Distillation is a process separating fluids with different boiling points. Distillation does not make anything. Nothing is formed that is not already in the mash. For example, methanol cannot form. Methanol is formed when cellulose is fermented, for example there is over 1% methanol in whisky. In larger amounts methanol is poisonous.
When sugar is fermented almost no methanol is formed. So small an amount forms that it is nearly impossible to measure. With the Turbo yeast we recommend here typically 1 ppm (one millionth) is formed in the mash. Much less than found in ordinary orange juice and one hundred thousandth of that found in whisky and cognac.
Preparation for distillation
Take out the carbon filter and fill with activated carbon. Active stone coal 0.4 to 0.85 mm is recommended. Pour 10 liters of warm water through the tube so the activated coal is soaked. Place the filter so that the tube from the EasyStill goes direct to the funnel.
Pour in 4 liters of mash (to the mark) or less into the EasyStill. Put on the lid and press the start button.
After 1 hour and 5 minutes the distillation starts. The spirits drips into the filter one drop at a time. This "drip by drip" purification gives a very long contact time – 2-3 hours and a better result than ordinary active charcoal purification. At the same time purification is ”automatic” during distillation.
After about 3 hours 1.4 liters of good spirits has been produced, about 46% ABV/92 proof (if the mash is 18% ABV). Distillation has finished. Switch off the apparatus manually. When the unit has cooled dispose of the remaining contents of the boiling vessel. If you forget to switch of, the whole 4 liters will be distilled and then the EasyStill auto shut of. If that happens, just redistill the distillate as it still holds the same alcohol content as when distillation started.
If you want stronger alcohol, for example to mix Absinthe, just distill the spirits once again (or preferably 2-3 batches at once), in exactly the same way. You can get up to an alcoholic strength of 88%.
An easy way of cleaning the apparatus from alcohol remnants is to distill a little water. The process looks after itself. When the distillation is finished the unit switches itself off.
Should one not discard the first output?
The first that comes out, are the so-called “fore shots” (first drops are about ½ to 1 centiliter).
These are comprised of acetone, ethyl acetate and similar aromatics. They do not have to be removed as they are extracted by the activated charcoal purification. However there is a tradition, that the charcoal lasts longer if the fore shots are discarded.