Alcohol Filter - A Giant Brita for Whiskey, Vodka, Gin, Rum, or Other Cheap Liquors!

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Picture of Alcohol Filter - A Giant Brita for Whiskey, Vodka, Gin, Rum, or Other Cheap Liquors!
For those looking for the "Cilffs Notes" summary of how this works:  Fill a 4-foot polycarbonate tube with approximately 1lb of (12x40 mesh size) Activated Carbon (activated charcoal), put a couple coffee filters over the end, pour the alcohol into the top, and watch as your cheap swill magically transforms into decent, respectable booze.  Total Cost:  about $15.

I enjoy a drink on occasion, usually after work and/or before bed.  These days, my drink of choice is often a Scotch whiskey, but we can't afford to drink Glenmorangie 12-year all the time...

My wife found some SUPER cheap whiskey on sale at Costco, and bought a bunch for me.  (She's sweet.)  The whiskey, however, was a bit harsh...Which led me to wonder, "can't I just filter out the impurities myself?"  

Turns out, you can.  The system I designed mimics what's officially called the "Lincoln County Process," which is still in use today by Jack Daniels Corp. in Tennessee.  If you're interested, you can read a bit more about it via the below links:

After filtering the whiskey once through the giant Brita, my dad and I decided that it tasted AT LEAST as good as Jim Beam.  Not quite Jack Daniels, but your mileage may vary.  We also added a very small amount of vanilla extract after filtering, which REALLY balanced out the flavor and body of the whiskey.  

In the following pages, I'll detail the parts needed, and the (easy) steps...


- Ben
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MadVlrus3 months ago

Also, how many times can you 'recharge' that active carbon?

MadVlrus3 months ago

That is an excellent guide! When I first discovered this, I bought different size bottles from a shop, cut the bottoms off and had the vodka go through two coffee-paper-wrapped-carbon filters.

How much vodka can I filter through 1lb of activated carbon? How much tap-water (if it's already drinkable)?

Thank you!

panhead557 months ago

OK, I get it... but why in the world would you want to do this to Black Velvet. BV is a very smooth Canadian blend, just fine as it is. Would suggest this process for some of the cheaper (Harsher) bourbons available at Wally-world. Personally, I will be trying this on 'Caliber' brand rum and vodka trying to avoid those nasty morning afters I believe comes from the impurities in the cheaper stuff. GREAT idea BTW. Loving it!

andrewchen567810 months ago
While it is illegal to distill at home, is it legal to carbon filter at home?
In regards to the dust, double and tipple filtering of the booze, works well.

I do not agree with washing the charcoal in water.

Using a slow drip system, to make the flow rate drop to an absolute crawl is a good idea.

Having a jug on the top and a jug underneath is a good way to do multiple filterings - when the bottom one is full, pull it out, and stick the empty one under it, and then fill the tube up from the top.

But having a "dripping tap" restrictor at the bottom or a dripper into the top, will improve the system, and then having the the mostly full of charcoal, is a good idea.

I am sure that you can filter it "far too much" but that is the balancing act - turning engine cleaner, into nearly clear booze...

I like the idea of a bottom feed system, where the charcoal is inside the top of a tank and the fluid recirculates from the overflow, back into the bottom...

More of a commericial cleaning system.
n1cod3mus1 year ago
this is the same method used to filter home made vodka, nicely documented, would go well with my Keg Still instructable
wilgubeast1 year ago
Incredibly well-documented. I like the look of the polycarbonate tube, especially when it's full of Black Velvet. Nice work.
chefsea1 year ago
This is great and was very smart to add the vanilla to smooth out the flavor.