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Old 05-29-2007, 03:47 AM   #1
Auzzee's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

When I was but a lad in school, I was impressed by the whole process of distillation as it was described by my physics teacher. Having understood the process of obtaining a distillate...but not necessarily the chemistry behind fermentation, I decided in my own naive 16 year old way, to make a flagon of booze.

At home one afternoon, I gathered Mum's old Prestiege pressure cooker, some clear plastic tubing, a leibig condenser which I had borrowed from school (legitimately), several pounds of overripe fruit which I had begged from the local fruiterer, a large bag of brown sugar and half a pot of water.

The water, sugar and fruit went into the cooker, I secured the lid, poked the plastic pipe through the hole in the lid which was designed to lift the pressure release valve in case of dangerous pressure build-up; then I attached the pipe to the condenser through which I had cool tapwater flowing, lit the gas and waited.

Shortly, I noticed the pure distillate coming from the end of the condenser and into my glass. I was mesmerised and only broke my trance after some minutes. I left the kitchen so that I might summons my elder brother to show him how clever I was. Appropriately, he was watching the three stooges and, just as I was trying to get him to come into the kitchen to view my masterwork, there was a sound like the venting of steam from the boiler of a puffing billy. This was followed by what could only be described as a spectacularly loud breaking-of-wind, of monumental endurance.

The trip back to the kitchen was hurried, yet careful. What I had proven had little to do with distillation but a lot to do with just how far three pounds of stewed fruit will spread across a kitchen ceiling.

How I appreciated my father's sense of humour when he arrived home....even my mother, who was not so pleased about the dripping figs which festooned the curtains, thought it was funny. But it was touch-and-go for a while.

Apparently the plastic pipe knurled under the pressure vent as it was softened by the steam....then when the pressure had become too great, the POOP literally hit the fan.....and almost everything else in the room as it was filtered through a small hole at a high rate of acceleration.

The moral? Booze comes from pubs, and always read the safety instructions.

"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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