Air Still – Making Spirits

How To Make Spirits Using The Air Still

You can use the Air Still or Air Still Mini Distillery to produce your own alcoholic spirits and liqueurs at a fraction of the retail price or even distil water or essential oils. This can become a fascinating hobby and you will be able to amaze your family and friends with what you have produced. 

The art of distilling has been known for many centuries but has been surrounded by much secrecy and mythology. With scientific advances in understanding the process, we are now able to understand exactly what happens and Still Spirits has been able to reduce this to just a few simple steps.

5 Easy Steps For Distillation

  • Mix – Make a 10L wash
  • Distil – Put 4L of wash into the Air Still
  • Dilute & Filter – Dilute alcohol from 60% to 40%
  • Flavour – Add your favourite spirit or liqueur essence
  • Repeat – Repeat with 2nd half of wash

Getting Started

To produce a wash most suited to the Air Still Distillation System, you will need a Air Still Fermenter (or other fermenter with at least 10L capacity) and an Air Still Fermentation Kit (or other sugar, carbon and clearing agent) which contains all of the ingredients you’ll need to produce 10L of wash ready for distilling through your Air Still.

You’ll also need a new carbon cartridge for each run (when using the Air Still System), as well as Ceramic Boil Enhancers and Distilling Conditioner which are used to prevent surge boiling and foaming respectively. These are included in the Air Still Mini Distillery or can be purchased separately.

Making the Wash

Make a 10L wash ready for distilling – Make sure the tap is securely fitted to the Air Still Fermenter. Clean and sterilise your fermenter thoroughly. We recommend always using a new carbon cartridge for each run, this is situated in the lid of your Air Still Fermenter and helps remove any fermentation odours.

Add 7.5L of water to your fermenter at 30°C.

Add 2.2kg of Turbo Sugar and stir well to dissolve. Alternatively you can use white sugar, or 2.4kg of dextrose or corn sugar.

Add Turbo Yeast and nutrient packs.

Gently massage the Turbo Carbon sachet and then add to the mix stirring well.

Sit the fermenter at room temp – approx 18-24°C for 7 days or until wash has stopped bubbling.

To confirm fermentation is complete test the wash with a hydrometer. The wash has completed fermentation when the Specific Gravity (SG) reading is below 990 and stable for 2 consecutive days.

Now clear your wash. First, stir vigorously to remove all gases. Once degassed, add Turbo Clear Part A. Stir Well then stand for 1 hour. Add Turbo Clear Part B whilst stirring. Stop stirring as soon as all of Part B has been added. You must stir very gently, otherwise you’ll disrupt the clearing process. Stand for 24 hours then carefully remove clear wash for distilling.

You’ll end up with around 8L for purified wash ready for distilling.

Distilling The Wash

Clean the inside of the Air Still and then fill with wash to the 4L mark. Take care that no wash is spilt on the outside of the body.

Add the Ceramic Boil Enhancers and Distilling Conditioner (see bottle for the amount to add) to the still. These are used to reduce risk of surge boiling and foaming, which can happen occasionally.

Make sure that both electrical sockets are clean and dry.

Press the reset button on the base of the still.

Clip the nozzle into the still head. This is required to ensure the spirit flows directly into your collector.

Fit the top cover of the still in place and plug the fan lead into the socket in the still body. Place the spirt collector under the outlet nozzle. This should have a usable capacity of at least 800ml.

Connect the main power cord between the still and the mains power socket and turn on the mains power socket switch. You will hear the fan in the top cover of the still start immediately.

The wash will take just over 1 hour to heat up. Once distillation begins you will see the alcohol starting to drip slowly into the spirit collector.

Allow the Air Still to run until you have collected 700ml of alcohol. This will be at a strength of 60% ABV and you can use this to make up a 1L bottle at 38-40% alcohol. This should take just over 1 further hour. After you have collected 700ml turn off the Air Still. Note: If you wish to produce 1.125L then you can collect 800ml but the quality will be slightly reduced. Don’t try to collect more alcohol then this, as the quality will drop away quickly.

Allow the still to cool before removing the top cover. Empty out the remaining wash and clean the inside with clean warm water. Dry the still thoroughly. Start again with the remaining wash, or put still away for next time.

Filtering The Wash

We recommend that the 700ml of collected alcohol be mixed with 300ml of weather before passing through the Air Still Carbon Filter System (or other carbon filtration) to improve the purity before you add your selected flavour and make up to the final volume of 1L.

Rinse the carbon cartridge under running water for 20 seconds before use. This removes any excess mineral salts.

Fit the carbon cartridge to the top filter piece taking care to ensure the foam washers are fitted between the filter and both ends of the cartridge.

Place the top filter piece into the top of the larger filter container.

Dilute the 700ml distilled spirit to 40% by adding 300ml of clean water. This is necessary for the filter to operate properly. If you choose to produce 1.125L of spirit from each run through the Air Still then you will have collected 800ml, add 325ml of clean water.

Fill the top filter piece, with filter attached, with the distilled spirit and allow to drip into the filter container.

Note: We recommend changing the cartridge after each bottle has been filtered for best results. Replace the polyethylene washers when they are flattened and no longer recover.

Flavouring The Spirit

Flavour the spirit with your chosen spirit essences. Follow instructions on bottle or sachet for mixing. Check before you get started whether or not you need a base (mixture of sugar and modified starch that will add sweetness and mouth feel to the liqueur) for your chosen essence.

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