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What Is The First Drops Of Moonshine Called? (TOP 5 Tips)

What does dropping the bead mean in moonshine?

  • Dropping the Bead – Also called “cutting” or “proofing,” the process of lowering the strength of liquor by mixing it with weaker alcohol or water. Double Run – The technique of running alcohol through a still twice.


What is the first bit of moonshine called?

During the distillation process methanol is concentrated at the start of the run because it has a lower boiling point than ethanol and water. The boiling point of methanol is approximately 148 degrees farenheit, which is quite a bit lower than ethanol (the good stuff).

Why is the first jar of moonshine discarded?

Always discard the “foreshots.” For this reason, commercial distillers will do one of two things: They will discard the first bit of alcohol produced by the still. This part of the run, known as the foreshots, smells like high powered solvent, tastes even worse, and is potentially poisonous.

What is bead in moonshine?

Bead – The bubbles that form on the surface of shaken whiskey and reflect the alcoholic content. Beading Oil – An oil dripped into low-quality whiskey by Prohibition-era moonshiners to make the alcohol bead like quality whiskey.

What is the base of moonshine?

Moonshine purists define the spirit as a homemade, unaged whiskey, marked by its clear color, corn base and high alcohol content—sometimes peaking as high as 190 proof. Traditionally, it was produced in a homemade still and bottled in a mason jar.

What is a moonshine jug called?

While they are not the only way to store moonshine, moonshine jugs are often associated with ‘white lightning’. Traditionally, stoneware jugs, also referred to as liquor crocks or jugs, whiskey jugs, and shoulder jugs, were used to store moonshine.

What is the proof of illegal moonshine?

That’s because alcohol begins to attract moisture from the air at concentrations higher than 96% ABV, immediately diluting your moonshine. It’s worth noting that in most parts of the United States, it is illegal to distill moonshine above 160 proof (80% ABV) and it cannot be bottled at more than 125 proof (62.5% ABV).

How do you stop methanol when making moonshine?

Always use a collection pot made of glass, never of plastic and preferably of small mouth. And remember to place this vessel away from any fire or other form of heat. Always dispose of the first bit of moonshine, in order to avoid contamination with methanol (which has a lower boiling point than ethanol).

How can I test methanol at home?

To test for the presence of methanol, you can apply sodium dichromate to a sample of the solution. To do so, mix 8 mL of a sodium dichromate solution with 4 mL of sulfuric acid. Swirl gently to mix, then add 10 drops of the mixed solution to a test tube or other small container containing the alcohol.

Is methanol blindness permanent?

Methanol intoxication can cause severe visual dysfunction and death. Indeed, small amounts of ingested methanol are sufficient to produce acute destruction of parts of the central nervous system leading to permanent neurological dysfunction and irreversible blindness.

What is the process of making moonshine called?

Making moonshine or any other distilled alcohol consists of two processes: fermentation and distillation. Alcoholic fermentation is a metabolic natural process by which sugar is converted into acids, gases and alcohol, using yeast in the absence of oxygen.

How can you tell if moonshine is good or bad?

Folklore tells us one way to test the purity of moonshine is to pour some in a metal spoon and set it on fire. 6 If it burns with a blue flame it is safe, but if it burns with a yellow or red flame, it contains lead, prompting the old saying, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.”

Where was moonshine first made?

While moonshine is deeply rooted in Southern culture and heritage, its origins, in fact, can be traced to Pennsylvania. Farmer-distillers in the western part of the state protested when the federal government passed the distilled-spirits tax in 1791. They tarred and feathered tax collectors and fired upon their homes.

Is moonshine a vodka?

Commercial liquor labeled as moonshine is typically one of two things: neutral grain spirits or unaged whiskey. White whiskey, in other words, is different from vodka, but some of what gets sold as “moonshine” is legally vodka.

Why is moonshine in Mason jars?

When you think moonshine, you think a mason jar. Moonshine just looks cooler when you drink it from a mason jar. Not only does it ensure the moonshine stays fresh but the jar also gives it the “authentic” moonshine feel that you would get during the prohibition period.

Throw Away the First Cut: Popcorn Sutton & the Chemistry of Moonshine

This is a delight if you’re in the mood for some Americana, as well as a chemical lesson that could or might not be relevant. Nobody embodies Americana quite like Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, who became famous both for his prowess in the production of moonshine and for his contempt for the federal government during his lifetime. The combination of these factors put Sutton in constant conflict with the police, particularly when it came to moonshining and bootlegging(1), but he managed to avoid prison until 2009, when he was found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and a large amount of untaxed alcohol.

Popcorn Sutton and his still, courtesy of Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton.

You’re familiar with the phrase.

Distillation is a procedure in which liquids are progressively heated in a flask or jar over several hours.

  • The vapor flows via a cooling condenser, which transforms it back to its liquid state, which is then collected and disposed of properly.
  • Besides separating mixtures of liquids with various boiling points, this approach is also effective at extracting liquids from mixes of solids and other liquids.
  • The crude soup-like stuff in this scenario is referred to as a mash, and it is this combination that allows alcohol to be produced during fermentation.
  • Co-distillation, in which two liquids with different boiling points come out together, is not rare, despite the fact that their boiling points are different.
  • (See Fig.
  • One of Popcorn Sutton’s stills is currently available for purchase on eBay.
  • As a result of yeast’s anaerobic metabolization of carbohydrates, alcohol is produced, as well as a variety of metabolites, some of which are toxic.

As seen in Figure 1, fermentation is “messy,” and variances in boiling point are important in distillation.

Figure 1: Chemical composition of moonshine as a function of the temperature at which it is distilled.

The remainder of the science is as follows.

It is only in the absence of oxygen that the first step, glycolysis, may take place.

Pitruvic acid next passes through an enzyme decarboxylation reaction (this is why gas is produced during fermentation – CO 2), which changes it to the acetaldehyde that we see in the final product.

Yeast is capable of a wide range of impressive feats.

In the fermentation route, there is nothing that implies that it should be present.

Because pectin may be present in fruits, when berries or other fruits are utilized as a sugar source, methanol is produced.

Moonshine has traditionally been manufactured using maize, which contains pectin.

Despite this, a large number of fatal instances of methanol poisoning have been observed.

What exactly are they?

It’s a good thing that you can now brew your own alcoholic beverages.

Notes: (1) The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that it was customarily manufactured at night to avoid detection by police authorities.

(2) It is estimated that a deadly dosage of methanol is between 10 and 30 mL.

It takes 790 packages of aspartame to equal 10 mL of methanol, yet people are still crazy about it despite decades of evidence that it is completely harmless.

It’s enough to make you want to drink something. (3) Those who are addicted to alcohol are disqualified. Sorry. (4) Hank Campbell is well-known for being inexpensive. As a result, instead of receiving a bottle of Jack, you will receive Jack.

Common Moonshine Terms – Learn to Moonshine

  • In the beverage industry, ABV (alcohol by volume) refers to the proportion of alcohol (ethanol) present inside a liquid. An alcometer, also known as a spirit hydrometer, is a measurement instrument used to quantify the percentage of alcohol present in a liquid. When a double run or a thumper run is completed, backins is created
  • Backins is weak whiskey
  • Backins is weak whiskey. Beads are the bubbles that appear on the surface of a shaken whiskey and represent the amount of alcohol in the whiskey. An oil that was dripped into low-quality whiskey by moonshiners during Prohibition to make the alcohol bead like high-quality whiskey
  • Beer is the fermented mash that has been turned into a liquid. Beer, also known as “teedum,” was frequently brewed for its own sake rather than for distillation purposes. In a blackpot, the mash is allowed to ferment directly in the still rather than in barrels or boxes. The boiler, sometimes known as a “pot,” is the container in which mashed potatoes are first cooked or boiled. Bootleg Turning a vehicle around in a controlled skid is a method used by whiskey haulers to turn a car around quickly. Cap– The top of a still that may be removed. Caps are given their names based on their shapes. A carboy is a glass or plastic jar that is used in the fermentation of alcoholic drinks. The fermentation lock and a rubber stopper are often installed to prevent germs and oxygen from entering during the fermentation process
  • However, this is not always the case. The operation of loading the still or the thumper with beer or pumice is known as a charge. Constant-temperature condenser– The portion of the still, which is commonly a copper coil, in which the steam condenses into liquid alcohol
  • Whiskey made mostly from maize mash is known as corn whiskey. A technique known as “dropping the bead,” it is the act of decreasing the strength of liquor by mixing it with weaker alcohol or water. Instillation of alcohol through a still twice is referred to as “Double Running.” The condenser is cooled by use of a flake stand, which is a wooden water-filled box. Fermentation lock (also known as air lock) is a type of fermentation lock. a device used in beer brewing and winemaking to enable carbon dioxide created during fermentation to exit the fermenter while not allowing air to enter the fermenter, preventing the fermentation from going bad
  • Fermenter is a container that is used to ferment the washing liquid. A carboy or an airtight food grade pail is frequently employed. Foreshots are defined as “low boiling point compounds that are the first to come out of the still.” They include acetone, methanol, a variety of esters and aldehydes, as well as other volatile organic compounds. It is recommended that foreshots be discarded because they are toxic.” The term “gauger” refers to a revenue agent in the pre-Prohibition era. A bribe or payback money paid by moonshiners to law enforcement authorities is known as a granny fee. In the words of the author, “heads” are “extracted after the foreshots and are practically pure alcohol, except that they are tainted with trace levels of undesired cogeners…”
  • Liquor Car– A vehicle that has been converted to transport illicit alcohol to market. Malt is a barley malt that is used in the mash. It is possible to substitute corn malt for barley malt by sprouting and grinding the corn. Mixture of water, grain, malt, yeast, and sugar that is allowed to ferment before being distilled into alcohol is referred to as a mash. Peckin’ the Cap– A method that involves tapping on the cap to determine whether or not the mash has boiled into the cap. In the distillation of spirits such as whisky or brandy, a pot still is a type of still that is commonly employed. Heat is applied directly to the pot containing the wash (in the case of whiskey) or the wine (in the case of wine) (for brandy). A batch distillation (as opposed to a continuous distillation) is what is being described here. In distillation, pot-tail is defined as the “slop” of fruit or grain that remains after the alcohol has been distilled out of it. Known as “thumper tails” in some circles. Puke is defined as the boiling over of a still. Pumice is a fermented fruit and sugar mixture that is used to manufacture brandy. Moonshiners are targeted by revenuers, who are government agents tasked with apprehending anyone involved in moonshining. Return of condensed vapors to the system from whence they came is referred to as reflux. Reflux Still– This type of still produces a flavorless spirit through the process of refluxing. A runner is a person who transports moonshine. Singlings– Unproofed whiskey that has been through one distillation and will be redistilled
  • Singlings are available in small batches. Steam Outfit– A still that heats the mash within the pot using steam rather than a direct flame
  • Still– The combination of the cap and boiler in which the mash is first distilled
  • Still Cap– The combination of the cap and boiler in which the mash is first distilled Also known as a “still,” this term refers to the whole distillation apparatus. Still Hand– A person who works at a still site
  • A still site worker. Stillhouse– Historically, a tiny permanent structure built exclusively for distilling
  • Today, it is used for many other purposes. Mash Stir Stick– A stick with a fork attached at one end that is used to stir mashed potatoes. Wire is typically used to extend over the fork in a back and forth motion. It is possible to get stuck in fermentation if the yeast goes into dormancy before the fermentation is complete. In contrast to a “arrested fermentation,” in which the winemaker purposefully pauses the fermentation process, Still with a huge capacity that has been in frequent use since the 1920s is known as a submarine still. The submarine is shaped like a low box with two curving ends, although it still has two wooden sides in most cases. A swab stick is a wooden stick with bristles that is used to wipe out a still. A thumper is a piece of equipment located between the boiler and the coil that distills mash and redistills the alcohol that is discharged from the boiler. Informally known as a “doubler,” a “thumper keg,” or a “thumper barrel.” Turnip Still– An old-fashioned still pot with a circular, squat shape
  • It is used for distilling. Worm– A coil of wire immersed in a container filled with water. In the coil, alcoholic-laced steam condenses to form a liquid state. Before utilizing yeast to manufacture beer, a yeast starter is used to stimulate cell activity or increase the number of yeast cells in the starter before using the yeast to make beer. Usually, the yeast will develop in this lesser volume for 1-2 days, after which it may be put to 5 gallons of wort to ferment.
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Methanol – Will Moonshine Make You Blind?

When a commercial distiller manufactures moonshine (such as Ole’ Smokey or Sugarlands), a very serious safety risk is the possibility of manufacturing a deadly substance. In contrast to popular belief, professionally produced moonshine will not cause blindness or death or even a nasty hangover if some simple safety steps are observed and followed. What may cause someone to become blind from drinking moonshine will be discussed in greater detail in the following article, which will also show how a professional distiller can be absolutely, certainly, 100 percent certain that this will not happen.

Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information contained in this paper is intended solely for educational purposes.

Methanol Toxicity

When it comes to moonshine, the dangerous stuff to look out for is methyl alcohol (methanol) (or any distilled spirit for that matter). Purified methanol is extremely hazardous, and it has been proven to cause blindness and even death in some cases. Pure methanol at concentrations as low as 10 mL can cause blindness, and as high as 30 mL can cause death in severe cases. A shot glass holds 30 milliliters of liquid, which is the same quantity of liquid as 30 milliliters.

How is Methanol Produced?

Methanol can be found in naturally occurring quantities in various fruits and vegetables. It is also possible that it will be created as an accidental consequence of the fermentation process. methanol is more likely to be found in spirits distilled from fruits such as apples, oranges, and grapes than in others. Methanol may be found in small amounts in both beer and wine. According to studies, wine may contain as much as 329 mg/L of alcohol, whereas lager may have as little as 16 mg/L of alcohol.

Why is Methanol A Concern for Distillers?

So why is wine possibly unsafe to consume after it has been distilled, even if it contains methanol and does not represent a risk of methanol poisoning? The distinction is that the methanol concentration in a given amount of wine (say, 5 gallons) is uniformly distributed across the whole volume of wine. More than 5 gallons, or 28 bottles, would be required for someone to drink a quantity that may be considered potentially harmful. Because methanol has a lower boiling point than ethanol and water, it is concentrated at the beginning of the distillation process.

Methyl alcohol has a boiling point of around 148 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much lower than that of ethanol (the good stuff).

This is why professional distillers always discard the very first drop of shine that they make from each manufacturing run they undertake (more on this below). Here are a few instances of the hazards associated with methanol use:

  • There could be as much as 8 milliliters of methyl alcohol in the first jar after distilling 5 gallons of wine with the abovementioned methanol concentration (329 mg/L), which could be potentially hazardous in high concentrations
  • If the wine contained the abovementioned methanol concentration (329 mg/L) and was distilled, there could be as much as 5 gallon of methyl alcohol in the first jar after distilling
  • If you scale this up to a 100-gallon batch that is distilled all at the same time in a large still, a commercial distiller may possibly be in for a very huge problem if the methanol is not dumped during the process. The distillation of 100 gallons of wine with 329 mg/L of methanol might result in a concentration of 40ml of methanol, which could be lethal if consumed in its whole
  • Nevertheless, it is not recommended.

How to Remove Methanol from Moonshine

There could be as much as 8 milliliters of methyl alcohol in the first jar after distilling 5 gallons of wine with the abovementioned methanol concentration (329 mg/L), which could be potentially hazardous in high concentrations; if the wine contained the abovementioned methanol concentration (329 mg/L) and was distilled, there could be as much as 5 gallon of methyl alcohol in the first jar after distilling.

If you scale this up to a 100-gallon batch that is distilled all at the same time in a large still, a commercial distiller may possibly be in for a very huge problem if the methanol is not eliminated throughout the distillation.

  • 1 gallon batch – discard the first 2/3 of a shot glass from the beginning of the batch
  • 5 gallon batch – discard the first 1/3 of a pint jar from the beginning of the batch
  • In a ten gallon batch, discard the first 3/4 of a pint jar of the mixture.

It’s a good idea to always follow this rule of thumb, regardless of the current temperature. Even though the first batch does not include methanol, the first batch that comes out of the still tastes and smells like rubbing alcohol. Nobody will be impressed by this, as it is by far the weakest material produced over the whole course of the show. It is impossible for a professional distiller to consume or sell the first product generated by a still. For more detail on this subject, please see our article ” Making Moonshine – The Dummies’ Guide “.

Check out the 10 most critical safety recommendations for distillers for much more information about safety.

How to “Cut” your Alcohol Distilling Run

Alcohol distillation is a centuries-old process that is both an art and a science, according to some scholars. It’s simple, but not as simple as simply turning on the computer and sitting back to watch it work. In order to produce the safest and finest tasting spirit possible, conscientious distillers understand that they must monitor temperature control when distilling, as well as the finished product – the distillate. When it comes to creating a high-quality result, one of the professionals’ secrets is their meticulous and accurate “cutting” during the still’s run.

It is necessary to “cut” the alcohol stream flowing from the condenser coil when moving between jars that contain distillate and those that are empty.

The Four Stages of Your Moonshine Run

Some old wives’ tales claim that moonshine would “make you go blind.” You may have heard something similar. Despite the fact that this is an exaggeration, it is true that moonshine that has not been properly prepared might make you sick. Read our guide on how to distill whiskey and moonshine to acquire a better understanding of the safety precautions you should take at every stage of the process. Keep an eye out for the different types of alcohols that are created during the various phases of your moonshine production so that you can avoid establishing a bad reputation for your moonshine by selling it to those who think it’s harmful.

Even if you need to use numerous containers for each stage of the run, this is OK. Only a change of containers should be considered a “cut” if you are transitioning from one stage of the run to another.

The Foreshots

At each stage of the race, different types of alcohol are vaporized and sucked into a collection cup at the finish line. Fine, high-quality moonshine is made from ethanol, which boils at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit when heated to a boiling point. The boiling point of other chemicals and alcohols, such as methanol, is much lower, and the resulting condensed liquid will gather in your cup or jar after being condensed in the coil. These compounds are extremely toxic. The presence of these contaminants in your moonshine (or whatever alcohol you’re distilling) will not only degrade the flavor of your product, but they may also make people very unwell.

If you reach this temperature, the ethanol in the wash will begin to evaporate, and you may be confident that the distillate collected before this point includes the majority of the methanol and other hazardous chemicals.

In this initial container, you will find all of the distillate that has been gathered before your run reaches this certain temperature.

Making the incision a bit later rather than early ensures that all of the potentially harmful substances are removed from the process.

The Heads

You will be distilling actual spirits as the temperature continues to rise. Even though the temperature in the still’s pot is rising to between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit, the distillate will still contain significant amounts of non-ethanol chemicals that can be used to give your final product a bit more “bite” and flavor if used in conjunction with other ingredients such as spices. This may be great for a product such as whiskey or Scotch, because the complexity of those alcoholic beverages is derived from the mixing of several trace compounds.

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The temperature range for the second cut you will make in your run will be between 185 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make a note of the heads and save them away for future distillation, or blend the appropriate quantity with the final distillate to flavor the alcohol to your liking.

The optimal strategy is to make this cut a bit later rather than earlier, and to gather some of the hearts with your heads rather than the other way around.

The Hearts

The distillate with the highest concentration of ethanol is the most desirable section of the run. This phase of your run is referred to as the “hearts” section. Many professionals and long-time distillers agree that this is the section of the run that takes place between around 190 degrees Fahrenheit and approximately 200 or 205 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. Without a doubt, it is dependent on the still. Despite the fact that ethanol has a boiling point of 175 degrees Fahrenheit, the mash in your still does not contain pure ethanol.

The hearts will most likely account for about 30 percent or so of the overall amount of your booze run’s ultimate tally.

It is usually preferable to perform this incision as soon as feasible in order to maintain the hearts as clean as possible. In this case, it is preferable to combine some hearts with your tails rather than some tails with your hearts.

The Tails

When the temperature of the run hits around 205 degrees Fahrenheit, it is possible that more steam will enter your distillate. There may also be other compounds present in the distillate that burn at a higher temperature than ethanol, which might impart a flavor to this component of the distillate that isn’t precisely what you were looking for. This section of the run is referred to as the “tails,” and it can account for as much as 20-30 percent of your entire distance. Remove the tails and set them aside for further distillation.

It is safe to cut off the heat source for your still after the temperature in the pot of your still hits 212 degrees.

Continue to collect whatever distillate comes out of the condenser coil, but it is not worth it to boil the water in order to extract every drop of alcohol from the alcohol wash, since this would waste time and energy.

Allow your still to cool completely before disassembling, cleaning, and storing it in preparation for your next use.

The “Feints”

More steam may enter your distillate once the temperature of the run hits around 205 degrees Fahrenheit (or so). Additionally, there may be other compounds present that burn at a higher temperature than ethanol, which might result in a flavor in this component of the distillate that isn’t precisely what you were looking for. Runs with “tails” can account for as much as 20-30 percent of your overall time on the course, depending on the distance. Remove the tails and set them away for further distillation later on.

When the temperature in the pot of your still hits 212 degrees, you may proceed to switch off the heat source for your still without delay.

The distillate that comes out of the condenser coil can be kept for as long as you like, but it’s not worth heating the water in order to extract every drop of alcohol from the alcohol wash.

Allow your still to cool completely before disassembling, cleaning, and storing it in preparation for your next run or session.

How Moonshine Works

There needs to be a compelling reason for going through all of the bother of manufacturing moonshine in the first place. Several factors contributed to this, but they all boil down to one thing: government control of the alcoholic beverage industry. Moonshining was practiced very early in the history of the United States. A short time after the Revolution, the United States found itself in the difficult position of having to pay for the costs of fighting a protracted war. The answer was to impose a federal tax on alcoholic beverages and spirits.

  1. As a result, they decided to just continue creating their own whisky while fully disregarding the government tax.
  2. It was possible for farmers to survive a difficult year by distilling their maize into lucrative whiskey, and the additional revenue made a tough frontier living practically tolerable.
  3. When federal agents (known as ” Revenuers “) came around to collect the tax, they were assaulted, and some were tarred and feathered, according to the report.
  4. President George Washington convened an assembly of militiamen under federal authority at the request of the president.
  5. In the case of the Whisky Rebellion, it was the first significant test of federal power for the newly formed federal government.
  6. Because excise duties on alcoholic beverages did not disappear, moonshiners continued to have an incentive to operate outside the law.
  7. As the government attempted to collect the excise tax in order to support the Civil War, the intensity of these fights increased in the 1860s.

The moonshiners’ tactics became increasingly desperate and vicious as time went on, frightening residents who might be able to provide information about the locations of stills and attacking IRS inspectors and their families.

As the United States entered the twentieth century, the temperance movement, which aimed to prohibit the use of alcoholic beverages, gained momentum.

In 1920, Prohibition became law in the United States.

All of a sudden, there was no legal alcoholic beverage accessible.

Moonshiners were unable to keep up with demand, resulting in the production of cheaper, sugar-based moonshine as well as watered-down moonshine as a result.

Asspeakeasies became built in every city as organized crime flourished – these secret saloons were equipped with concealed doors, passwords, and escape routes in the event that the “Feds” arrived there to perform a raid.

Although moonshine remained to be a concern for federal authorities throughout the 1960s and 1970s, today’s courts handle only a small number of cases involving unlawful alcoholic beverages.

As a result, while several counties in the southern and midwestern United States remained “dry” (i.e., alcohol-free) for decades following the end of national Prohibition, even those localized liquor laws have mostly been abolished.

One of the primary reasons for the existence of moonshining is the desire to defy the authority of the federal government.

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

There have been many other names given to moonshine throughout the years, including “rot gut,” “white lightnin’,” and “corn liquor.” Moonshine is defined as “intoxicating liquor, particularly illegally produced maize whiskey,” according to the dictionary. A “moonshiner” is defined as “a person who manufactures or sells illegal whiskey.” The European form is “whisky” (the American version is whiskey), which is derived from the Gaelic phrase for “water of life” that means “water of life.” The water of life, often known as unlawful, illicit whiskey, has been a part of global history and lore for thousands of years, and it is still a tradition in the southern United States of America today.

  1. Oklahoma is no different, with many citizens having a long history of illicit booze production, distribution, and use.
  2. Thus, the fundamental motivation for illegally producing whiskey has been to avoid paying taxes on the alcohol produced.
  3. Many Scotch-Irish settlers, who not only drank whiskey but also distilled it and sold it for a living, felt that the levy was unfair and discriminatory.
  4. They were taken into custody, but President George Washington eventually released them.
  5. In order to avoid paying the tax, many distillers in the 1870s chose to bribe revenue collectors and politicians at all levels of government in order to avoid paying it.
  6. In the end, Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow was responsible for breaking the ring, which was one of numerous scandals that occurred during President Ulysses S.
  7. It was against federal law to sell or distribute alcohol to American Indians in Indian Territory, according to federal law.

Over the next two decades, the amount of liquor trade increased to the point where the authors of the 1907 state constitution placed a restriction on the sale of all alcoholic drinks.

Following the lifting of national prohibition in 1933, the state government, inspired by religious conservatism, issued a legislation stating that no alcoholic beverages with an alcohol percentage level more than 3.2 beer may be sold in Oklahoma.

Moonshine is an alcoholic beverage created from fermented grains or mash.

A distiller’s own preference for other components, like as yeast, malt, and sugar, influences the final product (moonshiner).

Cooking sugar generally produces a sweet aroma in the air while it cooks, which is pleasant.

The final product has traditionally been “bottled” and sold in jars similar to those used for canning fruit.

Because it was illegal to sell 3.2 beer in places where dancing was permitted, the bootlegger quickly established himself as a common sight at dance halls.

However, rather than retailing moonshine, the majority of bootleggers sold booze that had been lawfully produced and bottled in other states and “imported” into their state from elsewhere.

It was possible to acquire the “jake leg” or “jake walk,” a permanent, debilitating condition that caused a leg to be pulled into an almost useless position, by consuming moonshine distilled with Jamaican ginger or by consuming Jamaican ginger, which was typically 70 percent alcohol, in large quantities.

Jamaican ginger also included a number of potentially hazardous compounds.

A number of moonshiners in the late twentieth century employed a variety of procedures and additional chemicals, such as lye, battery acid, or other caustics, to abbreviate the distillation and aging times of their spirits.

Oklahoma has a substantial market for non-taxed and unlawful alcoholic drinks like as home brew, moonshine, Choc beer, and/or other illicit alcoholic beverages.

In Oklahoma, the custom of moonshining has survived into the twenty-first century. Guy Logsdon is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom. Other terms to consider: CHOCOLATE BEER, FOLKLIFE, FOODWAYS, PROHIBITION


The Second Oldest Profession: An Informal History of Moonshining in America (Jess Carr, The Second Oldest Profession: An Informal History of Moonshining in America) (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 1972). Born Sober: Prohibition in Oklahoma, 1907–1959 (Jimmie Lewis Franklin, Born Sober) (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971). Moonshine: Its History and Folklore (Esther Kellner, Moonshine: Its History and Folklore) (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1971).

Portuguese Copper Alembic

Distillation is utilized in a variety of applications, including the extraction of essential oils and the distillation of alcoholic beverages. Despite the fact that our Copper Alembics are ideally suited for these purposes, some care should be taken to avoid bodily damage as a consequence of neglect or the continued consumption of substandard results. Distillation is a fundamental chemical science that entails the separation of a chemical substance into its constituent parts based on the difference in boiling points between the constituent parts of each fraction.

  1. The vapors are then directed into a condenser, where they are cooled and restored to their original liquid condition.
  2. It is likely that the more volatile components or fractions with a lower boiling point would evaporate first, leading to vapours that are more enriched in those components or fractions that have the lowest boiling point.
  3. The more volatile constituents, such as acetone, methanol, and the different esters, are undesirable; methanol, for example, has been shown to cause blindness in certain individuals.
  4. Separate and discard the first 50ml of the solution.
  5. If you are using a conventional alembic, these fractions are known as foreshots or heads and are distilled first before the rest of the distillate.
  6. The hearts are responsible for producing the most desirable and best-tasting component of the distillation.
  7. In order to define cut off points, experienced distillers utilize their senses.

The distillate’s heart component (the ethanol) should be completely clear and odorless, with no discernible flavor or odor.

If the collecting process is prolonged for an extended period of time, these substances might taint the flavor of the spirit.

This is accomplished by collecting a few drips on the back of a spoon on a regular basis and seeing how it tastes or appears on a consistent basis.

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In addition to temperature (see ourbrass thermometer) and oralcoholometer data, cutoff criteria can be created depending on other factors.

It is not required to continue the distillation process when the vapour temperature approaches 98° C, because the majority of the alcohol has already been distilled at that point.

It is recommended that tails be 25 percent alcohol and grain washes be 18 percent alcohol as a general rule, but this is not a hard and fast rule, and the distiller will need to experiment with these percentages to get the ideal flavor profile.

In addition, a second distillation may be used to further concentrate the flavor. In a fruit mash, the cutoff value for a second distillation can be as low as 60 percent of the original volume. In the case of grain washes, a cutoff limit of 58 percent or higher may be determined.


Since the late eighteenth century, Georgians have been distilling moonshine. Production of this crop was essential in the state’s agrarian economy throughout the colonial and pre-bellum times, and it continues to be so now. It became a cottage business to distill apples, maize, or peaches into whiskey, brandy, or other alcoholic beverages, allowing farmers to supplement their income with more income. Despite the fact that moonshining is most commonly linked with the hilly region of north Georgia, farmers all around the state engaged in the activity.

  • Moonshine manufacture is a time-consuming procedure, but it is not so complicated that guys with little means would be unable to do it successfully.
  • As part of the fermentation process, the starches found in the grain (or the fruit) are broken down into sugars, and then the sugars are converted into alcohol by the yeast.
  • The distillation process is required to complete the transformation of the fermented mash into alcohol itself.
  • The vapor is then transformed back to liquid form.
  • Still is the term used to describe to the equipment itself.
  • Producers found that they might make more money by distilling surplus crop yields into maize whiskey or apple and peach brandy and selling the resulting products to consumers.
  • Georgians during the Antebellum period regarded distillers as well-respected members of the community, and they were outraged when the federal government attempted to put a tax on liquor making in the 1790s.

Moonshine “Wars”

As a means of balancing the national budget during the Civil War (1861-65), the United States Congress established the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to collect taxes on alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other “luxuries.” When Georgians returned to the Union following World War II, they discovered that they were liable to this federal liquor tax. Many moonshine producers, the majority of whom were small farmers, refused to either cease their moonshine operations or pay the tax levied on their products.

  1. Due to the fact that they operated their illegal stills at night, these individuals became known as “moonshiners.” This sparked a highly publicized conflict in north Georgia between moonshiners and revenuers, who were federal agents tasked with enforcing the federal liquor laws at the time.
  2. In the early 1870s, the Ku Klux Klan joined up with them in order to battle the Internal Revenue Service.
  3. After moonshiners who resisted revenue agents used brutal tactics, the public’s perception of distillers began to shift in favor of them.
  4. As a result of their sentiments, the temperance movement, which was led primarily by evangelicals, women, and journalists in the 1880s, gained momentum, encouraging Georgians to abstain from drinking and to accept federal liquor taxation as a means of reducing alcohol consumption.
  5. By 1900, many communities in north Georgia had stopped supporting the moonshining activity that was taking place in their midst.
  6. This era began in 1919 with the passage of The Eighteenth Amendment to The Constitution and its implementation in 1920 by the Volstead Act, which declared all alcohol manufacturing and consumption to be unlawful.
  7. Gangsters quickly gained control of the market, establishing elaborate moonshining networks and coercing farmers into operating stills on their behalf.
  8. Other mountain counties, such as Gilmer, Lumpkin, and Pickens, rose to prominence as major moonshine producers during the 1930s and 1940s.
  9. So-called trippers in Dawson, Union, and other counties developed high-performance automobiles known as “tanker cars” (most often 1940 Fords) in order to elude revenue officers.

Such car chases frequently resulted in the death of either the moonshiner or the revenuer on the run. As a result of these high-powered automobiles and high-speed chases, the sport known today as stock car racing arose (NASCAR).

Portrayals of Moonshiners

Moonshiners had become reckless criminals as a result of their involvement in such blockade running, and they were more concerned with generating money than they were with producing high-quality whiskey. Zell Miller, former Georgiagovernor, describes the changes he witnessed in the business environment in and around his home county ofTowns in his memoir, The Mountains Within Me, which contains a whole chapter on the issue. It was discovered that fewer local families were involved in liquor trafficking, and those who were had evolved into “a breed distinct from their ancestors for whom making whiskey was a personal custom-sanctioned activity that was incidental to their total livelihood rather than a calculated, law-breaking enterprise.” Also prevalent in the autobiographical writing written by other Georgians is the story of the moonshiners’ plight.

  1. Dedicated to his maternal grandfather, Charlie Bundrum, whose bootleg whiskey operation in and around Floyd County in the 1930s and 1940s was one of numerous enterprises through which he maintained his large, impoverished family, Rick Bragg’s second novel Ava’s Man is dedicated to him.
  2. In recent years, some Georgians have written about their relatives’ run-ins with the authorities.
  3. The Ecology of a Cracker Childhood is a book on the ecology of crackers.
  4. She was placed on probation by a court in Brunswick, and she never sold another drop of alcohol again.
  5. Historically, moonshining activity has declined significantly after 1960.
  6. They conceal their illicit stills in private residences and barns, which revenuers (who now operate under the supervision of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) must access with a search warrant.
  7. Because moonshine includes impurities and poisons, including lead, it is potentially lethal if consumed in large quantities.

People from lower socioeconomic classes have suffered the most, because moonshine is incredibly affordable, and because illicit distributors may choose low-income communities to market their goods.

How to Make the Smoothest Mash Recipe for Moonshine

I’ve been producing moonshine for more than two decades and have experimented with a variety of formulas and measuring techniques. In spite of the fact that I have tried with every sort of ingredient possible, the smoothest mash I have ever prepared is so basic that it will take your breath away. The following dish is also suitable for those who are new to cooking. This recipe does not rely on complicated components to break down starch chains into sugars, as is the case with many others. This dish is quite easy to make.

The key weapon is sweet feed, as you may have guessed.


Why is the mash recipe so important?

When it comes to the flavor of the whiskey, the mash is by far the most crucial thing to consider. Consider the following scenario: you go on a whiskey run and the whiskey turns out to be 110 proof. This indicates that it contains 55 percent alcohol. As a result, the remaining 45 percent is made up of the water that came from the mash. As a result, the final product is significantly influenced by the mash. The entire amount of the mash produced by this recipe, including the grains, is 30 gallons.

Smoothest Mash Recipe Ingredients

Feed that is delicious (unpelletized) Chopped maize, sweetened with sugar, and flavored with eastwater Are you looking for more mashed potatoes recipes? Obtain 20 free moonshine recipes delivered directly to your inbox! Take advantage of 20 tried-and-true recipes that are simple, tasty, and time-saving. After you’ve gathered your supplies, you’ll need to figure out how many gallons you’ll need to make your batch. Using varied size recipes for mash batches, I’ve constructed the chart below, which is measured in gallons.

Moonshine Batch Sizing Table

Gallons Grains (gallons) Yeast (Tbsp) Sugar (lbs)
30 5 6 25
20 3.5 4 16
10 2 2 8
5 1 1 4
2.5 .5 .5 2

Step-By-Step Guide To Making Moonshine

When you crack the grains, you are softening them and allowing the flavor to come through. To make the stock, fill a big pot with five gallons of water (an outside turkey fryer pot works well). Bring this water to a temperature of 160 degrees. I make use of a gas stove that I keep outside. The mash will be cooked in a large saucepan. In particular, I recommend the Bayou Classics propane burner since it is quite sturdy and features an adjustable regulator for temperature control. It’s the only one I use at the moment.

  1. Wait for the water to reach its proper temperature before mixing one part sweet feed to two parts corn in a 5 gallon bucket until it is completely full.
  2. Using the above example, a 5 gallon bucket of grains would contain 66 percent maize (3.3 gallons) and 33 percent sweet feed (1.66 gallons).
  3. I use a one-gallon scoop to make the process go more quickly.
  4. Now is the time to add the grains and lower the heat to maintain 160 degrees for 45 minutes.
  5. 1 part sweet feed to 2 parts chopped corn is an excellent ratio.
  6. Throughout this eBook, I will guide you step-by-step through the whole process, from selecting equipment to sipping your very own homebrewed whiskey.

I’ve included my time-tested, beginner-friendly corn whiskey recipe, which I devised to be exceedingly easy and very smooth, and it’s included as well. This eBook is now available for purchase.

Step Two: Mix the Mash

Pour the cracked grains into a 30-gallon container and whisk in 25 pounds of sugar until well combined. When the sugar has completely dissolved, add 15 to 20 gallons of cold water at a time until the mash mix reaches a total volume of 30 gallons (by volume). Sweet feed and yeast pack are added to chopped corn. After hearing from a number of my readers that it can be difficult to get unpelletized sweet feed for this recipe, I developed an ingredients package that you can purchase that has everything you need to mash a 10 gallon batch.

Step Three: Add the Yeast

When the temperature of the mash has cooled to the temperature advised by the yeast manufacturer, you can proceed to add the yeast to it. I’ve discovered that 1 tablespoon of yeast per 5 gallons of mash produces satisfactory results. The greatest results will be obtained with distiller’s yeast. I’ve discovered that the Red Star brand works really well and is extremely reasonably priced. Red Star Yeast is difficult to come by in your area, but you can order it from Amazonhere.

Step Four: Let the Mash Ferment

All that remains is for you to wait. Allow for approximately a week for the mash to do its thing. It is finished until you can no longer see the bubbling that is created by the yeast as it releases carbon dioxide from the mash. Once the fermentation process is complete, filter the liquid to remove the spent particles and transfer the liquid to your still for further processing. The wash is the name given to the last liquid. The only thing you want to do is put the wash into the still. That’s all there is to it!

In case you’re interested in making your own DIY project on a budget, I’ve created a two-part video lesson that you can watch: A prefabricated still kit for home usage, like as this one from Vanell, is also available on Amazon.


I hope you have liked this post and that you will find the recipe to be simple and enjoyable to prepare! You will thoroughly love the exceptionally smooth whiskey that is produced by this mash. Just keep in mind that moonshine production is both an art and a science, and your first batch will almost certainly not be flawless, and your second batch will almost certainly not be either. Nonetheless, if you persist with it and master the intricacies of your still, you will soon become an expert in the art of moonshining production!

Good luck with your stilling!

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