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Old 06-15-2007, 11:29 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouT
I thought there was a legal limit to the amount each person over 21 can "distill" for personal use -- just like beer...
Unfortunately not. Distillation of alcohol for any purpose is illegal without a license or permit from the TTB (not ATF). If you are a researcher and distill alcohol as part or your work or you are a school child using distillation to demonstration something for a science fair...you need permission from the TTB.

Only the production of wine and beer is permitted by the TTB.
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:26 PM   #32
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OK, I'll bite......what is the TTB? Some type of taxation authority?
How hard/expensive is it to get a distillation permit? I see that micro-distilleries are coming on strong lately, maybe not much barrier to entry...

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Old 06-25-2007, 11:16 PM   #33
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The TTB is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

From the TTB FAQ:

Quote:
You cannot produce spirits for beverage purposes without paying taxes and without prior approval of paperwork to operate a distilled spirits plant. [See 26 U.S.C. 5601 & 5602 for some of the criminal penalties.] There are numerous requirements that must be met that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use. Some of these requirements are paying excise tax, filing an extensive application, filing a bond, providing adequate equipment to measure spirits, providing suitable tanks and pipelines, providing a separate building (other than a dwelling) and maintaining detailed records, and filing reports. All of these requirements are listed in 27 CFR Part 19.
As an example: In Michigan, a license to distill whisky is $10,000 per year. A bond needs to be paid, fairly extensive equipment investments made, and lest we forget, you also need a building to put everything in.

Needless to say, there aren't a lot of small whisky distillers in Michigan.

However, things are looking up; what we are starting to have is a lot of small brandy distillers. A new license allowing winemakers to distill brandy was introduced, and is only $100 per year.
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Old 06-26-2007, 11:59 AM   #34
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Unless you are a terrorist, or engaged in terrorist-like activities (I believe jaywalking qualifies these days), you have to deal with the TTB and not the ATF.

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Old 07-03-2007, 11:41 PM   #35
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Wow, everytime I read posts about Apple jack and distilling it makes me so happy that I live in New Zealand, where I a 17 year old can brew whatever I want and then distill that however much I want. I tried making some apple jack with my last batch of cider after reading about some posts on this forum, and I didn't really realise how much of a bitch it is to do... I mean it took me about 4 days of waiting and checking the freezer every 5 hours or something, although I dont think I did it right, cos what I ended up with didn't taste all that alchoholic, nor was there that much made. I think I'll just end up buying myself a still and make some good ol' Calvados, once I get a nice French style cider recipe.

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Old 07-19-2007, 09:49 PM   #36
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I have a question. I remeber doing and experiment in elementary school in which we froze water in a mason jar and, because it is a polar molecule, it expanded and broke the glass. I was wondering if I would run into the same problem in this case, and if so how do I avoid it?

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Old 09-17-2007, 05:54 PM   #37
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I still have some applejack from an elderberry-pear cider from 5 years ago. Started off tasting like gasoline but is smooth and fruity now. Im about to start a new batch to freeze this winter in Vermont. I just rack into multiple 3 liter bottles-only 2 liters each, to allow for expansion. Have often considered using a fractional distillation column to collect only the ethanol but then why don't I just by some everclear....

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Old 09-18-2007, 02:25 AM   #38
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This may be slightly off topic, but not really
I've had this on again/off again discussion with my dad regarding vodka/everclear/what have you- would it be illegal to distill the excess water from that, thereby increasing its alcohol percent? There would obviously be no danger of any nasty alcohols/bad oils, since the liquor company already handled that back in the initial production...

What say you?

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Old 09-18-2007, 03:22 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBarleycornATL
I have a question. I remeber doing and experiment in elementary school in which we froze water in a mason jar and, because it is a polar molecule, it expanded and broke the glass. I was wondering if I would run into the same problem in this case, and if so how do I avoid it?
Don't fill the container too much and leave room for expansion.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:41 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OdinOneEye
What I want to know is, if you aren't distributing your apple jack, how would the feds know if you were freezing it in the first place? Unlike stills, everyone with a fridge has a freezer, I'm assuming, and noone's going to notice the electrical fluctuation it takes when you add a gallon of cider to the freezer.
Shtupid law. Just like not being allowed to fire a gun off during a moment of passion with your lady in Wisconsin.
I grew up with a guy who often said, "It ain't illegal if you don't get caught." He's in prison for growing pot in his attic. He got caught because someone else got pinched and ratted him out. If a person sets up a still, grow lights in the attic, or freeze distills apple cider, he/she will eventually want to share the experience with someone, and the people that turn others in for these kind of shenanigans are always the people you thought of as friends. After all, whenever I talk to fellow homebrewers about distilling, the answer is almost invariably that my fellow brewer has thought about doing it just to say he did it, which is also my answer. Why else would we want to make apple jack when we can buy cheap apple brandy that would probably be a far better quality than what we could make.

I agree that we have some stupid laws, and, aside from concentrating fusels and making rot-gut. freeze distilling is not as dangerous as traditional moonshining. The problem is that moonshine in general can be dangerous if made improperly, like if the shiner uses a car radiator for a condenser, which likely contains lead solder. Alcohol, being an incredible solvent, is probably one of the most efficient ways to get lead posioning from a car radiator. The next problem is that if they made a exception in the law for freeze distilling, anyone caught with moonshine would argue that the gov't had to prove it wasn't freeze distilled. They said the hell with that when they wrote the law, particularly since freeze distilled products contain concentrated fusel alcohols anyway. I still want to make apple jack just to see what it's like and to say I did it, but it's just not worth the risk to me.
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