Originally By Tony Ackland
Words of WisdomAn interesting topic on the newsgroup was one of "if there were just three bits of advice to pass onto someone starting distilling, what would they be ?" The replies are listed below.
Patience + Persistence = Results
1. read every word of "homedistiller.org" at least three times.
2. wait till the enthusiasm wears off a little prior to getting confused/asking questions.
3. ease into it slow & take notes (just like your building your first customized harley)
1. READ, READ, READ! There is so much good information available that there is no excuse for getting a bad start. You are NOT alone!
2. Fermentation. Sanatize everything involved in the fermentation process. Boil all of the water used to make a mash. Perform aeration (aquarium pump & stone) prior to adding yeast. Use enough yeast. Keep fermenting wash below 30 C, 20 to 25 is better yet.
3. Use a PROVEN still design (experiment later, when you have a quantity of your own hootch to help sort out ideas).
4. RELAX! ENJOY! SHARE WITH FRIENDS! Keep records. Start a 3 ring binder, and stuff it with notes and recipes. Keep it next to the throne and read it often.
5. Avoid "my still is bigger than your still" discussions.
1. Read everything you can find about what distilling and fermentation and the products that you intend to make. A good web search engine is a life saver here. A good starting place, is to search the Homedistiller Forum's google search . Lots of information available with a better search function
2. Decide what kind of product that you want to make. If you want to make schnapps, brandies or grain whisky's a pot still is better suited for your goals. If you want to make vodkas and gins then a packed column will suit your goals better.
3. Develop a plan to accomplish your goals.
4. Ask questions from people who have done it before. Then ask some more questions. 3 people can read a question written by somebody else and see three whole different ways to answer it.
5. Avoid buying a whole bunch of expensive fancy equipment until you know that this hobby is what you expected it to be. Lots of equipment can be substituted with less expensive (or free) items. Ask what equipment is absolutely necessary.
6. Keep notes about what did and did not work. Sometimes even when everything seems to have gone wrong, something will have gone right and you might want to duplicate the effort.
7. Recycle all projects that did not meet your expectations. Ethanol is ethanol is ethanol and it is never wasted until you dump it down the drain. I made my best batch of whisky/rum hybrid mixture one time from recycling stock of batches that did not work out. I wish I knew what all was in those jugs because the finished product was sure tasty. There was corn whisky, sorghum molasses rum, fermented mellon, fermented watermellon, ect ect, and that is just what I remember.
8. Use a proven design. The time for new designs if for after you gain some experience actually accomplishing your goals.
1. Learn how to ferment something drinkable BEFORE you even think about building a still.
2. Learn from every mistake ever made---yours and others.
3. Figure out why it is that you want to distill, and see if distilling is really for you---or if it would be better to just buy a few bottles of Vodka and learn to make drinks that way.
4. Tell no one about your hobby (if you live in a place that it is illegal)
5. Remember that this is a fun hobby and not an excuse to become more of an alcoholic.
Mine would be:
1. Keep trying.
2. Do not be put off by failures.
3. Your product will improve.
4. Take it slow and do not rush.
5. Use all 5 senses. Smell, taste, hear, see and feel it.
#4....ask questions about what you cant comprehend from reading
#5....distill your wash,utilizing your most valuable asset,common sense....:>)
1. Get a basic understanding how distillation works.
2. Check your needs, what kind of liquor would you like to do?
3. Don't build a monster machine if you don't need huge amounts of liquor, see it from a practical view.
4. Relax, if it didn't turn out the way you wanted to, try again, you'll get it right in time. Learning is the fun process.
5. Don't be afraid to ask, no one knows it all, not even the ones who claims to.
pick someone's else success and repeat it
1: Read and re read homedistillation.org.
2: Ask questions here (Distillers newsgroup at www.yahoogroups.com).
3: Don't build a still without advice from the group.
4: Do quite a few sugar washes before attempting grain/mollasses type washes.
5: Listen to the group even if you don't like the answers.
Read as much as you can from a wide variety of sources. Get a good book or two with illustrations of how to build and operate a still. Build a small one first, not too large. You can practice your workshop skills. Join a club or news group and LISTEN to all opinions, ask questions, and after awhile, filter out the stuff that you don't believe fits in with the your accumulated experience. Believe in your own abilities, and get on and do it.
1) Research and then do it again.....
2) Read - Read - Read - etc... - You get the idea..
3) Decide - On what you Want to achieve...
4) READ - read - Read - etc....
5) Build the vechicle that will achive your goals ----
6) Savour, taste and evaluate -
7) Research and Read - Read - etc..
8) Figure it all out.. IF you can...
9) Ask Tony, Alex, Mike & Mike where and why you screwed up...