The Foreshots The alcohol that makes fine, high-quality moonshine, is ethanol, which boils at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Other chemicals and types of alcohols, such as methanol, boil at lower temperatures and will be collected in your cup or jar after being condensed in the coil.
What should the temperature of a still be to make moonshine?
- You will often start to see some product dripping from your still when the Head / Column temperature reaches 56 Celsius. But generally the temperature range that you want to collect Moonshine within is between 78-82 °C and we generally stop collecting the distillate once we start getting fusels coming out.
- 1 What temperature is best for moonshine mash?
- 2 How much alcohol can you get from 5 gallons of mash?
- 3 What temperature does methanol boil?
- 4 Should you stir during fermentation?
- 5 How much is a gallon of moonshine worth?
- 6 How much head do you throw away when distilling?
- 7 How can you tell if moonshine is safe to drink?
- 8 What temp should Moonshine be cooked at?
- 9 How do you test homemade alcohol for methanol?
- 10 What kind of corn is best for moonshine?
- 11 Can you use cracked corn for moonshine?
- 12 What kind of water do you use to cut moonshine?
- 13 Distillation Temperature
- 14 The Boiling Temperature of Ethanol
- 15 Should a Still Start Producing Alcohol At 174 Degrees Fahrenheit?
- 16 Should a Still Maintain a Constant Temperature During Distillation?
- 17 Where Should a Thermometer Be Installed on a Still?
- 18 Should Vapor Temperature and Wash Temperature be the Same?
- 19 How to Use Temperature During Distilling
- 20 Still Temperature Guide For Making Moonshine – Learn to Moonshine
- 21 Distilling and Temperature Control
- 22 Temperature Safety When Distilling
- 23 How to Monitor Temperature
- 24 Why is Distilling Temperature Important?
- 25 Tips for Temperature Control:
- 26 Controlling Your Heat and Boiler Temperature vs. Vaporization
- 27 Boiler Temperature vs. Speed of Vaporization
- 28 Why you need to control the rate of vaporization
- 29 Ways to control your heat source
- 30 Using a Pot Still: Where To Make Your Cuts
- 31 Making Moonshine
- 32 Be the First to Share
- 33 How to Make Moonshine:A Distillers Guide For Corn Moonshine
- 34 Getting Started: Picking Your Type of Moonshine Mash
- 35 How to Make Moonshine: Corn Mash Recipe
- 36 How To Make Moonshine: Distilling
- 37 How To Make Moonshine: Collecting Your Distillate
- 38 Conclusion
- 39 Distillation – The science of distillation
- 40 The Heads
- 41 The heart (or spirit)
- 42 The Tails
What temperature is best for moonshine mash?
The higher the temperature, the faster the rate of fermentation, but the lower the alcoholic yield. The optimum temperature is 78º F. Never exceed 90º F.
How much alcohol can you get from 5 gallons of mash?
For the instant gratification seekers in the crowd, here’s the short answer: A 1 gallon run will yield 3-6 cups of alcohol. A 5 gallon run will yield 1-2 gallons of alcohol. A 8 gallon run will yield 1.5-3 gallons of alcohol.
What temperature does methanol boil?
For example, for every 1 gallon of water, you would use 1 pound of sugar, and 1 pound of corn meal. So for a 5 gallon mash (which is recommended for your first batches of moonshine) you would use 5 gallons of water, 5 pounds of corn meal, and 5 pounds of sugar.
Should you stir during fermentation?
You should not stir your homebrew during fermentation, in most cases, as it can contaminate the beer with outside bacteria, wild yeast, and oxygen which leads to off-flavors or spoilage. Stirring can have disastrous potential to ruin your beer in a variety of ways.
How much is a gallon of moonshine worth?
It costs around $8 per gallon for the sugar and wheat to make the moonshine. The selling price is around $25 a gallon if sold in bulk, or $40 for retail price.
How much head do you throw away when distilling?
Always discard the foreshots — they make up around 5% or less of the product collected during a run. Throw out the first 30 ml on a 1 gallon run, the first 150 ml on a 5 gallon run, or the first 300 ml on a 10 gallon run. Heads come off of the still directly after the foreshots. Simply put, they taste and smell bad.
How can you tell if moonshine is safe to drink?
How to Test for Purity. 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.”
What temp should Moonshine be cooked at?
The alcohol that makes fine, high-quality moonshine, is ethanol, which boils at a temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Other chemicals and types of alcohols, such as methanol, boil at lower temperatures and will be collected in your cup or jar after being condensed in the coil.
How do you test homemade alcohol for methanol?
Add 25 drops of iodine solution to each alcohol. Add 10 drops of sodium hydroxide solution to each alcohol. Gently swirl the test tubes a few times. The dark colour of the iodine should start to fade.
What kind of corn is best for moonshine?
The kind of corn for moonshine that we recommend is cracked, dry yellow corn, and yes, it’s field corn. It should be a good grade corn that is relatively clean.
Can you use cracked corn for moonshine?
What Type of Corn Should I use in my Moonshine? Our favorite type of corn to be used in moonshine is cracked, dry yellow corn. This type of corn is considered field corn and it needs to be clean and food-grade. It is recommended to use air dried corn rather than gas dried.
What kind of water do you use to cut moonshine?
One of the most important tips I can give to moonshiners is to always use distilled water for making moonshine wash. It’s no secret that tap water contains a plethora of chemicals, some of which includes chlorine, chlorate, bromate and fluoride.
The article “How are Commercial Spirits Made? ” is highly recommended prior to reading this one, since it gives an excellent summary of the concept of distillation. Continue reading if you are already familiar with the fundamentals. Before we get started, here’s a little reminder: If you do not have a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as the necessary state permissions, you are prohibited from distilling alcohol. Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information contained in this paper is intended solely for educational purposes.
The Boiling Temperature of Ethanol
We receive a large number of queries concerning distillation and temperature control. According to a large amount of evidence, the boiling temperature of ethanol is 174 degrees Fahrenheit. The truth is that this is only half true. Pure ethanol has a boiling temperature of 174 degrees Fahrenheit. ethanol in a wash, which is to say ethanol combined with water, boils at a temperature that is fully dependent on the ratio of ethanol to water. The boiling temperature increases in direct proportion to the amount of water present in the solution.
In this case, the boiling point of a solution containing 100 percent ethanol is 174 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is true that the boiling point (liquid) temperature of ethanol in a 50/50 solution of ethanol and water will be around 180 degrees.
Should a Still Start Producing Alcohol At 174 Degrees Fahrenheit?
Frequently asked topics concern distillation and temperature. Lots of material is available that states that the boiling point of alcohol is 174 degrees Fahrenheit. This, however, is only partially correct in this instance. Pure ethanol has a boiling point of 174 degrees Fahrenheit (F). ethanol in a wash, which is to say ethanol combined with water, boils at a temperature that is fully dependent on the ratio of ethanol to water. The boiling temperature increases according to the amount of water in the solution.
Once again, the boiling point of a solution containing 100 percent ethanol is 174 degrees Fahrenheit.
The boiling temperature will be substantially higher, however, if a professional distiller is working with a solution that is 50 percent ethanol and 50 percent water. It is true that the boiling point (liquid) temperature of ethanol is around 180 degrees in a 50/50 mix of ethanol and water.
Should a Still Maintain a Constant Temperature During Distillation?
The following is another question we receive: “Should I maintain the temperature of my still at exactly 174 F during a distillation run?” “No, certainly not,” is the response to this question. Why? The solution, as it turns out, has a lot to do with the chart above. A professional distiller, for example, may begin with a strong wash that contains a beginning alcohol concentration of 20 percent and may predict that ethanol will begin to boil out of the solution after the liquid temperature has reached around 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Assume that halfway through the run, half of the alcohol has been removed from the wash and the wash has a 10 percent alcohol by volume content.
The basic line is that when a still is operated, the temperature continuously rises.
Where Should a Thermometer Be Installed on a Still?
During a distillation run, another question we receive is “should I maintain the temperature of my still at exactly 174 F?” “No, certainly not,” is the response to this. Why? What the chart above demonstrates is that the answer has a lot to do with the chart. A professional distiller, for example, may begin with a strong wash that contains a beginning alcohol concentration of 20 percent and may anticipate that ethanol will begin to boil out of the solution after the liquid temperature has reached around 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Suppose that half of the alcohol in the wash has been removed from it by halfway through the run, and the wash is now at 10 percent alcohol by volume.
It comes down to this: the temperature of a still is always rising as it operates.
Should Vapor Temperature and Wash Temperature be the Same?
The temperature of the vapor and the temperature of the wash should be quite different. As soon as vapor begins to develop in the pot and is forced to migrate up the column, the temperature of the vapor temperature probe at the top of the column (if one is mounted there) will climb from ambient to 175 degrees Fahrenheit in less than a minute. Hypothetically, the boiler thermometer may be reading something like 195 F (again, depending on the starting alcohol) at this stage, while the vapor probe may be reading as low as 175 F.
How to Use Temperature During Distilling
The temperature of the vapor and the temperature of the wash should be significantly different.. As soon as vapor begins to develop in the pot and is forced to migrate up the column, the temperature of the vapor temperature probe at the top of the column (if one is mounted there) will climb from ambient to 175 degrees Fahrenheit in less than one minute. The boiler thermometer may be reading something like 195 F at this stage (again, depending on the starting alcohol) while the vapor probe may be reading as low as 175 F.
This is just an example. Regardless of the temperature differential between the two (boiler and vapor), it is not a significant difference.
Still Temperature Guide For Making Moonshine – Learn to Moonshine
When distilling alcohol, it is critical to keep track of the temperature of the vapor condensing within your still since this will tell you a great deal about the quality of the product that comes out of your pot or reflux still. Below you will find some common boiling points of common materials found in your household, both in Celsius and Fahrenheit.
- The temperature of the vapor condensing within your still is critical when distilling alcohol since it will tell you a lot about the quality of the product that comes out of your pot still or reflux still. Below you will find some common boiling points of common goods found in your mash, expressed in Celsius and Fahrenheit….
Boiling Temperature – Affected By Concentrations Within The Wash
The boiling temperature of “Pure” Ethanol is shown in the table above to be 172 degrees Fahrenheit. When distilling, however, this is not the case since the Ethanol in the wash is diluted by other products, primarily water, which makes it impossible to distill. This has a direct impact on the boiling temperature of the mash; the greater the amount of water in the solution, the higher the boiling temperature of the mash will be. Install a temperature gauge in your boiler and monitor the temperature of your mash as it boils to see what I’m talking about.
This is seen in the figure below, which shows the boiling temperature of ethanol as a function of the concentration of ethanol present in your wash.
What’s the Difference between Vapor Temperature and Wash Temperature?
“Pure” Ethanol has a boiling point of 172 degrees Fahrenheit, as shown in the table above. When distilling, however, this is not the case since the Ethanol in the wash is diluted by other products, primarily water, which makes it less effective. This has a direct impact on the boiling temperature of the mash; the greater the amount of water in the solution, the higher the boiling temperature of the mash. Install a temperature gauge in your boiler and monitor the temperature of your mash while it boils to see what I’m talking about!
This is seen in the figure below, which shows the boiling temperature of ethanol as a function of the concentration of ethanol present in your wash solution.
Making a Mash and Using a Hydrometer to Check the Alcohol Content
Still Head Temperature For Making Moonshine – When To Start And Finish Collecting
Having a good understanding of when to begin collecting moonshine from your still and when to end is essential. When the temperature of the Head / Column hits 56 degrees Celsius, you may frequently notice some product trickling from the bottom of your still. However, the temperature range in which you want to collect Moonshine is often between 78 and 82 degrees Celsius, and we normally stop collecting the distillate once we start seeing fusels coming out of the distillate.
This is more common when the head temperature is greater than 94 degrees Celsius. Head over to ourDistilling 101page to learn more about the process of making moonshine from start to finish.
Distilling and Temperature Control
When distilling, it is critical to maintain precise temperature control. Don’t take a nap while on the job. Distilling alcohol at home is a fun and rewarding process that demands patience and ability to complete. If you want to be the best at something, you must be aware of several critical variables about temperature. Distillation necessitates the use of a lot of heat, and it’s critical to keep that heat under control so that you may distill safely and produce a high-quality product (known as the “distillate”).
Temperature Safety When Distilling
High temperatures are used in the distillation of alcohol, which is typically around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the high temperatures that will be present in your distillation environment, it is important that everyone who will be present is aware of how hot your equipment will become. Controlling and monitoring the temperature will assist you in maintaining the safety of your distillery.
How to Monitor Temperature
The temperature of your still fluctuates depending on where you are standing. There are three critical areas on your still where you should keep an eye on the temperature: the pot boiler, the top of the column, and the condenser coil (see diagram). The temperature of the liquid within the pot boiler will tell you how much liquid is boiling in the mash. Continue to raise the temperature, aiming to keep it between 175 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as feasible. When the temperature hits 212 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the heat.
- Keep an eye on this temperature, keeping an eye out for anything beyond 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When working with a big column still, it is extremely vital to employ a built-in thermometer at the top of the column.
- Cooling the coil with cold running water or ice packs should be done to keep it cool to the touch.
- If the condenser coil ever becomes hot to the touch, immediately stop the distillation process.
Why is Distilling Temperature Important?
As you begin your run, the seams of your still will get tighter due to the natural expansion of the metal caused by the heat.
When the temperature hits roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit, prepare your own flour paste so that you can easily seal the seams with it when the temperature rises. Unless you close the seams of the still quickly, the metal will burn both your fingers and the dough if you wait too long.
2: Tells you when to make your cuts
A variety of liquids boil at a variety of temperatures: while pure ethanol has a boiling point of 174 degrees Fahrenheit, there are additional trace components that boil at slightly lower or higher temperatures than ethanol. By adjusting the temperature of your still, you may gather trace elements in different cuts during your production process. The temperature of the alcohol vapor is used by experienced distillers to create cuts, which is the process of partitioning the distillate into sections.
3: Tells you when your run is ending
Water boils at a greater temperature than alcohol, and when the alcohol evaporates from the pot, there is more water being cooked in the pot overall. To summarize: The more water that boils into steam during your still’s final phases of operation, the longer you run your still and the hotter it gets. There is no need to allow the temperature to rise over 212 degrees Fahrenheit, because it is the temperature at which water boils. When the temperature reaches 205-207 degrees, many distillers will stop their run because they know that the final 10 percent or so of alcohol left in the mash will not be worth it.
4: Tells you about your distillate quality
As a general rule, the longer you run your distillation at temperatures between 175 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit, the more time you will have to produce a substantial volume of distillate of good quality. Without exception, this temperature range generates the purest ethanol, and it will often be the “hearts” cut of your alcohol run, unless there are certain deviations or exceptions.
Tips for Temperature Control:
- Make use of a number of thermometers. The most accurate information comes from monitoring both the boiling temperature within the still’s pot and the temperature at the top of the still’s column. Never use a thermometer that is powered by laser (or infrared). They can bounce off highly polished surfaces (such as copper) and provide erroneous readings, and they also only monitor the surface temperature of the still, not the inside temperature of the vessel. Insulated gloves should be used. Never attempt to grip or make modifications to hot metal without first ensuring that you are safe.
When you keep track of your still’s temperature along with other pertinent information such as your mash recipe, your still’s model number, the distillate’s description and other pertinent information about the run, you can replicate batches that were outstanding and avoid repeating costly mistakes in the future. Make the most of your moonshine still by getting the most out of it every time. Jim Thomas contributed to this article. Photograph courtesy of Eli Christman
Controlling Your Heat and Boiler Temperature vs. Vaporization
There is usually a lot of misunderstanding when I am talking to people about their runs about why they need a heat controller and how they can utilize it to regulate their boil temperature. Simply said, you cannot use it to regulate the temperature of your boiler, but here is a more in-depth explanation of why you require the ability to regulate the temperature of your boiler. Because you are reading this, I am going to assume that you already have a good grasp of basic distillation, and if you don’t, you should brush up on your knowledge because a lot of what follows will probably make no sense to you at all!
Boiler Temperature vs. Speed of Vaporization
Phase Diagram for Ethanol Consequently, let’s begin at the beginning. To boil your mash, you want to take advantage of the fact that alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water (and a lot of other chemicals that you don’t want in your final distillate), resulting in something with a greater alcohol by volume (ABV). It is entirely dependent on the alcohol distillation temperature that the mash will boil at, and based on this ABV, the mash will boil somewhere between the boiling points of ethanol (173 F) and water (212 F), unless you are 9000 ft above sea level like we are, in which case it will boil somewhere in the middle.
- The lower your alcohol by volume (ABV) is, the closer your temperature will be near 212 degrees.
- Please refer to the chart on the right for an illustration of this, and feel free to print it for future reference on the suggested boiler temperature range!
- In most cases, increasing the temperature of your boiler will not result in an increase in this temperature (unless your mash has not yet begun to boil).
- If you still don’t believe me, consider the process of boiling a pot of water on the stove.
- Once it reaches that temperature, it begins to boil, but it does not rise over 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does that make sense? It is for this reason that you must be able to regulate your heat input; you must be able to regulate the rate at which the vapors flow up your column or into the still head.. In the case of a pot still, the explanation is slightly different than in the case of a reflux still.
Why you need to control the rate of vaporization
Diagram of the Ethanol Process Starting at the beginning will be helpful. A higher ABV is achieved by boiling your mash in order to take advantage of the fact that alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water (and a variety of other compounds that you don’t want in your final distillate), which results in a more concentrated finished product. We are 9000 feet above sea level, therefore we have to boil the mash at a temperature that is dependent completely on its alcohol distillation percentage (ABV).
- In general, the higher the alcohol content of your washes, the closer your temperature will be around 173.
- To make matters even more complicated, when you begin to boil the ethanol out of the wash, the ABV of the wash will fall, resulting in a decrease in the temperature at which the wash boils.
- The following must be stressed again: the ABV is the sole factor that will influence the temperature at which your wash will boil (which should be the same as the vapors in the head of your boiler).
- Increased heat will accelerate the pace at which the wash is vaporized, which will result in greater savings (making a liquid change its phase into a gas takes energy).
- Upon reaching that temperature, it begins to boil but does not rise past 212 degrees Celsius.
- What do you think I’m talking about?
- In the case of a pot still as opposed to a reflux still, the explanation is slightly different.
Ways to control your heat source
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, watch our video on the advantages and disadvantages of electric versus gas heat sources. Most novices begin with a propane burner setup since it is less expensive, and this is perfectly OK. However, one of the most common issues we have with propane burners is that they have difficulty operating at a low enough temperature to produce a slow, continuous trickle of distillate from your column. Their built-in venturi helps to draw in new air for combustion, but when you set the still down this low, the venturi no longer functions effectively, causing the flame to burn yellow instead of blue (and to deposit a thick layer of soot on the bottom of the boiler) owing to a lack of oxygen.
Thermostat controllers are the first to be discussed since they are the ones that are most frequently mishandled.
As previously stated, the temperature of the boiling wash is controlled by the ABV in the wash, not by the heat source you are using.
Even if you manage to dial it in to the exact temperature at which the wash will boil, it will cycle on and off, creating surges of distillate that will cause havoc with the way a reflux still runs, leading it to malfunction.
It is primarily for this reason that thermostat controllers are useful: they allow you to bring the still up to almost-boiling temperature and maintain it there until you return to complete the run, or they allow you to shut the still down once it reaches a temperature that indicates you are into your tails.
- These controls are not perfect, just as the thermostat controls are not perfect.
- However, they do have the advantage of being programmable.
- Even though these relays are rather sophisticated, I’ll make an attempt to explain them.
- Because we are using 60 Hz electricity, we are essentially cycling the heating element on and off 60 times per second without having to actually turn on and off the SSR 60 times.
- It is vital to remember, however, that as you boil the ethanol out of your wash, the amount of energy required to generate the same column of vapor increases (since the water content is increased and water takes more energy to vaporize than ethanol).
Sorry for dumping so much information on you all at once, but I hope it was helpful in clearing some things out for you. Let us know if you have any further questions in the comments section below!
Using a Pot Still: Where To Make Your Cuts
If you haven’t already, watch our video on the advantages and disadvantages of electric versus natural gas heat sources to get started. It is perfectly OK for most novices to begin with a propane burner arrangement simply because it is less expensive. Most propane burners, however, have a serious difficulty with being able to maintain a low enough temperature to allow a slow, continuous trickle of distillate to flow out of the column. Their built-in venturi helps to draw in fresh air for combustion, but when you turn the still down this low, the venturi no longer functions properly and the flame will burn yellow instead of blue (as well as leaving all kinds of soot on the bottom of your boiler) due to the lack of oxygen in the room.
Thermostat controllers are the first to be discussed since they are the ones that we see the most frequently being mishandled by people.
Remember that the temperature of the boiling wash is controlled by the ABV in it, not by your heat source, as we previously said.
Although you may be able to fine-tune it to the exact temperature at which the wash is expected to boil, it will cycle on and off, creating surges of distillate that may cause havoc with the way a reflux still functions.
It is primarily for this reason that thermostat controllers are useful: they allow you to bring the still up to almost-boiling temperature and maintain it there until you return to complete the run, or they allow you to shut down the still once it reaches a temperature that indicates you are into your tails.
- These controls are not optimal, much as with thermostat controls.
- The upside is that they can be programmed, which is a bonus.
- Despite the fact that these relays are rather sophisticated, I will attempt to explain them.
- Because we are using 60 Hz electricity, we are essentially cycling the heating element on and off 60 times per second without having to actually turn on and off the SSR 60 times each minute.
- It is vital to remember, however, that as you boil the ethanol out of your wash, the amount of energy required to generate the same column of vapor increases (since the water content is increased and water takes more energy to vaporize than ethanol).
Because of this, you will need to turn your heat source on and off periodically over the length of your run. Sorry for dumping so much information on you all at once, but I hope it has helped to clarify some points. Please let us know if you have any further questions in the comments section below!
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, watch our video on the advantages and disadvantages of electric versus natural gas heat sources. The majority of newbies begin with a propane burner arrangement since it is less expensive, and this is perfectly OK. However, the most common issue we have with propane burners is that they have difficulty operating at a low enough temperature to produce a slow, continuous trickle of distillate from your column. However, when you turn the still down this low, the built-in venturi stops to operate correctly, resulting in a flame that burns yellow instead of blue (and deposits a thick layer of soot on the boiler’s bottom) owing to a lack of oxygen.
Thermostat controllers are the first to be discussed since they are the ones that are most frequently abused.
As previously stated, the temperature of the boiling wash is controlled by the ABV in the wash, not by the heat source.
Even if you manage to adjust it to the exact temperature at which the wash will boil, it will cycle on and off, creating bursts of distillate that will cause havoc with the way a reflux still runs.
It is primarily for this reason that thermostat controllers are useful: they allow you to bring the still up to almost-boiling temperature and maintain it there until you return to complete the run, or they allow you to turn off the still once it reaches a temperature that indicates you are into your tails.
- They are not ideal, just as thermostat controls are not ideal.
- However, they have the advantage of being programmable.
- Even though these relays are pretty sophisticated, I’ll attempt to explain them.
- Because we are using 60 Hz electricity, we are effectively cycling the heating element on and off 60 times per second without really firing the SSR on and off 60 times per second.
- It is crucial to note, however, that as you boil the ethanol out of your wash, it takes more energy to generate the same column of vapor (since the water content is increased and water takes more energy to vaporize than ethanol).
You will still need to turn on your heat source every now and then throughout the duration of your run. Sorry for dumping so much information on you all at once, but I hope it was helpful in clearing some things out. If you have any further queries, please let us know in the comments section below!
As a starting point, if you haven’t already, watch our video on the advantages and disadvantages of electric vs gas heat sources. Most novices begin with a propane burner setup since it is less expensive, and that is perfectly OK. However, the most common issue we have with propane burners is that they have difficulty operating at a low enough temperature to produce a slow, constant trickle of distillate out of your column. Their built-in venturi helps to draw in new air for combustion, but when you set the still down this low, the venturi no longer functions correctly and the flame will burn yellow instead of blue (as well as leaving all kinds of soot on the bottom of your boiler) owing to the lack of oxygen.
- Thermostat controllers are the first to be discussed since they are the ones that are most frequently mistreated.
- As previously stated, the ABV in the wash determines the temperature of the boiling wash, not the heat source.
- Even if you manage to dial it in to the exact temperature at which the wash will boil, it will cycle on and off, creating surges of distillate that will cause havoc with the way a reflux still runs.
- The primary thing that thermostat controllers are helpful for is raising the still to almost-boiling temperature and maintaining it there until you return to complete the run, or shutting the still off once it reaches a higher temperature that should indicate you are into your tails.
- As is the case with thermostat controls, they are not optimal.
- On the bright side, they are programmable, which is a nice feature.
- These relays are extremely intricate, but I’ll attempt to explain them as best I can.
- Because we have 60 Hz electricity, we are effectively cycling the heating element on and off 60 times per second without really firing the SSR on and off 60 times per second.
- It is crucial to remember, however, that as you boil the ethanol out of your wash, it requires more energy to generate the same column of vapor (since the water content is increased and water takes more energy to vaporize than ethanol).
You will still need to turn on your heat source every now and then over the duration of your run. Sorry for dumping so much information on you all at once, but I hope it has helped to clarify some things. Let us know if you have any further questions in the comments section below!
This is where the action is at its most effective. Hearts, also known as your Middle Run, start off at roughly 80 percent alcohol by volume (160 proof) before dropping to 60-65 percent alcohol by volume, or even 40 percent alcohol by volume if you want it stronger. Hearts provide you with the fresh flavor you’re seeking for. You’ll begin collecting hearts when the vapor temperature is around 196°F (91°C) and end when the vapor temperature is approximately 203°F (95°C).
In distillation, tails are the last component of the distillate, consisting of everything that comes out after the temperature of the vapor rises to 203 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius) – 207 degrees Fahrenheit (98 degrees Celsius) The use of tails for blending is popular, although Rick does not suggest it for palatable alcohol owing to the combination of lower alcohol level and increased congener content in tails used “as-is.” It is possible, however, to combine the tails with the heads that aren’t being used and re-distill the mixture to produce neutral spirits.
Again, the temperatures indicated here are excellent guides for beginners, but the more you distill, the more you’ll be able to choose when to make your cuts depending on your own personal preferences in flavor and scent.
More Distilling Info For Beginners
More articles containing tried-and-true advice may be found here. Take a peek if you have the luxury of leisure to go into the rabbit hole. Alternatively, you may view our full blog by clicking here.
Making Moonshine Isn’t That Difficult After All Jason Stone contributed to this article. Disclaimer: The material contained in this guide is intended only for general informational purposes. The material contained in this handbook is not intended to be legal advice. Whiskey Still Co. makes no representation or warranty that the information is complete or correct in all respects. In no event will Whiskey Still Co. be liable for any mistakes, omissions, or inaccuracies contained in this guide, or for any outcomes obtained as a consequence of the use of the information contained herein.
- nor any of its affiliates shall be liable in any way for any direct, indirect, special, or consequential damages or losses of any kind that may result from the use of this guide or the product.
- shall not be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of your inappropriate use of the product, regardless of the cause.
- A million and one different ways to go about it, and almost all of them are accurate in their own way.
- The goal of this tutorial is to assist a total newbie moonshiner in successfully producing their first batch of moonshine from beginning to end.
- Whether you are interested in whiskey, rum, vodka, or gin, there are many wonderful individuals, websites, and publications available that are chock full of useful knowledge about anything you are interested in learning about.
- Water, sugar, and yeast are the only three components in this recipe, to put it simply.
- The distillation process is based on the following principle: once you have a solution of water and alcohol, you must separate them.
It is theoretically possible that when the temperature of a water-alcohol combination is raised to 174°F (79°C), the alcohol will begin to boil out, but the water will remain too chilly to boil.
Dangers Alcohol flammability:Alcohol is very flammable, and when vaporized, it has the potential to cause an explosion.
Although distillation may be carried out inside, it is not recommended unless you have prior knowledge in the process.
Optic nerve injury caused by methanol: Methanol is a lethal toxin, and even low levels of exposure can induce optic nerve damage (blindness).
While doing so as a precaution and to improve the flavor of your goods is not uncommon, it is recommended that you do so.
Legality: Unless you have the right official authority, distilling alcohol, even for personal consumption, is prohibited (both state and federal).
If you choose to distill unlawfully, you should be aware that if you are found, you may face fines and/or imprisonment as a result of your actions.
If you just want to create 5 or 20 gallons, you may simply half or double the ingredients in the recipe.
If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club nearby, shopping in bulk can save you a lot of money.
There are a couple of choices accessible in this situation.
Another option is to look for old filling buckets that are being given away or sold by local doughnut businesses; they are food quality and incredibly inexpensive; try to find them in 5 gallon quantities.
*Please keep in mind that when producing a 10 gallon mash, mixing is considerably simpler in a container that can hold the entire 10 gallons; but, lifting and transferring the container becomes a massive undertaking.
Making the mash is as follows: 1.Boil approximately 2.5 pounds of potatoes until tender, then mash thoroughly.
Pour hot water into the fermenter until it is half full; any water that you can drink is OK for this recipe, even tap water.
Stir until the powder is completely dissolved.
Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
7.Add enough water to fill the tank to 9 gallons.
A temperature range of 70–90°F (21–32 °C) is OK, but do not exceed 95°F (35°C) or you will kill your yeast.
Stir until the powder is completely dissolved.
You want to make it easy for carbon dioxide gas to exit while also preventing pests from getting in.
11.The mash should begin to fizz or bubble within the first 24 to 48 hours of preparation.
13.Distillery as soon as possible (within 3 days).
The technique begins with a thorough cleaning of the still with hot, soapy water in order to remove any remaining residue.
A vinegar run is the name given to the second phase.
a 1 gallon mix for a 5 gallon still).
It may be necessary to repeat this procedure if the liquid that comes out of the condenser does not appear to be completely clear.
There are a variety of factors that might contribute to discolouration and off-tastes in food.
All have been shown to be non-toxic, however they should be eliminated before preparing a batch of drinking water.
The sacrifice run is the penultimate cleaning step before the final cleaning process.
You will proceed in the same manner as if you were making a drinking run, but you will discard your whole first batch of moonshine in the process.
This is also regarded a rite of passage for young distillers, and it is the all-important christening of the still, for reasons that are not scientific in nature.
2.Never consume alcohol while distilling.
It is possible that this will result in overpressure and an explosion.
It is always preferable to distill in the open air.
2.Pour in the mash, taking care not to allow any sediments that have accumulated at the bottom of the container to enter the still, since this might generate off-flavors in the finished product.
3.Seal the onion top in place with a rubber band.
Another method is to cover the bottom of the onion head with plumber’s Teflon tape before inserting it into the bottom half of the still, as seen in the photo.
5.Keep the condenser at a comfortable temperature.
It’s as simple as inserting the supply line into the condenser and either allowing it to overflow naturally or directing the flow to a kitchen sink or flower garden.
Keep in mind that, while certain plastics are suitable for usage, the majority are not capable of withstanding high quantities of alcohol in a safe manner.
The Runner’s Run Heat the mash until you can hear it bubbling, then reduce the heat to a low setting.
After reaching this position, reduce the heat to half its previous setting and keep an eye on the temperature indicator.
Drips, as well as broken or intermittent streams, are acceptable; nevertheless, a continual stream indicates that the temperature is too high.
When you get your product as near to 173.3°F (78.5°C) as possible, it will be more pure, but it will take longer to distill and will have less flavor.
When you go for your first run, divide the difference in half and aim for 190-194°F (88-90°C) by increasing or decreasing the heat.
Fourth, keep an eye out for leaks.
If any are discovered, just seal the holes with the flour-water mixture, taking care not to burn yourself on the hot vapor that is escaping.
Water that is cold or cool is ideal; water that is lukewarm is a signal that it needs to be colder.
Sixth, you will observe that if you have your heat adjusted appropriately, you will require very little tweaking to bring the run to an end.
At the conclusion of your run, you will note that the temperature of your onion top will quickly drop, as will the amount of moonshine pouring out of the condenser.
This will occur regardless of whether or not the heat is turned on.
7.After the still and mash have been allowed to cool, discard the mash.
8-Wash with dish soap and hot water, then dry with a towel immediately after washing.
A short rinse with water might sufficient if you were planned on running another batch immediately after this one.
I’m simply going to go through a handful of the more prevalent ones right now.
The major goal of this is to increase the amount of alcoholic beverages.
Re-distilling: This is the process of enhancing the proof of a moonshine that has previously been distilled.
Unfortunately, it also destroys the tastes that are pleasant to the palate.
It is just the process of adding tastes and/or sugar into a jar of moonshine in order to improve the taste.
Using a coffee filter, strain the mixture after it has been sitting for a few weeks to remove the debris.
It is part of the procedure that it is held in a charred-oak barrel for a predetermined period of time after it has been distilled.
As the moonshine ages and darkens in color, it will eventually transform into a very basic whiskey.
Do you require further information?
The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible, written by Leon W. Kania, is a reference book for bootleggers in Alaska. Online: Wishing you success and happy distillation! -Jason Stone, author
This book is a distillers’ guide to making moonshine. Moonshine made with corn
How to Make Moonshine:A Distillers Guide For Corn Moonshine
Guide for Distillers on How to Make Moonshine Moonshine from corn
Getting Started: Picking Your Type of Moonshine Mash
When preparing to make a batch of moonshine, we have a number of different mashes from which to pick. For purists, a corn whiskey mash is the only way to make moonshine that is faithful to tradition, smooth, and full of taste. Ingenious corn farmers realized that they might boost their income by distilling their own crop, and they took advantage of the opportunity. This insight paved the way for the development of our beloved booze. Following that is the “Sugar Shine” method, which is becoming increasingly popular, particularly among novices.
- As a result, flavored moonshine has risen in popularity, and it is becoming increasingly widespread.
- With the same amount of maize, you may increase your mash yield by a factor of two.
- In this lesson, we’ll take you through the process of making a classic Corn Whiskey Mash.
- Check out our apple pie moonshine recipe for a step-by-step instruction on how to make apple pie moonshine.
How to Make Moonshine: Corn Mash Recipe
- A five-gallon bucket of water, 8.5 pounds of flaked corn maize, 1.5 pounds of crushed malted barley, yeast, a mash pot, a fermenting bucket, a heat source, a thermometer, and a long spoon.
- Start by placing your mash pot on a heat source and filling it with 5 liters of water
- Heat the water to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. After reaching 165 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the fire and quickly whisk in 8.5 pounds of flaked corn maize. Continue to stir the mixture constantly for 7 minutes. Check the temperature every 5 minutes and stir the mixture for 30 seconds each time until the temperature reaches 152 °F. When the liquid has cooled to 152 degrees Fahrenheit, add 1.5 pounds of Crushed Malted Barley and stir well. Check the temperature every 20 minutes and whisk for 30 seconds until the mixture has cooled to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes many hours for this process to complete on its own, however the addition of an immersion chiller can dramatically shorten this timeframe. When the liquid has cooled to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, add the yeast. Allow for 5 minutes of aeration by pouring the mixture back and forth between two different containers. Fill the fermentation bucket halfway with the mixture. We provide entire kits for them as well as the supplies you’ll need to make them yourself. It is critical to have the bucket, cap, and air-lock on hand at all times. The use of a spigot also makes pouring more convenient.
George Duncan over at Barley and Hops Brewing also has a great video onHow To Make a Great Moonshine Mash.Check it out below!
To correct pH, carefully siphon mash water out of the mixture, making sure to leave behind all solid material and sediment. Pour the mash water into a container and set it aside. It is advised that you strain the mashed potatoes through a cheesecloth at this point. The presence of solid debris in your mash water might result in headaches that you’d want to avoid. (Advanced) This is the stage at which some distillers may add 2 teaspoons of gypsum to their mash water. After that, they do a pH test on their mash water.
Use citric acid to lower the pH of the water, then calcium carbonate to raise it again.
How To Make Moonshine: Distilling
- Fermented and strained mash water, cleaning products, and column packing are all used in the production of whiskey.
You did an excellent job! You’ve finished the hard work of making mash water for your moonshine! Congratulations! Finally, distillation and separation of all of the alcohol content into a refined form are required. Similarly to the process of creating mash, distillation is both an art and a science. Exercising your distilling skills is the most effective method to improve. We encourage that you take notes during the procedure so that you can improve with each subsequent run. In the event that you are in need of equipment or supplies, we can help you out.
We have everything from the traditionalcopper still to steel reflux units to the newGrainfatherBrewing System, and everything in between. We also carry high-quality supplies, such as high-quality grains and a new carbon filter, among other things.
Prepping Your Still
Maintaining a consistent level of preparation for your still is essential. However, even if you cleaned and let your still to sit for a bit after your last run, it is still advised that you clean it before transferring your mash water. This is especially true for copper stills that have a salt deposit on their surfaces. If you want to include packing in your column, now is the time. Fill your column with the amount of copper packing that is appropriate for your particular arrangement and use it as a filter.
Last but not least, it’s time to fill the still with your mash water.
The goal here is to reduce the amount of sediment in your mash water to as near to zero as you possibly can.
Running Your Still
Now comes the exciting part! Distillation is a fantastic procedure that takes a long time. Those of you who are unfamiliar with the science may get the fast and dirty version by clicking on the link below. When distinct compounds are separated using distillation, it is done so by taking advantage of the differences in evaporation temperatures of the substances. Rather of producing alcohol, this procedure separates it from the rest of the components present in your mash water. During the fermentation process, you produced all of the alcohol (well, the yeast did).
If your arrangement includes a condenser, switch on the condensing water whenever the temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep track of how fast your drips are increasing in pace until you reach 3 to 5 drips per second.
How To Make Moonshine: Collecting Your Distillate
Congratulations, you have progressed from researching How to Make Moonshine to actually creating your own moonshine! Make certain that you are pouring your distillate into a glass container as you are generating it. Never use plastic containers since they can contaminate your product with BPA, among other things, and cause additional problems.
In terms of percentage of your total productivity, the foreshots will account for around 5 percent. These are the alcohols that evaporate the earliest in your mash water and should never be consumed. Foreshots may contain methanol, and they should never be taken in any form. Methanol, among other things, has the potential to cause blindness. Gather the foreshots and place them in a separate container before throwing them away.
It is estimated that the heads account for around 30 percent of your total production. The heads, like the foreshots, contain volatile alcohols as well as other compounds. However, rather than causing blindness, the consequences are more mild – akin to having a bad hangover for many days.
Because to the presence of alcohols such as acetone, the heads will have a characteristic “solvent” scent to them. Similarly to the foreshots, place your heads in their own containers and discard the rest of them.
This is the good stuff, which is primarily composed of ethanol. The following approximately 30 percent of your total production is comprised of the hearts. You should be able to smell the harsh, solvent-like scent that was present during the heads at this stage. The flavor of corn mash moonshine should now be smooth and sweet, as it should have been previously. This is the level at which ability and experience are most important. It takes a certain amount of skill to keep your hearts well-isolated while simultaneously increasing their output.
This is the good substance, which is primarily composed of ethylene. The following approximately 30 percent of your total production is comprised of the hearts you produce. You should be able to smell the harsh, solvent-like scent that was present throughout the heads starting at this stage.. A smooth and sweet taste should now be present in the flavor of corn mash moonshine. This is the level at which ability and experience are most crucial. It takes a certain amount of skill to isolate your hearts while also increasing their output.
Congratulations for completing the task. We hope you were able to produce a fantastic batch. The only thing left to do is thoroughly clean your whole equipment. Allow for complete drying before storing in a cold, dry location. Learning how to create moonshine requires you to take on the roles of both a scientific and an artist at the same time. There’s a delicate balance to be struck here, and it can take years to master. We urge that you keep meticulous records of your moonshine production at all times.
- Thank you for stopping by.
- Thanks for stopping by.
- If you enjoyed this advice on how to produce moonshine, you might also be interested in our instructions on how to make rum and how to make vodka.
- The most recent update was made on October 25, 2021.
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Distillation – The science of distillation
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Also referred to as ‘foreshots,’ these are volatile (low boiling point) alcohols that are released at the commencement of the distillation process and contain the following chemical compounds: Acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) is an aldehyde that is formed by plants as a byproduct of their regular metabolic processes. It can also be produced from the oxidation of ethanol. Aetaldehyde, which has a boiling point of 20.8 degrees Celsius, is thought to be a significant influence to the severity of hangovers.
It has a boiling point of 56.2 degrees Celsius and is a colorless, flammable liquid.
It is the simplest form of a class of chemicals known as ketones, which is comprised of a number of other compounds.
In addition to being a popular cleaning solvent, acetone is also the active component in nail polish remover and paint thinner, among other things.
When it comes to the perfume of fruits, esters are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are responsible for the aroma of many different fruits such as apples pears bananas pineapples strawberries Generally speaking, esters are created by condensing carboxylic acids with alcohol, and their presence in a distillate can contribute to the production of fruity fragrances.
- Esters include ethyl acetate (boiling point 77.1 degrees Celsius), ethyl butyrate (121 degrees Celsius), ethyl formate (54 degrees Celsius), and hexyl acetate (171.5 degrees Celsius).
- With a boiling temperature of 64.7 degrees Celsius, methanol (CH3OH, frequently abbreviated MeOH), also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha, or wood spirits, is a colorless, extremely flammable liquid with a boiling point of 64.7 degrees Celsius.
- Methanol, on the other hand, must be separated and thrown since it is extremely harmful to the liver and has the potential to cause blindness if consumed in large quantities.
- A little amount of methanol (as little as 10ml) can cause lifelong blindness by destroying the optic nerve, while a large amount of methanol (as much as 30ml) is likely to be deadly.
Vodka must comply with European Union standards, which state that its methanol concentration “must not exceed 10 grams per hectolitre of 100 percent vol. alcohol.”
The heart (or spirit)
The heart of a distillate is the portion of the distillate generated during distillation that is isolated and retained for use in the production of alcoholic drinks. Simply said, the safest part of the distillation is the one that has a pleasant taste and is not harmful to the digestive system. In addition to having a foul odor or taste, the compounds that make up the other phases of the distillation process are frequently detrimental to human health. In a distillation, Ethanol is the primary chemical found in the “heart,” although trace amounts of other compounds in the heads or tails of the distillation may also be present, depending on the purity gained during the distillation process.
- The fact that it has such significant effects on the human central nervous system, resulting in changes in mood and behavior, makes it one of the oldest recreational substances still in use today.
- Since medieval times, it has been employed as a solvent to extract the flavor and presumed health-giving characteristics of botanicals, allowing for the production of early medicines and digestion aids.
- Ethanol is used in chemical processes as a solvent as well as a feedstock for the production of other products.
- For a chemical that is so flexible and beneficial, ethanol is surprisingly simple to produce, and its creation through the fermentation of sugar is one of the oldest organic processes that civilization has ever employed.
These alcohols and other compounds, which are sometimes known as ‘faints,’ have low boiling temperatures and are released at the conclusion of the distillation process. 1-Propanol (CH3CH2CH2OH) is a naturally occurring compound that forms in tiny amounts during the fermentation process. It has a boiling point of 97.0 degrees Celsius. It is utilized as a solvent in the pharmaceutical sector, and it is one among the alcohols distillers refer to as ‘Fusel Oils,’ which is a derogatory word for those who use them.
Butanol alcohol is often found in beer and wine.
Amber-colored liquid with a boiling point of 131.6 degrees Celsius, Amyl (Isobutyl Carbinol)alcohol is a colorless compound.
Fusel alcohols, also known as ‘fusel oils,’ are a word used to refer to the bitter chemicals found in the tails of distillation that are converted to alcohol.
FUSELS are higher-order alcohols, that is, alcohols that contain more than two carbon atoms and have a large solubility in water (more than two carbon atoms per carbon atom).
The term “fusel” comes from the German word for “poor liquor,” and because these alcohols have an oily viscosity, they are commonly referred to as fusel oils.
Acetic acid is responsible for the sour taste and pungent smell associated with vinegar.
Furfural (OC4H3CHO) is an aromatic aldehyde generated from grains such as maize, oats, and wheat bran, among other sources.
Colorless greasy liquid that immediately turns yellow when exposed to oxygen after being poured into a glass of water.
Indeed, charring is a common occurrence in direct fired stills as a byproduct of the firing process.
Given that furfural dislikes water, it attempts to vaporize during distillation earlier than would be predicted, despite the fact that its boiling point is quite high (161.7 °C). Furfural has an almond scent to it.