Archive for Home Brew

How to Make Lavender Essential Oil

Luck would have it that in owning an illegal still for making alcohol can be easily explained
to the authorities by saying that you are not making moonshine brandy, but are in fact creating essential oils, which is completely legal and for which you need
a still. Two birds one stone comes to mind.

To keep my bees happy and to add a bit of a twang to my honey I grow quite a lot of lavendar in my garden as well as plant lots of the stuff around the village.

A Lavender Plant

It also has its other uses when in the oil form though. I use it in small quantities in my beeswax polish, and have used it whilst making candles also. To make the essential
oil you will need a still with a condenser, freshly cut lavender, and a bit of patience. The lavender is suspended above water in the still, as the oil is best extracted
using steam rather than just placed in the water. I use some chicken wire to make a basket which I suspend above water. When the steam condenses with the essential oil
it is quite easy to seperate out from the water. You do need an awful lot of lavender though. I got about 200 ml of essential oil from about 4kg of cuttings from my lavendar plants.

Making Mead

Mead is believed to be the oldest known alcholic drink known to mankind, it is made by the simple fermentation of honey and spices. I have put the basic recipe below, but you can add all sorts of your own flavours
and each type of honey will add its own charaacter to the flavour. Mead takes upto twice as long to ferment as beer does.

Recipe for Original Mead

  • Ingredients for 10 Litre Fermentation
  1. Water (10Litres)
  2. 3 Kg of Honey
  3. 1 Lemon
  4. Wine Yeast (not beer)
  • In a large pan bring the water to the boil, then allow to simmer
  • Add the honey and stir, skimming off any scum as it appears
  • When no more scum appears add your flavourings, including the juice and rind of lemon and allow to cool.
  • When cool add the wine yeast, stir in and transfer to your fermentation recepticle (fermentation upto 60 hours)
  • Decant after fermentation to sealed containers avoiding the yeast at the bottom.
  • Serve chilled and enjoy

How to Make Cherry Brandy

This is really very easy to do, and with remarkable results. De Kuipers you have been found out! The
only difficult part is waiting a month for it ot be ready!

You will need:

  1. 300g of Cherries – I have used dessert ones, but moreno or any other kind works just as well
  2. Some cheap and nasty Brandy (or make your own here)

Recipe

  1. Empty you Brandy in to a jug or container
  2. Get the stones out of the cherries I use a cherry pitter
  3. Prick your cherries with a fork
  4. Put your cherries in the empty Brandy bottle.

    Cherries in a Bottle

  5. Pour your brandy over the top.
  6. Seal and leave for 4 weeks
  7. Drink and be merry

 

My Cherry Brandy

How (not) To Make Brandy

I have obviuosly never done this as it is illegal here in Bulgaria, as it is in most
countries (honest). If like me you have attempted to make homemade and country wines, and they have turned out to be, not quite the tipple you were
expecting. They can be easily turned into spirit. I should point that you shoud not do this, or follow the instructions, I take absolutely no
responsibilty for idiots who blow themselves up following these instructuions. REPEAT DO NOT FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS

Allegedly this is how you do it. I brought the equipment purely so I could take pictures of the process, and they have never actually been used for distilling
my parsnip wine.

Equipment

  • A sealable container with only one point of exit for the steam (like a pressure cooker). Mine is made from an old washing machine.

    A still made out of an old washing machine

     

  • An copper tube and cooling station, to condense the steam back into liquid

    Condenser

  • Lots of not so good homemade wine. I make mine in old 10 litre water bottles.

    My Parsnip Wine

When it is all put together you get a fire going under your still, the alchohol evaporate before the water, this then
condenses in you condeser and is collected as ‘brandy’ of sorts. Here is mine put together for demonstartion purposes only.
You will notice that this is done outside, a homemade pressure cooker, filled with alcohol would be like a hand grenade if done in side!!
Who says a physics degree is worthless!

Demonstration of a still

After making your brandy or rakia as it is known in Bulgaria, you have to throw it away as it is illegal.

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