Home Distillation of Alcohol (Homemade Alcohol to Drink)
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Diluting your Alcohol

Dilute your spirits to less than 40% before drinking them.

You need a hydrometer to measure how strong your spirits are.

Depending on the reflux ratio of your still, you can produce a product up to 95 % ethanol (190 proof). You can't drink it this strong (remember - ethanol can be poisonous); it needs diluting. Get a spirit hydrometer (or one for wine), measure the % alcohol, and dilute it down to around 40 % (whiskey) or 22 % (liqueurs).

When you use a hydrometer, make sure that the alcohol is at the right temperature. If the alcohol is still warm, it will be "lighter" than at the "standard" temperature (usually 20oC), and thus the hydrometer will sink lower in it, making you think that its got more alcohol in it. Wrong. This is where most of the claims of getting 97% purity etc come from - only 96.5% is possible without using a vacuum still, or by drying the alcohol (even then, if left in an open container, it will suck in moisture from the air and dilute itself back to 96.5%). Most hydrometers come with a chart for making temperature adjustments.

The instructions which came with my hydrometer advise the following corrections to the final specific gravity reading ...
TemperatureCorrection (g/mL)
10 °C -0.002
15 °C -0.001
20 °C none
25 °C +0.001
30 °C +0.003
35 °C +0.004

Pilch gives the following advice ...

Dilution Calculators

If you want to know how much water to add to dilute your alcohol down, just multiply the amount of spirits you have by (strong/weak) - 1

eg: if you want to dilute 2L of 75% alcohol down to 40%, you will need to add 2 x ((75/40)-1) = 1.75L of water
Dilute of % alcohol Down to %
By adding Water

If you want to know how much alcohol to use to make a known quantity, multiply the final amount by (weak/strong)

eg: to make 1.125L of 40% alcohol using spirit at 75%, you will need to use 1.125 x (40/75) = 0.6L of the 75% spirit, then top it up to 1.125L using water.
To make of % alcohol using % alcohol
Use of Alcohol    
and of Water

Proof or Abv ?

Note that there are a couple of different ways of describing the alcohol strength. Some people tend to talk about "Proof" whereas others (myself included) tend to stick to "ABV" - the amount of Alcohol By Volume. Basically 100 proof = 50% abv.

But its not always so ... Harry explains ...
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