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January 7, 2016 posted in Recipes

How to Make Potato Vodka

Russian Potato Vodka - How to

At Clawhammer, we pride ourselves on actually trying every recipe we list on our site before it's published. We do that for a couple of reasons. First of all, we want to make sure the recipe actually works. Second, we're always looking for an excuse to screw around in the still house.

With that said, we must inform you that we have not tried this particular recipe. It's on our bucket list, but we haven't made it yet. However, we've received so many requests for a "potato vodka" recipe that we decided to go ahead and research the process, document what we came up with, and post it for those brave enough to chart new territory.

So, if your a the trail blazer type, read on. And, if you try the recipe, please report back to us and let us know how it went so we can modify this recipe. Oh, and as always, don't drink this stuff unless you're a licensed distiller. Otherwise, you'll need to throw it in your lawn mower (assuming you have a fuel alcohol permit).

Potato Vodka Recipe


5 Pounds 2 row malted barley
25 Pounds potatoes
7 gallons of water
2 packets of bread yeast (or yeast of choice)


OG = 1.065 (add sugar if needed to reach the gravity you want)
FG = 1.010 or below
ABV = 7.2%

Mashing Process

  1. Clean the potatoes with a produce brush.
  2. Cut the potatoes into small 1 inch cubes and cover them with two inches of water in a stock pot on the stove.
  3. Turn the heat to high and boil the potatoes for 15 minutes.
  4. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or an electric immersion blender.
  5. Transfer the mashed potatoes and any liquid from the stock pot into a large mash pot. We recommend transferring the potatoe mash to a mash bag. We recommend using the mash in a bag method for this recipe. 
  6. Add water to reach 7 gallons total volume. While adding water keep an eye on the temperature of the mash. The temperature after adding the water should be around 140 degrees.
  7. Add 5 pounds of crushed malted barley to the mash bag while stirring well.
  8. Add heat if need and hold the mash at 140 degrees for 20 minutes.
  9. Raise the temperature of the mash to 150 while stirring.
  10. Mash at 150 for one hour. Add heat to the mash tun while stirring as needed during the mash.
  11. Take a gravity reading with your refractometer or hydrometer.
  12. If the starting gravity is below 1.065 add sugar until you reached 1.065.
  13. Use a wort chiller to cool mash to 70-75 degrees.

Fermentation Process

  1. Create a yeast starter. Let the yeast starter propigate for 15-20 minutes before  adding it to the fermenter.
  2. Once the mash has been cooled transfer only the liquid to a sanitized carboy/bucket
  3. Add the yeast starter to the fermenter.
  4. Add airlock and ferment between 65-75 degrees for 2 weeks.

Distillation Process

  1. Siphon (do not pour) the wash into a copper still or stainless steel distiller.
  2. If there is a large amount of sediment at the bottom of the fermenter filter it through fine cheese cloth in a separate bucket. This will extract the remaining liquid alcohol from the solids. 
  3. Insert clean copper packing material into the column of the still (this stuff should be super high proof, so you'll want as much reflux action as possible).
  4. If using our stainless steel distiller secure the dome onto the boiler with the clamp.
  5. Attach the column to the boiler of the still.
  6. Connect the cooling hoses for the condenser and make sure they connected securely.
  7. Crank the heat on the still.
  8. If using one our copper stills once the boiler temperature is around 110 degrees apply flour paste to the joint between the vapor cone and the column assembly.
  9. If using either our stainless steel or copper units turn on the condensing water once the boiler registers 130 degrees.
  10. When the boiler registers 170 degrees make sure that glass or metal containers are easily accessible for collecting the distilled alcohol.
  11. Once the still starts to produce turn the heat down until the still is producing roughly 3 drips per second.
  12. Discard the foreshots and make tight cuts.
  13. Always take notes during the run.
  14. Adjust the heat during the run so you always have 1-3 dips of production a second.
  15. Run the still until the tails are between 10-20% ABV.
  16. Once the tails are finished turn off the heat source.
  17. Dump the remaining liquid that is in the still. Note: it will be extremely hot!
  18. Remove the copper packing material from the column. Note: it will be extremely hot!
  19. Clean the copper packing material by tossing it into a bowl of vinegar for an hour/overnight. After the copper packing material is finished soaking rinse it off well and leave to dry.
  20. Clean the still.
  21. Dry the still.
  22. Store the still in a dry and safe location.
  • My first batch of vodka. After my 1st 24 hrs the airtrap was going crazy. 2nd day a little bit and now day 3 hardly any bubbles. How long do I wait till I can put it in my still? Just wondering if I should wait the 2 weeks like with whiskey. I don’t want it to go bad

    Posted by Kyle on December 18, 2017
  • I would add rice hulls to this recipe to aid in lautering.

    Posted by Gabe on November 05, 2017
  • Personally I would use six row malt to help convert the potato starch to sugar or add some enzyme. Then try different types of potatoes, red, Yukon gold, good ol russet and sweet potatoes this could be a fun winter project

    Posted by Mike on October 14, 2017
  • Oops, one beer to0 many! I meant that these are all good questions that others might like to know the answers too as well?

    Posted by Anthony on March 14, 2017
  • Here is my comment, are you not providing the answers, these are all questions?

    Posted by Athony on March 14, 2017
  • How much volume does this recipe make?

    Posted by Haley on March 04, 2017
  • Wondering wanting to try vodka run with sweet potatoes. Anyone try this yet?

    Posted by Mike on December 29, 2016
  • I’m very much interested in making potato latke so I could use all the good information that I can get first of all what kind of potato bag are we talking about cheesecloth or is there a certain bag that is needed for the potatoes to let the starch out secondly how long do I let the barley soup before I can use it since Siri desperate distiller

    Posted by Jim on December 27, 2016
  • Can this method produce methanol

    Posted by kato paul on November 13, 2016
  • Thank you so much for recipe, am planning to make my first vodka,hope it will be a great start.


    Posted by Morgan on November 06, 2016
  • Hey guys, I just recently made a still that hold about 13 gallons of mash. I’ve used you recipe for rum several times. My first run was ok. The 2nd run was great. Got 70 percent. The 3rd run we incerased the sugar content. Got 80 percent the next couple of runs we increased the sugar again. We got it up to 85 percen on the rum. I’m planning on making vodka for my next run. Any advice or anything that I may need to know not mentioned in your vodka recipe.

    Thanks skip

    Posted by Skip on June 08, 2016
  • Question: can you substitute enzyme for the barley?

    Posted by Thaddeus on June 02, 2016
  • How does using roasted barley affect the vodka?

    Posted by max on February 29, 2016
  • I didn’t exactly go step-by-step but used the recipe and followed the directions, makes a great vodka! I would suggest that anyone making this recipe be experienced in distilling lol, I’ve read some comments on other posts from people who really should be buying their alcohol, not making it! Lmao haha. Thanks for the recipe!

    Posted by Adam on February 07, 2016
  • Made 15 gal of mash and I’m glade I had bags it’s a mess but man it came out great. Thanks for information

    Posted by BMs on February 01, 2016
  • I attempted this recipe without the using the mash bag method and boy was it a mess! Since only carboy available was a 3 gallon, changed recipe a bit. Used approximately 10 lbs of red potato, 2.2 lbs of pale ale barley malt, approximately 4.5 cups of white sugar, and half a package of champagne yeast ec-1118. Slow action but we’ll see what happens. Thanks for the recipe!

    Posted by DLC on January 29, 2016

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