Originally By Tony Ackland
Preparing a Sugar Based Wash
Ok, either knock up a "thin" wort (pronounced "wurt") for vodkas, etc (via a reflux still), or get fancy and do a full grain recipe for whiskey (using a pot still).
If you are using a reflux still, it's no point using anything other than a thin sugar/water wort, because the reflux will strip out all the flavours. So no point in paying heaps for grains, malt extract etc, when sugar is so cheap.
If you're after a neutral spirit, one thing you can do different is to add some activated carbon to the wash (eg with the sugar). This will take out the cogeners as they form. Just make sure that you filter/decant off this carbon with the yeast, so that it doesnt go into the still (and release the nasties when heated).
Thin WortThis is by far the easiest to do, to produce basically a flavourless vodka, which can be flavoured using either commercial flavourings, or use fruits to convert to liqueurs.
See Mikrobios' pdf Wine for Distilling on this topic - you still need to take some care to get a really smooth neutral spirit.
Also Viktors econ-o-wash.doc A cheap, well researched (720 litres over 6 batches) supermarket ingredient sugar based wash.
Thin Wort Recipes
MethodBasically the same as for beer making, but a lot easier. Use a 25L beer fermentor, sanitised by soaking full of water + 150 mL bleach for half an hour.
Dissolve 5 kg of white table sugar and 100g of yeast nutrients in 4L of boiling water, then top up to a total of 20L using cold water.