Distilling Tips: How to Brew The Perfect Bourbon at Home - aLittleBitOfAll
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Distilling Tips: How to Brew The Perfect Bourbon at Home

Distilling Tips: How to Brew The Perfect Bourbon at Home

Distilling is a hobby many have picked up over the years. It’s quite a rewarding activity, requiring a lot of attention, care for details, and a bunch of rule-following to create a tasty drink that’s uniquely your own.

It all sounds great because it truly is, but it’s also very important to understand that brewing your own bourbon at home isn’t a walk in the park. As I said, it requires quite a bit of your time and attention to be able to produce a quality beverage you’ll actually enjoy. And unfortunately, I’ve seen many people struggle with the process for a long time, with some eventually giving up completely.

bourbon bottle
source: distilleryking.com.au

It would be quite a shame to give up once you’ve purchased all the equipment needed for distilling at home as it can be a bit of an investment. That said, I’d like to offer some simple tips on the matter to make sure that you, as a new distiller, always have a good time while brewing your bourbon and don’t give up when things go askew.

The Right Way to Begin

The wash is your base, the very thing that you make first. It’s what allows for the process of distilling to start and continue and ultimately come to a successful finish.

Having a good wash is the first step, and quite honestly, the key to brewing your favourite beverage perfectly. The wash is usually the same no matter what kind of alcohol you’re trying to end up with, so you can find a lot of useful advice around the web that will help you perfect your wash and with it, your distilling skills themselves.

filling up the bourbon
source: winemag.com

Before you start bourbon distilling at home, you’ll need to make sure you have all the right gear in order. I’m talking about all the special equipment you’ll need to be able to go through the distilling process successfully. These items are sold in specialized brewing stores, so look online or head to one near you and ask for individual items or a distilling kit.

Once you’re sure you have all the equipment needed you’ll need to make sure you have it placed within a space that’s just right for the purpose. Brewing is quite sensitive to heat, so make sure the space you’ve chosen isn’t too warm or too cold. Extensive moisture can also cause issues, so try to avoid rooms where the air is heavy and stuffy.

Once you have all this down it’s time to start your wash. It’s very important to use quality ingredients, especially at the beginning of the process, as this may be a huge contributing factor to why your drinks just don’t turn out the way they’re supposed to.

four roses filling
source: fourrosesbourbon.com

No matter what is in question, always make sure your ingredients are fresh, you’re following the steps in the correct order, and your room is ideal for the delicate brewing process and you should end up with a perfect wash that’s ready for flavouring!

Choose Quality Essences

Once you have your wash ready to go it’s time to add your essences. However, this isn’t as simple as just dumping the bottle into the wash and closing the lid. In fact, the essence is what gives your beverage its flavour and character, so you’ll need to be extra careful with measurements as well as what kind of essence you’re using.

Once again, visit your local brewer’s shop or hop online and search for bourbon essence, or whichever essence fits the drink you’re trying to make. Once you find some, make sure to look over the descriptions and especially the ingredients page.

As home brewing is such a popular hobby, there are many retailers that stock subpar essences that won’t give you that rich flavour you’re looking for. To avoid this make sure you’re shopping from a trusted source that either makes their own essences or stocks essences that are quality-made and well-reviewed.

different type of bourbons
source: myrecipes.com

Word of mouth is still the best way to make sure what you’re buying is actually going to do what it’s promising it will, so read reviews and go shopping when you have enough information to make an educated decision.

You can join online groups and forums to discuss different bourbon flavoring, brands, amounts, and so on, to get a better idea of what you may be doing wrong and how you can fix it.

Have the Right Tools

As I said, brewing your own booze is a delicate hobby that requires a lot of attention to detail, so eyeballing anything when you’re new to it will only lead to a disaster.

Even experienced brewers use measuring instruments and follow specific timelines to make sure they’re doing everything right, so don’t think that experimenting right from the get-go will take you anywhere nice.

Don’t get me wrong, experimentation is the thing that leads to creating uniquely flavoured drinks, but it should only be done once you’ve gathered enough experience under your belt to know exactly what you’re doing.

sipping some bourbon
source: coolmaterial.com

The right measurements are extremely important, especially when you’re making the wash and extracting alcohol from it, so make sure to have everything you need to be able to get the dosages just right and follow the recipe to the T.

Getting a bourbon distilling kit should have you covered on all fronts when it comes to equipment, essences, and tools, so if you’re new, I’d highly recommend getting a kit instead of buying separate pieces. Some things might seem like you’re not going to need them, but trust me, you will. Save yourself a trip to the shop and just get everything you need beforehand.

I’d also recommend getting some quality bar accessories so you can serve your drink professionally, just as it deserves to be served and enjoyed!

Ian Tompson