Step by Step – How to make Gin – DIY Instructions
If you love gin as much as we do, then you probably want to learn how to make gin at home. In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of how distilling gin works, so you can enjoy your gin drinking experience to the fullest.
Making craft gin requires attention to detail and some amount of experience if you want to produce gin of exceptional flavor and kick.
But before we dive into the steps of this beginners guide, it is important to bear in mind that distilling alcohol at home might be illegal in your location. So be sure to check your local regulations before producing any distill spirits.
How to Make Gin: Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Choosing Your Ingredients
There are different types of mash to choose from. Today’s dry gins are mostly made using a wide range of grains, such as wheat, barley or corn. However, distilleries also use grapes, apples, carrots, potatoes, molasses, honey and other ingredients when making homemade gin.
In this article, we’ll use rye, wheat and barley as our gin mash ingredients. For the first stage of distillation, however, you can use any ingredients you like.
Step 2: Gin Mash Process
What You Need
- Water (5 gallons)
- Flaked corn (7 pounds)
- Wheat malt (2 pounds)
- Turbo yeast
- Distiller’s malt
- Fermentation bucket
- Mash pot
- Source of heat
- Long spoon
- Transfer 5 gallons of water into the mash pot, and put it on heat.
- Heat the water to around 165 degrees.
- Turn off the source of heat and start stirring in the wheat malt and flaked corn.
- Continue stirring for around 7 minutes.
- Check the temperature and then stir the mixture for around 30 seconds after every 5 minutes to ensure the temperature drops to around 152 degrees.
- Once the temperature has dropped to 152 degrees, add the Distiller’s Malt while stirring.
- Check the temperature and then stir the mixture for around 30 seconds after every 20 minutes to ensure the temperature drops to around 70 degrees. Note: you can speed up this process by using an immersion cooler.
- Once the temperature has dropped to 70 degrees, put the yeast.
- Pour the mixture from one container to another for around 5 minutes to ensure it is properly aerated.
- Put the mixture in a fermentation bucket.
Step 3: Fermentation Process for Gin
What You Need
- Citric acid
- Cheese cloth
- pH meter
- Keep the gin mash in a cool, dry place and let it ferment for around two weeks.
- After one week, get some of the liquid from the gin mash and put it on a white lid or plate. Add a few drops of iodine. If it turns blue, then it shows that the mash has not fully fermented. The blue color occurs when iodine reacts with starches still present in the mash. Repeat the procedure after a few days to ensure there is no blue color (which shows that the fermentation process is complete).
- Throw away the test sample.
Step 4: Straining Process for Gin
- Use a cheese cloth to strain some mash liquid from the mixture (without any solids) and pour it into a container to alter pH.
- Use the citric acid to lower the pH and calcium carbonate to raise it. The ideal pH should be 5.8 to 6.0.
Step 5: First Gin Distillation
What You Need
- Fermented gin mash water
- Gin botanicals
- Still Burner
- Copper Pipe
The distillation process helps to get rid of any undesirable materials from the fermented gin mash water. These include undesirable alcohols like acetone, methanol and acetaldehyde.
- Cary out the stripping run: here, simply put the fermented gin mash water through the still.
- Use a beer or wine siphon to put the mash in the boiler of the still. Make sure there are no sediments.
- Turn on the boiler and wait for it to heat up until small drops start to appear in the output pipe. Immediately let the water flow to the cooler and reduce your heat source. You’ll notice a slow stream emerging from the output pipe after around 15 minutes.
- Collect around 100 ml that comes out first. That will contain undesirable alcohol content like acetone and methanol. Discard this and do not drink it as it’s toxic.
- Next, collect the body (hearts). When you finish discarding the heads, you can regulate the water flow to control the output as well as the purity of your distillate.
- Throw away the tails. At the end of the process, other bad substances will be produced. These are referred to as tails. You must throw away these tails because they contain other nasty substances, which should not be consumed.
- Clean the still again to maximize the quality of your final product.
Step 6: Adding Gin Botanicals
Botanicals are compounds that will make your gin different from other spirits such as vodka and moonshine.
In this guide, we’ll use botanicals for vapour infusion such as:
- Juniper berries (15 grams)
- Coriander seeds (6 grams)
- Two Cinnamon sticks (two)
- Liquorice root (2 grams)
- Lemons Peeled (5 grams)
Other gin recipes ideas are rose petals, fennel seed, fresh ginger, pink pepper corns, edible flowers, grapefruit peel, thai basil, pineapple juice, mint leaves, apple juice all these ingredients will create a different flavour profile.
This step is quite easy. Here’s what you need to do:
- Crush these using a mortar and pestle.
- Mix the crushed botanicals together and add to the still column.
- Continue preparing your still.
- Add the gin mash into the still. Try to use a siphon for this task to reduce the amount of residue from your gin mash water.
Step 7: Second Gin Distillation
- Now you can heat up your still. Gently bring the temperature to around 150 degrees.
- Immediately the temperature settles at 15O degrees, turn on the cooling water.
- Check your drips until you attain three to five drips per second. At this rate, adjust your heat source to maintain the same rate.
- Now you can collect your distillate:
- The first 5 percent of the distillate will be made up of foreshots. These contain methanol and other toxic substances. So do not drink this part.
- The next 30 percent of your distillate is called heads. These are also filled with acetone and other volatile substances. Although drinking the heads might not cause blindness, it can lead to a very bad hangover. When the temperature reaches around 168 degrees, you’ll have collected all heads and foreshots.
- Now it’s time to collect the next 30 percent of your gin distillate (known as hearts). This is the content that you’ve been eagerly waiting for. Increase the temperature of the still to around 180 degrees to begin collecting this part of your gin distillate.
- You should avoid adding the remaining 35 percent (tails) to your gin. The tails consist of carbohydrates and protein that should not be present in your gin.
Step 8: Diluting Your Gin
After collecting your gin distillate (hearts), the next step is to dilute it to the desired ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage. Use only clean distilled water for this purpose.
Step 9: Bottling Your Gin
After diluting your gin, it’s time to bottle it. You can even create your own label if you like. Now your gin run is diluted and bottled you are ready to try your product. Don’t for get the ice cubes and tonic water. Hope you found vlue in our How to make gin guide. Now enjoy different dry or sloe gin cocktails responsibly and welcome to the club of beginner gin makers.
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