Posted on Leave a comment

How to Make Your Own Alcohol for Post-SHTF

How to Make Your Own Alcohol for Post-SHTF

alcohol

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.

Beer

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.

alcohol

Wine

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.

alcohol-1

Whiskey

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.

Conclusion

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

10 Survival Uses for Alcohol

First a little background, a chemistry lesson if you will, before we get started. Ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol is also known as ethanol or even better known as “drinking alcohol”. Its chemical compound is C2H5OH, and it is produced by fermentation.

Ethanol is, different from Isopropyl alcohol (C3H80), which is more commonly known as rubbing alcohol. Do not confuse the two. Both are produced by the fermentation process however, the fermenting agent for isopropyl is a bacterium while, ethyl uses a yeast.

Caution: Isopropyl alcohol is converted in the liver into acetone making it toxic, in other words, it will kill you if consumed.

Ethanol is not converted into a toxin in the liver and so can be consumed.

Okay So What Are the Uses for Ethanol during a Crisis: The Alcohol You Can Also Consume?

1.) Grain Alcohol as a Disinfectant for Wounds

Ethanol can be used for wound irrigation and as a topical disinfectant in an emergency. It works to kill bacteria by denaturing proteins and by dissolving lipids. However, even though it will destroy certain bacteria in and around wounds, it also destroys cell tissue, because of how it reacts to proteins, in other words it is caustic, and can cause tissue damage in some cases.

In an emergency killing deadly bacterium in cuts and wounds is the priority. Just remember you can damage the tissue in and around the area with prolonged use.

How Do You Know How Much Alcohol Is In A Bottle of Vodka for Example

In the United States the actual grain alcohol content is defined as twice the percentage of alcohol by volume. In other words 100-proof equals 50 percent alcohol by volume while, 86-proof equals 43 percent alcohol by volume for example.

When purchasing alcohol for future use as a disinfectant once the SHTF purchase the highest proof available for greater alcohol content by volume.

2.) Disinfectant for Instruments/Surfaces

Ethanol evaporates quickly so in some cases, contact with surfaces may not be long enough to kill the bacteria. Therefore, when disinfecting knife blades, thermometers, scalpels and so on, submerged the surfaces in the solution if possible, versus just wiping or spraying them down with the solution. Pour enough solution in a glass or basin so the entire surface to be disinfected can be submerged. Wipe down eating/food preparation surfaces and leave wet, and then reapply for best results as it dries.

3.) Mouth Wash

Simply swish around for at least one minute and spit out, to help destroy bacteria in the mouth particularly at the gum line and in between teeth. Force the solution between the teeth to remove food particles and to reach crevices where bacteria are harbored.

4.) Destroy Mold Spores

Moisture is what mold spores thrive on, so depriving them of their life blood if you will, can help control its growth and eventually destroy the mold. Alcohol displaces water, and as the alcohol evaporates it creates a gas that floats from the surface with the water molecules clinging to it.

By the way the vapor is what is flammable so stayed tuned for more on this later in the article.

5.) Help remove Water from Pet and Human Ears

Dogs in particular can have problems with their ears because of water collecting in them. A few drops of alcohol can help displace the water in your pet’s ear, as well as, your own ears to help keep bacteria at bay. Some people state that equal parts of white vinegar and alcohol works better than just using alcohol by itself for removing water from the ear canals.

6.) Kill Odor in Clothing and Confined Areas

Vodka is the preferred room deodorizer for some people because it is clear with no apparent odor. It is sprayed in the air to kill odor causing bacteria. Keep in mind grain alcohol is not effective against spores, so it will do little to reduce certain allergens and bacteria in the spores floating in the air. Spray the solution in shoes, on bedding and clothes and then let air dry in the sunlight if possible to destroy odors.

7.) Fire Starter

Bartenders and those that like to experiment will do what is called “float” alcohol on other alcohol to create a floating flame. Bacardi 151 for example, will float on top of a drink with lower alcohol content, and thus can be ignited without igniting the product. The same applies to cooking certain foods. You have probably seen chefs splash a little alcohol in a fry pan and then tilt it so the vapor makes contact with the gas cooking flame.

It is all about the vapor and to use alcohol to start a fire you have to move quickly. Soak a piece of cloth, and then put your dry tinder on top, so the vapor flows up through the tinder. In most cases the cloth itself will not ignite before the alcohol has burned off, so it is important you have dry tinder on top. Otherwise you will simply burn off the alcohol from the cloth without actually igniting the cloth. The flame is nearly invisible in daylight. Typically alcohol at 80-proof or more can be ignited rather easily.

8.) Barter Item

It was debated as to whether or not to mention alcohol and bartering, because some find it so obvious of a choice for a bartering item that it goes without saying. For those that have been prepping for years however, you have to keep in mind some are just getting started and so what may seem obvious to you will not be so obvious to others.

Even if you do not drink alcohol others do. In fact alcohol consumption is at record levels, so someone is drinking it, and just because the SHTF does not mean people will stop drinking it if it is available. Make sure it is available, because it can be traded for other items you may desperately need.

Stockpile a variety and remember you do get what you pay for, so spend a little extra because quality will pay off.

9.) Used As a Deodorant for Body and Feet

Bacteria need moisture to grow and growing bacteria cause odors. We already know that alcohol displaces moisture, which will in turn kill off bacteria. Use it on the body to help with body odor, particularly odor problems with your feet. Some people even soak their feet in vodka, for example, to help control foot odor when you cannot wash your feet regularly.

10.) Bug Repellent

Alcohol blended with certain other compounds, olive oil, for example, can be used as a bug repellent that can be rubbed on the skin. Again, the go to choice for many is vodka. Mix equal parts together and rub on exposed skin.

How it works to repel or kill certain insects is not entirely clear, but studies have shown it does work to some extent. Possibly the displacement of moisture creates certain results or the ingredients in the alcohol are toxic to some insects. There are plenty of myths and rumors surrounding many so-called home remedies, so experiment safely to find out what works best for you.

Obviously, the above listed uses for grain alcohol are not the only uses during a crisis. Do some research and if you experiment do so safely and come up with some more uses for “drinking alcohol” once the SHTF.