Welcome! and we're here today to unlock all the mysteries for beginners and a good review for experts about home distilling. Now you're either here because someone pointed you to this site, you stumbled upon it, or you're just wanting a good quick review and all in all those cases, you are very welcome. And I found there was so much misinformation and disinformation about this. And a lot of times, it's based on the assumption that the reader already has a firm understanding. That's not always the case.
So in order to try, this is a perfect setup for someone who's just curious, or you just want to get started. We're just going to brush over the top and get everybody up to speed so that anyone because anyone can do this.
Number one, this is a 10th-grade science project. You have to understand that it's not that difficult. We're just going to keep it simple. Whether you are making beer, wine, or whiskey, or cider, or Saki, all of those processes begin exactly the same way. So we're going to have a series of talks that walk us through step by step and today's just an introduction on basic equipment in order to get started. Now this won't break the bank. That's the good thing about it.
And I'll give you some key information on how to make selections. Some of the basic info stuff that you're going to need, you need to go through a fermentation process first. We're not even talking about grains or sugars or all that stuff. We'll get to that, but you just need the equipment in order to begin, and to move it to the next step.
The first thing we need is buckets. Now you can use glass carboys and copper still fermenters. It really doesn't matter. Remember that your yeast and all of your ingredients have no conscience. They don't care what they're in as long as they are in something that will withhold them. Plastic buckets work extremely well this is a 6.8-gallon bucket and the reason is 6.8 gallons because you fill it up to five gallons it leaves you some headroom.
That's the only reason it's that large before worn any plastic bucket like this will do is HDPE high-density poly high-density polyethylene resin and you can tell it's high-density polyethylene resin because it's thick plastic, if it was and that's number two,if you look on the bottom, you know you got that the recycling it's got a number in the center but these will be number two.
Number one is normally like the soda bottles you can see through you know you got three-four, it goes all the way up to seven. There's no such thing before warm. There's no such thing if you see an advertisement. Before, you're going to brew and you're gonna ferment, you need this food grade bucket. All buckets are food grade. Some are better than others. Some have a seal at the top,but they are all food grade buckets. dp number two.
So you'll need the lids, Of course, we'll hold them and the holes are for these and they come in two different styles. There are other styles but these are the two most common these are the bubblers. This is a double bubble. And this is a three-piece bubble or a three-piece event and what this event is for you. This vent, you put water in it up to this little line here that's drawn across it. And that allows the water to sit in there like a p trap in your toilet or in your drain in the sink. And it allows air to flow in one direction only, but not come back.
So as your yeast are eating the sugars and producing ethanol, alcohol, and there are other byproducts with co2 that will escape and no air will get in. And we'll cover more in-depth about that later. This one works on the same principle but the only the difference is it has a cap that sits on the top and it bounces up and down. And sometimes you can hear it going click clack, clack, click clack, It's just a different style, but it does exactly the same thing.
So those are the two things.
Two of these are basically what you need. Can you get by with one? Absolutely. And the reason we have two is that we always have what we call, primary fermenter and a secondary fermenter. It's not fermenting any longer it's clearing. So we would ferment in one bucket, and then air through an appropriate time, we would just move this liquid from this bucket to another bucket and leave everything else behind because you have sediment on the bottom. Now, this is called our secondary fermentation.
Clarifying, we're just gonna allow everything to settle out so that we get this as clear as we possibly can.
So those are the two things that you definitely should have at the very beginning and I don't care if they're five-gallon, six-gallon seven gallons but it doesn't matter. HDPE to pants for gray right? Another good thing to have is something to stir with. You can use a stainless steel spoon, you can use a piece of wood, if it's clean and keep it sanitized. But you just need something to be able to start with that's a basic ingredient and a basic necessity.
The other basic necessity you'll need is when it comes to cleanliness. Remember, first of all, whenever you're cleaning plastic, always use your hand or really soft cloth. Don't use any scrubbers or scrub. You don't want to put any scratches in there because that's where bacteria start to grow and populate. So if you use your hand with warm soapy water, you'd be able to clean everything out but once you're finished, you won't be able to sanitize.
You can sanitize in many many different ways. So please don't let that confuse you or scare you off. I tend to use the saying two ounces of this goes to five gallons and lasts you a lifetime. I put it in a spray bottle. That way it doesn't go bad because it does dissipate if you leave it open.You'll spray, shake it and use it. It's an instant sanitizer. They use it in hospitals, they use it in kitchens, they use it everywhere. So it's a really good product. It really comes in handy in the brewing community. Oh, there's one other thing you're going to definitely need and that's a hydrometer.
Now, this is a basic hydrometer and sometimes I call it a beer and wine hydrometer. They come by many different names that come by many different colors and they have different, they look different but they all do exactly the same thing. What they measure is a measure. These were about six to eight bucks. They measure the viscosity for lack of better words, of your, whatever your liquid is, so you're able to drop it and it will tell you how much potential alcohol based on the amount of sugars are there, you have to ferment and then when you're finished fermenting, it'll float lower, it'll tell you you're either done or you're near done and that's you need to be able to measure it. So we'll cover that in great detail when the time comes.
Now if you're moving on to the distilling portion, you'll need one other item and that is a proof and trail hydrometer that is operated exactly the same way as a regular hydrometer. Although it is again six to eight bucks. The proof and trail hydrometer is only used only for high alcohol percentage ABV mixtures. Meaning after you've run it through a still you drop this in to find out what the proof phase or the percentage of alcohol, this will not work in beer, this will not work in wine, this will not work in your buckets. This will only work and be useful to you, once you've distilled it and you've got it in a jar.
So keep that in mind. That It will come in handy. This is a knot you don't have to have, but it's nice to have. And this is a pH meter. You can actually use pH strips. And we'll talk more about pH when we get to that stage as well. So because all fermentations are really, look towards a lower pH. pH is really the acidity of a mixture, and it is measured from zero to 14 seven being bass. neutral. It's neither acidic nor is it alkaline.
It's right there in the middle. Most city waters are somewhere around seven to eight three, something like that. All mash warts, Li's, whatever you want to call what's in your buckets that you're going to firm it should be lower than seven. It’s really easy to get there normally though, you will achieve below seven almost every time all by yourself without even measuring it.
But there are particular times when you want to be able to measure that so that you can make sure you're in the right ballpark in particular whiskeys with grains looking for a 5.2 if you're really making a delectable wine, some of them will ferment best at 3.4 3.5. So you won't be able to find out what that is, or you can order some pH strips that change color just as well. So that will give you an idea that those are the absolute best Basic of equipment that you would need to start from what we are looking for. Probably 3540 bucks. It all depends on where you get it, and Prime Stills is the best when it comes to distilling equipment.
Now, we have not gotten to anything else yet because we haven't decided what we're going to do. You see, with this, you're capable of the first steps of making either beer. You could make wine.You could make cider.You could make a mash for whiskeys.
You can use this for all of that. It's just what do you do with it once you've finished this process to get it to beer wine? Oh, cider, whiskey. That's the difference. So you've already made the alcohol just what to do with it in order to make the libation that you're looking for.
I hope that makes sense. And that kind of opens up the world and on the page we're going to talk about in specific, distilling what the process is and then what are the basic requirements that you need in order to distill it.