Step by step directions for home distilling:
The process for distilling alcohol for fuel is similar for distilling moonshine. The difference is that the two processes have a different philosophy behind them. Moonshine is made for taste. As such, the process focuses on optimizing and perfecting recipes, aging, ingredients, and yeast. The philosophy behind fuel is that you want the highest concentration of alcohol that is possible. In many states it is illegal to distill alcohol for consumption. However, they are much more lenient when it comes to making fuel.
There are many uses for alcohol besides fuel. However, the most important thing to consider is safety. Alcohol is a highly flammable substance. As such, it’s of the utmost importance that you practice sound judgment and distill your alcohol in a safe environment.
The process for distilling alcohol is rather simple. Alcohol is produced by yeast which consumes sugar and converts it into alcohol. After a week or so, you will have anywhere from 5% to 20% alcohol by volume (ABV), the higher the concentration of alcohol the better.
You will then want to distill your alcohol in order to get a higher concentration. The distillation process is rather simple and easy to do. Distilling alcohol is the process of separating the alcohol from the water. Alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water. When heated, the alcohol will evaporate first. The vaporized alcohol will rise up a column into a condenser. A condenser simply cools the vaporized alcohol so that is condenses back into a liquid. The condenser is a tube of metal that is cooled by cold water that flows over and around it.
There are several different kinds of stills. The two most popular are a pot still and a column still. A pot still is typically used for making moonshine, whiskey, and rum. Whereas a column still is most often used for making vodka and fuel. The reason for this is that a pot still has a shorter column. This this means that the vaporized alcohol has to travel a shorter distance up to the condenser. Alcohol produced from a pot still typically comes out at a lower concentration than alcohol produced from a column still. The advantage being that alcohol produced from pot still carries more flavors from the grain.
Alcohol produced from a column still comes out at a higher concentration. This is due to that fact that it must travel a greater distance up the column. The steam that is produced when distilling is a combination of both alcohol and water (higher concentration of alcohol). As previously mentioned, water evaporates at a lower temperature. As such, as the steam rises up the column, the water molecules will condense faster than the alcohol and drip back down into the still.
What you will need: For this process you will need a still, yeast, sugar, and a fermentation vessel. The larger your still and fermentation vessel, the more alcohol you can produce. You will also want to use a distiller’s yeast that can produce the most amount of alcohol.