How to Distil Spirits in North Queensland
To distil spirits in North Queensland, it's much like everywhere else. You start with making alcohol through the fermentation process. Then distil the alcohol to purify it. Finally, you add premium flavour to produce your chosen spirit. Sounds pretty simple right?
Understanding these processes and getting the correct ingredients can be overwhelming. I’m here to break down the important parts and convince you it’s not just possible, it’s easy! Especially with our all-inclusive distillation kits!
In this post I’ll cover:
- Is it legal to distil alcohol in Queensland?
- About KG Homebrew Supplies (I’ll be quick)
- Fermentation, distillation and finishing (flavouring!)
- How long it takes to distil spirits at home
- Speaking like a spirit distilling professional
- Turbo 500 Kit vs Spirit Maker Kit
- Air Still Essentials Kit
- Brewing spirits?
- Distilling in Townsville
- Some hazards (TL;DR follow the instructions!)
- Homebrewing beer
There are plenty of videos and blog posts on the world wide web that takes you through the whole process, step by step. Like this guide. All our kits come with instructions and everything you need for your first batch of spirits.
Is it legal to distil alcohol in Queensland?
Buying and owning distilling equipment is 100% legal in Queensland and Australia, as is distilling oils and water. Should you choose to distil alcohol in your own home, the government requires you to have a license which can be found on the ATO’s website. With all advice relating to laws and regulation, do your own research, follow instructions and if in doubt talk to an expert (which I am not).
About KG Homebrew Supplies Townsville
KG Homebrew Supplies has been serving Townsville and North Queensland for over four years. Our homebrew supplies shop in Deeragun has gone digital and we’re excited to offer Townsville great value homebrew supplies and spirit distilling equipment.
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Fermentation, Distillation and Finishing (flavouring!)
Fermentation. Takes the longest and results in strong alcohol being produced. This is dangerous and even deadly to drink without distillation. So please follow instructions on kits. Distillation. Is the most hands on step. Usually needing you to pay attention for a few hours over a 24 hour period. Finishing. Is the most rewarding part. It includes adding your favourite premium spirit flavour, pulling up a chair on your Townsville backyard and sipping on your bounty!
How long does it take to distil spirits?
Depending on the kit you purchase times can vary. Fermentation is the longest time consumer but can be reduced based on temperature and sugar (dextrose) amount. For our systems kits, you can expect it to take 5-8 days for the Turbo 500 Still Spirits, Spirit Maker and Air Still kits. The Spirit maker has a quick fermentation instruction option which will speed the entire process up to around 3-4 days.
If you do speed up the fermentation process, be cautious of surge boiling. Excess foam results from the higher temperatures. A product such as Still Spirits Distilling Conditioner will minimise this risk.
Speaking like a distilling pro
Fake it ‘till you make it isn’t the best idea when distilling spirits. Getting it wrong can be dangerous, so please follow instructions supplied with the distilling kits. Here is a crash course on some key terms relating to spirit distilling:
“Wash”, the starting point of distilling.
“Fermentation”, is where the magic happens.
“Purity”, describes the strength (or percentage) of the alcohol produced during the fermentation process.
“Yield” is the alcohol extraction from the wash. High yield = less alcohol left in the boiler.
“Refluxing”, wash is heated at a standardised temperature close to boiling which vapours of the heavy liquids condense and fall down - the cycle of evaporation rising and condensing is referred to as refluxing.
“Sterilisation”, ensuring all components of the production are clean and free of bacteria and fungi.
Can you brew spirits? The short answer is no. Spirits require distillation to make the alcohol safe to consume. Although one step has the wash sit in fermentation for a while, technically, it's not brewing spirits, it’s distilling spirits as that's the final and most important step. If you want to brew spirits, make sure you follow the instructions as it can be dangerous if you get it wrong.
Turbo 500 vs Spirit Maker
Still Spirits Turbo 500 vs the 100% Australian owned and made Spirit Maker by Pure Distilling. Both are excellent reflux still systems and suit beginners to crafty distillers. When it comes to value for money, you can’t beat Pure Distilling’s, Spirit Maker. It comes with a copper pipe, which provides a smoother taste by removing sulphides during the distillation process. Did we mention it’s Australian owned and made and the kit includes everything you need to distil your first spirits?
This compact system by Still Spirits is the perfect compact kitchen system and is safer than the reflux systems mentioned above. Although it’s distillation is up to 2 litres, the Air Still Essentials Kit comes with everything you need to ferment up to 10 litres of alcohol. It’s more affordable than the Spirit Maker and Turbo 500 kit, making it an entry-level kit for those who are sitting on the fence about embracing a new fruitful hobby.
Distilling in Townsville
When distilling in Townsville it’s important to follow instructions. Speak with experts if you’re ever unsure. North Queensland is a beautiful place to live year-round and embracing a hobby like distilling can be a cost-effective way to create your own spirits. Our Deeragun store has free pick-up on all items and free next-day delivery to Townsville if you spend over $200. We also offer fixed price $12 next-day delivery if your order is under $200. Don’t wait to begin this new hobby, order one of our kits today and start your journey to seasoned distiller tomorrow!
Some hazards when distilling
As previously mentioned, always follow the instructions on our spirit distilling kits. Some hazards include alcohol vapour being highly flammable. Poisoning, heavy metal (ie. copper), sulphurous / sulphide and methanol poisoning which can occur from user error by drinking above 60% alcohol volume. If you follow the instructions and carry out the correct test, you can enjoy safe, homemade spirits.
KG Homebrew Supplies also sells homebrewing kits, like our Morgans Premium Starter Kit. I wrote a post to guide beginners through some key lessons on homebrewing. Our premium starter kits cost under $100 and include everything you need to brew a Mexican style beer. It’s a great idea to also purchase an extra flavour pack like the XXXX or Great Northern style packs also available online or in-store.
That’s the wrap. I hope you feel you’ve learnt a few things about how to distil spirits in Queensland. If you have any questions please feel free to message us!