Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Booze and Leveson

With minimum alcohol pricing and the Leveson report both on today's political agenda, settling down for a post-office pint with a copy of the ES this evening will have a certain resonance. Together with news on yet another rail price rise when I've hardly got used to the impact of the last one, the effect of Darling's beer duty escalator since 2008 (scheduled to continue until 2014/15) and no doubt the brewcos looking at a wet summer and its impact on malted grain to add even more, I may be tempted to linger. Except that my earnings have remained pretty static for the past four years, like many people, and I probably can't afford it. 

So I think it's time to set up my own commercial nano-distillery and produce 20l a week of Gin, most of which I shall sell. However, I'm going to insist on being fully registered by HMRC as a Rectifier* and have my garden shed licensed as a bonded warehouse. That'll teach the buggers.

*All in accordance with HMRC Notices  to allow full duty relief on carboys of raw grain ethanol ...

And I'll have a Turbo T500 for Christmas, please (around £380)

9 comments:

G. Tingey said...

Do be really careful with the first waters & the run-off spirits.

This is the problem with home distillation ... the fraction of Methanol at the styart of the run, and the Propyl alchohols (esp IPA - NOT the beer!) at the end.

Bit, IF you do this right, then mine's a treble, thank you very much!

Raedwald said...

Good point - I suspect until I get the infusing of the juniper berries, arris root, orange peel etc. right the first few batches may be a bit funny anyway, but good practice in ensuring only the ethanol fraction is collected.

The question is the water to bring the distillate down to 40% - 45% abv or so; filtered Thames tap or natural spring?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Beware of farmers making whisky using old hot-water cylinders in their barns - they won't understand the principles and are notoriously gung-ho. That way lies blindness.

However, if you have someone who understands chemical laboratory practice*, a small fractionating column, and a couple of decent thermometers, you're all set to go.

It really isn't difficult.

* Don't bother with anyone who trained in the last 20 years, all they teach them now is how to press buttons on computerised hplc machines.

Buster Gasket said...

I was taught at school (1960s) that production of alcohol by freezing was legal. As far as I know it still is - only distillation is subject to excise duties.

40% IPA freezes @ -18ºC
40% ethanol freezes @ -23ºC
40% methanol freezes @ -40 ºC

I have not tried this, but theoretically, using a variable temp freezer:

Take your fermented product, place in freezer set at -19ºC. Remove all ice and discard - this will contain the IPA fraction. Now lower the temp to -24ºC. Harvest the ice + ethanol. Discard the remaining liquid that contains the methanol. Thaw, and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I don't drink spirits so this will not affect me. I do drink wine and beer though and I have been working out what Aldi (my favourite supermaket) will sell its beer and wine for and I find that I should be OK. Baron St Jean red sells for £2.99 a bottle and there are 6 units at 45p; OK that still works. Hopping Hare real ale by Dorset Breweries (wonderful stuff) sells at £1.29 and is cheaper by a country mile than Sainsbugs at £1.99. This is 2.5 units and at the regulation 45p/unit works out at £1.12; so again, thats good. No changes.

Guys; for us and the supermarkets this is all about "rocks and rivers". Some pompous ass throws a rock in a river and expects the river to come to do his bidding and come to a halt, but it does not; it simply flows round the rock and takes no time in doing so. More rocks thrown? Same problem for the pompous ass. And that is what we normal people are like, or should be like. We should make an amuzing game out of flowing around the pieces of useless nanny-state legislation that are thrown in our way. And for you spirit drinkers, bring on the Turbo T500!

Coney Island

Demetrius said...

The trouble is that the "unit" is a statistical dogs breakfast. The basic figure in reality is cl of alcohol, easily calculated per glass if the bottle or what gives the percentage. It is possible that the easiest and quickest way to get smashed is to buy the strongest form of drink you get you hands on. What have'nt they worked that out?

G. Tingey said...

Actually, Demetrius ... that ain't so.
The body does not take up cask-strngth whisky as fast as it does sherry!
The optimum alchohol concentration for absorbtion is (about) 20%.
[ Or a well-watered cask strength, in fact! ]

right_writes said...

On a slightly different subject Raedwald... Pot growers have been using hydroponics and lights for years to grow their tipple...

I don't suppose there is any reason why the same could not be done with tobacco plants... 5oz average per plant.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

It's perfectly legal to grow your own tobacco, there are no restrictions at all unless you sell it. I believe it will grow fine in the South of England, Dobies and suchlike sell plants and seeds.

In other news, the European Commission has stated yet again that minimum pricing is not compatible with EU law. There could not be a clearer shot across the bows.

Now of course, if the egregious Salmond were actually planning independence, then it wouldn't matter what EU law said; but he isn't, as we know.