Categories Moonshine

What Is Moonshine Drink Made Of?

What is Moonshine? and traditionally consists of corn meal, yeast, sugar and water. When it is first distilled all moonshine or whiskey has a clear structure. The whiskey that you buy in your liquor store is always aged for several months or years in charred oak barrels to get its darker color and mild taste.

  • What is moonshine made from? Generally, this at-home alcohol is made from corn meal, sugar, water, and yeast. While the recipe for moonshine is largely similar to the recipes of brandy and whiskey, this alcohol differs in that it is not aged—though it is sometimes mixed with sweet fruits for more complex flavors.

Contents

What type of alcohol is in moonshine?

Moonshine is any kind of alcohol, usually whisky or rum, that is made in secret to avoid high taxes or outright bans on alcoholic drinks. The term “moonshine” comes from Britain, where it originally was a verb, “moonshining,” that referred to any job or activity that was done late at night.

What is moonshine made out of?

Moonshine is made from any grain or fruit. Traditionally, whatever grain or fruit that is easily accessible in a given place at a given time would be the base ingredient of choice. However, the moonshine that we know today typically uses corn as the main source of fermentable sugar.

Is moonshine safe to drink?

Illegal moonshine remains dangerous because it is mostly brewed in makeshift stills. It can be dangerous on two levels, both during the distilling process and when consuming it.

Is moonshine the strongest alcohol?

What Is The Highest Proof Moonshine. The highest proof moonshine you can make using distillation will be 191 proof (95.5% ABV). That’s because alcohol begins to attract moisture from the air at concentrations higher than 96% ABV, immediately diluting your moonshine.

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.

Is moonshine stronger than vodka?

Physically speaking, there is no real difference between vodka and moonshine. Both are unaged neutral spirits, usually cut with water to increase volume and produce a more drinkable product.

Is moonshine 100 percent alcohol?

Is Moonshine 100 Percent Alcohol? No, moonshine is not 100% alcohol. Generally, moonshine falls between 40% and 80% alcohol by volume, but the length of time and process used in distilling it will impact the content.

Why is moonshine so illegal?

So why is moonshine still illegal? Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year. (A few states have their own laws prohibiting the practice.)

Does moonshine get you drunk?

The alcohol in moonshine is the same as that of beer, wine, gin, etc. Pick your poison, and it’s the same alcohol. It is called ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, and it’ ll get you drunk –some faster, some slower.

How does moonshine taste like?

What does moonshine taste like? Moonshine is a fermentation of corn mash, which is then distilled to produce strong alcohol. The result is a clear liquid that will taste strong and smooth, with slight tones of corn.

How should you drink moonshine?

Moonshine is traditionally sipped straight, right out of the jar. You can also drink it in shots.

How bad is moonshine for you?

Consuming Methanol In Moonshine However, after it is metabolized, the methanol can have an extremely harmful effect in someone’s body. 10 milliliters (ml) of methanol is all it takes to permanently damage the optic nerve and cause partial, if not complete, blindness. 30 ml of methanol is lethal.

What happens if you drink 100% alcohol?

Drinking Everclear can quickly cause alcohol poisoning, a condition that can lead to death. Other dangers include addiction, fatal car crashes, brain damage and serious medical problems.

What is the strongest alcohol you can buy?

Spirytus. Proof: 192 (96% alcohol). Made in: PolandApproved a few years ago to be sold in New York State, the Polish -made Spirytus vodka is the strongest liquor for sale in the U.S. “It’s like getting punched in the solar plexus,” one sampler told the New York Post.

What is the proof of real moonshine?

On average, a proof moonshine could range somewhere between 100 to 150 proof. When you convert that alcohol by volume, 150 proof is equivalent to 75% alcohol by volume.

How is Moonshine Made?

What exactly is moonshine? Moonshine is any type of alcoholic beverage that is produced in secret in order to escape excessive taxes or prohibitions on alcoholic beverages. The phrase “moonshine” comes from the British verb “moonshining,” which referred to any activity that was carried out late at night by the light of the moon. The name “moonshine” is derived from the term “moonshining.” The ingredients for moonshine are rather straightforward, and generally include corn meal, yeast, sugar, and water.

Whiskey that you buy at your local liquor shop is usually matured in charred oak barrels for several months or years before being released into the market to get its darker color and mild flavor.

The formula for whiskey, brandy, or rum is almost identical to the one for moonshine in most cases.

Whiskey is historically created from a blend of grains.

  • Moonshine traditionally manufactured from maize is known as classic moonshine.
  • What is the process of making moonshine?
  • When yeast is used in the absence of oxygen, alcoholic fermentation is a metabolic natural process by which sugar is transformed into acids, gases, and alcohol in the absence of oxygen.
  • The theory of alcoholic distillation is based on the fact that alcohol and water have significantly different boiling points.
  • The alcohol vapor is subsequently cooled and condensed within the condenser, resulting in the formation of a liquid.
  • The following is the sequence of events that occurs during the distillation process: As many different mash preparation procedures as there are moonshiners, but the fundamentals are pretty much the same for everyone.

This is, nevertheless, the basic procedure, step by step, in most cases. Consider the following as a description of “old school” moonshine production utilizing “old school” moonshine equipment, not as a description of current distillation equipment.

  1. In a good fermentation vessel, begin by adding ground corn meal, cracked corn, or even commercial hog feed (which is primarily composed of ground corn and other grains) to the jar and mixing thoroughly. Others prefer to boil the corn combination and stir in particular enzymes to convert the starches to sugars before transferring it to the fermentation vessel
  2. More sugar and water are then added to the corn mixture before moving it to the fermentation vessel. In the following step, yeast (either bread yeast or specialist “turbo yeast”) is added to the mixture. The fermentation process begins at this point, when the yeast begins to absorb the sugars and convert them to alcohol. According on the combination of yeast and enzymes employed, as well as where the fermentation vessel is maintained, this process can take anywhere from three days to several weeks. The absence of bubbling in the mixture will be a solid indication that the fermentation process has come to an end. Due to the fact that alcohol is less buoyant than water, much of what was originally floating on top of the mixture will have gone to the bottom
  3. The mash is now ready for distillation. Pour the mash into the still and make sure it is securely closed and sealed. Raise the temperature of the furnace beneath the still to approximately 172 degrees Fahrenheit (78 C). Wood, coal, or even steam can be used to heat the still, depending on the kind of still, although propane is the most commonly utilized nowadays. As the alcohol evaporates, the pressure in the still develops, and the alcohol is extracted. The alcohol steam is driven through a pipe that emerges from the top of the still
  4. Alternatively, a thump keg may be used, which is essentially a heated barrel into which the steam is forced. This device, which was given its name because the thumping sound the chunks of mash make when they drop into the barrel, re-evaporates the alcohol while filtering out the mash since some solid material from the mash is generally carried along with the steam in this device’s operation. It’s possible to “charge” the thump keg by adding undistilled mash or a few liters of alcohol to it before filling it with steam, which allows the steam to suck up additional alcohol-vapor on its way into the worm box
  5. But, this will make your moonshine less strong. The steam is channeled into the worm, which is a coiled piece of pipe that snakes its way down the inside of the worm box to the bottom. In the worm box, cold water is channeled into the top of the crate or barrel and then back out the bottom. This keeps the worm immersed in cold water that is continually moving, which helps to condense the alcohol vapour into liquid. A tap or hose connects the end of the worm to a bucket, which is then passed through one last filter
  6. The result is a clear liquid known as moonshine.

What Is Moonshine, And Why Should You Care?

I was born in Eastern Kentucky, so if you were like me, you might have grown up knowing what it was like to be introduced to moonshine at a young age. You might have wondered, like I did, what that mysterious clear liquid was that was sloshing around in a mason jar every time the freezer door was opened. The “white lightning,” as my father called it, was something I should avoid since it would most likely cause undesired hair to grow on my chest if I drank it. He didn’t have to persuade me: before I reached the age of 10, he let me to sniff the contents of the jar for myself.

  • The response, of course, spans from whiskey enthusiasts to cocktail connoisseurs, with moonshine growing increasingly popular over the last decade, outliving its image as a strong liquor that may render you dead, blind, or paralyzed if consumed in large quantities.
  • Photograph by Valery Rizzo In the eyes of the purists, moonshine is a home-made, unaged whiskey that is distinguished by its clear color, corn-based basis, and high alcohol concentration, which can reach as high as 190 proof in certain cases.
  • In the 18th century, Scottish and Irish immigrants, many of whom lived in the southern region of the nation, were the first to introduce moonshine to the United States of America.
  • However, at the same time as its popularity was at its zenith, the government’s interest in taxing was waning.
  • Whiskey drinkers were able to escape paying taxes by manufacturing and purchasing moonshine at night, under the cover of darkness and the light of the moon, which some believe is how the term “moonshine” came to be.
  • Not only was it created illegally, but it was frequently done in a substandard manner as well, which further added to its negative image.
  • “Moonshine is one of America’s best spirits, but it’s really difficult to produce extraordinarily well because it’s unaged,” explains Taras Hrabowsky, a moonshine maker in New York City.

Making moonshine that can stand on its own, without the strong oak qualities that we associate with whiskey, becomes increasingly difficult.

A burgeoning movement is working to put good—and legal—moonshine on the map, and he’s a part of it.

There are a few new-age brands that stand out above the others.

It pays homage to the earliest moonshine pioneers who distilled the pure and unaged spirit with a hint of sweet maize and finished it with a sweet vanilla finish.

Ole Smoky, Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distiller, has a devoted following because to its innovative flavors (apple pie and sweet tea), which are packaged in mason jars and sold at a reasonable price.

For Hrabowsky and Sasha Selimotic, “the peppery spice rye gives on the end” is their preferred style of beer.

Montana’s Trail House, Hrabowsky’s favorite Brooklyn hangout, serves a drink titled Dream of a Mountain, which is served in a smoking glass and contains a fiery blend of Standard Wormwood Distillery’s moonshine, honey and orange liqueur, Aperol, and Angostura bitters, among other ingredients.

Standard Wormwood Distillery is depicted in this photograph.

“The more individuals concentrate on manufacturing excellent moonshine, the simpler it will be for people to come to appreciate it,” says the author.

How Moonshine Works

I was born in Eastern Kentucky, so if you were like me, you might have grown up knowing what it was like to be introduced to moonshine at an early age. You could have wondered, as I did, what that weird clear liquid was that was swirling about in a mason jar every time you opened the freezer. The “white lightning,” as my father called it, was something I should avoid since it would most likely cause undesired hair to grow on my chest if I consumed it. No need to persuade me, because he allowed me to sniff the contents of the jar before I reached the double digits.

  • As a result of this, many people are asking what precisely moonshine is, and how it went from being one of America’s most unlawful liquors to becoming a favorite among mixologists and artisan distillers.
  • In the eyes of the purists, moonshine is a home-made, unaged whiskey that is distinguished by its clear hue, corn-based basis, and high alcohol content—which may reach as high as 190 percent in certain cases.
  • The first moonshine was brought to the United States by Scottish and Irish immigrants, many of whom settled in the southeastern region of the country in the 18th century.
  • However, at the same time as its popularity peaked, the government’s interest in taxing began to wane.
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The production and sale of moonshine occurred at night, under the cover of darkness and the light of the moon, which some believe is what gave origin to the term “moonshine.” Similar to how Prohibition fueled the growth of underground bars in the 1920s, the illegalization of untaxed moonshine manufacturing ushered in a new generation of clandestine whiskey manufacturers throughout the following two centuries.

Not only was it created illegally, but it was frequently done in a substandard manner as well, which further added to its negative image.

In the words of moonshine producer Taras Hrabowsky, “Moonshine is one of the world’s best spirits, but it is extremely difficult to create extraordinarily well since it is unaged.” “Oak barrels are used to rectify flavor characteristics in aged spirits, which is why they are called “spirits.” Making moonshine that can stand on its own, without the overwhelming oak qualities that we associate with whiskey, can be difficult to accomplish.

  • You’ll understand why people adore it after you’ve discovered where to get it.” This is something that Hrabowsky should be familiar with.
  • The distillation of alcohol without a distilled spirits permit is still prohibited; nevertheless, popular liquor businesses are redefining the spirit by producing their spirits in distilleries and marketing them to the general public.
  • In Kentucky, the Buffalo Trace Distillery produces a moonshine known as White Dog, which takes its name from a popular slang term for the beverage.
  • Midnight Moon, named after the legendary moonshiner and NASCAR driver Junior Johnson, is manufactured by Piedmont Distillers in North Carolina, the state’s first licensed distillery since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.
  • Here’s where you may get the recipe for apple pie moonshine.
  • For Hrabowsky and Sasha Selimotic, “the peppery spice rye gives on the end” is their preferred style of whiskey.

At Montana’s Trail House, a favorite haunt of Hrabowsky’s in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, the drink Dream of a Mountain is served in a smoked glass and is made with a spicy blend of moonshine from Standard Wormwood Distillery, honey and orange liqueur from Aperol, and Angostura bitters.

Standard Wormwood Distillery (photo courtesy of the author) However, while Rabowsky feels that the future of moonshine is uncertain, he is encouraged by the increase in artisan distilleries pushing the boundaries to develop sipping moonshines instead of heralding the beginning of an era for the spirit.

‘The more people concentrate on manufacturing excellent moonshine, the more likely it is that others will come to appreciate it,’ says Smith.

What Is Moonshine & Why Is It Illegal? How To Drink Moonshine

If you were born in Eastern Kentucky, as I was, you could have been familiar with moonshine at an early age, wondering, like I did, what that odd clear liquid was swirling about in a mason jar every time you opened the freezer door. The “white lightning,” as my father called it, was something I should avoid drinking since it would most likely cause undesired hair to grow on my chest if I did. He didn’t have to persuade me since he let me smell the contents of the jar before I reached the double digits.

  • The response, of course, spans from whiskey enthusiasts to cocktail connoisseurs, with moonshine growing increasingly popular over the last decade, outliving its image as a strong beverage that might leave you dead, blind, or paralyzed.
  • Photograph courtesy of Valery Rizzo In the eyes of the purists, moonshine is a home-made, unaged whiskey that is distinguished by its clear color, corn-based basis, and high alcohol concentration, which can reach as high as 190 percent at times.
  • In the 18th century, Scottish and Irish immigrants, many of whom lived in the southern region of the nation, were the first to introduce moonshine to the United States.
  • However, at the same time as its popularity peaked, the government’s interest in taxing also peaked.
  • Whiskey drinkers were able to escape taxation by creating and purchasing moonshine at night, under the cover of darkness and the light of the moon, which some believe is how the term “moonshine” came to be.
  • Not only was it created illegally, but it was frequently done in a substandard manner, further contributing to its terrible image.
  • “Moonshine is one of America’s best spirits, but it’s really difficult to produce extraordinarily well because it’s unaged,” explains Taras Hrabowsky, a moonshine maker in New York.

Making moonshine that can stand on its own, without the overwhelming oak qualities that we associate with whiskey, may be difficult.

He’s a member of a rising movement that’s working to put good—and legal—moonshine on the map of America.

There are a few new-age businesses that stand out from the crowd.

With a sweet vanilla finish, it pays homage to the earliest moonshine pioneers who distilled the pure and unaged spirit with a hint of sweet corn to create the original moonshine recipe.

Ole Smoky, Tennessee’s first legal moonshine producer, has a devoted following because to its innovative flavors (apple pie and sweet tea), which are packaged in mason jars and sold at festivals and events.

For Hrabowsky and Sasha Selimotic, “the peppery taste rye gives on the end” is what they enjoy.

At Montana’s Trail House, a favorite haunt of Hrabowsky’s in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, the drink Dream of a Mountain is served in a smoked glass and is made with a fiery blend of moonshine from Standard Wormwood Distillery, honey and orange liqueur from Aperol, and Angostura bitters.

Standard Wormwood Distillery is depicted in this photo.

“The more individuals concentrate on manufacturing excellent moonshine, the simpler it will be for people to come to appreciate and enjoy it.”

Learn All About Moonshine With Bespoke Unit

Take a look at the top moonshine brands.

What Is Moonshine?

Moonshine is most often recognized as a slang phrase that refers to powerful alcoholic spirits that are illegally produced. As a result, it is commonly connected with bootleggers during the Prohibition era in the United States of America. Moonshine is still used to denote illicit homemade alcohol, although reputable distilleries may frequently sell products that are labeled as moonshine in order to attract customers. Officially, the United States government considers moonshine to be a “fanciful phrase” and does not regulate its production or use.

The goal for some moonshine producers will be to recreate the clear, high-proof homemade booze that was popular during the Prohibition period.

Why Is Moonshine Illegal?

Distilling alcohol at home is not only allowed in certain areas of the world, but it is also regarded as a cultural tradition in others. In fact, some historians say that distillation is a vital sign of the development of civilizations throughout history. Distilling, on the other hand, is against the law in the United States and much of Europe. There are a variety of reasons why governments prefer to prohibit its citizens from manufacturing their own alcoholic beverages at home. In fact, in many nations, even the act of purchasing or owning any form of still is prohibited.

  • People might quickly become ill, become blind, or even die as a result of consuming alcoholic spirits that have been improperly prepared.
  • Additionally, distillation may be a harmful procedure when carried out incorrectly.
  • Finally, taxes is a crucial consideration, which many proponents of home distilling claim is the root cause of the practice’s illegality in the first place.
  • Once upon a time, peasants would distill their excess crop residues for the purpose of earning a little more money for the winter.
  • For example, there are brandies made from grape pomace, such as grappa, that are made from the leftovers from winemaking.
  • As a result, licenses ensure that manufacturers will be required to pay taxes on the goods they make.

Moonshine History

Although moonshine is commonly linked with the Prohibition era, it has a far longer history than that of the 1920s. Indeed, the name is British in origin, having been coined in 1785 to refer to alcoholic beverages. According to legend, the term was chosen because of the possibility of hallucinogenic side-effects from the alcohol’s impurities. Moonshine, on the other hand, is known by a variety of different names, including hooch, white lightning, and mash liquor, among others. A number of components were used to make different varieties of moonshine by various cultures throughout history.

  1. While illicit alcohol manufacturing was rather frequent, it did not become well known until the passage of the aforementioned Revenue Act, which was passed in 1862.
  2. Despite crackdowns, its manufacturing grew particularly concentrated in the East-Coast Appalachia region, where it was easier to escape authorities than in other regions.
  3. Prior to Prohibition, spirits accounted for less than 40% of all alcoholic beverages consumed in the United States.
  4. Bootleggers who smuggled alcoholic beverages discovered that transporting spirits was significantly more profitable than transporting wine or beer.

They discovered, as did the 16th-century Dutch traders who distilled French wine into cognac, that greater proof alcohol was simpler to transport since the amounts were smaller than lower proof alcohol. As a result, it resulted in a shift in the products that were offered on the market.

MoonshineNASCAR

In the late nineteenth century, the majority of moonshine produced in the United States was delivered by horse and cart. The emergence of the vehicle, on the other hand, marked a significant shift in the dynamic. The moonshine was carried to its different locations by bootleggers or runners once it had been manufactured and packaged. The runs, like the manufacture itself, took occurred at night, and the smugglers began to use automobiles in order to evade the cops as rapidly as possible. As officials began to modernize their automobiles, bootleggers quickly followed suit and began to alter their own vehicles.

  1. The automobiles were also equipped with strong engines that allowed them to outpace the authorities, as well as enhanced handling.
  2. Although it was critical that the automobiles be completely unnoticeable from the outside in order to avoid arousing suspicion, this was not always possible.
  3. Despite the fact that Prohibition came to an end in 1933, illicit moonshine enterprises continued to operate in order to escape new taxes.
  4. Stock car races gained popularity in the 1940s, and as a result, bootleggers found themselves with less employment, which finally led to the formation of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).

How Does Moonshine Taste?

Horse and cart were used to carry most moonshine produced in the United States during the late nineteenth century. The emergence of the vehicle, on the other hand, marked a significant shift in the dynamics of transportation. It was the responsibility of bootleggers or runners to convey the moonshines to their different locations after they had been distilled. The runs took done at night, much like the manufacture itself, and the smugglers began employing automobiles in order to evade the cops as swiftly as possible.

  1. In order to minimize weight and enhance storage capacity, the interiors were completely redesigned.
  2. The next step was the addition of a resistant suspension to transport huge amounts of alcohol.
  3. Bootleggers preferred tiny automobiles over trucks because they were less visible to law enforcement officers.
  4. It wasn’t unusual for bootleggers to organize races for money and entertainment as the automobiles become more refined over time.

It is still possible to discern the link between NASCAR and moonshine today, thanks to companies like asSugarlands, which frequently work with one another during racing events.

How To Properly Drink Moonshine

We believe that there is no “wrong” way to consume something as long as you like it, and we are proponents of this belief. This proverb holds true in particular when it comes to moonshine! Indeed, there aren’t any conventional ways to consume moonshine, and there isn’t any sort of specialized glassware that is used to do so. Because there were few alternatives to moonshine in the nineteenth century and before, it was frequently taken neat. The alcohol was seldom kept in huge pottery jars, which kept it cold and made it easier to consume when the weather was hotter.

Despite the fact that cocktails were initially made with more traditional beverages, they were extremely popular in speakeasies during the Prohibition period.

Today, you may drink moonshine as you want and not have to worry about receiving negative feedback from purists.

Consider checking out our guide to the top 10 best moonshine cocktail recipes if you’re looking for some drink ideas or inspiration.

Similar DrinksMoonshine Substitutes

As we discussed above, there are many distinct kinds of moonshine available for purchase. As a result, you’ll most likely have a variety of alternatives for combining it with other beverages when ordering it. For starters, clear moonshine occasionally has a faint similarity to vodka in appearance. As a result, if a drink calls for one ingredient, you may substitute the other. Because moonshine has more flavor and clout than regular whiskey, the end outcome may be slightly different. It is likely that grappa bianca is the ideal choice for you because it has a comparable amount of personality as moonshine.

Gin is another possible substitution, although it does have a distinct juniper flavor, which can alter the outcome of the experiment.

Although both have strong herbal flavors, keep this in mind when experimenting with different recipes and combinations.

Fruit juice may be combined with a beverage such as vodka at any time.

What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Moonshine?

As previously stated, there are many distinct kinds of moonshine available. There will likely be a variety of possibilities accessible to you for combining it with other beverages as a result of that. The first thing to note is that transparent moonshine can sometimes be confused with vodka. You can substitute one for the other in a drink if one is specified. Although the end result may be slightly different, moonshine has more character and clout than regular whiskey. If you’re looking for something with a little more personality than moonshine, grappa bianca is definitely your best bet.

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Gin is another possible replacement.

When experimenting with recipes, keep in mind that both of those ingredients have strong herbal flavors.

Final note: Fruit-flavored moonshine differs from the norm in this regard. With a liquor like as vodka, you can always combine fruit juice. Other fruit liqueurs, such as limoncello or schnapps, can be substituted as an alternative.

Gluten, Carbs,Calories In Moonshine

Corn is inherently gluten-free due to its genetic makeup. Consequently, any clear moonshine produced from it should be suitable for persons who are allergic to or sensitive to the protein in question. Meanwhile, moonshine manufactured from barley may not be as harmless as it appears to be on the surface. Despite the fact that distillation generally removes gluten from grain, there have been instances of it having an adverse effect on humans. The fact that it has been distilled several times does not rule out the possibility of it being safe.

In the same way, it will not include any carbs.

There may be gluten-containing items in the recipe, and the carbohydrate and calorie counts might vary greatly.

What Next?

Now that you’ve finished reading our introduction to moonshine, let’s go a little deeper and discover even more!

  • What are the best moonshine cocktails? What are the best moonshine brands? How does moonshine get made? Armagnac Guide
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  • Best SpiritLiquor Glassware
  • Alcoholic Spirit Homepage
  • Armagnac Guide

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Moonshine’s Gone Legit But It Still Is Dangerous

Photograph by Scott Olson / Getty Images Home-distilled moonshine, formerly a closely guarded secret of Appalachian backwoods, is still in existence to this day. In fact, it is now officially legal. “White lightning,” as it is referred as, was originally considered an illegal and dangerous chemical by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but it is now approved for sale and controlled by the federal government in select states in the United States. Several other states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky, have followed suit.

Many believe that over a million illegal moonshine stills are currently operating throughout the United States, making the manufacture of clear, high-potency drink more ubiquitous and pervasive than at any other time in history.

What Is Moonshine?

When you make moonshine, you’re fermenting a sugar source to generate ethanol, which is also called as “hooch” or “homebrew.” The traditional method of making moonshine is to boil maize and sugar together. A distillation procedure is used to remove the alcohol from the mash after it has been fermented. One significant distinction between moonshine and other alcoholic beverages such as whiskey or bourbon is that moonshine is not matured. It is the end product of this process that creates an alcoholic beverage with a high proportion of alcohol, often several times larger than 100 proof (50 percent), such as white whiskey.

That is, the ability to purchase commercially made, all-copper moonshine stills on the internet has removed a significant amount of the danger associated with the moonshine distillation process.

Despite these advancements, this does not imply that all moonshine is safe to consume in large quantities. Plenty of moonshine is still being produced in stills constructed from vehicle radiator components and other potentially hazardous items.

Impact of Moonshine

Once upon a time, moonshine was a significant financial component of the Appalachian economy, serving as a source of money during difficult economic times and in places where poverty was prevalent. Moonshine, like every other product manufactured in the United States, underwent peaks and troughs in the supply and demand cycle. When the price of sugar increased in the United States beginning in the 1950s, the moonshine industry suffered a severe downturn. The spirit appeared to be slipping away as the United States witnessed a surge in the use of marijuana and prescription medications, which reached epidemic levels in the region.

With the current trend toward increasing costs at the liquor shop, particularly for foreign spirits, moonshining has re-entered the public consciousness.

Tennessee legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages at large box retailers such as Walmart and Sam’s Club the following year.

They are available for purchase for anything from $150 to $11,000, and everything in between.

Potential Dangers

Because illegal moonshine is manufactured in improvised stills, it remains a potentially lethal substance. It has the potential to be hazardous on two levels: during the distillation process and when it is consumed.

Distilling Process

Because most illegal moonshine is manufactured in improvised stills, it continues to be a threat. It has the potential to be hazardous on two levels: during the distillation process and when it is eaten.

Consumption

However, while the flammability of the distilling process and the product itself is a concern, more people have died from drinking moonshine than have perished in still explosions owing to the poisons in the brew, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Despite the fact that the majority of stills in use today are of the all-copper form, there are still a significant number of old-fashioned handcrafted stills extant. Traditionally, antique stills have used automobile radiators in the distillation process, and they are more likely to contain lead soldering, which can contaminate the moonshine.

Methanol tainting may develop in bigger quantities of distilled moonshine, and it is especially common in older batches.

The greater the batch size, the greater the amount of methanol.

Methanol is extremely dangerous and can result in blindness or even death if inhaled.

Dr. Christopher Holstege, a physician affiliated with the University of Virginia Health System, conducted a research in 2004 in which he examined 48 samples of moonshine acquired by law enforcement from various stills. The doctor discovered lead contamination in 43 out of the 50 samples he tested.

How to Test for Purity

According to folklore, one method of determining the purity of moonshine is to pour some onto a metal spoon and light it on fire. Although lead is not harmful when burned with a blue flame, it is harmful when burned with a yellow or red flame, leading the ancient adage, “Lead burns red and makes you dead.” The spoon burning approach, on the other hand, is not fully dependable. Other poisons that may be present in the brew, such as methanol, which burns with a bright blue flame that is difficult to notice, are not detected by this method.

Public health experts are afraid that moonshine poisoning in unwell people may go unnoticed since most healthcare practitioners regard it to be an outmoded practice from years ago.

History of Moonshine

As far as historians can tell, the practice of manufacturing alcohol has been present since the dawn of civilization. Moonshine, in particular, is said to have been brought into the United States by Scotch-Irish immigrants in the late 1700s, notably in the southern Appalachian region. According to Appalachian anthropologists, the Scotch-Irish immigrants who relocated to the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s carried with them their practice of home brewing as well as their formula for high-potency hooch, which was popular during the time period.

As a result, it may be kept concealed from prying eyes such as the police or hungry neighbors “Jason Sumich, Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University, believes this is correct.

The side of the antique clay jars was frequently marked with the letters “XXX.” Supposedly, each “X” reflected the number of times the drink had gone through the distillation process before it was bottled.

Is It Safe to Drink Moonshine?

As far as historians can tell, the practice of brewing alcohol has existed since the dawn of time. A specific type of whiskey known as moonshine is thought to have been introduced into the United States by Scotch-Irish immigrants during the late 1700s in the southern Appalachian region. It is believed by Appalachian anthropologists that the Scotch-Irish immigrants who arrived in the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s brought with them their tradition of home brewing and the family recipe for a high-potency alcoholic beverage known as hooch.

The police and thirsty neighbors will not be able to find it, thus it can be buried “Appalachian State University’s Department of Anthropology’s Jason Sumich believes that Initial packaging for moonshines was clay jugs, followed by mason jars in the latter stages of development.

“XXX” was commonly found on the side of antique clay jars, indicating their age. It was said that the number of “X”s signified the number of times the brew had gone through the distillation process.

Potent potables

Fermentation creates two types of alcohol: ethanol and methanol, which is also known as wood alcohol. Ethanol is the most often produced form of alcohol. According to studies published by the American Chemical Society, methanol is liberated from pectin and is consequently more plentiful in fermented fruits. Despite the fact that ethanol is widely regarded to be safe for use, both ethanol and methanol depress the central nervous system and impair brain function. ethanol Alcohol poisoning, even from “safe” alcohol, can result from excessive consumption, impacting heart rate and respiration and potentially resulting in coma and death, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Alcohol Poisoning page.

  • methanol is metabolized in the human body to formaldehyde, which is the same molecule found in embalming fluid, and then to formic acid, which is very poisonous to cells, according to Andrews, who spoke with Live Science.
  • Candy is nice, but whiskey is more expedient.
  • The image is courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images.
  • ethanol, on the other hand, boils at 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit (78.37 degrees Celsius), whereas methanol boils at 148.5 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) (64.7 degrees C).
  • The manufacturing of regulated alcoholic beverages, including commercial moonshine, is closely supervised.
  • However, there are no uniform criteria or safety inspections that can be enforced in the case of unlicensed moonshine producers.
  • Unsterilized fermentation vats can encourage the development of bacteria that pump out methanol, resulting in a greater concentration of methanol than planned, according to Andrews, who detailed how this might happen.
  • Several years might have passed before the liquor was contaminated, according to Andrews.

“But then something happens in the environment that has an effect on the bacteria that are conducting the fermentation in the first place. There is now a larger concentration of methanol present, and the individual who made it would never be aware of it.”

Poison for profit

Methanol, which is also known as wood alcohol, is produced during the fermentation process. Ethanol is produced during the fermentation process. Research published by the American Chemical Society indicates that methanol is released from pectin and is consequently more plentiful in fermented fruit. The central nervous system and brain function are both suppressed by alcohol, despite the fact that it is widely thought to be safe to consume. According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming an excessive amount of alcohol — even “safe” alcohol — can result in alcohol poisoning, which can impair heart rhythm and respiration, and potentially result in coma and death.

  • methanol is transformed in the human body to formaldehyde, which is the same molecule found in embalming fluid, and then to formic acid, which is very harmful to cells, according to Andrews, who spoke to Live Science about the process of conversion.
  • Workers at the Casey Jones Distillery in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, gather commercially produced moonshine as it pours down the still.
  • A distillation process follows the fermentation process to concentrate the ethanol and other volatile flavoring components.
  • Methanol has a lower boiling point and evaporates more quickly than water, so it can concentrate in the distillate — the vapor that is condensed and collected during the distillation process, according to Andrews.
  • In order to verify that methanol is isolated from the beverage and that the quantity of alcohol by volume is properly labeled on packaging and labeling, products are subjected to extensive testing.
  • As a result, moonshine can be more potent than legal beverages, and a batch of moonshine can rapidly become lethal, according to Andrews.
  • Andrews.
  • Several years might have passed before the moonshine became unsafe, according to Andrews.

“But then something happens in the environment that has an effect on the bacteria that are conducting the fermentation in the immediate area. The concentration of methanol has increased, and the individual who made it would never be aware of it.”

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  • Which is worse for your brain: alcohol or marijuana

The original version of this article appeared on Live Science. Mindy Weisberger is a senior writer at Live Science, where she covers a wide range of topics such as climate change, paleontology, strange animal behavior, and space exploration. Ms. Mindy has a Master of Fine Arts in Film from Columbia University, and previous to joining Live Science, she worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she produced, scripted, and directed media. Her movies about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity, and evolution have been exhibited in museums and scientific centers across the world, and she has received accolades such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence for them.

What Is Moonshine

Is distilling something you are passionate about, and do you wish to sell your products in a variety of markets? You could only want to learn the basics of home distillation if that’s all you want to do. In any scenario, it’s critical to understand the legality of moonshine as well as its alcohol by volume (ABV). The percentage of a drink’s volume that is pure alcohol is referred to as its alcohol by volume, orABV. This number represents the amount of alcohol in a drink and is used in part for the preparation of popular cocktails as well as the comparison of different types of alcohol.

What’s Moonshine?

Moonshine is a high-proof liquor that is manufactured illegally and without the permission of the government. According to tradition, it has been illegally distilled during the night in order to escape being found by law enforcement officials. Moonshine is distinguished by its extremely high alcohol concentration and the fact that it is distilled in a variety of handcrafted, ramshackle stills that are typically located in the forests or mountains. During the Prohibition era, moonshine became extremely popular, and both organized and disorganized criminals were involved in its production.

You might be interested:  What To Do If My Moonshine Stops Fermenting?

What Is Moonshine Made From?

Known as moonshine, this high-proof whiskey is made without the permission of the government. According to tradition, it has been illegally distilled during the night in order to escape being found by law enforcement authorities. Moonshine is distinguished by its extremely high alcohol level and the fact that it is distilled in a variety of handcrafted, ramshackle stills, which are typically located in the forests or mountains, as opposed to commercial distilleries. After Prohibition, moonshine became extremely popular, with both organized and disorganized criminals being engaged in the production of the liquor.

Moonshine Alcohol Percentage | Moonshine Proof

Moonshine typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40 percent, although it can sometimes have an ABV of 60 percent to 80 percent. The percentage of alcohol in a drink may be converted to proof by multiplying it by two. As a result, 40% ABV is equal to 80 proof. The distillation process is critical in determining the amount of alcohol present in a spirit. Due to the fact that moonshine is frequently produced by unskilled hands, the alcohol concentration can fluctuate widely and possibly come out at an unhealthy level.

The amount of alcohol in a beverage impacts the freezing point of the beverage, how it affects you when you consume it, and other factors. For those that distill, we strongly advise investing in a hydrometer, which may be used to calculate the alcohol by volume (ABV) of your spirit.

Moonshine Flavors

In most cases, the ABV of moonshine is 40 percent, although it can occasionally reach 60 percent to 80 percent. To convert alcohol content to proof, increase the amount of alcohol in a drink by 2. Consequently, 40% ABV equals 80 proof. In order to determine the alcohol concentration of a spirit, the distillation procedure must be followed. It is important to note that because moonshine is frequently produced by inexperienced hands, the alcohol concentration can vary widely and may even be dangerously high.

In order to accurately estimate the ABV of your spirit, we strongly recommend that you get a hydrometer if you plan on distilling any alcohol.

  • Blackberry. Blackberry is a popular moonshine flavor that lends just the right amount of sweetness to the normally severe burn of moonshine whiskey. When it comes to flavor, it’s neither too strong nor too weak to get the job done well. Whether you’re making spring drinks or summer cocktails with moonshine, peppermint is a flavor that you should explore. Peppermint moonshine is a refreshing addition to your favorite winter beverage, and it is a terrific choice for winter drinks. Known for its crisp and invigorating flavor that puts eggnog to shame, peppermint moonshine is a popular choice
  • Cherry moonshine is another popular choice. Cherry is a fruit that is sometimes ignored, but it is an excellent choice for moonshine because the acidity of the fruit is a good compliment to the alcoholic bite. Continue to store the cherries in their container for the extra enjoyment of eating laced cherries later on. Apple is the epitome of a win-win situation. Apple moonshine is one of the most popular varieties of moonshine because it elevates apple cider to a whole new level. Even better, because there are so many distinct apple varieties available on the market, you can purchase a range of flavors ranging from sweet to sour. Vanilla is also a fantastic mixer for fall drinks, as well as a refreshing drink for your spooky Halloween gatherings. Vanilla is the last flavor of moonshine that we urge you check out. Consider this to be similar to a dessert wine due to the fact that the beverage can be fairly sweet. However, because of this, it is an excellent choice for gatherings and for mixing with a homemade mixer. Indeed, it is a very adaptable alternative.

Is Moonshine Legal | Why Is Moonshine Illegal

It is prohibited in the United States to manufacture moonshine (or any other spirit) without obtaining a licence or license. There are, however, a few distillers who have turned to producing legal “moonshine” with the authorization of the government in recent years. In reality, the majority of people believe that they are only using the word “moonshine” as a brand or restaurant marketing tactic to enhance sales because what they are truly distilling is a clear alcoholic beverage. Moonshine is a term that refers to a spirit that has been unlawfully distilled.

Is Making Moonshine Illegal?

Yes, if you create moonshine without the right permits, you are committing a criminal offense. According to the information provided above, you can get permissions and licenses in order to distill and sell your own clear alcohol. Just make certain that you follow all of the procedures and have all of the necessary papers before beginning the process. Don’t launch an internet liquor company just to have it shut down by the authorities because you didn’t follow the rules.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moonshine

Over the course of thousands of years, people have been distilling their own alcohol, and moonshine holds a particular position in American popular culture. However, this also means that there are a lot of misunderstandings about moonshine, which leads to a lot of people having questions about the beverage. The following information is for anyone who still has questions about moonshine or is interested in learning more about it for the first time. We did the research for you and found the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding moonshine.

What Type of Alcohol Is Moonshine?

The majority of experts agree that moonshine is a type of homemade whiskey that has not been aged. Because of the clear color, this may come as a surprise, but the distillation process and the ingredients used are clear indications that it is whiskey.

Is Moonshine 100 Percent Alcohol?

No, moonshine does not contain 100 percent ethanol. In general, the alcohol level of moonshine ranges between 40 and 80 percent by volume, although the length of time spent distilling it and the procedure utilized will have an influence on the amount of alcohol present.

It’s crucial to remember that consuming alcohol with a high alcohol content can have serious consequences for the human body, and that consuming 100 percent alcohol is quite risky.

Can You Buy Moonshine?

Yes, there are certain commercial moonshines that may be purchased for a price. Moonshine purists, on the other hand, do not regard these beverages to be “authentic” moonshine because the alcohol concentration is lower and they are not always produced in the same manner as traditional moonshine.

Moonshine Bright Like A Diamond

Moonshine is a traditional American beverage that is shrouded in mystery. A vast range of alternatives are available to you, whether you’re distilling your own or purchasing moonshine on the open market. We propose that you put in place an inventory management system such as BinWise Pro to help you manage your inventory. A comprehensive inventory management system that helps you manage your wine program more efficiently and successfully, BinWise Pro is a must-have for every wine enthusiast. It maintains track of the expiration dates and shelf life of each individual bottle.

Please get in touch with us to learn more about BinWise Pro and how it might benefit your establishment.

How Moonshine Is Made

Firstly, a quick reminder that distilling alcohol is unlawful unless you have an approved federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant authorization in addition to the appropriate state permissions. Our distillation apparatus is intended solely for legal reasons, and the information contained in this paper is intended solely for educational purposes. We encourage you to read our comprehensive legal statement for further information on the legality of distillation.

Skip Ahead.

  • A boosted “Thin Mash” Moonshine made with corn whiskey
  • A sugar mash
  • Distilling booze, cutting booze, and legal questions are all covered.

Corn Whiskey Moonshine Mash

Making the mash recipe below and then distilling it would be unlawful pretty much anyplace in the United States if you did not have the required commercial distillers permits, to reaffirm what we indicated at the beginning of the essay. As a result, please do not do this at home. If you’re a commercial distiller, on the other hand, continue reading. As far as classic, all-grain corn whiskey recipes are concerned, this recipe would be regarded the gold standard since the components employed should result in a pleasing scent, rich taste, and a smooth finish, with the corn flavor and aroma coming through loud and clear.

The video below shows an all-grain mash that includes a little amount of malted barley to help in starch conversion.

Ingredients

  • 2.25 pounds malted and crushed barley
  • 6.75 gallons water
  • 9 pounds flaked maize (corn)
  • Brewer’s yeast (sometimes known as distillers yeast, or even bread yeast)
  • Optional: granulated sugar (optional)

Mash Procedure

  1. We brought the water temperature up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. We added the maize (in a nylon filter bag or a steel mesh basket), and then we added the beans. It was left to sit until the temperature naturally dropped to 148 degrees Fahrenheit after which it was stirred again. Allow for 60 minutes of simmering time, stirring every 10 minutes, after which we added the malted barley. We take the grains out of the kettle and let them to drip into the kettle. We pasteurized the food by heating it to at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit (an optional step)
  2. To achieve this temperature, we cooled the mash to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, we moved the mixture to a fermentation bucket and added yeast
  3. We let the fermentation to take place for 7-10 days.

However, while it is lawful to make the mash indicated above, distilling it is not.

More information about the laws of distillation may be found below.

Boosted “Thin Mash” Recipe

The complete approach demonstrated in the video above, which includes the addition of sugar, really more truly reflects the process of generating a thin mash. Thin mash is a mixture of grain and granulated sugar that is served cold. But why is this so? When it comes to mashing corn, it can be tough to work with since it becomes incredibly thick before the starch begins to break down and turn into sugar. In practice, this implies that producing a mash using maize that has more than 8-10 percent alcohol can be challenging.

  • We were able to boost the initial alcohol percentage of the beer by adding granulated sugar after the mash.
  • It’s important to remember that preparing this mash is legal.
  • More information about the laws of distillation may be found below.
  • The table below illustrates how the addition of sugar raises the alcohol by volume (ABV).
Added Sugar vs. Potential Alcohol in 1, 5, and 10 Gallons of Mash
Pounds of Sugar 1 Gallon Mash 5 Gallon Mash 10 Gallon Mash
1 lb. 5.9% 1.2% 0.6%
2 lbs. 11.9% 2.3% 1.2%
3 lbs. 17.7% 3.6% 1.8%
3.5 lbs. 20.5% 4.1% 2.1%
4 lbs. x 4.8% 2.3%
5 lbs. x 5.9% 3.0%
6 lbs. x 7.1% 3.6%
7 lbs. x 8.3% 4.1%
8 lbs. x 9.5% 4.8%
9 lbs. x 10.7% 5.4%
10 lbs. x 11.9% 5.9%
11 lbs. x 13% 6.6%
12 lbs. x 14.2% 7.1%
13 lbs. x 15.4% 7.7%
14 lbs. x 16.5% 8.3%
15 lbs. x 17.7% 8.9%
16 lbs. x 18.8% 9.5%
17 lbs. x 20% 10.1%
18 lbs. x x 10.7%

Sugar Mash

The phrase “sugar mush” is used loosely in this context. It primarily refers to high proof alcohol that is manufactured only from granulated sugar and contains no grain. When converting starch to sugar, it does not require the use of a mash and the technique for manufacturing it is quite straightforward. Making it is as simple as dissolving white table sugar in water, boiling it to pasteurize it (if desired), adding yeast nutrition (which is extremely crucial), and adding yeast.

Distilling Procedure

distilling alcohol without the right authorization, as we’ve stated multiple times in this post and hundreds of times on this website, is prohibited. Don’t do it unless you have the right licensing and authorization. Our description of it here is just for the purpose of education, and it is not intended to be relied upon by any person or entity as a scientific foundation for any act or decision. Heating a combination of water and alcohol (beer) to a temperature at or above 174 degrees Fahrenheit but below 212 degrees Fahrenheit is the process by which distilling alcohol is performed.

Why?

Making Cuts

This area is reserved only for commercial distillers. Their intention is to use this procedure to improve the flavor and scent of their spirits in the future. Specifically, this is performed by separating different sections of a distillation “run” into separate containers and combining just the best parts of the run, referred to as the hearts. What exactly do we mean by that? To put it another way, to oversimplify. A batch of fermented mash contains a wide variety of oils and alcohols of varying degrees of purity and concentration.

  1. Foreshots The foreshots are the initial 10 percent or so of the distillate that is produced.
  2. HeadsThe second section of the run is referred to as the heads section.
  3. These chemicals are unpalatable and have an unpleasant odor.
  4. ethanol and other beneficial substances can be found in the hearts.

Keep this in mind. After the middle section of the run, the richness of the run will diminish into what are referred to as the tails. In this stretch of the run, the flavor is weak and watery. Keep this and mix it in with the heads for future runs if necessary.

Legal FAQ

Is distillation a legal activity? According to federal regulations, possessing a still of any size is allowed and does not necessitate the acquisition of a permission. It must be noted, however, that the still must be used, or intended to be used, solely for the distillation of non-alcoholic substances. In order to distill alcohol, a federal DSP or fuel alcohol permit, as well as state and local permissions, are necessary in addition to state and local permits. Additionally, several states restrict the possession of stills under all circumstances, regardless of the usage or intended use of the object.

We encourage you to read our comprehensive legal statement for further information on the legality of distillation.

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