How to Make Your Own Alcohol for Post-SHTF
Alcohol has been made, used, and consumed by people for thousands of years. For examples, cereal grains were used to make beer in Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Later on, the Greeks and the Romans began producing wine and used it as a part of their social and religious lives.
Today, the use of alcohol has largely been reduced to quenching thirst or to be used in religious practices for some people, but it can also be used as an anti-septic, to sterilize equipment, as a morale booster, to make weapons, and most importantly, as a bartering item when it comes to SHTF. These are just a handful of reasons for why alcohol will be in exceptionally high demand during and in the aftermath of a great disaster.
For this reason, brewing your own alcohol at home would be a wise skill to add to your existing list of survival assets. Just like any other skill, home brewing requires you to practice extensively until you get it right, but as the old adage goes, practice makes perfect.
As long as you have the necessary resources and the knowledge, you will be able to make your own alcoholic beverages in a post-SHTF world, but also keep in mind you have to stockpile the tools and the equipment to make them as they might be hard to get post collapse.
To make beer, you’ll need hops, specialty grains, yeast, and malt extract. But the first thing you need to is to make sure that your work area and all of your materials are clean. Any successful brewer will be sure to inform you that one of the secrets to a successful brewing is that everything used is fully cleaned and sanitized.
Next, steep the grains by placing them into a grain or mesh bag, and then steeping it in a large, roughly three gallon pot of hot water for about thirty minutes. After that, you can then remove it and allow the water to drip from the bag and into the pot.
At this point, you can then add the malt before bringing it all to a boil. After the mixture has boiled for a few minutes, feel free to add in the hops in intervals. The reason we recommend that you add in the hops later in the boil is because adding it too soon can cause the beer to taste bitterer.
Once the liquid mixture has been boiled, you’ll need to allow it to cool very quickly. Rather than just setting the pot out on the counter to cool, we suggest that you place the entire pot with the lid in a sink filled with cold or ice water.
Once the mixture has been reduced to around eighty degrees Fahrenheit, it is ready to be transferred over to a fermenter. When the fermentation process has begun, you will want to keep its exposure to the air to a bare minimum. This is done to preventing any unpleasant flavors or smells developing from out of the mixture.
Use a strainer to scoop out the hops, since all of the good stuff has already been used out of them. Next, add water before then adding in the yeast. Sometimes, the yeast will need to be first stirred with warm water before being added to the mixture, but this is not always necessary.
Proceed to place a lid over the fermenter, and then place the fermenter itself in a darker location where it will be at a constant room temperature. Within a period of twenty four hours, you should notice that the air lock is bubbling.
Within the next week, this bubbling activity will slow down considerably. Within two weeks, it should stop considerably. It is now ready to be bottled.
You can start the bottling process by transferring the beer, using a sanitized siphon, from the fomenter to your clean bottling bucket. Open up the spigot and then place the bottle filler into a bottle. By pressing the filler to the bottom of the bucket, the beer will soon flow.
As long as you have the right resources like we have explored and get enough practice in, you can easily become a decent beer brewer in your own right.
A prepper who is learning to brew should learn how to make beer first, but wine should be second. In addition to the actual wine ingredients that you’ll need, you will also have to acquire a glass jar with a volume of at least two gallons, another glass container that’s have the size of your first, a thin plastic siphon, sanitized water bottles, and an airlock.
An advantage to making wine is that it can be made with nearly any kind of fruit, with the two most common choices being berries and grapes. Just be sure to pick the ones that are in their prime and at their best flavor, and if possible, pick fruits that have not been touched by chemicals.
Rinse any fruit you collect very thoroughly. Many novice wine makers make the mistake of peeling it while in the rinsing stage, but this only removes much of the flavor from the eventual wine and is therefore not recommended if a stronger wine is what you desire.
You can use your hands to crush the fruit, but if you have something like a potato masher on hand that would work even better. The juices will be released as you squeeze them. Continue adding juices until it is within two inches of the crock’s top. If you don’t have enough juice to accomplish this, you can always use clean water to accomplish this tax.
Next, add some honey. Honey is critical in making wine as it is what gives it its sweetened flavor. The more honey you add, the sweeter your wine will taste. But even if you don’t prefer a sweeter wine, you should still add two cups at the minimum.
Now, you can add the yeast. Simply pour it into the mix and then stir it using a spoon. Like the honey, adding yeast to your wine is a must.
Next, place a lid or a cover over the crock and then store it for the night. This covering should keep any bugs or pests out, but also need to allow some air to flow in and out. There are crock lids that are designed specifically for this purpose, you can take a t-shirt and secure it over the opening with a rubber band. The crock will need to be stored at room temperature.
Dedicate a few minutes of your time over the next four days to stirring the mixture thoroughly. Most wine makers recommend that you stir the mixture at least once every four to five hours during the day. As the yeast begins to take action, the mixture will bubble, signaling that the fermentation process has begun.
The bubbling will slow down roughly three days after it started. At this point, you’ll need to siphon out the liquid to a carboy so it can be stored for the long term. Once all of the mixture has been siphoned, attach the airlock to the opening of the carboy so that gas can be released while stopping any oxygen from entering and ruining the wine.
From this point, you can sit back for at least a month and allow your wine to age. The more months you leave the wine alone, the better taste it will have. But considering that you’re making wine during or immediately after a long term SHTF situation, one month will suffice.
Once you’re satisfied with the wine’s taste, you can then proceed to bottle it. Make sure that your siphon tube has been sanitized before bottling the wine in order to prevent any bacteria from getting into it. After filling up the bottles, cork them immediately. You can then either allow them to sit and age further, or you can enjoy them immediately.
Whiskey is produced from fermented grain mash. There are many different combinations of grains, which explain why there are many different kinds of whiskey. Most of the time, the grain mash will be made out of wheat, rye, barley, and corn (as with Bourbon whiskey).
Making your own whiskey will consist of five basic steps. The first step is to make the whiskey mash. Mashing is simply using the steeping process from hot water to activate enzymes, which essentially converts the starches from the grains into the fermented sugars. The resulting solution will be very rich in sugars and is referred to as wort. Later on, the yeast will be what converts that wort into alcohol.
At this point, you will have to decide what kind of whiskey you want to make. You can choose any whiskey recipe that you know of, but for this article, we’ll assume that you’ll go with the Bourbon recipe that we told you of above.
The next step is the fermentation process. This is the process where the sugars are converted into Co2 and ethanol. Once you have selected your recipe, made the wort, and then added the yeast to the wort, it will begin to ferment. The fermentation process takes anywhere from a couple of days to over a week. The temperature and the nutrients in the yeast are the two biggest factors in determining how long it will take. You will know that the fermentation process is complete when there are no longer any bubbles forming.
The next step is the distillation process. The primary goal of the distillation process is to separate the wort and the ethanol. Granted, it’s going to be impossible to separate them exactly. But you should still be able to get a solution that is four fifths ethanol and one fifth water and mash flavors.
The whiskey will be distilled in a pot still. To distill, transfer the wort to a still using a sanitary siphon. Heat the mixture very slowly, but without burning it. You should grant yourself at least forty five minutes before the wash will come to a boil.
Next, start the condenser until it reaches a temperature of one hundred and thirty degrees Fahrenheit. A consistent drip should then begin to form at the condenser’s end. Collect this mixture, which the temperature reading around one hundred and eighty degrees on the thermometer. Allow the temperature to climb forward to two hundred degrees, distilling out the fusel oil and adding flavors to the final product, before turning it off and removing the mixture from the source of heat.
Allow everything to cool before continuing on with the next step of maturation. Whiskey will always taste best after it has aged, and it always ages the best either when placed in oak barrels or when having oak chips added to the mixture. Once you have bottled your whiskey, it will no longer mature.
The fifth and final step is to dilute and bottle the whiskey, again by using a sanitized siphon. To truly enjoy whiskey, you’ll want to cut the mixture with water.
Keep in mind that while brewing your own alcohol at home is an important skill, it is also something that can be fun and should therefore not be dreaded; despite how complicated of a process it may sound. You may make a few mistakes on your first few tries, but that is to be expected and you’ll learn more with each new brewing.
Many people use alcohol brewing as a chance to bring family and friends together, where you can demonstrate to them how to make homemade beer and wine, and pass on their skills.