this is for informational purposes only and should not be used for illegal activities. there are many legal things one can do with a still including fueling cars (must register with the federal government) as well as extracting essential oils from plants (not necessary to register). also, implementing the following procedures could result in bodily harm from explosions, fires, burns, not to mention what could happen if you actually consume your final product. use your head, be careful and be safe. 

Thank you to everyone who has made this a successful Instructable!  I appreciate the views and positive feedback.  Please cut me some slack where I am lacking.  I have recently updated to include a few more specifics, but this does not take the place of doing your own research.  I am not an expert, though I play one on TV.  I am also toying with a discussion forum for all the numerous repeat questions.  Please continue to check the comments discussions before posting questions.  Many have been answered before and plenty more than once.

as a further note, i have decided to add this link to clear up any misunderstandings about what United States law has to say about distilling. Hopefully this will make some of you think a little harder about this and the rest to stop posting comments debating the legality of this. This is ONLY for the US.

Distilling Code

let's begin.

anything alcoholic can be distilled. i've distilled everything from my own moonshine washes to jug wine purchased at my local liquor store. distillation is actually quite simple. the hard part is making sure you are getting ethanol and not methanol (or the like). in this instructable i will show how i made a wash, fermented it, and consequently--the most important part--how i distilled it. i have added more specifics in order to answer some of the most asked questions i've gotten in the comments.  i hope this helps. i might also mention that everything here is hypothetical and for informational purposes only. hope that covers the bases.

and. . . let's begin. for real this time.

(if this doesn't make sense or you would like more info, check out my instructable--distilling basics--for more detailed information on the distillation process or read through the comment strings before posting a question.  I get repeat questions constantly and I don't have time to answer the same questions over and over.  Sorry.)

Schritt 1: fermentation

i used a sugar water solution to create a wash which i then distilled to a neutral spirit. i dissolved about 5lbs of sugar in 3 gallons of water (not an exact formula, play around a bit) and then let it cool to room temperature. this is about as basic a wash as you can get. many more options are available for different flavor characteristics.  for instance, if you ferment molasses you will end up with rum.  if you ferment blue agave you will end up with tequila. i was looking for simplicity for a beginner and ran with this. it is the easiest to procure and make. unfortunately white sugar creates a decidedly cidery flavor to the spirit, but much of that can be distilled out or masked by flavoring or blending.

the wash (fermentable solution, a.k.a. sugar water) was then poured into a clean carboy (big glass bottle, see pic). after that i 'pitched' the yeast (dumped yeast into wash) and then capped the carboy with an airlock (see pic). now we wait. depending on yeast, temperature, amount of digestible materials, etc., a couple of weeks is usually good. at this point yeast is eating sugar, and excreting carbon dioxide and alcohol. give it some time. let it work. when the bubbles stop (and look close) it's done.  if it is still bubbling, let it go.  the two week time is just a very rough estimate.  it will vary for everyone.

if the bubbles have slowed considerably, taste a bit. if it is sweet, let it go a bit longer.

when it is done. we're ready for the next stage:

<p>Awesome Guide never thought of distilling in the kitchen, and it doesn't seem as it would be too dangerous since the vapor won't ignite of the electric stove. But one question do you solder the cooper together to make it air tight or just put it together </p>
How much yeast do you put in with the sugar water?
Also it seems like sugar washes do ten times better with cut fruit in it or raisins to me i guess the yeast like the natural stuff
Also it seems like sugar washes do ten times better with cut fruit in it or raisins to me i guess the yeast like the natural stuff
I've unsucessfully made many batches of shine and can't figure out what i'm doing wrong. I've been using corn, sugar, yeast, and water for my mash and let is sit for 3 days to ferment.(whether that's right or wrong i got it from a website) well any way when i try to distill it, it comes out cloudy not clear and definitly not drinkable. plus i've tried to keep my temp at 173 degress F. but nothing happens till about 200. there is some alcohol in the wash and when it comes out of the still but not much. Can any one tell me what i'm doing wrong?<br />
Your running your still to high temp and sounds like you need to study up on fermenting start simple like this sugar shine three days is way early man
<p>pdub is right they yeast would not even finished multiplying even turbos take longer then that to ferment, but once you get it keep it up soon you won't buy likker at a store i know i havent in a long time.</p>
3 days is never enough time to ferment.&nbsp; Try two to three weeks.&nbsp; <br />
okay i didn't think it was long enough but i wasnt sure thanks. I'll let you know how it goes<br />
Nice information first question if it burns a real good blue flame is that near 150 proof cause i though it was like a little over 50 percent it will burn if it is 150 proof yeah me . And second any info on these turbo yeasts cause the more i read it seems like they have set backs almost like to many nutrients that linger . They get into talking about carbon cleansing and such .which i dont think running it through a brita filter would be bad and way more simple and i like simple. I like the sugar wash very much straight and blends well so what proof does it burn blue and whats your take on turbo yeasts cause ive seen blue flames on bakers yeast .
<p>If you are really interested in making moonshine than checkout this website. They have everything you need to know. http://www.distillingliquor.com/</p>
i strongly advise against making this. nobody here seems to fully understand the science so this is definitely NOT a reliable guide to not permanently damaging your body. if you must make it, test it on a pet first. then wait two weeks. if it's still alive and fully functioning, drink up!
I'm a PhD chemical engineer, feel free to ask me about the science...
Is it really safe to use a rubber stopper like they used in this demonstration or should I only use a cork?
what is the ratio of sugar to water to yeast for a simple wash?
<p>I use 1 pound sugar to 1 gallon of water and 1/3 oz of dry yeast.</p>
<p>How can I increase the efficiency of my still, the distillate is 130 proof</p><p>on the second run</p>
<p>Theory says: increase the length of the column, or pack a short column with copper pot scrubbers or marbles.</p><p>In this case the column is the copper tube running from the top of the pot to the condenser. If this were made longer, the distillate would be stronger.</p>
testing on animlas is not nice! :-s
<p>Hogs like it fine. Most corn silage silos have a hog pen next to it. ~:-}</p>
your totally right, the next time we find a volatile cure for a deadly disease well test it on you, not some animal.
we are not talking here about of cure of any kind of disease, is about an illegal substance just to get high...pets don't asked for it....
my bad, i guess...
<p>If you only use Sugar in the wash the chance of getting methanol are 0! It's the pectine in the other sugar sources like fruit or corn or patatoes that turns into the methanol. Even then percentages of methanol are very low and chucking the first 200ml will always remove any risk.</p>
surely you jest about using your pet for a test subject. I have researched the moonshine making subject quite a bit. Although I am still a bit leery about the heads and tails as it does sound like a crap shoot of sorts. But pdub77 has explained it with some scientific content that makes sense. I would like to find some boiling point information that corresponds to elevation as well. do any of you know of such a document.
This is far from a crap shoot, but I still would be careful. With boiling points in mind you are really pretty safe. Check out my Instructable &quot;Distilling Basics&quot; for another view. Here is something I found that might help you with your altitude question:<br><br>http://gillesenergies.webs.com/boilingpointaltitude.htm<br><br>And for the record I would test nothing on a pet. I only have fish and I can never tell when they are drunk anyway. . .
A) are you kidding?&nbsp; Alcohol in its various forms has been made for well over 4000 years by peoples who initially had no concept of science.&nbsp; In most every society there has been a 'discovery' of some sort of alcoholic beverage or substrate that is consumed for pleasure, religious events, and because it was safer then stream/well water.<br /> <br /> B) the author lists this as the THEORETICAL&nbsp;process (though it is funny how closely it follows the non-theoretical)<br /> <br /> C) as far as safety is concerned.&nbsp; The author very clearly defines which liquids boiling temperatures are okay to keep.&nbsp; <br /> And while I no way condone the practice, should one wish to do the same process utilizing a martensitic stainless pot etched and pitted from ionized water to boil your liquid and an ABS pipe filled with rusty steel wool as a condenser, one would still be fine.&nbsp; As long as the set parameters for dumping heads and tails are maintained to an exactness met by any household instant read digital thermometer.<br /> <br /> D) you should be ashamed for suggesting that one force a pet to drink an alcoholic beverage<br />
TANZMEISTER:&nbsp; I could not agree more.<br /> <br /> Seb1188:&nbsp; My science is sound and my method works.&nbsp; I&nbsp;also made plenty of disclaimers and encourage extra research on one's own.&nbsp; I will concede that this can be dangerous, but as I have done it, it is not.&nbsp; Thanks, though.<br />
Is it necessary to use a air lock when you ferment ? I have heard you can just leave your cover lose .
<p>for my airlock i took a glass tube ,heated it with a blow torch and blew two bubbles in it (simple just dont burn your self) with a gap in the middle then bent it into a &quot;S&quot; shape like a sink drain trap with one bubble on each side and put water in it (after it cooled), ,,,works perfect</p>
<p>In my first steps of fermentation, I do NOT use an airlock for the first 3 to 4 days. I actually pump in air with a aquarium air pump with a filter on it. This will BOOST the activity of the yeast 10 fold. I then air lock it and usually ready in 7 to 10 days.</p><p>Throw away at least the first 50mls. per gallon to avoid most methanol. Methanol is hard to produce in any quantity with sugar and water only. </p>
<p>By adding the air you are causing the yeast to replicate, not produce alcohol. So by this method you are just growing yeast for the first 3 days. Yeast is fairly inexpensive so why would you waste the 3 days.</p><p>This does not boost the activity 10 fold, it actually stops it all together. &quot;NO ALCOHOL WILL BE PRODUCED AS LONG AS THE AIR PUMP IS ON&quot;</p>
What do I need to do to get a much higher proof. I'm wanting something like 170-180 proof?????
<p>You should just run your shine through the still again. It is called double distilling. </p>
<p>get a fancy column to raise the proof.</p><p>raising the proof removes the flavor and makes it a strong &quot;neutral&quot; spirit.</p>
<p>Hi very useful your post so I changed sugar for potatos. I have a question &quot;following the chemistry&quot; is right say more yeast will make the process to be more fast ? Idiiot question, but Is my first time.</p>
<p>if you use potatoes, you need to convert the potatoes from starch to sugar with a an enzyme.</p><p>you can use amalyase concentrate or replace 20% of the potatoes with malted barley and carry out a mash process.</p><p>OR, you can put in sugar according to the recipe (2lbs sugar per gallon water) and then add a bunch of potatoes to get the potato flavor - this is called an &quot;adjunct&quot; and the potatoes don't really ferment, they just add to the taste of the brew.</p>
<p>A little trick when bending copper. Plug one end of the copper with a piece of scrap wood, Fill the copper piping with dry sand, ensuring that the sand is well compacted , banging the end where the wood plug is on the ground works well. When the copper pipe is filled with sand plug the other end using more scrap wood. Then bend your copper pipe. </p>
<p>Really cool</p>
<p>You can buy Moonshine from a licensed bottler who can buy shine from a legal manufacturer and bottle it for you and your legal company. Make an agreement with distribution companies and start selling in liquor stores once the State approves of your formula. For a quarter million you can go into business. One 750ML bottle only costs about 2.00 plus bottling costs of 2 bucks and federal tax of $2.68. </p>
<p>Great post. If anyone is looking for moonshine stills for sale, check out Makin' Moonshine's moonshine still guides http://www.makinmoonshine.com/moonshine-stills-for-sale/. Solid info on moonshine stills and commercial moonshine still manufactuers. 'Shine on!</p>
<p>How much yeast did you use in the wash? </p>
Thank ya sir, your information was very thorough and enjoyable to read!
No it doesn't have any color. It is perfectly clear. I tried running it through a carbon filter and it actually helped a lot. ????
There you go, problem solved!
What if it had a taste kind if like kerosine???? It's 150 proof???
It could mean you have a high concentration of fusel alcohols which can usually result from heating your pot too quickly, not watching the temperature, or not having a long enough column to condense them out. If done right, your product should be a completely clear liquid (does yours have a yellow hue to it?) that will taste and smells like nothing but really strong alcohol. It probably wont hurt you to drink (you'll get a worse hangover than normal) but if it were me, personally, I'd scrap it and try again. Better safe than sorry.
just made my first batch of spirit. got 500ml out of 1 gallon wash. just need to know roughly how much water to add, and do i add water to spirit or spirit to water. only did a gallon because that size of my pressure cooker. ive added some pics of my set up. please help.
There's no way to tell you from your pictures/set up/run (good idea with the pressure cooker though). There are too many variables like your mash ABV, column size, run temperature, and run length. I'd recommend you buy a hydrometer to test your final product proof to make sure you always know where you're at (they're really easy to use and not all that expensive). Experienced moonshiners can shake their product and guess proof (the air bubbles on the surface after you shake it disappear more quickly the higher the proof is) so what you could do if you don't want to invest in a hydrometer is buy a bottle of 80 proof vodka, shake it, shake your shine, compare the two, and add water to your shine until the two have bubbles that behave the same. If the bubbles on the surface of your shine last longer than that of the vodka you're already below 80 proof and shouldn't cut it with any water.