This is topic Ornery University: Hooch Making 101 in forum Ornery U at The Ornery American Forum.

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Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
Anyone interested in how to make home-made ciders, wines, and honey-meade, really cheap and safe?
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
First a discussion of yeasts.

Baker's yeast, the most readily available, will take you to 6%. Wine yeast will ferment a beverage up to 12%. Champagne yeast (available on Amazon for about $10 for 10 packets, including shipping) will take it to 18%.

When your yeast run out of nutrient (sugar or other carb), or when they reach their alcohol max, they die, and your hooch will turn clear unless you've put something else in it that's opaque.

Another issue is that yeast isn't the only thing that can set in and breed in your hooch, so sterilize containers and boil your juices and mixes before you start.

You also need to let the CO2 out without bursting your bottles. I use three=gallon water bottles, and seal them with a condom. You can buy 8 condoms for 1 at the dollar store; don't think I'd use them for birth control, but they work great as CO2 caps. Poke a pinhole in the tip to let the CO2 out. After a couple hours of brewing, the condom will go up and erect, and will fall flaccid when your yeast stop making ETOH.

More tips to go if anyone's interested.
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
For a starting base, you can mix honey and water for honey meade.

Juice is the most common, frozen concentrate is fine.

But no reason you can't use sugar and kool-aid if that suits your fancy; otoh you can always add sweetener and flavors after brewing.

For the truly cheap or desperate, you can simulate juice by dumping a can of jam or syrup into water.

BOIL, sterilize, and cool before pouring in your plastic jug and slapping on a cap.

If you use a milk jug, use a pierced balloon instead of a condom; that will fit better.
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
Hooch, or Hootch, refers generally to any ETOH, but can also specifically refer to non-distilled homebrew booze, which is generally legal, depending on jurisdiction.

Moonshine, or unlicensed distilled lichor, is not legal, and outside my experience. I had a chem teacher in Junior high (British "Intermediate III," to be precise) who swore he could bypass distilling and create high % alcohol by burning his nylon socks, but I do not know his process nor do I care to pursue it.
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
When I was a kid I put some sugar, water, and yeast into a 2 liter soda bottle and hid it in my parents' basement. I knew this would make ethanol, but I didn't really know (or at least think through) the CO2 production, and where the gas would go. The bottle was tightly capped.

When I came back to it a while later (I don't remember how long...a week?) the bottle was distended. I knew from making dry ice bombs that it was in severe danger of exploding. I'd seen other bottles blow up before stretching that far. Yet I was so terrified of getting busted that I took the risk of carrying it outside to carefully vent it (it might have been somewhat safer, but very LOUD and messy and smelly, to try to pop it from a distance while wearing eye protection, perhaps by firing a BB at it).

I remember that stuff STANK. It was too off putting for me to give it a try. Now that I like the taste and smell of beer, I doubt I'd be so scared of it, even though I'm sure it would still taste vile compared to a proper brew.

I never tried again, although now I'd be smart enough to poke a hole through the bottle cap so I didn't run the risk of exploding a potent CO2 bomb in the basement.
Posted by scifibum (Member # 945) on :
Although I have to say, given how cheap a half gallon of vodka can be, I'm not sure I see the point.

[ September 28, 2012, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]
Posted by Pete at Home (Member # 429) on :
Originally posted by scifibum:
Although I have to say, given how cheap a half gallon of vodka can be, I'm not sure I see the point.

Gahh! If Vodka likes your tum tum, then please ignore everything I said and squeeze vodka in your koolaid, in your wine-drinks, and so on.

Me, Vodka disgusts me. As alcoholic as I am, I would flush it down the shytter.

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