yeast = Alcohol + Carbon Dioxide.
There you have it. You are now an amateur Zymurgist. Zymurgy is the study of fermentation btw. Fermentation is the digestion of sugars in an oxygen deprived environment. What we are going to do is dissolve some sugar in some water, add some yeast and then let it bubble away for a while. There are a few more things to consider.
First, you don’t want any outside air to come in contact with the experiment that you are running. You may not know it to look at it, but there is all kinds of stuff floating around in the air. There are wild yeasts, bacteriae and fungi floating around, and anything that gets into your brew is going to give it off flavors. In addition, you don’t want oxygen to get into it (after the first hour), because that will give it a skunky, gross flavor. So, we have to sanitize all of our working materials and figure out a way to not have any air get into our fermentation tank.
Second is if you live in a city where your water is chlorinated, you are going to want to filter your water. Chlorine will kill your yeast. Not only that, but your final product will taste far better.
Basic Ingredients for 1 gallon of
-White Sugar. 3 pounds.
-Yeast. Yes, you can use bread yeast. You can also order wine (champagne yeast is the best) yeast off of the internet.
-Flavoring. My first batch used Real Lemon to flavor. You can also use concentrated grape juice if you want to pretend you are drinking wine.
-That flexible clear PVC tubing.
- 5 gallon jug/bucket.
-Metal/Plastic stirring instrument. Do not stir with anything wooden.
1. Sterilize everything that will touch the booze. Put a capful of Bleach in your jug, and then fill with warm water. Soak everything in there. Run some of the bleach water through the PVC lining.
2. Rinse everything off with warm water.
3. Dump all the sugar into the bucket/jug. Then fill up the bucket with warm water 2 inches from the top. The yeast will make lots of bubbles, and might spill over.
4. Now it’s time to install your air control device. If you are using a bucket without a lid or a trash can just stretch some clear plastic sticky wrap over the top and then poke some holes in it. A lot of CO2 will be escaping, and that pressure will keep all the bacteriae out of the way. If you have a jug, things are going to be a bit trickier. A simple way is to poke some holes in a balloon with a pin and then stretch it out over the neck of the bottle. This is lazy. If you are awesome, you will make an air trap using your pvc tubing and some duct tape.
I have provided an image, which should help. You basically make a loop with the PVC, then tape it together. Then you have to figure out how to get this into the neck of the jug. I recommend duct tape. The last thing you add is the vodka or water. So air bubbles through this, but unless something happens inside your jug, no air will get in. It is also a visual aid to tell when your fermentation is done.
5. Add yeast. Some people say you should prime your yeast, but I have never had a problem just dumping it on top. Make sure your water is not above 100 degrees and not below 70.
6. Wait. Your brew will start bubbling. Check every 12 hours. Once it has stopped bubbling, seal it up. Remove any air trap device and then just seal the bad boy up. From here, you want to wait at least 2 weeks or else it will taste like yeast. Gross.
7. Once the yeast has settled out, you want to siphon the booze off of the yeast into another vessel. At this point, you can put it into individual bottles. I used 2 liter bottles in my heyday. Then you want them to sit a bit longer, but really, they are ready to go.
Enjoy. Be safe. You won’t go blind from making this. Methanol will make you go blind, and that you can only make if you add wood pulp to the equation. No joke. Whatever your views on alcohol, this is pretty cool stuff.
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