Introduction: Distill Vodka to Make Everclear

Picture of Distill Vodka to Make Everclear

Making everclear (food grade alcohol) through the distillation of vodka.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

1. Hotplate
2. stand to hold beaker (optional)
3. Glass beaker
4. Collection cup
5. Glass tubes
6. thermometer (preferably one with a broad range)
7. Rubber Cork (with holes to allow for tubes and thermometer)
8. Ice (or other means of cooling)
9. Vodka

Step 2: Build Basic Distillation Setup

Picture of Build Basic Distillation Setup

Build Basic Distillation Setup
1. Plug the top of the beaker with the cork.
2. Insert thermometer and tube (leading to the collection cup)
3. If you have the stand then use it to hold the beaker over the hotplate (or on it)
4. Set up the collection cup and the tube leading to it with your cooling system (or have the ice on stand-by).

Step 3: Operation

Picture of Operation

1. Fill beaker with vodka
2. Turn on hotplate
3. When thermonitor reaches about 174.5 degrees fairenhiet (the thermonitor should be positioned at the top) then your cooling system should be condensing the alcohol (of if your using ice, then you should be franticly trying to cool down the tube)
4. when the vodka stops boiling but remains at 174.5 degrees (at the top) then turn off the hot plate and let cool.
5. When the beaker is cool, taste the vodka in the beaker to see if it still has alcohol, if so, repeat process.

Step 4: Storage

Picture of Storage

Keep everclear in an air-tight container (to prevent loss of alcohol).

Step 5: Uses

Despite the obvious use (getting drunk), everclear has many more uses.

1. Making an extract
methods may very for this, but alcohol is a very good solvent and this type of alcohol is safe for human consumption (in small amounts). You can make the extract stronger by putting it back in the distillation setup (to minimize alcohol loss), but be careful, if you let the extract get to hot, or if it dries out you'll have a mess to clean up.

2. Drying wet clothes
I know this works with pure alcohol, but I'm sure 95% will suffice. Simply soak the wet cloth in the alcohol and let the fumes evaporate. To me, this seems like a waste (I've never personally tried this) and I can think of better uses then this.

3. Cleaning
Because it's a good solvent, that means that it is great for cleaning, but you can buy rubbing alcohol for cheaper than you can make this, so I strongly recommend taking that option instead.

4. Making flavoring for candy
Make an extract (test the taste by adding a drop of it to a glass of water.) and use it as flavoring when making hard candy, gummy candy, suckers, lollipops (I'm not sure if there is a difference between suckers and lollipops), taffy, any tasty confection you can think of! Well, OK, maybe not chocolate...

5. Whatever else you can think of!
Get creative! If you find a good use let me know.


dafunk22 (author)2015-04-24

You have to heat it to 235° to kill methanol. If you don't you'll go blind

SkottyG (author)dafunk222017-12-02

no methanol in vodka

trueacid31 (author)dafunk222015-09-21

Why would there be methanol in vodka ????

goldenskyhook (author)2016-08-07

OK folks -- My area of research is in the psychoactive effects of ETOH, but I also know a bit of the chemistry. Of COURSE, if you're being exceptionally anal about it, it's not quite 95%. It's perfectly reasonable to call it "Everclear." It will work FINE for the uses suggested, as well as being an excellent mordant for certain dyeing procedures using natural plant substances for the pigment.

It is entirely possible to get methanol when distilling from mash, but there is NO methanol in a bottle of commercial vodka. Incidentally, NO amount of ethanol will cause blindness. Spinning, blurring, double vision, etc. on a temporary basis, yes certainly, but the blindness is strictly relating to methanol.

RyanB138 (author)goldenskyhook2016-12-16

Thank you, you saved me the trouble of saying all of that myself.

milesfromneihu (author)2016-09-04

Love your pictures. That's the way things look to me, too, after a few shots of 'shine.

goldenskyhook (author)2016-08-07

Ha! I just realized that my first line suggested PERSONAL research. Well, YEARS ago I was still performing my "liver studies" but I have been sober for 30 years. I was referring to scholarly research, as part of my BA in Psychology with a concentration in Advanced Alcohol and Drug Studies.

NATIVEBOY (author)2015-12-28

you'll need molecular sieves to make it ~200 proof

trueacid31 (author)2015-09-21

I dont think This method would produce ethanol that pure , but probably close to it , it might be viable to salt out the water then distill it . Just a shot in the dark but could work .

sk187 (author)2008-08-02

it is simply not possible to distill vodka @40% with this set up to 97.5%. By the laws of physic, molecular attraction and gas laws.

The Mollusk (author)sk1872008-08-07

I'm sure that you thought that out a lot, but if it's not possible, then how did I do it? After I used this process, I had someone of legal drinking age try a drop or two, and they claimed it was stronger than anything they have ever tried (keep in mind that this adult goes to a lot of parties and has probably tried everclear) and said "congratulations, you just made everclear". So even if its not at 97.5%, then it's pretty damn close

JustinG3 (author)The Mollusk2015-03-12

sk187 is correct. If you want to know the actual proof of your distillate, purchase a hydrometer; being a drunk doesn't make your friend an expert on anything. Talk to anyone who actually distills spirits and they'll tell you you need a much more complex setup in order to produce ethanol at that purity. Even with a top of the line still setup, there is always going to be some water in there. It's impossible to make 100% pure ethanol with only a still. 95% (Everclear purity) is about as good as it gets without employing other methods to remove the rest of the water.

sk187 (author)The Mollusk2008-08-07

It Science . Not to be rude, but I did a project on one. Look up, azeotrope, ethanol water attraction. Also, the increase in % alcohol is exponential -x2 chart. If you started at 40% u might have gotten 60% and that is iffy. The current set up you have shown is called a pot still. Such are not very effective in separating alcohol. Furthermore, (depending on the quality) but for the most part, you do not have to worry about over distilling this. The company will have removed the methanol and fusel substances. Also, using degrees C. You want the temp to stay below 100. @ 100 the water will boil too.

The Mollusk (author)sk1872008-08-07

Look, I'm not gonna argue with you. This is a tried and true method. If your not satisfied with the results, run it through again, if your still not satisfied, do it again. Simple as that.

P.S. It's strange how your only Instructable is remarkably similar to mine, even though you made it about four days ago. Maybe instead of shooting down or re-doing other peoples Instructables, you should focus on making a few of your own.

sk187 (author)The Mollusk2008-08-07

yea it is. I will admit after i saw this, i felt compelled to write one that addresses the wrongs of this one. Again, i have the mathematical formulas and everything to prove what i say. Want me to put them up?

The Mollusk (author)sk1872008-08-07

Do you know what 'tried and true' means? It means I've tried the method and it works. I'm not saying your wrong, I'm saying I'm right. Put them up if you want, it won't make me wrong. If you feel this strongly about it, do it and get it analized. That will prove one of us right and end it. Actually if you want to keep it fair, have a neutral party do it and keep the container chilled all the way to the lab, or pharmacy, or where ever you'll do the test at. This will be my last comment on it, unless you do the test (if you decide this petty argument is worth the effort, then you deserve to be right).

sk187 (author)The Mollusk2008-08-07

Seriously, just look at this written by

"Whatever method of preparation is used, the ethanol is initially obtained in admixture with water. The ethanol is then extracted from this solution by fractional distillation.

Although the boiling point of ethanol, 78.3 degC, is significantly lower than the boiling point of water, 100 degC, these material cannot be separated completely by distillation. Instead, an azeotropic mixture (i.e. a mixture of 95% ethanol and 5% water) is obtained, and the boiling point of the azeotrope is 78.15oC. In a distillation, the most volatile material (i.e. the material that has the lowest boiling point) is the first material to distill from the distillation flask, and this material is the azeotrope of 95% ethanol which has the lowest boiling point. If an efficient fractionating column is used, there is obtained first 95% alcohol, then a small intermediate fraction of lower concentration, and then water. But no matter how efficient the fractionating column used, 95% alcohol cannot be further concentrated by distillation.

The separation of a mixture by fractional distillation occurs because the vapour has a different composition from the liquid from which it distils (i.e. the vapour is richer in the more volatile component). We cannot separate 95% alcohol into its components by distillation, because here the vapour has exactly the same composition as the liquid; towards distillation, then, 95% alcohol behaves exactly like a pure compound.

A liquid mixture that has the peculiar property of giving a vapour of the same composition is called an azeotrope (i.e. a constant-boiling mixture). Since it contains two components 95% alcohol is a binary azeotrope. Most azeotropes, like 95% alcohol, have boiling points lower than those of their components, and are known as minimum-boiling mixtures. Azeotropes having boiling points higher than those of their components are known as maximum-boiling mixtures. "

andybuda (author)sk1872011-04-26

my sisters boy friend works in a lab and uses 100% ethanol and i was alway wondering how the pro`s make this stuf would they have a huge amount to get a small amount. in bio fuels they can get 99.9%or less or is there 2nd distalation used with some thing with a higher boiling point. ???

The Mollusk (author)sk1872008-08-08

You just proved me right. I know I said I wouldn't respond, but the facts you have presented here prove this method. I was wrong about the exact percentage (I said 97.5%), but that is because I got the proof of everclear mixed up with something else. 2.5% is not much of a difference and I will amend my Instructable accordingly.

sk187 (author)The Mollusk2008-08-08

That was my point all along... to get 95% however you would have to do it many times. According to a % calculator, @ 40% one distillation should be about 78%. It hard to say with any certainty given i don't the exact data of what you used. With that, you would need to distill about 4 times to get around 93, 94% and ever additional distillation you would get about .2% or less increase. Additionally, it not advised to try to achieve such a high % with a pot still because there is a great deal of waste.

DeusXMachina (author)sk1872008-11-13

Sk187 is completely right. The vapor pressure of ethanol is too close to water to achieve anywhere near 90% in one distillation. In real life, especially with your setup, you'll probably have closer to 70% with one run. I literally just took a test on this last week. You know why moonshine has XXX on it? It's not pr0n, it's the number of distillations underwent.

sk187 (author)DeusXMachina2008-11-13

That is a very interesting anecdote, I never knew that is the reason why there are 3 x's. But again reaffirming the whole more then 1 distillation to get 90% thing.

andybuda (author)The Mollusk2011-04-26

put some in a metal container say 100 ml set fire to it, then measure the residue.
this will give aprox %
if you can`t set fire to it you aint even close

Re-design (author)The Mollusk2010-02-24

It was more bitter than they ever tasted but bitter doesn't mean it is stronger.

[How they do it] the minuscule amount of water remaining is usually removed through chemical processes, as physical processes (distillation) do not work beyond certain concentrations with many solutions. Wikipedia has a great article about it.

triggernum5 (author)sk1872008-12-21

sk187 Is right.. The still you have has no reflux, thus no real HETP.. If you start with 40%alc, that solution will boil at about 184.5°F, and the vapour elvolved will be about 77%.. That is the initial strength, this will drop as the solution depletes its alcohol.. Once the BP hits about 204°F, the distillate drips will be lower than 40% (the solution in the still will be down to about 6%) Remember your thermal equilibrium is shifted if you're getting a BP reading of 174.5° for 40% vodka.. In actuality, 85-90% alcohol boils that low.. So lets say you start with 1L of 40%, and distill it until the vapours are 40%.. Just guesstimating that to happen when the wash is 75% distilled, you'd have 250ml at 6% in the still (15ml achohol) and 385ml alcohol in the 750mL you distilled or 51% alcohol.. Its a comprimise between waste and potency, but everything can be saved I suppose.. Theoretically accepting only the first most potent drips, then redistilling.. 40% yields 77% -> 77% yields 87% -> 87% yields 90% -> 90% yields 91.5% and so on all the way up to 95.58% which is a theoretical limit.. So starting with 1L of vodka you could get a few drops of everclear equivalent in only a few dozen extremely picky redistillations, or 750mL of 51% with one extremely unpicky distilation, or anywhere in between.. On the other side, if you distill that 6% leftover, you'll get a 25-30% product that could be redistilled to give you a little tad of stronger stuff..

raccoondog (author)2014-01-12

I appreciate the instructable and the discussion. Good work!

nowoclock (author)2012-06-24

Couldn't you just use rubber tubing instead? Or do you think it would melt..

excessive.insurgence (author)2011-05-22

does anyone know the volume yield from this? like how much everclear comes from how much vodka?

Simple, you know the ABV (alcohol by volume) of the vodka that you start with, you know the target ABV of the everclear, all you have to do is crunch the numbers.

8 oz of 80 proof (NOT degrees proof, that's a different number) vodka (40% ABV) -> 3.368 oz 190 proof everclear (95% ABV)

8oz * 0.4 ABV = 3.2 oz of pure ethanol
3.2 / 0.95 ABV = 3.368 oz of everclear

Of course, there is some margin of error as is would be nigh impossible to start with alcohol that is EXACTLY 40% ABV and/or end with EXACTLY 95% ABV, but the differences should be slight and only noticeable with larger quantities.

spark master (author)2011-10-10

Hi All

saw most of Ken Burns' PROHIBITION last night. the only thing you could legally have was what you owned b4 its passing (rich people went out and bought cases and cases of booze), patent meds, whisky bought by prescription(yep, 3 pints per month unless the whole family was sick), home made wine (in house only) , 200 gallons per year, sacramental wine. (hey anyone can be a Rabbi and there were Irish Italian, Black, German, Polish Chinese Rabbi's, (no becoming priests since the church controlled who became priests.

Matt D655 (author)2008-07-17

In my opinion vodka tastes ok but i would'nt risk getting arrested to make it.

unpicky (author)Matt D6552008-07-28

alcohol isn't illegal dork, this isn't the 1920's anymore.

spark master (author)unpicky2011-01-13

you need to read more, and not on the web.

Making distilled spirits was illegal the day the government said you gotta pay taxes on it.

And it is not illegal, it is illegal to do w/o approval from government and a tax payment and all kind forms to fill out. Even to make farm fuel from corn you need permits, still plans production plans and of course payment for the inspections. And they do check it all out.

If you make beer or wine they want records and such but unless you are making huge amounts and selling it or giving it to no family members , you can make quite a bit of it. Distilling in this country USA , is illegal w/o paperwork and inspections and tax stamps, illegal illegal illegal. Real jail time, bubba up your butt illegal.

New Zealand , as far as I know , is the only country that allows it citizens the right to make booze.

Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 311
Liquor Control Law
Section 311.055

August 28, 2010

License to manufacture not required, personal or family use--limitation.
311.055. No person at least twenty-one years of age shall be required to obtain a license to manufacture intoxicating liquor, as defined in section 311.020, for personal or family use. The aggregate amount of intoxicating liquor manufactured per household shall not exceed two hundred gallons per calendar year if there are two or more persons over the age of twenty-one years in such household, or one hundred gallons per calendar year if there is only one person over the age of twenty-one years in such household.

Don't know about other states, but as long as I don't sell it I can and do make it legally at home.

you need to read more, and not on the web.

Federal law trumps that law and says No No Nannette!!

ATF a goes after "shiners" as well as FBI. This allows locals police from ignoring your still, and not bothering to alert the ATF and FBI . If they chose to ignore it.

The state POT Laws are same, and so if your state has a medical pot/decrimmed pot law on books, it makes it the FBI's responsibility. If the state is aggressive about it they can tell police to never call the FBI on this. The Feds can strike back by connecting pot enforcement WITH say education funding.

This was done with 21 year old drink laws. Either you have it or we don't fund your roads.

All states now are 21 for public drinking, or the serving of alcoholic beverages to non family members in a home scenario.

Spark is correct folks. Federal law makes no allowances for distillation without permits. They say essentially the same thing he does but with more legalesse. Contrary to what he said though they do allow for the (giving only) of beer to non family members, no records nessecary. Otherwise homebrew competitions would not occur without much hassle. It would seem though that there is paperwork nessecary for wine making of any large amount in the form of being bonded. I apologize again for my rudeness and uninformed comment.

Back in the 70's when I started making beer there was hoopla of what you could and could not do. I am not a liar, errr lawyer, and the people at the supply house explained I could make 200 gallons of beer or wine no tax, personal use on premise, (visitor could have some if they were legal age ), not to be given as gifts/away. We were pissed one was allowed to make the same amount of either, wine a much higher alcoholic beverage and in theory you drink less, so you get to make a lot more so beer should have been up to 400 or 600 gallons. And beer made at a 12 % level is nasty and if you try to push it to 16 -17 like sherries, it is worse.

Perhaps the rules were adjusted, but I remember thinking about brew contests and saying "can't be legal" . No one cared, we brewed what we wanted and we made some awedacious suds, some complete crap as well (hey there is a learning curve). My friends dad, a former resident of the way back in the woods Wisconsin , and a HVAC mechanic who made and ran shine, offered to make me a still in a 50 gallon drum (self contained), to run out my mistakes. Shoulda let'm, but I was living in parents home and dad was a cop and we knew the issues. So no deal.

Oh and while the term BOOZE is all inclusive, I did mean Distilled Spirits. With all the people I know booze is the general term for DS

I will have to check that. If it's true then I spoke brashly, my apologies. But no one I know personally has ever had a problem with recreational distilling, so I suppose it never came up.

jj32x (author)unpicky2008-08-29

alcohol isnt illegal but distilation without a license is.

The Mollusk (author)Matt D6552008-07-17

Your not making vodka, your making everclear. Vodka is 80 proof (40% alcohol), everclear is about 195 proof (97.5% alcohol). Its more than twice as strong, and has many more uses than getting you drunk. ... Maybe I should add a uses step...

NInja99 (author)The Mollusk2009-07-20

You can make n ferment (i think) flower perfume with grain alcohol or something as everclear

andybuda (author)2011-04-26

in england theres no laws that i can find that say you can`t distill. it illegal to sell
your home brew.
you can grow tobbaco but you can`t dry leafs for smokeing due to tax same as selling alcohol. if any 1 knows of a goverment page or related link...
i did find a page on the web about bio fuels and how much your aloud to keep over 1000L if i remember

mpmayer (author)2008-11-21

couldnt you just freeze the stuff in dry ice to separate the alcohol and water

andybuda (author)mpmayer2011-04-26

no even worse. ice crystals are sharp and hold on to the alcohol. some people thing, like i use to that when alcohol freezes theres separation like oil on water.
it goes to slush

Derin (author)2008-10-03

bam explosion

chamunks (author)Derin2011-03-06

Bam Innacurate. The only reason why you would have an explosion is if you spilled your alcohol or somehow you werent condensing the alcohol gas in your distiller enough and much of it was escaping and hit your Gas Stove this is the only way that I could imagine that you're going to blow up anything.

Im certain you would notice that much alcohol gas in your space. Let alone nothing here is under pressure.

There is nothing in this instructable that actually proves that you've actually stilled anything.

But yes without a licence to distill it is illegal to concentrate any alcohol at all.

Its even illegal to make something called Jack, where you accidentally leave beer or wine out in the cold or your freezer too long and the water inside freezes. If you remove the ice thats formed that act in itself is illegal.

But you know what this is for knowledge purposes anyways if you were to actually do it ;) you would be sure to get the licence :P

Also Downloaded as a PDF incase this ible dissapears.

lostinacrowd (author)2011-01-02


mattbomb (author)2010-11-24

HaHaHa, looks like you got a meth plant going there, lol

dela213 (author)2009-07-17

thats cool, i don't mean to be rude, but everclear is corn whiskey, where as vodka is potato.

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