Do you need a license to distill alcohol in the UK?
MAKING SPIRITS AND LIQUEURS AT HOME – OVERVIEW Home made are as easy to produce as any other home brewed drink. Using similar to wine making you can produce high quality, high alcohol drinks which are almost indistinguishable from their and at a fraction of the price.
The first hurdle to get over is the question of legitimacy. In the UK it is not legal to distil alcohol without a licence from Revenue and Customs and this includes alcohol for your own consumption. You are free to make naturally fermented alcohol for your own use and the development of special alcohol tolerant yeasts has made the production of ‘spirit and liqueur’ drinks from high alcohol washes (typically 20% abv), a practical proposition.
It is not unknown for some people prepared to take the risk, to make their own stills from information available on the internet. There are also some who make use of equipment intended for the purification of water or essential oils, but it must be stressed that this is illegal in the UK.
- There are four stages in the production of spirits and liqueurs The fermentation process is similar to making 5 gallon and uses the same fermenting equipment together with a specialised mix to convert glucose or to a high strength alcohol and water mix known as a ‘Wash’.
- It’s important to realise that all fermentations produce unwanted by-products known as ‘congeners’ which add unpleasant flavours to the product.
These can be exacerbated by the use of high temperatures to speed the fermentation, or the wrong mix of nutrients and even the wrong types of yeast. It is therefore important to use a yeast and nutrient mix which minimizes the production of these congeners and to take time to make a quality wash suitable for further processing.
High speed fermentation and high alcohol yeasts often require further special treatment to reduce impurities and the consequential unpleasant tastes. In fermenting spirits and liqueurs an ordinary beer/wine hydrometer is useful. After distillation a special spirit hydrometer is necessary. Brew2Bottle Fermentation Bucket Bundle From £8.95 Alla Wine & Beer Hydrometer £3.25 In many countries other than the UK this is the stage where distillation of the spirit wash is carried out.
Distillation is a refining process designed to remove water and other by products from the wash so leaving the desired product (ethanol) in higher concentrations. This obviously reduces the quantity of liquid available by a considerable amount, but does leave a high quality spirit for,
In some countries the use of economically priced, low temperature, low volume ‘air’ stills intended for water or essential oil purification, can produce alcohol levels of around 60% abv. As mentioned above it is possible to strip out the colours and flavours from commercially available spirits, particularly the cheaper brands, using a two stage ceramic/carbon filter and then add flavouring to make genuine full strength spirits and liqueurs.
The main difference from making wine is carbon treatment which uses activated carbon to remove the impurities in the wash. Specially developed activated carbon contains pores designed to trap particles of specific sizes. Activated carbons are made with different sized pores for different applications so it is therefore very important to use activated carbon specifically designed for treating alcohol.
- Spirit wash kits require the addition of carbon which can be either during fermentation or after stabilising the brew but before fining as a way to remove these impurities.
- This carbon is in the form of a liquid containing the activated carbon particles which is stirred into the wash to absorb the unwanted by-products.
In countries where distillation is legal, the passing of untreated washes through a still, will result in the concentration of the impurities to leave very noticeable and unpleasant tastes, so it is advisable to use carbon in the wash this stage. Carbon treatment is also necessary after distillation but it needs to be borne in mind that concentrated alcohol is a strong chemical solvent and can attack certain types of plastics unless it has been ‘cut’ to around 40% abv, before passing through a suitable purification filter.
This type of filter is sometimes used to remove flavours and colours from commercial spirits prior to their re-use with spirit and liqueur flavourings. Making spirits simply involves adding a to the alcohol. Most flavours are made in countries where distillation for home brewers is legal so they are formulated to dissolve best in high levels of alcohol.
They are however perfectly suitable for use in Britain if more time is allowed for them to diffuse in our weaker ‘non-distilled’ alcohol mixes. There is a wide range of flavours available, some of which are intended to and do so quite successfully. Some and have to be mixed with glucose and/or cream solutions or with a pre-mixed ‘liqueur bases’ to truly capture the essence of your favourite drinks.
- Ideally when a distilled spirit or liqueur has had flavouring added, it should be left to stand for a week as this allows the flavour to infuse with the alcohol and produces a much better result.
- Still Spirits Top Shelf Liqueur Flavouring – Amaretto £3.65 Still Spirits Top Shelf Spirits Flavouring – Dry Gin £4.49 Still Spirits Top Shelf Cream Liqueur Flavouring – Chocolate £3.65 Still Spirits Top Shelf Schnapps Flavouring – Pineapple £3.65 Top Shelf Liqueur Flavourings Top Shelf Spirit Flavourings Top Shelf Cream Liqueur Flavourings Still Spirits Schnapps Flavourings Still Spirits Icon Top Ups good value, and easy to make.nice drink too.
so much cheaper than buying from the shops, in scotland that is ! So far so good Box badly damaged in transit but bag of wine concentrate ok. Just started so it’s wait and see time First class As ways fast delivery top class product. And most important customers service top class Great service Order arrived quickly very satisfied will definitely use company again First brew Just started my first home brew of wine, good job since govement has just put up duty again!.
The Hydrometer well made and once I had sterilised evething and followed the instructions for the wine kit, I placed the hydrometer into the wine solution and it was bang on where it should be. Well labeled/coloured. It’s fermenting away nicely so will check where it’s at in another 6 days time.👍 P.s if you new to this stick with the wine kits it make it almost fool proof.
: MAKING SPIRITS AND LIQUEURS AT HOME – OVERVIEW
Can you distill your own gin?
How to distil your own gin This article was taken from the October 2012 Issue of Wired magazine. Be the first to read Wired’s articles in print before they’re posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by, Mothers (and fathers) seeking ruin don’t have to buy gin: it’s one of the easiest spirits to make.
- Ged Feltham, who started the Ginstitute microbrewery and distilling classes, explains how.
- Assemble the equipment You’ll need a copper distilling unit, called a still.
- Potstillmakers.com has a good selection; you can pick up a ten-litre tabletop still for about £300.
- Distil base ingredients Re-distil some vodka, keeping the temperature at 80C.
The vodka will end up at 80 per cent. Add distilled water to take it back down to about 55 per cent. Add the botanicals “You could ‘one shot’ the gin – throwing in all the ingredients,” Feltham says. It’s better to make a gin for each ingredient (juniper, lemon etc), then mix them after.
Can I distill my own gin at home?
Is your signature serve a classic G&T ? Are you a juniper connoisseur with a growing collection of artisan spirits? Believe it or not, you can make a batch of bespoke, aromatic gin at home, without any high-tech equipment or a chemistry degree. Gin is made by distilling a neutral grain alcohol with juniper berries and other botanicals to make the fragrant spirit we all know and love.
- The botanicals are infused into the raw spirit to release their flavours.
- You can also vary the recipe by adding different spices, fruits and floral elements.
- Try our easy compound gin recipe and add a bottle to your drinks cabinet.
- Good quality vodka makes the perfect base for personalising gin with fun flavours.
Once you’ve mixed up the magic formula, learn how to make the perfect gin & tonic to enjoy at leisure.
What is the UK tax on alcohol?
Proposed revisions – Linked to the Alcohol Duty Reforms measure, legislation introduced in Spring Finance Bill 2023 will replace provisions in ALDA for charging and calculating Excise Duty on alcoholic products. The new legislation sets out the rates of duty for all categories of alcoholic products in schedule 6. The revised rates are:
duty on all alcoholic products less than 3.5% alcohol by volume ( ABV ): £9.27 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on still cider at least 3.5% but less than 8.5% ABV : £9.67 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on sparkling cider at least 3.5% but not exceeding 5.5% ABV : £9.67 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on beer at least 3.5% but less than 8.5% ABV : £21.01 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on spirits, wine and other fermented products at least 3.5% but less than 8.5% ABV : £24.77 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on sparkling cider exceeding 5.5% ABV but less than 8.5% ABV : £24.77 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on all alcoholic products at least 8.5% but not exceeding 22% ABV : £28.50 per litre of alcohol in the product duty on all alcoholic products exceeding 22% ABV : £31.64 per litre of alcohol in the product
Wine between 11.5% and 14.5% ABV will be treated as if it is 12.5% ABV for the purposes of calculating the charge to Alcohol Duty from 1 August 2023 until 1 February 2025. The legislation, as part of the Alcohol Duty Reform will also introduce a new Draught Relief, which will reduce the duty on ‘qualifying draught products’.
the reduced rate of duty on all draught alcoholic products less than 3.5% ABV : £8.42 per litre of alcohol in the product the reduced rate of duty on draught still cider at least 3.5% but less than 8.5% ABV : £8.78 per litre of alcohol in the product the reduced rate of duty on draught sparkling cider at least 3.5% but not exceeding 5.5% ABV : £8.78 per litre of alcohol on product the reduced rate of duty on draught beer, spirits, wine and other fermented products at least 3.5% (but less than 8.5%): £19.08 per litre of alcohol in the product the reduced rate of duty on sparkling cider and perry exceeding 5.5% but less than 8.5% ABV : £19.08 per litre of alcohol in the product
How long does it take to distill alcohol?
How long does it take to make each batch of spirits? 7 days (1 week) best case scenario using Turbo Yeasts, or 12 days using a slower cleaner yeast (Super 6 Ultra Pure). General rule of thumb, 5-10 days to ferment your wash (dependant on the type of yeast used).24hrs to clear your wash, 4-7 hours to distil (again dependant on the type of still unit used), and approx.24hrs to carbon treat your alcohol (using the modern carbon filters available).
What percentage is moonshine UK?
O’Donnell Moonshine -‘High Proof’ | 700ml | 50% ABV | 100 proof : Amazon.co.uk: Grocery.
What is the name of Polish moonshine?
Bimber – Traditional Polish Moonshine.