While many people brew their own beer and experiment with wine making, far fewer tackle the challenge of making their own hard liquor. Distilling vodka requires only simple ingredients but somewhat more substantial equipment. Allow space, time and room for failure as you learn to make vodka. Once you can successfully make homemade vodka, experiment with adding flavors and creating infused vodkas.
Things You'll Need
Small home still, available from many home-brewing supply shops
Large stock pot
PH testing strips
Two 30-plus liter fermenters
One packet vodka yeast
Wine-making hydrometer and cylinder
Activated carbon filter
Assemble your vodka still. A still should have a heat source, a boiling chamber, cooling pipes and a collection bottle. Thoroughly sterilize all equipment using bleach or a sanitizing solution made for baby bottles and similar items. Be sure to also sterilize your stock pot and any utensils you will use to make your mash.
Fill a large stock pot with 23 liters of tap water to make your homemade vodka. Add 2 tsp. of gypsum to this water and mix well. Test the pH and adjust, if needed, with citric acid. Add citric acid 1/4 tsp. at a time until it's reached a pH of 5.8 or 6.0. Place the pot on the stove, cover and allow to heat to 165 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir in 8 liters of flaked winter wheat. Stir for approximately five minutes, then every five minutes until the temperature is 152 degrees F. Add 1.5 liters of malt to this mixture. Leave for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture then may be left overnight to allow it to cool to fermentation temperatures.
Use the hydrometer to check the originating gravity of the clear liquid on top of the mash once the mixture has thoroughly cooled. The measurement should be around 1.060-1.070. Transfer the mash to the fermenter and pour quickly from one fermenter to the other four to six times to aerate the wheat mash. Add a packet of vodka yeast and stir well. Allow the mixture to ferment for 72 to 84 hours.
Strain the mash and place into the still. Heat the mash. The alcohol will evaporate and collect in the collection bottle. Be sure to filter through a carbon-based filter. Dilute at a ratio of 3 parts vodka to 4 parts water and bottle in sterilized bottles.
Consult books on distillation and a good brew shop. Poorly made liquor can pose health hazards. Be sure of the legalities of home distillation in your area before proceeding.