Make Alcohol in Your Dorm Room

Not 21? Can’t find an upperclassmen to score you booze for your next party? Just bored?

Apparently it is extremely cheap and easy to make alcohol from sucrose. Somebody should have told me this in ninth grade when I was paying homeless men $50 to walk in the liquor store and buy me a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20.

Is there anything we can’t learn how to do with WikiHow? Below are the instructions for brewing and bottling your own booze!

How to Make Alcohol from Common Table Sugar

1. Obtain a packet of super yeast or distillers yeast. Only this type of yeast will be able to effectively and cleanly ferment table sugar and produce up to 20 percent alcohol. This kind of yeast also contains nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) that will support the growth of the yeast and enable effective fermentation. Sucrose and other kinds of yeast do not contain such nutrients.

2. Choose the fermentation vessel. For 5.5 to 6 gallon (20-23 L) batches, a 7.5 gallon (28 L) food grade bucket and lid works very well because it is easy to pour the ingredients into the bucket and stir them, and because the bucket has a large capacity. Glass carboys can be used as well, and for smaller batches, use one gallon jugs. However, a drilled rubber stopper that fits the airlock will be needed that fits the carboy or jug. Leave a good amount of extra head space, equivalent to about 1.5 to 2 gallons, in the vessel for foam and gases that can form during fermentation. The lid for the plastic bucket should have a hole drilled in it and a rubber grommet that the airlock will fit in during fermentation. The lid should also have a rubber gasket in it that will create an airtight seal between the lid and the rim of the bucket.

3. Clean and/or sanitize the equipment. The fermentation vessel (and rubber stopper for glass vessels or lid for a plastic bucket), airlock, and a large spoon should be clean and sanitized. Cleansers may not be needed if the equipment is new. Use a sanitizer such as iodophor that is made for brewing and winemaking. All these items are available at homebrewing and winemaking shops. Fill the fermentation vessel to the brim with sanitizer.

4. Determine how much sucrose (common table sugar) to use. More sucrose will result in more alcohol, but the yeast will only be able to ferment a certain amount of sucrose. When the total desired volume is 5.5 gallons (20 L), no more than 17.5 pounds (8 kg) of sucrose should be used, as this should achieve the maximum of 20 percent alcohol. Some kinds of yeast, however, will not be able to achieve 20 percent alcohol, so less sucrose must be used, resulting in a more dilute solution of sucrose and water. The packet of yeast that is used will have directions that indicate how much sucrose can be used. If making two batches, be sure to use twice as much yeast (two packets).

5. Mix the sucrose and warm water in the plastic bucket or a sanitized metal pot to dissolve the sucrose. Tap water or bottled water can be used. Fill to about 5.5 gallons (20 L). The water should be about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees C). The yeast is a living organism and requires a certain temperature to function properly. Use a metal pot to avoid scratching the inside of the plastic bucket, as scratches can harbor bacteria and make the bucket impossible to sanitize. When all the sucrose has been dissolved, carefully pour the sucrose and water solution into the plastic bucket or glass carboy.

6. Add the yeast. Open the yeast packet and dump the yeast into the sucrose and water solution. If using a plastic bucket, stir somewhat if desired to homogenize the mixture. A sanitized, dry funnel can help to prevent a mess when adding the yeast to the narrow opening of a carboy.

7. Affix the lid to the bucket. If using a plastic bucket, tightly push the lid onto the bucket so that an airtight seal is formed. This may be somewhat difficult, and may require some leverage.

8. Affix the airlock to the lid or carboy. Push the airlock into the lid if using a plastic bucket. If using a carboy, push the airlock through a drilled rubber stopper an fit the stopper snugly in the mouth of the carboy. Add clean water or vodka to the inside of the airlock so that carbon dioxide can be released from the fermenting solution while air is kept out. There are two kinds of airlocks, bubbler and three-piece airlocks. Both work very well.

9. Let the sucrose mixture ferment. Make sure that the ambient air temperature is 70 to 80 degrees F (21.1 to 26.6 degrees C), as this will result in the optimum temperature for the yeast. If the ambient air is cooler, use a device such as a BrewBelt to maintain the proper fermentation temperature. It should take about two to ten days for the yeast to ferment the sucrose and produce alcohol. The time required will vary depending on the type of yeast used, and on how much sucrose was added. It will take longer to completely ferment more sucrose. The airlock will bubble a lot during active fermentation. The bubbling will slow as fermentation slows, and stop completely when all or most of the sucrose has been fermented.

10. Clarify the fermented alcoholic liquid. After fermentation is complete, use a fining agent such as isinglass or a combination of kieselsol and chitosan to remove suspended yeast and other material that may be present. Try to find isinglass that doesn’t contain sulphites, as some people are allergic to sulphites. However, the sulphites may act to preserve the finished product, especially if it is aged in a carboy or other vessel. After adding the finings, reseal the fermenter with the lid or stopper and the airlock and allow the liquid to clarify for two or three days

11. Siphon or pour off the alcoholic liquid. Siphon or carefully pour off the liquid into a glass carboy or other airtight container such as a cornelius keg, leaving the unwanted sediment behind. At this stage a pad or membrane filter, such as a wine filter, can also be used to further clarify the liquid and remove residual yeast. Don’t store the alcoholic liquid in a carboy for more than a month as it can become oxidized over time. Therefore, bottle it to preserve it.

12. Filter through a carbon filter if desired. Use a food-grade carbon filter to remove unwanted volatiles to further purify the alcohol. If flavors were added before this point, don’t use the carbon filter because it will most likely strip out the flavors.

13. Use the alcohol as desired. Add directly to jungle juice or add liqueur flavorings. Age in sealed bottles if desired to improve the flavor, especially if making liqueurs. Reuse liquor bottles, wine bottles, and beer bottles, or use mason jars. New bottles can be found at home brewing shops. Mason jars will be easy to pour into and seal. Other types of bottles will require a bottling bucket and hose. Beer bottles will require caps and a capper, but twist-off beer bottles can’t recapped. For liquor bottles that have a stopper, simply reuse the stopper. Wine and champagne bottles can be re-corked with new corks or simply capped.

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About Bobby Rio I'm Bobby Rio, one of the founders of TSB. I tend to write about what is on my mind so you'll find a mix of self development, social dynamics and dating articles/experiences.  For a collection of some of my favorite articles check them out.