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I Forge Iron

Copper work.


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Since my docter allows me to walk around on one crutch now, I decided to do some light metalworking.
From some copper waste and an old close-in boiler I managed to make this potstill. Illegal over here to operate one over here but hey, dilligaf. It is not illegal to make one.......
And maybe I can convince the law that it is better to quench and harden in distilled water........
Anyway, I gotta get out now to get some sugar and yeast.




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Capacity is about 15 liters, say roughly 3 gallons...
Sugar is easiest for now, but I definetly gonna try grain mash.
And no, I didn't pound out the tank myself, it is an old close in boiler. I made the hat myself, the rest is waste pipe and elbows...


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Check. I Used the solder for drinkingwater lines. It is a tin and silver mix.
I also made sure there's no green copper oxide anywhere, because that seems to be pretty evil as well. I've been reading a bit about distilling, and think I'm able to make a non toxic alcohol now...



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  • 1 month later...

I made a pot still a few years back. Here is my recipe. Liquid volumes are approximate.

2.5 gallons of white grape juice (100% juice - from concentrate is OK)
2.5 gallons of water
5 pounds of sugar
6 packets of bakers yeast
3 pounds of corn meal

Heat the water until it is hot enough to dissolve all 5 pounds of sugar. Add grape juice & let the mixture cool to between 80 and 100 degrees F.
Pour into a clean bucket with the corn meal and add all six packets of yeast.
Let the mixture sit (stirring occasionally) for 2 weeks in a warm place (70-80 degrees F)
The yeast should foam and bubble almost continuously. Cover the container with cheesecloth or a lid with an airlock but DON'T SEAL IT. C02 gas pressure given off by the bubbling yeast will burst a sealed container.

After 2 weeks or so, your "mash" will be ready. Let the corn meal settle to the bottom. Large amounts of it present in the mash when boiling will burn to the inside of your boiler, ruin the taste, and STINK! I usually siphon the mash out of the container as needed.

Generally I distill about 1 gallon at a time (again, volumes are approximate - you will learn with experience). Discard the first 3 ounces of distillate (poison). After that you should get about 8 ounces of useable stuff per gallon distilled. I can't stress enough that these volumes may vary from still to still, but it seems that your setup is similar to mine. You can't read too much about this subject.

The last step is to pour the distillate through a filter of activated carbon available at any aquarium supply. I took a 3 inch diameter by 8 inch long copper tube, flared the top and tapered the bottom. Inside I packed a copper pot scrubber, lots of charcoal, and another scrubber on top of that. Before you use it for the first time, run some hot (not quite boiling) water through it. This will dislodge any carbon dust that you don't want to show up in your booze. I pour the distillate through it 2 or 3 times. There is a noticeable difference in taste before and after. Every year or 2 (depending on how often I distill, I replace the charcoal.

Now you should have "white lightning" that runs about 50 alcohol (100 proof). It's strong stuff, so drink a little at a time. Personally, I don't care for the flavor of it as-is so I flavor it to taste by heating it up a little and mixing in some sugar, molasses, and a few drops of "Liquid Smoke", a barbecue flavoring available from the grocery. It tastes a lot more like whiskey then. You can also experiment with other flavors. A lot of work for a few ounces of booze, but it's a fun and rewarding endeavor.

I have heard of rare instances where people were arrested for making moonshine in small quantities and fined. The real trouble begins when you sell it - so don't. For the time and materials needed with small stills like ours, it's not possible to turn a decent profit on it anyway.

Good luck! Hope this helps.

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P.S. I got so carried away with the recipe I forgot to say "Nice looking still!"

Also, I keep my cooling water in a separate tank and pump it through a condenser with an old electric recirculator pump I found in a dumpster. If your cooling water gets too hot you can still replace it. Running it straight from the hose uses a LOT of water.

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Be aware that distilling of spirits is illegal both federally and in all states in the U.S. You can make some quantity of wine and beer but no distilled alcohol. I don't know what emphasis is placed on enforcement now but it is a risk you will be taking.

Unless you live in New Zealand, it's probably illegal im most other countries too.

You probably can get licensed for fuel ethanol but the paper work and record keeping will be a lot more trouble than it's worth.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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