Making a Pure Spirit with the Turbo 500
Here are the complete instructions for making a pure spirit with the Turbo 500. We have two videos and underneath these are the more detailed text instructions if you prefer to follow these:
STEP ONE: MAKING THE WASH
STEP TWO: DISTILLING
STEP 1 / DAYS 1-6 - MAKING THE WASH
The first step in making a high quality spirit is to produce a good, clean wash. It is recommended that you always use the Still Spirits Turbo Yeast, Sugar and Carbon range with the Turbo 500 for best results from your still. Regardless of the size of your boiler, we recommend always making up to 20-25 L (5-6 US Gal) wash at one time using Still Spirits Production Packs or by purchasing these products separately. If you do not distil the full amount of wash at one time, this can be saved to be distilled at a later date.
In this step you will need:
- Fully assembled 30 L (8 US Gal) fermenting vessel (refer to the instructions which came with the fermenter for assembly information).
- Cold Water Cleaner Detergent and No Rinse Sanitiser (or an alternative cleaning and sanitising product).
- Mixing spoon.
- Wash ingredients (water, sugar, carbon, yeast, clearing agent).
- Clean and sanitise your 30 L (8 US Gal) fermenter.
- While cleaning and sanitising, check for any leaks around the tap seal of the fermenter.
- Once fermenter and equipment are sanitised, shake off excess moisture, but do not rinse.
- Put sanitised spoon on top of the sanitised lid (lid inner facing upwards to keep sanitised).
- Refer to the instructions on the yeast sachet for the quantity and temperature of water, as well as the quantity and type of sugar recommended.
- Note: If sugars are not fully dissolved, the fermentation will be partial and you will get less alcohol.
3 [FERMENT] (DAY 1)
- Place lid on fermenter, half fill the airlock with water and fit airlock into the rubber grommet on the lid.
- Leave to ferment at 18-30°C (64-86°F), or as per recommended on the yeast sachet, for about 1 week or until the wash has stopped fizzing.
- Note: The fermentation process gives off smells, which may be unpleasant sometimes. It will dissipate and won’t affect the quality of your alcohol.
- Check the SG by floating the hydrometer in the wash. The SG reading is the number on the scale where the liquid cuts the glass. A fully fermented wash will have an SG reading of approx. 0.990 or lower.
- The SG measurement will let you know when the sugars have been converted into alcohol and your wash is ready to be cleared.
- Fermentation is complete when SG has been stable at 0.990 for 2 consecutive days.
5 [CLEAR YOUR WASH] (DAY 6)
- Once fermentation is complete, stir the wash vigorously to release all of the gas. Once fully degassed, add Part A of the Turbo Clear. Stir well and leave for 1 hour.
- 1 hour later, evenly and very gently, stir Part B into the top 50 mm (2 in) of the wash, do not stir vigorously or the clearing process will not be successful.
- Leave for 24 hours until all sediment is at the bottom of the fermenter.
- Once cleared, your wash is ready to be distilled, using the Turbo 500 Distillation System.
STEP 2 / DAY 7 - PREPARE THE TURBO 500 DISTILLATION SYSTEM
Your wash will be distilled through the Turbo 500 Distillation System. It comes in two parts: the Turbo 500 Boiler and the Turbo 500 Condenser.
It is best to set up the Turbo 500 Distillation System in the place where it can stay for 5 hours (approx. time for one distillation using the 30 L (8 US Gal) boiler (less if using a smaller boiler)).
The Turbo 500 Distillation System will need to be run on a level bench or table, in a place which has electricity, a sink, a tap and adequate ventilation (ie the kitchen or laundry), but not outside as drafts affect distillation efficiency dramatically.
The Turbo 500 Condenser box comes with the following components:
- Stainless steel distilling column pre-packed with copper and stainless steel saddles.
- Digital thermometer with LR44 battery and mounting bracket
- Water flow controller (and adaptors)
- Cooling water tubes (1 thin, 1 thick)
- Alcohol tube (white)
- Ceramic boil enhancers
1 [TRANSFER YOUR CLEARED WASH INTO THE TURBO 500 BOILER]
- Place the boiler body on a firm, level bench, with the tap over the sink, to avoid handling the hot boiler when emptying contents later on. Do not point the tap to the front to avoid boiling liquid pouring out on you or a passer by if it gets knocked and breaks.
- Using a syphon or 5 L (1 .3 US Gal) jug, transfer the cleared wash from the fermenter into the boiler. You can also place the boiler below the tap on the fermenter and pour it in that way, but keep in mind you will need to lift the full boiler back up to the bench afterwards. Be careful to leave as much sediment behind as possible. Do not fill beyond the maximum level line on the 30 L (8 US Gal) Turbo 500 Boiler.
2 [ADD CERAMIC BOIL ENHANCERS AND DISTILLING CONDITIONER]
- Add all of the ceramic boil enhancers into the Turbo 500 Boiler and the wash.
- Optional: Add 3 capfuls of distilling conditioner (sold separately) to the cleared wash in the Turbo 500 30 L (8 US Gal) Boiler if you suspect excessive foaming.
- Place the lid back on. Do not clip on yet as you will need to fit the column/condenser on the lid in Step 5.
3. [ASSEMBLE THE TURBO 500 CONDENSER]
Your water tubing is identified by a thick tube and a thin tube.
- Connect the long, thick, clear tube to the block outlet C . This will flow into your sink.
- Connect the short thin, clear tube to make the top loop connection E .
- Connect the thin clear tube on the water inlet B , to your tap. This will flow from your tap (via the adaptor) into the condenser.
- Connect the white tube on the spirit outlet D . The distilled alcohol will flow from here to your collecting jug.
- Place the battery in the thermometer.
- A switch on the back allows you to turn the thermometer on and off. A second switch allows you to set the thermometer to Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- Mount the thermometer in the mounting bracket provided. Clip the panel onto the condenser near the bottom.
- Fit the stainless steel sensor probe into the hole
- Use a wire tie to tidy up any loose wiring.
- Fit the Turbo 500 Condenser onto the Turbo 500 Boiler.
- Check the Turbo 500 Condenser is full of saddles inside. If the column is empty, you will need to
- add copper saddles first, followed by the stainless steel saddles packed in the column, then follow the next step.
- Note: You may have a handful of saddles left, which cannot fit in the condenser, this is normal.
- Holding the condenser upside down, unscrew the nut at the base of the condenser; leave the black O ring in the base of the column.
- Place the Turbo 500 Boiler lid over the column and screw the nut back in the column. Tighten firmly, so that the lid doesn’t spin anymore.
- Place the lid and condenser on the Turbo 500 Boiler, in position where you can see the thermometer.
- Secure lid onto the Turbo 500 Boiler base with the clips. IMPORTANT: Ensure the Turbo 500 Condenser is standing straight, or it will not operate properly during distillation.
YOU ARE NOW READY FOR DISTILLATION
STEP 3 / DAY 7 - DISTIL THE WASH
Distilling takes about 5 hours from start to finish. Please ensure you can give your
full attention to operating the Turbo 500 Distillation System for this time period.
The Turbo 500 Distillation System becomes very hot during operation, extreme care needs to be taken and children should be kept well clear during and after distilling. The process produces a highly flammable liquid, keep all sources of ignition away from the still.
To run the Turbo 500 Distillation System, you will need to have:
- 5 L (1.3 US Gal) jug or vessel to collect alcohol.
- Cooling water supply and sink.
- Water flow controller provided with your condenser.
1. [CONNECT THE CONDENSER TO WATER SUPPLY]
- Fit the water flow controller to your tap/faucet. Refer to ‘water flow adaptor’ FAQs p.14 if you have any issues with fitting.
- Shut the water flow valve completely.
- Connect the long thin tube to the flow controller.
- Place the long thick tube into the sink or drain.
- Place the white alcohol outlet tube into the collection jug or vessel. Position the tube so that it cannot become submerged under the distillate, otherwise the boiler may implode.
- Connect the Turbo 500 Boiler to the power supply.
- A 23 L (6 US Gal) wash will take just over 1 hour to heat to boiling temperature.
- About 45 minutes after the 30 L (8 US Gal) Turbo 500 Boiler has been turned on and before the wash begins to boil, open the water supply.
- Gradually open the water flow controller valve to adjust the water flow rate between 400 and 700 ml (3.5 US fl oz) per minute. You can measure water
flow by using a measuring vessel (1 L (1 US qt) jug or kitchen cup measurer) and timing how many ml/US fl oz flow into the measuring vessel per minute.
- USA users – NOTE : If you are in the USA, your boiler has a lower power due to the 110V system used. As a result, the cooling water flow should be approx 3.5 US fl oz/ minute and look like a trickle.
- Once the wash starts boiling, make sure the temperature reading is above 50°C (122°F) (otherwise you won’t collect any alcohol) and below 65°C (149°F). If the temperature is below 50°C (122°F), shut down the water flow controller valve slightly (very little will suffice) to reduce the water flow.
- If the temperature is above 65°C (149°F), open the valve a little more to increase the water flow. You may find you need to adjust the water flow severaltimes throughout the run to maintain the outlet water temperature within 50-65°C (122-149°F). You can use the Still Spirits Water Flow Regulator to help with water flow consistency. For an overview on the importance of controlling the water outlet see p.13.
4. [COLLECT YOUR SPIRIT]
- Once the wash starts boiling, the spirit will come out of the white tube into your collecting jug.
- Make sure the white tube is never submerged into the distillate, otherwise the boiler may implode. You should see the drops of distillate falling into your vessel.
- Collect and discard the first 50 ml (1.7 US fl oz) (1/4 cup) of alcohol.
- IMPORTANT! The first 50 ml (1.7 US fl oz) that comes out of the still contains lighter molecules, such as acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate and methyl propanol, which have strong and unpleasant smell, often described as ‘hospital smell’ or ‘nail polish’. They should not be consumed.
5. [FINISH THE DISTILLATION]
- Approx. 5 hours after the boiler has been turned on, you should have collected approx. 3.5 L (1 US Gal) of 90-93% ABV spirit. You will also notice the distillate is slower to come out (1 drop every 5 to 10 seconds), that means all the alcohol has been distilled and the boiler can be turned off.
- Turn off the boiler and disconnect the power outlet.
- Turn off the cooling water supply.
- The depleted wash left in the Turbo 500 Boiler will be dangerously hot. Allow it to cool to a safe temperature before emptying it through the tap, into the sink or onto the garden (it makes a great fertiliser).
- Remove the Turbo 500 Condenser and Boiler lid assembly, and rinse the boiler of all wash and debris, being careful to retain the ceramic boil enhancers for the next distillation run.
- Run water through the condenser to rinse the saddles every 5 to 10 distillations. Replace saddles if the distillate starts to taste earthy.
STEP 4 / DAY 7 - DILUTE AND FILTER
The spirit you have produced will lie somewhere between 90 and 93% ABV.
It has to be watered down to 50% ABV before filtering, regardless of the type of carbon filter used. Refer to p.15 for more information about activated carbon.You will need:
- Alcometer (we recommend using the Still Spirits 0-100% ABV Alcometer). NOTE: It is calibrated to take measurements at 20°C (68°F). If your alcohol is warmer or cooler than 20°C (68°F) use the temperature correction tables.
- Trial jar (this is the casing that holds the Still Spirits alcoholmeter), or a measuring cylinder.
- Clean and drinkable water.
- Carbon filtration system (we recommend using Still Spirits EZ Filter for quick and easy filtration).
- WARNING: You are handling highly flammable alcohol; keep away from all ignition sources (spark, flame).
- Pour some of your distillate in the trial jar (approx. 200 ml (7 US fl oz)).
- Float the alcoholmeter in the distillate. The % ABV is the number on the scale where the liquid cuts the glass. It should read between 90 and 93% ABV. Check the temperature and adjust if needed.
2. [WATER DOWN YOUR DISTILLATE]
- Place the distillate in a container that can hold 5 L (1.3 US Gal) at least.
For each litre (US qt) of distillate at 90-93% ABV, add 850 ml (28 US fl oz) of clean drinkable water and
mix thoroughly (if you have collected 3.5 L (1 US Gal) of distillate, you will need to add 2.9 L (1 US qt) of water (=3.5 x 0.85), if you have collected 700 ml (24 US fl oz) of distillate, you will need to add 550 ml (18.6 US fl oz) of water).
- Measure your diluted spirit % ABV again, it should read approx 50% ABV. If it is slightly higher, add a little more water (100 ml (3 US fl oz) at a time), stir and recheck % ABV. If it is lower, do not add more water and proceed to filtration. Note: Adding water will increase the temperature, adjust accordingly.
3. [FILTER YOUR SPIRIT]
Filter your diluted spirit through activated carbon, as per the instructions of use that come with your filter.
NOTE: Check the strength again with the Alcometer after filtering and adjust ABV by adding more water according to your needs.
STEP 5 / DAY 8 - FLAVOURING YOUR SPIRIT
Once you have your diluted, filtered alcohol at 40% ABV, it is time to flavour it. Still Spirits has a large range of flavourings you can use. Refer to the individual instructions on each flavouring for specific directions of use.