You can use your homemade vodka for cocktails (obviously!) and in homemade extracts like Homemade Vanilla Extract and Homemade Mint Extract. To make your own quality vodka, follow the recipe and instructions from wikihow.com.
Want to make lots of vodka? Then you’ll need to buy lots of potatoes, or simply grow your own. Learn the best and most efficient ways to grow your own potatoes with this helpful article: How To Grow Hundreds of Potatoes.
Vodka is a neutral spirit that is without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color. These properties are developed during the distillation process or by treating crudely distilled spirits with activated carbon or other materials. Finely distilled vodka may also be further purified and refined by treatment with activated carbon and other materials. Vodka is usually not aged and can be made from grains, potatoes, sugars, fruits, and just about anything else that can be fermented to produce alcohol. This makes vodka an economical spirit that can be made easily in a short amount of time from readily available materials.
Choose the ingredients you want to ferment into vodka. Vodka is commonly made from wheat, rye, barley, corn, or potatoes. Sugar and molasses can also be used alone or added to other ingredients. One distiller even makes an innovative vodka from Pinot Noir red wine. Whatever you choose, it must have sugars or starches so that alcohol is ultimately produced. Yeast eats sugars or starches and spits out alcohol and carbon dioxide.
- When making vodka from grains and potatoes, a mash must be made that contains active enzymes that break down the starches from the grains or potatoes and makes fermentable sugars.
- Fruit juice already contains sugars so starch-degrading enzymes are not needed. As with fruit juice, vodka made from store-bought sugars need only be fermented, thus bypassing the need for a mash.
- When already fermented mediums such as wine are used, the medium can be distilled right away into vodka.
Decide whether your mash ingredients are sufficient. If you decide to just use potatoes to make vodka, for example, your potatoes are going to need a little help converting starch into sugar. That's where enzymes come in. Consult this basic chart to figure out whether you need additional enzymes in your mash in order to convert starches into sugar:
Ingredients to Consider when Making your Mash Ingredients Requires Enzymes? Additional Notes Grains and Potatoes Yes Grains and potatoes are sources of starch, not sugar. Enzymes are needed to break down the starch into sugar. Malted Whole Grains (e.g. malted barley, malted wheat No. Malted whole grains are rich in natural enzymes that break down starches into fermentable sugars. Enzymes activate in malted grains when the grain is cracked open and exposed to warm water for a sustained period. Milled, malted grains can be used alone, as they contain starch, or added to a starchy, enzyme-poor mash. Choose malted grains that are high in enzymes, such as malted wheat. Refined Sugar and Molasses No. Because the sugar is already there, the yeast doesn't need additional enzymes. Sugar may be used solely to make vodka or added to starchy mashes to add additional fermentable material.Depending on your mash ingredients, decide whether you need to use additional enzymes. Food-grade amylase enzyme powder can be purchased from a homebrew shop and added to the mash to convert the starch into fermentable sugars, if you're using something like potatoes, for example. Use the recommended amount for the amount of starch to be broken down. There is no need to use malted, enzyme-rich grains such as malted barley or wheat when using enzyme powder.
- For enzymes to be able to break down starches, even the starches of malted, enzyme-rich grain, the starches must first be gelatinized. Flaked (rolled) grains are often already gelatinized. Un-gelatinised ingredients such as potatoes and unrolled or malted grains are heated in water to the gelatinization temperature of the particular starch that is used. Potatoes usually gelatinize at about 150° F (66° C), and barley and wheat gelatinize at about the same temperature. Theoretically a potato mash should only need to be heated to 150° F (66° C). If a low temperature is used with potatoes, the potatoes should be finely shredded before adding them to the water.
- Starch-degrading enzymes only work at specific temperatures and are destroyed at high temperatures. A temperature of 150° F (66° C) is common, but temperatures above 158° F (70° C) will result in the destruction of the enzymes. The absolute maximum temperature is 165° F (74° C); while enzymes will work for a period of time at this temperature and it can be used, much of the enzymes will be destroyed.
Try a wheat mash. In a 10 gallon (38 l) metal pot with lid, heat 6 gallons (23 l) of water to about 165° F (74° C). Add two gallons of dry, flaked wheat and stir. Check the temperature and ensure that it is between 150° F (66° C) and 155° F (68° C). Stir in one gallon of crushed wheat malt. The temperature should be about 149° F (65°). Cover and let rest for 90 minutes to two hours, stirring occasionally. The starches should convert into fermentable sugars during this time, and the mixture should become much less viscous. After 90 minutes to two hours, cool the mixture to 80° – 85° F (27° – 29° C). Use an immersion chiller for rapid cooling or just let it cool overnight, but don’t let it get much below 80F.
Try a potato mash. Clean 20 pounds of potatoes. Without peeling, boil them in a large kettle until gelatinized, about one hour. Discard the water and thoroughly mash the potatoes by hand or with a food processor. Return the mashed potatoes to the kettle and add five to six gallons of tap water. Mix to blend and bring mixture to just over 150° F (66° C). Add two pounds of crushed, malted barley or wheat and stir well. Cover and stir periodically over the course of two hours. Let cool overnight to 80° – 85° F (27° – 29° C).
- Letting it cool for a long period of time also gives the barley malt enzymes more time to break down the potato starch.