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I've got one complete, and one brewing batch of this "Alcotec Vodka Type Spirit" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alcotec-Vodka-Spirit-Alcohol-Moonshine/dp/B004LXZAUW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421024826&sr=8-1&keywords=alcotec+vodka)

After about 2 weeks of having syphoned off about 2 litres into a plastic bottle it smelt terrible with what I can only describe as a cheesy aroma. The rest of the batch has a bit of a yeasty smell to it (this is long after having used the activated carbon, finings etc. and syphoning off very liberally) and some that I had syphoned into a glass bottle smells somewhat in between. I have another 30 litres of this stuff brewing and I don't know what to do to ensure it doesn't go to waste if it turns out the same. Would it just be the water I used or some yeast still suspended in the brew or something?

I've been looking into Freeze Concentrating and am considering trying it with this, would that help at all? and more generally what can I do in future to ensure my brews don't have such a tiny shelf life. I made a 25 litre batch of wine a few months ago which has been gradually becoming less and less pleasant while still being fairly gassy (I may have exposed it to oxygen after fermenting but I'm really not sure)

Any help on these matters would be greatly appreciated

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A cheesy smell usually means you have bacteria in your mash and they have access to oxygen. If this were a sour-mashed beer it would be considered a lost cause at this point.

I don't know how this kit is supposed to work, but it's sounds like sanitation is the issue.

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I do not recommend freeze concentrating this brew. To do so would be quite dangerous. Freeze concentrating is iffy at the best of times, even when concentrating something that has brewed clean. What it does is concentrate everything (except water). Distilling (properly) will remove unhealthy brewing by-products like methanol and other organic chemicals. Whereas freeze concentrating will concentrate them as well. I'm afraid all this batch is good for is pouring down the sink. Pepi is right, it's icnfected. Never drink or try and rescue a infected batch.

Make sure you clean your brewing gear very well before brewing, and add enough yeast to crowd out any other micro-organisms. Look up how to clean your gear. I usually wash everything with a brewing detergent and on brew day I use a diluted no rinse acid to rinse everything and soak all the things that will come in contact with my brew. This includes all the surfaces around the brew, measuring equipment, etc.

I don't recommend using this kind of kit for freeze concentrating at all. They are designed to brew fast and dirty, with the presumption being that all the nasty extras this causes will be removed by distilling. If you are going to freeze brew then don't use a super yeast. A champagne yeast will be much better (while also getting a highly concentrated brew). Also add a little acid to your sugar water as having the right pH reduces the amount of off flavours and reduces brew time. I add 6mL of lemon juice to every litre of water (not the bottles of shelf bought stuff as that contains preservatives which will slow fermentation).

Use brewing sugar (ie glucose / dextrose) instead of normal sugar, as you won't get the nasty 'homebrew tang' that's caused when yeast breaks the bond in the surcrose. I use 100g / litre to make my sugar water - which is 5%, though it will end up as 5.5% once I've added the carbonation sugar.

Ingredients / Litre 100g dextrose 6mL lemon juice 1 L water It can be scaled up to whatever your brew vessel size is. If you want to test how it'll turn out / taste you can make it up in a soft drink bottle. I do 1.8L in a 2L bottle.

Try and keep the brew around 20 degrees (or failing that at least don't let it fluctuate too much). Wine yeasts are pretty forgiving though.

Add some more dextrose (about 6g-7g / litre) before bottling so that it's nice and carbonated (coke bottles are the best as they take very high carbonation and don't let too much of the gas escape).

Once it's carbonated (about 2-3 weeks - at 20 degree room temperature) you can refrigerate the bottles and add them to your favourite cordial. My favourite are lemon or ginger beer flavours. This is much safer than trying to concentrate by freezing, and makes a tasty alcopop (which seems to be your intention). The final alcoholic concentration will be around 5 percent once the cordial is added. Be careful drinking this, especially if using it as a mixer (which doubles the final alcohol level). It goes down easily and, except for a slight aftertaste, doesn't taste alcoholic at all. It's a cheap and easy booze, but that doesn't mean you can't stay classy.

All the best in your brewing adventures. Here's the thread where I discussed my initial experiments: http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/51034-so-i-finally-got-around-to-making-my-alcoholic-water Feel free to mix it up a bit. :) Have fun.

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    I don't think your first paragraph is accurate in regards to the dangers of Freeze Concentrating. There's no risk of methanol or any "unhealthy" compounds forming in a purely-fermented product, so Freeze Concentrating it will not result in any increased risk. I do think you are correct in that its generally not a great idea though, because it won't improve the flavors. – Graham Jan 13 '15 at 13:20
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… It's not a large part, but the amount increases when the liquid is concentrated. – Tamsyn Michael Jan 13 '15 at 14:20
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    I would also recommend adding yeast nutrient and yeast energizer to the sugar water. Yeast will produce more esters and attenuation will be lower in a nutrient free wort. – FishesCycle Jan 13 '15 at 15:00

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