Vodka is the purest spirit and very easy to make at home. It consists of mainly water and ethanol alcohol, with slight traces of flavoring and impurities. Vodka is typically made from grains and potatoes, but technically can be made from anything that contains sugar and yeast. During distillation, vodka distillate runs out from the vodka still as a clear liquid. It can be distilled multiple times to increase its purity then filtered with activated carbon (called polishing). This tutorial is great for those learning how to make vodka at home.
Ingredients to Make Vodka
In this tutorial we’ll learn how to make vodka using the simplest, cheapest ingredients necessary. However, these ingredients can produce a high quality product just like the most popular vodka brands.
- 25L distilled water
- 6-8kg sugar
- 1 packet 48 Hours Turbo Yeast
Equipment to Make Vodka
This equipment can be used to distill all types of alcoholic spirits in addition to making Vodka.
- 25L fermenting bucket with air lock
- Pot or Column Still (larger than 30L)
- Filtering Tower (filled with Activated Carbon)
- Heat Source (hot plate, internal heating element, stove)
- Water source (tap, river or bucket with pump)
- Large spoon, alcoholmeter, hydrometer, cooking thermometer, test jar
Directions to Make Vodka
Step 1: Fermenting
It’s very important to clean all equipment before you make vodka. The smallest spec of contamination could lead to a bad batch of Vodka. Dissolve the sugar in the fermentation bucket using 8 liters of hot water. Add 17 liters of cold water and mix well. The overall temperature should be 80C, warm enough to dissolve the yeast. If it’s over 90C it could kill the yeast. Dissolve packet of turbo yeast into the mix. Ensure the yeast particles have completely dissolved. Seal the fermentation vessel and add the air lock. Fill the air lock half full with water to protect foreign matter from entering while allowing gases to escape. Allow this to ferment at 20-30C (70-80F) for 3-10 days. The length of fermentation time depends on the amount of sugar used and air temperature. The mash is ready for distillation when the level on the hydrometer reaches 990. It will contain 16-18% alcohol by volume and smell like a rat’s ass, but don’t worry. The only way to fail is if it was made with dirty hands, dirty water, or dirty equipment.
Step 2: Distilling
The fermented product is then distilled using a still. There are two types of stills that can be used to make vodka – pot stills and column stills. Pot stills allow more impurities in the distilled product, giving the vodka a richer flavor. Column, or reflux stills are more commonly used to make vodka because they only allow the purest percent of alcohol to come out. Fill the boiler up completely. It should fill to approximately 85% of the stills volume. Put the boiler on the heat source and assemble the still. This assemble may include hooking up the cracking tower, condenser, and water supply. Turn the heating source on high until the steams temperature reaches 78C/173F, the boiling temp of Ethanol alcohol. Adjust the temperature accordingly. Discard liquid which makes it through the still before your desired temperature. This will ensure all the Methanol alcohol, which boils at 64C/148F is removed. This is usually the first cup (head) to run off the still. Although it’s not necessary, you can repeat distillation up to 3 times to get the purest vodka possible. This is more beneficial if you’re using a pot still. Ensure the still’s boiler is thoroughly cleaned before re-distilling.
Step 3: Polishing
Vodka is typically filtered after distillation (called “polishing”). Polish vodka with activated carbon to remove odors, colors, organic pollutants, toxic compounds, and fusil oils. Activated carbon is the same stuff the big distillers use to polish their spirits. To polish vodka, ensure the activated carbon in your filtering tower is fresh or has been re-activated. Run vodka thought the filtering tower 1-3 times as desired.
This is a great video on how to make vodka, and the distillation process.
Popular Vodka Brands
Learn more about vodka on Wikipedia