Step 4: Hard Liquors.

Picture of Hard Liquors.
Hard Liquors are distilled versions of beers, and wine. This is done to give the final product a higher alcohol content. A distilled wine is called a brandy, and a distilled beer is a whiskey, bourbon, vodka.etc

*Making a Hard Liquor

To make a hard liquor you must first have a still. Which is illegal to own with out a permit (I think, I know it's illegal to distill). A still is the key to making a hard liquor because like previously discussed yeast will die in more than 15% alcohol making it nearly impossible to get a higher alcohol content. Stills function on a simple process of boiling alcohol into vapor and running that vapor through copper tubing which cool the vapor down which in turn condenses the alcohol back into a more pure liquid state. The result is a hard liquor.

Now some of the more key parts. I'm sure you thinking well how does it get the alcohol to boil off with out boiling the water off. Well, alcohol has a lower boiling temperature, which is around 72'C (173'F), enabling the alcohol to be boiled off leaving less pure and less alcoholic water (and what ever was in the water, yeast, fruit/grain .etc). You must be careful though too much heat and the water will boil also which makes it less alcoholic (It's practically impossible to make a pure alcohol with out extra chemicals because of the bond between the alcohol and water).

Lately, brewers have started a new method called freeze distillation which instead of boiling off the alcohol, you freeze the water leaving you with alcohol.

After distillation some hard liquors have sugars and flavoring added to them for taste purposes, others are diluted with water after a very through distillation (2 or more times) to lower the alcohol content, and also take away flavor for mixing drinks creating a neutral liquor such as vodka or gin.

the whole first paragraph is off, and so is the picture, the picture two of the drinks i can id are liquers which involve getting spirits or hard liquors and mixing them with something else to create a flavour, malibu is white rum and coconut, Frangelico uses a spirit that i am unsure what and hazelnut. tellamore dew is an irish whiskey which is a spirit, it gets its flavour by what it is made from, where and what it is stored in, whiskey has a few forms of what is used to make it, they are malt or grain, mix the two together and you get blended, bourbon is i think usually a grain whisky like jack daniels and malt whiskey is something like glenfiddich or jura, while something like johnnie walker is a blened whiskey that combines the two together, it gets its colour from what is stored in (usually wooden barrels). vodka is made from fermented potatoes simple, it doesn't get aged thats why it is clear. whisky that is straight from the still is a clear colour too. this is why whiskey and vodka generally have a harsher taste than liquers such as malibu or frangelico. none of these are are distilled versions of beer as beer is made from hops, yeast, and i think malt

also last para graph is incorrect, as i said before vodka is potato based, gin is juniper berrys, it is what they are made from in the beginning, not added at the end

Bobbydog715 years ago
Excellent information Hangman, thanks for putting that together. I'd like to make a small correction to your statement..

"You must be careful though too much heat and the water will boil also which makes it less alcoholic."

When ethanol and water are added together they actually form a whole new liquid that has its own set of laws governing it. The boiling point of the combined liquid will be different than either water or ethanol. Somewhere in between 78C(ethanol)  and 100C(water). There is no way to overheat the liquid past its new boiling point, the temp of the vapor will hold at the new boiling point untill all the ethanol has left the wash leaving just water, at that point the vapor temp will hold at 100C untill all the water is gone. Your only limitation to heat input is your ability to condense the vapor back to a liquid at the top and the diameter of the reflux tower which allows the passage of more vapor without choking.

I have been distilling my own ethanol for burning in my truck. Its a great hobby and is very satisfying, just dont get caught without a permit.  :)  Good luck!

Trogdayton5 years ago
thank you... that's all I have to say. (tear!) I have been looking for a decent basics guide for a while. good stuff to know! :)