Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Eating and Drinking => Homebrew => Topic started by: Russell Atterbury on May 29, 2021, 16:30

Title: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Russell Atterbury on May 29, 2021, 16:30
One of the best things to have come about from my time in Russia is being able to brew up superbly smooth vodka, or to be more exact 'samogonka', the traditional home brew. But vodka it is, in all but name. cheers to all who read this.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on May 29, 2021, 18:28
Fantastic!

Is that a home-made still? Over here, I use a 24/48hr yeast with a normal must, but it takes much longer to finish. I've tried a 15% alcohol must with pure water, but it doesn't make the grade as it still pongs a bit!

Tell us more how you do it please!

(And are you related to one of the buyers at Higgs and Hill please - he had your name)!
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Aunty on May 29, 2021, 19:14
In the UK you require a license to distill liquor, even for home consumption. 
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Plot 1 Problems on May 29, 2021, 21:00
Yep just to clarify while it's legal to distill alcohol for personal use in Russia, it is absolutely illegal here in the UK.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Russell Atterbury on May 30, 2021, 05:18
Growster, i will try to personal message you later. I have just woken up and read the answering posts, i'd forgotten about the restrictions of using a still in the UK.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on May 30, 2021, 09:29
Auntie, you can buy a still, over the counter, in the homebrew shop just up from Maidstone prison! I used to get home supplies there, and the lovely chap and lady who run the place, had all the kit on display!

I think that there has to be some sort of legal requirement not to sell the stuff you make, but home consumption is allowed!

Mrs Growster won't let me get one anyway, so the matter is settled here...
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Aunty on May 30, 2021, 11:39
While itís not illegal to own a still in the UK.  e.g. in school science labs.  If you use it for distilling alcohol without following the formalities you will have broken the law and will have evaded customs duty. When this is prosecuted, the Customs people tend to ask you to pay for the amount that you might have produced in the time available in addition to the fine.

So if youíre distilling alcohol Mr G. , please make sure you have a license and approval of your equipment

 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/spirits-duty


Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: hasbeans on May 30, 2021, 12:16
Aren't they sold under the pretence of making essential oils?  A bit like king size cigarette papers being designed for truck drivers!
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Russell Atterbury on May 30, 2021, 15:07
hasbeans, you have to be right. if they are sold, then they are going to be 'used'. Cigarette papers included.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on June 01, 2021, 06:40
As mentioned earlier, I've no intention of making the stuff, I just like looking at home-brew kit, because I've only been making tinctures since 1974, so am always ready to learn!

:0)

(That shop in Maidstone, Auntie is owned (maybe closed now) by a lovely Irish chap who says' Bingo' every other sentence)!
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Aunty on June 01, 2021, 11:29
He sounds like quite a character, Mr G.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: jambop on August 11, 2021, 13:21


Just to clarify the legality of home distillation and quote Bob Dylan anything is legal just a long as you don't get caught  :lol:
Seriously it is illegal along with many many other things that British people do day in day out... the real illegality of home distillation is that the tax man is not getting his cut... in a nutshell. Like everything  there is a serious side to distillation in that you can depending on what you started out with a real and potentially fatal chance of poisoning due to distilling over alcohols other than ethanol which is another good reason why distillation at home is forbidden... if you know what you are doing though it is quite harmless... except for possible alcohol addiction setting in  :lol:
I on the other hand am just about to start preparing my rough farmhouse cider... perfectly legal and have you seen the state of some of the folk that drink that down in the west country :lol:
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on August 12, 2021, 07:05
One year, we visited Hancock's Cider farm down there, Jambop!

It was almost 'primitive', but a fabulous place, and we were hooked on their superb cider from then on!

You can't get it locally, but I've seen 'Inch's' somewhere close by - they're a West Country brew!
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: jambop on August 12, 2021, 09:29
One year, we visited Hancock's Cider farm down there, Jambop!

It was almost 'primitive', but a fabulous place, and we were hooked on their superb cider from then on!

You can't get it locally, but I've seen 'Inch's' somewhere close by - they're a West Country brew!

I am making it for the first time Growster. I used to make a lot of beer back in the UK but stopped when I came to France however for many years the apples from our small orchard have gone to waste. This year I have bought a small press and will make cider from the apples. They are not cider apples but I have a good mix of pippins, russets , goldens and reds so I think I should be able to get a decent blend from those apples. This year we have huge crops on all of the trees and I think that some of the apples will still go to waste unless I buy a wine barrel to store it  :lol: I still reckon I will be making about 20 to 30 gallons of it ... raving alcoholism here I come :lol: The thing about cider is that it is more or less  free product from the garden the problem is storing it for a long time without spoiling. I have plenty of storage space and will be getting in a few large plastic vats although a lot will end up in bottles.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on August 12, 2021, 11:52
I tried a big batch of cider last year by just fermenting on the pulp in a large plastic box with a lid, then straining it, without pressing!

It was such a palaver, with stuff going everywhere, I decided that unless I get a press, I'd not bother again...

Hope your brew goes well, that mix of apples looks fabulous!
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: jambop on November 04, 2021, 18:11
I tried a big batch of cider last year by just fermenting on the pulp in a large plastic box with a lid, then straining it, without pressing!

It was such a palaver, with stuff going everywhere, I decided that unless I get a press, I'd not bother again...

Hope your brew goes well, that mix of apples looks fabulous!

Hi Growster
Just to let you know I am just drinking a bottle of the first batch of cider I made. I have to say, because I made it  :D , it is very acceptable  really good carbonation and colour. The flavour is not overly appley but it is quite young and being a dry cider these tend to be less highly flavoured. It is not lacking alcohol though it is about 7% ! Drink with care! I have made about 30 gallons this year and will definitely be making more next year.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on November 05, 2021, 08:01
Fabulous result!

I think cider is at its best when around that ABV, because like you say, if the flavour is slightly less than expected, there's enough 'heat' to make it very special! Nice success story!

I made some dark beer a few years ago (we discussed it here, but I can't remember when or what we were talking about), and felt that the beer yeast wasn't up to doing the business, so added some wine yeast and it took off!

I reckon we got to near 10% as it really was incredibly strong because it went down to 0.999, and I'd loaded it with all sorts of sugars etc!

Cider is too much of a challenge with the basic equipment we have here, although I'd love to have a bash one day - maybe even just get a kit...

...now there's a thought...;0~
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: jambop on November 05, 2021, 09:09
Fabulous result!

I think cider is at its best when around that ABV, because like you say, if the flavour is slightly less than expected, there's enough 'heat' to make it very special! Nice success story!

I made some dark beer a few years ago (we discussed it here, but I can't remember when or what we were talking about), and felt that the beer yeast wasn't up to doing the business, so added some wine yeast and it took off!

I reckon we got to near 10% as it really was incredibly strong because it went down to 0.999, and I'd loaded it with all sorts of sugars etc!

Cider is too much of a challenge with the basic equipment we have here, although I'd love to have a bash one day - maybe even just get a kit...

...now there's a thought...;0~

The one thing you really need is a press. I bought a 30L one and hand pulper together because I thought the price was not too much I got it from Amazon FR I think it was about £120 but I could have bought any number of old presses here in France that had been used to make wine and cider but they were huge  :lol: really good bits of kit but too big for me. The apples can be pulped in a hand pulper but also very simply in a large bucket using a cut off fence post to smash them up... good work out too!  Then into the press and the juice pours out. To be honest with the total outlay for all the brewing stuff it has cost me a few Euros but it has bee fun and I have a lot of cider to drink and the apples grow every year so the kit gets used again and again.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: hasbeans on November 05, 2021, 12:20

Cider is too much of a challenge with the basic equipment we have here, although I'd love to have a bash one day - maybe even just get a kit...

...now there's a thought...;0~

Festival Oaked Apple is a good kit.
Title: Re: Excellent skill to have learned.
Post by: Growster... on November 05, 2021, 18:01
Thank you, Hasbeans, I'll look it up!