The 20 liters of 40% ethanol is brought to a boil as rapidly as the boiler can be heated. You can distill as rapidly as possible (like in the first runs) to save time, but it pays to reduce the heat to produce a gentle boil.

The ethanol concentration in the distillate will start out as high as 80%, and fall steadily through the run. The final products will be about 11liters (2.9 US gallons) of 60% ethanol, 2 liters (/ US gallon) of contaminated ethanol (the heads and tails), and 7 liters (1.8 US gallons) of dirty water left in the boiler. (If your boiler uses an immersion element, be sure its mounted low enough that it's still covered!)

The first 50 ml or so of product should be discarded or saved for fuel, because it contains toxic (and bad-smelling) compounds. This material is traditionally known as the foreshots, because it appears first, and at a significantly lower temperature than the ethanol.

The next 500ml or so will consist of the heads, which is mostly ethanol contaminated by enough foreshots to smell and taste. How much you discard is up to you, but the less you discard the less palatable the product will be. The best procedure is to save it all and add it to the next batch, because it is mostly ethanol that can be recovered by distillation.

Brew Your Own Beer

Brew Your Own Beer

Discover How To Become Your Own Brew Master, With Brew Your Own Beer. It takes more than a recipe to make a great beer. Just using the right ingredients doesn't mean your beer will taste like it was meant to. Most of the time it’s the way a beer is made and served that makes it either an exceptional beer or one that gets dumped into the nearest flower pot.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment