Ola on Hjemmebrent: Part 2

Odin: “Were you like alone in this hobby or were others also participating, maybe exchanging methods, recipes?”

Ola: “Home distilling in Norway is something very commonly talked about. As it is an old craft, you get to hear many stories about the topic as well. There are many crazy stories, too! Imagine houses that have exploded, because the water stopped cooling the still and because people tried to distill, when they were drunk. That’s what I heard about distilling. And, contrary to what you might think, these were not bed time stories. In my town alone, I know of  two houses that exploded, due to cooling problems or a drunken distiller!”

Odin: “That must surely give a head ache to remember!”

Ola: “I have heard about a guy in the town of Gol, here in Norway. He had build himself a monster of a still. Not to get caught, the still was constructed inside the walls of his house! Like that no one could hear or smell or see anything. And the still was fully automated. It cleaned itself after every second distillation round.”

Odin: “What kind of drinks do Norwegians make. What is Hjemmebrent about?”

Ola: “The favorite recipe here, is to mix sugar and turbo yeast and put it in the home made still and distill it in such a way that when it gets out, you have a liquor that holds around 96% of alcohol. Then you dilute it, so you have around 50% and then you clean the liquor with something called a charcoal filter, and then it is ready to drink! Some people add a vodka flavor or whisky flavor, but not so often. Most drink it as is.”
Odin: “In some parts of the world turbo yeasts are frowned upon …”
Ola: “I know and do not quite understand it. Over here we have access to turbo yeasts that pack a punch. Both in terms of ABV as well as in quality. All the ingredients, PH-stabilizers, fertilizers are there. Our turbo’s make a very good neutral. Maybe in other countries, turbo yeasts aren’t that good?”
Odin: “That may well be a good explanation. Yesterday, two distillers visited our showroom. They brought some test samples with them, that were made with a turbo yeast. One sample was distilled in an LM fractionating still, the other was distilled through a pot still. Both samples were perfect neutrals. Something else: what sort of stills are used in Norway?”
Ola: “Many people use a pot still or an Easystil. Other designs of home made stills, that I do not think even have an English name, are also used. I will send some pictures, because a picture says more than a thousand words.”
Odin: “I know Norway’s national drink is “Akevitt”. Why don’t home distillers make that?”
Ola: “Akevitt is a kind of snaps that we like to have with the Christmas dinner and it is very hard to make, so I have never heard of any people that have made it themselves. The liquor I make, is just sugar and turbo yeast that I will distill, so it gets to 96%. Then I will put water in it, so it gets to 50%. Then I will put it through the charcoal filter, and it is ready to drink!”
Odin: “How did you find out about iStill and why did you order one?”
Ola: “I found the iStill on the internet. I was looking for an automatic still! The reason I want an iStill 50 is because it is pretty much fully automatic, so I don`t have to sit and wait and watch the whole time. The process of distilling will also go much quicker, I understand. That gives me more time to do other things in my shed.”
Odin: “Will home distilling be legalized in the foreseeable future, in Norway?”
Ola: “No, I do not see that happening soon. That is why we talk very silently about it, if there is someone in the room that we do not know. And that is the reason many home distillers will build secret rooms for distilling.”
Odin: “Thanks a lot, Ola, for sharing that information! Now that we got to know the Hjemmebrent scene a bit, I want to dive into Norwegian cuisine some more. Well, in a next post, that is!”
This is what i use to filtrate the liquor. the pipe is filed with charcoll
A drawing of a typical home made still in Norway. we alsow use stills like cm lm and vmThis is the results from my expressstill.
Pictures above:
– Ola’s filtering device
– A plan that many in Norway use. Looks like a VM to me.
– Ola’s current still gets him to about 92%.

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