How To Moonshine

Fermenting &
Distilling Basics
Making Equipment
How to Make Moonshine Using Sugar How to Make Moonshine Using Grain Moonshine Recipes

Carbon Filter

Carbon FilterWhen learning how to make moonshine many moonshiners discover that there are a number of uses for a neutral spirit, a spirit that has virtually no flavour and comprises of little more than ethanol and water. Two key uses for a neutral spirit that you will notice are mentioned regularly throughout this website are blending and for use with spirit essences. A carbon filter is a necessary tool in creating a neutral spirit as carbon filtration will remove almost all remaining flavour and impurities from your spirit and allow you to make a neutral spirit from almost any source of fermentable sugar.

A carbon filter uses activated carbon to remove contaminants and impurities through chemical absorption. Each piece of carbon in the filter is shaped to provide a large surface area which provides maximum exposure of the liquid being filtered to the filter media. 450 grams of activated carbon provides a surface area of approximately 40 hectares. The carbon is activated with a positive charge which attract negatively charged contaminants such as chlorine, sediments and many organic compounds including the esters fom your spirit. Carbon filters are at their most efficient when the flow of the spirit through the filter is very slow as this exposes the spirit to the filter media for a longer period of time. Most carbon filters are at their most efficient when they are blocked and barely able to pass any spirit at all. An efficent carbon filter may take up to five days to filter 10 litres of spirit.

A homebrew supplier will most likely be able to help you with a carbon filter setup even if you just need the filter and feel confident with the rest. The carbon filter I use is easy to make and comprises of two high density food grade plastic buckets one on top of the other. The bottom bucket will catch the filtered spirit and has a tap fitted so that I can draw filtered spirit out without having to interfere with the operation of the filter. Useful when you need to draw a few litres of freshly filtered spirit while a batch is still going through. The top bucket has a water filter candle in the bottom that is fitted to a hole drilled through the bottom of the top bucket and the lid of the bottom bucket so the spirit flows through the water purification candle and is collected in the bottom bucket. The lid of the top bucket should have a small hole to allow air to flow into the top bucket. A 1mm hole is more than sufficient.

Water Filter CandleI chose to use a water filter candle as they are fairly effective and widely available. The particular brand I use has been carefully selected as it is made from high density food grade plastic and will not be degraded by the spirit. The ceramic coating provides an excellent prefilter protecting the activated carbon inside from larger particles and allowing it to work more efficiently on the smaller particles. There certainly are more effective carbon filters available particularly from homebrew suppliers and I must admit that on some occasions I have had to run the spirit through my carbon filter twice to get a good result however the cost of the replacement water filter candle when the spirit no longer will pass through it does work heavily in its favour.