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Freeze Distillation (Read 12205 times)
vino-tinto
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Freeze Distillation
Mar 15th, 2017 at 2:54pm
 
Freeze Concentration, sometimes mistakenly called Freeze Distillation is a way to increase the ABV of wine or beer to that of a spirit. It's quite capable of increasing to a 50% + by multiple concentrations.

The method is simple.

Fill a 2 litre bottle with some old wine of say 12% and put it into a freezer for about 3 days, leave the lid loose so it can be removed easier.
Remove the bottle, remove the lid and place it upside down in a 1 litre glass jug.

As water freezes at zero C and alcohol freezes at -114 C, the alcohol will start to drip into the jug leaving behind the water in ice form.
You will notice that the ice in the bottle will begin to lose it's colour. Once you have collected approx 1 litre, the ice in the bottle will have gone almost clear as some alcohol will still be present.

In 2 litres of 12% wine there is 1.760 litres of water, so in theory, if you remove 880 ml of water in the form of ice you are left with 1.120 litres of 24% spirit with intense flavour as doing this concentrates flavour as well, it also makes the product clearer by leaving any particles suspended in the ice.

There is no simple way to measure this as it contains other elements such as sugars etc, so a spirit hydrometer cannot be used, and as of yet I cannot find a calculator on the web.

Some may say "What about the Acetone, Methanol and Acetates than are normally removed by distillation, surely they are still there doing the freeze method".
One brewery in Scotland said "We use this method in our very high ABV beers and have full UK approval for our products.The unwanted alcohols are in such small quantities because we do not ferment the wort over 12%. Shop bought wines & beers contain the same unwanted alcohols but you don't hear people complaining about it, also freeze concentration is legal in the UK, so no distilling license was required by us".

Those of us who make or buy Vodka and wish to increase the ABV for special blends can do this the same way, and can measure the finished product with a spirit hydrometer when it's brought back up to 20C.

It can also be done with beer as BrewDog have proved, and with cider to make Applejack.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #1 - Mar 15th, 2017 at 6:04pm
 
Times past, "jacking" had a reputation for concentrating the gubbins that cause hangover headaches. That assumes one would end up consuming more in equivalent than originally present. Of course, being good little boys and girls we would never dream of doing anything so naughty. Roll Eyes

Meanwhile, I am feeling sorely tempted to have a go at this.  Wink
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #2 - Mar 15th, 2017 at 7:51pm
 
Go for it, I just did some old red WOW and it's turned out like a semi sweet port.
I have 31 bottles of Imperial Stout @ 8.4%,  i'm about to make something like Nuclear Penguin but not quite as strong.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #3 - Mar 15th, 2017 at 11:40pm
 
I once made Parsnip wine, didn't like it at all, concentrated it by freezing and it not only concentrated the alcohol but also the darn flavour! the good part was that you only needed a nip to get a good buzz and the taste prevented overindulgence. Wink Grin Grin
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #4 - Mar 16th, 2017 at 6:43am
 
I have done this a few times and had a heavy go at it after Wilco's where selling 20 pint apple and pear cider kits cheap £6.00 (still ciders no pun intended) that presumably bombed in  sales for them around Fathers Day, last year.

I got some good alcohol from them, and although I never had a spirit hydro at the time to test, I did feel I had to drink them with mixers. Cheesy

The risk of methanol being a problem is pretty small with such low alcohol and small batch size.

Funnily enough the pear jacked cider tasted more like calvados than the apple version.

This 'Yank'
(see video)
gave me a routine to follow in which I  successfully produced a palatable 'shot' that fooled my friends that I was MoonShining.

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Freeze Jacking on this scale is pretty safe IMHO.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #5 - Mar 16th, 2017 at 7:09am
 
I think my apple powder (still got 3 boxes left) is the ideal starting point for this game. It really does make excellent cider and wine. Reckon I'll bash up a gallon of wine, then jacking here I come. If my line suddenly goes silent, you'll know what's happened.

Poor Manny's jack went to his head.
He poured too much and now he's dead.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #6 - Mar 16th, 2017 at 8:58pm
 
Ah! reminds me of a ditty learned at school,
                  Alas poor Jim he'll drink no more,
                  For what he thought was H2O,
                  Was H2So4
                  
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #7 - Mar 18th, 2017 at 2:16pm
 
I have just done 1 bottle of 8% Imperial Stout to see how it went and tasted. I took 250ml from a 500ml bottle.

On tasting, it was so intense that I couldn't drink it all, it was like a Licorice liqueur.  Shocked

That for me was enough to decide I'll remove this one from the list and just do some more wine, which I found tasted great.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #8 - Mar 27th, 2017 at 6:03pm
 
Yup. Just set up a ferment for an applejack. Interesting times.  Smiley
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #9 - Apr 20th, 2017 at 7:13pm
 
Yes, interesting times.

I had a 2 litre bottle of over sweet parsnip wine that I was just storing away because it was too sweet! Decided to try the freeze distillation, actually did it twice and the alcohol seemed to filter through the ice nicely.

Ended up with about half a litre and I have to say it has not lost it's flavour and produced a rather nice parsnip liquor! Not sure of the abv as it was too cold to measure.  Smiley
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #10 - Apr 24th, 2017 at 10:53am
 
Decisions, decisions. Here I am with 5L of a rather nice apple wine wondering if I really want to do strange things with it.  Undecided Oh what the hell, I might as well find out, and if I don't like the result, well I won't do it again. So into the freezer it goes. Can anyone tell me how long I should expect to have to leave a 2L frozen bottle to warm up and drip 1L liquor? My life involves an awful lot of to-ing and fro-ing these days so I would like some clue as to how long I could leave it unattended for.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #11 - Apr 24th, 2017 at 7:57pm
 
I wouldn't expect it to take more than an hour. Although I didn't time mine, I think it took around 45 minutes for the alcohol to separate from a 2 litre bottle. As it was my first time I checked back on it every 10 minutes or so just in case. The second time with the same liquor was a lot quicker which makes sense due to more alcohol and less water present.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #12 - Apr 25th, 2017 at 6:40am
 
Thanks for that Matt. 1 hour or less is no problem. I'll go for it tomorrow.

One more question. Is it worth saving/pooling the aqueous fractions with view to taking a second cut? I suspect not, but one doesn't want to chuck it out until quite certain.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #13 - Apr 25th, 2017 at 7:09pm
 
Patience is a virtue! Nah, can't be doing with that, so I went for it today. To start with it didn't get going at all, then suddenly the bottle gulped and the liquor flowed so I did another one Smiley

Goodness, whatever next.
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #14 - Apr 25th, 2017 at 8:03pm
 
Sounds good! How did it taste and do you know the abv?The parsnip that I tried had a more concentrated flavour which seemed to balance well with the alcohol. Not sure about aqueous fractions, I'm still a newbie with this
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #15 - Apr 26th, 2017 at 10:36am
 
The concentrated jollop and the leftovers are now in separate 2L PETs in the freezer again. I don't have any measurements for ABV, but taste-wise I should say it's going in the right direction.

Whether trying for a second cut out of the leftovers will be worth the effort or not, (obviously it will be a much smaller yield) I'll let you know. It was still quite a pleasant drink, and not without some alcohol I would guess, so we'll just have to see.

So far I'm enjoying the novelty, but not sure whether I'll make a habit of it or not.

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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #16 - Apr 28th, 2017 at 11:32pm
 
I love your optimism Manny, but I would think  a second 'cut' is impractical.
Smiley
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #17 - Apr 29th, 2017 at 8:09am
 
You could always make some "Alco slush puppy"  Grin Grin
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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #18 - Apr 29th, 2017 at 9:46am
 
The attempted leftovers salvage was, as you can imagine, a very solid ice block, but nevertheless it drained about 750 mL before grinding to a halt. The solid ice I thawed and threw down the sink.

The second freeze of the good stuff was very slushy and in no time drained out a litre of extremely good stuff. Smiley

I thawed out the remaining slush, combined it with the 750 mL from above and yes, you guessed it, back in the freezer it went. I'll let you know. Probably a waste of time.

The very good stuff I mostly put in a wine bottle to put it out of temptation's way. The remainder I subjected to an heuristic evaluation  Roll Eyes and was much impressed.

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Re: Freeze Distillation
Reply #19 - Jan 5th, 2019 at 6:52pm
 
I have just had a thought!  Would this method work to filter the vodka I make using the vodka star yeast instead of using the carbon filter? Just a thought   Smiley
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